Every year in January, and then again just before the Summer season arrives, I see them. They walk thru the front door of the gym, make their way 25 feet down the hallway to the opening that leads to the main floor of the gym…and they stop.
Eyes wide and glazed over, mouth slightly agape, hands hanging by their sides like two flags with no breeze to blow them about.
Their eyes slowly cover the expanse of the floor as their pulse quickens and a sweat begins to break in all of their formerly non-sweaty places.
It’s as if you can hear their heart pounding and their mind racing with thoughts of, “Holy crap, what am I doing here?” or “I don’t know what any of this stuff is used for…how am I ever going to make this work?”
Has this ever happened to you?
You got a gym membership, fully expecting to be a lean, mean and sexy machine in 6 months’ time. But instead, all you got was 6 months of wasted gym fees, distinct feelings of inadequacy and a whole bucket full of frustration.
The guy at the front desk told you he’d set you up with a “trainer” who would take you through a “free” session and show you how to use everything, and so you reluctantly set an appointment with a guy named Bobby Waytooenthusiastic…
And guess what? Bobby was late for your appointment, and then half-heartedly showed you around and then tried his best to get you to agree to pay him enough money to fund a small country then train with him until you’re 92.
Or maybe he didn’t show at all.
Or he spent most of the time on his phone or talking to other people in the gym.
So you put on your big girl panties and embarked on a journey through the gym, all the while trying not to seem like you haven’t the first clue as to what to do (and you didn’t) or trying not to get into other people’s way (but it seems like you did) or to at least not hurt yourself.
As you exited the gym, you thought to yourself, “I wonder if I can get my money back?”
From Chaos to Order
Listen, it doesn’t have to be this way. A true professional can distill down all of the pieces of equipment in the gym to just the pieces that will benefit you.
Have you ever watched a symphony orchestra prepare for a show? A 300-person orchestra comes to the stage, take their seats and pick up their instruments and begin to warm up with the most raucous cacophony of sounds imaginable.
And then the conductor takes his place behind the podium and with a gesture from his hands, there is silence…and then beauty.
A true professional coach is in many ways like a conductor.
The gym where I do my coaching has over 300 different pieces of various types of equipment. Take a guess as to how many I employ with my clients over the course of a month.
A barbell, a squat rack, some various sized weight plates, some dumbbells, a bench, some kettlebells, a medicine ball, a weight loaded pulley system and an ab roller.
That’s about it.
It’s simple, or at least it should be. And for the true fitness coach, it is.
Because simple works, and gets results.
Complexity ruins compliance and execution.
Make something more complex, and it takes longer to learn. The longer it takes to learn, the greater the likelihood of frustration and the less likely someone will feel confident performing it.
True professional coaches keep things simple.
It ain’t sexy, but it danged sure works.
So how do you know if you’re hiring a true professional coach?
Ask other people in the gym about the person you’re considering hiring.
Ask for references from the coach himself.
Find out if the person you’re considering hiring has 20 years of experience, or 1 year of experience repeated 20 times.
Ask about his or her retention rates with clients.
TIP: If a coach can’t keep people as clients for very long, that should tell you volumes about their real effectiveness as a coach. I have many clients I’ve worked with for 10 years up to 23 years. My friend Greg Justice in Kansas City has a whole slew of folk’s he’s coached for more than 20 years.
I once had a potential client walk into the gym, look around and exclaim, “This place looks like a torture chamber!”
I smiled and said, “That’s why you need to hire me. I can turn it into a pleasure palace.”
That was 12 years ago and she’s still a client today.
A true professional coach can bring order to seeming chaos, like a conductor leading an orchestra. We can make a symphony where others can only make noise.
Find a true professional, and hire one.
And make your own symphony of success.