The Importance of Personal Training and Coaching Relationships

The origins of Personal Training date back to 776 B.C. when the Ancient Greeks would begin preparing themselves for the Olympic Games. These original coaches were men of honor, typically holding esteemed positions in the community like military or religious leaders. They were spiritual trainers, as much as they were coaching the athletes physically. Fast forward 2,700 years and the practice is continued today. The best and the brightest coaches and trainers are still gurus in all aspects, mental and physical, and understand the relationship between the two domains. In this blog, we will discuss the value and importance of committing to this relationship.

Greek Olympians Training

Greek Olympians Training

Many years ago, we didn’t offer personal training at our Dublin Friendship location . Everything was group oriented, and many people would join straight into a group program called “On Ramp” which was very popular at the time. This was the biggest mistake of my career in fitness, and the pandemic shed light on this more than any other time in our history.

Fitness (and life) is about habit building, and allowing the compound positive effects of better decisions to work for you over time. There is a lot packed into that last sentence, but if you understand it then you will be successful for the rest of your life in everything from fitness to relationships to finances. Most people have some really good habits built up in certain aspects of life, and other habits they struggle with (as we all do). When the habits we struggle with pertain to exercise, nutrition or healthy lifestyles, often having a guide who is there to both show you the path of least resistance while also holding you accountable is the best path to the light.

We all have biases built into us over the years of school, news, media, movies, magazines, family and other outside influences. These sometimes lead us to prioritizing things like long, slow cardio like running, over fixing our nutritional habits or lifting weights. Or thinking we should be lifting heavy weights when we need to be working on mobility and physical therapy.

I had this moment in 8th grade, when AND-1 Mixtapes were “all the rage” going into basketball season. I got caught up practicing all of the fancy moves and skills that the videos were showing me were “cool” that got the “ooh’s and ahhh’s” from the crowd. Needless to say, I quickly went from the starting point guard, to the bench, to getting cut from my high school team. I was replaced by a friend who, just years before, barely made the team but listened intently to the coach to practice his fundamentals. Basketball has remained a true love in my life, one that I feel blessed to continue to play today in my mid-30’s. But, even today, I can throw the fancy behind the back pass and cannot make the ever important, fundamental weak-handed lay-up my coach was always telling me to practice.

These little compounding decisions we make due to ego, or plain ignorance (or both in my part) have lasting impacts on the things we want to do. The things we love to do, or might really want to do in the future. And this is where the Coach can come in and be your guide. It’s funny how many Personal Training relationships have spawned at the gym that seem to meet both parties at just the right moment in their lives. That moment where the athlete is able to let their guard down just enough to trust someone to help them, and the Coach is firm enough to make an impact. Truly amazing life transformations come when that moment occurs, and typically most clients at Friendship would tell you it goes far beyond just losing fat and meeting goals.

The longer we do Personal Training the greater the impact I see these relationships having in people’s lives. You get to see it start trickling down to people’s spouses, their kids and even their co-workers or employees. Once you break the seal, and become vulnerable enough to trust a stranger to help you with something and you stick with it long enough to feel the impact across your whole life, you are changed forever. Tim Ferris loves to talk about how the first thing he does when he looks to take on a new language, skill or hobby is find the top coach in the area and pay for an hour of their time. He claims it is the ultimate life and time hack, and I agree.

If you are at that moment in your life, the first question to ask the expert is “What are the 1 or 2 fundamentals, that if I master and practice with intention and consistency I will be successful forever?” The simpler the answer given from the expert the more experience they likely have in Coaching people. Here are a few of my favorites I give out frequently:

  1. “Eat real foods with natural origins”

  2. “Learn to do a squat, lunge, deadlift, push-up and pull-up with perfect form”

  3. “Lift something heavy and go for a 30-minute walk every day”

  4. “Read for 20-minutes or learn something new every day. Then teach your spouse or kids about it”

  5. “Spend less than you earn”

Simple, right? So why isn’t every American walking around a genius millionaire with a 6-pack? It’s the consistent, intentional execution of these things that gets trying over time. We start to lose our way from time to time, and if no one is there to catch us when we fall then sometimes it’s years before we get back on track…if ever. This is where a Coach can help…but it may not be how you think.

Coach Jenny Borda does Personal Training with Shelly working on her Pull-ups at our Outdoor Workout Gym in Dublin, Ohio

Coach Jenny Borda does Personal Training with Shelly working on her Pull-ups at our Outdoor Workout Gym in Dublin, Ohio

It is often misunderstood when the right time to hire a personal trainer is. Many think it’s when you’re the furthest off course, in a rut and need to get back on track, and that can certainly be true if that’s where you are. However, I would argue the best time to hire a Coach is when things are going well, and you want to push the pedal down and ensure you don’t ever veer off course. The ultimate Coaching relationship will feel when things are the slightest bit off and apply the proper amount of pressure, motivation and guidance to correct course before going too far into a downward spiral.

Given the nature of 2020 and the COVID pandemic, many individuals who did not have a strong coaching relationship in place were able to veer off course and ended up in a rut. Other individuals who committed themselves to a Coach were able to look at them and say “I have more time and opportunity, I want to push the pedal down a bit” and those individuals have enjoyed more progress over the past year than ever before.

Commitment to a Coach is hard. Many parents get a glimpse into this with their kids. They may pay for travel soccer or gymnastics for their kids, making a substantial investment in a specific coach for their child. I have seen parents be downright irate when their kids don’t suck all of the value out of that opportunity that they can and reap the benefits and rewards. It is the same thing with a personal training relationship, paying the money simply gets you the access…the buy-in and receiving the value is on you.

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