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The ONE thing for fitness coaches [Article]

Posted by Pascal Landshoeft

May 15, 2018 9:30:00 AM


The ONE thing for fitness coaches

The ONE Thing for fitness coaches


This article is based on the book ONE thing which was published in 2013. It will help fitness coaches to go through life with priority, purpose, and productivity. 


The author Gary Keller is co-founder and chairman of the board of Keller Williams Realty International. The company grew from a small office in Austin, Texas, to become the largest real estate company in the US. You can also check out his Millionaire real estate business Series if you want to build a chain of gyms


This is part of a series of articles I have written for fitness coaches to focus more on the mind of their athletes. This is where the battle for results starts and ends. The rest is trial and error.


Focused work leads to success and this summary will help you.

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Why you should care about clarity


When you clutter your efforts you will make no significant progress in any direction. Same goes for your clients in the gym. Most of them want everything at once when they first consult you. This is a recipe to turn them into unsatisfied customers. They want results and they want them fast. The easiest way of achieving this is to focus on the one thing they want. 


"Every block of stone has a statue inside it and it is the task of the sculptor to discover it"



It is your job to define the statue your clients want to be and chisel away at it. First the contours, then the big areas and lastly the detail.


When Arthur Guinness build his empire he signed a 9000-year lease. This was only possible because he was focused on building a dynasty. 


When J.K. Rowling conceived the idea of Harry Potter she envisioned seven books. This was before she even wrote the first chapter of the first one.


Visualise the one thing that you want to achieve in the future and model everything else around it. This will make sure that your actions today will have an impact on what lies in the future. Life will get in the way anyway so stay on course and adjust when needed. 


All this will make you a better, more balanced advisor to your clients.


How the ONE thing method helped me


When I started out with this blog I was very torn. I wanted to be everything to everybody. I still have not found the way to make it completely work for me. The ONE thing that I want to do is to become financially independent at some stage. Since I started focusing on ONE thing at a time I get better results.


First I focused on one thing only, which was an organic reach of 10.000 visitors a month. Only then I started focusing on optimizing for lead generation.  While the first goal was hard to reach it set me up for success for the second one. Now I have 100 downloads a month. This is five times of what I had back in 2017.


Same goes for my lifting training. When I was only focused on one lift, that lift went up to my personal records. I have set my personal bench press record after running a Smolov Jr cycle at 150kg. My squat record stems from running a full Smolov cycle at 170kg.


Have a clear goal in mind before you begin something. Less is more. Only move on to the next goal when the first one is achieved. This is how Warren Buffet operates and he is one of the richest people in the world.

 Distractions for fitness coaches

What your daily distractions are and how to deal with them


When you set the ONE thing you want to achieve don't be modest, either about you or your clients. There are beautiful stories of fitness coaches out there who teach clients how to walk again. History tells us that we've done a remarkably poor job of estimating our limits. Action requires thought. Your thoughts have to be based on big thinking to achieve great things. Avoid to let the limits you perceive to constrain yourself or your clients. Failing to think big can limit your opportunities.


Avoid the trap to think you always have to be busy. Some workouts just keep the client busy for busyness sake. This is the result of bad coaching on your behalf. Not all items are equally important to achieve weight loss, strength gains or explosiveness. Only a few of the actions will have a profound impact. Focus on them. 


I used to superset things in the gym. I have moved to get one exercise done and then move to the other. Multitasking leads to higher injury risk as you have to switch attention and movement patterns. Wherever there is a change in process, there is room for failure. Minimise this switching time for yourself and your client. Circuits can also be done without a lot of running around.


Complete all repetitions and sets of one exercise as fast as possible. Move on to the next one.


Besides your own and the client's willpower is finite. So focus on the most important exercises first in the workout. My main goal is to get to a 200kg squat and 200kg+ deadlift. These are the first exercises I do each day. I only move forward after I did my sets. You might want to do the same with your clients.


Doing too many things at once and not completing a goal before moving on are the biggest reasons for procrastination and being unhappy with a coach. You have been hired to get results and avoid procrastination.


How to focus on ONE thing


To be a better coach familiarise yourself with the 80/20 principle. The 80/20 principle states that 80 percent of your output comes from only 20 percent of the input. 


General Motors once realized that a majority of the defects of their cars came from only a handful of production flaws. Improving these few bottlenecks helped tremendously. Work in the same way with your clients. 


My biggest limitation to my squat is the lack of ankle mobility. When I started to do Cossack squats with a kettlebell after reading Tim Ferriss Tools of Titans I improved. Apply the same thinking to yourself and your clients.


To achieve this ask your client this question 

“What’s the ONE thing I can do, such that by doing it everything else will become easier or unnecessary?”

This focusing question will help you and your client to prioritize, create actionable tasks and achieve your goals.


Asking this question will help you to turn complex tasks into manageable ones. This is also the way to help your most ambitious clients. Rome was not built in a day but brick by brick day by day year over year.


Before you pick your one thing to prioritize with your client. The first level is about direction. The second is to choose the action to move forward in the direction you have chosen. Make sure that each step you take builds in the next one. The more your client's direction and actions feed into each other the better. 


In my example, I chose to keep my exercise regimen online. This kills two birds with one stone. I hone my skills as an Online Marketer which I can use in turn in my day job.


The key to success is not to apply tremendous amounts of discipline constantly. It is to apply a small amount of discipline to form a good new habit. Once this is on autopilot move on to the next one. This way you can build an entirely new life. Step by step with interlinking parts of a successful chain. 


This is how Michael Phelps became one of the most successful athletes of all time. He channeled his discipline into one habit: swimming every day. For almost a decade from his 14th birthday to the Beijing Olympics, he swam. Seven days a week, 365 days a year to get the results he desired.


Habits are easier to maintain than to begin. Once something becomes a habit you can switch to a new one that builds on top. This way you can build the appearance and benefits of a disciplined life without superhuman efforts.


This shows in my daily life when I tell people that I get up at five o'clock in the morning to start my day. Now I meditate, have a bulletproof coffee, train my brain and then hit the gym. It started with getting into the habit of getting up earlier. First I set my alarm for half an hour earlier. Then another half an hour. When I had gained this extra hour in the day I asked myself what to do with it. I started having healthy breakfast. Then I looked into intermittent fasting. 


In this sequence, you can already see how building one habit at a time can form a surprisingly productive routine. 


You also have to know what you want so that you can focus. This means that you have to say no to some things to get to where you want to go. Sometimes on the weekend, my wife invites to go with her friends. While I would really like to go I also have to think about the blog. The weekend is usually the best time to work on longer pieces of material. So I decline the invitations so that I can stay at home and crank out some more blog posts.


What works for small things like this also works for the big players. In 1997 Steve Jobs returned to Apple. One of his major strategic decisions was to reduce the company's output from 350 products down to just ten. When asked about it at a conference he said "When you think about focusing, you think ‘Well, focusing is about saying yes.’ No! Focusing is about saying no.”


When you try to do everything you will end up shortchanging yourself in everything you do. Avoid falling into that trap. Never make sacrifices in your personal life for your work life.


Instead prioritize your work time ruthlessly. Always look at what you are doing and whether it has maximum impact on the goals you have set for yourself or for your clients. If it your activities do not adhere to this, cut them out. 


When you are focusing on closing a big contract with a supplements supplier, focus on that. Be aware that there will be turmoil in other areas of your business and ignore them until you are finished. The regular work will pile up. Delegate it to others or wait and see what is really important.


When the chaos piles up in some areas the pressure will rise. Kepp working on your mine priority and trust that it will come through for you. Doing this will simplify the other areas of your life. You can not control everything. Let the chaos pile up in some areas and teach your clients this way of thinking too, if they want results. Find appointments in your and their calendar to achieve the ONE thing they want to do. Commit to these time slots and treat them like they are your most important appointments.


Doing all of this will give your life more meaning and purpose. This leads to greater clarity in your thoughts, more conviction in your actions and faster decisions. This will drive results for which you will respect yourself more. Your clients will notice, too.




Less is more for your clients and yourself. Simplifying your life by decluttering it will help you to progress quicker. This will lead to more satisfaction overall. Happiness is a choice. Focusing is a choice. You just have to start and keep chipping away at it until you succeeded. 


Further reading


Topics: Fitness