Letting your credibility as a Coach dictate your social media success
Becoming fit has never been as easy as it is today. Online trainer certifications, biofeedback devices, free E-programming, all are within a click’s reach. Thousands of “educational” training videos, blogs, podcasts can be downloaded, read, studied. The realm of your choice, whether it be crossfit, strongman, ironman, freestyle bodyweight, or bodybuilding can be harnessed into your smartphone and bang: Instant information, instant virtuosity, instant gratification. Gone are the days of savoring page by page Arnold’s Encyclopedia of Bodybuilding or going head to head with Tudor Bompa’s brick of a book on the theory of periodization.
Having been witness to this evolution since the era of Zubaz, as a strength and conditioning coach, I am as overwhelmed by the wealth of knowledge that can now be shared as I am by the misuse of this wealth and particularly the abuse of the mediums used to propagate it. Clicks, shares and likes have now become as synonymous in training as sets, reps and tempo. For every well intentioned educational or inspirational post, there are a dozen Youtube, Instagram or Facebook displays of what look more like auditions to the Cirque du Soleil than sound training techniques being demonstrated by coaches. When your programming principles are more inspired by Jujimufu than Charles Poliquin, questions need to be answered as to your intentions and/or compentency.
I am all for innovation, thinking outside the box and integrating training concepts borrowed from other disciplines but as coaches we have a responsibility to our clients. When using social media as a tool, your mandate should be 1st and foremost to educate your clients and share sound applicable knowledge rather than striving for Facebook likes through personal displays of so-called athletic prowess. Should you still be confused concerning your athlete/coach/gym owner identity, I strongly suggest you read WTF Gym Talk’s Facebook post entitled “Know your role”.
If you are still reading, I will now take for granted that you have chosen your vocation as a coach over your athletic alter-ego. No one is questioning the importance of setting an example by keeping up your training however the message you convey via internet must be altruistically driven and not ego based. In other words, the potential client who has mustered up all his/her courage to find a coach and start training doesn’t give a sh_t how long you can hold a human flag.
So how do I reach potential clients and secure those who already follow me? How do I replace my triple back flip power snatch in order to maximize my Instagram fans? The answer is simple: Focus on the whY not the Wow. The Y factor are the scientific, technical and coaching elements that must take center stage in any exercise demo. I am not saying to go through a 45minute dissertation on the Stretch Shortening Cycle and the Myotatic Reflex when demonstrating a box jump but simply include the Who, What, When, Where, How and WHY of the movement.
How to get started? Luckily, your conversion from Sultan of Selfies to Instagram Intellectual may be guided by following the pioneers of training who gladly share their methodologies and coaching cues on the same social medias you wish to conquer. Moreover, we don’t have to look far to find such masters as our province has some of the brightest and buffest coaches in North America. Here are 3 examples of how you may share training information with your clients.
THE HOW TO
Recently Christian Thibaudeau has put out a series of exercise demos via his new Thibarmy site. Now if there is anyone that could spend hours describing in detail the innermost complex mechanisms at work in any exercise it is him. However, click on any of his exercise videos and you will receive a straight, scientifically sound explanation with on point coaching cues without any fancy BS packaging. The content gives value to the video and that’s it!
Chances are you have been around the training game longer than your clients and have seen more “FAILS” than you can count. Or maybe you have learned the hard way many of the lessons you now teach your clients. This can make for great and pertinent content. Just last week super coach Yannik Morin from La Taule posted an article on how to avoid bicep tears. Simply detailed and illustrated, Yannik takes you through the causes and risk factors associated with bicep tears and goes on to list a sequence of Troubleshooting exercises you should do in order to avoid falling prey to such injuries. Not only will such an article please your clients by providing new exercises but they will also appreciate your underlying desire to keep them healthy and injury-free!
No better way to kick up a client’s motivation level by issuing them a challenge. Of course this is not done by throwing together a sure-fire puke fest workout but rather taking your client out of their comfort zone enough to get them to see past their self-imposed boundaries. A master of this mind-body connection is Eric Falstrault from Bodhi-Fit. In his latest Muscle and Fitness article, he lays down 2 challenging workouts including an old school Javorek complex. So not only is Eric giving you an insight into how he pushes his clients but he also introduces today’s generation of trainers to Coach Javorek i.e. a “must-google” name in training. After having tried these great workouts, how many likes do you think he will get?
We can clearly see that that solid content far outweighs the artifices contained in the majority of social media training smoke shows. In my opinion, being known as an intelligent, credible, client-oriented coach is worth more than being recognized as “that guy” on Youtube. It remains up to you as to how you go about building your social media empire.