TAOW = Know the Tools in Your Tool Box

May 31, 2012

A few weeks ago I read a blog post by Mike Boyle entitled “Is your Box Too Small”. The article discussed  expanding your “fitness tool kit,” and developing your knowledge base to avoid becoming one- dimensional. For example, if your only tool is a hammer, then everything looks like a nail. To add a dynamic element, it is extremely beneficial and challenging to develop a new tool for both you and your clients in your workouts. Sadly, through my observation, I believe that most trainers do not invest in new tools and seem to only want to use that hammer.  At the end of the day our goal is to get our clients’ results; why not learn the most we can and apply it so our clients achieve their goals more effectively?

When I do see personal trainers take initiative and utilize different tools, I often see them misused (TRX Suspension, Rip Trainers and Kettlebells, just to name a few). Trainers should strive to use new tools and learn and integrate new techniques into their clients’ workouts, but they should have a professional level of expertise or a certification. Attend a TRX course and you will see the many progressions and regressions from it. These courses are eye opening and really explain not just how the tool is used but why it is used in certain ways.  Furthermore, TRX produces wonderful educational material which is free of charge on their website and blogs if you are unable to attend the course. Listed below is a link to a video that I have watched several  times which addresses the common mistakes many trainers make when using the TRX.

Additionally, there is even more information available regarding Kettlebells and their proper use. If you cannot get a Kettlebell certification, please watch the video demonstrations like it is game film. As a trainer, you should watch these videos over and over until you feel confident that you understand the moves and proper form completely. You must be meticulous, especially when it comes to Kettlebells. Currently, I am working with a client who has restarted personal training after a severe back injury he sustained using Ketttlebells incorrectly with another trainer who did not stress proper Kettlebell form.  His particular injury occurred over a year ago and he still has a substantial amount of physical therapy to even return to his prior level. Not knowing how to use your new tools is not only dangerous to your clients, but to your business as well. Case in point my client; I train him while my wife, Sarah, now trains his wife. His previous trainer who caused his injury has subsequently lost two clients because he inaccurately thought he could just pick up a Kettlebell and integrate it into workouts without being completely informed. Once you absorb all the information about the tools in your toolbox, you can produce phenomenal results for your clients and your business. As trainers, we owe it to our clients to give them the best service possible.

My most recent purchase was Josh Henkin’s Ultimate Sandbag™.  Thus far I have watched the free introductory DVD twice and almost every video he has put on YouTube and I downloaded the sandbag training book on my e-reader while waiting for it to arrive in the mail (just ask my wife how tired she is of hearing Josh’s voice). I now feel confident in teaching the techniques and principles that the sandbag is built on. I believe that this product is benefical and the information is useful.

I also encourage you to think creatively yet practically about the tools you can use. For my current in- home business model, a sandbag may not be the most convenient thing to work with, but it works for me. Hauling a sandbag around is totally worth it when I take it out and see the excited look on my clients’ faces. It becomes a challenge for them and they want to master it. Once they have it is another goal they have overcome and I, as a result, become a better trainer.

As you continue to hone your craft, be sure to apply these takeaways to your training:

  1. Use tools that apply to your philosophies of training. If you have not used the tool in recent months, remove it from your training repertoire. Chances are the tool is not in line with your philosophy and you will not use it. Personally, I like to train  with the TRX products, Kettlebells, Ropes, Dumbbells, Barbells, Body Weight, Val Slides and Bands, to name a few favorites. Learn as much as you can about the tools you feel most passionate about.
  2. Learn from others who are the best in the industry and specific fields. People like Todd Durkin, Mike Boyle, Robert Dos Remedios, Alwyn & Rachel Cosgrove and Juan Carlos Santana; the list goes on and on (almost any presenter on the Perform Better circuit). These giants of the industry change the way we think and push us to become better. Almost all of them have free content on the internet for us to learn from. Buy their DVD’s, watch their YouTube clips and pay attention, you might learn a few new techniques. 
  3. Become so good at using your tools that you can teach others how to properly use them. This one seems so simple but it actually is not. If you are not doing the above two points then you are behind the eight ball. Know the basics and build from that. Using your equipment properly will get your clients better results, keep them injury free and, most importantly, keep them coming back.

In Health,

Dave Quevedo


A Super Week Starts with Hard Work.

January 30, 2012

The Week of WOW begins tonight. We are officially one week away from the Super Bowl. This will be a week of firsts for me as I am headed to my first Super Bowl, first time watching a client (Eli Manning) perform on the biggest stage of their profession, first time headed to the great state of Indiana. Although this is a week of firsts for me, it seems familiar in a sense. The past two seasons friend/mentor/super star trainer Todd Durkin went through this week with his clients Drew Brees (2010) and Aaron Rodgers (2011). I knew Todd would be an excellent resource for me being that he was there for both of those Super Bowls, so I made sure to get as much advice as possible when it came to this week.

The piece of  Todd’s advice that resonates the most is to enjoy this once in a lifetime opportunity. As I think about this experience, I reflect on all of the hard work that brought me to this point. To achieve success in life and in your career it takes a tremendous amount of effort and hard work. This past off season was an example of how hard work pays off. The NFL lockout allowed me to work one on one with Eli and I got to see first hand the work ethic of someone at the top of his game. Seeing Eli reach this point again in his career inspires me to continue to push harder and as this week begins I reflect on how my hard work has gifted me this super opportunity. This week will be an honor of sharing this opportunity  with my family, friends, valued clients, fellow fitness professionals and all my followers.


Lessons From the Trenches – Part 1

January 23, 2012

Listen Up Trainers and Coaches because this one is for you. I was inspired to write this blog post today by a recent encounter/experience I had.  The experience wasn’t the best one, but I am writing this to provide a positive approach. A few months ago I came in contact with a trainer who boasted about which celebrities he trained and what celebrity trainer mentored him and yada yada yada (fyi no one can confirm any of these clients or the mentor)… This trainer has the credentials, the certifications, the degrees, and certainly had tons of clients (mainly because of the claims of who his celeb clients were). The one thing that seemed to be missing was the results promised to clients.

It’s no secret as you might be able to tell by my Facebook and Twitter posts that Eli Manning is a client of mine, and superstar trainer Todd Durkin is my friend/mentor.  That’s well and good, but no clients would train with us unless we got them results. Telling people who you might train, or who you may have trained under will not get your clients success, nor will it get you success. People hire you to get tailored programs for their success, not some generic” program of the day” that you put clients through that day because you’re either too lazy or ego so inflated to deliver a worthy product.  Lets us not forget, we are in a results driven business. At the end of the day it may be cool who you train and who your mentor is, but none of that matters if you aren’t getting your clients the results they are paying for. If you want to provide your clients with the best experience possible here are some tips to help you out. Some of these tips are so easy to do it might surprise you.

  1. Mind your body language: Standing there with your arms folded is no way to make it seem like you’re interested in your client. Neither is having a seat on a stability ball  because you’re want a seat. There is nothing wrong with getting down on the ground and engaging with your client, while they are doing a floor based exercise. But looking like you’d want to be anywhere else in the world won’t get you clients nor does it keep them. Mind your body language.  EVERYTHING SPEAKS!
  2. Keep your eyes on the prize! Stay focused on your client, not on the TV, or who ever walks by. This one is self explanatory but I’ll go ahead and give you further insight.  I visualize that there is a 3 foot belt/strap attached between myself and the client. I very seldom stray away unless it’s to get another piece of equipment. Having that “connection” to your clients is a great way to stay engaged in your session, and will make the client feel as if you’re actually paying attention to them.
  3. Give your clients what they need encased in what they want. Find out what your clients’ likes and dislikes are and tailor your programming as such. That doesn’t mean throw out the lunges, push ups and pull ups. Of course to get certain results your clients are going to do exercises they particularly don’t like. For example, your client may want a six pack and want to do crunches on an ab machine until they’re blue in the face, but you may know that planks are a better suited exercise for a preexisting back condition. As their coach/trainer your job is to find an alternate method to give them the best results.

Hopefully this post can help some trainers along their journey and perhaps help clients choose the right trainer. In this case its not who you know but what you know and how you apply it that matters the most. Be sure to check back shortly for part 2 of Lessons From the Trenches.