Before we jump into my mindset for fitness mastery, I’d like to share a story.
Recently I’ve been contemplating why my clients choose to work with me instead of other personal trainers. I have an HKIN degree, certifications, extensive knowledge base, and 20+ years of experience, but I’m sure the majority of other trainers out there have a similar background.
The other day one of my clients told me that she really enjoyed her training sessions with me, and that I was a “gem of a trainer.” I loved the compliment, but it got me thinking as to what are my unique qualities are over any other trainers.
Then she told me about her first tennis lesson.
She had been so excited for weeks leading up to it, yet when she described her experience, it seemed a little flat: like things didn’t go as planned.
All she could say was “I’m so bad at tennis.”
I pushed for more information as to what was “bad.” Trouble contacting the ball? Trouble directing the ball?
However, she couldn’t explain.
“I just couldn’t get it. I am just terrible,” she replied.
I pressed on to know more about how the lesson was structured and where this defeat was coming from and learned that they had primarily spend time rallying
“I just felt as bad at the end as I did at the beginning. I guess it’s just me,” she summarized.
I felt sad for her.
Maybe she won’t be the next Venus Williams, but I was sure that by breaking it down properly, she could have been build up. Skill and technique-wise, and certainly confidence-wise.
That’s when I realized that this is what I do.
Nobody likes to fail, so a success at any skill (even if it is not the end goal initially) is a success. In this case just having a good connection of ball to racquet can make anyone feel like a champ – even if the ball doesn’t land between the right lines on the other side of the net.
It all comes down to ‘breakdown’ of the skill and build up of the movement and the client’s mindset.
I’ve taught golfers to hit the ball much further and straighter through core control, posture and balance. I’ve trained athletes in sports that I am not that familiar with and have had no previous experience. Why? Because I can look at a movement and break it down. Then build it up. One step at a time. By using cues and analogies that mean something to that client, they stick and the results are awesome.
Hold a pencil between your shoulder blades, pike forward like you just got hit in the hips with a two by four, keep your shoulders down – like an elephant is sitting on them, sit back like sitting into a chair. Whatever it be, it is clear and visual so they know what I am talking about.
What about those who claim to not connect to their body? You don’t even need kinesthetic awareness, just a clear vision and a purpose. (More on this in my earlier post on The Real Reason You Can’t Stick with an Exercise Program).
It’s amazing what good communication, attention to detail and driving home the basics can achieve. Fancy moves won’t produce any better results if you can’t nail the fundamentals. It’s no different than building a house with a solid foundation.
Or building a solid fitness program based on a few functional movements that transfer over to all other movements in life, for that matter.
Besides, who wants to keep doing what they are terrible at? Tennis isn’t that much fun when you are constantly shagging balls instead of hitting them. Fitness is defeating when the end result seems unattainable.
Simple cues. Big value. Positive outcome. Change in attitude. Motivation. Long term enjoyment. Fulfillment.
Isn’t that what fitness should be? I think so. So that’s why I train the way I do. Break it down, build it up, and communicate with cues that make sense to the client. Make them move better, feel better, get stronger, and celebrate the heck out of their successes, big or small. A win is a win.
And without blowing my own horn, I think I am pretty good at it. Wow, feels nice to finally recognize that.
Thanks Sheila for telling me I’m a gem.
I love my clients. I take their success personally.