2012 in Review Part 1 – Things I’ve Learned

Posted: January 14, 2013 by dannytwoguns in About Me

It’s always good to sit back and reflect over the past year when a new one begins to see how much progress you’ve made as well as things you might need to work on. Im going to put together a couple posts looking back on 2012. First one is things I’ve learned and am doing better as a result of getting better over the year.

1. “Investing in yourself pays the best interest” – Benjamin Franklin

One of my goals for 2012 was to start investing in myself and my business through continuing education. It wasn’t always possible financially but as soon as it was, I wanted to make it a point at getting exponentially better. What better way than to learn than directly from the experts in the field about what’s working and what’s new with the latest research, trends and information in the fitness industry.

In 2012, I attended the Perform Better Providence Functional Training Summit, the Long Beach Functional Training Summit, an FMS Workshop and Certification Seminar, Fitness Business Weekend and the Results Fitness “From Counting Reps to Revenue” Seminar.

It is no coincidence that my business’ monthly revenue has tripled since the month before I attended my first seminar. Each one has made me infinitely better than I was before it and I cannot wait to start my 2013 continuing education tour and keep getting better.

2. If You’re Not Assessing You’re Guessing

A formal, measurable and scientifically researched assessment, that is. In my programming for myself and clients, I had been assessing clients all along but it wasn’t always the same and it didn’t always tell the whole story, even though at the time I thought it did.

In came the Functional Movement Screen. I had been hearing about it for some time but figured what I was doing was sufficient. It wasn’t until I read an article on corrective exercises (I don’t remember which) that something clicked that I needed something measurable to give me a systemized game plan from what I found during the assessment. The obvious answer was the Functional Movement Screen.

Getting certified in the Functional Movement Screen and becoming a Functional Movement Specialist has allowed me to apply an assessment that gives a person’s strength and weakness and formalized systems in how to train and treat those dysfunctions with corrective exercises. This simple addition and implementation has clients moving better and with less pain as well.

3. The Warm Up

I used to think that 5 minutes on the treadmill and a couple prowler/sled walks was an adequate warm up. Everyone has been there and done it (some are still doing it) and it falls short in that it only really covers core temperature elevation and the lower body in the sagittal plane.

A good and thorough warm up needs to address range of motion (haven’t found too many clients that don’t have tight hip flexors), activation of certain/sometimes inhibited muscle groups (glutes and thoracic spine for examples), mobility (particularly hips and thoracic spine) and general movement preparation in all three planes, all on top of the standard core temperature elevation.

Now, every client in every session goes through a complete warm up, covering all those bases. It’s an easy area to neglect but really focusing on an all-encompassing warm up has yielded great results in preparation for the workout as well as getting people moving better.

4. Everyone Needs a Coach

This is along the same lines as #1 but a little different. Whether you are an athlete looking to get better at your sport, a middle age non-athlete or former athlete looking to get back into shape or a business owner looking for the rise to the next level… you need a coach.

It wasn’t that long ago where I still had the mindset that if someone had a product or service to sell meant that they were trying to “sell you” or get one over on you. I remember my reaction one time was “Well of course he is telling me I need this kind of product, because he is selling that product.”

Just because someone has something to sell you does not mean they are trying to get one over on you and offer you nothing for your money.

While there are certainly an excessive amount of examples on the internet and in person that don’t deserve your investment, there are certainly some that do and offer a great service. I got to the point where I was growing past what I knew and how to progress, particularly on the business side of the whole owning a personal training business and needed some guidance and buying a business product or book here and there wasn’t enough anymore. Just like I tell potential clients how they need a coach for training (with the answer usually being me 🙂 ), I needed one in an aspect I wasnt confident in as well.

So at the end of 2012, I applied for and got accepted to a mentorship program with one of the leading training gyms/owners in the country. I can’t wait to see what great things it has in store for me.

5. Everything is a Tool in the Toolbox

2012 seemed to be the year of the new training implement, whether it was the TRX Suspension Trainer, Rip Trainer, Sandbag, Battle Ropes, Kettlebell etc. With the boom of the “functional training” movement came the boom of the Kettlebell Guy, the TRX Guy etc with it.

While it is easy for anyone to get caught up in one tool to fix all your fitness needs, the reality is an all-encompassing, well rounded program involves multiple implements just as it involves multiple bodyparts, multiple planes of movement and so on. Everyone seems to get caught up in the “one tool fixes all” mentality but that is just too limiting to be effective.

It also makes it easy for people to forget that one of the most effective training implements is simply our bodyweight and movement and only after we are proficient in those do we even need to progress to a different training modality.

6. Train Clients with Programs not Workouts

I have definitely been guilty of this in the past. In the end, there has to be a goal and there has to be specific steps along the way in order to get to that goal, not just workouts. I’ve never been guilty of the “make them work out until they vomit and can’t walk the next day” mentality like some competitors but I was guilty of simply giving the client a good effective workout each day and thinking that that was the best long term approach, but it isn’t.

A good program has an end goal in mind and specific, progressive and measurable components as well as periodization in order to get you there. It takes more time for me but I’ve seen it is a big thing in what separates the bad/average trainers and the above average trainers.

I didn’t really notice just how much I had progressed in the past year as a person, trainer and business owner until I took a step back and looked at where I was and the things I was doing in 2011. 2012 was definitely good to me and I’ve learned more in that year than the 5 before it combined. Here’s to 2013 being the same way.

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