Coaches, clients, gym goers, & owners… Can’t we all just get along?

Anyone who’s spent time in a gym (of any size) knows that there will be drama at some point. Relationships gone awry, competition getting out of hand, or just general douchery it’s going to happen. Good coaches and owners know how to deal with it and to do so quickly. If they themselves are the problem… that’s another issue all together but that issue will solve itself when the doors close quickly. I received a query from a frustrated gym goer today who may have been dealing with douchery. Here’s an excerpt that conveys the gist:

“At my gym, the staff either tries to sell me a personal training package or won’t answer any questions at all. I don’t feel like going to the gym anymore. How do I handle this? I have a 24 month membership. Have been a regular for the past 2 and a half months and I’m trying to lose weight. I have lost around 10 lbs. But I have come to realize that the instructors are only looking to make money out of it. How do I find good guidance for my goals?”

Here was my response:

Good job on getting started. That is the hardest part as I’m sure you can remember. In order to not have to start fresh again you have to do the second hardest part… keep going. And you’re doing great so far since you’re made it past the average 3-4 weeks when most drop off. Just keep in mind that in pursuit of any achievement, you will have things, people, and moments that discourage you. Successful people are able to overcome these points by staying focused on the end goal and (while they have a well thought out game plan) they remain adaptable to changing their plan if & when change is needed.

It sounds like you’re looking to change by building up your support system in living healthily, but having trouble finding someone to partner up with. So here’s my advice: I hope you understand that professional guidance will bear a cost at some point but I agree that it shouldn’t break the bank. I can understand both sides of this challenge as Trainer/Coaches come in several different forms. Some are good, some are not. I will say the best, first metric for qualifying a good one is this: Are they insured? If they are, then they are looking to be professional and make sure everyone is taken care of should the worst case happen. If not, then they are just looking to grab money & probably aren’t investing into themselves to be better. There is more to look at beyond this, but make sure this is covered first.

When it comes to education, degrees are good, but not necessary. Having done this as my profession for almost 2 decades, this is not a side job for me. I invest time & money into my profession with continuing education certs regularly and am always reading something related to my personal development but do not have a degree in the field. There are also those in the industry that do this as a side job. I know a few “part time” Fitness Pros that I would recommend, but they are few & far between. Then there are the total obvious scam artists. They can sell ice to eskimos and just copy and paste their programs for everyone. I hope you’re not dealing with this type of Trainers but it sounds like you may be.

Now, I know that not everyone can afford a personal trainer every time they workout. This is why the good ones offer coaching, remote or in person. We meet with the person via phone, video or face to face at the agreed upon times and give them a program to do on their own. If your Trainers don’t offer a variation of this, then they aren’t really able or interested in helping people and unfortunately probably don’t understand exercise enough to build a long term program.

On the flip side, there are gym goers that are always looking for free advice. As I said before, I do this for a living & it is how I put food on the table. I have no problem giving a free session, but I do so for a few reasons: in part to help people get comfortable in the gym, but also to showcase my depth & breadth of knowledge in exercise, health, fitness, and nutrition. So if I’m working with someone (whether it’s a free or paid session) and someone interrupts the appointment to ask me their one hundredth “quick question”, then they aren’t valuing my time or the time of my client. These people can fuck off.

Ultimately health & fitness is a culture of self efficacy & communal respect. Coach or client, gym goer or owner; If one doesn’t understand this then they are hurting their own health & that of their community.

As I said at the beginning, great job on getting started! It really is the hardest part. Now you just have to do the second hardest part: “Keep-ing” Keep going, reading, learning, working, trying, and appreciating what you’ve accomplished so far.

I hope this helps. If you have any further questions, please feel free to reach out.

Will Supplements Help With Depression?

I got this question today and was quickly hit with the urge to recommend 3 or 4 supplements that can help. But, this isn’t a simple yes or no questions. There are plenty of factors to be considered.

First; Start with your core nutrition. Supplement, by definition means, “In addition to…” Supplements were meant to fill gaps, not replace food. So if you’re not eating quality protein, veggies & healthy fats, then the supplements you take will be less effective than if you were.

Second: Sourcing & manufacturing are important. Do not look to cut costs when it comes to food and supplementation. Do your research and find quality supplements that are built to address your needs. This doesn’t mean that you’ll be spending a fortune or that more expensive products are better, but I can assure you that the cheapest products on the shelf are (for the vast majority) useless. Working with a Coach to find the best path for you & help you stay on it is advisable. Again, do your research to find a quality Coach.

Third: Make exercise & activity a priority. A properly progressed exercise program will do wonders for your mood. This has been proven in countless studies & can be proven by going outside right now and doing 5 rounds of :30 second sprints with :90 seconds or rest.

Lastly: Social interactions with quality people. There’s is an old saying (i don’t know who said it) but it goes, “Before you diagnose yourself as depressed, make sure you’re not surrounded by assholes.” We all will have to deal with one or two at some point, but do your best to purge them from your life. Move, quit your job, hang out in a different place, or just have an awkward conversation like, “Could you please stop doing X, Y, Z…” All this may seem difficult to initiate, but your well being is worth it.

To answer your original question: They can, but there is no magic pill.

If you have any further questions feel free to reach out & please share if you think this could help someone you know.

The 11 General Orders Of Health & Fitness

The 11 General orders of fitness.

These standards are meant to be a guide for conducting yourself in a fitness facility. They are based on the following 2 principles: 1.) Health & Fitness is a culture of self-efficacy & communal respect. 2.) Enjoy your journey.

Should the person(s) overseeing your facility have a rule that contradicts these, adhere or go elsewhere.

  1. Leave your ego at the door. It is your enemy in this environment.
  2. Know your goal. Have a time bound plan to achieve it. Be adaptable.
  3. Know the difference between training and competition. Listen to your body in training so you can use your body to win in competition.
  4. Respect all Athletes, Exercisers, Gym-goers, Trainers, & Coaches. Do not compare their goal or programs to yours.
  5. Be personally hygienic.
  6. If you don’t eat or sleep well, don’t expect to perform well.
  7. If you are/maybe contagious, stay home.
  8. Some equipment is meant to be dropped, some is not. Learn the difference.
  9. Curling in the squat rack is the equivalent to killing kittens. If a 9 year old does it, he will be talked to, guided to appropriate resources, and monitored. If an adult does it, they suck.
  10. Clean up & put your equipment away in its proper place. (This may not be where you found it.)
  11. Do not give the staff a hard time.

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Goal setting 101


A recent study stated that 73% of gym joiners in January have a weight loss goal and over a 365 day period only 14% of those will succeed. Let’s talk about how to up the success rate. Without a doubt, setting the right goal is the most important part of your fitness journey. Read any piece about success; what it takes to get there, who did what & how. All will come back to some version of, “Start with the end in mind.” This makes overcoming obstacles along the way easier especially the more desirable the end result is.

Change is difficult. Very difficult. People make the decision to change when their current situation is more uncomfortable than their perception of the change. Since 2001 as a Fitness Professional, when I ask people any variation of, “What are your goals?” or “What are you training for?” The standard reply is…”Lose weight & tone up.” (LW&TU). If this is your goal I have one request; DO NOT join a gym. Let me explain why. Someone with a LW&TU goal wants their life to change, but they haven’t yet decided to change their life. If that last sentence didn’t click, read it again. I’ll wait.

So let’s look at something most can relate to; Consider two people who want financial success. One wants to, “Be rich”. The other wants a successful career in Law. The first commits to buying at least one lottery ticket every week and checking in on the numbers. The latter knows he is not where he wants to be and sets forth on a journey to find the missing links. He will meet new people, see and experience things he never imagined. He may also make missteps along the way but hopefully knows that is not just the cost of taking steps but a lesson in and of itself. The former will become entrenched in a community of shortsightedness and selfishness. Each ticket they buy moves them further into a position of entitled victimization that becomes harder and harder to return from.

It doesn’t mean they can’t be coaxed.

The fact is many will bring me the LW&TU goal over the next few weeks. To which I will reply, “Why?” This usually spirals into a cycle of generic answers vs. quick Why replies… like, “Because my doctor told me I have to lose weight” Or “So I can run a 5K.” Or “Because I want a six pack like (favorite celeb).” or any of the defensive BS that people put up, until I hear a little bit of truth. Something like, “Because I want to feel better!”

JACKPOT!!! Understand that this isn’t the total answer that I’m looking for. But it is the crack in the built up wall that can lead us to the truth. As soon as I hear anything along these lines, The tempo of the conversation changes. Instead of the sharp Why!?! replies, I let their statement sink in. I’ll then ask, “Can you tell me more about that?” “When is the last time you felt really good?” Or one of my favorites, “Paint me the picture of you feeling GREAT.” This is where they tell me about time playing with kids, activities with friends and experiencing LIFE! The life they want back! NOW, we can come back to their current positions and start building daily tasks to get from here to there. Now we build their plan.

This is where it gets really interesting. This is where they come back to me with “next level” goals. I’ve had people bring me, ‘Climb Kilimanjaro’,’Be a competitive Fencer’ or my personal favorite; ‘compete and place in Ballroom Dancing competitions’. This was a woman who had never taken an athletic venture in her life. 5 months after joining the gym she placed 2nd in her category. How many times in those 5 months did she step on a scale? 0. She felt better, she looked better, she had more confidence; so who gives a shit what the scale says. By the way, when she finally did step on a scale, the BMI charts scored her as over weight. But the beautiful part was she no longer cared. She was too busy becoming what she wanted to be. I should also note that her Doctor was amazed at the up turn in all her health markers.

Now, to come back to your goal for this year; close your eyes, picture 10, 20 or 30 years from now. Who do you want to be? Get that crystal clear picture. Then start your plan.

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Skip The Scale: Non-Traditional Ways To Measure Weight Loss

In an interview I did with’s Mountain Biking expert Beth Puliti, we spoke about “non-traditional ways to measure weight loss”. I would have rather seen it titled, “Nontraditional way to measure increased health” but I understand which would get more clicks. Here is my contribution with a link to the full article at the bottom.


Ride Your Bike & Set Goals
In addition, Brandon Mancine, certified personal trainer, nutritionist and owner of B-Fit Personal Training/Brandon Mancine Fitness in San Antonio, TX, has clients do the following:

1. Regularly take part in an active hobby that you enjoy. As you get in better shape, your physical abilities will increase. This means you can accomplish more. If you weekly take part in an active hobby (let’s say… ballroom dancing), you will be less likely to skip a workout because you are experiencing how it improves your life by allowing you to do more of what you enjoy.

2. Develop an empowering goal. It could be tied to that hobby (compete in a ballroom competition) or to deadlift your bodyweight, run a mile in a certain time. But have something that you will accomplish by a certain date and set a plan to get there.

Full article:

Fire All Your Clients


Now Hiring: Partners
Throughout my fifteen years as a fitness professional, colleagues have complimented my work by commenting on the work ethic and results of my trainees. My trainees have complimented my work by keeping my book full and giving me the results that my colleagues notice. So how do I get the results? How do I keep a full book of high achieving, focused, and dedicated trainees?

I pre-qualify who I work with.

Let me be clear… I don’t care if it’s a Benz in the lot, I care if it was on time for our appointment (or fifteen minutes early); I don’t look for a Rolex, I listen for determination and a hunger to grow when goals are spoken; I’m seeking partners.

I’m not interested in taking any more clients… ever. Clients are consumers. They want to pay for my time, put their faith in me, and hope that I’ll change their life or, (it hurts to say this) some just look to talk about my services as a status symbol. I, like many other trainers, have been credited with changing many lives. Let’s be clear: neither I, nor any other trainer, is in the business or capable of changing anyone else’s life. I provide options and direction. I offer education and motivation. Clients set their goal and if they take what I offer, they will reach that goal. Many make progress, but when they leave their comfort zone, they quit. They choose to remain a client, consuming my time like a commodity, but never investing to change their self. I’ve had many trainees meet their goal and still remain a client. Once the goal is met, even before, I advise that we set the next goal to continue progress and continue their investment and truly make it a lifestyle. They meet the goal and want to ‘maintain.’ Maintenance is boring, so they wander, lose focus, and come back into me months or years later wanting to push the reset button on the goal we set way back when. They never invested in changing themselves. They PAID for my time and knowledge to meet a goal, but they didn’t INVEST in change.

Partners invest. They bring a goal, conviction to achieve that goal, and an understanding that the next goal will be waiting when we get there. Partners want to learn. They want to use me as a resource, but know that I’m not their guru. I’ll give them my professional opinion, provide them additional resources that I approve, and consult them on any outside opinions they bring to me. Additionally, I like to recommend that some of my trainees get a good PT certification. Some trainers worry that this will devalue their service – I offer them an exit to the profession. Like I said, I’m no one’s savior, but I’m not taking hostages here, either. I want my partners to have a better understanding of the knowledge behind the effort. My partners won’t always be training with me, but I will always be a resource for them. In turn they will be a resource for me – teaching me, enriching my professional and personal life, and filling my book with referrals.
That’s how I fill my book with driven, goal oriented, knowledgeable success stories. I seek driven, goal oriented people, cultivate knowledge, and we partner up on the story.

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Women and Weights.

I’ve had the pleasure of working with many amazing people as my time as a Fitness Pro. Both men and women. While every person is their own unique being, there are trends to be noted. Women being resistant to strength training is a common one. This story features two amazing women I had the pleasure of working with that are choosing to do amazing things.Enjoy.

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