Sup Motivators! Happy MLK Day! Keep reading on to catch up with another week of awesome conversations in the Motivate Forums!  

  • This week, we hazed Rich B Hall, Jen Willett, Nadine Shaban, Holea B, Jay Stevenson, Annie Brees Welcome to the Collective!
  • This week’s video from the The Habit Lab was: Habit #60: Make A Shopping List
  • This week's best articles from Collective Members: 10 Inspirations to Share With Your Clients
  • Stevo shared his post, We Make Communities
  • Stevo asked, “According to a study of 477 people in 4 cities enrolled in a weight loss program, which matters most for long term success?
    • Josh Hillis said: Ok - I have a question - are we talking initially? Does it change over time?
    • Omar Atlas said: Josh Hillis that's a really good question. My guess is respecting autonomy helps initially and belonging is what makes you stay.
    • Josh Hillis said: So here's my thing : it's like Maslow's Hiearchy of Needs -I think they matter in an order. We know from gym surveys that convenience is usually the number one factor in selecting a gym.Then belonging I would say second, and autonomy third.

      But then what about when they have all of that? Then perception of mastery is huge, and the other things start to not matter if they don't have that (see Zumba).

    • Omar Atlas said: so I guess there's two separate questions here:1) what makes people select one gym over another? 2) what makes the stay?
    • Stevo said: I love this discussion. This study tested for measures that other studies have shown a strong causal connection to long term outcomes, Josh Hillis. But you're definitely onto something bringing up Maslow. And while those are very important questions, Omar Atlas, the jury is out on specific needs being more important over time. But you're onto something with that with regards to the answer to this pop quiz
    • Stevo ANSWER TIME!!! Gay, Suanders, Dowda (2011) found that participants' perception of the convenience of where they performed their physical activity mitigated all other Basic Psychological Needs. In short, no matter how motivated or how self-determined our needs are, if we perceive our environment as inconvenient, it will wear on us. It will soak up our limited willpower and eventually grind us down. What's important to note is that it is PERCEPTION. It doesn't matter if it's objectively true or not. What hasn't been studied are ways to impact the perception that a gym is convenient or not. But I think that it's really important to remember that as practitioners, we need to account for convenience. We need to make things as easy as possible for things to be sustainable.
    • Andy Fossett said: Nice. When people ask me what martial art they should practice, my answer for the past few years has always been "the one closest to your house." Not strictly the best answer all the time, but it usually helps get the point across.
    • Michele Burmaster said: You probably mean "the closest BJJ school to your house" but I'll let it slide;)
    • Steve Bergeron said: Owning a gym in Boston, one of the first comments a new potential client will ask is when our available hours are and how flexible we are. For this reason I have created a good amount of flexibility in scheduling and session length for semi-private training. After that they stay because the community and coaching is totes amazeballs IMO
  • Seth Munsey shared,The Power of Community
  • Stevo posted about being locked in a secret room in the Phoenix offices of NASM for 2 days with 6 other health psychology academics and practitioners…
  • Lauren Koski asked for advice on branding and naming her business.
    • Andy Fossett said: Name changes can be good... if they help steer your brand in a direction that is either closer to what your current clients see you as offering -or- closer to what you want to offer a different set of clients. A lot of times, rebrands can be like putting lipstick on the proverbial pig, so make sure the desire to change is a move towards reflecting your true relationship with your clients.I can't tell you if any of those names is a good one. I'm pretty terrible at naming.But I can definitely set your mind at ease about the possibility of excluding some people in your branding. In short, it's one of the very best things you can do for your business.

      If for example, you name your business something generic like "ultimate fat loss secrets," nobody would remember you, and there would be nothing to show new mothers how perfect a fit your services are. If you go with something that is geared towards mothers, mothers will know that you exist to help them.

      What's more, anyone who knows a mother will know it, and they might recommend you to their friends who are mothers.

      There's a lot more to this, but suffice it to say that being very specific about whom you intend to serve and making it a clear aspect of your branding is almost certainly a smart move.

      Unless you're unsure of this direction.

      So introspect on what you want your coaching to look like if you go the super-specific route, and if it feels like something you want to put 100% of your efforts into for several years, put 100% of your brand behind it too.

    • Josh Hillis said: What Andy said about excluding people is huge.If you can be a known as a specialist in one thing, it's actually more credible than being a generalist.My own experience - when I went from being a "fat loss guy" to a guy who helps fit women lose the last stubborn 7 pounds - it cut out a lot of people, and my business exploded.

      Lately I've gotten broader, and I have been thinking about sharpening it up again.

  • Matt Talley shared his post about framing goals and habits as maximums instead of minimums.
    • Stevo: I LOVE this concept AND you're description of it. Seth Munsey even bakes it into his gym membership: you can't come more than 3x a week. Roland Fisher and Georgie Fear, I think this could be a great tool for those clients who we know are setting themselves up for failure.
    • Omar Atlas said: "Think of goals and habits framed with upper limits as speed limits on the road to your goals. How many times have you lost control and careened off the road while flooring it toward your goals, metaphorically speaking? You're either going 150mph, or you're in the shop getting repairs before you can be on the road again." This part is awesome too.
    • Matt Talley said: Ha I'm glad you liked that analogy. I thought about fleshing it out more, comparing gas to willpower and talking about how fuel efficient following the speed limit can be but decided that was too much lol
    • Seth Munsey said: Great stuff Matt. My members can choose either 2x per week or 3x per week membership options.I never make 2x sound like it's less effective then 3x though. I ask them to look at their current schedule and determine how many times they can definitely show up every week. If they choose 3x because I tell them that will get them better results, but they end up only being able to come 2x, then they are going to feel like they are a) wasting money b) not getting any benefit of 2x week, and c) feel like a failure because they couldn't commit to what they had signed up for in the first place.If members want to do 4x per week, they have to request it, and I have to approve it. I won't let someone jump from 2x to 4x. They have to go from 2x to 3x. Even though I'm losing out on good money. As we know, people think they can come 4x, until they try it. If they go from 2 to 3 and it works, then I will allow them 4x, but no more than that.
    • Matt Talley said: I think that's very smart Seth Munsey! I don't sell gym memberships but I use a similar approach when writing programs and exercise 'homework' for clients. Many people want 4x a week but I will write them 2x and say if they are antsy on their off days to go for a walk. If after a few weeks they're hitting both sessions AND taking a couple walks a week I bump them up to 3 or 4.I really look at it exactly like someone's self-reported strength. Someone says "I can do 3x a week" and I hear it the same as "I can bench 315lbs" Maybe... but probably not. We'll see :)
    • Roland Fisher said: I'm not sure about it. I'd rather teach people smart minimums and let autonomy take them further. We've got some Olympians that would never listen to us anyway if we put limits on them, some regular clients would scoff too. I'm just not sure what sort of client this would be best for? I must be missing something ...
    • Matt Talley said: I appreciate your candid and respectful response Roland. I work almost entirely with complete newbies and a few intermediate lifters with a few years of experience. I can't comment on whether this would work with Olympians because that is completely beyond my experience!I think it's potentially useful for any client that does not SEE, or will not ACCEPT, where they are ACTUALLY ARE AT as Steven Michael puts it. Upper limits take people away from where they THINK they are, and keep them where they REALLY are, for however long it takes them to realize "Okay yeah I wasn't actually there yet."If someone THINKS they can deadlift 300+ lbs, but I've personally seen their spine buckle shy of 250 multiple times, I'll probably make 225lbs an UPPER LIMIT on their program. If I set a 135lb limit that is scoff worthy IMO but inappropriate prescriptions are always a problem whether it's prescribed with an upper limit, lower limit, or any other way.

      A client I worked with previously just started up with me again after a year+ hiatus. Before, he asked for and insisted he could do 4x a week. I obliged. After only a few sessions he was like "I got this" and went solo. Shortly after stopping with me he dropped to 1-2x a week, then didn't go at all for months. Has worked out a handful of times each month for a while now.

      He came back. Wants help getting on a routine. I told him I was going to write him 2x a week, no more, and I don't want him to lift beyond that at all. Only time will tell if he takes the advice and slows down.

      I try to teach people to be the tortoise but almost everyone insists on being the hare, even if it's never won them any races.

    • Roland Fisher said: Now that, Matt, I can see. In the gym programming. Nutrition wise, we do steer people away from all sorts of nonsense too. I want to ponder on this one, see how it might be useful for our group coaching. Really interesting idea.
    • Georgie Fear said: Hm.... very interesting. I want to think about this. I suspect it will be, like many other tools, one that has a time and place and certain client type for which is works, and a time and place and client type in which it blows up in my face. I'll keep mulling this over.
    • Omar Atlas said: Roland: My two cents: You could use minimum goals as a way to build up nutrition habits, too.Example client goal: "I will eat more more protein 3 out of 7 breakfasts this week." When they can nail 3/7 consistently, then you can bump it up.What I particularly like with Matt's examples also is that he's added a context to the goal, which makes it easier to to internalize into a habit.

      For example, let's say a client wants help with reducing chocolate binges. You could help her set this goal: "When I crave chocolate, I will first eat a meal. If I still feel like eating chocolate, then I will eat half of the bar. After eating half the bar, I will re-evaluate if I want to eat the rest."

  • Seth Munsey shared, How the Fitness Industry Fails and What We Can Do About It
  • Mandy Hall asked for advice on how to “motivate people when they absolutely shut down at the idea of movement
    • Jessica Owens Mauk  said: It sounds like any movement at all is too far outside of their comfort zone right now. The challenge is finding what's just slightly outside of that comfort zone, but not so far that it's overwhelming. A fitbit? Step tracker? Have them aim for 5k steps at first, with tricks like parking further away, making two trips to put laundry away instead of one - things that don't *feel* like exercise.
    • Matt Talley said: One simple thing you could try would be something called "Contrasting statements", a really useful communication technique I learned from a great book called Crucial Conversations.The basic idea is that if someone is shutting down or resorting to some form of silence, they probably don't feel safe discussing the topic in the current context. We don't want to jump to conclusions in any one particular case but in general if someone is shutting down and feeling unsafe they may be perceiving your intention as negative.So a contrasting statement basically makes it very clear what you are NOT trying to do, or NOT trying to imply, and then you make just as clear what you ARE trying to say.

      Here are a couple examples:

      "I'm not trying to make you feel self-conscious about your body, and the last thing I want to do is make you feel ashamed or attacked. I would like to see if I can brainstorm with you to come up with ways to implement super simple habits into your life for the sake of your health."


      "I don't want to tell you what to do, and I have no intention of controlling you here. I was hoping to hear your ideas and perspective on what kinds of things you could try to improve how you feel."

      Sometimes people assume bad things about us and what we intend, and we don't know any better, or we figure "well they should know I'm not being malicious here". Just putting it out there and contrasting what you ARE saying against what they think you MIGHT be saying can be surprisingly effective.

      I highly recommend the whole book for more help with people who are shutting you out or trying to shut you down (they call it silence vs violence) when you really need to talk to them.

    • Jessica Owens Mauk said: She's confessing to you. She feels that if she confesses her sins you will judge her and she won't feel so bad about judging herself.Also, tell her to lower her goal. The first goals should be almost no brainers to meet. If she's consistently hitting 2000 steps, tell her to aim for 2200 - and have her changer to goals in her app, so she gets the positive feedback of watching the bars turn green
    • KC Ushijima said: For me, if someone says they want to get healthy but still needs motivation to do something about it, I would drill down as to Why they want to be healthy. Make being healthy a means to something, not the end. "He who has a strong enough why can bear almost any how." - Nietzsche.With advances in medicine and technology, someone can live a long time with an unhealthy lifestyle, so it is paramount to find other reasons. Teenage boys aren't working out to be "healthy." Brides to be aren't dieting and extra cardio to be "healthy".Jim Rohn has the 4 questions: Why? Why Not? Why Not me? Why Not now? Simon Sinek has the TED talk and book, Start with Why.

      If they don't like to move or can't move, standing in one place is the workout for the entire training session. And if standing is too hard, crocodile breath and savasana.

    • Annie Brees said: I'm just throwing this out there... Could this be a confidence issue? Maybe these women feel so overwhelmed about how far they feel they have to go and all the tasks they can't do they just shut down. If so, I'd echo what Jessica said about easy to reach goals to start with. You and her Pick ONE thing she can do each day to move towards said goal. Forget the rest (for now at least) build confidence and let the confidence build momentum. I feel awkward commenting being so new but thought I'd share my first thought!