The 2017 year has come and gone and we’ve all seen the highs and lows. The question is did you learn just as much from either of those experiences? Welcome to 2018 and let me recap some of the great moments I was privy to in 2017. COGO Fitness + Performance celebrated its 6th year in business and what a steep climb it has been. The difference though, this last year I was honoured to have worked with special populations. I got to work in a great clinic with some wonderful clients that gave me the opportunity to share some of my knowledge and experiences as well as learn new technologies that are here to help neuroscience.
I also worked on adding a new conditioning coaching certification under Joel Jamieson at 8WeeksOut. I was also invited to a great workshop within the same certification where I met some very interesting coaches from around the world and learned a ton about myself, my business, and my dreams; this also gave my wife and son an opportunity to join me on a family road trip, and let’s face it, who doesn’t love road trips. I also began my Precision Nutrition Coaching level 1 course which I hope to finish in the next few months; I’d gladly recommend it to all of my colleagues in the industry. I’ve added all of this continuing education in hopes to bring more value to my clients, personal and online. On that note I’ve started to grow my online training, I can’t speak enough of my online clients as I see some real perseverance, I tip my hat to you all followed by a big internet hug.
As I welcome 2018, I think back to 2017 bringing me the greatest birthday present a father could ask for, the birth of my son. We share a birthday, smiles and facial expressions, more importantly I feel we share the same silly sense of humour. I work harder and laugh more because he’s in my life, and what can I say, having the love of my life at my side helps me get up in the mornings and want more for the both of them. I find that 2017 has helped me become more imaginative in my craft once again. Keeping with my philosophy on training but opening doors to so many facets of training to try and improve my clients health with the help of science. With the recent holiday trip I was able to introduce my son to my parents which was huge since we live continents apart, nonetheless, being back in Chile over the holidays with my wife and son, and meeting new family was a beautiful experience I believe will be cherished for the rest of our lives.
I decided to put a different spin on accountability within my profession and clients this last year, I feel that my industry falls short because we are so bent out of shape when it comes to only training and what we eat. Unfortunately science tells us differently and learning from some great mentors I went back to the books and began relearning my schooling. Aside that, I truly feel that we aren’t actionable enough when it comes to laying down the roadmap for our clients and it goes beyond exercise and food. If you allow me a moment on my soapbox; you’re just not digging deep enough into why your clients can’t stay accountable. Well we’ll leave that for another day, for now let’s keep reminiscing on 2017 and see how COGO Fitness + Performance is going to improve in 2018!
I can tell you that one improvement this year is going to start with the inception of Versa Movement Collective, a new company and incredible project that I’m working on with some fantastic health professionals who I now call friends. You can find us on all social platforms and at www.versamc.com to find out more about us. This is the company which will stop separating our professions individually, rather we bring forth a holistic approach to an individual’s improvements in their respective sport or general lifestyle. At the moment we’re specializing in golf as well as long distance runners due to two of our team’s professionals, but as we grow we would like to invite top professionals from all sport disciplines. For now we are working towards finding a facility, continue our VMC Education videos on YouTube, Instagram and Facebook to add a little knowledge to those interested in adding to their programs; and mainly starting to create the buzz that there’s a new Sheriff in town.
2017 was about building foundations and education from school, mentorships, workshops, etc. I’d like to take a small moment to give thanks to a very special friend of mine, a mentor, and part owner of BioPod (please checkout this product, it is at the forefront of ecosystem technology). He flies in from all over the world to impart business wisdom where he can, and I believe it has made me a better business owner, friend, father and husband. I’d love to thank my wife for putting up with me working from home as she is on Mat leave, in my underwear at times, and my moods, as well as the odd pot shot from the cheap seats. What I’m truly thankful for, is that I get to see my little monster man grow up while I work from home.
2017 helped me to mold values into my company. My love for what I do and my love for my clients past and present, is beginning to define itself in what I do, my training and my approach to how I treat others. At the end of the day you have to ask yourself, do you want to be loved and respected by someone that puts so much time into your health, or do you want to simply workout. I personally feel that 2018 is the year where developing long lasting relationships will not only sustain my business as well as my life, but also grow substantially in regards to understanding my surroundings and the people in it. I’ll stop there, but with open arms I’d like to welcome you all to 2018, let’s leave the resolutions aside and become resolute towards the things and those we love the most.
Hey 2018! Stay healthy my friends…
Your Coach, Franco Gomez
It’s interesting to see how the world has changed, and more so how we’ve achieved such a digital impact in our lives. When asked, “why train clients online?” The answer is really a no brainer. We now live in the digital era, if we’re not on our phones, our ipads, or in front of the television, I feel we may be lost. Unplugging seems foreign to us since our lives are carried in a smart device in our pockets every day, and everything we need to find is at our fingertips. These days we can find reputable courses online, I know, I’m finishing one through Joel Jamieson on Bioforce Coaching Conditioning, and then finishing my Precision Nutrition Level 1 coach, and after that I will do my NSCA-CPT. Online training just seems like the viable step forward.
These of course are just examples of what’s offered to trainers let alone what’s out there for different demographics or disciplines. The days of sitting in class to continue your education are slowly starting to become less and less. Now hold on! I’m not saying that they will disappear entirely, I think that there is a large need for classes, just on the experience alone. I’m just saying that we are witness to a new era which takes advantage of this wonderful digital era. It’s fantastic to see the exponential amount of data that can be taught online. I don’t have to go buy a cookbook on italian cooking when I can find a recipe in seconds on my phone. Also a major factor that has helped both the buyers and sellers is drastic price drops due to the lack of overhead.
When considering that the average personal training session costs $65 – $85, in comparison to online training which averages between $150 – $350/month. This avenue just seems the logical direction for clients when considering training especially in this day’s economy. Remember though that when it comes to training there is always a value that’s put on the table. Just because I train clients online does not mean that all they get is a program for the month and see ya later! Absolutely not.
There are nuances to creating the online experience, The program has to fit their assessment, there are quarterly milestones to meet, their daily work and life schedule needs to be considered for stresses. I have to know how they eat on the regular, I need to know if they had a surgical procedure, or if they’re weekend warriors and had an accident and modifications are need to be placed in their program. I have to have video links in place for each exercise, I also need to have a program description and notes so that they understand how to work single sets, supersets, tri sets, etc. I also need to place a weekly communication system with all of my clients so that they can let me know what they’re experiencing throughout the program, positive or negative.
Remember that any type of training out there is simply answering questions or solving a problem. “I am a hunter and I run out of steam on my hunts.” “my son made the Colts as a linebacker, and the coach mentioned he needs to improve his speed and power for the season.” “I am a mom of 3, I have a membership at big box gym, and I want to learn how to use the weights…” My favourite of course is,”I want a trainer but I can’t afford afford $70/session!” As you can see, you can plug me in as an answer in each of these individuals lives as their online trainer. And to be honest these are true examples of past clients.
The truth about these clients lies deeper than just the superficial need though. I don’t just get plugged into their lives as a service because they just need a trainer. The hunter wants to feel strong for his family again, he wants to feel confident in his 40’s in front of a mirror. The linebacker needs confidence and sport specific aggression, he wants to be mentally tough and be able to take hits mentally and physically. The mom wants to lose weight, she wants to get strong and sexy, and she wants to outlast her 3 boys at play time. And of course my favourite was the odd student I get, she wants to keep things affordable and learn how to train.
That’s right, just on the comparison above and value proposition for services, online training became popular with me because the online training experience could be just as valuable as the personal training experience at a fraction of the cost. Of course there’s more to it then just cost, you also have to consider your schedules. I have a certain hour window that I work in due to the fact that I want to spend time with my family, especially my little monster man before he goes to bed. Therefore there are times that my clients won’t be able to see me, aside the odd exception if it’s just an assessment. Or better yet how about when my clients or even I go on a vacation. If I go, then I reach out to the trainer my clients and I trust, if the clients go on vacation, they’re on their own.
Finally my favourite which is attached to value, is the individualization of programming and support. We don’t build cookie cutters! We build templates though and that’s because it helps us program much more efficiently and in a timely fashion. If you can build a program within 15mins then you’re doing great; don’t forget that’s one client, now add 20 more and look at the time you’ve spent programming. As a trainer I like the idea that I can solve problems, I don’t just count reps, I try to understand my client from within so that their program not only improves their lives but also compliments it.
To say that I care about each client individually is an understatement; I love my clients. I get to know their families, see their kids grow up, I experience the highs and lows. And when a bad economy says goodbye to some, they extend their hellos via social media to congratulate me on the birth of my son. They are no longer my clients, rather they are my friends, with an open invite to their cabin in British Columbia. It’s that little device in your pocket that connects you to the world, old friends, lost loves, science, history, recipes, education, etc. Online training is here to stay, it brings people together, it educates, which is my number one goal, and you get to keep me in your pocket at all times. So, why train clients online? The cost is minimal, and the value and benefits are endless. If you’re curious about online training and have lots of questions for me, feel free to contact me
firstname.lastname@example.org or go to my contact page.
Until we meet in the matrix;
Stay healthy my friends…
Your Coach, Franco Gomez
Today I’m going to talk to you from an inspired entrepreneurs point of view. I recently got back a couple weeks now from an epic road trip with my wife and son. And at almost 6 months my son handled the ride like a champ I might add. Interestingly enough it wasn’t the sort of epic road trip like the ones I took with my mates back in the day partying through the mountains with our final destination being Vancouver for shopping, drinking, eating and of course chasing the fairer sex. Those were adventurous days where the word responsibility didn’t really exist in our vocabularies. As long as we barely made the rent and had room for beer in our maxed out credit cards, the rest was just us being Marines, improvise, adapt, overcome!
This time around, our road trip was epic in many other ways, my wife and I got to see each other reacting to minor pressure, navigating through freeways, setting up campgrounds, dismantling campgrounds, where to eat, change the baby, feed the baby, soothe the baby, and keep on keepin on. Accompanied by an array of playlists on the noise box setting the moods for conversations and laughter. I love road trips for these very reason though; you open up different avenues of conversations and dig deeper into your relationship, and coming out more in love on the other end… Well at least on my end of course.
We packed the van on a Friday morning and headed out, first stop; Flathead Lake Big Fork Montana. People have referred to Montana as God’s country, aside the smoke, it was a friendly atmosphere, an amazing lake to share with the ones I love the most. We get out of the van and sitting right where the tent goes was a couple of deer as our welcoming committee feeding on the shrubs and dipping their lips for some lake water. I knew at that moment that this was going to be a magical roadtrip. We left the next morning rebounding for a night in Lake Easton Washington, towards Grayland State Park where we spent the next three days chilling out in Westport on the Washington coast. Every day was something interesting and new to do but I’d have to say my favourite was kite flying and crabbing.
Now, I love my wife for amongst other things, her tenacity. When she wants to try something new I follow along for the ride because whether it’s hit or miss, it’s always an adventure. She wanted to fish for crabs and after an evening debacle of searching for equipment, the next day we headed to rent the equipment, got the fishing license, got our grocery store raw chicken thighs and off to a pier we went. She marched so proudly and ready to hopefully hit the record books and get her picture in the Westport Gazzette holding 50Lbs of the largest crawlers she could wrangle; the day went a little differently though… So here I am enjoying a day on our very own pier in Westport, brown bagging a super duper can of Banquet Coors in one hand, and holding my little monster man in the other. As I wait for the festivities, instead I get to watch my Nat screaming after her first catch but realizing she has to actually pick them up to put them in the can and they have long reaches!
First catch of the day, she catches one large Dungeness crab! She’s excited and screaming from happiness as well as fear. But it was worth trading the baby and beer to help her get that delicious creepy crawler in the can. Unfortunately she caught one and we forgot that our camping pots wouldn’t fit our ocean dinner, so as a gesture of kindness we gave it to the nearby couple and headed out for some delicious sea food. I think that will be an experience we will always remember. Next time though, we’ll have the big pot ready to go!
The second most favourite thing we did was fly a kite, and actually teach Nat the nuances of how to fly the kite. What some of you don’t know is that part of my upbringing was in Chile and every Sept 18th, as part of our day of independence the children build kites by hand, get our special string and it’s off to war! Kite battles; cutting each other’s string and sending your cousins racing down a hill to fist fight over fallen kites. What can I say a bloody nose or black eye was worth the keepsies! In the midst of those savage years though, there’s definitely one thing I knew how to do and that was fly a proper kite. So off to Ocean City State Park we go!
The day was sunny and there was a pacific wind hitting our faces with gusto, we parked the van right on the beach and began the process of preparing our little dollar store kite for his maiden voyage. With stringers and rainbow colours I took it out of the van and, I dub thee, Pride Kite! Without very little assistance, the powerful wind carried it high flying that rainbow coloured flag, I made the kite rise so high as I slowly gave it more line. He climbed and climbed, and I’d tell Nat to pull for a good climb as the nose aimed upwards, and if it starts to nose dive just give it more slack and let the wind do it’s job.
We were so happy, as my son sat in the bjorn relaxing and enjoying all the different and new sites he was experiencing. As I took pictures to record the moments I asked myself, “how can I strive to make our lives better then this simple yet beautiful moment?” I’ll answer this question in a moment.
As the day ended, the last two days of our road trip was for the workshop I was headed to so we headed towards Seattle; our final destination, a campground in Bellevue Washington just outside the big City.
I’ve always said that being amongst my peers, has always made me a better trainer. But this trip made me want to be a better trainer, a better entrepreneur, and more importantly better husband and father. I had recently taken on a coaching certification to add to my repertoire and because of it I was recently invited to this workshop where I had the pleasure of meeting Joel Jamieson the author of MMA Conditioning.
Amongst the professionals I was privy to, were Luka Hocevar who helped us with business and marketing advice as well as being the owner of Vigor Ground Fitness and Performance. Nate Green who was once a team member at Precision Nutrition, who helped us with business and marketing as well by putting mirrors in front of us to take hard looks at ourselves as individuals. And as an added surprise we were introduced to Dr. Gerry Ramogida, Chiropractor for the Seattle Seahawks and the Vancouver Whitecaps. Talking about the science and benefits behind joint pumping and how to apply tem with our clients whether performance or gen pop.
So going back to answering that question as to how will I improve the lives and experiences of my loved ones. I have to say, I can’t take myself too seriously as a trainer, enjoy my relationships and look forward to the experiences I will share with my clients. Empathy is a word I’m starting to understand, and revamping my clients entire training experience is the start to continuity and longevity to their education as well as our training relationship. I’m not trying to be rich, I’m loving my career path, and I’m passionate about my continuing education, because I’m passionate about teaching. I come home from work not worried about company politics now, rather I look for my wife and my son so that I can hold them, kiss them and hug them, and I know that this is the start to to improving their lives as well as mine.
I talked with my wife all the way back home reminding myself what was said, what was important to look at, or where drastic changes need to be made. The more I repeated the conversations I began to believe the changes that needed to be made in my life for my new business to succeed. Oh that’s right; I forgot to mention that I’m entering into a new partnership where our focus for all of our clients will be an entirely holistic experience from walking through our doors to possibly never leaving us, so watch out Calgary; we’re setting the bar extremely high. But I’ll leave that for another blog. I will leave you with this little question to ask yourself if ever you’re stuck where you are. “If you had a choice in life, would you take the safe ’good’ route and future if it meant doing something you didn’t enjoy. Or would you sacrifice the safe route to be great at something you love, knowing that the only way you’ll succeed beyond a safe future, is by working harder than you’ve ever had to…?”
…Think about it..
To yours and mine my friends,
Your Coach, Franco Gomez
Recently this past weekend I was privy to doing my Functional Movement Screen (FMS) Certification Level 1 and 2, and being amongst my peers was not only fun but very inspirational. I looked around the room with such admiration at the variety of education and backgrounds all coming together to learn what it takes to help people move better, move often, and just simply move. As most of those who know me, know that my motto is ‘Performance is for Life.’ I always iterate that performance is not just at the elite level but rather in all walks of life! What people don’t understand in this day and age though is that performance at all levels will fail you if you’re not moving properly.
I want you to close your eyes and imagine yourself in a long white smock as you’re building your first Robot! Think of it’s brain as a computer and it’s body is a steel mechanism of moving parts. This robot is run electrically through the wiring from signals sent from the computer to move the robot’s joints and parts. The computer sends signals to keep the joints oiled and lubricated so that the robot learns to move freely with out obstructions, creaking, or the steel body binding. The computer learns motor patterns so that the robot can move efficiently, and effectively within its tasks. But more importantly, the robot now begins to understand movement as it’s artificial intelligence continues to learn all the patterns necessary to strive in this world.
Ok now take that robot which you just took the time to teach movement within the span of it’s short life, and sit him in a chair for 8 to 10 hours a day. Now you’re noticing the robot is a little slower at moving and there’s a little more steel sounding movements due to the oil in the joints drying up and collecting dust. The robot’s body isn’t looking very shiny anymore, and instead starting to collect the odd rusty specs of dust here and there. Also because of the lack of usage you find that for some reason the wiring from the computer isn’t firing signals fast enough or none at all and the steel in the joints are starting to bind a little so the robot isn’t moving very efficiently throughout it’s daily tasks.
You wonder and study the problems and you try rewiring, and you reset the computer and nothing seems to be happening; you’ve broken the robot… The human body spent the first half of it’s existence or more moving. As you’ve heard before we were hunters, gatherers, warriors, etc. and for this last third of human history we’ve become more and more sedentary. Our careers demand hours and hours of sitting around in front of the computer typing, mouse surfing, reading and all other wonderful things that our borne of our jobs. We are now that broken robot but the difference is we are slowly learning how to reset that computer, we are learning mobility drills, flexibility exercises, myofascial release, and so many other fantastic techniques that are putting us back together. Unfortunately in this society We just have to want to move more then wanting to move at any cost!
Lately we’ve been living in the world of low attention spans and high regard for social media and all the poisonous fruit that comes off that tree. Things like 30 day challenges that push the metabolic envelope to sickness, promises of beautiful bodies at the cost of your health and general mobility and let’s not get started on the nutrition fads; that’s a Blog in itself! I was once asked by a very important man from a company I was working at if I just took down people’s goals and built programs for them to work on. I just gave him a blank stare and told him that goals are secondary to me if the people can’t move properly. I need to see how they move and find out what weaknesses lie within and why. I need to see people’s asymmetries and distinguish what sort of corrective exercises need to be applied and how, I also need to assess their strengths so that I can formulate a few of their goals into a program as well to compliment the fixes needed to move better.
This is why I felt that the Functional Movement Screen (FMS) was an important tool to add to my arsenal, and this is why I still feel that those 7 simple movements in the screen can tell so much about a person and what lies within. This past weekend working with friends and colleagues just reaffirmed that I’m on the right path. Clients don’t need to lose 50lbs tomorrow, they need to lose 50lbs intelligently through a program that incorporates their strengths, considers their asymmetrical issues, compliments their weaknesses but still is able to challenge them physically. I always say, ‘do the exercise right and not only will it be harder but will also make you stronger.’ The fitness world is starting to follow in the elite footsteps and move towards function and specificity, and I believe that the the Functional Movement Screen is a great starting block in assessing a client, so that they can get to their goals in healthy fashion. Well friends, I hope I was able to open your eyes like mine were this past weekend; and now for my next assessment; stay functional (healthy) my friends…
Are you tough enough?
In the past I introduced this Blog with the Smart Principle; Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Timely. The truth is I’ve noticed with certain clients just want to jump in the water with both feet never testing it, never asking questions, never considering the consequences of what a hardcore attitude might do to your body or your mind. On the other hand I have those that want more than they’ve put in and start to wonder if the training is even worth it. As trainers this can become quite frustrating considering that we lay out guidelines, support, education, and the training. There’s an old African proverb that says, “Never test the depth of the water with both feet.” (Kouzes & Posner, 2007)
In Kouzes and Posner’s The Leadership Challenge it talks about experimenting and risk taking, but I’ll get to that in a moment. First I’d like to start by asking you that simple question, “How’s that new years resolution working out for you?” I’m guessing that there are a high percentage of you that have fell off the wagon, or have become too busy, or never really saw the results they assumed they would achieve in such a short period, and finally you’re just bored of the same routine since January. So back to Kouzes and Posner, where they state that to create a climate in which the norm is to experiment and take risks, it is essential for leaders to:
Generate small wins
Learn from experience
Generating small wins is an excellent way to begin tracking your performance and goals in your every day life, whether family, work, fitness, etc. Again, this is where SMART can come into play, and helping you refine those small wins; setting milestones is a small step-by-step process for progression. Unfortunately we live in a society that caters to the, “Go big or go home,” with that said 90% are sitting at home! Remember that achieving those small wins will result in success.
Learning from our experience is crucial to our mental toughness, our resilience to obstacles, and to our eventual success in any of our goals set. As humans we are programmed to learn from childhood on until the imminent. Unfortunately taking another shot at society, we often find ourselves being lazy and letting someone else take over the reigns; let them learn it, let them do it. Well now they’ve just become your boss, beat you in a race, or achieved their fitness goals before you! My question to you is, “will you quit because you were beaten? Will you quit because you never reached those goals?’ You have to ask yourself , did you learn anything? Are you mentally tough enough to persevere? Do you lack the fortitude to continue?” I say you are, I say you can learn to be; you are smarter and you can become tougher just by taking that small step forward you never did before. You can pick yourself up and continue, because it is instilled in us the will to live, to move, to run, to jump, to love; so what’s holding you back? You have a resolution to continue, one small win at a time. Track your progress people, you will have something to work for always.
Stay Healthy My Friends…
Simple Rules To Programming
Interesting isn’t it but with the inundation of workout fads, DVD’s, magazines, phone apps and philosophies it’s hard to understand why it’s still not a simple task for the general population to figure out a program. Ok so everyone wants the secret to the six pack, or those elusive wonderfully tight glutes, and even a pair of great biceps!
The reality is that in this article you will get a little of what COGO Fitness + Performance’ training philosophy is and for those that want a hand learning a little about how to program on your own. Before I start I want to dispel a few things that people constantly use in training and where we at COGO differ. Generally people like to train body parts where we prefer to train movement. People train core with crunches, sit ups or V-twists we prefer planks, anti-rotational cable work, or hip dominated med ball work as a few examples. The reason we stay away from specific body part training is because the human body doesn’t move in one plane rather many planes of motion. Also to add insult to injury (no pun intended) working one body part at a time generally causes imbalances in muscles and joints that lead to overuse injuries such as tendonitis, crepitus, impingements or joint ruptures.
Ok ladies and gentlemen, here are a few rules we use at COGO Fitness + Performance to program for you, but more so influenced by how a body moves, and the technique necessary for this movement:
1. Big muscles before small muscles, for example back, chest, or legs come before your biceps, triceps, or calves
2. Joint mobility/stability (depending on the joint), core stability and muscular strength and flexibility, which means full range of motion in all movements.
3. CORE, CORE, CORE, CORE and stop doing CRUNCHES!!!
4. Hip hinge movements such as squats, deadlifts, reverse lunges, etc.
5. Knee stability such as a split squat
6. Vertical push or pull such as shoulder press, single arm kettlebell press, pull ups, or different pull down variations.
7. Horizontal push and pull, like a bench press, or cable row
8. All upper body push/pull variations vertical or horizontal must be led with a scapular retraction or in layman terms, squeeze those shoulder blades low.
Well there you have it, turn some of those workouts into a superset, and you now know our secrets, or do you? the hard truth is there’s obviously more to this depending on mobility issues, sport specifics, or simply what your goals are that you want to achieve. In the mean time I hope that this might be a good start to learning how to program, rather than running your old high school program for the guys or being so confused in the gym that you run to the nearest Zumba class for the ladies. We at COGO Fitness want you to ask as many questions as you can because the more we teach the more education you’ll want; we don’t benefit from keeping secrets rather we benefit from sharing what we know. Remember that performance is for life and in the mean time;
Stay healthy my friends…