As a trainer, I can see a lot of the things in the world that I can help. Even as I go to commercial gyms and see so many things that leave me speechless. It reminds me of a scene in the show “Fargo”- A storyteller tells another character a story of a rich man:
“A rich man reads the paper one day. He see’s that the world is in misery. The rich man says ‘I have money! I can help!’ So, he gives away ALL of his money. But. It’s not enough. The people are still suffering.
One day the man reads another article. He sees it was foolish to give away all of his money as the world didn’t have enough organ donors. So, he goes to the doctor and says ‘doctor, I want to donate a kidney.’ The doctors do the surgery. It was a complete success.
After he know’s he should heal good, he doesn’t. He knows people are still suffering. So he goes back to the doctor. He says, ‘doctor…I want to give it all.’ The doctor says, ‘what does that mean? Give it all?’
The man says ‘ I want to donate my liver, but not just my liver I want to donate my heart. I want to donate my corneas, but not just my corneas. I want to give it ALL away. Everything I am. All that I have.’
The doctor says, ‘A kidney is one thing, but you can’t give away all of it. That suicide!’ He sends the man home.
But the man cannot live. He knows the people are suffering. So he gives the one thing he has left. He writes “organ donor” on the bathroom wall. Sits in a tub. And ends his life. On the man’s tombstone it reads “Here lies the man who gave everything.”
The character asks “And does it work? Does it stop the suffering?? Did he kill himself for nothing?? What are you trying to say?”
The storyteller goes “Only a fool thinks he can try to solve ALL the world’s problems.”
But the character goes “But you have to try don’t you?”
On one hand, I believe I have the tools and resources needed to help people. Though, I also know I can’t help everyone (and more importantly, not everyone WANTS my help). People need to understand while it sounds great to give the world everything you have, you can’t give it all away.
Don’t spread yourself thin. One person can’t solve the world’s problems, but the world [together] can. Just like one person can solve their own problems. Sometimes with the help of others.
Remember to ask yourself when you’re stressed out taking care of everyone else but you: How can anyone rely on you when you have nothing left to give??
December has been a great month. The last couple months have been pretty challenging, but with challenge comes a lesson to be learned. Taking that into consideration, December proved to be much better. Lots of [good] challenges with positive outcomes made life a lot more enjoyable. Here’s what I’ve learned to close out 2016.
How you train for short term goals should be different from long term goals
This doesn’t mean that you should do different exercises or go down a different path. I’m a MAKE IT SIMPLE kind of guy. I didn’t get where I am doing the most complex things ever. The same things that I started out with in my training experience are the same things I’ve done to get me on the world stage and thereafter. The biggest piece to this puzzle is to make sure you have your short term goals and long term goals in priority. For instance, if you have a meet in March, doing a peaking phase NOW would be ill advised. If your goal is to be at the top of your game AT the time of the meet, being at the height of your strength at a time when it doesn’t matter typically would be counter-intuitive to why you’d do a meet in the first place.
Long term goals should be designed to keep your current training in check. There’s nothing wrong with shooting for the starts and only hitting the clouds. The point is that you’re going in the right direction. Short term goals are like little checkpoints. Think of them as little building blocks to build towards something much larger (the long term goal).
Supplements for back pain (muscle soreness): Magnesium Citrate
This past month my body has been the healthiest it’s been in a while without any compensations or lingering pain. I attribute that to a smart training approach, better hydration, increased emphasis on [consistent] mobility and recovery methods. Along with efficient intake of magnesium. Earlier in the year, I had a huge back injury as you may very well know. My life coach recommended magnesium in the form of magnesium citrate based on his personal experiences.
If you’ve skipped nutrition or science class in school, magnesium is an essential mineral found in food. Hell, farmers feed that stuff to their crops! Magnesium is an essential dietary mineral, and the second most prevalent electrolyte in the human body. Magnesium deficiencies are common in developed countries. A deficiency increases blood pressure, reduces glucose tolerance and causes neural stimulation.
According to Examine.com, “Magnesium deficiencies are common in the western diet because grains are poor sources of magnesium. Other prominent sources of magnesium, like nuts and leafy vegetables, are not eaten as often. It is possible to fix a magnesium deficiency through dietary changes. If magnesium is supplemented to attenuate a deficiency, it acts as a sedative, reducing blood pressure and improving insulin sensitivity.”
I’m a huge meat eater, in case you didn’t know, and not many veggies make the trip to my Tupperware container. For me, the best way to get veggies in are in the form of frozen steam-able veggies. They’re typically 5 for $5 just about any grocery store. It’s legit. However, I supplement my diet with magnesium citrate at night before and after a training session to help keep my muscles and nerves calm. Magnesium is also in coffee, but coffee isn’t a veggie. That beings said, it really does make a difference where you get your vitamins and minerals from. Keep that in mind.
The Key to meeting great people is to do great things
The greatest thing about my job is helping people improve themselves. The other part is meeting great people. People who make a difference in the lives of others; C.E.Os, VPs, Executives, Community Organizers, Entrepreneurs, etc. I’ve visited and talked to some of the best of the best in their field and learned their pattern of success. I truly believe you surround yourself with the people who you want to become. Earlier this past month I met with the President of The 100 Black Men of Central Illinois to talk about what I can do for the organization and how he can help me take my business acumen to the next level. From the website:
“With a mission to improve the quality of life and enhance educational opportunities for African Americans, members of the 100 continue to serve as a strong force in the world by overcoming the cultural and financial obstacles that have limited the achievements of some African Americans, particularly young African American males. Members of the 100 have made outstanding progress, proving that Blacks can, and do, excel as corporate leaders, community leaders and as independent business owners.”
As a result from the meeting, I was able to sit in and participate in the quarterly not-for-profit meeting with many of the organizations in the McLean County area (where I live) to update the goings on of all the business and collaborate. It was an amazing experience being the only representative not just from my gym, but as the only fitness professional in the room. I may not run a not-for-profit business, but sure enough there were several business reps that wanted to talk to me about some opportunities they could see about collaborating with me or the gym. It confirmed that I was doing what I should be doing being in that room with so many outstanding individuals and businesses doing outstanding things. I look forward to following up with these people and doing great things in 2017.
The Best To Do What They Do Go Through Great Pain
I was on my way to work one day listening to Tony Hawk speak on a podcast about how some kids today don’t really like to skateboard because they keep falling off. This is a guy who broke his teeth out, broke bones, and had concussions just to name a few. This is also the same man who turned pro at 14; revolutionized the sport and has been a spokesman for skateboarding since the 80’s (and still skates by the way at age 48). Hell, even I played Tony Hawk Underground back in the day on the PS1.
This made me remember all the injuries I’ve had during my Powerlifting Career: pulled muscles, compressed and herniated disc in my back, ripped off finger nails, injuries so bad I couldn’t put shoes or socks on. The definition of Passion is to suffer. But who prosper are the ones who push through it.
Even as I sit here still as a Personal Trainer coming up on 10 years in the profession, I’ve had some rough experiences that would make the 80-90% turnover rate of Personal Trainers seem eminent for me.
Once your skillset surpasses your passion it really sets you apart from the aforementioned percentage of those who bail on the profession.
Whether it’s Personal Training or skateboarding or whatever it is you do in life, your defining moment is when you’ve gone through some pain. The pain makes it real. It makes you think critically about what you are doing and want to do in your life. You also are in a great position to learn from it. Which leads me to my last reflection.
My 2016 reflections
There’s been some thought-provoking fuckery going on this year (and it’s still not over yet). From this view of the world, there seems to be a lot of forced change that is happening. And I love it. No, I don’t enjoy all the deaths and the murders, and the people getting hurt, but as I’ve said before- pain makes it real. I think many of us have been living in a world where we’ve gotten real comfortable (including me). It takes adversity and some really scary shit to wake us up and decide to take action.
Taking action in our personal lives, professional lives and beyond. It’s all about action. I’ve seen a lot of that and it’s glorious. Some say the greatest time in American History is when shit hits the fan. When stress is at an all-time high something happens inside us that unlocks the code in our genes that allows us to survive the fallout and we evolve. I believe that is necessary for us to continue and live. For Christ sake- the freaking Chicago Cubs won the World Series, people (still unbelievable)!!!
That being said, there’s been no great triumph without great tragedy. It’s what keeps us grounded. For me, throughout all the injuries, the ebb and flows of the training business and personal challenges, 2016 has been a phenomenal year for overall growth.
The great thing about going into a new year is that once the clock strikes 12, it doesn’t stop there. You don’t get a “brand new” start. The same things can and WILL keep happening until you decide to make a change. Otherwise, “2016” doesn’t really end. For most people 2007 or 1998 hasn’t really “ended” because they’re still carrying some of that stuff with them. All things take time. I get it. Yet- how can we really be able to enjoy the moment if we’re constantly living in the past? It’s something we all need to learn how to do if we want to live a fulfilling life.
2017 is really shaping up to be a great year. If you’re reading this and you don’t agree, you might need to ask yourself why. How is it that we are all going into the “New Year” and already decided it’s going to be a shitty year? “They who think it and speak it, believe it. Therefore it is truth”…or something like that. The difference between what you believe things are vs. what you want them to be is action. But action requires thought. So be mindful of what you think about coming into 2017.
Take the lemons that 2016 has thrown at you and turn it into wine and leave everyone else in awe wondering how the fuck you just did that. Best wishes to all of your in 2017. Peace and Chicken grease.
This is true in every aspect of life. The things you want may not happen right then and there. There’s another saying. “good things come to those who wait”. These two phrases really go hand in hand. Though, the real magic is in the hard work. I realized this when many aspects of my life that I put in work has really come to the fruition of my own happiness and success. In particular with my clients results from their training. They’re all doing so well and what’s more is they’ve all learned a little thing called patience in the process. When you have patience, you really do let go a lot of the stress and focus more on the work you put in. I’ve gotten clients that have worked hard for 6 weeks and gain nearly a pound of muscle and lose nearly 3lbs of fat. Another has clothes that used to fit are now literally falling off of them for the first time after training and eating better over the last 2 years. Some are simply finding consistency and enjoying working out again. Absolutely none of this would happen if they didn’t put in 2-4 hours of work each week. Nothing gets done in your life when you do nothing about it. Put in the work. MAKE shit happen!
Skill set Pretty Much Supersedes Passion
We’ve all heard the phrase “stick to what you’re good at” and it definitely rings some truth. However, it doesn’t necessarily mean that you can’t/shouldn’t learn a new skill. The only way to get better at it is to continue to practice. Even if you have an unbelievable talent, you can still lose focus. MJ didn’t shoot free throws with his eyes closed from birth. That took millions of free throws throughout his basketball career. The whole planet knows how much that man loves basketball, but he could have the same passion for the sport as much as the most nonathletic fan in the world. Passion is great and all, but skill set is huge. After finishing the book “The Sports Gene:Inside the Science of Extraordinary Athletic Performance” by David Epstein, whether you have a natural talent or not, practice is arguably the most important thing with regards to how good you are. Genes are always going to be the “X” factor, but working on your skill will only reveal the true potential of your genetics. The book talked about Donald Thomas, a high jumper who jumped 6’6” on a dare.
In basketball shoes and shorts.
On his first try with no training and horrible form.
With a little bit of practice he was better than most in the world…but he wasn’t the absolute best. Who knows what he can REALLY do. Much like a client who might be chasing a small (read: hyooge) 5lb deadlift PR who has been working at it for 6-12 months. It seems if passion was a vehicle in a race to success, the driver is the skill set. The better the driver, the better the outcome.
Sometimes, people don’t deserve the goals they set for themselves
I’m sure that line got your attention. We all know someone or have heard about people wanting to have a nice car, big house, get toned/swole, get a full-ride to a D1 school. Everyone is deserving of happiness in whatever capacity…but what people miss the boat on is what they have to go and DESERVE those things. It’s like buying something that has “cable capabilities”, but upset that it doesn’t actually HAVE cable. People misunderstand the difference.
We get what comes our way from the things we do in life. It’s going to take time and deliberate practice to get the things we want.
People who lift heavy ass shit, 9 times out of 10 will put their own stuff away
Remember back in the day you wanted to use the hack squat, and the person before you had a ton of weight on there asked you to help take the weight off?? Member how much weight that was and how strong you thought they were? Then you struck up a conversation about how to get jacked and instantly became friends through your muscles??
Member that time some asshat left a pair of 20’s on the ground?? And you thought to yourself “20’s…seriously!?”
People who lift heavy stuff work hard to get there. From the empty bar they use all the way to putting the last 2.5 pounder on the bar to get that nice even number. As boss it would be to put up 4 wheels on any lift, you definitely don’t want to have the rep of being the douchebag at the gym that thinks they’re hot shit. Truth of the matter is, there is always someone out there stronger than you. That’s one thing I can’t stand about gyms is this power struggle for who is the baddest mofo on the planet. I highly recommend walking into the gym with that attitude, but you don’t have to be rude about it. Most people who lift heavy stuff have had to work hard to earn it. They too were humbled by the weight they lifted and most likely learned from a professional. Most likely, that professional taught them to respect the gym and the weight they used for it can make or break them. For those of us who lift heavy ass shit, you know what I’m talking about. For those that don’t, if you see the strongest person in the gym and you want to use the bar they’ve got done using, don’t worry. They’ll likely put their weight back.
It seems people who are new to lifting don’t need a detailed nutrition plan at the start
The likelihood of people who have never really worked out (hard) most likely don’t have good eating habits. It’s more common to find this in the reverse since exercise is much simpler than nutrition. In my experience, the majority of people either eat too much, eat too little, eat a lot of “convenient” processed foods or some combination of all of the above.
The photo below is a body scan of my client who 8 months ago was new to lifting weights.
Eating well under 1000 cals a day they weren’t eating enough yet wanted to gain muscle and get strong.
A photo posted by Donovan’s Personal Training (@train_with_donovan) on
I started by letting them know that calories was going to be huge and to eat more than their basal metabolic rate (BMR) says in conjunction with weight lifting will help reach their goals. Well, the calorie things didn’t work out. Instead of doing something more invasive I knew that nutrition is best done simple. So focusing on eating certain foods more often that are more calorie dense would be a better route. That and keeping them accountable to be aware of how they feel when they work out after eating these foods. Sure enough it did the trick and they started putting on more muscle, losing body fat and managing body weight since that has been a concern of theirs.
The idea is to implement principles before the plan. The plan won’t stick if they don’t have good habits in place.
So if you’re new to lifting and struggling with your nutrition take these points to heart:
1) Eat more carbs around your workouts. If you lifting in the AM, eat your carbs at night. If you lift in the afternoon, eat your carbs during the day. Carbs are the #1 fuel source for your muscles when lifting. The more fuel you have the harder you can go. The harder you work, the better the results.
2) Every Time you eat, make sure there is protein with it. I don’t care where it comes from. Get it into your head that you absolutely have to have a protein source. It’ll help keep the muscle you already have and are trying to put on. When you have more muscle, you get lean(er), strong(er), and more energy.
3) Think of food not as a way to change your body composition, but as a way to give you energy to do the things you need to do to do so. Way too many people worry about what they did over the holidays and go into overdrive and over think their food intake. Change the way you view food and you’ll approach it differently. It’ll make a world of a difference.
This month has been an a roller coaster. But who doesn’t enjoy a roller coaster?? I’m pretty sure a lot of people don’t, but I do. I’ve got a lot on my mind. Here’s what I’ve learned…. Discipline Provides Freedom
It took 8 years being in the profession for me to realize that waking up at 4am would be the best option for me to maximize my time training and to get things done. I’ve read plenty of literature that says the top 1%-ers “start the day at 4am”. As a result I’ve been able to open up my schedule to training clients earlier (5am) which allowed for more growth in income. With growth in income comes more freedom to do more things that I want to do. I’ve known this for quite sometime, but it didn’t really sink in until recently and I’ve been really grateful for this growth in efficiency. That and my dogs are getting good at using the bathroom outside of the house instead of on the floor/carpet. #Winning Reading books along the way like Essentialism: The art of doing less, by Greg Mckeown and the all-time great- They Call Me Coach, by John Wooden, really propelled me to create my own S.O.P. (standard operating procedure) for my life.
I have to say it’s paying off when I feel stressed for time. I can always rely on my routine to get me out of it.
“ We don’t rise to the occasion. We fall to the level of our training. “
This is probably one of my favorite quotes recently. I believe this to be true in every aspect in life (I would even consider life experiences as training. That is if you learn from them). I’m not one to believe in “luck”, though I get the sentiment behind wishing someone well. Rising to the occasion however has the same tone; that somehow your success is part preparation and part magic fairy dust. It really comes down to mindset/mental preparation.
This is probably the longest I’ve gone without entering a competition in Powerlifting. I’ve focused much of my work on understanding different programs and tools I can use to keep myself healthy for much of the year (that and working on mobility so I don’t have the mobility of the tin-man). As a result, I’ve developed a desire to compete again with a healthier mind and body.
The understanding that how hard you work and apply your training will most likely dictate the outcome. Thus focusing on the process and doing your best in training will boost confidence. Sure there are mitigating circumstances that can prevent certain success, yet those are the things that we can’t control. Focusing on what we can’t control disturbs our flow. So, play your game. No one else’s. If your game plan doesn’t workout- you’ll have an opportunity to learn from that situation and adjust. However, always follow through and never give up.
Giving clients autonomy is the best thing you can do for them
The majority of my clients have worked with me for over a year. My professional goal for them is to be able to have the knowledge to take care of themselves in and out of the gym. Many of them have begun training themselves and each other doing extra workouts on the side which is fantastic. I feel this should be the goal of every trainer out there.
Clients who have the freedom to do work they enjoy and believe in will yield better results every time. I’ve learned that the next level of being a personal trainer is that of a coach/mentor. The key is to always be a student in whatever you’re doing. I learn from other great coaches and my clients learn from me and so on. I can remember back in college I took classes that were very open to letting the students do their work anywhere they chose that wasn’t in the classroom. It was very trusting of the professor to let us do that, but I could remember really enjoying those classes and doing really great work. It was the autonomy that I had that made me own the work I was doing. This was an important lesson given that I work with mainly women. I know and understand that having autonomy in an environment where there is nothing but iron, steel, rubber, turf, loud music and slamming of weights with a small (but increasing) female presence changes the perception of gym culture.
Finding something to commit to when things are bad is extremely powerful
In a world of shit and chaos, what does one do? Sit back and watch it burn? Walk with your head down and “just deal with it?” I’ve learned this the hard way.
Which honestly is the best way. For me anyhow.
After talking with Professor Kate Browne of Illinois Wesleyan University about her situation after surgery, she wasn’t able to temporarily lift heavy things like she once did. Naturally, this is hard to take in especially when training has such a huge benefit that goes beyond physiological benefits. For her- focusing on what she CAN do that was fun and exciting and new really shined a light on a seemingly dim situation. Success leaves patterns. So does happiness.
Not sure how to go about creating a focal point? I do a few things: 1) Writing- I write in a journal 6-7 days a week about all the things I am/want to be, how I’m going to do it, and what I’m grateful for. It’s easy to dwell on all the shit going on in your life, but when you realize how awesome your life really is you’ll be able to recover a lot better.
2) Weight training- it’s not only been scientifically linked to have physiological benefits, but psychological as well. According to a study done by University of New Mexico– weight training is a “meaningful intervention for people suffering from anxiety” as well as “four studies have investigated the effect of resistance training with clinically diagnosed depressed adults. The results are unanimous; large reductions in depression from resistance training participation.”
3) Listen to Podcasts- We all know we spend most of the time in our cars. While we could listen to music or whatever talk radio, I find my time is most efficiently used when I’m learning. It took me several years to compile a list of podcasts that I enjoy for professional and personal development; often times I’m able to find good topics to blog about, ideas for training, answers to help with life situations and so on. Like music, you can find an episode and play it based on how you feel for that day or continue on the one you’re currently listening to if it appeals to you. Having this focus on always moving forward and improving in some aspect of your life will really take the edge off of experiencing the hard times. Plus, if you think about it you’re associating learning good-positive information with tough situations. You’re teaching your subconscious mind that “hey, when times are hard, I’m going to learn something to make my life better.”
Chicago professional sports are pretty damn good
As of this month, since I’ve been alive I have now seen 6 out of the 7 professional sports teams (excluding the Chicago Sky-WNBA team) win or go to their respective championship games. And I might see another one win a championship 😉
Adding more content to my website, I’m looking to make these posts monthly as I find reflecting to be very important in personal growth. So, without further ado here are 5 things I’ve taken away from this month from personal, professional, social, and all things random. Let’s have fun with this.
Whatever you feed will grow
When you feed certain things –your time, energy and focus– understand those things are going to be the priority in your life even if you didn’t intend it to be. Whether it be in conversations, training, at work or personal time, you will find yourself not as present in the moment. That or someone will call you out on it. It’s not a bad thing, but it is important to be aware of that. When you intend to get a lift in that day but your mind wanders to what you have to do afterwards or thinking about what transpired before, it’s hard to get shit done. My work schedule has taken a nose dive over the past couple weeks and I can honestly say I haven’t really been giving it my all when I’m there. As a result, clients have been cancelling or rescheduling sessions. Some are taking a “break”. For me this was a big wake-up call for me to take a step back and look at the bigger picture in my life and see what areas are getting too much attention and areas that aren’t getting enough. Once I’ve been able to recognize the issue, I create an action plan to fix it. Balance is key, whatever that looks like for you it’s important to work on that. Now, I’ve gotten some clients back that haven’t been around for various reasons. I’m reaching out to those I haven’t heard from in a while and doing more reading and writing with the extra free time that I have. And working on communicating more/better with those that are important pieces in my life in making it work functioning better.
Recognize the different components in your life and make sure they’re all fed “property” to make your life better. I promise, you’ll have better relationships with others (and yourself), better training sessions, more productive at work (and enjoying it), and a happier life(style).
Sushi is LOADED with sodium
I’ve only been eating sushi for a few years and I’m glad I took the leap (the thought of raw fish for years wasn’t appealing. I decided to become an adult and try it. Even drink coffee!). However, it became apparent that sushi was high in sodium when I went to get a massage last week. I had sushi with the wife for lunch and went right to get a massage afterwards. Once I was done, Erica goes “did you have sushi earlier?? Your skin soaked up 2x more lotion than it normally does!” My jaw dropped. I had no idea it would make that big of a difference that fast. After looking it up, the sushi (rice) alone is 500mg of sodium…in a half cup which is the normal amount used in making 1 roll.
I had to have probably about 1 1/2 rolls =). Muahahahaha!!!!!
Why am I talking about this? Well for one I knew NFL Combine athletes would eat a ton of sushi before the combine so they could drink enough water and soak it into their muscles to keep them hydrated and therefore increase their work capacity. The opposite can be done when you don’t drink enough and can cramp up. In my profession, this was an important finding because I work with people that want to lose weight and look better naked. Well, they all know how important hydration is for not only athletic performance, but in how your body looks and how much water you’re going to hold when you consume a lot of it. Now I don’t know how many of you eat sushi that much on a regular basis, but the point is when it comes to body weight, sodium is a huge contributing factor in weight retention. HOWEVER…do not mistake sodium as a bad thing. Remember what I said earlier about how sodium helps keeps and draw in water into the muscle? Well, if you’re wanting to improve body composition, have better athletic performance/training sessions, you have to train harder and sometimes for longer periods of time to elicit muscle mass and strength gains. How much is too much? Well that’s different for everyone. What’s a lot for you might not be enough for me, etc.
Fat loss is about persistence and consistency
Since I’ve been training all summer to get my competition strength back I’ve changed my focus to gaining more muscle AND reducing body fat. You see, gaining muscle and losing fat aren’t necessarily mutually exclusive. With that being said putting on muscle is not easy and neither is fat loss (espeically when with the more experience you have) which means both are going to take some time and and consistency to achieve this goal. Because there are so many factors in achieving fat loss (nutrition, exercise, sleeping habits, water intake, and stress management to name a few) the persistence of achieving lower body fat levels is the utmost important element.
A photo posted by Donovan’s Personal Training (@train_with_donovan) on
Conversely, it takes no time to increase your body fat levels when you neglect just about any of the previously mentioned factors OR if the method you chose is contraindicated or not helpful. Take running for instance. I love running for what it does for people: Improved athletic performance, general performance enhancement and heart health benefits, stress relief (endorphins/”runner’s high”), and a genuine love of running and competing. However, long-duration cardio such as running doesn’t build muscle. Building muscle is what raises your resting metabolism (how much energy you burn at rest) which is key for fat loss. So, while cardio isn’t a bad thing in general, it isn’t ideal for fat loss goals. It goes to show there IS a specific approach to fat loss and while you may need little tweaks here and there to individualize that approach, it’s paramount to be persistent in training to get stronger and building muscle. To make the best of your training, get outside and enjoy life Earlier this month I visited the St. Louis Children’s (City) Museum with my family. It’s always a great time there because it really makes me feel like a little kid crawling and climbing around that place. I also have a profound respect for the creativity and architecture. Check it in out this video!
It was pretty empty when we got there since they opened up an hour early and we were probably one of 5 cars in the lot. Once I got there and did some crawling around and running up and down the stairs, I had to pause for a moment and appreciate all the things I can do because of my persistence and consistency (there are those words again) to my training and mobility work. Some of the places at the museum are clearly made for kids. Not going to lie there are some situations where I thought I wasn’t going to make it.
A photo posted by Donovan’s Personal Training (@train_with_donovan) on
At times like this it helps me to understand what all my hard work and focus in the gym can do besides help me make cool videos to put on instagram. For the past several years I’ve had clients tell me stories about all the times they’ve done something in the real world that can attribute their success to their training. Take my client Adriane for example. For years, she couldn’t ride her road bike without serious back pain. Goal number 1 was to get her able and functioning. This is an important step because when you have more function, you can do more things. Case in point, any fat loss or weight loss goals you have to be able to perform physically to achieve those goals. Bike riding is great for weight loss and since she enjoys it- it makes sense to get her healthy enough to make that happen and accomplish both getting back on the bike and improve body composition.
“Kim Kardashian doesn’t provide much value and asks for a lot of money, why can’t I when I provide more value to people?”
I heard this knowledge bomb on the “Barbell Business” podcast this week and it totally caught my attention. It’s not easy asking folks for money knowing how hard times are for most people. Early in my career it was painful asking people to pay me for the service I provide. It still is at times. But then your bills don’t get paid and when you do charge people it ends up being overdue and therefore pressuring people in a way you didn’t want them to be in the first place. Reading that out loud it doesn’t make sense, right? I’m sure some of you out there feel the same way. It’s an honest and genuine feeling. I know if I won the lottery, I’d still use my skill and talents to help people become a better version of themselves. Perhaps it’s natural to think this way when you truly love what you do.
Though this quote really woke my ass up. I mean really…why should I feel guilty for placing a monetary value on a service I provide that could help thousands (maybe millions one day) of people in my lifetime when there are folks asking to be paid for being themselves on television? It’s crazy.
For me, the takeaway is this: get really fucking good at what you do and provide a service people will want. If they’re not interested in paying then perhaps they’re not ready and that’s okay. Problem is I want to help as many people as I can. But this year, my most successful year ever, those that are willing to invest in themselves are the best clients and get the best results and stick around the longest. Especially because they pay a premium price for training. Keeping that in mind forces me to continue to elevate my game for these people.
Hope you’ve enjoyed this post. Look for next month’s edition!
When it comes to results, you have to have the physical capabilities to make that happen.
If you look around social media, you’ll see testimonials about the results people get from some nutrition program or training program they’ve done for X amount of time. Naturally, you get inspired by these people and what they’ve accomplish and decide you want something similar. What most folks DON’T see is the hard work that’s being put in. Often once they do….they ain’t about that lyyyfe.
Granted, when the bright lights start to dim, we realize we don’t actually want the same things that we might marvel at, like having a body like Ronnie Coleman. Say what you will, like it or not, not many will have the dedication or the time to commit to such a feat. And I think that’s where most people get caught up.
While most of the results you want comes from how well put together your nutrition plan is, there is still the physical work that is a huge variable. Want bigger/stronger legs? You’ll going to need to get lots of lower body work, whether it’s some squat variation, machine work or sled work. Want to get more efficient at running? You’re going to have to put in the miles and technique work to become a better runner. Want to have a better looking upper body? You have to be able to do enough pull-ups, chin-ups, push-ups, presses and pulls to attain such goals.
It’s important to look deep within ourselves and ask what are we actually willing to do. It’s hard to know this sometimes until we actually get up and start doing. Though it might seem like a waste, if you’re diving into new waters and realize what you want isn’t for you, it’s better to know it then and learn something about yourself you didn’t know before. Which is always a good thing.
I was never an athlete. I still don’t call myself one. But I do train for a better life, and that’s what I got from training with Donovan.
In mid-2013 I had constant, debilitating back pain. Trips were cut short, housework got ignored. Most doctors said “Exercise. Take ibuprofen. Stretch.” Okay. But the light bulb went up when my friend Marisa mentioned that she had a personal trainer and the three magic words: “No back pain.” Well, sign me up.
I have skipped some days. I have whined plenty, especially on days that were hot. I have whined that I was too weak to lift a kettle bell. But I still went and lifted. Donovan Muldrow does not belittle you or yell at you. He learns how you move and how you learn, he writes your workout programs, and most importantly, he teaches you what your body is capable of and how to do it right. And despite my protests before (okay, and some during), I never, ever leave a workout feeling bad. I am elated, and sweaty, and accomplished, and that is the mark of a most excellent trainer.
The back pain is gone. Granted, it got replaced with a little soreness after leg day, but that reminds you that you worked on something and that something is developing. I have biceps and quads now. I move better. I feel more comfortable in my own skin. What you get out of training with Donovan is a new sense of self-respect, better understanding of the wonders that your mind and body are capable of, a strong desire to test and push beyond your boundaries, and you get the friendship of one of the best men you will ever meet.
As a side note, I noticed while writing this that I had a lot of difficulty finding a “before” picture, because I hated having my picture taken. There’s a lot more recent ones now to use as “afters.” That should tell you something.
It’s the time of the year when people are going on work/vacation trips, getting sick, or getting injured with the weather changing. There is a lot of concern that the progress you’ve made in the gym in the weeks prior will deteriorate due to a lack of training.
This is can be true or false.
Depending upon the amount of time that you spend recovering you will still be able to maintain your strength and potentially your body composition. However a lot of that depends on your level of activity and most definitely your nutrition.
When it comes to injuries – your nutrition is going to be the utmost importance especially if it means that you will not be able to train for a while. Having an understanding that how you train has a correlation with how you eat in reference to your goals. In other words, the general idea that you have a higher training frequency you also need to have a higher amount of calories to supply the energy for the demands of the workload.
When you don’t have a high workload, of course you’re going to want to decrease the amount of calories coming in to the body.
When you are on travel or vacation, the same principle applies. However, it depends on your level of activity or dedication to training when you are away. It is also important to note that when you are away on a vacation, you are also away from a lot of stresses that you must factor in into your training.
In other words, you may benefit more from your training when you are on vacation and still get away with eating not so “clean” because being away from the hardcore lifting you’re doing is helping your body recover. Simply be more aware of the work you’re doing and the places you’re going to make the best of your situation. Life is going to happen whether you like it or not. It’s important to be prepared mentally and emotionally for the changes that are bound to come.
If you’re new to the industry and you want to be a trainer/coach, but not sure where. Whether it be at a collegiate level, commercial level, or in the private sector, it’s important that you not only have your resume in check, but to make sure you have a “clean” image.
Go to google real quick and google your name. What pops up??
I just did and this is what showed up.
Even the photos are professional photos taken of me or my lifting. Some are of my clients progress photos over the past couple of years.
These days before they even look at your resume, they’ll want to know who you REALLY are and how you’ll portray the business you plan to work for or the people who want to give you theirs.
End of the day, when you decide who you want to become the interwebs will take notice. In this industry you are your own business card. Be the business you’d want to be associated with.
Do yourself a favor and take a look around at your house. If you’re not at home, do this when you get back. It won’t take long. I promise.
I want you to count how many books/Audiobooks that you have on your bookshelf, night stand or electrical devices.
Then I want you to recall how many days a week currently you are going to the gym. Whether it is by yourself/with a gym partner/personal trainer.
Got it?? Cool.
So now that you have done all of that, and I appreciate you taking the time to do so, add all those things up. Does the number (i.e. 30 books/audiobooks/training sessions per week) exceed the number of inches your television is?
The point I’m making here is making yourself aware of the amount of time you may be sitting down and watching what’s on your big screen TV than the amount of time that you put into self improvement not only mentally, but physically. Where do your priorities lie?
Big screen TV’s are far more expensive than books/audiobooks. Even most podcasts are free. Gym memberships are cheaper than ever and while training can seem costly the average cost of a 60″ TV is just over $450 (according to a quick google search I did that listed 4 of the popular 60″ TVs out there. Not completely scientific). That’s still enough for at least a month of sessions with a trainer, and with the right one you could learn a lifetime of tools and tips to improve yourself worth and boost your confidence.
Search inward and really think about what you want in life; the goals you have for now and for the future. Are you setting yourself up for success? If not, hopefully this read will help you realize where you might have failed in this area. Which is a good thing! Because now, you ARE aware and if you want to change that, you’re in a better position to succeed.