Take a look at this. What do you see?
It’s a common sight. A personal trainer, a client and a clipboard!
Trainers with clipboards have been around since I became a personal trainer at Jack LaLanne’s European Health Spa in Huntington Beach, CA back in 1978!
In my opinion it was “old school” and “useless” even back then.
I remember thinking… “Who benefits from this… the client or the trainer?”
The trainer, of course.
And, as soon as the session was over, the “Official Workout Card” was stuffed back into a file cabinet.
We used the workout cards to refresh our memories of each client’s particular workout… and what was accomplished last session.
THEN, I WENT TO GOLD’S GYM…
I’ll never forget my first visit to Gold’s Gym in Venice Beach, California in 1979
Back then, it was still a hard core BODY BUILDING gym.
After I got over the initial shock of how monsterously huge these guys were…. I noticed something else.
Between sets almost all them were writing things down in spiral wire-bound notebooks.
The notebooks were trashed from sweat, dirt and being thrown around on the floor.
But, these guys were religious in maintaining their information.
It was their BIBLE…!
They were incredibly precise and meticulous in their tracking of EVERYTHING!
From sets, reps, weights and rests to caloric intake, sleep and things I shouldn’t really mention!
“WHAT’S GOOD FOR THE GOOSE…”
Yes, the old saying, “What’s good for the goose is good for the gander” was my take-away from that visit.
Why in the world don’t personal training CLIENTS maintain their own journals..????
It would be so much more effective than that whole “clipboard thing.”
But, it was just a thought that stayed with me and percolated for several years.
Then, I met AJ Kitt, a two-time Olympian ski racer who, at the time, was considered the best downhiller in the world.
During a casual conversation, AJ revealed to me that his secret weapon to being the “best” — was his Journal.
Yup… AJ kept a training journal just like the body builders at Gold’s Gym.
And, AJ was even more meticulous. He recorded training and nutrition, alright.
But, he also recorded weather conditions, snow conditions, the wax on his skis, the edge bevels on his skis, time of day… I mean EVERYTHING!
And, once again, my brain started thinking about how valuable and incredibly effective a Journal really is for people who are serious about achieving their goals.
So, when I opened MediCorp, our Weight-Management and Lifestyle consulting business in Newport Beach, CA, (1989), one of the first things I incorporated into our protocol was — you guessed it — a DAILY JOURNAL.
And, it worked like crazy.
After coaching hundreds of “normal people” (not bodybuilders or athletes), it was obvious that clients who maintained their Journals every day achieved phenomenal results.
Those who blew it off… just didn’t. Simple as that!
It became predictable.
SUCCESS BREEDS SUCCESS…
The success of our Journals literally changed my business.
They became so popular and successful that we were contacted by clubs, studios, corporate wellness programs, sports teams, health coaches, independent personal trainers and even hospitals throughout the world.
Almost overnight, my little business turned into a million dollar publishing company..!
Journals were helping millions of people to change their lives.
THE NEXT PHASE…
But, then, starting in 2006 an amazing number of digital apps, online platforms and other devices exploded onto the fitness scene.
And, because I’m a “technology freak,” I wasted no time or expense attempting to create the perfect Journal App.
I was excited because once developed, a Journal App would be easier to distribute online and would eliminate the cost of printing a physical book.
For five years (2008-2013) we conducted A/B tests pitting our new Journal App vs. the physical Journal Book at several S. California clubs and studios.
But, after thousands of dollars and five different beta tests our digital Journal App was unsuccessful.
The physical books outperformed the our digital app every single time when measured by client results after 12-weeks (body comp, weight, flexibility, endurance and strength).
What we learned was this. Sometimes “newer” isn’t necessarily “better.”
STILL THE ONE
There are actually two reasons why digital tracking apps don’t work for most people.
First, the simple reality is that most people don’t actually use their digital apps in real time for custom input tracking.
Instead, they use apps for automated metrics like time, distance, speed, heart rate, location mapping, etc.
But, none of those things require INPUT. It’s all output!
Second, the real time, physical action of using your hands and fingers to immediately record your performance (between sets or at a meal sitting) stimulates a collection of cells in the base of your brain known as the reticular activating system (RAS).
The RAS is the filter for all the information your brain needs to process. It gives more attention to what you are doing “right now.”
In other words, your handwriting’s combination of motor skills, touch sensation, visual perception in combination with RAS is critical to the behavior changing process most people require to achieve their goals.
So, ultimately, no digital technology is EVER going to take the place “writing it down” with your own handwriting.
It’s just the way our brains are wired to accept new information. Physical handwriting has a bigger effect on our brains (mind body connection).
Whether you use our Journals or send your clients off to purchase a blank notebook, I can absolutely guarantee they will achieve better results if they learn how to maintain their handwritten journals — every single day.
And, that’s WAY BETTER than the useless “clipboard!”
P.S. Check out the new Journals-On-Demand Program… CLICK or TAP HERE…