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.
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.
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.
I’m putting together a seminar for work next week. It’s called FT2 (Fitness Tracker 2.o). The premise is that many people have fitness trackers like FitBit and Apple Watch but (1) they aren’t using all of the data available and (2) they aren’t getting the results they want. For the last year I have been taking a small group though an intensive Fitness Tracker class where we analyze their workouts, customize new workouts, implement those workouts each week. I’ve learned a lot about these fitness trackers, especially FitBit and I want to help others leverage this amazing technology.
I am looking forward to the opportunity to teach again – I coach clients all week but this is a different scene. One of the challenges of a seminar like this is that attendees can come to it from all sorts of different places. Some have used the trackers for years, others are just getting started, and still others are newly in the market and they’ll ask “what should I buy and will you set me up?” What an opportunity! With all that I’ve learned this year, I’m honored to play a role in each attendee’s pursuit of their health. After all, it’s about building a relationship, not necessarily teaching content as a one-time info session.
This week marks the start of the fourth quarter of 2016. Here in Wisconsin we have a tradition marking that special moment of time between the third and the fourth quarter. Of course I’m talking about Jump Around. We all know about it, many of us have seen it, and the lucky ones have participated in one of the greatest traditions in sports.
So here we are. Three-fourths of the year is behind us and we are going into the fourth quarter. It’s time to jump around because it’s about to get real. We’re about to put this year behind us and we all want to finish strong! What does that look like for you? How are you going to keep pursuing your health goals for the year? Do you need to take your effort to the next level to finish well? Do you need to work on a new aspect you’ve been avoiding all year so you can prep for 2017?
When I got my FitBit at the start of this year it was to participate with my Fitness Tracker 2.0 class. Most people use fitness trackers to track their steps or their exercise. While I use my FitBit for the later, I also became increasingly interested in tracking my sleep. Many of my days start with my first client before 6am each day so you can imagine how challenging it is to get enough sleep. For me to finish the year right, I need to start tracking entire weeks where I meet my goals. I’ve put a new task in my weekly planner to export my sleep data from FitBit and put it into my journal so I can process how I’m doing and continue to figure out strategies to get to bed a little earlier because those morning clients keep coming!
Each year I try to be a better planner and a better executer of that plan. That means taking an inventory of what I’m doing to pursue my health and making adjustments along the way. I’m excited to head into the 4th quarter because it means the end is in sight and I can turn the page to a new year. But we’re not there yet and I’m thankful for that because there’s still work ahead.
My new favorite show has been Strong on NBC. The premise is that ten out-of-shape ladies are paired with ten of the top personal trainers in the country. Each episode has two competitions that determine which two teams go to the Elimination Tower; the loser goes home. Todd Durkin is one of the trainers, he’s part of Team Yellow with Brittany. Todd is pretty inspiring. Last December I was in San Diego with Katie on a business trip. I got to visit Fitness Quest 10, Todd’s gym (one of the top 10 gyms in the country). We worked out together and then I got to spend about 30 minutes in his office chatting about the industry and some business ideas I have. I’m very grateful for even a short time from a very busy and successful man.
My absolute favorite moment of Strong thus far happened in episode seven. Let me set it up for you. Todd and Brittney are Team Yellow. But what I haven’t told you is that both of these competitors were on other teams but were eliminated (by team Grey – remember this for later). The show had a twist. They had a competition to let eliminated trainers and trainees earn a spot back on the show. Todd and Brittany won, and they are the new Team Yellow.
In last week’s medallion challenge, Team Yellow lost and were forced to go to the Elimination Tower. The winners of the medallion challenge chose the Grey Team to go to the Tower because they hadn’t been to (the current version of) the tower. Remember the Grey team? That’s right – they had already sent Todd and Brittany home once. Could they do it a third time?
At the Elimination Tower, the Grey team went first. Wow! They set a new record of 3:24. Nicole from the Purple team says “unless Todd pulls anohter crazy stunt,” Grey team is moving on.”
Spoiler: Todd pulled another crazy stunt.
He and Brittany finished the Tower in 3:20 and the celebration began. What a win! I was shocked because they were behind by 11 seconds the entire run. Then came the moment. Team Yellow made it’s way off the tower and were standing next to the Grey team as Gabby had to say goodbye. It starts at 38:10 if you want to watch. She asked Grey team how they’re feeling and Wes, the trainer said, “We left it all out there and Todd…”. Pause. Pause. Wes is crying. He can’t finish his sentence. He collects himself. “Todd, you’re an inspiration, dude.”
A grown man fighting back tears, blown away by the inspiration of another man. I’m trying to do it justice but do yourself a favor and watch the segment.
Five days into Sam’s 7-day chemo drip last June, his spirits were down. But he and Jenny needed to keep their heads down and keep going. Sam needed three blood transfusions that day, so they started connecting the dots. People were asking how they could help so they put a link at the bottom of the post to give blood.
I wonder if anyone did.
Jenny asked for something else – she asked for pictures to be posted on Facebook, “tag Sam.” In the process, she said, “now I’m really asking a lot.” I don’t know Jenny or her writing, but as I read the post today she seems sincere. “I’m asking a lot, for you guys who are mostly in really good health to donate blood (easy, one hour?) and post pics on Facebook (easier, 20 seconds?). It’s the least we could do as we support Sam from afar.
Today’s high temperature in Oregon, WI was about 3 degrees. The wind chill was south of 10 below zero all day. In my mind, running two miles was the least I could do to support Sam from afar.
2.0 miles to Rome Corners middle school
from the blog
Sam, you’re a gamer!
Last night we celebrated solstice out on the 4th floor patio and played a game of HORSE with the deflated basketball out there. You’ll all be amused to know that he still beat me even though his left arm was hooked up to all his IVs the whole time.
God, keep a competitive spirit in Sam. I don’t know the struggle of chemo but I imagine the physical and the mental aspects are a scary one-two punch. Give Sam the strength to fight.
Day 2 of 30
Simplicity is good, specially when you’re starting something new. Eliminate the things that will add complexity while you’re trying to establish a new rhythm. Today I did my second run in the #30forSam challenge of running 30 days in a row. I ran the same route as last night; sorry, no vlog entry today.
Same 2.2 miles as yesterday, up South Perry Parkway.
Happy birthday! I’m sorry you can’t do your traditional cross-country ski, which this year was a 30k! I am taking the #30forSam challenge by running at least two miles for the next 30 days.
I appreciate your challenge and I am eager to hear more about your story. I heard about this on Tuesday from your wonderful sister Kate when I ran into her at Colectivo on Monroe Street. It took me a couple days to figure out my interpretation of this challenge and I’m looking forward to the next 30 days. I enjoy running, writing, and praying. So I’ll be incorportaing all three aspects to each day’s blog post. Today I even added a video, so technically this is a vlog!
Sam has a tradition. Every year on his birthday he cross-country skis his age. Today Sam turns 30, but there’s a problem. Sam has been battling Acute Myeloid Leukemia (AML) and won’t be able to complete the challenge this year. Let’s put him on our back and get it done.
Here’s what we’re doing. The Sam Weis 30k challenge is where you do 30 of something. Not everyone can ski 30k, so maybe it’s a 30 minute walk. Maybe it’s a 30-mile week of running. Or 30 days of some type of activity. The point is to get in the game for an athlete that’s currently on the sideline.
I heard about this challenge kind of late (Tuesday to be exact). A long challenge like 30 miles or even 30k is pretty tough at this point. So my contribution for #30forSam is to run at least two miles each day for 30 days. I’m streaking for Sam!
You’ve probably never met Sam. I’ve never met Sam. But Sam needs some smiles and some inspiration. I hope you will join me to and do 30 of something for Sam. On your social media of choice or in the comments of this blog, use #30forSam.
I’ve been in San Diego for only 72 hours but I have moved the ball down the court in a number of different areas. When I came out here I had some big ambitions; I always do when I travel. But with no kids in the trip it was a lot easier to get results. I had projects for work that could be done remotely and all that work feels great do do so far from home (although it was strange to work two hours behind everyone else in Madison).
But the real work was inside my notebook, reading a Great Work, and rethinking how I get work done. Specifically I’ve been organizing and processing files, workflows, and establishing editorial calendars and publishing guidelines. This work is good for my soul. I will return home in a better place and more equipped to succeed because of this time in San Diego.
I got some time with Todd Durkin this morning. He’s literally the only trainer in the country who I would make an effort to connect with and I’m so happy I could make it work. Of course that meant I had to spend a little more time this afternoon processing that meeting because I have a couple very specific take aways to apply.
Katie is done with her last meeting in a few minutes here and then we’re going out to find a beach and then go out for the evening. San Diego: huge success and a lot of fun.