More than 40 years ago, I started helping athletes get better at their sport. The first step was to establish what they had been doing and then discuss their goals. Next, by determining their strengths, weaknesses, and imbalances and comparing it to the best in the world for that sport (books, magazines, TV, online videos, VHS cassettes, and even in person), I would develop a ‘personalized’ program for them to reach their goals.
It worked! However, my academic pursuits got in the way of my passion.
About 30 years ago, I was sitting in a night class at Pensacola (Florida) Junior College. Of course, it was at night because I was in the Navy working 10-12 hours per day, working out a couple more hours per day and going to school at night to ‘finally’ finish my degree. I was taking business classes as I felt they would…help my business, duh?
So, I’m sitting there kinda listening to the prof, but not really as I had already read over the material and yes, ‘I got it.’ My classmates and the prof must’ve thought I was really into the lecture as I was constantly writing. The only problem was that I was writing out training and diet plans for myself and some of the guys I worked with.
A couple nights later and I’m sitting in a ‘stats’ class—I seriously do NOT miss statistics—drawing stick figures to represent the optimal leverages in performing different variations of a back squat, when the professor calls my name.
“Mr. Martin,” he says as though he noticed I was ‘doodling.’
“Yes, professor, I was just wondering if you knew when the last day was to drop a class without penalty?” I asked.
“Uh, I believe it’s next week,” he said.
“Thanks,” I said as I picked up my books and walked out of the classroom. I dropped out the next day and started to focus on my lifting and helping others.
A year later, my daughter was born and two weeks after that I was in Colorado Springs, Colorado, at the Olympic Training Center becoming a certified weightlifting coach and discussing a 4-year plan to compete in the 1996 Games with the national coach.
Ironically, about ten years after that I completed an MBA in managerial leadership.
In other words, my reason to change—do what I loved doing and take a chance on it—was bigger than my reason to keep doing what I was doing.
Keep in mind this was long before online coaching, FaceBook, CrossFit, mobile apps, etc. The overwhelming majority of my athletes were ones I saw face-to-face who enjoyed getting my hand-written workouts and diet programs. I still have, and use, all my old Excel spreadsheets…because thy work!
So, fast-forward to the present. After serving more than 26 years in the Navy, I retired and started working on something I wanted to do for a long time—online-based coaching, blogging, and book/article writing that bring together my passion for helping people achieve their health and fitness-related goals and a unique coaching philosophy based on my background, knowledge, and experience.
My ultimate goal is to help ONE MILLION people become healthier, wealthier, and wiser so they can live longer and enjoy being with their family and friends!
The Socratic method of inquiry, which boils down to questioning almost everything, is my coaching philosophy. It oftentimes breaks the rule of ‘never answer a question with a question.’
Here is an example. Hey coach, “What can I do to lose some weight before golf season?”
Do you want to just lose weight or drop some body fat? How much do you want to lose? What have you done in the past? What are you doing now? What is your timeline? And on and on…
That is using the Socratic method of inquiry, along with some compassion, to develop a program to help a client reach their goals and ultimately produce long-term results and lifestyle changes.
On the other hand, the client could have just stopped eating and drinking for 24 hours, kept moving, and I promise you that they would ‘lose some weight!’
During my 40 years of working out, competing, and helping people, two of the most important questions I always ask others and myself are—How bad do you want it and what are you willing to sacrifice to get it?
Behavioral change is one of the keys to achieving one’s goals, but the majority of people will not start a program to change until they reach a point in their life where they ‘have’ to change.
Do you just ‘want’ to lose weight OR do you ‘have’ to lose thirty pounds of body fat because your doctor told you that walking around the golf course could KILL you due to high blood pressure, respiratory problems, and/or cardiovascular disease caused by you being out of shape?
One of my all-time favorite inspirational posters shows a rock climber hanging on to a small rock ledge with just one hand while dangling from an overhang hundreds of feet above the ground. The caption said, ‘I can, because I have to!’
What is the main motivating factor driving you to change? Is it intrinsic (coming from within you) or extrinsic (coming from outside you)? Research constantly shows that intrinsically motivated change (usually) wins out over extrinsically motivated change.
Do you want to finally ‘get in shape’ because you’re tired of jumping from one social media influencer’s ‘viral’ toning program to another; are you fed up with clipping coupons because you spent your ‘life savings’ trying to win the lottery; and are you sick and tired of not getting any better at anything?
Now it is time for some ‘tough love.’ If your reason NOT to change is greater than your reason to change, then NOTHING IS GOING TO CHANGE!
If you continue to do what you’ve always done; you’ll continue to get what you’ve always got…or something like that.
Some of you, and your friends and family (who need to read this article), have NOT found a reason to change. Therefore, I am going to end this article now and give you some time to figure it out AND to share this with others so they may do the same.