Issue Date: August 2011 Web Features, Posted On: 8/8/2011

You Come First
By Ernie Schramayr

Did you ever hear the analogy of the shoemaker with holes in his shoes? ...or the dentist with bad teeth?

Too often professionals find themselves too busy taking care of their businesses and their clients to look after themselves. This all-too-common phenomenon hits almost every trainer at some point. Long hours, fatigue, burnout, stress and lack of focus combine to create a situation where it becomes really easy for your fitness levels to slip. When you are around fitness and training all of the time, there are periods when the last thing you want to do with your free time is work out.

I can say that after 20+ years in the industry, it has happened to me on more than one occasion. It has taken some real focus, discipline and planning for me to maintain my edge and actually remain a fitness role model for my clients. The way that I've done this is to treat myself like a client and design a plan for me that evolves and changes over time.

When we meet with a client, one of the first things that we do is create a "Yearly Plan." It is an idea that we have adopted from Juan Carlos Santana's Fundamentals training manual. I really believe that this is THE most important part of a personal training plan and will determine if someone is successful or not. It is the roadmap and the guide that will influence every single workout that you do.

To make someone's (in this case, my) plan meaningful and effective, we take a Yearly Planner and write in "peaking moments" on the planner itself. In my case, the Warrior Dash race in July, hockey season in October, beach holiday in November, mountain bike race in April and then the next Warrior Dash in July again. The point is to create mini-periodization plans so that it doesn't feel like you are on an endless treadmill getting you nowhere.

To prepare for hockey season requires an entirely different type of training and different nutrition than looking good on the beach! I look at the length of each of the mini-plans and then break them down into training "phases." As each plan will be of a different length, the phases will be anywhere between two and four weeks in length. Knowing that any plan or program you are doing will change in four weeks or less makes it much easier to stick with and to really focus on a specific outcome.

The different phases that we use at All Canadian Fitness are Conditioning, Strength, Hypertrophy, Endurance and Metabolic Training. These words have become part of our language and make it simple to know what ANYONE is working on at any time.

We all have to work out and eat right, and the Yearly Plan and phase training has given me a valuable tool to prevent me from losing my focus and then losing my fitness edge. Doing it myself has also given me the opportunity to tweak things for our clients as I have found out what works best and what just doesn't work.

If you don't look after YOU first, you cannot help your clients. If you don't help THEM, you won't have a business and you will no longer be an entrepreneur.

Ernie Schramayr is an ACE-Certified Personal Trainer and the owner of All Canadian Fitness, a private training studio in Hamilton, Ontario (www.allcanadianfitness.com).

Topic: Entrepreneur Web Column

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