I like most people immediately shut down and am unable to listen to individuals that I perceive as un-authentic. We often refuse to take any type of advice from someone who is unable or unwilling to walk the walk themselves, regardless of the quality of the information. I love hearing the stories from fit individuals who were told by their unfit doctors that according to the height and weight chart they are overweight and were able to say it with a straight face.
Authenticity is the X-factor that the world class have discovered. True greatness comes from knowing your WHY and living those principles. When people see you as authentic their guard comes down and they allow you to connect with them, they begin to invest in you because they see you are passionate about what you believe. I love teaching but for me to be effective I also have to love learning, no one wants to listen to a teacher but we all love to connect with other students and share each other’s unique strengths. Building our core around a solid set of beliefs will greatly influence our daily actions and decisions, pair that with talent and hard work and you turn into a leader that people want to follow.
I have always been a huge fan of Peter Twist and Todd Durkin as fitness professionals. I have had the amazing opportunity to spend some time with them through the Combine360 program and meeting them as made me respect them even more. I was leading a station for a Combine360 challenge workout at IMG that Twist was participating in and when he got to my station I was blow away. His physical prowess and athleticism was impressive, he is authentic to the core and practices everything he build his business and training on. The next morning at 6am I bumped into Todd at the hotel fitness center. He was leading the group through a workout early that morning but even though on the road he made sure to get his in, just like he would expect his clients and athletes to do. A strong message from an industry leader to all this clients that fitness is a way of life and does not take breaks, a habit he displays in his own daily routine.
In the business of fitness I feel that authenticity trumps all else. It does not matter how much you know, if you are not able or willing to apply that knowledge to yourself you come across as a fraud, or worst someone who does not believe in what you are selling. I’m not saying that every fitness professional needs to look like they can grace the cover of M&F (lord knows I will not be appearing anytime soon) but there are little things you can do to show your clients that you are authentic.
· Never demonstrate an exercise you can’t perform properly yourself for 2 reasons, people need a good visual representation of what they need to do and if you can’t do it yourself can you really safely coach someone else how to do it?
· Field test all of your workouts. How challenging was the workout? Did it flow well? Was the intended goal met? These questions are really easy to answer if you try it out for yourself first, your experience will also help improve your coaching and cuing.
· If you preach a certain kind of fitness than that is what you should practice. It is important for your workouts to be in line with the methods you use for your clients, the workouts of course will not be the same but if you always talk about the benefits of stretching or how great kettlebells are for strength and you never do either people will begin to wonder. We can strive to be living example for my clients and athletes.
· Own your short comings. We all have weaknesses and things we struggle with, the worst course of action we can take is try to hide them. Authenticity is taking ownership of your weaknesses not hiding behind your strengths.
In closing; you have heard (or read) me speak about the importance of education In the fitness industry. I believe the better we understand the body and movement the more impact we can have but that will only take us so far. Knowing that a push up requires horizontal shoulder flexion on the transvers plane and elbow flexion on the sagittal plane and wrist extension on the sagittal plane makes far less impact on our clients if we can show them what it should look like. They might be impressed with our knowledge and understanding but that will be quickly washed away if they see us as un-authentic. The partnership of knowledge and the proof of its application will help you set an example that your clients will want to follow& allow you to lead them to the results they desire.