When I design a workout or an eating plan for a student, I don’t make it complicated. I draw from just a few scientifically proven principles, and on experiences that I have had with previous clients. I may also draw from experiences other trainers in the fitness community have shared with me. However, I won’t go too far with any of it because I believe basics work, and for most that’s all they require.
That said, getting people to follow even basic directions can be the most challenging part of leadership. Too often people want advanced information from their primary instruction.
A majority of people won’t require all the available information in the realm of physiology, any more than they will require all the available data from the university level. Nor will they require a complicated framework or routine. However, week in and week out this seems to be what they want – the latest and greatest.
I think that’s where leadership in fitness gets it wrong more often than not. Leaders attempt to give the student the latest and greatest, before the student masters the basics. This in part, because it’s what the student asks for, but also because the trainer wishes to demonstrate intelligence and superiority, if not validity.
The information we gather as leaders in fitness does not all need to be pumped into the veins of our students.
One step at a time…
I was Skyping with an online client over the weekend. During the conversation I recalled a home I lived in for many years. It was large condominium, just under 2,000 square feet. I occupied just one room of that home. In that room there was an air mattress I slept on, and a desk for my computer. Aside from that, I owned no furniture, and only passed through the empty living room and dining room on my way to the kitchen.
At the time I lived there my daughter was a teenager. It occurred to me one day that my daughter and I didn’t spend a great deal of time at my house. I mean, what could we ever do there except watch videos on my computer while sitting on an air mattress…? Needless to say, we hung out elsewhere.
One week when she was 14 I decided to buy some furniture in hopes that I could foster more time together with her at my home. Since I was on a budget most of the furniture I bought required assembly which means each piece came with directions.
I’m a guy, I don’t do directions. Of course never following directions has led me to more failures than successes when assembling things, and more cursing than smiling. This was my home I was talking about, and a part-time bedroom for my daughter. I wanted to do this right.
As I embarked on assembling a house full of furniture; tables, beds, curtain rods, chairs, shelves, etc., I decided that following the directions would be primary in the process. With each table, each shelf, and each curtain rod, I followed the directions precisely. And son of a bitch, after a weekend of reading information, and assembling it as instructed – one step at a time, I had a house full of furniture.
Directions in fitness…
It’s pretty simple. Whether they come from me, a trainer in your gym, or from a well authored book, most directions are usually clear. Follow them. Understand each step before you take it. Complete each step the very best of your ability. Proceed to the next step. Each time one instruction is completed; a meal is prepared, a repetition is completed, an exercise is finished, it is a mile marker on the road to the completed project.
Despite how many times I have handed simple, easy to follow directions to students, I know more often than not they will accept them and never look at them again – especially in the area of eating. Accept the plan. Commit to the plan. Follow the plan. If you get confused, call the 800 number at the bottom of the plan. Whether you’re putting together a new coffee table, or a new you, following the directions will lead you to a much better outcome than doing it on your own. Be well. rc
Please check back in 2 weeks to see what happens when I hit the “stop” button on the blender in my head. Oh, and there’s this from Sonnybones. Enjoy…