Till Deadlifts Do Us Part: Why Committing to Your Coach is Like Saying “I Do”

Love and fitness are two powerful forces that can transform our lives. And just like a healthy marriage, a successful relationship with your coach can be the key to unlocking your full potential. So, if you’ve found a coach that helps you achieve your goals, why not commit to that relationship just like you would in a marriage?

I. The Courtship

You’ve met your perfect match – someone who not only understands your fitness goals but also knows how to push you to reach them. Your coach is like your very own fitness soulmate, and together, you embark on a journey of self-improvement and growth. From the moment you met, you knew it was meant to be, and you’re ready to take the plunge and commit.

II. The Proposal

It’s time to pop the question, but instead of getting down on one knee, you sit down with your coach and ask for a long-term commitment. You discuss your future together, envisioning a life filled with personal records, toned muscles, and a deepened understanding of your body. As you shake hands, you realize you’re saying “I do” to a lifetime of support and guidance in your fitness journey.

III. The Marriage

As with any successful marriage, the key to a thriving relationship with your coach is communication, trust, and a shared commitment to growth. You learn to listen to your body and your coach, understanding that they have your best interests at heart. Through thick and thin, sweat and tears, you work together to overcome obstacles and celebrate achievements.

IV. The Growing Pains

Even the healthiest of relationships face challenges, and your partnership with your coach is no exception. There will be times when you question your commitment, perhaps feeling overwhelmed or discouraged by setbacks. But like any devoted spouse, your coach remains by your side, offering encouragement and support to help you find your way back on track.

V. The Golden Years

As the years go by, your relationship with your coach only grows stronger. You become an inseparable team, navigating the ups and downs of your fitness journey hand in hand. As your body changes, your coach adapts your workouts to keep you challenged and engaged, proving that true love can withstand the test of time.

So, if you’ve found the coach of your dreams, don’t let them slip away. Make a lifelong commitment to your fitness journey, just like you would in a marriage, and experience the transformative power of unwavering support and dedication. After all, a true fitness love story lasts a lifetime, and together, you’ll create a legacy of health and happiness that stands the test of time.



As a business that’s strategically and purposefully tough

on its clients and coaches, we find ourselves needing to make some clarifications every now and then. For example: The difference between pushing and bullying.

Bullying is, unfortunately but undeniably, as old as humanity itself. You can also see traces and whispers of it amongst dogs and many other domesticated animals. Whether conducted online or in the real world, it’s the public ridiculing, belittling, and/or embarrassing of someone weaker by someone stronger for the express purpose of establishing social control, dominance, and authority.

Formerly reserved for children, the concept of bullying has dramatically and controversially expanded in scope to include adults. Amongst journalists, politicians, educators, and psychologists, there’s heated debate about how to handle bullying, but one thing is clear: Bullying, when endured by children or the otherwise defenseless, cannot be tolerated in civilized society.

Pushing is an entirely different phenomenon–one that’s far more effective, beneficial, and positive for all parties involved. First of all, pushing–as we’re defining it–occurs between two consenting adults who make an informed, mutual decision to enter a relationship in which one party will do the pushing and in which the other party will be pushed.

But why push in the first place? Because, sometimes, even though you know that the best step is the next step, you just don’t feel like taking it. You resist. You hesitate. You float complaints. You manufacture excuses. All of which is perfectly understandable given human nature–and all of which must be countered in order to achieve the results one is out to achieve.

In excellent companies, employ- ers push employees to become more creative, more efficient, more innovative. Successful employees, being human beings, tend not to like it–but they stick with it anyway. Why? Because they like those paycheques and (if they’re lucky) they know they’re part of an enterprise that’s doing good things.

In excellent schools, professors push students to become more perceptive, more experienced, more intelligent. Successful students, being human beings, tend not to like it–but they stick with it anyway. Why? Because they want that degree and (if they’re lucky) they’re learning something that’s important and fascinating to them.

At excellent group-training and personal-training facilities, coaches push clients to work harder, to be more responsible, to have greater integrity, to produce superior results. Successful clients, being human beings, tend not to like it–but they stick with it anyway. Why? Because they want to become (and remain) fit and lean. They want their health and vitality back–if they ever had it in the first place. But most of all and most importantly, successful students respect and appreciate being pushed because, without that pushing, they’re stuck. That doesn’t make them bad, nor wrong, nor worthy of shame. But it doesn’t exactly make them winners in the game of life either.

At ARM TRAINING SYSTEMS, we never bully our clients. But we most certainly do push them–lovingly, strategically, and intentionally. The vast majority of our community loves that about us. To them, it’s a refreshing change from lower-cost, lower-value, big-box gyms that demand (then deliver) nothing at all.

Of course, for a vocal, sensitive minority, pushing doesn’t work–and that’s OK. Really! But those individuals should know in advance that we’re probably not the fitness solution for them. Which is why we take such great effort to develop signage, graphics, materials, and advertisements that communicate what we’re about and how we go about the business of making business people fit, lean, strong, and powerful in all areas of life.


This is a revised article from back in 2012 when I first started ARM and preaching behavioral change as the key to weight loss.

As time has progressed the research has repeatedly shown that this this method of weight loss is the only sustainable one. Almost any dietary approach will work but the problem is—for how long?

Most often what slips us up is not the diet itself but our adherence to it.

While having the effective plans, systems, and methods for doing this is important; it is even more important to know where to start with each new client.

Clients that come to us have a variety of different backgrounds and are at different levels of readiness:


Otherwise referred to as unconscious incompetence this stage is often represented by a lack of knowledge.

You aren’t doing the right habits because you don’t know what they are and are unaware that what you are doing is counter-productive towards your overall goals.

There is a large portion of the population that fits under this category. With the media telling us one bad piece of advice after another it is no wonder there is so much confusion when it comes to eating and exercising.

Our goal at this stage is to help you recognize unproductive habits and educate you on effective ones.


Referred to as conscious incompetence this is the most difficult stage for most people and where the greatest value of a trainer/coach comes in.

At this stage you are aware of what habits are helping or hurting you but struggle to put the right one’s into action.

Most people at this stage tend to blame their genetics for their lack of results but the truth is they simply have not practiced the appropriate actions long enough for them to become habit.

Our goal at this stage is to create successful training and/or nutrition habits.

This stage is all about making mistakes and learning from them, often a very difficult process for some but also an essential part of the learning processes.

Without the accountability of a coach the transition from this stage to the next is where most people struggle, they start with good intentions but quickly lose focus and revert back to doing the same actions that they began with (with a new found frustration).


Also referred to as conscious competence at this stage you have learned what is needed and for the most part are practicing it, the only downside is that it requires constant concentration and effort devoted to maintaining it.

Accountability is also a must in this stage as this new habit may take months or even years before it forms. Most of our clients reach this stage very early and it is up to us to ensure the habit stays long enough to become permanent.

Our goal at this stage is to now keep you accountable and ensure that this new habit is practiced long enough to transition to the next stage.


Also referred to as unconscious competence at this stage you have practiced your new habits long enough that they no longer take much effort to sustain and can be performed with ease.

This is our ultimate goal when it comes to eating and exercising—and where transformation is truly present. It not long becomes something you “do” but rather a part of who you are.

The stress of “sticking to a diet” is now gone and food can be enjoyed without guilt.

Don’t get me know, there will still be times when your food choices may not match with your goals. However, your transition back to eating foods that are good for you will be as seamless as writing with your good hand after a day of writing with your bad one.

At this stage our goal is simple; ensure you have the tools you need to keep going.

You no longer need us to succeed but gain value from the services provided (such as exercise routines, cooking recipes, etc.).

Our relationship at this point becomes more of a friendship.


I get his question lot and wish there was a simple answer, but there is not.

The rate of your progression through these stages is determined by a wide range of variables that you may not have control over but more importantly you must be willing to put in consistent effort with the right actions in order for your success to occur at all.

Consider why you are reading this, chances are you have an area of your life that you would like to enhance but don’t know how to do it.

Adopting the appropriate actions for your current stage of learning is the first step.

Good things may come to those who wait but great things come to those who act.



There are very few true emergencies in life. What most try to pass-off as an emergency is simply something that wasn’t planned for, but which should have been predicted had the outcome been more important or had priorities been kept in mind.

Don’t get me wrong, emergencies do exist, and they are identified by an instantaneous and complete shift of priorities. They are very rare and most people will have a couple of actual emergencies in their life time. In the realm of personal training, the cancellation call to the trainer is very low on the list of things to do when a real emergency kicks in. Survival or immediate services to those in need are hallmarks of a real emergency. For this reason, great personal trainers will never bill a client for an emergency because they cannot be avoided.

Some examples of a real emergency would be a heart attack or stroke of a parent, injury in a car crash, delay due to actual highway / public transit congestion or closure, a gas leak, a bomb scare, a fuel spill, a tornado or other acute extreme weather events.

Some examples of fake emergencies would be a children’s school event, a sports game or concert, impending work or school deadline, a hot date, a spontaneous trip or vacation.

The difference is in one’s ability to anticipate the event or the amount of lead time or warning the client had about the event in question as well as the actual need to shift priorities. Work and school deadlines tend to be well communicated and well established ahead of time. The same is true for children’s school, sports and concert events. The date and times of these things are usually announced months ahead of time and are rarely spur of the moment things given the number of people involved with them.

What are we getting at here?

Very simple, our most successful clients have never missed a session due to an emergency. They have had to rescheduled sessions later in the week or do an extra session in the previous weeks, but if their program requires training 3 times per week, they always average 3 training sessions per week.

The most successful clients know their priorities and stick to them no matter what happens. They have the same opportunities to take spontaneous trips, dates and other events but they know exactly why they are training and do not sacrifice their future goals for immediate gratification. They don’t regard things they have a choice to do or not do as emergencies so they their priorities cannot shift.

The least successful trainees or those who do not achieve their goals have a different view of emergencies. For those who are less committed to their goals, their future selves or achieving their potential, an opportunity to have fun now supersedes actual hard work and success. Worse than this is the tendency for these people to not know what the next few weeks of their life looks like – they don’t have schedules or day planners outlining the upcoming events like school activities, sports events for children, etc…. These people have little desire to create a new and better future because they just make plans and let life happen each day, labeling things emergencies so they can get out of their training session; effectively losing another day of their life just because they didn’t care enough to not lose it.

This is why we bill for missed and cancelled sessions – because there is rarely an excuse for missing or cancelling a session. It isn’t personal but creating a new life requires hard work and if someone doesn’t care enough about their future to know what that future looks like – the upcoming events for their weeks – we need to use the loss of money for a missed session as leverage for them to do what is important in the long run vs. doing something that is easy right now.



We talk to a lot of parents because we’re curious about the experience of being one. They tell us their hopes and fears, their concerns about the future and the things that bring them optimism. Over the years, their stories have helped us developed an appreciation of what it means to be a parent. One of the striking facts that seems to jump out is related to the observational learning and the normalization that children do when they seeing their parents doing ANYTHING. This is something that we see in coaching our clients’ everyday – most of them are doing what their parents did when they were growing up.

Now with that said parents sometimes unintentionally pass along habits that don’t serve to optimize their child’s development and actually make it harder to correct later in life – some of these habits are:

Teaching ineffective exercise habits. Active parents tend to have active children. When a parent teaches a child that there is joy in moving, we rarely need to work with them in any way other than to help them achieve peak performance. With a well-established baseline, young people tend to continue to move. They may decide to go as far as they can in a sport or simply become a recreational participant, but the activity habit is set and most enjoy the lifelong benefits associated with maintaining an active life. We do however work with a lot of individuals who didn’t have the exercise habit modeled when they were younger and there is a host of issue associated with this lack of movement. It is fair to say that teaching an adult how to love moving is one of the bigger challenges primarily because they have already learned how to love NOT moving.

Teaching children poor eating habits. A serving size is a different thing for every family but it tends to be the same size for everyone in the same family. Lean parents tend to raise children who are closer to their ideal body weight and composition than obese parents, who tend to raise children who are heavier. Families who sit down and eat meals together tend to continue to sit down and eat meals together. Parents who help children view food as the source of nutrition, building material and the occasional treat establish a repeatable and reasonable relationship with food. Those who teach their children that food a reward and that every meal should consist of foods that are enjoyable and easy tend to raise children who are lazy when it comes to their attitudes towards food preparation.

Not teaching children how to not win. Learning how to handle defeat or not being the best appropriately will go a long way in giving a child an advantage when it comes to life. Human beings do most of their learning by making mistakes – trial and error is how each of us learned how to walk, talk, move, etc…. However, at some point we are taught to feel shame for being wrong and this causes us to close-up and avoid the experiences that will produce useful lessons. There is a trend towards eliminating failing grades in schools to ensure that no child endures the lesson of accountability and responsibility until they graduate high school. The impact of missing these lessons can be devastating given that failing in school opens a person up to improved coaching / teaching while failing in the work force eliminates their employment. There is an equally damaging trend toward sports tournaments becoming festivals in which everyone participates and is regarded as a winner. The stigmatization of everyone being the same is likely more damaging to motivation than the consequences of not being the best.

Passing along a tendency to give-up before success or goals are achieved – phrased another way, allowing a child to rely too much on talent or innate qualities to garner attention or positive reinforcement vs. reinforcing their effort. Trying is a skill that will last a lifetime. Looks will fade, other people will come along who naturally better at something, talent burn itself out over time as one ages. If a child never learns the value of putting in enormous effort in order to increase the likelihood of success, they will tend to give-up very quickly before achieving anything in terms of transformation, success or problem solving. Those individuals who are taught to work hard regardless of the outcome will be at a distinct advantage when it comes to achieving ANYTHING.

Now each of these things can be taught to a young person through direct intervention and teaching or they can be taught passively through modeling. Teaching is not the same as doing, so when you try to teach a child these skills, you do not reap the benefits associated with BEING those skills. Modeling tenacity will guide a child towards persistence alone with generating greater success for a parent. The same applies to being an active parent who takes a direct role in food choices; not only will their children learn how to eat more effectively and develop a love of movement, but the adult will enjoy an improved quality of life a boost in vitality that can only come from participating in healthy choices.