HERE. For those of you that don't know who Eric is, he is probably the smartest guy in the strength & conditioning field that is under the age of 35. I met Eric about a year and a half ago at a seminar, and was blown away with his presentation. Its been 2 years since I last interviewed Eric. At the time he had his first book published and released and has expanded his business. Along with many, many other attributes that he has accomplished in just the last two years, he has also managed to put out some awesome products. To put it bluntly....Eric's puts out some great products that really...I mean, really benefits the fitness professional, exerciser and overall end-user. When I get a chance to ask Eric some questions for an interview, I know its going to be good. I get something out of it and I know you (the reader) will get something out of it. Check it out:
JOHN: Ten years ago, assessments were something not many trainers were conducting. Today, assessments have become the backbone of any exercise program and more trainers are refining their skills with certain assessments. However, can you tell us where you think some trainers can go wrong or trip up in the assessment process?
ERIC: I think there are three big mistakes I see.
First, an assessment needs to be specific to the individual. It’s silly to do a VO2max test on a powerlifter, just like it’d be silly (and absurdly dangerous) to do a one-rep max squat assessment on a post-rehab hip replacement client. At the end of the day, people need to realize that an assessment is in place to give you the information you need to write an effective program and learn which coaching cues will work best for that individual. It’s not just in place so that you can say you did an assessment!
Second, I think many trainers make the mistake of allowing the assessment to last far too long. I’m amazed that there are people who spend in excess of an hour assessing a new client; if it takes you that long, then you need a more efficient assessment approach. Additionally, every minute you spend assessing is a minute that you aren’t training clients and getting them closer to their goals.
Third, I think some people need to put a different spin on how they use their assessments. It should be something that educates and motivates new clients on how much you’re going to help them, not something that brings them down a peg as you point out everything that is wrong with them. An assessment should not put up a wall between you and a client; it should help to create a bond based on your willingness and ability to help that individual. Of course, there are several other mistakes folks can make, but these are the first three that come to mind.
JOHN: What may be optimal performance for a baseball player or a football player may not be considered optimal for a general population client. How would you define "optimal performance" for a regular Joe Schmoe that works 9-5 and drives a minivan to and from soccer games every week?
ERIC: I think it’s very simple: can these people do the things that they want to do on a daily basis – and without pain? It sounds like a very basic answer, but the truth is that most general fitness folks don’t have incredibly lofty performance goals. They want to be able to carry their kids without back pain, or play catch with those same kids without shoulder pain. Maybe they want the stamina to take part in a family hike, or just enough to get through long days without feeling exhausted and beaten-down by 5pm. Still, we can use a ton of the same exercises with these folks that we use with athletic populations, as there are right and wrong ways to move. However, other variations – frequency, duration, intensity, volume – need to be modified to give the general population folks what they need.
JOHN: Speaking of a personal trainer's career, where do you think the need for empathy is? Should it be a prerequisite early in the career, something developed, or is it over-rated?
ERIC: I think it’s entirely underrated. If you can’t at least try to walk a mile in people’s shoes, you can’t be successful. As an example, think about strength and conditioning coaches who just yell all the time; guys eventually wind up tuning them out. Conversely, the coaches who really care and get to know their athletes on a personal level are the ones who become trusted long-term resources. That’s what trainers should aspire to become with their clients: lifelong friends.
JOHN: Speaking of business, can you tell my readers how you have acquired your network of professionals over the years; and what methods can they use to develop a trusting circle of helpful pro's?
ERIC: I think it’s important to realize that your network has many “arms.” One arm is medical professionals – doctors, massage therapists, physical therapists, athletic trainers – to whom you can refer. This network can be developed by accompanying clients to appointments, asking other professionals in the area who they’d recommend on these fronts, and by attending seminars where these complementary professions are well represented. A second arm is other trainers. You want people off of whom you can bounce ideas on a regular basis. Obviously, seminars are a great option on this front, but the internet has also made it possible for more long-distance communication on this front. And, more and more accomplished professionals are readily accessible online. A third arm is other businesses that can help your company. It might be anything from cleaning services, to equipment manufacturers, to flooring companies. To build this one, you need to ask around – preferably among other trainers you trust. At the end of the day, I just try to be as friendly as I possibly can to everyone I meet. It’s just good manners, but as an added bonus, you never know when one of those people is going to end up being a trusted resource to you down the road. [END]
Eric was kind enough to let me check out his newest product finished before he put it up for sale. I am the proud owner of all his products and can tell you without a sliver of doubt, that this manual and videos is top-quality stuff. His products are informative and always referred to as a high standard in this digital age. Check out his newest product: The High Performance Handbook
Eric was kind enough to forward me a copy of the finished product last week and I looked it over. As with anything he puts out, it is nothing short of amazing. It comes with a chock full of tutorial videos by Eric and is the perfect tool for structuring an effective program.