Sweat is was pouring off of his forehead and the sound of his heavy breathing could be heard throughout the gym, but yet the effort he put forth never wavered in intensity. His mind must have been consumed with his deepest desirers to be stronger and look better. I did not once have to coax him along or push him to continue. He was like a machine in top gear, never slowing, never backing off, only constantly pushing forward to the next rep, set, or movement. It was like watching the terminator attack a set of deadlifts. The best word to describe him was unstoppable. The "him" in this description is one of the first clients I ever worked with, in fact I believed he was my fifth one-on-one client since becoming certified, but there are some clients you never forget. It has been over a year and half since I last trained Jim, but I learned an invaluable lesson from working with him.
Jim started off no different than any of the other four clients I was currently training at the time. As with my previous clients Jim and me were already acquainted with one another prior to our trainer-client relationship because we both had been working out at my local YMCA for quite a few years and had exchanged greetings in passing. But Jim approached me on a professional level to work with him on his strength and physique goals shortly after I began taking on clients.
Jim was at this time 38 years old, six feet tall, and weighted about 205 lbs. He was in relatively good shape and had no outstanding health concerns or contraindications that would prohibit him from reaching any goals he set. But what Jim quickly explained to me during our first appointment together was that he was absolutely frustrated with training and diet. He shared about how he had tried this program on one friends recommendations and had tried this diet after reading a particular article that praised it, but was time and time again left with unfulfilled promises, frustration, and disappointment.
Jim explained that he had never thought about getting a trainer before because he believed he could find all the information he needed to reach his goals on his own (which was probably true). But he told me he was so frustrated he was at the point of losing all interest in his health and that hiring me was going to be his last attempt at making real progress and gains. I couldn't help but feel for Jim as I had heard similar stories from friends, family, and the few other clients I had and couldn't help but think a large portion of the population must be suffering from the same frustrations.
After Jim finished explaining his situation to me I told him exactly what I had told all my other clients, which was that I could help them. I explained to Jim that I wanted to help him revitalize his will to train and move him closer to his goal. Also I informed Jim that I am particular about what I ask my clients to do and I have particular ways I want it done and that if I was going to be able to help him he had to listen to me and do as I asked of him without any doubt. I asked him to buy in to the program that I was going to design for him and to sell-out when I coached him through it. Jim acknowledged this and that day bought 36 sessions with me, which gave me three hours a week for three months to work with him.
Now before I go any further let me preface what follows with this information. This initial meeting with Jim was no different from any other of my four current clients first appointments. They all acknowledged my demands and agreed to train with me, but not one yet had lived up to it. My other clients missed sessions regularly, complained about the difficulty of sessions, and would often demand that I alter the designed program to conform to how they were feeling each day. So I wasn't really expecting much more than this same treatment from Jim. But what I got was far from what I expected.
To continue the story, Jim and me began meeting on tuesdays, thursdays, and saturdays to train for an hour. We had standing appointments on each day of these days. I informed Jim that the program I wrote for him was simple (as are all my programs), but would be effective if he did exactly as I asked of him. Jim was never late, but always early and foamed rolled before every training session as I had asked him too. This was one of the first indications that I knew Jim was going to be different from all the other clients I worked with, Jim was going to buy in to what I had planned for him.
I learned quickly Jim was no newbie to a weight room in fact I would probably say he was a veteran at this point. Jim could squat, deadlift, and bench press with great technique. Any time I introduced something new to Jim he listened closely and watched closer and rarely had to be told anything twice. His focus, intensity, and drive were something I had only seen before as an athlete.
The description I began this article with wasn't just a one time event with jim this was the norm. This is how Jim performed each session I programmed for him. Jim never once questioned my programming, he never once asked to be left off easy, and he always did as I asked. I swear he bought in so greatly that I could have told him to swim to hawaii and back and he would have said okay and started running for the closest body of water. He never deviated from the plan, instead he embodied the plan. It was ABSOLUTELY awesome. And even more awesome was the results Jim began seeing. He was becoming stronger, leaner, and healthier using a program and diet that was simpler than anything he had ever done before.
When Jim and Me reached the end of these sessions he had far exceeded his own expectations as well as mine. He had gained more strength in that short period of time than any other before. Jim got something really beneficial out of working with me. He realized that it wasn't as complicated as he thought it was. He realized that simplicity and intensity were the things he was missing. He found his will to train again.
Jim went on training on his own in the similar fashion I had trained him in and although I no longer see him due to training at a different facility I imagine these lessons learned still affect the way he approaches training to this day. But perhaps more important was what I learned from working with Jim.
See I had more success with Jim than any other client I had worked with to that point. I realized the thing that made Jim so different was his will. Jim had such a forceful will to succeed that nothing would get in his way. That was the differentiating factor between him and others I worked with. Jim's will to succeed allowed him to fully commit to what I wanted him to do and excel at it.
"THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN A SUCCESSFUL PERSON AND OTHERS IS NOT A LACK OF STRENGTH, OR KNOWLEDGE, BUT RATHER IN A LACK OF WILL"
The above quote is both my cover photo on my facebook page and my desktop screen saver. I believe this quote truly answers the difference between what causes success and failure. It is the will to succeed. Working with Jim affirmed this for me because Jim was no stronger or more informed than any other client I had worked with, but his will to succeed was far greater.
I hope this experiences I have shared offers you some insight and perhaps motivates you to make a firm commitment to a goal. And then hammer away at this goal with an iron hard will to succeed.
Practical, Purposeful, Effective Training