- "Home for Dinner"
I did it again. Almost a decade later, I sold my car and moved across the Atlantic. But this time, I was not alone.
“What are your goals?” He asked me over our first beer in Amsterdam.
- "The Commute"
You chose to take this flight. It is not just a commute. It is an exchange of words and ideas between you and your seatmate, an exchange of thoughts and feelings within yourself, and exchange of relative positions between your aircraft, the earth below and heaven above. This is an exchange of energy.
- "Higher Learning: A Pilot's Journey"
The only thing better than laughter is sharing a lesson in utter silence, a demonstration of listening necessary for any true communication and learning.
Francis worked hard. She listened. She chose calmness. She was rewarded with the sound of only the aircraft making contact with Earth. Her instructor said nothing and touched nothing from downwind to touchdown.
Flying is soaring between Heaven and Earth with a very real sense of mortality and responsibility. It is a balance of forces to create lift and a balance of focus to maintain attitudes.
- "She Found Herself At Iguazu"
Today, she was a poet, for she lived many lives, today. She moved around the world and she remained still to watch the world move. She lived between the lines of the novel she carried.
The washed out sky cooled to hues of the brightest blue, spackled with cotton-candy clouds, white as snow atop the peaks of the Andes, and highlighted by the blushing sun calling close only to the day, as life was just beginning.
- "5 Steps to Closing Clients for Personal Trainers"
The Personal Trainer Development Center
Stop asking clients how they want to look. We have limited control over that. Instead, ask them how they want to feel. This starts on day one with a technique known as motivational interviewing (MI).
- "Unplugged: No Time for Technology"
It is more convenient to write without a ticking clock and battery life displayed in the corner of the screen, but rather lose all sense of time in the connection of thoughts and feelings with other people.
- "Teach Your Trainers the Importance of Their Body Language and Mirroring Skills"
William Shakespeare once wrote, "All the world is a stage." Your gym is no exception. Every personal training session should be a dialogue between the two main characters. One of my best clients told me he watched me train my clients and myself for two weeks before he scheduled his first training session with me. Every session is an audition for your trainers, both to retain their current clients and to recruit new clients.
What your trainers say is important, both for the clients and for anyone within earshot. What your trainers don't say, but rather how they move, is even more important because the audience is much larger.
- "Connections Over Connectivity at 10,000 Feet: Creating Consistent Airline Customer Service"
In a 2010 Open Forum article, Virgin Group founder Richard Branson said, "It's no coincidence that the term 'hospitality industry' is understood to encompass hotels and restaurants, but airlines are conspicuously excluded." He goes on to discuss the importance of second impressions for online customers. As the lines blur between connections and connectivity, however, consistent impressions are most important.
Travelers generally stay in one hotel on a trip, but, if traveling by air, pass through at least two airports. Providing a good service is no longer enough to be the best in the business. Providing an experience that is not only better, but also different, from competitors is needed to be remembered and to be discussed….
Each interaction is an opportunity to turn that customer into a raving fan. Each interaction is an opportunity for one human being to be kind to and take care of another
- "Fitness: 7 Things To Do To Feel Good Today"
“Don’t believe anything,” Louie told me when I left Westside Barbell. That is my challenge to you. Don’t believe what I say. Don’t believe what Mitch says. I offer you another perspective. Form your own opinion.
The fitness industry is highly unregulated. The best trainers, regardless of credentials, read diligently and then practice what they study. The best trainers see an obligation to not just produce great results, but to educate their clients.
Here are seven things to do to help you feel good, because, at the end of the day, we all want to feel good.
- "A Letter To My Younger Self"
I am you, 10 years older, and questionably wiser (emphasis on questionably). I know you are the one who remains quiet in class. When you do speak, it is important. People know this, and they listen. That quality will serve you well in business and I ask you to listen now.
Let me begin by saying that life is not a linear progression. Action A does not always result in B. It may result in B, C, or perhaps even Z. You have goals, big goals, and that is tremendous. But they will change and that is ok. Pursue opportunities that will open not one door, but many, and savor every experience along the way. Learning how not to do something may not be an enjoyable experience, but it is still extremely valuable. You are very good at making connections between people and ideas and make an honest effort to see things from different perspectives. Be a pirate and steal the great booty of ideas. Figure out what works, what doesn’t work, make it your own, make it better, or, better yet, make it different.
- "How Do You Want To Feel: Goal Setting, Part 3"
The hour was 0600. The sky was dark. The air was cold. But our room was full. I asked my group fitness class to tell me, in one word, why they move. Hardly anyone followed instructions, writing many words. But as long as they did as many squats as I directed, that was fine by me. Interestingly, hardly any of their reasons for moving involved fitness goals.
- "SMART Goals and AARs: Goal Setting, Part 2"
A good trainer should be able to help you set SMART goals for the year. In Goal Setting, Part I, we discussed finding a goal that is significant to you. Now we will dig deeper on how to measure and manage your movements towards that goal.
Not only is it important to set goals, but you must revisit your goals frequently to measure your progress. After each finish line, complete an after action review. Take your paper with your written goals and ask yourself the following questions.
- "Fitness Goals and Expectations: Goal Setting, Part 1"
“A goal without a plan is just a wish” Antoine de Saint-Exupery. In discussing goals with my clients, I have the following dialogue. Ask yourself these six questions, or sit down with a friend and go through the discussion, together. Write down your answers.
- "How to Capitalize on CrossFit's Culture and Marketing Strategy"
The cheering crowd is a sea of neon, each section clapping and clad in brightly colored, affiliate-branded T-shirts. The energy at the CrossFit Games makes it feel like a high school track meet, and those involved have compared it to going to a family reunion or to church. The competition is not zero-sum. It is not life or death. There is a winner, but there are no losers. Everyone gathers around those still competing to cheer, and it is as if they are all members of one team.
- "A Fitness Guru's Perspective: Excuses Are For losers"
I often hear criticisms of training programs that include “yeah, but” and “It didn’t work for me” in the same story. It didn’t work because the client did everything but one critical part of the plan. Those statements are also paired with one of the most common obstacles to meeting one’s goals: time. There is never enough time to go to the gym, prepare healthy meals or walk instead of drive. Or so we perceive. You control the paradigm between want to and have to. Change it for the better.
- "The Death of Sports: How Competitions Like CrossFit Are Weakening America"
In the CrossFit “feel good about yourself” environment, there are no losers, only people who don’t qualify for the next level. In baseball, basketball, football, etc., you have one winner and one loser in every single game. Forget feelings.
The straying of Generation-Y and Millennials from defensive and zero-sum games presents a weakness that bleeds into other aspects of modern society. Generation-Y and Millennials are presented with so many options that they are unable to make a decision. Ask any high school coach his opinion on multi-sport athletes.
- "The Art of Strength, Hannon Style"
Culver Alumni Magazine, page 30
I never studied exercise science. I haven’t even taken a science class since AP Physics my junior year at Culver. I certainly didn’t plan to become a personal trainer. I wanted to be a spy. Life, however, does not move in a linear fashion. In my professional field of health and fitness, I am largely self-taught. Sure, I dotted my I’s and crossed my T’s with my certifications for liability and insurance purposes, but most of my fitness knowledge comes from daily reading of various industry publications, interactions with some of the best professionals and coaches in my field, and from my own athletic endeavors. It also comes from my diverse interests in the arts, politics, and travel. I attribute much of my success in my continuing education and my clients’ results from the foundation laid at Culver and its health and wellness program.
- "How to Implement More Continuing Education to Retain Both Clients and Trainers."
Club Industry, Online, Step by Step
Managers say personal trainers are a dime a dozen, but as a club operator, you need to remember that so are fitness clubs, so your personal trainers have many places to choose from for their employment.
When meeting with a prospective member, employees typically outline their club's unique selling points, so they have more to negotiate with than price. The same principle applies when you hire personal trainers. Money will always be a point of contention in hiring trainers or any staff for that matter. Every club differs on how trainers can earn money: hourly pay, salaries, overtime, bonuses, stock options, etc. These offerings do matter because you truly do get what you pay for. Money is an extrinsic motivator.
- "Finding Your Minimal Effective Dose."
11 Athletics Magazine
The three biggest obstacles to achieving your training goals are time, money, and knowledge. To solve for these, think about what you can eliminate before what you need to ad. The barrier to entry is much lower than you think.
- “The CrossFit Brand: Growth, Dilution, and Lessons for the Industry.”
Club Industry Online, Step by Step.
Whether positive or negative, CrossFit elicits an emotional response from fitness professionals. It’s personal, which is both its greatest strength and weakness. The brand, which is generating significant buzz these days, has actually existed for over a decade and has become both popular and profitable. Emotion aside, CrossFit offers lessons for its big box competitors, but it also has lessons to learn itself before its growth dilutes its brand.
- “The Economics of Why Goals Must Change Over Time.”
11 Athletics Magazine
In order to change your current state, you must see value in moving towards or away from something. If you are overweight, you may decide to lose weight because you are uncomfortable. Your pain motivates you and you set a goal to lose 50lbs. The marginal utility, or personal satisfaction, of losing the weight is greater than the cost or time required to prepare healthy foods and to exercise.
- “Lift Big, Get Little.”
11 Athletics Magazine, Women’s Fitness Commentary, p. 24.
I'm the strongest I've ever been, the heaviest I've ever been, and yet the smallest I've ever been. Do not fear lifting heavy. You will not "bulk up" or look like a man by lifting more than a 5lbs candy-colored dumbbell for less than 20 repetitions. Pick up heavy objects and put them down. Do it again. Get uncomfortable if you want to elicit change.
- “McDonalds & Mausoleums.”
I landed in Cairo on the third day of Ramadan – the month when Muslims around the world fast from sunrise to sunset, eating sehour before daybreak and iftar at dusk. Ramadan, which is the ninth month in the Islamic calendar, is immensely important to observant Muslims since the Qur’an was revealed to the Prophet Muhammad during this time. Few restaurants are open during the day since work starts later and ends earlier. People, at least superficially, tend to be nicer towards one another. Traffic peaks an hour before sunset, and magically clears away the next hour. As if visiting Cairo during the rest of the year isn’t enough of a culture shook, the Middle East during Ramadan can become a completely different place altogether.
- “Drinking Egypt.”
Freedom. The name of the bar on Sharia Talat Harb. The bar without a bar. A large room, brightly lit, with small, rickety tables and chairs all around, and mirrors on the walls, resembling someplace a few decades past in Europe, perhaps France. But this place is wholly Egyptian.
- “The Cairo I Know.”
Horns blared in the stop and go traffic along the corniche, but I walked on, head held high, gliding in my steps. Earbuds in, my head was filled with the melodies of John Coltrane. Some may call it cheating; I call it maintaining my sanity. In all the hubbub of Cairo, music was my escape. I only cheated halfway, wearing one earbud and keeping my ear towards the traffic free, though that was mostly so I wouldn’t get hit by a car. My biggest fear in Cairo was losing a toe to a reckless taxi.