Dive into a curated roundup of featured articles from OPEX CEO Carl Hardwick. From innovative perspectives on resistance training to insightful takes on fitness business growth, Carl’s expertise illuminates the path to sustainable fitness. With new articles added regularly, read on to gain valuable insights and elevate your coaching game from this exclusive collection.
Learn more about Carl and read his CEO Profile here.
Why Strength Training Improves Looks, Health, & Performance
If you lift weights, you likely want to build muscle, increase your strength or improve your health. Strength training can lead to all three outcomes. I have an outcome-biased perspective on health and fitness as a whole. By this, I mean I always ask myself, “Why?” when determining if something is good or bad, right or wrong, smart or dumb. With this perspective, I’m going to dig into the three biggest reasons people lift weights…to get bigger, stronger or generally healthier. To do this, I’ll share a closer look at the mechanisms of strength training and how these mechanisms correlate with these three major goals.
How To Instill Good Health & Fitness Habits in Kids
Instilling healthy habits in kids can seem like an overwhelming task but as coaches or parents, we have a responsibility to educate children. A lot of coaches freeze up when asked the question, “What are good health and fitness habits for my kids?” It can be a bit intimidating to step into the world of youth health as most of the recommendations and information out there are built around creating better youth athletes and not so much on how to set them up to be healthy adults. Addressing nutrition, especially for children, is a sensitive and crucial conversation. It’s pivotal for us, as fitness coaches, to guide our clients and their children in establishing and maintaining a wholesome, balanced lifestyle from early on.
In this piece, I will lay out a few general principles for coaches to consider when working with youth or giving their clients with kids advice on how to approach health and fitness with their own kids.
How To Program Strength Training for the Average Gym Client
As fitness coaches, we frequently fall into the trap of applying high-level, performance-oriented principles universally to all clients, regardless of their individual needs, goals or abilities. If you think about it, it’s actually quite silly. Why are we using percentage-based deadlift programs with 55-year-old Betty, who just wants to slow down the arthritis she’s been dealing with? And why program drop-clusters with a sprinkle of back-off sets for 35-year-old, new father, Dan, who is looking to exercise for the first time since college to be a good example for his son?
A better approach is required for the majority of our clients, folks who fall into the general population and are seeking improved health and vitality for longevity.
In this article, I want to offer up a few principles to consider when designing resistance training programs for general population individuals whose primary goals revolve around enhancing overall well-being and longevity.
How To Get More Clients as a Fitness Coach
If you’re a fitness coach who wants more clients, casting too wide a net is a recipe for failure. Instead, start by asking, “Who do I want to coach?” In the seemingly “evolving” landscape of the fitness industry, having a targeted approach to identifying your ideal clients is still a huge key to success. The process of identifying your ideal client involves more than recognizing who you simply want to serve; it’s about aligning services, communication and value proposition with the needs of your prospective clients. In this piece, I will discuss a few principles fitness coaches can use to pinpoint ideal clients.
How Fitness Coaches Should Use AI for Program Design
Your ability to use AI to write training programs rests on how well you can speak its language. Follow these principles to craft effective prompts. Artificial Intelligence (AI) has become a popular tool in a ton of industries across the world over the last year or so. In a previous exploration of AI in coaching, we dove into how AI intersects with fitness coaching and discussed how it could be perceived not as a threat but as a beneficial in our coaching practices.
Today, let’s go a bit deeper, focusing on the practical utilization of ChatGPT in designing training programs, using the build of a 5k row progression as a case study.
The Power of Consistency as a Fitness Coach
The world is in a constant search for quick fixes and rapid transformations. As professional coaches, we must preach the power of consistency. I often ask myself what truly sets apart an exceptional coach from the rest. There are a ton of attributes that come to mind, such as competence, confidence, humility and trustworthiness, but it’s more than just these things. While these traits matter, they lose their effectiveness if not applied consistently.
Maximize Your Program Design Productivity as a Fitness Coach
To increase program design efficiency, you must take a 360-degree approach to assess efficiency blockers in your daily life. Productivity is often seen as a straightforward measure of output. For fitness coaches, this could mean the number of clients they handle, the programs they design, communication with clients or the results they achieve. However, enhancing productivity isn’t just about doing more in less time. It’s about recognizing both overt and subtle factors that influence one’s efficiency.
How To Recession-Proof Your Fitness Coaching Practice
None of us are immune to the economic climate, so it’s essential that fitness coaches take a proactive approach to building a resilient practice. In today’s ever-evolving economic landscape, fitness coaching professionals, particularly in the United States, must be proactive and prepared for downturns. One such downturn is the dreaded recession. We’ve been anticipating and expecting an official recession in the U.S. for some time now, and this got us thinking, “What should coaches do to make it through this challenging economic time?”
The Pros & Cons of Evidence-Based Fitness Coaching
Should we accept scientific research as immutable law or throw away capital T truths altogether? I propose a more nuanced approach. Evidence-based coaching has significantly shifted the direction of fitness over the past few decades. With evidence-based pioneers like Charles Poliquin in individualization, Paul Chek with his holistic, 360-degree approach, and James Fitzgerald breaking through to build new ways of thinking in CrossFit, an area where there was no evidence, the evidence-based approach has deeply embedded itself into fitness coaching practices.
How To Build Stronger Coach-Client Relationships
If you want to help your clients improve their health, performance and vitality, start focusing on developing meaningful relationships. As fitness coaches, our role extends beyond designing training programs and nutrition plans. Our impact hinges on the relationships we cultivate with our clients. In this article, I will dig deeper into this concept and offer a few helpful frameworks for you to build these relationships.
How To Assess Your Clients
Here’s a four-part assessment system every fitness coach can use to set each client up for success. “Assess…don’t guess” – Paul Chek.
These words, originating from Paul Chek and drilled into me by my mentor James Fitzgerald, serve as a guiding principle in effective fitness coaching. The statement highlights the need for assessing our clients, and not generalized guesswork, in achieving desired fitness outcomes.