On Father’s Day…

It is Father’s Day…and I am a dad of two.

So today, I am going to get a little personal.  I saw the post that was on zenhabits and thought that I would share about the lessons I want to leave my kids.  I am a firm believer that:

If you want to leave a legacy, you have to live a legacy!

So today, I am breaking from my training strategies, business suggestions and everything else and just being honest.  If that is not your cup of tea, we will return to our regular training talk next week!

I want my girls to watch me, and question me.  I want to be open to their curiosity and not destroy it.  I want them to know what it feels like to wonder and not know.  I want to be their trusted advisor but not their salvation.  I want them to know what it is like to mess up, learn and grow.

I want them to see me angry…for the right reasons and the wrong.  I want them to see me admit my imperfections and have to humble myself and ask for forgiveness from them and others.  I want them to know that their dad is not always right…but he isn’t always wrong either.

I want them to see the struggle that all parents face.  The struggle to keep their head up in hard times and the reality that some times life beats us up and knocks us down, but not out.  We RISE!  As Maya Angelou says…and still I rise!  I want them to know that every sacrifice that I make is one out of love for them or someone else.  When you give, you grow.  When you share, you gain.

I want them to know that joy they bring me.  I want them to know that I love dancing with them in the living room.  And the joy in my heart when they tell me they love me to heaven and back…knowing that some day, I will not be here to tell them how much they mean to me.  Heaven and back works for me.

I want them to know that I pray, that I cry, that I get upset and that I know joy and happiness.  I want them to know that I work hard for everything that we are blessed with.  I want them to see that work.  I want them to know the value of hard work and that no matter what the job is, I will take it so that they are taken care of.

I want them to see me as an example.  An example of the man they should be looking for to marry.  I want them to see how much I love their mom and know that they deserve that much love.  The guy doesn’t have to be just like me, but he better love them unconditionally and endlessly.  They need to see a man in front of them that gives them the strength to tell some suitors, you are not worthy of me…and find that special someone that is.  That person that they are excited for me to meet because they know he will love them correctly.

But above all else, on this Father’s Day and all of them, I want them to know the joy that they bring to my life.  And that no matter what, one day when they are parents, I hope they have kids just like mine.  Pure joy…even in the midst of the chaos.

Love you girls!

The Fastest Way to Results

I love browsing the web or looking on Facebook because I get to see so many of the articles out there that are just begging for you to click on them.  The one’s that guarantee your results or the ones that will add 100 pounds to your squat in just 4 weeks.  I love these articles.  I read them and you take from them what you can.  You might see some interesting progressions or rep schemes that you might consider.

But these articles are not quality coaching.  They are not always even quality programming.  And they are definitely not accountability.  So what are they.  They are a distraction from what you really want to achieve.  They are a detour or they are an onramp.

They are a detour if you are currently already doing some sort of training for the goal that the article promises you.  They are an onramp if you currently are doing nothing.  They can be a start or a dead end.

Why?

Because the quickest way to results is to find a path and stay on it.  It is that simple.  The quickest way to results is to make a decision and see it through to its end.  You might learn a few things about yourself.  The quickest way to not progress is to keep trying to add new things, change things, and do different things.

If you are not giving your training program a minimum of 8 weeks (12 is better), then you have nothing to blame but yourself for not getting from A to B to C…to Z.

The quickest way to get results is stay the course long enough to actually see some.  If you jump from coach to coach to coach and program to program to program, achieving, maintaining and continuing to get results is harder and harder to do.

Stick with it.  Trust the coach and his process.  All of us coaches attack things differently, but we are trying to get you the results you want.  If you do not feel that your coach is working you towards those goals…that is when it is time to switch.  When your goals are not being addressed and appeared ignored.  But make sure that is the case before you jump ship on the programming.

Perfect Isn’t Always Possible, But Better Is!

I work with athletes of all different back grounds and skill levels.  I work with some of the best movers there are, young, full of life and ready to break through the walls.  You know the athletes that don’t think it was a good workout unless walking is a struggle the next day.

I also work with several people who train so that they don’t hurt.  They are no longer concerned with max loads or going so hard that the world starts to spin on them.  This group just wants to have a healthy lifestyle.  These are the kid and grandkid chasers.  They just want to keep up with those around them.

I love working with both groups.  I love working with everyone in between.  In fact, if you are looking for a quality coach, then they better be able to scale any workout up or down depending on who they are working with (just something to keep in mind).

When I work with my athletes, I have one general rule.  You have to be getting better.  That does not mean PR’s every day, but it means your movements needs to be better.  Or maybe you just need an attitude adjustment on that day so that you approach the remainder of your week better.

The best method that I have to make sure this happens, is I build off of previous lessons every week.  I try to teach my athletes something new often.  One thing…that’s it.  It can be how to clean a kettlebell, a core drill on the sandbag, running technique, or even a simple stretch.  Often, at least monthly, though something new needs to come out of the hat.  This item might be unique to them or it might be something that I am using with several athletes because I am seeing a common problem across the board.

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But here is the deal with why I do it.  It is something that they will not be perfect at.  They will struggle with it.  It will be new and foreign and it will force a response both physically and mentally.  It is not just about putting more weight on a bar, it is about learning something new at any age or skill level and seeing progress.  It is about teaching someone, anyone that they are never too old to try new things, be tested and overcome an obstacle.

It is a lesson in giving your best effort, and that perfect isn’t always possible, but better is.

And so they see something new and we work on it.  We drill it and we get better.  They get better.  And the next time they see me or a week later, that new skill is there waiting for them.  And I am there to watch as pieces click and fall into place.  And they get better, every time.  Day by day, they get better and they find that they are capable of more than even they thought they could do.

And every once in a while, a magical moment happens.  They come in to see you, and want to show you how much better they have gotten.  There is no prompting, no putting it up on the board as part of the workout…they have taken ownership of their new skill.  They are getting better.  Not perfect, but better…

And I am proud…and I reach into my bag for the next thing to learn.  And somewhere along the way, fitness forms and takes shape.  People are doing things they never thought they could.  Lifting more than they thought possible and living a life they enjoy full of new hobbies and new skills.

And I sit back and smile because I know that perfect isn’t always possible, but better is!

More Than One Way To Skin a Cat

Recently I put out this article on my home gyms page.  It is one of my favorite things to work with.  I enjoy getting out a sandbag or throwing around an Atlas stone.  I enjoy struggling through a kettlebell session.  But the bigger truth for using these objects is that it adds diversity to your training.

One of the reasons that CrossFit took off and became such a phenomenon was that no two days look the same.  You can go months without seeing the same combination work elements and still see great results.  There needs to be a process to what you are doing, but there are numerous ways to go about getting there.  It is one of those rare occasions where a straight line is not always the quickest path to success.

So as a coach and as an athlete, I encourage you to look for new ways to achieve the goals that you are looking for.  If you notice an athlete is struggling with a specific area of their lifting or movement can one of these other objects help them get the result that they are looking for.

First and foremost, don’t introduce these methods of training if you are not familiar with how to do them.  Make sure you are able to spot faults and correct them.  Consider that my disclaimer in this post.

But once you are comfortable with the movements, they are great for you to use for functional reasons but there is a bigger reason as well.  Your athletes will loves the change and the challenge.  And this is the key to have a sustainable athlete base.  Because we all must be honest with ourselves that the average person that we have walking into our gyms is someone wanting to get in better shape.  They are looking for a healthier lifestyle and it is our job to help them get there and help them enjoy the process.

So we have to mix it up.  It is important to increase the challenge in new and different ways.  I am not going to lie, it is uplifting for a coach to see people get excited when they come in and see that they are going to be using the sandbags or the stones or yokes.  It is great to look around the training floor and see people intently listening to a coach and they explain how to properly lift a keg or perform a sandbag getup!

So I leave you with this question…what do you do to help get your athletes better and keep them engaged with the process?

Criticism…Actions Speak Louder than Words

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The above screenshot on criticism is courtesy of Seth Godin.  It came into my inbox this morning and it actually came at a great time.  I am a part of several groups that deal with working in the fitness industry.  The biggest thing that I see, is there is a lot of ego in the industry.  There is a lot of criticism out there.  I am sure that this is true no matter what the field of study though.

I am sure that it happens in every business every day.  It will come down to the smallest level and probably happens around every water cooler there is.  We criticize and puff ourselves up to be better than whomever or whatever it is that we desire to criticize.

As athletes we critique everyone else’s form, we debate their time on a workout, whether they really lifted that weight or just put the score down.  And we do not even have to talk about or discuss the issue of rep shaving or miscounting.

Then we move beyond that.  We move into the realm of being a coach or running a business.  We form opinions of other coaches and other businesses.  We talk about how we are so much better because of x,y, and z.  Better equipment, more hours, more certifications…the list goes on and on and on.

I want to throw out a novel suggestion today.  Let your work ethic and the results you get be your criticism.  That’s it.  Let your life be what others see and not your words.  Don’t criticize everything you see around you just be better, daily.  If you don’t like a rep shaver, put in the work day in and day out.  Just get better.  If you want to go the extra mile, become someone who helps that other person get better.  Offer to count their reps, or lift with them so they know the score on the board is legit.  You don’t have to call the out and be the loudest voice, sometimes you have to be a small voice that just wants to see everyone get better.

Same for your business and those situations.  Run your business in a way that others take notice and want to emulate you and your success.  Don’t spend all your time talking down the others around you.  Step up and be an example.

It’s time to turn down or turn off all the useless noise that is complaining and pointing fingers.  If you are willing to help someone correct the problems they are facing then go for it.  It you just want to talk and spread the disease of criticism please keep moving.  I am focused on better things!

How To Be An Expert

As a coach and as someone who has worked as a manger of a business and several departments, there is this common notion that in order to be successful you have to make yourself an expert in your field.  That is to say that for me to be successful, I have to be an expert on training people to get the results they want from training and in the field of business or team management.

So how does one become an expert in their desired field?  How do you become the voice and the man or woman that people seek out.  It probably is not as difficult as you think.

First and foremost be yourself.  You can read all the books out there that deal with success.  You can read blogs like this one, but find a way to incorporate the ideas that resonate with you into your own unique voice.  You are not me, you are not Gary V, or Simon Sinek, but if you believe in their principles and philosophies learn how to give them your own voice.  Learn how to incorporate their principles into your overall process and goals.  No matter what else you do with the rest of the items put on this list, if you cannot be true to yourself, then you will be setting yourself up to fail.

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A close second is stick with what you know.  This is especially true if you are a coach or a trainer.  If you know how to get someone the results they want using nothing but pushups, situps, and pullups.  Then focus on getting them those results using only those elements.  You can grow on your own and then implement those elements as you get better, but stick with what is getting the results your clients need.  The same holds true with running a business.  If you motivate your team by getting out there on the floor, rolling up your sleeves and putting in the work, then do that.  Don’t try to make yourself into someone people are afraid of, if that is not you.  If you are not a hard nosed, take no prisoner type, then do not try to make that your leadership style.  Stick with the style of leadership you know.

The third piece of advice ties in nicely with item number two and that is never stop learning.  Even as you grow into being an expert in your field, you had better never think that you know it all.  There is always someone who knows more or can shed some lights on the areas where you are weak.  When we stop moving and allow ourselves to become stagnant, others pass us by.  No matter what we do or what we are trying to be a expert in, there is always a need to better ourselves.  There is always a need to take time to focus on ourselves.  If we get better, than we are better able to lead and serve our clients or teams.  Through doing this, you also set the example for anyone who might be watching you on your team.  When you are constantly pushing, constantly getting better, then they know that you care!

Another critical piece of becoming an expert and admitting you make mistakes.  In this day and age of political correctness, please pardon the term, but if we desire to be known as the best and an expert then it is imperative that we “man up” to mistakes and then share the lessons we learned from them.  We cannot simply sit back and act like we have always been perfect.  Becoming an expert means embracing the good and the bad.  Telling the story about how one time, we pushed someone a little too hard and that caused us to watch closer.  Owning our mistakes means that we are concerned about growing and being better.  It means that we are in the game and not just a bystander on the sidelines.

The final piece of advice, I would give to anyone looking to be the expert in their area, is no matter what…have fun!  Enjoy what it is you are doing.  If you don’t care about training methodologies or helping people live healthier lives, then do not try to be that expert.  If you don’t care about helping others to be leaders, then get out of that space.  Find what it is that you enjoy and grow in that space.  When it stops being fun, give yourself a gut check before you quit though.  There are hard days, there are bad days, there are days where quitting is easy, but make sure that you are doing it because you have truly lost the desire to be there.  You can find your fun again.

These five pieces are just a starting point.  A bonus sixth, don’t be afraid to share your gifts and knowledge.  If you have such a passion about what you do that you cannot even think about keeping that information in, then you are probably on the right path.  Enjoy what you do, strive to always be better, and share your knowledge with the world.  You will get there in no time!