Me Spitballing Some Sage Advice to Fitness Professionals
I have a few things I’d like to get off my chest, fitness professional.
1) The Picture Above is Misleading.
I don’t consider myself an “expert” in anything.1
If my name happened to be Gray Cook, Stuart McGill, Shirley Sahrmann, Mike Boyle, Dan John, Sue Falsone, or Yoda then maybe I’d have some room to talk.
Truth be told: It was the only picture I could find on 123RF.com that fit the tone of today’s post, so I ran with it. But there’s a message to be made here: none of the people mentioned above – in addition to the countless others in the industry I could name drop – have ever uttered the word “expert” as an adjective to describe themselves or their services.
I find it comical (<– not “ha-ha” comical, but rather “you’re kind of a narcisstic asshat” comical) that there are highly respected coaches in this industry who have been doing what they’re doing for longer than some people have been alive and have every right to claim they’re an expert, yet don’t, but there are some industry pros out there who, for whatever reason – they read a book, took a weekend certification, eat Paleo – anoint themselves this term.
Do yourself a favor, hit up your “About Me” page on your website and your various social media profiles and delete the word. Unless, of course, you’re an expert in kitten kisses or giving high-fives.
In that case, expert away.
NOTE: this isn’t to say you shouldn’t be proud of your accomplishments or that you have to be in the industry for 10, 15, 20, or 30 years to profess to the masses you know what you’re talking about. It’s just, I don’t know, a little dose of humbleness goes a long ways.
2) And Since I’m on the “Ornery Strength Coach” Train at the Moment
Here’s a Tweet I posted yesterday:
15 yrs in the industry and I’m releasing my first product next week. Oh, you’ve trained 4 ppl for a month & writing an ebook? That’s cute.
— Tony Gentilcore (@tonygentilcore1) October 25, 2016
Admittedly, I can understand how some people reacted the way they did. I can see how the words may have come across as a shade elitist with a pinch of “dickheadedness” tossed in for good measure.
I had two or three people send me messages saying something to the effect of:
“Are you saying someone with less experience than you can’t come out with a good product? That’s naive.”
For starters: I said first product, not good product.
Secondly: No, that’s not what I was saying.
I recognize there are numerous people who have been in the industry for a very short time who have put out remarkably good content and/or released amazing products. Far be it from me to hold their lack of fitness industry tenure against them.
However, lets be real: such examples are clearly the exception and not the norm. For every Greg Nuckols who bursts onto the scene there are 10,000 other personal trainers and coaches quick to catapult their exclusive ebook to the masses with very little experience to show for it.
I’ve said it once, and I’ll say it 6,097 more times:
“It’s never been easier to be heard, but it’s never been harder to get heard.”
Slow down. Be patient. As my former business partner, Pete Dupuis, would say: take the time to procure some career capital.
Practice what you preach, develop relationships, invest in yourself with continuing education, shadow/observe other coaches…do everything you can to marinate in and gain experience.
That, my friends, will be how you’re going to separate yourself. And, magically, before you know it, you won’t have to try so hard. You won’t have use words such as “expert,” or “revolutionary,” or “super secret formula sauce” to sell yourself or your content.
The content you write or products you produce will not only have more authenticity, context, and validity…but will probably have a better chance of reaching more people.
Because, you know, it won’t suck. You’ll have experience to thank for that.
And don’t just listen to me. Listen to Ben Bruno:
My best tip for aspiring fitness writers: be a coach first and writer second. Then write about what you do instead of having to make shit up
— Ben Bruno (@benbruno1) October 14, 2016
3) Want to Get Your Name Out There, Here’s What Not to Do.
I received the following message last week via my Business/Fan page on Facebook:
“Hey NerdFitness, my video is picking up a lot of traction right now, and i thought it’d be a great fit for your website! Check it out here: [link to video that I purposely left out]
In the video I give a Intense workout for burning fat that you can do at home with no equipment! If you have a minute, check it out and feel free to use this for your site.
1. You might want to pay a little closer attention to sending out canned emails to people and not using the correct name. I’m not affiliated with NerdFitness. I am a nerd, though. So you’re not entirely off-base.
2. You might also want to be careful about sending out canned emails in general because A) they don’t work, and they’re not a great way to get your name out there in this industry. I don’t know you, have never spoken or exchanged a single email with you prior to this interaction (Hi, I’m Tony), or know your background…and you expect me to just toss this up on my website and drive a ton of traffic your way? FYI: no where on my site do I really emphasize “fat loss” training. B) They come across as disingenuous and, well, annoying. I don’t like being annoyed.
C) You can smell them from a mile away (I.e., “picking up a lot traction” = 14 views on YouTube? Well, 15 now that I watched it.)
3. I’m not trying to be a dick. Just giving you some unsolicited feedback on what NOT to do.