At the end of every year, I like to think back to the strategies, skills, and habits I learned that have benefited my life and improved my effectiveness as a trainer. In no particular order, here are 10 of the most useful bits of knowledge gained in 2015:
1. Doing more upper body pressing movements with an open palm (push-up and handstand variations) helps to maintain wrist and forearm flexibility, which can become stiff when using exclusively barbells and dumbbells.
2. Training briefly at Awaken Gymnastics Strength Training gym in Denver, CO, gave me a new perspective on what optimal range of motion really is and how much more potential I have to improve.
3. Innovations in strength and performance training come not from using new methods (everything that works has been around for decades) but in applying them in new and creative ways.
4. Goat whey protein is a great alternative protein powder for people who get bloated when they eat standard cow-based whey protein.
5. A large part of being an effect trainer or coach is being able to read peoples emotions and adjust your coaching style accordingly.
6. Knowing when to push and when to back off the intensity is a skill that takes a long time to develop, and is key to maximizing results while staying injury free.
7. What motivates you, may not motivate your clients, and vice versa. While some like to see detailed records of their training numbers, body fat %, etc., others only care about seeing changes in the mirror, or feeling exhausted after a hard training session. Always keep this in mind so that you can balance giving your clients what they need while still keeping motivation high.
8. Keep a healthy respect for caffeine and use it purposefully. If you can’t get going in the morning without caffeine then you have some underlying imbalances to address.
9. All training is interval training. Never take for granted the effect of the length of your rest intervals, even for maximal strength training.
10. A good cure for a lack of creativity or “brain fog” in a short intense workout. Even 10 minutes is enough to boost your mood!
Here’s to more learning in 2016!