Community is the Change You Need: A Call to Action For All Fitness Professionals
Today’s guest post comes courtesy of Syracuse, NY based strength coach, Ricky Kompf. Ricky interned at Cressey Sports Performance when I was still a coach there and has been doing a superb job building a reputation as a “go to” coach in the Central NY area.
Today he discusses the importance of community and how building one can make all the difference in the world with your clients/athletes and fitness business in general.
Community is the Change You Need
I consider myself a pretty mindful and deep guy. Over the years of working with people I find myself delving deeper and deeper into psychology based reading and realizing what I read to be valuable and applicable to my job as a coach.
Many times that little gold nugget of knowledge in a book on psychology is even more powerful than the knowledge bombs I find in strength and conditioning text books.
I would like to share an experience with you that was pretty excruciating yet gave me quite the breakthrough.
This moment not only gave me confirmation that I am doing the work I was set out to do and I am fulfilling my purpose in life, but also gave me a realization that there are more people out there that NEED our help as fitness professionals but don’t necessarily WANT our help.
That experience was of course while serving for jury duty…
I was in a room filled with 375 random people who live in Central New York waiting to hear if they have to sit in on trial or not. Whatever picture you have in your head right now… Trust me it was worse than that.
People were pissed, impatient and probably a little hungry.
It’s pretty safe to say no one wanted to be there.
I know I didn’t want to be there, but there was no point in stressing over something I couldn’t control. So I practiced some diaphragmatic breathing while sitting in a room for 8 hours waiting to hear my fate.
It was then that I started to look around the room and become the silent observer. This was the perfect sample size of what society around me is like. Many were overweight, seemed slightly depressed, poor posture, and just looked a little run down. I actually counted in the room how many people seemed like they were in pretty good shape.
I could count them all on my hands.
It was then that the lady in charge asked a very important question, “If you have a medical condition that could affect your ability to serve as a jury please come up front.”
Half the room stood up and walked/limped to the front.
That’s right…there were just as much people sitting down as there were people in line waiting to tell this lady about their illness. That was well over 150 people! I’ll factor in that some people were just trying to get out of jury duty but still!
That’s when I realized something, something that really speaks to our society as a whole.
We live in a nation where it is the minority to be healthy and not have issues with your health.
We are fat and depressed; we rely on the drugs of pharmaceutical industries to keep us just barely going. All the while we are living with this belief that this is the norm. We look to the people around us and see that they’re unhealthy and it gives us unconscious confirmation that it is okay to be unhealthy as well.
To me the words healthy and happy are prerequisites to each other.
You have to be healthy to be happy and you have to be happy to be healthy.
The more and more people I come in contact with and work with, I realize it’s not the great physique they’re after or the even the edge on the competition. Even if they really think it is.
It’s the feeling you get when you’re in control of your health, the quality of life you have, and most of all control over your own destiny.
As a fitness professional remember you’re not just delivering results, you’re delivering happiness.
Like the feeling you get when you witness two kittens snuggling. That kind of happiness.
So you may ask yourself, I’m a fitness professional but how do we get all these people who either don’t want our help or can’t afford our help to change and become healthier?
It all starts with community.
Have you ever heard the phrase, “you are the average of the 5 people you hang around with most?” The people you hang around with will influence every decision you make.
Well How Do You Use This Information?
As strength coach’s or personal trainers you may notice that you’ve build a mini community around you. These communities of clients are like minded people, they want to become healthier and support each other.
If you’re really good at what you do they even hangout with each other outside of the gym!
That’s your change right there.
You may have even noticed that most of your clients now are word of mouth based, which means people are talking about you outside of the gym and sending business your way.
The more you double down on your community and focus on building a support group of people, the more likely you will make an impact on your community’s health as a whole.
This may even be indirectly.
The larger the community you make the more of an impact you will have. This is also why I think one-on-one training can be detrimental to your business if your goal is to influence as many people as possible.
Community is the secret sauce to your goals.
Mark Fisher Fitness: the epitome of how to build a lasting fitness community.
Community gives people permission to change; or, more to the point, “nudges” people to change.
Having a community of like-minded individuals who implement a healthier lifestyle and share common goals is often the key determining factor that help others change their behavior.
Look at your clientele base now:
- Do they hangout with each other?
- Do they communicate on social media?
- Do you show them off on your social media?
And how excited are they to tell people about what you’ve done for them?
If you’ve never thought to consider these questions, or worse, the answers are a resounding cricket chirp, then I’d recommend getting your butt in gear.
As a fitness professional, you are the mayor in your “health conscious” community. Exercise is a vehicle for a life well lived.
…. Mic Drop.
- Create a Facebook group that brings all your clients together to support each other and give information to them regularly. Hold special 10-15 minute Live Events that inform them and keep them engaged in the journey. Highlight THEIR videos and exercise accomplishments.
- Use your Instagram account to show off how badass your athletes and clients are. Everyone loves recognition.
- Plan out events to do as a group that brings people together outside of the gym. This could be Spartan races, 5k’s, team dinners, book and movie clubs, even mass text messages can go a long way.
- If you have athletes, go to their games! They worked so hard for you, and they will love to see your support.
About the Author
Richard Kompf, BS, CSCS
Strength and conditioning coach and Internship supervisor for Scollo Strength and Performance. Located inside of Pacific Health Club, based just outside of Syracuse, NY. Specializing in explosive athletes and general population clientele.