How you're not being a good customer and ruining your training

If you’ve ever read the Celestine Prophecies you’ll remember that one of the big tenets of the book was learning to recognise when the universe is sending you clues. Call them coincidences but when you see or hear the same thing a bunch of different ways in a short time you should act on it. Like last week when I had the same exact dream about winning $40 million dollars twice, and Powerball was set to jackpot at $40 million dollars. So I bought a ticket. Sadly, this isn’t a post to say ciao as I jet off on a global tour, but I will say that if you get the same message multiple times you should pay attention. (And this week it goes up to $50 million so I’m still in with a shot).

So when I had a client who is also a trainer act like a bad client, as well as clients acting like bad clients, I figured I should wise up and talk about it.

Here’s what good customers do:

Record their workouts. Every rep, every time. Not when they go home, not when they remember to bring their diary and not when they did something spectacular. The diary is a bread crumb trail that allows me to figure what works for you and what doesn’t. If you remove it then it makes my job that much harder. It’s only by having a clear path of where you came from and the route you took that it becomes crystal clear to me what you need to be doing right now to head into unknown territory. Those records create a stable base for me to build the next level of your fitness onto. Without it I could be laying a house of cards instead of bricks and mortar functional strength. If I ask you “what did you lift for five the last time we did X?” and your response, instead of being “let me check my diary” or “I hit five by five at 60kg”, is something more like “well I don’t really remember because that was a week ago and I did some sets with 40kg and some with 50kg, but I can’t remember what was what and the earth hasn’t lined up with Venus and my elbow is sore today so I’m not sure I can repeat that anyway…” Enough. Record it, review it pre-session so you know what you should be doing and let’s get after it.

Smart customers understand that what we do in the gym is only a third of the battle. The other two thirds is won at the dinner table and in bed. (Get your minds out of the gutter you perverts, I’m talking about sleep). Without having a solid recovery strategy – food and sleep are our primary means – then the body will never show what it is really capable of as it will be operating under a permanent fog of fatigue. If you want to actually see your fitness increasing you need to address recovering between workouts. This article here is a great explanation.

You’re not special. Sorry, but you’re not. My test for special athletes is simple – if there’s an Olympic medal around your neck then you’re special. Everyone else isn’t, so quit acting like it. I don’t care that Randy Couture was doing MMA at forty – you’re not him. I don’t care what Kobe Bryant does for plyometrics – you’re not him either. Nor do I care what the SEALs do, what the Spetznaz fitness tests are or even what elite Crossfitters do – you’re none of those people so quit trying to train like them. If you do decide to really step up (and congratulations for trying to find your limits) then make sure your recovery strategy is improved too. Work and rest need to be equal so if work is increased then recovery needs to be increased too. At the very least you’ll need ice baths and weekly massage if you start looking at two sessions daily.

Listen. It’s an under rated skill. If you’re paying for advice then take it. Why accept that someone has more knowledge than you, give them money for advice, then ignore it? And, just like the coincidences from the Celestine Prophecies, if you hear the trainer say the exact same thing over and over again then act on it. I don’t speak much during training unless I have to – I still believe in lifting etiquette and don’t interrupt people training unless I have to so I’m not just flapping my gums to fill the air with some noise.  The corrections I’m giving you are to prevent you getting hurt, or in the case of diet, when I say don’t eat X then I mean don’t eat it (which certainly doesn’t mean don’t eat it once a week, don’t eat it as a treat or feel free to eat it on weekends. Show some damn restraint and just don’t eat it). And if this pertains to being a student at an instructor event, I don’t care about why you do things the way you do. If I’m correcting you it’s because it’s wrong and you will fail if you don’t listen up. Be coachable.

Be on time. I get only a few hours per week to help you. In contrast you get over a hundred and sixty hours per week to mess up everything I’m trying to help you with. I need every minute I can get. If you’ve got phsyio exercises you are supposed to be doing then turn up early and get them done before we start training. Don’t swan in when you feel like it. If you can’t get here on time then leave earlier. Take responsibility for all facets of your training, including being on time.

If you’re one of the trainers out there who we happen to train don’t think this doesn’t apply to you too. I can hear you all nodding your heads and saying, “preach on” but you’re often even more guilty. No, you can’t out train your poor diet choices. You are held up as role models of fitness so act like it and show some restraint. With long days and early starts your recovery is even more important. That means you need to book massage right now – fumbling around on your roller and a ball isn’t the same thing no matter how hard you try to convince yourself it is. And when it comes to your training don’t fool yourself into thinking that just because you passed a Cert IV course you’re something special. (Check for medals and then get back to me). Quit ruining your results and be one hundred percent accountable. I’m here to help, but you need to do the work, not me.