I am really busy at work when I train personal clients these days. Like, really busy. At any given time, during any given hour, I am typically training two or three people at once (doing different body parts, at that), while trying to answer texts and emails from clients, directing walk-ins at the gym towards member advisors, helping clients pick up supplements, and about eighty million other things.
As the frenetic pace on the floor has increased over the years, so has my expectation as regards client participation. Long gone are the days where you can stand there and watch me load every single plate, set up every squat rack, grab every dumbbell. No, client expectations have risen along with our business—yes, I expect you to help strip plates, set up stations, and, heaven forbid, grab your own dumbbells on occasion. Not only does this keep the tempo of the workout at a proper pace, it also helps you¸ dear client, to actually learn your way around the gym. That way, you may well one day graduate to working out solo, without my guidance.
The Colosseum Gym isn’t the newest, fanciest, most up-to-date facility in the world. We’re what you call “old school”. The plates don’t all match. The dumbbells don’t all match. The equipment is a hodge-podge of pieces collected over the last twenty years. And one thing we don’t have in excess, is a ton of extra weight plates. Specifically, 25lbs plates. They always seem to be in short supply, especially when the gym is busy.
“Throw a 25lbs on each side”—a common command barked as I’m walking away from one client towards another on the other side of the gym. Have it ready when I get back; you have about two minutes tops.
And I get back, and there the client stands, eyes moving around in a circle, but feet glued to the floor.
“Why didn’t you put on a 25lbs plate?”, I ask them.
“Because I couldn’t find one.”
It never ceases to amaze me that I have to instruct these individuals—grown adults, mind you—that they have to move their feet. This is a gym, I say, and you know there are numerous 25lbs plates in here—you just have to find them. Which means, you need to move your feet, walk, take action. Look around. Keep moving your feet until one pops into your field of vision. Move enough, and you will find one, I guarantee it. But standing in one position and glancing around your immediate vicinity, taking in only that which is in your direct in front of you, isn’t going to cut it. You have to move, and take action. Moving and taking action is what leads to getting from point A to point B, even when you are unsure of the exact path.
I’ve seen this phenomenon enough to realize that it’s almost indicative of a personality type. Some people simply wait for answers to fall from the sky and land on top of them. They don’t realize, nobody is going to give them that divine inspiration or leadership; there is no mystic force that is going to help them shuffle their feet from their current station towards their goal. Life doesn’t come with a handbook or a blueprint. You just kinda’ figure it the fuck out as you go.
How? By moving your feet.
Passivity and arrested locomotion are not a means to achieving a goal. Even when you don’t know the right path, any path is better than not walking at all. Even if you go in the wrong direction, doing so will teach you that this direction is wrong, thus giving you valuable information so you don’t make the same mistake again. Keep moving your feet, but reset the course. And soon enough, you will discover the correct path. You will find that 25lbs plate, if you move your feet enough.
Don’t wait for direction, or rules, or guidance, or divine providence. Don’t wait to be instructed, and don’t wait for the rulebook or blueprint to arrive. Just move your damn feet. Take action. Make something happen. Make a mistake. Screw up, and learn from it.
Or stand there in one place for the rest of your life, never finding that 25lbs plate, never getting stronger, never progressing and achieving your goals.
-David A. Johnston
David Johnston is the founder and lead trainer of TEAM Warrior Within. You can also listen to him weekely on the GEARD Up podcast. ( GEARDUp.com ) David works with clients ranging from the everyday person just trying to lose weight and get healthy, local and national bodybuilding and physique competitors, to IFBB professional athletes.
David lives and breathes all things related to physique transformation, and has devoted nearly half of his life to passionately studying and educating himself to be the absolute best at what he does. His intensity in the gym is matched only by the passion he gives to his clients.