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
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).