Archive for January, 2011

The Unprofessional Fitness Professional

Tuesday, January 25th, 2011

Last week I posted on Facebook ( some grainy photos of a personal training session I stumbled upon in the Pacific Beach area in San Diego. I had parked my truck above the bayside beach to take in the view and draw inspiration for some goal setting and strategic planning I was doing.

Well, I was inspired alright. Inspired to vent my shock and disbelief for what this “trainer” was pulling off as a paid personal training session.

The photos below are from the personal training session I witnessed. As I fitness professional, I was naturally drawn to the isolated personal training session taking place right in front of me in this beautiful setting. Sitting there for ten minutes, I couldn’t take my eyes off what was happening. You know the way people drive by a car accident on the freeway very slowly so they can see what is going on? And then when they catch a glimpse, they can’t pull their eyes away from it? That was me. I watched for another 10:00 and took some pictures.
unprofessional fitness1unprofessional fitness2unprofessional fitness3
When they were all finished with their session (which involved much of the same as the photos show), the trainer packed up his travel kit and put it in his mobile training van. On the way, they walked passed my truck and I caught a sound bite of their conversation. It was the trainer discussing a potential personal purchase he was going to make and the associated investment. It was all about him.

The looks on both their faces, the lack of emotion in their voices and their body language mirrored one another. They reminded me of what my two young daughters look like when they are asked to straighten up their playroom. Hardly inspired would be an understatement.

By the unprecedented number of fitness pros that weighed in on the pictures, it touched a nerve with you too. The comments ranged from hilarious to disbelief. The thread then evolved into ways that we can be constructive and learn from this captured incident.

As I commented on the initial Facebook post, it was unbelievable to see how disengaged this guy was with his client. It literally looked like he was just waiting for the hour to be over. Physically present, but intellectually and emotionally somewhere else.

Several comments suggested that maybe he was training a friend, girlfriend, etc. That thought at first made me pause and want to cut the guy a little slack. But then the quote came to mind; “How you do anything is how you do everything”. If I train a friend or family member, I probably overcompensate to show them how awesome I am :).

We can all hypothesize what made this session what it was or what made this trainer behave this way. After all, a picture is worth a thousand words. Our newest team member at Function First and PTA Global/NASM educator Derrick Price suggested trainer burnout. Definitely a possibility. I’ve never experienced burnout in 23 years of working with clients so I can’t relate, albeit I don’t do more than 20 sessions a week and never start earlier than 9:00 a.m. (cue smart-ass comments about Anthony).

If it is burnout, should his clients still be paying him for a service that looks like that which I witnessed? Should I have swooped in to their session and relieved him (and me) of the tragedy occurring?

Another possibility is that this guy really doesn’t know any better. We have no idea what his educational and/or professional background is. Did he get a certification and suddenly go into business? Did he ever have the opportunity to work alongside or be mentored by some exceptional professional(s)?

We’ll don’t really know the answers to any of these questions. We do know is that the photos evoked a response in most of us. We all need to accept that the responsibility to raise the bar lies with each and every one of us.

What did I learn from this experience and all the posts that went along with it? It made me reflect on the times that I may have dropped the ball with a client during a session. At times, I’ve had brief conversations with my assistant about business related issues in the presence of a client during a session. Or I’ve let a vendor distract me while with a client. Little things compared to what I witnessed on the beach, but things to improve up nonetheless.

Tony Babarino, a Los Angeles area trainer posted a lot of comments. He was so irritated by the photos he set up a page on Facebook for photos of “trainers behaving badly”. Tony wants you to feel free to add your photos My wish would be that we get a good laugh from all this and then apply the lessons so obvious here.

I’m going to leave you with a few words or phrases that I would like someone to use if they were asked to describe a photo of me working with a client. I’d love to hear the same for a session with you.

Dedicated to raising the bar in our industry,


Ankle Squeezes in Sway Back Pose from The Pain-Free Program

Wednesday, January 5th, 2011

10 Ways to Overcome Procrastination in 2011-by Bobby Cappuccio

Wednesday, January 5th, 2011

The following post was written by a great friend of mine and a brilliant mind. Bobby Cappuccio is a leader in the fitness industry and an extensively studies human behavior, particularly in relation to health and fitness.

This post originally appeared on the best fitness education portal on the internet, PTontheNet. Bobby writes extensively for PTontheNet and I’m fortunate to be very involved with them too.

Please enjoy Bobby’s great article.

Deception is a concept that is despised in our society. It violates our sense of fairness and arouses our instinctual nature to nurture and protect the victim. From the sandbox to the boardroom we’ve all heard the not too unfamiliar cry of “It’s not fair!!”

Outrage arises not just when we feel violated ourselves, but almost equally when witnessing the victimization of others. Elizabeth Tricomi, professor of psychology at Rutgers University, observes that “…the brain doesn’t just reflect self-interested goals, but instead, these basic reward processing regions of the brain seem to be affected by social information…That might explain why what happens to other people seems to matter so much to us, even when it might not actually directly affect our own situation.”

My question, as uncomfortable as it may be, is…Is it truly possible for a victim to be deceived if they’re not in some part a willing participant?

Every situation brings with it our own perception and interpretation, stemming from a lifetime of experiences, beliefs and values, and, therefore, biases. So our interpretation of events is the combination of fact and perception. Hence, every story we tell is, to a degree, fictitious. Could this be especially true regarding the stories we tell ourselves?
Consider Giacomo Puccini’s opera Madame Butterfly. Cho Cho San is more acquired than courted by her new husband, United States Naval Lieutenant Benjamin Franklin Pinkerton. From the beginning, the loyalty, faith and love that she gives with gentleness of a “butterfly” is returned with carelessness, lies and betrayal.

For three years after Pinkerton departs from his wife, leaving her pregnant with not more than the empty promise to return to her “after the robin’s nest,” she waits naively, but ever so faithfully. Despite the admonishment from her servant and even her husband’s personal aide to forget the lies of a treacherous man who has clearly forgotten her, she remains loyal in a way that is so sweet, trusting, it is painful, even tormenting, to watch.

It is only after Pinkerton’s return to Nagasaki with his new American wife that Cho Cho realizes his extent of her betrayal. She sees the loss of her illusion of a loving husband as analogous to loss of honor. In the dramatic final scene she seeks redemption by ending her own life.

I cannot help wonder if the tragedy is the treachery of Pinkerton’s deceitful callousness or in Cho Cho’s quiet subservience. Was her mental model of love and devotion so deeply rooted, so pervasive that she chose ignorance over prudence in the face of obvious betrayal? As undeserving as she was, was the pain of her reality more intense than the illusion she imagined?

In many ways all of us are not too dissimilar to Cho Cho San. We deceive ourselves into seeing our reality not as it is but as we wish it would be. We delay until tomorrow to avoid dealing with our issues today. The danger in this becomes evident when our reality can no longer be ignored, yet we have denied it for so long that the consequence, figuratively, is death in the form of lost opportunity or, worse, our career. In actuality, dealing with reality is less painful than denying it. Yet, with the economy, rate of change, growth of competition, etc., the enormity of our circumstances may dissuade us from doing what we know we should do whether we feel like it or not.

Here are 10 tips to overcome procrastination in 2011.

1. Fear of criticism, rejection and failure are major reasons why people hesitate to take action. Understand that any significant goal will be met with resistance, scepticism and ridicule. Accept the fact that opposition may be a sign that you’re on the right track. No one who has ever done anything even slightly interesting has done it in the absence of criticism.

Albert Einstein said that “great spirits have always encountered violent opposition from mediocre minds.” Be open to feedback but accept that in the end if the feedback of a critic was of any value at all he/she would be doing something in the real world themselves instead of tearing down the ideas of others. Before allowing the opinion of another to distract you from important tasks, ask yourself, “Do I desire to be where he/she is in his/her career?” If not, who cares what they think?

2. Set goals that you intensely desire to achieve. Review them daily. We persevere when our desires exceed our fears.

3. Tell other people about what you intend to do. Use social pressure to make sure you follow through.

4. Write a list of every action step you need to take in order to complete a task or project.

5. Isolate the two most important tasks.

6. Write drunk, edit sober! Not literally, this just means get going and build momentum. Don’t worry about perfection.
Perfection is indefinable and, therefore, unattainable. Just produce. Later on, you can go back to your work and revise it.

7. Similarly, the hardest part of dealing with anything is to simply get going: from a project to dating after a break-up or divorce to starting your life over in a new location. Identify one small action you can take just to get you started.

8. Start with the task that causes you the most anxiety and frustration. Removing that task from the project makes the rest of the process seem much easier by contrast.

9. Identify the consequences of not taking action. What is the most painful result of not getting started on the thing you’ve been avoiding? When the pain of not doing something exceeds the pain of doing it, it’s likely to get done. Think about how you feel about putting off your taxes two days before the deadline.

10. Determine the areas of your life that are suffering the most not taking action and then list every benefit you believe you will experience as a result of doing what you know you should do.