Not Even I Can Help You
We’re definitely underway the new year and almost at the end of the first month, and you have to ask yourself, where are you in your pursuit of health, success and happiness? I hate to compete with all of you, but I’m a little harder on myself and quite competitive. So I’ve already lost 12Lbs, and about 3% bodyfat and yes I did it healthy, with good eating and exercise; also let’s not forget a gorgeous wife to partner with me for support. By the way that’s how much damage you can do to a month of eating BBQ and drinking beer in Chile. Also let’s not forget the exciting new projects and prospective clients for COGO Fitness + Performance as well as Versa Movement Collective, I know, I’m a grinder but if you can’t grind doing what you love, then what would you do it for?
Now let’s talk about where you are so far since at this point the drop off rate at all major big box gyms rounding into February is sadly and statistically already about 4%, with another 14% dropping out by February; are you in that group? And have you been sincere to what you want, starting out this year? This is why it is extremely important for you to honestly state that if you’re not sincere to your pursuits, not even I can help you! Here’s the thing, and yes there is a thing; As a client of mine you’ll undergo what I like to call ‘your week in review.’ This small innocuous yet simple questionnaire is loaded with both barrels aiming at the man or woman in the mirror (sorry Michael).
I know you’re wondering how does a week in review help me break down your health in a nutshell and how am I even able to help you? You’re probably asking yourself, does this guy like his business or better yet, does he even get sales with blogs like this one?! Well I do, and I definitely do, and my client retention lies partly within these questions, your answers, your accountability to your answers, and finally the quality of attention and training. Here are a few things I need to understand before moving forward with assessments, movement screens, and programming:
1. How many hours do you sleep?
2. What time do you shut off all blue lights prior to sleeping?
3. What time do you wake up and how? These few to start to assess the quality of your sleep
4. Then I want to know what you ate the day before? At what times you ate? And the quality of foods? And trust me yesterday was a bad day for EVERYONE!
5. I need to know what your family life schedule is like? The quality of time spent, and family stresses as it dictates a measure of your happiness. Supremely important info in regards to your body’s hormonal activity
6. I then ask what does a work week look like? Hours? Occupation? How many hours do you stand, versus sitting? And what kind of daily stress do you endure?
7. Finally I ask you, how long you’ve trained in the past? How long you’ve stuck to it? And where do I fit into this picture called your life; if I even do?
‘Where do I fit into this picture called your life?’ That’s right, that last one sadly is important, because as you know for some trainers retention isn’t just based on the quality of training however knowledgeable or valuable. It’s actually rooted in the fabric of someones life and how we as professionals fit in it. I promise you that when you’re searching for a training professional, first have a look at your life and ask yourself these questions. It’ll be the sincerest moment you have to stop and really think about what needs to change to improve your quality of life.
I can ensure you that I’ve told clients in the past that if they cannot fix these previous questions, not even I can help them. Don’t forget that training albeit good for you, is a stressor to your body. Here is the kicker though; all of those questions above live symbiotically with training so for those that do want to make a change, “I can actually help you.” You just need to start with awareness and accountability and you need to be sincere in making the small changes necessary to each one of those questions; consider it a step program of sorts. Let’s take the time and do this exercise together like I’ve done with so many of my clients, for Online as well as Personal Training.
1. You average 5-6 hours? Let’s hit two birds with one stone. Let’s start by looking at the second question and let’s shut down the blue lights in your house 2 hours before bed; That’s TV, laptop, iPad, and or smartphone. On top of this let’s spend time with family, let’s dim the lights in the house a little and build some quality habits. Okay that’s 3 birds with one stone and no I’m not crazy, because what I’m trying to do is send you to bed happy, with your cortisol down, and melatonin up. You’ve stopped emitting daylight through your devices, you’ve spent quality time with your family and you’re about to have incredible sleep! Last but not least, get yourself an incredible mattress because if you’re still feeling pain the next day after a decent sleep, then that means it’s time to trade in that old mattress. This last one is in lieu of how you awake, are you relaxed and calm or does the stress kick in? All important factors to consider in regards to your sleep quality the night before.
2. So now you’ve awoken, what foods start your day? Are you fasting, do you drink water, coffee, cereal, eggs, etc? These are all factors that entail a hard look at what begins to fuel your day. At what times do you eat, and what do you generally eat, because if there’s one thing I’ve learned over the years is that humans are creatures of habit and will eat the same omelette day in and day out. Also have a look at how many hours in between are you eating and why? Do you tend to over eat with larger protions? Do you graze? Are you into intermittent fasting or do you eat every 2-3 hours? these are necessary info for us to begin to analyze if food is a problem or not applicable to your training life.
3. I look at your life and I know that I was able to add to it’s quality with the first answer but to be more in depth, are you a family man or woman, or single living the life? If so how much quality time are you spending with your kids? This is actually an important factor that can go to the center of your everyday happiness, your hormonal homeostasis, your psychological balance and much more. I won’t go too deep into this answer, but the impact your family life has on your happiness and outlook on your personal health is massive. Do a little research and you will begin to understand how healthy an individual is when spending quality time with their loved ones, and I’m not talking about watching TV together either; I’m talking about QUALITY time. If you’re single you night enjoy the drink or night life way too much and that also has an impact in your sleep and therefore your happiness.
4. Finally I ask about your work life, as a trainer I can’t ask you to quit your job because then I wouldn’t have one either. But I can ask you to figure out ways to improve it. Believe it or not finding out your self worth as far as your occupation is concerned, hitting up a few headhunters and getting out there brings forth renewed self confidence in your career. Sometimes it could mean better time management at work, more planning towards projects to act efficiently, and or may open more avenues within your position or career; even simply asserting yourself within your position. I know you’re thinking what do I know as a trainer, but let’s not forget I spent 17 years in oil & gas and construction projects around the world so I might know a thing or two about all of these subjects that may require change.
Ok I know you’re thinking that we didn’t touch on your past training experience, athletic background, etc. The truth is if I can’t help you have a deeper look into what your week in review looks like and how we can begin to want to make changes, your training background helps me only in semantics. When I ask about your week in review, I’m looking at your life in review, and I do this because you’ll need to have a hard look at what it will take for you to take that first step and stay accountable to yourself, and through each step after that. Remember that training is a commitment, and an investment in the most valuable commodity you have, and that’s your health. If you can’t be sincere to the improvements needed in your life, I say it again; not even I can help you.
Take that first step, and along that road; stay healthy my friends…
Your Coach, Franco Gomez
I’ve been training a young lady since the end of last January, and let’s call her Mrs. X for respect and anonymity. As with all my clients, I’ve been monitoring her fitness progress levels such as strength, endurance, power, etc; areas most trainers tend to keep an eye on. Mrs. X on the other hand, she monitors her training through BMI, measurements and body composition areas where most clients are commonly interested in. We both have our methods and similar goals as to what we want from each other, but both of us working for her goals and interests. For example maintaining a strong fitness for future competitions in obstacle/strength type games is definitely one of her main interests. Her goal is also to place not just compete, so her specific demands are met with specific adaptations in her training.
After our last session together, she mentioned she got some professional pictures done and that she was quite happy with her progress but would definitely like to see better results on the body composition side. As stated earlier she started training late January of 2015 and since then has lost 25+Lbs, is down to 21% body fat and looks amazing. Some might say that those numbers are realistic and fantastic from the general population’s point of view. From my point of view, she’s using 210Lb squats as her working weight, up over 40Lbs from where she started. Mrs. X can freely do sets of 6 to 8 dead hang pull ups and maintain a 5km run under 30 mins. She has begun to shave seconds off her sprint all in her preparation for the Toughest Competitor Alive which is a Fire/Police type game of a decathlete type sports. Not to mention that this summer she won individual’s silver medal at FEMSPORTS as well as a team silver.
As a trainer I’m always adamant about training for realistic goals in mind and the body composition will follow. What I’m trying to say is that I never promised her she’d lose 15Lbs in 12 weeks using an 800 Cal diet, complimented by some ridiculous interval training routine like you see being promoted in social media. She might succeed in losing the weight but most likely rebound back to the same weight, if not double the weight she started at like in many cases out there. Sustainable fitness isn’t something that happens over night, and isn’t a 12 week program or a miracle diet. Sustainable fitness is a way of life that demands you stay the course through three major factors; Programming, Diet, and the most important one of all, Mindset.
Fitness programming based on health issues, biomechanics issues, and yes let’s not forget goals is usually the first step. The next one is your diet, and here we repeat ourselves over and over as trainers and members of the unified health and wellness fraternity the importance of complimenting your training with a great daily diet. The last is the most important one of all and that’s your mind set. We can train all we want but sooner or later we slip if we don’t coach our minds to autopilot when it comes to schedule, dedication, discipline and of course accountability. I think back to 70’s bodybuilding or some would call it the golden age of bodybuilding and most pros, Arnie included never had to lose more then 10-15Lbs to cut down for the Mr. O’s. This means most competitors of that era walked around with an average of 12-15% body fat. The same goes for professional athletes within different disciplines, I’m sure they’re not looking in the mirror looking for flaws in their physique; the training, the diet, and the mindset sustains them a physique that suits their particular sport.
The reality of ‘Sustainable Fitness’ is to put these steps into play and ‘commit’; yes I said the one word that is not ‘option.’ I know, millennial’s are cringing as they read the word ‘commitment,’ but it is the only way people like most business not unlike my own will move forward in pursuit of those enigmatic goals. If there’s a business coach that tells me that for a $10,000 2 week course he’ll double my income in a month, I’d say show me the execution of your program! How does it work and what systems did you implement to make that sort of return, but more importantly; is it sustainable for growth.
Training works the same; we push the envelope in the gym while training smart, and compliment the systems implemented by eating well. This is all wrapped up neatly into a mindset that was prepped daily prior to starting to train in our session. Sustainable fitness puts people in a position to dedicate themselves to a journey. Sustainable fitness is not a quick fix or the diet of the month. It is a lifestyle not a session or a program, and the physique we crave is simply the byproduct of hard work over a period of dedication, commitment, hard work and accountability. Maintaining 3 very important factors to remember; Intelligent programming, goal oriented but sustainable diet, and a strong disciplined mindset. I’d say that’s a recipe for success; in the meantime Mrs. X will surpass her goals and compete at a very high level while still balancing a demanding career, 2 kids and a husband, and let’s not forget dealing with me on trainings day!
Oscar Wilde once wrote,”Be yourself, everyone else is taken.”
I stop think; what were the self image problems of that time in comparison to today to make such a bold statement?
As I scour the internet for a good article to read in relation to training, movement, and health I see a lot of “Laudanum” being sold everywhere I stop! That ever potent snake oil sold by a new age snake charmers and I think to myself; wait this isn’t the wild west! This isn’t the 19th century where alchemy competes with real medicine!
Nope, this is the the 21st century and yet the snake charmers of today aren’t much different, they’re self helpers with no back up proof trying to give you the the answer you want rather then the one you need.
The truth is the brands representing protein powders, fat burners, and any other ridiculous diet of the week limiting you to 800 Kcal/day, is not sold because there’s too many frauds in this world that are willing to sell you these products. NOOOO! It’s because there’s too many people willing to buy said products or services believing that there’s an easier way then training, eating right, and getting a great sleep!
It’s because there’s too many out there who are still looking for the ever elusive fountain of youth that’s filled with six packs and biceps; I don’t like mine so let me try that one on for size! Looking at this situation in our society, I’d say Oscar Wilde was on to something. I’d say whatever was going on in his world probably wasn’t too far from ours.
Looking back at my company and clients, it’s taken some of them a long time to realize after training for years with me that there’s more to reaching your goals then a bootcamp 2 or 3 times a week. There’s a discipline that follows the training;
1. there’s a good diet
2. portion control
3. breaking bad habits
4. creating good habits
5. sticking to your programs
five examples of factors involved in getting you closer to that fountain you see on the magazine racks at the grocery store, or trolling through the internet.
There’s words we cringe at in this millennial era; commitment, accountability, discipline… So on and so forth. But words we forgot were instilled in us through our parents. These aren’t words that we should run from, because these were values that were passed down to us to make us better reflections of ourselves.
At the end of the day I can’t look elsewhere for what I want, or what I want to look like. I have to dig deep within myself and venture the long hard path to achieve that holistic happiness we search for.
I run because I train for a race, I improve my cardiovascular endurance and burn a load of calories. I lift weights because I want strong muscles, tendons, ligaments, and core; so that I can stand tall and live healthy. I sleep like a bear so that I can continue training the way I do and recuperate faster. I eat with the intent of enjoying my meals, fuelling my workouts, feel healthy and at 42 keep the weight down as well. I don’t do this for any other reason, but ironically enough, the other reasons people look for just happen as well because I do these things.
I am myself, everyone else is taken…
Be happy with you, inspire others to be themselves, have a few beers on the way, and stay healthy my friends.