Episode 10. The 10 Fitness Strategies We Secretly Try to Teach Our Clients
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These are the 10 strategies or ways of thinking that Scott and Kevin try to teach all their clients. This isn’t about this or that diet, or this or that workout plan; rather, it’s about ways of approaching fitness, dieting, and training in such a way that the client is setup for longterm success.
The Ten Strategies:
ONE. Focus on Process Goals over Achievement Goals
- Don’t focus on the top of the staircase. Focus on the next step, then the next, then the next.
- The goal is the process, and the process is the goal.
- Be focused on where you’re at, and get it done.
TWO. Focus on Small Wins
- Each small win builds momentum, and you can build off each one.
- Sometimes “staying consistent” is the most important on. Sometimes “nothing’s happening” is itself a win.
THREE. Coax the body.
- A lot of this is learning what coaxing the body really means. I.e. it’s not “coax the body for a week” and then if something isn’t happening, drop calories be 300.
- Timelines are a warning sign that you’re trying to force something; the body changes at the rate it changes. This is different for different people.
- Don’t demonize food groups, learn what tolerable hunger is, and ride that wave.
FOUR. Avoid Fads and Get Real.
- It’s not the diet. It doesn’t matter whether you’re talking about Paleo, low carb, high carb, vegan, Atkins, HCG — whatever. Focusing on these things is itself the issue. Many diets work, once you nail the other principles we’re talking about (getting the process right, coaxing the body instead of forcing it, etc.)
- Choose the behavior; choose the consequences.
FIVE. Learn to Listen to Biofeedback.
- In Scott’s opinion, this is the number one thing a coach can teach a client.
- Forget the numbers. That’s outside in. Biofeedback is inside out.
- What worked for you however many years ago is not what will work for you now. Biofeedback has changed!
- Focus on the general principles. What do the successful diets have in common (a caloric deficit)? People who gain a lot of muscle — what do they have in common (caloric surplus and decent training)? Get those right, apply the general principles to biofeedback, and the rest fall into place.
- One potential “hiccup” with this, is the fact that people can’t read their own biofeedback for emotional reasons. E.g., you emotionally want a cheat day, so it’s harder to accurately gauge your actual, physiological need for one. (This leads into the next point.)
SIX. Establish Rapport (with the client, or with yourself)
- Scott likes Vern Gambetta’s quote that the role of the coach is to go from a guiding light to a mirror.
- Rapport is about tuning, learning what will and won’t work, how best to send and receive a message. This also occurs inside your own head. Learning to read your biofeedback, for example, demands a certain amount of rapport with yourself.
- “Establish” is a verb, and an ongoing on. Think of it like tuning a guitar or a piano. You don’t just go in and tune everything. You make an adjustment, then listen. Make an adjustment, then listen. This takes time.
SEVEN. Create an Atmosphere of Trust, Not Judgment (again: with the client, or with yourself)
- Without trust, the coaching relationship falls apart.
- For a coach, this is obviously done between coach and client… but even then, this is always about self-talk, and what’s going on in the client’s head. The client should be able to trust themselves.
EIGHT. Be More Person-Centered
- It’s about the person in front of you. Physiologically, this is about biofeedback, but it’s also about communication and mindset.
- Don’t be the Paleo guy, or the crossfit guy. Be the person guy!
NINE. Focus on Self-Discipline, Slip-Ups and All
- Some people don’t need this; some people do.
- This relates to the above about being non-judgmental yet honest in your self-talk and in your own head.
- It’s a skill. It developed over time.
- If you’re self-disciplined in one aspect of your life, but not another — use that. See that what you’re doing in one aspect of your life is not, currently, being carried over. So do that — carry it over. This will make it far easier over starting from nothing.
- Mike mentioned Carol Dweck’s Mindset: The New Psychology of Success (Mike likes that book)
TEN. Make It About Who You Are, Not What You Are Doing
- Don’t define yourself by your goal.
- Mike mentioned James Clear’s blog and identity-based habits. If your identify as someone who struggles with X, then you will struggle with X. (For example, snacking.) But if you think of yourself as someone who “never does that,” then guess what? You won’t do that.
- Scott constantly asks, “Who am I being?” For example, someone who switches to vegetarianism for ethical reasons doesn’t struggle with not eating meat the way a dieter might struggle. They don’t feel tempted in that way.
- Try to build on everything.
Links / Resources mentioned
Mindset: The New Psychology of Success by Carol Dweck
Scott’s “Do Your Job” blog post