A lesson from professional sports for personal trainers

Written By Bryan Smith

On February 25, 2020

Dedicated wellness expertise each step of the way.

In our most recent post, I mentioned the idea of training your clients “inside and outside of the gym” and embracing the concept of being a “preventative health coach” (FYI, I am not sold on this name at all, so if you can come up with a better one, have at it!)

The premise of the idea was to involve yourself in every aspect of a clients wellness. From blood testing to activity tracking, we should have in depth knowledge of our clients overall health.

When looking at professional sports, there are huge takeaways which we as trainers can implement with our clients.

Athlete Management 101

Training todays professional athlete has evolved into a much different process than say, 15 years ago. The rise of technology, and a better understanding of applied sports physiology has increased the need for an enhanced sports science team within almost every professional sports organization.

This decreasing margin of error in sports is causing athletes and teams to scramble around to seek out ways to gain an edge — as slight as it may be — over their competitors. It is no longer enough to have your team performing at a high level, but they must also remain healthy during key stretches of the season — as it is not always the most talented team that wins, but the one that is most healthy.

Organizations across the board have invested heavily in HRV technologies, GPS monitoring and Force Plate analytics. Not to mention the hiring of a team of Sports Scientists and Data professionals.

It is not unusual for a head coach to have a direct discussion with his or hers sports science team prior to practice, and for training volume or intensity to be adjusted based off a 90 second HRV test or a jump test on a force plate.

But how does this apply to the general fitness community?

If we are going to embrace the concept of “preventative health”, most if not all of our clients need more than exercise to make substantial change to their health.

Let’s list some stuff we can start implementing right away, as well as tools to get your clients started:

  • Stress management — Subjective questionnaires can give you insight on your clients current mental state, as well as muscle soreness and motivation to train. Use this daily before training and look for trends over time. Check the link below to download the copy we have used daily for over 8 years. (special thanks to Mladen over at http://complementarytraining.net/ for making this up)
  • Activity tracking: This and sleep are some of the most easiest data points to track for our clients. Most have smart phones which collect this data 24/7 and if not, include a FitBit for all your clients upon signing up for a new package. Set goals for them on a weekly basis concerning steps, floors or miles and make sure they get between 7 to 9 hours of sleep a night.
  • Sleep monitoring: See above
  • Nutritional intervention: MyFitnessPal allows you to interact with completed food diaries and progress toward your clients goal. The small step of “liking” and commenting on completed food logs can be remarkably motivating for a client. These small interactions outside of training appointments show you care and will help your clients turn tracking into a regular lifestyle activity.
  • Heart rate or HRV monitoring: Daily HRV monitoring using Omegawaveor HRV4Training can give you insight on the overall physiological stress of your client, and HR monitoring via a Polar or Garmin watch can tell you how your training is progressing from a cardiac perspective.
  • Movement testing: Take your pick here. FMSPRI, or any of the other options out there work. The name of the game is educating your client of any potential injury risks, and how to fix/correct them.
  • Blood testing including hormones: Biomarkers are huge indicator of stress, deficiencies and potentially disease. Companies like InsideTrackercan give you major insights on the overall health of your client.
  • And so many more!

Like we discussed before, we are much more than “a good workout giver”. Implementing even one of these systems sets you head and shoulders above 90% of the industry, and creates a ton of value in your service offering.

Remember as in pro sports, “it is not always the most talented team that wins, but the one that is most healthy”, this applies to your clients as well!

Let’s create the healthiest clients possible and help them win not on the court or field, but at life!


Bryan @ LeON

Dedicated wellness expertise each step of the way.