5 THINGS I’VE LEARNED IN 6 MONTHS COACHING AT P360
Written by Will Safford
I’ve felt incredibly fortunate to be a part of Performance360 over the last six months. I’ve learned many things by being here, but here five that stick out to me.
1. The women here kick ass.
I been a trainer in the fitness industry for five years and around the gym since I was 14. The bulk of my clients have been women ranging from big corporate gyms, to small kettlebell studios, to private in-home training. So I’ve seen my fair share of women in the gym, but never have I been around so many, complete and total BEASTESSES.
I love seeing everyday women who are not professional athletes push themselves to remarkable accomplishments. The woman who has two kids at home, a job, and a husband, yet makes it to class almost every day and busts her ass each and every time.
The full-time student or nurse who’s got a demanding schedule but sucks it up and throws around barbells for a few hours each week. They all do it without complaint or excuse.
I mean just look at the leader boards at P360. Some of the women have significantly bigger lifts than many of the male members, myself included – damn Coach Brenna! And that’s not speaking to the lack of ability from our men, but to the determination and work ethic of our ladies.
Even our female newcomers show their spirit right out of the gate, with many eager to test out of Phase 1 goals and move to the middle of the board. The whole female population at P360 is inspiring, and they push us all to work harder. Well done, women.
2. I’m learning just as much as those I’m coaching.
Coaching is an art. It’s a never ending refinement of communication, knowledge, and motivation. You’re part cheerleader, drill sergeant, science nerd, and buddy, managing 25 different personality with different goals, motivations, and levels of ability. This is no small task at hand.
What resonates with some people will not even pierce the surface with others. Learning to get through and be valuable to every member, from first timer to seasoned veteran, is important to me and something I work at regularly.
I’ve always been one to stay up-to-date with the latest info in health and fitness, and have put continuing education as a priority in my career. After starting at P360 this increased even more so once I learned the culture here was all about “why”.
Every movement you do, every rep you take, every day you step in those doors, you should know why, and I quickly learned that coaching here means we are responsible for teaching that.
At the end of the day, the why is what gets you closer to your goal. As a coach, I have the ultimate responsibility of explaining why along each and every step of the way.
I’d better know why.
3. The ego is a powerful motivator that needs to be checked.
I’ll be the first to admit, certain reps I’ve attempted in the gym were purely out of ego-driven motivation. I either wanted to believe I was stronger than I was, or to look more technically proficient on an exercise in which I wasn’t. It’s easy to fall into these traps, however they usually result in injury, including a bruised ego.
Now, the ego can be a great motivator. We all want to look good. That’s maybe the reason many join the gym in the first place. We all want to look strong and capable among our peers. These are legit reasons to work hard every day. But, if you don’t keep that damn ego in check, the weights will send you a not-so- friendly reminder of your true ability.
Throughout the years I’ve seen people attempt things they weren’t ready for. I fully support attempting PRs and new skills but what’s the rush? I ask myself this regularly. Why do I want to get this PR so badly? Why does it have to be so soon?
If you clear the ego out of the way, often times you’ll understand fitness is a lot like football, a game of inches. You make small improvements with each day until you ultimately score the touchdown, aka hit the PR, weight loss goal, new movement, etc. Then you start over again.
The fitness journey is a life long road with no finish line. I’m much more about listening to my body these days, as opposed to impressing others or even myself.
4. When you talk the talk, you must walk the walk.
My training with the RKC Kettlebell program made it clear that as a coach you are more than relaying knowledge to your clients. You are an example of the system and what it stands for, and thus, you must walk the walk. In the case of the RKC, they made sure you did that by completing 100 one-arm KB snatches with a 53lb bell in under 5 minutes. More chalk, please.
I’ve maintained this mindset since then, and it really should go for any profession. You must believe in your work.
Being from a combat sports background, you need a lot of functional strength, endurance, cardio capacity, mobility, and mental toughness. Naturally, why I chose the kettlebell as my tool of choice. However, the barbell has never been a close friend of mine.
While I’m certified in Olympic Lifting and have done my due diligence with training the big three, barbell training has not been something that’s been the focal point of my own athletic pursuits.
Once I started coaching at P360, I made a realization that I needed to do a better job of walking the walk.
In order to be the best coach I could, I needed to put myself in the member’s shoes. Feel what they feel. I needed get back under that bar and build myself up, putting my ego aside and stick with light loads for as long as necessary. And sure enough, I’ve been making some good strides with the ol’ wheels of steel lately.
I’m just much more in tune with my body these days and mobilize like the Tin Man before I lift.
5. The community at P360, our community, is what makes this gym great.
I’ve been a friend of P360 almost since the gym opened. Two roommates of mine were members long ago at the original location. I was too involved with other obligations at the time to sign up myself, but was lucky enough to tag along for some of the social events. I knew right away that this place was more than a gym. It was a network of hard working individuals who were also good people.
Now that I’m part of the community, I find it’s way more than sweating with your buddies. It’s an entire support system of young professionals who legitimately care about each other.
From helping each other find jobs and new apartments, to monthly book club meet ups, to rides to the airport, P360 is a group of people who want to have fun just as much as they want help those around them.
And I’m damn proud and thankful to feel belonging to this group.
Will Safford is a coach at Performance360.