So, You’re a Beginner…

At Brentwood Barbell, we work with a lot of beginners. A lot of folks that haven’t touched a barbell prior to talking with us. Or, sometimes they do have some experience but life has gotten in the way over the past handful of years so effectively, they’re new all over again. Due to having such a high percentage of our clientele being beginners, we’ve learned a few things along the way. Today, I want to share a few of those ideas to make your first 90 day training experience a solid one. Let’s get started!

Step 1: Keep the Goal… the Goal

I think that’s a Dan John quote if I remember correctly. Either way, it’s important and accurate. A lot of times folks come to us when the wheels are sort of falling off. They’re out of shape, probably have more than a few aches and pains, and they aren’t feeling very good. Maybe they had a recent visit with their physician and it didn’t go too well or maybe they’ve been swamped building their business or career for the past decade. Either way, it’s common to have a few things that need addressing.

The good news is, strength training, aerobic exercise, and healthy nutrition habits work synergistically. A lot can be accomplished with a fairly simple plan. Note, simple doesn’t necessarily mean easy. Changing behavior is never easy.

I’ve written / discussed how to set goals extensively but here are some areas where you can look into those ideas:

The TLDR here is:

  • use the SMART framework to develop your goal
  • create habits / procedures that you believe will lead you to your goal

Why do we do it this way? We can’t control outcomes (i.e., specific / objective goals), however, we can control our processes and behaviors that are likely to lead us to that outcome. Essentially, we’re talking about controlling what you can control. This is key.

Step 2: Execute Your Intro Program as Designed

At our gym, we use an extensive Intro Program. Here are the areas we cover in the program:

  • 4 private coaching sessions to learn the barbell basics (squat, press, deadlift, overhead press)
  • baseline body composition assessment using the In-Body Scanner
  • baseline aerobic assessment
  • custom 90-day program construction
  • first goal review booked 90 days out

We’ve thought a lot about this and have worked the program over hundreds of gym members. We keep it short, sweet, and focus on what matters. We aim to complete the program in 7 days, a typical schedule might look like this:

  • Mon Session 1 (squat, bench press, accessories)
  • Tues Session 2 (deadlift, press, accessories)
  • Thurs Session 3 (squat, bench press, accessories)
  • Fri Session 4 (deadlift, press, accessories)

We are not seeing “how much you can lift” or “where you’re at with your squat”, rather we’re teaching you HOW TO TRAIN. Part of this process involves mechanical / technical coaching but it also involves how to complete the program successfully.

But why 7 days? Motor learning responds best to high frequency/density. Folks that complete all 4 sessions in less than a week retain the vast majority of the information we cover. And… we cover a lot. Retention is critical given we don’t have a “workout of the day” model. When athletes show up to group training, they’re expected to be able to jump in and begin training effectively.

Step 3: Execute the 90-Day Coaching Prescription as Designed

So you’ve completed your Intro program and it’s Friday afternoon. The best thing you can do is hop right into your 90-day coaching prescription the following Monday. The coaching prescriptions look like this:

  • Private Strength Coaching
  • Group Strength Coaching
  • Hybrid Strength Coaching (combination of group + private)

The retention factor we discussed above is important because we don’t prescribe training prescriptions on how much experience you have. If we did that, everyone would be funneled to private coaching. Instead, we walk you through the Intro and make the best recommendation for you. The recommendation that works best with your:

  • availability
  • resources
  • goals
  • desired coaching relationship

Having completed the Intro as prescribed will 100%, set you up for long term success. If your prescription calls for 3 sessions per week, you’re expected to make 3 sessions per week. If your program calls for 30 min of walking every day then you’re expected to walk 30 min every day. As you might have guessed, if we discussed eating protein at each meal then you’re expected to do that too.

“But James, I struggle with consistency”. No worries, as I noted above, changing behavior is never easy. This is why we set up Goal Review meetings every 90 days. What’s a goal review? Every 90 days, you sit down with a coach to talk about your:

  • wins
  • struggles
  • progress
  • plan for next 90 days

If you’re gym isn’t doing these, I’m not sure how they’re coaching and mentoring you effectively. Maybe their coaching staff can read minds? The point is, you’re not expected to be “perfect”, rather, we’re building a process where you decide what you want, make a plan, and then execute to the best of your current ability. It doesn’t really get any better than this IMO.

The point of steps 1 and 2 were to set you up for success, step 3 is about follow-through and getting after it. If you’re wondering what YOUR program might look like, reach out and BOOK a MEETING with one of our coaches today. If you’re not sure you’re ready for that, go to our free group: Strength Health, and Nutrition in St Louis and shoot me a message. Let us know what’s holding you back.

Hope this helps, talk soon.