January 26, 2015
The guru culture that is at the heart of the fitness industry is not good. Sure, we’re all in marketing, I’m not naïve, but the net effect is that most personal trainers are as lost and confused as the very people they are supposed to be helping. Which means sitting under the wing of industry leader Dave seems like a nice safe place to be. Give me systems, protocols and fancy tricks Dave, and I’ll go out and teach ‘the way’.
The problem is that you are not Dave, Dave isn’t always right – ask Dave – and Dave doesn’t work with your tribe. So we need to give Dave a little less credence. In fact, fuck Dave. Excuse my French. But you need to start doing your own evaluation and critical thinking, rather than simply becoming another talking puppet.
Most trainers are not researches and scientists, I get that, but simply regurgitating what ‘leading industry figures’ have stated, is a lazy persons game, which will eventually bite you in the backside. Sure, we all need coaches and mentors, and modelling those whom have been successful in a space where what to excel is sensible, but we should not follow blindly. I’ll resist the often-used Bruce Lee quote here.
Remember that even the coaches and trainers that speak with an assurance and confidence, gained with time and experience, are still developing their approach. I’ve spent time with lots of them, and the best ones are constantly evolving. In fact, they are some of the most open-minded and, in their eyes, least knowledgeable people around, and they continue to learn from everyone. And, for the record, they would hate that others do differently.
Recognise also that people talk always about their ideals and where they’re at today, which is not what they always do, nor once did. You can be pretty sure for example that the that the guy who got famous for demonizing back squats, has people back squatting. And the guy who talks about ketogenic diets and saturated fat from animal sources, he once advocated carbs and vegetarianism.
This doesn’t make them bad people, they’ve just developed and are sensible enough to adapt and change accordingly, its how it works. We all develop, learn and ultimately change our mind about things. And that’s ok. In fact, if we’re not getting it wrong, we’re probably not trying hard enough to get it right. But you can see the problem with simply taking someone else’s current stance as gospel, right?
It’s important to draw lessons from mentors and leaders, and follow some of their philosophy or style, but do not be submissive to their beliefs or follow them blindly. Do what feels right and what works for you, some of which will be learned, some of it intuitive. Do enough of it and evaluate the outcome. If it works, do more of it. If it doesn’t, change it. But trust yourself and stop comparing what you do with others. You might take some shit for it, especially from the talking puppets, but concentrate on what works best for you and your team, your clients and your business.