Thursday, 28 October 2010

The habits of succesful clients

Hello all,

First off, well done again to my clients, friends, blog readers who took part in the GFD over the past month... in total we lost 31kg (11 people) in 3 weeks - pretty awesome. Special mention to my client DG who is down 40lbs since the summer, im  guessing another 15-20lbs to go and thats his long term goal done. bring it on!

Well done my golf team "Velvet Thunder" for retaining the Think Pink golf title this year, thats 4 competitions and 4 wins for the now legendary foursome (invite only). We also got some local press action for that! Haha.

Onto the blog... This is another one i have been waiting to write for a long time, so i will get right to it. For a while now i have been noticing trends in my clients and other gym members, trends for success. It has become very obvious to me that the clients/gym users i see getting amazing results all share common habits and characteristics.

So what am i saying?

Im saying that if you read the blog below and copy the habits of my most successful clients, you will have a great chance of sharing their successes in the gym.

Remember... "success leaves clues"
World class athletes like Rafael Nadal have a system for success

"Success leaves clues" I love this saying, its simple and spot on. Look at what the most succesful people do and copy it, simple right? So how come many of the people who step into gyms are not getting the results they want? I will highlight what i see as my top habits of my most succesful clients, let's see if you share any of them:

1) Having the foresight to learn and change

Time after time i get 'know-it-all' clients walk into the gym and tell me exactly what they want, when they want it, how they should do it (whilst being in terrible shape) blah blah blah. Fact: My very best clients come in to the gym with an open mind and a willingness to try something new. If i explain the training ahead will be hard, they don't complain or attempt to talk me into a new regime - they just DO.

Take home message - If you are a client, remember that the trainer (should) know the best exercises/strategies for you. Pay attention, focus on the session and listen to what the trainer is asking before offering your opinion. If you do not get the results you are after then change trainer/gym. There are good and bad fitness professionals out there - if you want a good one, come to our gym! (Shameless plug for RCC but im actually fully booked - get in the queue!)

Im a huge fan of salma hayek's.... focus and attention!

2) Attendance

I never realised this before and now it seems so simple. People who turn up when they should - usually get results. At the end of each month i total up my sessions and check each persons totals for accounting purposes. I started to notice a trend. My most succesful clients were not missing sessions.

Example unsuccessful client phonecall: "Hi Nathan, I think im starting to come down the flu, best leave it until next week, bye!"

Example Successful client: No phonecall, just turns up (looking terrible): "Hi Nathan, Ive been on the toilet all night, ive definately got some form of psneumonia and my right arm is broken, but there is absolutely NO WAY im missing deadlifting day today!".

My examples may be over the top, but you get my meaning, right? They just turn up. I can give you my top 5 clients of all-time right now and the stand-out attribute about them all (above talent/fitness) was they always turn up.

Take-home message - If you are always cancelling sessions, dont blame your trainer that you're still fat, blame yourself! Tough love 101, get used to it.

You are chubby... get over it.

3) A natural talent/work ethic

Surprisingly, this is not a compulsory attribute for gym success and some of my greatest clients successes have come from absolute beginners in the gym. Importantly, they had a great work ethic.

I will say however, that fitness is probably the biggest reason why people cant get into great shape... sounds pretty straight forward? Think about this... I can create the best training session ever in the world of fitness, people could travel all over to speak to me about, papers would print it, world-wide fame, etc... but what if nobody could do it? It becomes useless. Fitness and talent become the limiting factor.

I have created a program recently for one of my young clients who wants to be a fast bowler (cricket). I love the program, he thinks its awesome, every time we complete a session he seems to get stronger and fitter in all the areas we are targetting - its spot on. However, I cannot give this program to 60% people i train because they couldn't do it... so is it a great program?

Take home message - Talent/Fitness is not necessary for great results but it is a great starting place to achieve fast results.

It wouldn't be difficult to train Usain Bolt

Im guessing a session with Mr Blobby would be a f*cking nightmare!

Take home message - choose your parents wisely.

4) Nutritional adherence from the start (90% rule)

I can't begin to explain how important this is. If you have heard the saying "you can't out-train a bad diet" then you have heard correct. I won't elaborate too much on this point as its a whole blog in itself - it is vitally important that you live by the 90% rule of eating well to get good results.

Not only do crap foods affect the way you look but they affect the way you feel. We could both eat 3000 calories per day - mine could be all fresh produce, vegetables, lean protein, good fats, etc. and yours could be fast food, Latte's, doughnuts and cheese (not together obviously... thats gross) - it wouldn't take a genius to work out which one of us a) looks better b) performs better c) has better moods and d) is generally more intelligent about the way we look after of our bodies. (Me, if you weren't following)

The 90% rule

I realise that there are people reading this now thinking that fit people are boring, they dont eat any bad food, they dont drink alcohol and live like a monks to stay in shape. Your wrong. People who are in shape - know the rules of eating. 90% adherence to a healthy lifestyle, 10% anything you want.

Work your 10% out. average 4 meals/snacks per day x 7 days = 28 meals/snacks a week

Divide by 10 = 2.8. round up to 3 meals/snacks 'off plan' per week (roughly)

No need to get all anal about the numbers just know the rules, you can't eat shit all the time and look good. If you do look good im guessing that 'ole father time will catch up with you at some point. Probably something nasty and sudden, let's hope not eh?

G.W Bush was shocked when i told him about the 90% rule

This is not the end of the story, you must also exercise (5 hours per week is optimal - another blog). If you spent 6 hours a week in the gym (which you don't) that would still only be about 3% of your entire week.

Take home message - its what you do in the 97%+ time of your week that will dictate how successful you are in your fitness goals.I hope that's an 'A-ha' moment for some of you?!

I had written other attributes like Positive mental attitude, finishing sets/reps, etc. but they are pretty much covered in the first 3 headings of this blog.

Finally... another interesting habit to consider is training time. In one the gyms i used to work at, I tested the bodyfat of 10 random early morning trainers and 10 random late evening trainers. The results shown a significantly lower reading in the morning group than the evening. Is this valid? who knows... i may have been just trying to prove my own theory. But if you look at the people who are first to arrive in the gym each morning and the ones who are last at night - there is a definite difference in attitude, confidence and general approach to training at the gym. I always thought that the early crowd (6-8am) wanted to be there and had a system that they enjoyed where as the late evening crowd (7-9pm) seemed like they had to be there and had nothing else better to do (we used to call the friday night crowd "The lonely hearts club" - Im sorry if you were in that club - or indeed are still in it!)

I may be completely wrong and there are exceptions to every rule, what do you think?

All the above habits are things i have noticed from my own clients and the 1000's sessions i have done in the past 4 years. Do you share any with my best clients? It would be safe to say that if you do not (share any of the above) you will not get the results you're after. Realise that the limiting factor in your fitness quest is probably YOU and the reason why you actually train or Take PT sessions anyway. You are paying for a result not a friend. Friendship and respect will often come from a great result. Look at my clients they all hate me... but they are getting in great shape! (that was hopefully not true)

Share with Facebook friends if you like this blog, spread the word, comment, leave abuse!

Next blog i will actually write a training program!!! (that's new for me) :)


  1. Nath, you say that in your opinion 5 hours in the gym per week is optimal. What would the average weights/cardio split be? I appreciate that it will change as the programme changes, but whjat would an 'average' split be?

  2. @ Anonymous - let me correct myself, 5 hours of exercise and activity per week is optimal. I currently play football and tennis (1 x week) and strength training (3 x week) and (time depending) another shorter conditioning session (sprints, rowing, etc.)which takes me over 5 hours activity.

    If i were to do all gym stuff, personally i would go with 2 x upper body focus, 2 x lower body focus and 1 x core/conditioning with bodyweight exercises. Each would have a full warm up and some form of short interval cardio at the end.

    I definately wouldn't go back to body part training because my goals aren't to be big but the average split still tends to be back/biceps, shoulder/triceps, chest then legs (legs...if ever). it all depends on your goals?

  3. Hmm, interesting about the early and late trainers. I always do weight training after work and think its for a negative reason. I say negative but i dont want to wake up at 6am instead of 7am... But i will train every evening that I planned to do. So that must be an

  4. the majority of people who work will not have time/access to a gym beofre work so need to go after (say 5pm-6pm), this is normal as its the best time for them. In the blog i was talking about the group that train after this post-work group. the 7pm+ trainers.

    early morning trainers (i guess) are usually more organised people and use their time better, also you need to be motivated enough to get up and be in a gym at that time. its not a 100% nailed on theory, just an observation from time spent watching people in gyms. I hardly ever see anyone in the late group really pushing themselves or with an effective training plan... mostly slow boring cardio and random exercise choices


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