My Coaching Philosophy
I am a trainer and instructor and what I do for a living is more than a job. It is my life. It’s my passion. My clients are my top priority. Their successes are my successes. My highest priority is to see my clients reaching their goals of health, fitness and personal safety.
It seems to me those that are talking the loudest or those trainers that are the most “popular” are often the biggest frauds, charlatans and pretenders. It is often hard for the general public to filter through all the rubbish to find out who really has their best interests at heart and who to train with. Hopefully this will put your mind at rest. It comes from the heart.
Working in an industry that has the potential to radically change peoples lives for the better and provide them the most crucial element in humanity-that being health and fitness or for that matter personal safety, whilst being a terrible role model deeply concerns me. As trainers we have an impact on a person that is beyond just the physical-and that responsibility can be scary.
The lessons learned through the rigours of hard physical training permeate into all areas of life. The key to self mastery is self discipline. Qualities such as sacrifice, patience, delayed gratification; perseverance, humility, self control, honesty, accountability, determination, persistence, self esteem, self belief and self respect are all by products of being stretched beyond physical and psychological limits. Actual capacity builds confidence. Those that have found success in their personal and professional areas often find their most important values refined and polished in mastering their bodies’ unlimited potential. As such it is a metaphor for habits, attitudes, beliefs, and values that create success in all areas of life.
Those that are leaders, role models and ambassadors for those qualities and attributes found within their chosen industry often fail miserably to walk the walk. In the fitness industry negativity, vanity, laziness, instant gratification, insecurity, denial, gluttony, self loathing, drug abuse, arrogance, lack of industry education, and a general zero genuine care factor for their clients general well being seem be the norm amongst a large number of trainers I have worked with or that I have inherited managerially and asked to leave the workplace.
My mind boggles when clients are told for example that their trainer got too drunk or drug affected on the weekend to take that class or take them for their PT session. Are you for real? What are people paying them for? $50 to $150 per hour to blow smoke up your backside with false praise is pretty expensive. At best they are average cheerleaders. Talk minus action = zero. Is your trainer a paid friend? Or a cheerleader?
When people are looking for a coach whether it be for personal training or defensive tactics I sometimes struggle to understand why the general public often look for the coaches individual physical capacity or how they rate in the gyms popularity stakes rather than the coaches ability to challenge them on a physical and psychological level. In other words rather than ask “how good are they?’ when looking for a coach shouldn’t we be asking “how good can they make me?”
Whilst I am a believer that it’s very hard to take someone where you haven’t been yourself, I also understand that I will never have the specialist skills that some of my fighters, marathoners, triathletes, aerobics champions and military and law enforcement personnel have. I aim to live and train as a client and to walk the walk as well as talk the talk. And in the fitness industry where in 8-12 weeks you can become a “master trainer” or in the self defence industry you can do a 5 day “Reality Based training” certification and be a self proclaimed “self defence expert”, -that’s pretty rare. For my members and clients this difference or attitude to training can be the difference between life and death, illness or wellness or a life wasted compared to a life well lived.
I seek the best people in the field, worldwide and train with them, because I want to be the best and offer my clients the best. I have been fortunate to train with a number of world class and Olympic coaches. I have found inspiration training with Gray Cook, Brett Jones and Pavel Tstatsouline of the CK-FMS and RKC, Scott Sonnon of CST, Michael Keelan of the AWF, numerous Crossfit coaches, Steve Pietsch and Austin Taylor amongst other notable World Champion Kickboxing and Boxing champions and coaches,. Christian Marchegiani of Thump, Sifu Jim Fung and Sigung Tsui Seung Tin of The Ving Tsun Athletic Association and IWCA, Chief instructor Eyal Yanilov of Krav Maga Global and the IKMF, John Will of Machado BJJ, tactical training pioneer Graham Kuerschner of Street Defensive Tactics and the list continues. To be the best you must train with the best.
My ego is not that fragile nor am i that conceited, arrogant or ignorant that I no longer feel there is nothing to learn. Self delusion and denial are not in my mental vocabulary. I want to understand nutrition, motor unit and neurological patterning, functional anatomy and physiology, sports psychology, mechanics, cues, techniques, drills and corrections of simple and complex movements and be able to teach them to others. I want to bring a skill set to my coaching and clients that has in the past and will continue to scare off other trainers and coaches. I am constantly completing certification courses, researching on the internet, flicking through magazines and reading books. Knowledge with action is power. And that’s how I empower my clients. And if my clients aren’t testing the limits of my knowledge and abilities and exceeding them then I’m not doing a good enough job. And when they do, it’s my job to stay ahead of their needs.
My aim is for my clients to achieve their goals and if they don’t to learn, change and grow from them. In order for this to happen my training methods need to be second to none. I am forever a student, constantly searching for more efficient, effective, safer, and more productive, better ways of training that sometimes will put me on the fringe of conventional training. They can be unconventional, challenging, unaccepted, unique or unpopular. As Coach Glassman of Crossfit rightly points out “A trainer who lusts for popular approval is chasing mediocrity or worse.”
The abysmal modern trends of the commercial fitness industry of no skill and low skill programming seated selectorised isolation machines, “arm blaster workouts” and the attitude of “exercising” rather than of being a performance based athlete or physical culturist delivers inferior results both psychologically and physically. The mind has to be before the body. The current fitness model of gaining aesthetics at the expense of just about every other component of fitness is unacceptable. My clients have made a choice to BE good as well as just look good.
We are becoming turtles. Yes you read correctly. We get out of bed, sit and have breakfast. Sit in the car or ride the bus to sit at work for 8 or more hours to go back home seated in the car to sit in front of the TV and if you are lucky make it to the gym where you guessed it you can sit down and workout. Seeing a pattern emerge here? Why is it with all our fancy gyms with all the high tech gear, do we move so poorly? Why is it with all our super expensive footwear and training methods and fad diets and super science is it that we have more musculoskeletal injuries than ever and are per capita the most obese nation on the Earth? Why cant the average punter or trainer do a squat in the gym and the squat pattern amongst other movement patterns such as climbing are disappearing like an extinct animal? Why do people who live 5 minutes away from the gym drive, try and get the closest car park, to catch the lift to the first floor to walk on a treadmill and sit on a machine to work out? Why do we try and disassociate our bodies from our minds with ipods and cardio audiovisual centres whilst working out in the gym. Why is it that strongmen and physical culturists of old moved better, had a healthier composition, were generally stronger and didn’t suffer from most of the musculoskeletal injuries or health problems we do, weren’t as fat and performed better without all the science? I will leave that one with you; suffice to say I may have a few answers.
Classes at our club will challenge you psychologically and physically. Psychological and physical breakdowns sometimes happen. If you don’t want to be challenged, to grow or to change, don’t come. The training is hard; there are no shortcuts, magic pills, potions or fads. This attitude will be your safety net and inspiration as you share this experience with like minded individuals who are willing to push themselves and risk more with their peers to be better people. We are an exclusive group-our 2 week trial period is not just to see if you like it, but to see if you will fit into the culture that we have. And if you don’t, we’ll ask you to leave. We relish difficulty and intensity. And if you don’t have the mental aptitude for hard physical training you won’t stick around anyway. Our culture, spirit and heart on the inside of our club as a result of risking failure in front of each other, is one of inclusiveness and family.
I hope you can you can join us on the journey of self discovery and self improvement.
Life rewards effort, not excuses.
See you at training, Matt
“Deep in my cells I know there's something bad at the end if I don't get through it. This keeps me honest. It keeps me scared. I am stronger because I know there is a consequence. I know I can't get away with slacking off. This is what happens when you ascend above mediocrity. It's a game. It's a test. It is the way I live my life." Mark Twight of Gym Jones