Part Five: Get Others on Board
Here you were thinking that I had given up on writing the whole new year’s resolution series any further. Well you were wrong. Maybe, just maybe at this point you have still been in there. This is the year you have made it stick. Now it is part of your day, part of who you are. Well, it is time for the next step and often the most difficult one. Now it is time to get others on board with you. Here are a few pieces of advice to use for the people that you have convinced to join you. Even if you are already in shape this is how you can help others start on their own fitness and healthy journey.
Teach them right from the beginning
It is easy to start off wanting to be that full blown rocky training montage out of the gate. This is not the real way that things work. Instead when someone comes to join you for their first time focus first on technique. Make sure that they are doing the movements correctly and don’t load them up until they are able to do the movements without a load. Lay a good foundation with movement and they are more than likely to be successful in the future.
Have them do less than you expect
If they really have the desire to work hard the first time out be careful because they are going to be sore from the work that they do. They are going to be cripplingly sore if you even make them do more work than 2 or 3 sets of exercises with an external load. Think back to when you first started squatting, how sore and for how many days were you after you did that workout? How much do you think this soreness will get someone to want to come back and train again? If they are a masochist then I guess you made a trainee for life. Otherwise, they might not want to join you again. Take the time and make sure that you have them do less than you would think.
Warm up and cool down
You might be able to yolo it in to your workout, but a new trainee is going to need a little bit of time to get ready to roll. Do some easy steady state cardio (go for a walk), don’t just start off with work that might be hard for them (like jumping rope). Start with simple movements like arm circles, trunk twists, and hip swings. Then slowly work in to bodyweight exercises like squats, lunges, and pushups (be prepared to modify each of these). At the end of the workout take longer than you would think on the cool down where you go for another easy walk and then do some simple but effective stretches. Take your time again, and start with simple versions of stretches. For example start them off with a simple hip flexor stretch on a bench and then later introduce them to the couch stretch.
Teach them to understand progression
IT is one thing to just put on a training video or follow someone else’s program. It is another thing to learn the principles and start to apply them on your own. Your goal is not to create a drone or sycophant. You want to help someone learn how to make their own program and how to make it better with time. You don’t have to get in to the complexities of conjugate training or undulating load periodization right out the gate, but you do want to teach them the basics of progression. How they will get better at the things that they do the most frequently (specificity). How if they quit training they will lose what they have gained (reversibility) and so on. Help them learn how to put together their own program and test it to see how well it worked. That way at some point they can help pass on this same information to others.
If you have made it far enough that you feel both confident and competent at what you are doing then it is time to start helping others. Be ready that most people who start with you will quit. They will never want it as badly as you want it. Accept this, but know when you light the spark in one person it makes all of the ones that quit on you worth it. Part of life (in my mind) is to help others, what better way can you help someone than to help give them a higher quality of life and health from having known you? Good luck on helping others on their journey.