Marc Pogorzelski comes to us from Wixom, Michigan, where he currently owns and operates his own private training studio. He’s not just a coach. Marc is a comic book-loving coach. Just ask his clients. They might tell you he often trains them while wearing a number of his favorite superhero t-shirts. The best part of his day? Watching his clients crush their previous personal bests.
Location: Wixom, Michigan
Current position: Head coach
Certifications: USAW Sports Performance Level 1, Precision Nutrition Level 1
Number of years in the industry: 10
What’s the one word that describes how you approach your personal training/coaching?
What is your main training focus? For yourself and your clients?
My main focus is on strength and conditioning. I want my clients to continually exceed what they thought was possible. Most clients never believe they could deadlift, squat, or ever try the Olympic lifts. By focusing primarily on strength, intervals, and so on, clients have measureable success to back up how they're feeling (improved confidence, energetic, etc).
What’s your morning routine like?
I don't take early morning clients (anything before 7a.m.). I know that I'll be at my best if I workout first. After my workout, I talk to my wife for a few minutes, play with the dog, and then tackle a few clients (not literally, of course). I then spend the late morning or early afternoon working on my website and meal plans, and checking up on any marketing plans I have.
What’s your favorite aspect about being a personal trainer?
The fact that I'm not bound by anything or to any one ideal.
If I learn something new, I can apply the technique whenever appropriate. Working with different clients helps me learn new ways of coaching. You can't just phone in to have a brief chat with your clients and call it good. You constantly have to mold and adapt yourself to the individual needs of various clients.
What is your best time-saving shortcut to do better work?
I don't allow any clutter.
That means I don't let anything "sit." Because if you have to email clients, follow up on leads, write programs, and so on, it all gets bogged down under the weight of a growing stack of more “things to do.” With the exception of making a note while working with a client, nothing should be labeled "I'll do it later." Do it right away, if you can.
What are some of your favorite technological tools to help you stay on top of everything?
I use the basics:
- Google Drive
- Microsoft Excel
What’s your client screening process like? How do you decide how to start writing a program or working with a client?
I first meet with a client in an initial consultation. I try to understand why they want a trainer and what I can do to help. In other words, I dig deep into the real reason they want to achieve a certain goal. That in itself is a skill, but if I can understand why losing weight or improving performance is so important, the client becomes more human to me and more relatable.
While I try to work with everyone, I politely refer the prospect to a semi-group training or another trainer if he or she is only concerned about price, and skips talking about goals and personal history. Essentially, I'm looking for clients who want value, not a cheap price.
Clients who sign up then go through a postural and performance assessment. I focus the workout on what they want to achieve while trying to improve their limiting factors. I usually write out the program, let it sit ‘til the end of the day (or the end of the next), and look it over again to see if I still feel strongly about it.
Regardless of whether I need to rewrite it, I then reduce the training volume by 20-30 percent. My logic is that it's always better to start off with having to add work than to take it away. Plus, I want the first few sessions to be a little slower paced and easier to get into and recover from, rather than bombarding the client with a tremendous training load.
How do you organize all of your clients and schedules?
I simply record their times in my phone at the end of the session, then back it up on Outlook when I leave the studio. I’ve never had a problem with scheduling clients.
What are you currently reading? And is there a book you recommend that all coaches read (doesn’t have to be fitness related)?
I'm currently reading Kelly Starrett's Becoming a Supple Leopard and Jeffrey Gitomer's The Little Yellow Book of Yes! Attitude.
I'm also reading the first book in the Game of Thrones series, but I guess I'm a little late to the party on that one.
What other activities or hobbies do you engage in to step away from “just being a coach?”
I try to break away from the coaching world by playing with my dog, training for Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and Muay Thai, and making sure my wife and I go out once or twice each week.
I'm also an avid reader of comics. I grew up with a love affair for superheroes, so I'm literally in heaven these days with all comic book-related material. If I'm not competing in anything, then I spend my Saturdays eating out, though not necessarily focused on any meal plan. My wife and I have a daughter on the way, so these days we are busy getting ready for that.
I try to be as normal as possible because I hate how people think that because I'm a trainer I want to workout 24/7. Sure, I may think about it, but I certainly need time for myself.
Your favorite quote:
"For things to change, you have to change." -Jim Rohn
What was the best lesson you learned when you first started that now helps you out a lot?
You can't help everyone. You may try, but it’s better to find your personality, express it, and nail your niche.
Then there are people who won't want to work with you--and that's okay, too.
What have you learned recently that you wished you learned on Day One?
Know your value and own it.
Once you have your identity as a coach and your programming is down to where you get people results, there's nothing wrong with knowing your worth. I spent years working for someone who was terrified of raising his prices. It got to the point where he actually tried to skip paying me while having clients pay the same rate.
As long as you're continuously learning, taking good care of your clients, being honest, and getting results, you should have no problem with solidifying your own value. Anyone who argues price with you is more concerned about landing a bargain than he is getting value.
What are your future aspirations?
I'm currently working with some AAA hockey players. I'd like to expand that into dealing with semi-pro or collegiate hockey players as my niche. I've found them to be hard-working and a pleasure to deal with. Plus, I have a sweet spot for the sport, so it's a win-win.
Turning a love of training into a successful vocation is a challenge for many coaches. Any advice?
Appreciate the small things.
We get so wrapped up in trying to make big changes, such as landing a certain number of clients or making a certain amount of money, that we lose sight of the small things along the way.
To this day, I still get pleasure from opening the big bay door to my studio, along with putting on music that clients and I love. Checking the mail at my studio is a privilege because I know that years of having trained people at 4 a.m. and scrubbing toilets were the steps that led me here.
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