Today I’d like to address a question I am never asked, but one that I wish I was.
What does it take to be successful with your program?
Wow, excellent question! With all the various ways I could answer that, I think it’s most valuable to distill it down to the traits of someone who not only wants results but is willing and capable of working with someone in an online capacity to get them. It absolutely is not for everyone, but if you fit these criteria it’s likely for you.
- You are prepared. This applies to your plan (meal prepping, scheduling workouts in tight windows if necessary, etc) and to our weekly call as well. Some clients spoil me with bullet-point questions sent via email before our call so I can see them early and get some time to think about them, some have questions written down in front of them and refer to those during our call, others can give me a definitive “I have no questions this week” – all of those are great.
- You communicate well. This means responding to emails that have questions in them, letting me know in advance if you need to reschedule a call, and getting your thoughts out clearly via email as well as over the phone, among other things. Since we likely won’t be meeting face-to-face, your ability to communicate effectively via email, text, and phone is absolutely critical.
- You are precise. This means tracking things well and using the word “about” as little as possible. If you tend to eyeball your portions, count 8oz glasses of water throughout the day while losing track of how many you’ve had by mid-afternoon, or like to do cardio sessions based on the number of songs you listen to at a time – expect those things to change when we start working together. Precision is efficiency, which means spending less time and effort to achieve the same result. Stop swimming upstream!
- You are honest. I can’t do my job correctly if I am being led to believe the plan I have created is being followed when it is not. I’m not here to get angry, be judgmental, or make you feel bad for doing something “wrong” – I just want to identify “why” and then help better prepare for the next time a similar situation comes up. Without honesty I can’t do that. You also need to be honest with yourself – if you’re following a flexible plan and fail to log something because, well, you didn’t mean to eat it – I’m sorry to say that it still counts!
- You are open to feedback. Because I will give it – whether it’s on your form, on your progress photos, or posing work – without feedback you can’t improve. I am a terrible “in your face and yelling at you” trainer, it’s just not my personality. My approach to feedback is the same way. You’re a human being and I understand that. Also, we’re usually talking about your body, and this is something that, understandably, people are sensitive to. I take that under careful consideration when providing my thoughts.
- You are willing to do what must be done. By this I’m referring to the stuff that may be less fun, perhaps even tedious. Progress photos, form check videos, posing videos, weigh-ins when appropriate, completed workout logs and weekly macro logs when requested, etc. Not only that you get it done, but get it done on time. I understand that this stuff takes time, but I wouldn’t ask for these things if they didn’t have a purpose.
Even if you don’t feel that all of these traits are innate things you possess, I’ve found that they can be learned over time if it’s in pursuit of a goal you think is important enough.
Beyond these 6 items, everything else can be taught easily. Yes – even being clueless in the gym. We can work through that.