Train and Coach like a pro – all from an iPad

The first thing I recommend to take your business to the next level is buy an iPad. I am not trying to get anyone to switch phones or carries, but a tool that fulfills end-to-end aspects of an allied health business like personal training or sport-specific coaching is going to certainly up your game. That tool is an iPad.

I work with some old-school trainers. They keep all of their workouts, contracts, and notes in a three-ring binder. Fine, if it works for you than run with it. Not me. And probably not you. That’s why you’re here. Why would you use written notes and eliminate the ability to copy and paste? Why would you not have the ability to email or text message a workout to a client? Why would you have files and notes that couldn’t be searched on a computer, tablet or phone? Don’t get me wrong, I love my analog notebook. But as a professional tool, everything that can be digital should be digital. And the single best digital tool for this is an iPad.

You might be thinking that an iPad is a toy or a luxury. Certainly it can be those things. But for me the iPad is my primary device. In fact there are entire communities built around iOS-only computing. I communicate with all of my clients using email or iMessage. I schedule everyone on my Google calendar. I create every exercise program in Numbers. And I use Interval Timer 70-80% of the time during my training sessions. You can’t do this on a computer and you don’t have the screen space to efficiently do this on an iPhone (even a “plus” size model). My services are conducted from end-to-end on an iPad: from the moment I meet a client, conduct their medical history, design and implement their program, and follow up on how their workout week is going, working on an iPad is one of those things where when you start you will never go back.

This new project of mine, Tech Trainer, exists to help personal trainers, athletic coaches, and other allied health professionals completely run their business on iOS. I believe it is very important to always ask “what is the best tool for the job” and then to maximize your workflows to consistently deliver the best service possible. For me, the iPad has allowed me to do all of that and more.

Get yourself an iPad. There are pros/cons of the different models, but don’t spend too much time here. If you were going to start on the cheap, pick up what I’m using – an iPad Mini 2 for $269. The latest iPad Mini 4 is just $399. That is my minimalist approach. If you want “full size” the iPad Pro starts at $599 and supports Apple Pencil and is very fast. For a completely digital experience and all the best apps available, the iPad is an essential tool in my professional life.

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The Last Twelfth

Sure, ‘twelfth’ is a weird word but it fits here. Yesterday marked the start of the last 1/12 of the year. December 1st means I get to sing Christmas songs to my kids for bedtime, play Christmas music 24/7, and most importantly drink egg nog. At the same time it’s that last lap of the year when the end is certainly in sight. I’ve learned to start my reflections early because I want to avoid that December 31st or January 1st temptation to completely revamp my life with new year resolutions.

Enough of the backstory. It’s always a good time to reflect, adjust, and plan. For me that has been a beautiful balance of executing my projects at work, building my personal projects, and thinking about the health of my family. What’s going well? What needs to improve? To be honest I ask myself those questions very often but it is the executing part that I always feel could improve. Do you feel that way too? Are you happy with what you produce or move forward on any given week or month?
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November was especially productive because I got Tech Trainer planned out and published the first post, I developed a new tradition with the kids, and moved three big work projects downfield. Like publishing this blog post, it feels great to move things forward. But it’s kind of like exercise for many of my clients: they identify how good it makes them feel but it’s often very difficult to execute, hit publish, or ship that product.

Here’s to the last twelfth. May it finish well and look as healthy as the first twelfth.

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S3E8 Packers at Eagles

After taking last week off we are back and in a much better mood after the Packers’ 27-13 win in Philly.

Favre in the snow first down

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Introducing Tech Trainer

Editor’s Note:
I’m working on a new project called Tech Trainer. It is a writing project that focuses on using technology in the allied health fields. As a personal trainer I have leveraged a lot of technology (both workflows and apps) to be productive and efficient with my work and it’s time to open the conversation.

The following was written to be a stand-alone domain but until I get at aspect figured out I decided to publish it here on my personal blog.

Why Tech Trainer?

I absolutely love what I do and I’m guessing you’re an exercise professional who feels the same. We are the lucky ones, doing what we love and getting paid for it. But it is hard work. Put more fully, we all could do our job a little better, a little more effiiciently. In our digital world, how do we leverage all the technology that year year is getting better and cheaper? That is why I started Tech Trainer. Because I have spent my career bringing my expertise in exericse together with my passion for cutting edge technology.
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Time is money. As a personal trainer I work on commission. Any time that I spend working on clients’ programs, communicating and/or scheduling with clients, or developing a new class or small group is time that I’m not getting paid for. So I need to be using the best tools so that I can be both fast and efficient. While much of this can be copy and paste, automation on iOS has evolved to be faster and more powerful. There are better apps for the job and as a cutting edge tech guy, I’ve spent a lot of time learning how these apps work and how a personal trainer can leverage them to be fast and professional.

I don’t expect readers to adopt all of my advice. But Tech Trainer is a forum where we can establish best practices and share other tricks of our trade. My goal is to help any trainer who wants to be more efficient with their business learn the tools here, practice them and then report back what is working and how we can take the industry to the next level.

Tech Trainer is based on iOS and macOS. I’ve never used an Android phone or tablet for this work. I’ve used an Android phone at a previous job and it had a couple advantages: Google voice-to-text was fantastic and the Swipe keyboard was awesome. But my personal phone has been an iPhone for seven years and I’ve had an iPad for six. I had the first generation iPad because I could see the vision: iPad was the future of mobile computing. The apps weren’t there yet, the operating system was a sub-par, but I trusted Apple – I always have and probably always will.

This project is about using iOS because I believe it is a superior operating system with superior apps. The community around iOS is fantastic. I follow some great developers on Twitter and read expert blogs on the iOS platform. Let’s not create a Android/iOS war here. I’m just drawing lines in the sand – we are going to share how iOS and macOS can make us better professionals.

Running a business means wearing many different hats. I image this blog will evolve into a review of apps, sharing of workflows, and even marketing ideas that will resonate with the community. I got into the health care field because I want to make people’s lives better and live longer and stronger. Part of the way I do that is equipping the trainers that are doing the same thing for their clients. This is Tech Trainer.

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S3E7 Packers at Titans

The drought continues… as the Packers fall in Tennessee.

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Final lap, memorizing Romans 12

I use YouVersion for reading the Bible. It’s always with me and as I’ve been memorizing Romans 12, I’ve enjoyed turning small chunks of the passage into pictures for my camera roll.

I’ve said this in my life group over the last eight weeks or so: I’m not a “memorize Scripture” kind of guy. Katie has usually been better at memorizing than me. Her mom did it all the time. It’s never been a practice of mine but when my pastor highly recommends a spiritual discipline, I listen. This time I obeyed.

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It all started with one verse. Going into it I felt stretched. Thirteen verses is a lot! There were two significant set backs. This section seemed like a natural break and I remember it being a challenge to memorize.

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Then when I went to South Dakota for my pheasant hunting trip , I really thought I’d have more time to be alone and make some great progress on the passage. Instead I probably regressed a little bit.

Two weeks later, I’m posting this image of the entire passage because I feel confident that more times than not I have it committed to memory. I am not done, but I am on the final lap.
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Romans 12:19

Memorizing Romans 12 has been a great experience thus far. It has taken a lot of work, showing up every day and giving it five minutes. But I have seen the progress week after week.

The end is near. Verse 19 has been a challenge for me so here it is all by itself. Everything up until this point is going very well, only a couple mistakes here and here.

If you aren’t taking the memory challenge I understand. Even if you don’t believe you can finish at this point, pick a couple verses and commit some of the passage (v. 9–21) to memory. Having Scripture in your mind and on the tip of your tongue is always a good thing.

Romans 12:19

Romans 12:19
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S3E4 Packers vs Bears and Cowboys

Chris flies solo as Hans is on special assignment (hunting pheasants).

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