I love feeling the energy of a room or event – and before that is taken as a hippy statement, we all do it. When you walk into a room that someone has just had a very serious argument in, you know. When you walk in to an amazing party, you feel the buzz. Some just pay more attention than most.
We have an amazing ability to create atmospheres. From a coaching perspective you should be able to wield your clients training environment to get the best possible session out of them. Your body language and the words that you use to explain something can make a HUGE impact to that person and their performance.
AS A COACH
If you’re a coach, ultimately your style of coaching will dictate the kind of people that you will teach. If you’re going to be a drill sergeant that accepts no weakness and only give credit to competitive athletes then you’re probably going to have a competitive gym – which is a great environment for competitive people! Applying that same mentality and trying to target ‘Bums and Tums’ clients that just want to get a sweat on and tick the “went to the gym” box then you’ll probably find your retention factor lacking. There is nothing wrong with people that just want to do that, for some people, fitness isn’t their whole life. It’s a hard part of coaching to sometimes have to accept when you see great potential in someone, but they just “don’t want to”. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t strive to get the best out of that person, but don’t take it personally to heart, we can’t dictate how people think or what they enjoy.
AS A TRAINING PARTNER
Now for my favourite! Being a training partner! This is where you can really start to dictate the atmosphere! Personally if I’m training, I like to be as loud and boisterous as possible and make everyone in the room want to outlift me and kick my ass. It makes me work harder, takes the fear of big weights out of the way and gets the old testosterone levels rising – there’s nothing like pretending to be the alpha male, even if you do get your ass handed to you. Having an awesome session is purely based on the energy you bring to it. If you really aren’t feeling it some day but you have arranged to do something with someone, just go for it! Concentrate on them having a good session even if you’re struggling, it will help.
AS A VOCAL BYSTANDER
I am always in favour of encouragement. As silly as it may sound, shouting “up up up up!” at someone or “light weight, baby!” really does make a huge difference. Or, something that some people may do is trying to tap into people’s determination through mocking, annoying someone to the point of them walking up to a bar and thinking “you know what, I’ll show you”. It can really work! Obviously you have to be good friends, you don’t do it to a beginner when you’ve been lifting for 5 years – “YEAH! Weak little bitch!!” … although it would be hilarious..
AS A CLOSE COMPETITOR
Get someone close to your level and go through the process of biting their heels and keeping them on their toes. Try to find someone else that could be brought up to your level quite easily and motivate them to try to take you on. People really react well to that. If you see someone you would deem as the same as you lifting a weight that you haven’t lifted yet it takes the mysticism out of it: you see with your own eyes that it CAN be done, and that’s when the best lifts happen. This is one I would see when people visit other gyms with new people. Some of the best personal bests I got where when I was surrounded by people I didn’t know in a new environment, it was purely down to the mentality of not wanting to look weak or silly when surrounded by people similar to me. Then of course you brush it off like it was nothing, while secretly texting your Missus… who doesn’t care…
AS A FRIEND
Knowing people and making good friends with your training partners is the main thing. Obviously you must respect the rules and atmosphere of the gym you are training in, but when you find one that gels with you and your personality THAT’S your home base. You should always have a coach for an extended period of time, the better they get to know you and the more they realise how you react to different methods can make programming REALLY good. When your coach tells you to knuckle down and focus but can also let you have fun every now and again without you hating them, you’re on to a winner.
I’m not big into writing about the whole mindset thing, I think there are far better people out there to write about mindset than me, but it really does make such a difference when you bring an encouraging, motivated atmosphere with you, no matter what you do. Be a badass and make everyone surrounding you a badass too.