What I Learned At: The Perform Better Functional Training Summit: Part Two – The Touchy Feely Stuff

6 Jul

In part one, I talked about the mechanics that were discussed at the summit.  There were a lot of smart people with a lot of knowledge to share.  But it wasn’t all prime movers and primal patterns, there were some awesome lessons about life and business to be had.  Which brings me to Part Two, the touchy feely stuff:

Thomas Plummer: Busy does not equal effective. 

BAM!  This one is specifically for me.  I am really good at keeping busy.  I can make lists and take notes for hours.  But those lists and notes are for naught if they don’t lead to results.  It’s the same with each training session.  If an exercise is just keeping you busy, not getting you results – why are you doing it?  And I’m not just talking about abz and guns results, I’m talking about quality of movement results.  If the answer is, ‘I don’t really know’ – find out.  Then decide whether you are being effective or just keeping busy.

Start with your expected outcome and work backwards.    Go big and take everybody. 

Most of the business experts mentioned this – start with your goal and work it back.  This can apply to every area of development; business, social interactions, training, derby, whatever.  Start with your goal in mind, figure out what it will take to get you to your goal (talk to people who can help along the way), make actionable steps to get to that goal, and then get after it.  And while you’re at it, make your goal a powerful one.  Yes, it needs to be realistic, but it can be lofty too.  Dream up the biggest goal you can, and work it backwards in a realistic way – that way your big goal won’t seem so unattainable anymore.

The two biggest barriers to entry are cost and embarrassment.  Fitness is an acquired taste.  

This also got mentioned a few times – fitness professionals are crazytown.  We like carrying all our food around in tupperware, cold showers, and getting up stupid early in the morning to get super sweaty.  The average person might not be a fan of these things.  To be an effective coach, you need to meet people where they’re at.  Same goes with derby – new skaters aren’t always ready for derby to take over all of their free time and to push their body to the limit three times a week.  Here’s a stat for you: 50 to 90 percent of new gym goers stop in the first 8 weeks due to injury.  If we don’t put ourselves in their shoes, we will lose them, we might even hurt them.    Remember, it’s not just physical injury – there’s emotional pain too.  Lots of beginners are terrified of making a fool of themselves on the track or in the gym.  They need to feel safe, to know that what you’re doing is just for them, and to gain confidence.  Without confidence, they’ll stay beginners.  Plan your fresh meat practices, and your training sessions, with that in mind.

We change lives.

If you can get someone through those first 8 weeks without hurting them, if you can forge a relationship of trust, if you can help them to see what they love about fitness and what they love about themselves – their life will change.  If you can stick it out through that first derby season, your life will change.  You will acquire that taste for activity, and you will be so much more awesome than you thought you could be.  That’s why I do this.

Alwyn Cosgrove: Do something better than everyone else.  Even if they don’t join, they’ll know you’re the best. 

While I totally agree with Alwyn (who is hilarious and was totally worth the price of admission on his own), this is a challenging concept for me.  I’m pretty new to the training game, about a year in, and I don’t feel like I am better than anyone at anything yet.  This can be massively discouraging.  One thing I really took away from the summit was that it needn’t be.  Mastery is a journey.  Do you think that Gotham is just like, ‘we’re the best, that’ll do’?  No.  They keep pushing to be better than everyone else all the time.  Figure out where your skills and interests lie, and keep getting better and better.  Eventually, people will start thinking you’re the best.

See the opportunity, not the obstacle.    Don’t get bitter – get busy and get better. 

On that note – if someone is better than you, see the value in that.  Talk to them, learn from them – get better.  If you lose a game, look at how the other team beat you, refine your skills.  Turn your jealousy into admiration, then turn your admiration into action.

Rachel CosgroveYour clients may only have that one hour to give you – make it count. 

We lead super-busy lives.  Getting to the gym can be a challenge for folks with kids, demanding jobs, derby practice, etc.  When you’re at the gym (as a trainer or as a client), make the session count.  Don’t just go through the motions, go after your goals.  Make every session a step on the way to what you want to accomplish.  Same with derby practice – make sure your skaters see the value in every drill, explain how the skills will relate to game day.  Don’t just throw in filler for no reason – make sure that each minute of track (or gym) time gets you closer to being the kind of athlete you want to be.

Who will I be when this is over?

Rachel told a story about her niece, Marie, who has cerebral palsy, who was undergoing surgery to reconstruct her legs so that she will be able to walk with ease.  This is a determined little girl who pushed past using a walker, and is now ready to take on the world.  When asked about the surgery, Marie said “when this is over, I will jump like a frog and run like a cheetah”.  Amazing.  That’s the kind of mentality we all need when tackling a tough goal.  Maybe playing your first game, or going to the gym for the first time isn’t reconstructive surgery, but it is a challenge.  Have a clear idea of who you will be when you’ve made your way to the other end.  I will be an athlete.  I will be strong.  I will be a champion.  See it, say it, get there.


Martin RooneyYou can be tired, don’t look tired.

 I worked out with Martin.  I was tired.  I tried not to look tired.



Dave JackBuild a foundation and an umbrella.

Dave Jack was another of my favourites.  He spoke with such passion and drive – it was hard not to listen.  He was one of the people who helped me to feel like, even though we’re all at different levels of skill and experience, we’re all in it together and we need to help each other get better.  To grow, as a trainer, a derby skater, or a person, you need a foundation of skills and education – your bag of tricks.  You also need an umbrella – your network of support.  People whose skills complement yours, and who you can turn to when you don’t have the answer.

Step up as you, proclaim your rarity.  Only do things you really mean – when you speak from passion, people will listen.  Wisdom is where intelligence meets love.  

Let’s be honest, training roller derby skaters (mostly in Southwestern Ontario) is a pretty itty bitty tiny niche.  However, I know roller derby.  I love roller derby.  And I love me some roller derby skaters.  When I talk about injury prevention and injury rehab, it gets my fire lit.  That’s who I am, that’s what I care about.  I absolutely cherish my non-derby clients too, but they know I’m a derby girl and that’s what they love about me.  Don’t worry that your passion is too narrow, or too silly, or too inconsequential.  It’s yours, own it – when you speak from the place where you are most yourself, people will care about what you have to say.

Rising tides raise all ships.

Fitness people, derby people, people people – we like to point out what others are doing wrong.  How about let’s not do that anymore?  Let’s tell people what they are doing right.  Let’s celebrate each other’s passions.  Let’s encourage each other, let’s share information, let’s all get better.  Why on earth wouldn’t we want to? 

To sign off the way Dave did – I’ll see you all when tides are high.

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