How The 3 Little pigs can teach us the value of personal training
Ok, maybe it’s having fairy tales and nursery rhymes around my 2-year-old. But I also have to thank my wife for keeping the creative thinking fun and young in our house. So my wife and I were sitting in the car and we’re talking about a new client of mine. I explained that if her husband had found out about what the cost would be of her training with me for the next 4 – 6 months, he might blow a gasket!
I choose my clients carefully and always prequalify. Initial qualifying interviews help me suss out personalities, wants and needs, as well as the possible relationship moving forward. I want to know your short term and long term goals, training history, injury history, weekly habits, sleep, etc. I also want to know if you’ve had personal training in the past, and if you found it helpful, or if you quit, and why?
Let’s start by saying, that I understand that personal training is a luxury. Not everyone has $75 or more per session 2 to 4 times per week. Whether it’s months or weeks at a time. One of my questions to a new prospect is, “did you learn anything from your last trainer, and have you kept that education going?” If 3 months went by and you haven’t even taken the time to learn your movement prep prior to starting your session, then that’s a huge red flag for me.
Now in the client’s defense, personal training could have just as much responsibility in this, so I won’t just fault the client; either way, it is something that I need to consider. Now back to the 3 little pigs. I decided to use this fairy tale to simplify how a lot of prospective clients perceive value when choosing a trainer or generally anything in life; maybe by the end, you’ll change the ways on how you choose your trainer, or if the trainer chooses you as a client!
First Little Pig
The First Little Pig is laid back; he’s a swarthy looking fella, who on all accounts enjoys good food, beer, his late night treats, and television. Exercise really isn’t a priority aside from the Saturday Bootcamp he hits once a week so that he can impress himself and others with the nuances of “having personal training in his life.” He likes to keep up with the Benjamins, and always prioritizes wants over needs, so he prefers to rent a straw house in the country not too far from his two older brothers. And let’s be serious, renters insurance isn’t a priority in this little pigs life, nor is his health since he does things for the wrong reasons. Unfortunately eating out and enjoying dessert coffees daily can’t afford him more Bootcamps than once per week!
One day the news reported that there was a slew of home invasions in the neighborhood; the only suspect the police had was a Big Bad Wolf, but they couldn’t pin anything on him; the suspect burnt down the homes leaving no evidence behind. On no specific day, the First Little Pig came home from his part-time job, only to find that his home had burnt down, but more importantly, found himself in a foot race to his brother’s house running away from this lunatic Wolf! The First Little Pig barely made it alive. Was it the once a week HIIT training? Or pure adrenaline? Either way, he made it to his brothers home safely, leaving his home in ashes.
My first question to you if you were to be my client, what are your most important priorities and where does health fit on that list?
Second Little Pig
The second little pig lacked execution in his life. He liked the safe route because it wasn’t too expensive but it also wasn’t cheap. He found that it was easier to take advantage of the system without ever building loyalties, commitments, or relationships. Unlike his brother, he took better care of himself; he bought a small meager wooden house because the price was right. He loved to hit up Groupon and Living Social for deals constantly, which meant he basically trained for years, a week or a month at a time at different locations so that he can stay healthy but never really commit to a plan, a trainer, or a facility.
Of course, this becomes an issue when his younger brother moves. All he spent his money on was clothes, eating out and of course those delicious daily coffees. This leads to late rent every month, and a messy household, a pigsty; no pun intended. This situation made it difficult for him to always head out to the new deal of the week, he began to lose sleep, his diet due to living with his brother also began to suffer. Finally one day, in the midst of one of his monthly deals, he injures his back and was bedridden for a week without being able to work.
There’s no physiotherapy on Groupon or Living Social, so that meant he sucked it up and went to work injured. His job required some heavy lifting and since he never really committed to a decent personal training program under a good trainer he just kept repeating bad habits which caused the injury to worsen. He concocted an idea to get Workers Compensation so that he can blame the injury on work, but was found out, and ended up losing his job. To add insult to injury the two little pigs get off the bus from their respective jobs and find the house was on fire! The first little Pig helps his older brother, and together they ran to their oldest brother’s house, the Third Little Pig. They barely made it as the lunatic wolf was steady on their tails. Once they were safely inside.
My second question to you is, do you know the difference between a deal and a value?
The Third Little Pig
The oldest of the three little pigs chose a different path in life. He started with a lemonade stand when he was a piglet, took his money and invested on other individuals and opened more lemonade stands. Ventured into different businesses here and there over the years always taking mitigated risks where he saw the value. He built a chain of lemonade stands that were very successful. He built a beautiful house and secured it long before the Big Bad Wolf was wandering the neighborhoods. The Third Little Pig had a personal trainer that came to his house 4 mornings a week at 6 AM. His trainer put him on a regimented program that was reviewed every 3 months so that they stayed on course with his short term goals, while never losing sight of his long term goals.
The Third Little Pig had pictures of himself climbing Kilimanjaro, an Ironman in Hawaii, mountain biking the Rockies, etc. This Little Pig lived a driven and structured life with many goals, and achievements. When his brothers came to live with him, there were rules to follow, jobs to be had, responsibilities and more importantly, he sat down to talk about them making small achievable milestones in their lives, and it all started with a 6 AM wake up to a semi-private session with his trainer; the Three Little Pigs began training together as a family.
After some time, The first little Pig had changed his dietary and sleep habits, trained well and ended up losing 25Lbs. He went on to become part of his brothers’ marketing division since he knew so much about what people wanted. The second little Pig started physiotherapy and slowly moved onto seriously training for his first Ironman with his older brother. He stopped shopping around for deals and also decided to join a yoga class he had enjoyed back in his deal finder days. And to top this off became part of his brother’s sales team adding input where he could to the deals offered from their lemonade products.
One day, the three little Pigs were driving back from the airport, they had just flew in from Hawaii, and there were sirens and lights flashing at the Third Little Pig’s house. It was the police, and slumped over the hood of their car was The Big Bad Wolf handcuffed ready to be transported out of there. Apparently the security company had contacted the police because the cameras had caught the Wolf on the property trying to break in. The Three Little Pigs smiled at each other with relief. The third little Pig looked at his brothers and told them that as of this week, they were back to work, but they each had to start looking for new homes for themselves and that he would help them. Obviously with a few hiccups here and there, they lived happily ever after.
My last question to you is, mitigating risks aside, do you have short term and long term goals, and are they achievable?
The first thing you may ask is why the long road to establish if Personal Training is valuable to you? The truth is, it was fun to write this particular blog, but also because I felt a little context was needed. Plus, I don’t think my Good Fellas version I tell my son is applicable in this situation. I think there’s a lot of you out there that may relate to one or all Three Little Pigs. I asked questions at the end of each excerpt because I wanted those questions fresh in your head so that you can think about them and answer them sincerely. So let’s recap the questions and consider where you sit in that first qualifying interview:
- What are the most important priorities in your life, and where does your health fit in the list of priorities?
- Do you know the difference between a Deal and the Value of what you are looking to purchase?
- And finally, all mitigating risks aside, do you have short term goals, long term goals, and are they achievable?
These are actually 3 very important questions that I ask and are very telling of the individual. I can usually see within the first 15 mins if they even qualify to be in my training camp. I hope you enjoyed the blog if you’re interested in training with me, or even if you’re not, I welcome your answers and look forward to communicating with new people whether athletes or regular Jills/Joes that are simply weekend warriors. Until next time;
Stay humble, and stay healthy my friends…