This past weekend, 500 personal trainers, coaches, group instructors and movement professionals from around the world gathered at the convention center in downtown Austin, Texas. The energy was palpable from the moment you entered the large room, which was filled with A-Frames hung with hundreds of TRX straps, excited chatter and black and yellow from corner to corner.
It was immediately apparent that while each passionate pro arrived to the event through different paths, they all had one common goal—to learn from the best in the business about what it takes to be the best in the business.
Here are five takeaways from the Summit about how to do just that.
You Are the Experience
Perhaps the most powerful sentiment that tethered the Summit together was the event’s theme: Be the Experience. You can put together a solid workout that makes people sweat, but what keeps people engaged and coming back for more is the experience you provide them.
TRX Manager of Training and Development Miguel Vargas emphasized this idea prior to taking attendees through a thoughtful and challenging workout. He explained to the captive crowd that he probably spends more time crafting the experience he delivers to clients than designing programs. Vargas wants people to feel more than the burning in their legs and the blood pumping through their veins; he wants his students to develop an emotional connection to his sessions.
He said that the experience is about the words you choose, how you present yourself, the culture you create and how you make people feel while they train with you.
“Anyone can put together a challenging workout,” he explained. “Not everyone can create a powerful experience. That’s what takes coaches from good to great.”
Speaking of experiences, the music at the Summit was a great addition. Check out the Summit playlists from the following sessions below.
Watch Your Words
“What happens when I tell you not to think about pink elephants?” asked Leigh Crews, TRX Master Instructor and owner of Dynalife Inc., who then paused to let the crowd marinate on the question. “You think about pink elephants, right? The same goes for when you tell a baseball player not to strike out or a client to not drop their hips during a plank. All they can think about is what they’re not supposed to do which increases the likelihood that they’ll strike out or drop the hips.”
She said that instead of telling people what not to do, empower them with winning messages and promote what they could do.
Crews added that it’s also important to offer praise for effort.
Sometimes the phrase, “There is no try; there is only do,” isn’t helpful, she advised. Our clients aren’t always going to knock it out of the park and can become disheartened when they fall short of their goal. In order to keep clients motivated, it’s a good idea to applaud the process.
Focus on the Foundations, Aka, Do Simple Better
It’s tough to find someone who is more successful at motivating others to see success than Director of Football Strength and Conditioning for the University of South Carolina, Jeff Dillman.
Among his never-ending library of catch phrases and coaching tenets is to do simple better, which he described during his keynote presentation. He said that movement pros have a tendency to overcomplicate movement with tons of cues and direction, which can paralyze the client or athlete. The best way to help people improve is to focus on fine-tuning the foundations, he said.
TRX Senior Master Instructor Danny Bartlett echoed Dillman’s statements during his session, “TRX Training in 90 Minutes,” when he described the evolution of the TRX Foundational Movement Pyramid. He explained that the reason everything begins with the plank is because it is the bedrock of every exercise. Plank proficiency promotes movement proficiency, he said.
This is why we always encourage fit pros to start their TRX journey with the STC Course, which emphasizes foundational movement standards.
Knowledge Is Power
If you know Chris Frankel, MS, director of programming for TRX, then you know he’s got a bunch of information packed between his ears. During his session, “Training UnPlugged: Balancing Technology & Performance,” featuring TRX MAPS, he encouraged attendees to always make a point to learn so that they can become more successful.
“Information curation is the most important thing we can do,” he said. “Curate information about your clients. Curate information that will help you better understand how to help your clients.”
He explained that the best way to curate client info is through simple and quick assessments at the beginning of a session. He used TRX MAPS as an example, which assesses a person’s squat pattern to instantly score her functional capacity. This information, he said, gives him instant insight into how to frame the client’s session and how to motivate her through it.
He added that the concept of learning can also be used as a valuable motivational tool for the client.
“We often praise a client for how they do something,” he said. “That’s not what I look for. I’m interested in how well you learn, not how well you perform.”
Teamwork Does, Indeed, Make the Dream Work
This was no more apparent during the high-energy FACEUP Games that closed out the event.
A Summit staple, the Games push teams to find ways to work together to complete a variety of physical and mental challenges and hopefully nab the top spot in each event and the competition as a whole.
FACEUP, which is an acronym for Fun, Authentic, Competition, Effective, United and Physical, is a TRX mantra.
Relative-strangers-turned-fast-friends carried each other across the room, attempted challenging acro yoga poses, used their brains to bust out of escape rooms, navigated a challenging obstacle course and dug in their heels during the intense tug-of-war.
On the surface, the FACEUP Games were about competition, however one of the underlying themes was teamwork—a concept that spills beyond convention center walls.
As Dillman mentioned in his keynote, the coach/athlete/client/student relationship isn’t a dictatorship; it’s a partnership. You can’t simply give someone orders and expect results. You have to get into the trenches with them so you can understand what they’re going through. You have to get on their level and create an experience that helps them transcend their weaknesses to achieve greatness.
This year’s TRX Summit has come to a close and we’ll be unpacking the insights and wisdom gained there for months. But you don’t have to wait for next year to learn how to provide clients and students with unforgettable, life-changing, high-level experiences. There are always plenty of educational opportunities available to keep your skills and passion in tip-top shape.