Personal coaching is a great option for a lot of people.
By: Coach Greg
One of the greatest benefits of personal coaching is the ability for the coach to help the client overcome their mental hurdles.
I’m going to share a story with you. This is just one small example of the power of the mind and how it can either hold you back or propel you forward.
I have a client that I have been working with for several months. When she first came to us, she had a very hard time moving in life, let alone exercising. After a serious car accident about 20 years ago, she was left with a crushed pelvis and nerve damage on her right side. After meeting her, we determined that one-on-one training was going to be the best option.
It was slow in the beginning; just learning to activate muscles and working on basic movement patterns. One thing we worked on was stairs. Years ago, as an undergrad, I learned a simple little phrase to help our athletes who were learning to use crutches and/or had lower body injuries: “Up with the good, down with the bad.”
For years she always wanted to use her left side to do everything, so I applied this phrase to help her come down the stairs. After a few weeks, we no longer needed to use the phrase and had actually begun to climb and descend the stairs with a normal gait pattern. The problem was, though, that the reference of good and bad continued.
Fast forward a few weeks and we are working on a single leg step up. After demoing and explaining the exercise, we started. The first words out of her mouth were, “Okay, I’ll start with the good leg”. Seems innocent enough, but when we went to use her other leg she had trouble and kept saying her “bad” leg couldn’t do it. Now in my head, I knew that she could do it. She had walked up stairs carrying weight, without using a handrail, so I knew she had the strength and the coordination. The problem was that no matter how many times I told her that, it never changed the fact that she felt she couldn’t, and in turn wouldn’t.
The problem wasn’t her legs – it was in her head, and me saying one thing wouldn’t change how she thought. I noticed that each time this exercise came up in our workout, she would huff and puff and complain about her bad leg. So, without trying to pump her up or tell her she could do it, I casually told her to “start with your right leg”. She groaned a little about the exercise, but just started and did a full set of 10. Again, I said nothing and just told her to switch sides. When she started her left side she gave me a startled look, and said, “wait this is my good side!”. She had done an entire set unassisted and with confidence, because she didn’t think of good or bad, she only thought of completing the task. For weeks she had held herself back by labeling herself, limiting her potential and her abilities.
We all do this to an extent. We label or define ourselves by our injuries, pains or past failures. Sometimes we notice it, work to change it, and get around it on our own. Sometimes, it takes someone from the outside to trick you into seeing just how bad ass you truly are.