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..