The Fitness Industry: Getting Your Flippy Floppies In The Door

So you want to get into the fitness industry, but you have no background or experience? Well, that does make things a bit more challenging, but by no means is it impossible. As someone who when initially starting out had absolutely zero experience in the field, I feel that I have a somewhat different point of view than most people who took the more traditional route as far as getting a food hold is concerned. I’m nowhere near established or successful by any stretch of the imagination, but I hope that by speaking from my experience I can lend some advice to someone who wants to get involved but is put off  by being from a completely different area of study.

1) Get Your Learn On!

Go to seminars.
Volunteer.
Look for an internship in your area.

Investing in yourself is the name of the game in this industry, and with the invention of the internet it has never been easier to do so. With this still being such a relatively young field, if you’re not constantly reading and keeping up with whats going on, you’ll only continue to hurt yourself by falling behind your peers. The best part about not having any schooling or exercise science background is that it makes your task so very simple: read everything that you can get your hands on. Many coaches have a resource page on their website that can help point you in the right direction so you don’t just start grabbing random books and hoping for the best. Here are just a few:

http://ericcressey.com/resources

http://robertsontrainingsystems.com/resources/

Before you start shelling out tons of duckets, check out your local libraries to see if they have any of the books. I’ve found that the public libraries usually have one or two if you’re lucky, but if you’re a college student, or live in an area surrounded by colleges, the university libraries tend to be a gold mine for this kind of material. The best part is that even if you’re not a student, they can’t keep you from coming in and reading.

2) Soft Skills

I honestly believe that soft skills are the most critical piece of the entire puzzle. The fitness industry is a service industry in the truest sense of the word, no matter what your position in it. Even if you never train a soul and your only job is to write or blog about fitness, you still have the responsibility of connecting with your audience and giving them what they want. How can you do that if you’re not a people person?

I’d venture to say that these skills are more important than getting your anatomy down pat. Yes, anatomy is important as its the basis of everything that we do, but what goodwill that do if you suck at dealing with people and can’t convey anything that you’ve learned? There are enough successful trainers out there that you can piggyback off of knowledge wise so as to never have to come up with an original thought of your own . Is this optimal? Of course not, but I’m trying to highlight just how vital these skills are to your success. You can teach anyone who is willing to learn how to put together a proper training program, but you can’t teach someone how to be an outgoing, charismatic person who can get their clients excited about their potential and working towards it.

“Nobody cares how much you know, until they know how much you care.”
- Theodore Roosevelt

3) Persistence

Its one thing to say that you want it, but its another thing entirely to act like  it. If you want to get involved, you’re going to have to go out of your way to show just how badly you want it. Think of it from the perspective of a potential employer – why should they take a risk on someone whose lack of experience could end up being a liability for their company or facility? When I was applying for an internship at Cressey Performance, I knew that I had to find a way to seperate myself from the hordes of other applicants. There was simply no way that I would be able to compete with everyone else based on credentials alone, so I had to step my game up. I got my hairs cut, hopped in the car and made the 13 hour drive from Michigan to Massachusetts for a one day seminar. Not only did I get the meet the Cressey Performance staff, but I was able to put a face with the application. I followed up with a thank you card, and I constantly e-mailed Pete (Vice President) about the status of the selection process. It wasn’t until a month into the actual internship that I found out it was my persistence alone that made them decide to take me on.

9 times out of 10 there is always a way in, regardless of your circumstances, so you just have to be willing to put in the sweat equity and keep searching for ways around the perceived obstacles.

4) Professionalism

Some folks seem to think that just because this is an industry based off the premise of sweat, awkward noises and funky smells that they don’t have to take it seriously. Welp, I have two words for you: womp womp!

foghorn__handheld

Those people couldn’t be further from the truth. As with all industries, you’re only taken as seriously as you take yourself, and its hard to take you seriously if you show up to a job interview in typical bro atire – sleeveless shirt for the gun show, with the entire mid section missing to show off teh abzzz.  Seriously though, dress like you have some sense. Also, and while this seems like it should go without saying I’ve seen it happen and thus it bears repeating – don’t drop F-bombs during the interview. It doesn’t make you look cool, and only solidifies your tool status.

Friday Night Freestyle Volume 8: Get Fit or Die Trying

So I’m using this edition of the Friday Night Freestyle to bring you something less random and slightly more insightful: I’m starting a transformation log on this site.

With Thanksgiving and Christmas coming up around the corner, I asked myself if I should even get started on my fat loss goals or just hold off on them until January. Luckily for me, an intervention came in the form of Leigh Peele’s Hot For The Holidays transformation contest. Simply put, its a 6 week challenge that started on Monday and runs through December 21st. The coolest thing about this challenge is that its not just about fat loss – its about whatever you want it to be. There are many forum members who are tackling goals that have nothing to do with fat loss or muscle gain, such as performance and mobility improvements.

While many think that its a huge trap to begin a fitness challenge, I beg to differ. There is no better time than the present to start heading in the direction that you want to go with your life, and for me personally it will be so gratifying to make it through the holidays while actually losing weight for once. Seriously, eating is no game ’round these parts. You’re talking to the guy who invented the concept of the “bread run” where you map out local restaurants in a 5 mile area, go in and eat the free bread that they bring you, then come up with some excuse so that you can peace out and hit up the next restaurant. I’m partial to Red Lobster and Texas Roadhouse, but I digress.

It can be done, and here are some of the benefits that Leigh touched on regarding beginning such a challenge around this time:

  • It will be less likely you gain fat during the holidays.
  • You will transition easier through the holidays to “normal life” again.
  • Those holiday pictures you have to take might be a less intimidating.
  • You will be that much closer to your goals.
  • You wont feel guilty about digging and enjoying your holiday dinners.

With that said, here are my pics and stats. I’ll be updating every Monday starting on November 23rd with more pictures, talking about my nutrition, training, and general thoughts and feelings on the whole process with the hopes that you as readers can take something away from this as well. If you ever have any questions, please feel free to ask in the comment sections or via email – roger@roglawfitness.com

Weight: 220

Goal Weight @ End of 6 weeks:  208

FrontBack

Notice the butterfly pattern of hair on my chest. See ladies? I am sensitive.

Get Your Eat On!

I love people who are passionate about what they do, no matter what it is. If you’ve traveled state to state collecting and cataloging every rare beanie baby known to man, you rock. If you’ve maxed out every last one of your characters in Everquest while managing to hold down a job and a social life, I salute you. Based on all of that, clearly it should go without saying, but I’ll say it anyway: I heart Leigh Peele.

Body By Eats is my first experience with one of Leigh’s products, but her reputation of taking pride in and being great at what she does precedes her. If Leigh is going to do anything, she’s going to go all out, and with this being her baby you can tell that she really put her foot into making the Body By Eats system as good as it could be.

What I love most about Leigh is that she is all about the excuses. No, I don’t mean that she is going to take your excuses and let you get away with them – homie don’t play that! What I mean is that she knows the myriad of excuses that are out there, and instead of feeding into them she offers practical, easily implemented solutions. Do you want to read this book but just can’t find the time in your busy schedule to sit down and chop away at it? Sorry, but you’re not getting off the hook that easy, because Leigh was kind enough to include an audio version of the book in convenient mp3 format. Not only that, but you don’t have to put up with the lame, uninspired reading that most audio books provide you with, because the author herself reads it. Plus, if you’re not from the south, then you’re in for a real treat!

Leigh brings the ruckus from beginning to end, presenting you with alternative (yet objective) viewpoints to controversial topics such as organics, artificial sweeteners, vegetarianism, plastics, and the real reason why people are heavier than they’d like to be, and some experimental data to back it up. I’m not one for spoilers so I’ll leave it at that, but I’m confident that when you see what great lengths she went to in order to prove her point, you’ll be giving your computer the world’s best version of the “girl, you so crazy!” look.

“Yo Rog, I’m really happy for you and Imma let you finish, but Dr. Atkins wrote one of the best diet books of all time!”

And that’s one of the things I love most about this product: It’s not a diet book at all, but rather a show you how book. You aren’t restricted to a debilitating, inconvenient and restrictive style of eating, and Leigh gives you the how and why it doesn’t have to be that way ever.again. Not one to leave you hanging, Leigh also provides you with a quick start guide to get you moving in the direction of your goals, whether they are fat loss, muscle gain or maintenance. She also provides you with 50+ kick-anus recipes from the jump, even going as far as to include a recipe book for vegans and vegetarians into the package.

While the book is good, I certainly saved the best for last. As part of the upgraded package, you get access to the private Body By Eats community forum where Leigh herself posts, helping guide you through the book or answer any questions that you may have. Not only that, but you also get to join a group of well rounded, like minded individuals who are more than willing to support you as you strive to achieve your goals. I myself am a member of these forums, and in less than a month the forums are already bustling with members who are as happy giving support and advice as they are receiving it.

I honestly believe that this book provides you with a fantastic starting point, no matter where you are in your life, because it provides you with the tools you need to get started, the great tasting food to keep you motivated, and the supportive community to get you through the tough moments when your real life circle of friends just aren’t getting the job done.

But let me sweeten the pot for you.

I believe in this product so much that I’m willing to put my money where my mouth is. If you purchase Body By Eats from the link here in this review, I’ll receive a small portion of the sale, and from there you have two choices:

1)      I can donate that entire portion to a charity of your choice.

2)      I can donate that entire portion back to your wallet.

Proof will be provided in all instances.

With that said, what the h-e double hockey sticks are you waiting for? It doesn’t get much better than this.

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Holiday Survival Guide

“It ain’t just happenin over there, it ain’t just happenin over there, it’s happenin here; it’s happenin everywhere. All three of ‘em went, boom, boom, boom, one after the next. I ain’t gonna just sit around and let that happen to nobody. Not in my town. Not in any of my five towns.”

- Johnny Drama

The holidays have a tendency of bringing out the Mr. Hyde in all of us. One minute you’re staying the course on your diet, following it to a T, and then the next thing you know you’re stumbling down the street knocking over trash cans and clutching trees  in the grips of a food induced coma, wondering where it all went so wrong. But I’m here to tell you that gosh diddily darn it, it doesn’t have to be that way – not this year!

Be Proactive

The battle against the holiday bulge doesn’t start the day of the event, but today. Now. Not now, but right now. Are you rocking along with your training program? Good – keep up the good work, as you’re three steps ahead of most people. If you’re not following any kind of regular exercise at this moment, ride a bike, sign up for a boot camp class at your local fitness center, walk your dog, or your invisible dog if you don’t have one, but do something – anything at all – and keep doing it, right on through the holidays!

The more you do now, the less likely it will be that you blowuptuate over the holidays. If you take nothing else from this post, just get moving now so that you will minimize the damage you do at the dinner table.

Portion control

Hopefully you weren’t expecting anything earth shattering, like when you found out that Tommy was the White Ranger, because it really is this simple. Just because the food is there doesn’t mean that you have to show up to the table with your eatin pants on, looking to beat out last year’s record. Just treat it like any other day of the year, except that you get to be around a lot more family and the food is much better. Don’t try to be all Spartan with your diet – feel free to enjoy the foods that you love, albeit in smaller portions. A little slice of cake never killed anyone, but when that slice gets bigger and turns into slices, thats when trouble starts a brewin’. Remember: you are in complete control of what and how much food goes into your mouth, so unless you’re eating the kind of demon spawn food than can sprout legs and get inside your belly all on its own, then its all on you to make the decisions that are in your best interest.

Silence the haters

Don’t be surprised if you end up being the lone warrior at the dinner table who only has one helping of food, enduring the “wtf mate” looks from family and friends. Misery loves company, so don’t let everyone else beat up on you because you’re not letting it all hang out like the rest of the crowd. These people have already actively decided that they’re going to experience an epic fail of massive proportions and set themselves a couple of steps back, but that doesn’t mean that you have to follow them down that road. If people keep harassing you, offering you seconds and thirds, just politely let them know that you’re full, or whatever excuse you’d like to come up with so as to not eat anymore food. Saying that if I eat anymore food I’ll have to clog up their toilet is a personal favorite of mine – works every time!

If all fails, do not abort!

If for some strange reason you disregard all this advice and completely lose it at the dinner table, just collect yourself and get back on the proverbial horse. You’ve had your fun, but now its time to get back to business. A lot of people will fall off so horde and use this one slip up as an excuse to go hog wild for another few days until they “get back on track.” Unfortunately, its never just a few days – usually a few weeks, months…heck, maybe even years. Don’t fall into this trap.

The holidays are a time to rock out and enjoy the company of family and friends, but that doesn’t mean you have to go to excess in order to do so.  Stay strong, and above all else, have fun – just not at the expense of your goals.