A few weeks ago the Personal Trainer Development Center had its first seminar in Toronto. People came from Florida, Chicago, Vancouver, Boston, New York, and all over Canada to be a part of this epic event.
For two days, 45 hungry fitness pros sat comfortably in an intimate little studio at Body and Soul fitness ready to hear Tony Gentilcore, Nick Tumminello, Jon Goodman, Geoff Girvitz, Dan Trink, and some chimp named Mark Young drop some knowledge. Fueled with the free coffee, tea, and healthy snacks their minds they were prepared to learn…and learn they did.
It’s taken me the better part of three weeks to digest, assimilate, and experiment with the stuff I’ve learned.
Bald Headed Bombs from Boston
I expected there to be entrance music blasting Tony Gentilcore’s introduction, much like that of Ultimate Warrior. It didn’t happen however, so I went home.
Okay…not really…but seriously Gentilcore…next time you come to Canada get your act together.
Tony provided an excellent discussion on coressessment & hard training, with large doses of hilarity and the sheen of a freshly shaved bald head. Here’s a few stand out points:
- Most people’s dysfunctions will be drastically improved if they just get f#%king stronger.
- If you can’t put your arms over your head, you haven’t earned the right to do snatches (or perform overhead throws with dwarves)
- Most of the “core” assessments Tony demonstrated didn’t directly assess what most would consider the core. Instead they focused on the mobility and stability of the hips, scapula, and shoulder, making the point clear that dysfunctions in these areas are can impact the core.
- Assessments at Cressey Performance generally involve a table assessment (of the range of motion at individual joints) and a more “functional” assessment where actual movements like the squat, lunge, and other patterns are examined.
- These assessments last as long as 20 minutes, but at the end of the day you need to get people on the floor and get them a training effect. (In other words, don’t dink around all day doing assessments)
“My core can beat up your core”
Nick Tumminello is a super smart high energy dude and if you’ve never seen him live you’re doing yourself a disservice. He’s not afraid to go against the grain when it comes to fitness dogma. He started by discussing the various internet battles about core training as being “my core can beat up your core”. There are many ways to train the core and beliefs will change so don’t get locked into one method. Here are a few more points I took in:
- If you want to hypertrophy the abs you’re going to need to incorporate spinal flexion. Isometric training like planks isn’t going to give you the hypertrophy you’re looking for.
- Did you just do a set of pushups in 30 seconds? You just did a plank. Why add them in?
- If you aren’t a patient don’t train like one.
- If someone is in pain and you’re not a therapist, refer out.
- Your TVA is off only if you’re either paralyzed or dead.
- Core limited exercises are those that rely on the core to remain stable throughout the movement. Nick likes the 1 arm push up.
- Bent over single arm dumbbell rows, single arm overhead presses, single arm cable chest presses, and other such movements also meet this criteria.
Note: this made me realize that although I do a lot of unilateral lower body work with clients I don’t do enough on the upper body. I’ve made this adjustment in the past week and strength asymmetries I’d missed have become readily apparent.
Nick also demonstrated an exercise called the Canadian Sled Dog where I got to hold the reigns and he pulled me around the room for an hour while barking.
Facebook Marketing for Fitness Pros
Jon Goodman’s talk had a lot of points that instantly made sense. Given that a lot of fitness professionals attempt to use Facebook to promote their business I can say that this talk would be very valuable.
- Don’t spam people on Facebook by adding them to random groups or inviting them to bootcamps or events that are nowhere near them. And don’t post stuff on people’s walls without their permission. They will block you. Seriously. It’s annoying.
- You have enough people on your Facebook to provide you personal training clients for a successful business.
- Post a daily fitness tip for top of mind awareness that you are their fitness “go to” person.
- If someone expresses passive interest don’t instantly offer them a free session. Let them know you’re there to help if they have any questions. Let them come to you and be sold on your value before trying to sell them on your services. They’ll be ready to go before you even present prices.
- If you post an article on your Facebook it will only stay in people’s feed for a limited time. The key is to get other people to share it so it keeps coming up in everyone’s feed for a day or more so they’ll have an opportunity to see it.
People share for 3 reasons:
1) It’s funny. 2) They want to build a relationship with the person who wrote the article (believe me…as a blogger…we appreciate it). 3) Or it is an extension their own thoughts.
- Write articles that are already topics on your follower’s minds. They will share them.
- “Linking your Facebook and Twitter profiles is for lazy people. People connect in multiple ways because they want to hear from you in different ways.”
- Keep your eyes peeled for Jon’s upcoming book The Race to the Top and his wicked sweet brand new internet comic Mighty Trainer.
Why Don’t They Just Listen
This is the part where I’m supposed to be too modest to review my own talk… But I’m not.
- I asked how many in the room where in the best physical shape of their lives. Not one hand went up.
- I asked how many in the room believed that the biggest reason that they weren’t in that shape was because they lacked the knowledge or education to achieve that. Nobody!
Fitness isn’t necessarily about not knowing what to do, but about lack of actually doing it. This is just as true with our clients as with ourselves.
- If you can’t help your clients to actually execute a plan, then all the training and nutrition knowledge in the world is useless.
- You wouldn’t get your client to deadlift 200 pounds on their first day in the gym. You’d build up to it over time. Why do we treat dietary changes any differently?
- With each increasing habit, the likelihood of a client sticking to a plan decreases. Introduce one habit at a time and focus on progressive behavior change.
Group Training Mania
As I’ve never actually done group training, I expected that I wouldn’t gain much from Geoff Girvitz’ talk. However, there were solid points that hit home for training groups or individuals.
- Sometimes doing a standard movement assessment is difficult or impossible.
- When training groups/people present an exercise and be prepared to progress, regress, or modify it is based on the needs of each individual client.
- Geoff posted a picture of a group of people training in his gym with one woman having only one leg. When asked how they did it, he simply said “We didn’t make a big deal of it. We just modified the exercises for her.”
I’d always assumed that group exercise couldn’t be this inclusive of people with very specific limitations. Perhaps the limitations I might have imposed in this situation were my own.
- Geoff posted this slide in his talk and made everyone repeat it as an oath. It was freaking fabulous.
New York Up in Tha House
Closing up was Dan Trink. Since I was bunking with him I learned that he too was giving up his Father’s Day with a son only 3 weeks old. At first I felt terrible, but I later realized I hated him for being so damn jacked so got over it.
Dan is a super nice and not nearly as frightening as his massive build would have you believe (except for the moment when someone almost actually put a starchy carb on his plate at breakfast and he left him in a pool of blood). Below are some key points from Dan’s talk:
- Workouts can incorporate several different strength qualities, but there should be an order to them.
- I got the impression that Dan prefers to periodize programs in phases (power phase, strength phase, etc), but his discussion centered on the combination within one workout. He recommended the order of power, strength, followed by accessory work.
- One attendee asked during the panel discussion, “What is something you would go back and tell yourself as a 22 year old personal trainer?”
Dan’s answer: “Remember that you won’t always be 22 years old”.
In other words, prepare for the future. Plan. Invest. Too many (even seemingly popular) trainers end up living with very limited income as they get older. Think ahead.
Food and Frolic
Any discussion of the seminar wouldn’t be complete with mentioning the Saturday night social. That night all the presenters and attendees went out for dinner which carried on until late in the evening. As T-Nation author Jon-Erik Kawamoto was already in attendance and coach Lee Boyce showed up for some eats, there was plenty of big name talent to go around…and arm wrestling. Yes, arm wrestling.
After spending time with so many great people (and learning a shit ton), I know this event is going to become a mainstay and expect it to be bigger next time around. I can’t wait!
Were you at the PTDC seminar? Tell us your thoughts and what you’d like to see in the next one. Comment below and, as always, please share. Also make sure to “like” thePTDC on Facebook.