Monday, June 12, 2017

Be part of the solution

On a Saturday morning I watched a group of girls aged approximately 6-8 years old performing walking lunges in their warm-up for club sport. It was early morning on a winters day, and every single one of them was using both hands on their lead knee as they struggled to come out of each rep. Heart breaking. Tragically I can see this in all sports of all age groups in the fields and playing arenas in any city in the western world. At least anywhere with internet connection, where dominant trends spread more rapidly.  A predominance of misguided, non-effective, career killing and quality of life damaging training methods.
I’m sure the coach, a middle aged and enthusiastic man, was well-meaning.  In the same way the misguided physical coaches globally are for the most part well meaning – for some reason they don’t ask the question and dig deep enough to understand there is a better way.
In the case of walking lunges in the warm up its potentially life-changing knee degeneration being created in group of unsuspecting and trusting minors.
If you share my vision that the direction of training in this world is heading in an inappropriate direction you can be part of the solution, rather than being part of the problem.  Because as KSI coaches we are very clear in our vision – there is a better way, athletes and clients training to be better deserve that better way.  We are committed to giving them the best so they can be their best. This is measured by zero injury and superior outcomes in training and competitive. Podium performances.
However if you, like the coach that winter Saturday morning with his group of 6-8 year old girls, leave your training decision inquires at the level of ‘well EVERYBODY is doing this’, then I’m confident you shouldn’t bother reading any further. On the flip side, if you share my beliefs that what is being done is simply not good enough, then read on.
I appreciate that possibly the vast majority of sports and physical preparation coaches care more for conformity than about the results. That’s normal. That’s average.  It’s not going to change. 90% of every group is committed to conformity and being ordinary. 5% are drive to be good. 5% won’t rest before greatness is achieved.  You choose your group, your tribe. You can be ordinary and average. Or you can be good. Or you can be great. At KSI we are driven to be great. You can share that vision, not just in lip service but in the same metrics we use to objectively confirm the superiority of the KSI way.
I appreciate that possibly the vast majority of physical preparation coaches care more for the perception of popularity, how many hits on their website, how many social media followers, than their ability to positively impact the lives of the end user.  Or how low their body fat is, or how big their biceps are. How much ‘knowledge’ they have, or how many certificates they have. However there will also be some of you that are drawn to the impact you have on the end user, more than the perception you create with your peers.
Throughout my professional career I have solved problems the world faces in training through disruptive innovations that ultimately path through the ‘three stages of truth’ – first they are rejected, then ridiculed and then adopted and claimed by a trend-spotting marketer from the north-east or the south-west!
KSI Coaches are taught these innovations at a level of excellence not imaginable to the rest of the world. And they are taught innovations that have not been released into public domain, as they rise through the levels and become trusted teachers of the KSI way.
We put the athlete/client first. We let impact determine our results. We let our results do the talking. We under promise and over deliver.  We prefer the marketing that comes from the way we change peoples lives over the marketing most use on social media to create a perception of themselves.  We are humble and solution focused.  We make a difference in the lives of others, and in doing so make a difference in the lives of our coaches. Our coaches live a lifestyle most can only dream off, as  a result of giving athletes and clients training results more can only dream off.
It’s your choice. You could be part of the solution, the KSI way.
In July 2017 we are offering selected physical preparation coaches the opportunity to spend 21 days with my top coaches and myself; through webinar and forum interaction.  It’s not for everyone. Here are some of our pre-qualifications criteria:
1.     You need to have been coaching for at least 5 years.
2.     You need to have come to the conclusion that there is a better way (for both you and your clients).
3.     You need to have taken some action to date to study KSI material (not including free online articles).
21 days with us during which you will get an inside look at who we are, what we do, and why we are totally confident we lead the world in athlete preparation.  Free.
Email to learn more.

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

The four stages of the physical preparation coaches career

In my fourth decade of professional involvement in the sport and fitness industry I have reached many conclusions. I acknowledge they are generalisations, however these hypothetical models help all of us understand human behaviour.
Based on both my own personal experience and my experience seeking to help, educate and guide others professionally, I have formed the following model.
Stage 1:  Blinkered and gullible
Years: 0-10 years into their career
The first phase I see occurring is when a newcomer to the entrant is simply in awe of the opportunity they have been given, which is nice to see. However this often comes with tunnel vision on what is needed for long-term success, and this phase is characterized by an exclusive and what I believe is an unbalanced prioritization of professional development. Sets and reps. How may grams of glutamine per quantity of liquid and what temperature should the liquid be. The longer it goes on the less productive it becomes.  However they are blinded to this and the typical mentor they choose is not helping them develop a more balanced approach.
In this phase the young or new coach is so easily impressed with the shiniest, loudest objects that they are not really ready to be students of what I call a balanced life and true success.  They are more likely to do what ‘everyone’ is doing than make wise choices as to what’s best for them.
Stage 2: At the crossroads
Years: 5-15 years into their careers
This is the period during which the newcomer is no longer a new comer, and has been involved long enough for the shine to come off their experience, and some home truths to settle in.  At this stage the physical preparation coach is at a critical point or crossroad in their career. They are aware of certain frustrations and limitations and now they are deciding – will they do anything about it?  This is a critical point in the career.
There is some discussion in the human potential industry that if significant changes are made here for the better prior to the age of 28 year, there is much hope for their future.
State 3: Embracing or denying change
Years: 10-20 years into their career
In this phase and path, coaches have chosen not to embrace change, and retreat to what is easiest – doing nothing. They accept that the way is has been is the way it has to be and close off all options to change. This is the path taken by the majority, whose desire to confirm is greater than their courage to create change. You can see human potential shrinking as the years pass.
In this phase and path, coaches have embraced change and are challenged by developing the new values and skills required to succeed in the direction they have chose to solve their frustration and fulfill their potential. This is the minority.
State 4: Living with or without the fruits
Years: 20-40 years into their career
For those that chose to deny the possibility of change, of learning new skills, of fulfilling the potential, the final stage of their working life is one of silent desperation. A life of ‘if only’ but often unspoken. This is the lot that most face or will face. That is human nature.
For those with the courage to make the changes, they spend this life phase enjoying the fruits of their willingness to take risks, to learn new skills, to change.
To complete the cycle of life you could say there is a fifth stage –
Stage 5: Retiring in comfort or destitute
Years: Last 10-30 years of life
Those greater majority who choose the safe, unchanging, what everyone else is doing path will live in a standard of poverty never expected or seen in modern history, due to the demographic changes and lack of social security funds available to support the aging population. It will not be pretty.
The minority who chose change and had the determination and courage to break the stereotype will live with a level of comfort not enjoyed by their less courageous peers.
There are a few points I want to stress here. Firstly the above categories are arbitrary and intended to provide a message.  Secondly I don’t believe you need to accept any stereotype. You determine your own path. Thirdly, it is never too late. I like the saying ‘It’s better late than never’. So don’t feel you have missed out, or ‘missed the boat’, so to speak. There is always opportunity.
Having said that, if you are not driven to change, then get comfortable where you are.  Its not about what you have, its about what you are willing to do to improve and change your circumstances.
The KSI Coaching program is aimed to give coaches a life where they have choice. Choice with where they live, why they work, where they work, who they work with.  It is a path that has been available for nearly twenty years. During this time we have been able to reach a number of conclusions, as we continually refine the path.
Firstly this is a path that typically takes a decade to master.   You may have heard the saying:
“It takes 10,000 hrs of practice to achieve mastery in a field”
--as popularized by Malcolm Gladwell.
Sounds daunting. Where does it begin? By taking action
"A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step"
-- Chapter 64 of the Tao Te Ching ascribed to Laozi.
In June 2017 we are offering a special 21-day KSI Orientation program for those who are seriously considering starting that journey.  There are some pre-requisites. We ask that you send us an email at describing :
1.     How/where you fit into the four stages of the physical preparation coaches career;
2.     Why you believe there must be a better way.
3.     Why you believe KSI may be that better way
4.     What exposure to our teachings you have had to date (you will need to have made a step of studying our material other than what’s on the internet)
This is a free program however you will be expected to meet the above criteria and you will be expected to work and keep up with the 21 day program.  There will be one webinar weekly and other mid-week tasks competed in your own time. During this program you will get to look under the (motorcar) hood (to use an American car analogy) and we will get to look at you and determine how committed to change and suitable you are for the KSI Coaching Program.

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

To think or conform?

I received an email from a young man on the subject of stretching, a classic case of humans choosing conformity over thinking. The email went like this:
“Recently I purchased your Legacy book. The book is full of training gold, especially important information is about stretching. You should spread the truth about stretching. I can`t believe how everybody is wrong with this dynamic stretching B.S. Static stretching rules. I´m more flexible than ever, feel great, and it does transfer to dynamic motions.” [i] 

I was really impressed that this young man sought to gain a personal experience about stretching prior to reaching a conclusion. He thought for himself, in the face of dogma to the contrary, and reached a conclusion contrary to the dogmatic teaching. 
As for spreading the ‘truth’ about stretching, that’s what i have been doing for nearly 40 years now. The challenge is most people don’t want to think independently. The famous Dr. Albert Swcheitzer when asked in about 1952 reached the same conclusion.  Earl Nightingale tells this story in his 1956 audio ‘The Strangest Secret’. (A must listen to!)
Here is the transcript: 
“Some years ago, the late Nobel prize-winning Dr. Albert Schweitzer was asked by a reporter, “Doctor, what’s wrong with men today?” The great doctor was silent a moment, and then he said, “Men simply don’t think!” [ii]
Now as far as the truth or wrong, I tend to avoid these words where possible. To ignore the value of static stretching and replace it with dynamic stretching - or to leave your static stretching till after the workouts. These are mistakes.
However I understand how static stretching is promoted, and I understand most people are more committed to conformity than fulfilling their potential.
I have watched many of those who have achieved marketed position of influence in this industry promote their values on stretching. I know personally that the minority of these influencers who actually train don’t stretch, and never have.  To acknowledge they have missed the point in training as regards stretching is not going to happen in their lifetimes. And the influencers who don’t train have no chance of knowing personally the best alternatives or combinations.
As for conformity, I again refer to the best selling (in the true sense of the word, not in the way current industry marketers use it) for one of the best comments on conformity:
“Rollo May, the distinguished psychiatrist, wrote a wonderful book called Man’s Search for Himself, and in this book he says: “The opposite of courage in our society is not cowardice … it is conformity.” And there you have the reason for so many failures. Conformity and people acting like everyone else, without knowing why or where they are going.” [iii]

[Imagine if referencing and crediting were the norm in this industry? wouldn’t that be amazing! instead of this encouragement to lie, cheat, steal and plagiarize…]
Now concepts are promoted with great dogma, which is why I have historically encouraged people to challenge and ignore the dogma: 
“Not only are you taught with a degree of dogma in formal education, you are often taught not to think – rather to accept ‘this is the way’.  Certain informal education teaches you to think for yourself (as we do at KSI) or teaches you a different perspective to the one you were taught to dogmatically adopt in your formal education. Exposure to this can cause some initial unease.” [iv]

I don’t suggest knowing the truth, however I have reached conclusions and encourage others to do the same, even if they are contrary to the dominant paradigms:
“I don’t know about truth, but I can say that blind and dogmatic teaching of this by personal trainers and others has contributed to some serious misconceptions…” [v]

My strong recommend has been to:
“Resist the temptation in program design to conform to mainstream paradigms simply for the sake of conforming, no matter how dogmatically they are presented, or how much you may be ridiculed or ostracized for trusting your intuition over conformity.” [vi]

Not to be confused of course with a thinly paraphrased paragraph that followed a year later in an article at from another ‘author’….
“When designing training programs, resist the pressure to conform to any tradition or system of beliefs, no matter how dogmatically that tradition or those beliefs are presented, or how much you get "slammed" for not conforming.” [vii]

My message to the young man who wrote to me, and to you to, is have the courage to think for yourself! And if you need help, I wrote the book ‘Barbells & Bullshit’ to help you. If nothing it will shock you into realizing that your own conclusions will be far more accurate and ethical and better for your than the self-serving dogma dished up by many who seek to exert their influence for reasons other than a pure intention to serve you. You can get this book in hard copy or e-book.  If you email me at sharing your commitment to think for yourself, I would love to give you a free copy of the e-book.
So the choice is yours – to think or to conform. Just don’t expect the masses to be so brave!

[i] Personal communication, name available on request, 26 April 2017
[iv] King, I., 1999, So You Want to Become a Strength and Conditioning Coach
[v] King, I., 2001 (?), Q & A,, Issue #10
[vi] King, I., 2005, The Way of the Physical Preparation Coach, p. 17
[vii] xxxx 2006, xxxxx,, Feb

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Your incompetence is killing you

(Professionally and your lifestyle)
I recently met a young man whose chose to move into the personal training industry from a non-related industry by managing a team of trainers.  It didn’t work out (no surprises there) and he was to reduced to earning the income that his competence dictated. Very little. Now he is dealing with bankruptcy. He chose to sidestep the issue of developing personal professional competency for the highly promoted business model of hiring trainers.
Before you conclude that this story is simply an isolated extreme case, let me bring this home – there are so few people in this industry who possess competence that you probably haven’t met one. And that means you are most likely also incompetent.
Before you lash out take a moment and consider the following.
So what do most trainers to in the absence of competency? To solve this little problem? Market.
Again before you get to knee-jerk reactions, please don’t state I’m anti-marketing, as some have in conversation with me.  I want to be very specific – a service provider who needs to market is probably incompetent, and using marketing to compensate for this lack.  With only 24 hours in a day competent service providers don’t need to market. They need to hide. 
I ran a seminar in Los Angeles recently on business building for physical preparation coaches. There some interest from prospective attendees on how to market via social media.  I let them know very quickly that I not only will not be teaching them how to market their services, I would definitely not be endorsing them getting into the same stinking marketing pond as the masses in their industry.
Some what is the result of your incompetency? I don’t really need to tell you, but here are a few of the symptoms:
  •       Not enough clients.
  •       Not enough great clients.
  •       Clients failing to turn up for appointments.
  •       Clients not staying with you for very long i.e. high attrition rate.
  •       Low hourly rate.
  •       Worry about where your next client is going to come from.
  •       Time poor.
  •       Working weird unsustainable hours.
  •       Financial struggles in life.
  •       Wondering if you should change professions.
  •       Latching onto the latest shiny object in certification (mostly trend based) and wondering why nothing changed.
  •       Inability to support a dependent adult. Forget about having kids.
Now you’ve either resonated with what I have said so far or your values have been so threatened you have got poisonous in your mind and started texting nasty things about me to your buddies. That’s okay, I used to the latter…
For those who are still with me, let me help you.
Want to get out of the crab bucket where 99% of the industry is struggling?  Choose competence. So what is competence? Here’s my working definition of competence:
In the absence of marketing; and in the absence of an association with a gym, sports team, sports institution, commercial company, or professional organization, you are able to generate an endless demand from A class clients willing to pay you triple figures per hour.

[Thanks to the April intake of the KSI Time, Money & Happiness 21 Day Mentoring Program for showing me how you prefer to shape this definition!]
In other words, sitting in your garage gym at home, high paying enthusiastic clients line up to see you.
Fairy tale? Not al all. This is one of the performance criteria we achieve through out now 18 year old KSI Coaching program. This is what we create.
So what’s the downside? It takes time and commitment, and the right vehicle. It might take 5-10 years to achieve this.  However once you have it, no-one can take it away. 
So what do most do? Look to marketing instead.
In the early 2000s a young Los Angeles resident wrote to me with. They really, really wanted to work with athletes:
“…I have read [your book] "so you want..." thoroughly. While I agree with your statements it is easier for you with an established record to attract new clients than it is for an "outsider" like me to break in I'd like to move out of the personal training field and train athletes exclusively but bills need to be paid…”[i]

They didn’t possess the delayed gratification required to achieve competence. So how did they create the perception of having a
“…stable of Olympic level athletes….’
…a few years later? Marketing.  Marketing mixed with a dose of deceit.
You see this, and you are encouraged to model this behaviour.
So what’s wrong with marketing? Firstly it doesn’t solve your problem. You are still incompetent professionally.  Secondly it wears off. You are going to need to keep on doing it, and that’s really time consuming. Once the clients find your limits professionally they are out of there. And you will never get off that marketing merry-go-round. 
And then how do you give yourself a unique marketing position (USP) in a world where everyone is marketing the same claims? You don’t. Unless you go to telling lies, which is tragically not only the norm in this industry:
“…The reality is that the lies in fitness far outweigh the truths….” [ii]
…it’s encouraged:
“… It's OK to tell a lie if you know that it's a lie... Once a personal trainer or performance specialist knows the truth then, they can tell a little white lie to make the sale or to get the client on board. The key to selling fitness lies (clever play on words) in knowing the truth but, also knowing when to lie….” [iii]

Is that who you are? A liar? For the most part, I don’t believe so. It takes a special person to bullshit year after year and still feel comfortable with themselves.
Now for those who are driven to action to improve their competence remains the challenge of selecting an educational path where you truly will achieve competence.  As the late Jim Covey would say:
“Before you lean your ladder up against a building, make sure it’s the right building!” [iv]
If you tie your cart to the wrong horse your time and money invested will be of little to no use in changing your competency
If you are attracted to my definition of competency, and you would like some of that yourself, before you select a mentor or teacher, ask yourself – how do they shape up against this definition?
Now before I wrap some of you might have been wondering why I said:
“…and in the absence of an association with a gym, sports team, sports institution, commercial company, or professional organization,…”

They all offer great opportunities – if you like depending on others for your future. 
If you open a training studio, locals will come. You will have clients. However would they travel to you if you closed the gym and moved 30 minutes drive away? Probably not. They are simply clients of convenience, not really making a massive effort to get to you.
If a sports team - especially a high profile team - employs you you can get some extra clients by marketing this fact.  For as long as this marketing fact is relevant. In other words, you might expend a bit of energy wondering and worrying who will give you your next contract, as you depend on this.
The same goes for a sports institution.  And the same for an association with a commercial company – it’s great whilst you are their seminar spokesperson, but what if they find a new, younger and better model? Where will your income come from?
So they are all great short-term income options. However I suggest that for the most part, any clients you attract are because of your association with these organizations, not because of your competence. And you probably don’t want to find out whether you have stand-alone competence – so you are going to hang on to the organizations with desperate dependency.
If you truly want to be in control of your destiny, competency is the solution I recommend.  We’ve been giving physical preparation coaches the best option to achieve competency, and we’ve been doing it for 18 years as the time of writing this article. Yes, we are not the best at marketing. But on your side, have you been doing what everyone else is doing? Being attracted to the bright, shiny objects? Empty vessels making the most noise? How’s that been working out for you….So yes, our web site and marketing are sub-par. But we just happen to produce physical preparation coaches with the greatest competency, who attract an endless demand of A class clients lining up to pay triple hourly figure for their service.
You decide….marketing or competence. If you chose competence, here’s where you can get started:

[i] Personal communication, details reserved to protect the message.
[ii] Reference reserved to protect the message.
[iii] Reference reserved to protect the message.
[iv] Wow, imagine that! Giving credit! I trust my solitary habit of doing so has a positive impact on you to adopt what industries with higher integrity deem normal..