Protein and Supplementation

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Everybody is looking for an edge. It doesn’t matter whether you are a competitive athlete or not. What matters is that edge, or perceived edge, you get through supplementation.

The supplement market is an over saturated market consisting of a lot of ingredients along with a lot of fad sorts of diets.

Supplements can be a waste of money, and more importantly, they can be very dangerous. So is it really worth it to take something that might give you a slight edge, or perceived edge over others in your gym?

Well, as a coach and owner you know that the answer is no. But what we want to do today is simply go over some of the supplements that do work so you can give advice to your clients.

So what works?

Really, there are only 4 things that work. We’ll break them down in terms of importance.

The first thing each and every single one of your clients, both male and female, should be taking is protein.

Protein is the basic building block of all muscle. Without an adequate amount of protein in one’s system, you simply will not gain that coveted muscle your clients are working so hard for.

What’s the easiest way to get this protein? Through a supplement shake. It’s the quickest way to get the protein digested, into your bloodstream and on to your major muscle groups. Not only will this help you build muscle, but it will also help you lose weight. How is that? The more muscle you have the higher your metabolism runs, thus meaning the more calories you burn.

The second supplement you want to encourage your clients to look into are branch chained amino acids. What’s this fancy term? Well, simply put, it’s a group of amino acids which help to build up muscle when it has been broken down during a workout. These bcaa’s should be taken during and right after a workout to help facilitate the rebuilding process.

Your third supplement? Creatine. Without a doubt, the most researched supplement today is creatine. Simple, monohydrate creatine has been shown again and again to help with building up muscle. If your clients are concerned with building and making gains, there is no easier way to do it than with creatine.

Finally, the last supplement to talk about is good old caffeine. More than any other stimulant or so-called fat burner, caffeine is the one to turn to. Why? It’s the safest. Most of these other so-called fat burners have other, added stimulants and questionable fillers that are simply unhealthy for people.

Do a test with your clients. Tell them to drink a small, 8 or 6oz cup of coffee 30 minutes before their workout, and then have them take stock of how that caffeine impacted their workout. This does not mean they should run out and buy caffeine tablets, because that would be too many milligrams of caffeine. All this means is that they shouldn’t have to look anywhere else.

These are the 4 supplements we advise and encourage others to look into. As for everything else? There simply isn’t enough research to warrant the purchase of it.

Using a Belt

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Using a belt in weightlifting at times sounds like it should be a given. However, these days we see a lot of people foregoing the whole belt and beginning to lift without one.

Perhaps this is due to the plethora of “raw” lifts that we see on Facebook, Instagram, and other social media outlets. More and more such lifts have been shown off on these social media platforms, and now many people believe that this is the test of true fitness.

To do a lift, without a belt, means the lift is really being performed. There is no aid involved.

The problem with such thinking is that at an elite level, perhaps there is some relevance to saying things like this lift was done “raw” or without a belt. But that’s for the professional lifter, not the amateur who is looking to get in shape and fit for life.

When such thinking comes into the mind of your everyday client, there can certainly be some problems lying around the corner.

A lifting belt is for safety. It’s not an issue of cheating on a lift or something like that. A lot of times it will be used to keep the back straight and prevent it from bowing under heavy weight. This is extremely important for clients who are amateur lifters and not really required to show anyone whether they did a lift beltless or not.

What they can show, once the lift is done, is that they are still able to walk upright. Remember, lifting can put a burden on the lower back, and if you are not too careful, a client can throw their back out and be seriously injured.

So instruct them on the proper use of a belt as well as its placement.

A client may very well put that belt on, but if they do not cinch it tight nor place it in the proper place on their lower back, it will be for nothing.

The belt should sit right above the hips and cinch tight across that lower back. It should be pulled tight and the client should in fact suck their stomach in a bit and prepare for a very tight experience. This is not the type of belt that you wear to hold up your pants. This is the type of belt you wear to keep everything nice and tight during that lift.

Now, for your client to use the belt properly, teach them to actually push against the belt during the lift. This pushing will actually help to generate power for their lift as a whole.

Using a belt ought to be a part of your gym programming to keep your clients safe. They of course do not have to use it for each and every single lift, but rather ought to when the going gets tough and when those weights are building up.

Keep them safe and you keep them coming back for more.

Coaching and Programming Online

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A fantastic source of revenue comes to you with the power of the internet. The internet has truly given people a mass of information at their finger tips. So what can you do with this? Take a moment to consider opening up an online store for programming, coaching and nutritional advice.

Such a store could be a great way to develop ecommerce for your Box that is highly sustainable with a low amount of maintenance.

What do you need for this?

Well, the first thing you need to do is create instructional videos. One of the most important things you can do to begin your online presence is to create safety and coaching videos. For each movement you are going to do, you can create a video showing clients how to perform the movement.

This can be the first level of online coaching you can do. So you can do a breakdown of videos for the snatch, power clean, squat, and other key movements.

The next level, and thus another level up in payment, would be online programming. You can have people send in their statistics and their objectives in fitness. For some it can be a desire to lose fat, others may want to gain muscle.

You know that this is two very different types of training. So you can create different plans for each objective and then give feedback to your clients when they sign up with you.

So that would be one level of coaching.

Another level of coaching, and thus a hire tier of pay would be for you to actually receive their results from the wods and then give them a breakdown and analysis of your thoughts.

Still, yet again, another level up from that and again higher pay would be to not only respond and analyze their wods according to the numbers, but also adjust the wods as the weeks go by. Such tweaking of the wods would give very real hands on coaching to them.

Now, can you keep going up in the tiers? Surely you can. Add another element to this and you have the nutritional phase of the program. They can give numbers, and you can break down their macros.

If you want to oversee those numbers on a week to week basis, you guessed it…send it up another tier and use something like my fitness pal to track those numbers. The great thing about this app is that you can have friends and they can share their numbers with you. Doing this enables you to see what they are doing on a regular basis and to give them immediate feedback via comments.

Want to go up another level in tier and thus pay for online coaching and programming? Try offering a one on one session over Skype where they get to talk to you on a regular basis. You can do video chat with them and give them positive feedback regarding their progress.

So you see, there are many different ways of leveraging the internet for your business. This is a great way to grow another aspect of your business and to add to your sustainable income.

So, what’s next? Well, you have some thinking to do…

Social Media and Your Business

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What does your social media footprint look like? Didn’t know you had one, did you?

Let’s first talk about that footprint. A social media foot print is your presence on social media platforms like Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and Google +.

Did you know that search rankings are determined in part by this social media foot print. The more integrated campaigns, the better for your overall ranking.

So how can you use these different platforms to raise your level of visibility in the search engine? Well, let’s break it down.

Let’s start with instagram.

You would think that we would start with Facebook, since this is the largest platform in use right now. However, instagram itself is huge, and since it’s integrated with Facebook already (Facebook owns instagram), it’s a convenient tool to use.

So, how could you use such a tool as this? Well, for one thing you could post instructional videos on instagram for all of our clients to see. They can be instructions on how to do a lift or how to perform that day’s workout. No matter what it is, as long as you post on their, it’s a good thing.

Another good thing to do with your instagram account is to post up coaching and form videos for people. This can be a sort of technique thing you do with your clients and perhaps future clients. Because of the far reach of these types of accounts, it becomes very helpful for you to be active on them.

As for Facebook, the most you can do in terms of online visibility will most likely be through this platform. You have the ability to post much longer videos on your feed, and you can even use the advertising functionality to boost certain post so others can see it. In fact, a wide range of individuals will see it.

These two social media platforms alone will garner your business a lot of traffic. But there’s one other thing you can do…

Create a blog for your site where you regularly update the content. Now these updates can be of various natures. You can do something as simple as upload the workout for the day for each and every single day of the month.

Another thing you can do is point your clients to good articles on the net that will help them with their nutrition, form and even thinking when it comes to their workouts.

Finally, you can also post videos to your blog.

Why are these posts important to your site? Well, having this type of content on a regular, revolving basis will certainly catch the eye of search engines and boost your visibility.

So do you see how all of this type of content has an impact on your rankings. If you do them together on a consistent basis you are bound to see your rankings improve.

This is a sure way to be front and center before the eyes of potential clients when they go searching for a workout facility in your area.

Personal Hygiene in the Gym

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One of the most important conversations you can have with a client deals with their own personal hygiene. With all the sweat and spit that can go flying around your gym, you will definitely want to make sure they are up to speed on practical gym hygiene.

Though it may seem like an embarrassing conversation to have with them, one way of easily doing it is by laying things out in the very beginning in a sort of welcoming packet.

What you can do with clients as you on board them is give them a breakdown of expectations for gym use. We don’t necessarily need to be all formal about it and give them some paper they need to sign. But at the same time, what you can do is informally go over it with them as you welcome them.

You can remind them to wash their hands and that they need to use soap every single time. One of the clear dangers in any gym is the spread of bacteria through unwashed hands. This is a common problem today…many people do not wash their hands. Remind clients of how easily one can get sick with all of the high-fiving in the midst of your workouts.

Another issue that can be easily addressed during this time, and which is a big issue, is that of using deodorant. A lot of people do not realize they may actually have personal hygiene issues in this area. With various cultures around us, they have different views towards deodorant, the use or non-use of it.

Well, one thing you can do from the very beginning is to remind them that such use is required at your gym. This will help to deter any future, embarrassing discussions about whether they have been using it or not.

One thing that will drive people crazy at a gym is if someone indeed has these issues and continues to workout with other people around. This will indeed drive your clients away.

Nobody wants this to happen at all. So if you can deter this from the beginning with a casual talk before any workouts begin, then it will be good for everybody involved.

In addition, another thing that you may want to remind people of is the need to brush their teeth after a long day. Being at work all day and having eaten all sorts of food, including drinking stale coffee can do a number on people’s breath. Remind such clients of the helpful practice of brushing their teeth before a workout or of carrying a bottle of mouthwash with them or even chewing a stick of gum.

All of these suggestions will go a long way in saving people future embarrassment.

Building a Community Within Your Box

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Walk into any box and you see them all the time. The banners hang from the rafters. They represent all of the armed forces and the civil servants of society. You will have anything from the Marines to the Navy to Army, and in between you will have all of their special regiments as well.

These are the banners that are often used to show the support of our troops, one thing that CrossFit and functional fitness is famous for.

This is a great way to build community and bring a sense of honor and respect to your box.

Another thing you can do with such people who are representative of such divisions and branches of civil and military service is offer them discounts as a recognition of that service.

This is a great way of building a following and trust in your community.

As you reach out to your community through such ventures, also think about reaching in as well.

How so? Well, for example, one thing you can do is build your community from within by adding a different sort of banner to the rafters of your gym.

As you have been publishing photos of your members on instagram and facebook, take a moment to think about using some of those photos to create banners to hang up in the rafters around the inside of your gym.

This is a nice addition to the artwork and decorations of your gym, because it highlights the work of your members. Now, choosing who should go up on those banners is another issue. To be on the safe side, you probably want to choose members who have been with you for a long time and who have shown deep loyalty.

Don’t people who are on the fringes of your training, but rather put those who others look to and respect for all they have given and done for your gym.

As you put such pictures up in banner form, you will see that it will ingraft a sense of pride in your members and a sense of loyalty.

This is a great way to build that community deep and true and keep them with you for a long time.

 

Gym Safety Check

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Accidents happen. There is no doubt about that in anyone’s mind. Do you have a safety system in place for when that accident will occur? Now, if you say…well, that will never happen; well, you don’t know the very definition of an accident.

Accident preparedness is about being ready for the unexpected. Now, that unexpected is in fact inevitable. So the more you are prepared for the unexpected the more you will be able to handle it when it does inevitably happen.

So let me ask you, how many fire extinguishers are in your facility and when was the last time you checked them? You know that fire extinguishers have to be regularly cared for. If a fire does happen to break out in your gym, it can spread very quickly depending on the materials you have in the gym.

Now, you may think right now to yourself, “how is a fire going to start when we don’t have anyone smoking inside of the gym?”

Well, this is when we need to consider such things as electrical fires due to power surges, faulty wiring and other building issues.

All such issues are in fact beyond your control and unknown to you. But the one thing that is within your control is having a few fire extinguishers in strategic locations throughout your building.

Another thing you might want to be cautious about is having your coaches all cpr certified. Now, again…you may think that because you are certified this will suffice. However, how much more comforting is it to your clientele if they know that a requirement of being an intern and/or coach at your gym is that they are certified in resuscitation? This is a huge bonus for those considering joining a gym. It gives them an automatic sense of comfort and reliability on your gym personnel.

What about a first aid kit? You probably have one in the office. However, what about a kit on the wall outside in your facility in case of accident? A kit like this is immediately accessible and visible to many people throughout the gym.

It is sad to say, but when accidents happen people tend to have the propensity of freezing in the moment and forgetting what to do. Even coaches can have this propensity. Having a kit outside that is visible to all is helpful if this happens because another member of your gym, perhaps a client, can jump into action and help.

We know this is not the ideal situation, and the coach should be able to handle everything, but remember…accidents happen and people react different in the case of an accident.

Are there other safety concerns you should have? Absolutely. If the gym is ensured and you use a particular ambulance service, that number should be readily available. In addition, you should know exactly where the area hospitals are at and the safest routes to take in order to get people there.

Not only should you know this, but your entire staff should be trained in it as well.

Being prepared for an accident is always helpful, and you should regularly review procedures with your staff for when one inevitably occurs.

The Heart of Your Gym

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What’s at the heart of your gym?

This is an interesting question. It’s one that we all need to think about. Essentially, what we are asking right now is: What is your ideology of training?

Are you training people to become athletes? Are you getting people ready to compete?

If so, you know that the training going on at your gym is going to look like a certain fashion. It’s going to be intense, it’s going to focus on cardiovascular endurance and training. It will also focus on specialized movements like gymnastics and Olympic lifting.

Such specialized movements will require special instruction and coaches. In other words, your gym will essentially be known as a competition gym.

Here’s the thing, though…the majority of people out there…the vast majority of them are not looking for competition gyms. What are people looking for? They are simply looking to get in shape and to be healthy.

This distinction is one that is very important for you to understand as you train and program. Are you going to train with load and intensity in mind? Or are you going to train with variety and rest days patterned in?

Rest days can be such that they are not just a day with stretching and no workout. You can do an active rest day that has rowing or running factored in so a good cardio workout is done, yet at the same time it gives rest to the load on the joints, legs and shoulders.

This type of training takes into consideration first and foremost the safety of your athletes. Now, that begs a question: does competition training not take into consideration issues of safety? Of course it does. But where training for fitness differs is that it accounts for rest. Competition training is always putting the pedal to the metal and priming people for performance.

Such training varieties are either what’s going to attract a person to your gym or not. When they come to the gym they will see workouts going on before them and they won’t know whether they can do that or not.

As they go through the onboard program, they will see other classes around them and they will ask: Can I do that? Will I ever be able to do that?

Your coaching and programming techniques are the things that are going to get them there. By talking to them and emphasizing that you are about their safety first, their health first, and their fitness first…you will draw in new clients.

Remember, all they see when they walk in are the kettlebell swings, the snatches, the burpees, and the kipping pullups. They’ll see people flying through the air with the greatest of ease…and they will question.

They will say, This isn’t me. I’m not fit like that. Do I really need this.

That’s when you can come along and encourage them, remind them you are about their fitness, and show them that you are looking out for them.

So think through your message and what you want to portray about your gym, because that will either make or break you when it comes to getting new clients.

Transformations

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One thing that is true about the fitness industry…we are about transformations. What sort of transformations are we talking about here?

 

For one thing, the transformation of the body is obviously a brilliant place to start. We are looking to transform people from unfit to fit. That’s the main reason many of these people have come walking through your door. They were on the couch and they were living a life that was simply adding up to clogged arteries and heart issues.

 

They probably had the opportunity to have their blood checked at the doctor’s office and were given some startling news: you need to get in shape now or face the consequences not decades from now, but most likely next year.

 

This warning got them off of those beloved couches and into your gym. So what are you going to do? Well, the first thing you need to do is work with them, train them and transform them.

 

Of course we need to be honest about this, because such transformation will not come over night. It will only come with hard work and dedication. But that’s where you come in as the trainer. You need to work with them, counsel them, and urge them on in this path of fitness that they have chosen.

 

In addition to urging them on, you need to train them in such a manner that you keep them safe and sound, effectively teaching them how to move and use their bodies to push that weight and grow muscle.

 

The interesting thing that will arise as they see their bodies transform before their own eyes is that you will also see another transformation going on. What is it? It is the transformation of the psyche.

 

Most people, when the get back into training and working hard in the gym will deal with certain issues of body perception. You will note in them that they may have very low self-esteem in the beginning.

 

However, as they train and get back in shape, and as those bodies change and transform, their attitudes about themselves will evolve into a far healthier state of being. Where there was formally a lack of self-esteem and trust in themselves, you’ll begin to see this replaced with a healthy disposition and even an appreciation for the self.

 

In this sense, you can see that transformations in the gym not only take place in your clients’ bodies, but they also take place in your clients’ hearts. It is for this reason that you must be aware and mold both the outside and the inside. Yes, at times you will feel like a counselor to them, and at other times you will feel like a confidant. This is ok. It’s part of their transformation, and as you see it going on before your eyes you will come to know and appreciate that you, too, were part of and integral to that transformation as well.

 

So take part in that transformation today and see how it will benefit not only them, but you as well.

 

 

 

Safety Check

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With June here and the second half of the year about to roll out, have you done a safety check in your facility or box lately? One thing is for certain; you are going to get an influx of new clients very soon.

 

There are probably a few reasons for this. For one thing, it’s summertime and people are milling about without their shirts on at the beach. This is going to spur some people to think a lot more about getting fit and thus getting back into the gym.

 

Another reason we will see people coming back into the gym is the rising popularity of functional fitness events. The CrossFit Games are starting soon at the end of July, and with last year’s telecast on ESPN and the exposure they get with their sponsor, Reebok, many people will see these athletes before their eyes in print and other media outlets.

 

This may spur some on to try functional fitness, and thus they will come knocking at your door.

 

So what can you do in the meanwhile? Well, one thing that is very important to be done is get ready by checking all of your equipment. This means making sure everything is safe and sound and in good working order.

 

Where would you begin with such a venture? Well, the simple place to start is with your rig. You not only want to check the mountings in the floor, but you also want to check all the screws and bolts along the connecting pieces of the rig.

If you have not wiped down your rig in a long time with disinfectant, then now is the time to do so. With so many hands touching the rig on a daily basis, you will want to keep it as clean and hygienic as possible. So wiping it down and disinfecting it will be the best and easiest way to maintain all of this.

In addition to all of this, think about wiping down the rings that you have at your gym. So many hands, torn hands, go about touching these things on a daily basis that they are bound to be riddled with germs and other things. Wiping them down will be the easiest way to care for germ outbreaks and what not at your gym. It may take a bit of time, but it is completely worth it in the long run.

Finally, another thing you will want to do is inspect all of your plates and bumpers. If you use rubber bumpers at your gym, you will want to inspect them for cracks and other issues. One thing to especially keep an eye on is the center ring of the bumper. See if it’s cracked or sliding out of its housing. Such issues can be really hazardous for some people.

Keeping things clean, safe and sound will be one of the things that most appeals to potential new clients. They will see the care you put into your gym, and in their minds that will translate to you caring for them as well.

So get to cleaning things up, because summertime is here and new clients are coming.