New Ebook.The above is a screenshot of the cover of a short ebook I have written and made available over at my Facebook. It's only short, 8 pages or so I think. I wanted to offer a quick explanation for things like -
Please give it a read, maybe give me a review too?
P.S - It's free.
Whether you’re a new trainer to a gym, or a gym goer who has just hired a trainer.
The main things – empowerment and accountability.
One of the first pieces of advice I was given as a personal trainer was to “never give a client something they can do without you.” I hated this idea. If they see me once a week but need to train by themselves 2-3x a week then how could I expect them to get results if they could only train optimally with me breathing down their neck? God help them if they were online clients! To answer this I decided to go a different path. I wanted to offer every client the confidence and the accountability to train efficiently.
I always went into a session, whether that be with a new client or an old one, with the idea of giving them the power and the confidence to continue in the gym with or without me.
Some people in my position would assume that the more sessions they can have a client do with them per week the better, however, the majority of people can’t afford this. The way around this is to train them, either in how to do the movement, increase their confidence in the gym, or both, to a level where they can walk into a gym and be comfortable enough to workout with the same efficiency as if you were there with them. What we offer then, is more than just our knowledge, it is the double edged sword of empowerment and accountability.
I believe that there is almost of a scale of how much accountability a client needs as opposed to empowerment. A confident gym goer might just need someone to keep them in check, a shy gym goer might need someone to really raise their self-esteem to the point that they feel that they belong in a gym.
Imagine doing your first powerlifting competition and really enjoying it. You can’t wait for your second. Then it happens, and it’s the worst one you’ve ever done. The build-up was terrible, you barely slept or trained. You felt weak and unfocused on the day. Worst of all, you failed four out of the nine lifts and did not beat any of your own gym personal bests. Something had to change.
Embarking upon a new plan, or trying to incorporate a new habit into your life is a difficult venture. To do it alone you will need a great amount of determination and commitment. To be fair, many people do just fine by going it alone.
However, a lot of people benefit from an external source of accountability. A good coach can offer various sources of accountability, and they can be one in themselves. Having someone else look after your training means there is someone else there to keep you in check, they may also introduce you to other clients who will provide you with a sense of community. In some cases they may use a variety of systems or apps to keep on top of you.
My own uses of Accountability –
You might know most of this already if you follow my site and social media but I’ll go over it again. I have been training people since 2013 and I’ve been competing in powerlifting since late 2014.
I’d always managed my own training myself but in the space of time between September 2014 and June 2015 I was working two jobs, going to college and training for competitions. I got to a point where I knew something had to give.
In 2015 I was training towards a competition in May, and this coincided with exams and coursework deadlines in college. Time was low and my energy levels were lower. About a month away from the competition my training was going really well in the gym as I had hit a squat personal best of 190kg, a bench press best of 130kg and a deadlift personal best of 240kg. All appeared to be going well, I had gotten stronger and still had a month of work left to get a little bit stronger and work on a few technical issues here and there.
However, in the weeks leading up to the competition my workload had gotten to the point where I could only train two, at best three, times a week. As opposed to the five times a week previously. The increasing workload also led to me losing sleep and getting migraines. So when it got to the competition I was burnt out.
The Competition Itself –
I don’t like talking about this competition as it was the worst one I’ve experienced, and it was only my second. I failed my first squat (twice, don’t ask) on depth and then by the time I had gotten to my second my head was gone and I lost all concentration and stepped forward before the judge said “rack.” On the third I took a risk and went up 12.5kg and got it as I knew I was my own worst enemy there.
On bench, I realised how different the warmup bar was to the competition one and failed my opener. Then adjusted my grip and the second flew so I added a conservative 5kg to it and failed it completely.
Deadlifts went well, but I still got less than my gym personal best (I hit 237.5kg) just to make sure I got the qualifying total for the British Championships.
In hindsight, I got a competition squat, deadlift and total personal best at the time but my preparation and management of the day was horrendous.
What had to give -
This experience made me realise that maybe I could get some help with some elements of my training. As well as this I quit one of my jobs, which was a massive risk as it left me purely self-employed while paying an extortionate rent in a commercial gym.
I realised that one of the main reasons for me allowing the build-up get so out of hand was that I was letting myself get in my own way. I decided to contact a coach and let them deal with me. I remember my first message to him being – “I’ve qualified for British and do not want to embarrass myself.”
My results –
The benefits were shown when I next competed 5 months later with a total increase of 35kgs. As well as this, I also managed to be more confident in all of my lifts to the point where I could open on a squat personal best. As well as the obvious strength and confidence increases, having someone tell me exactly what to do and not allowing myself to mess around with the training was a major difference in my training. It gave me less to worry about as any concerns in my training were just passed off to him in trust. This allowed for me to use training as a break again, I could just switch off and follow the plan.
In terms of empowerment, my own case is a little different. I was already confident in a gym setting, I just found that I could not be objective over my own training and any adjustments I’d need to make. The majority of clients that a coach will deal with would not have my background.
I take this into account when dealing with a new client, in that I assess what their confidence level within a gym setting is and take it from there. A client who feels under-confident in the gym would need more empowerment and less accountability and vice versa for a confident client.
I feel that this emotional aspect of training is one that is hard to teach, easy to miss and often underappreciated in the fitness industry. We can read e-books on anatomy, nutrition and aspects of business but this skill is rare. Coaches and trainers who connect with their clients on an emotional level like this will find that they form long and prosperous relationships to the point that its common to have clients stay with them for years at a time.
How to do it –
You can tell a lot by how confident the client is in general, such as by how comfortable they are with you or when the gym is crowded. Granted, the better you are at reading people, the better. We can’t all be a Derren Brown or a Sherlock Holmes, but learning to pick up on certain cues will work wonders here.
You will need to be receptive, and maybe even a bit manipulative. Not quite Machiavellian, but knowing how and when to push buttons will help you encourage your client and their gym bravado. Treating every client the same won’t work. Of course, they’ll all get the same level of treatment but the finer points will vary.
The gym goer who has just started with a trainer should be with a trainer they trust to make these decisions. A lot of this will be trial and error too, so in regards to this relationship of client/trainer, make sure you give each other a break occasionally. You’re only after the best for the other.
Author - Danny Lee
Owner/Coach/Writer of Daniel Lee Fitness and Daniel Lee Media.
Ben is the final lifter for this series this week. Big, blond, looks a bit like Hunter from Gladiators.
I know Ben through Charles. He was one of Charles's students in his martial arts class and was interested in powerlifting, and so the connection was made.
Luckily, Ben hasn't had the injury issues that the other two guys have had. Which means that our training has basically been focused on just getting him stronger.
So far, Ben has competed at the North West Bench Competition, where he got a 132.5kg bench press and a silver medal. Following this, he competed at the North West Novice and Masters with Charles and Karen where he got: a squat of 137.5kg, a bench of 132.5kg and a 200kg deadlift.
The video above shows Ben tripling 135kg on squat, 120kg on bench and 185kg and deadlift. All of this is positive and he's definitely on course for some personal bests this Sunday.
I hope you've enjoyed the Lifter series of the client round up. I may return with some other clients.
Now for the 'Girl' of '2 Guys, a Girl and a Gym' - we have Karen. While Karen is now a powerlifter she has come a long way. She came to me with bad pain in both of her knees and she's now on her way to doing her second powerlifting competition. So if you have an injury, or have had a few niggles over the years, this maybe a good one for you to read.
The problem that Karen had was that she had pain in the knees of both legs but was given next to no advice on how to improve it. This meant that she would struggle to deal with the pain from simple acts such as walking. One physio going as far as to tell her that she should "see walking as a leisure habit, rather than an every day thing."
She decided to try the gym to see if that would help her, however, she did not have a good experience at first. Her first experience with a personal trainer was one who didn't listen to her issues and only compounded the problem. -
"When I first started training with Danny 2 years ago, I was in pretty bad shape. I had bad knees that had been made much worse by a previous PT. I couldn't squat, and using the stairs (or at times even just walking) left me in a lot of pain. I was told at physio that I would always have pain and should avoid all exercise except walking! So I switched physios and was told that I could improve my knees by strengthening my legs."
We spent a long time working purely with machines so that we could strengthen her thighs without putting undue pressure on her knees. It was after doing this for a while that Karen enquired about starting powerlifting and she hasn't looked back since.
We still have the occasional issue with her being worried about her knees mid squat, but the improvement has been massive this far. However, with some care, a lot of hard work (both from her and myself, at times) and some self belief she has improved massively and the knee issues are largely a thing of the past.
If you want to know more about this or get into the team training sessions, why not send me a message at - email@example.com.
Sunday the 19th of February is the North West Team Challenge. In which, I am competing along with my 3 clients who are in a team of their own, namely - '2 Guys, a Girl, and a Gym.'
In the build up to it I decided to do a few clients profiles so that you could see who the lifters are and how far they've come in their training and in powerlifting in general.
So, first up we have Charles Jupiter -
I first met Charles in 2003 when we used to do Wing Tchun together in a small hall in Wavertree. We lost touch for years and then I started working in LA Fitness (later became Sports Direct Fitness) in 2013. It was only after he was telling me a story about when girls were first allowed into Blue Coat School that I realised I'd heard the story before, and it was him who had told me it a decade previous.
Charles was already fairly strong at this point, squatting around 140kg, benching around 75kg and deadlifting 165kg. After the first few months of training he got upto a 205kg deadlift.
He entered the Lancashire and Cheshire Powerlifting Competition in May of 2015 but then had to pull out due to injury. He was then set to enter the Novice Competition that year but ended up having to stay in Japan with his martial arts class.
It was October of this year that he succumbed to a severe back injury, which negatively affected his training for months. It wasn't until the June of 2016 that he tried his hand at lifting again where he managed a 140kg squat and a 160kg deadlift in one of my team sessions. It was from this stage that we built up towards the Novice and Masters Competition of 2016.
He managed to improve upon his comeback in June with a 165kg squat, 90kg bench press and a 200kg deadlift. His performance is part of this video here -
In the buildup to this competition he has had another little injury which has affected his shoulder. So bench has had to take a little bit of a back burner but the squat and deadlift are coming a long really nicely!
You can see his performance at today's team training below. He managed 160kg x 3 on squat, and 185kg x 3 on deadlift. Both of these weights are around his second attempt at his previous competition, so he's in a fantastic position to get some personal bests!
If you have any questions or coaching enquiries message me via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.