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Different Coaches, Different Approaches

with Coaches Erik, Justin and Anna

To coach is to lead by experience and expertise, but every coach approaches their client sessions with different philosophies. The varied types of coaching ultimately yield the same result: a stronger and healthier client who is working towards their personal goal(s). But the methods on getting there aren't quite the same from coach to coach.

Coach Justin and Coach Erik work with clients in person at the Adirondack Health Medical Fitness Center, while Coach Anna works virtually with gym members and patients of the Adirondack Health Bariatric and Medical Weight Loss Programs. The difference in coaching doesn't stop there.

In regards to his coaching style, Coach Erik shares:

It is really difficult to pinpoint my exact coaching style as I feel it is constantly evolving with me. I work with such an array of individuals with different goals and capabilities that there is no “one size fits all” template that I can use. I have to be very flexible and adaptable with each individual client. That being said, there are a few central tenets that I apply with all of my clients.

  • Excelsior – Means “ever upwards” and is New York State’s official motto. I want my clients to strive to be better than yesterday. Whether it is lifting a slightly heavier weight, doing more repetitions, performing with greater balance and control, achieving better range of motion, or executing a more challenging variation of an exercise, there is always something to improve upon. I love it when a client achieves a personal best or completes an exercise that they didn’t think was possible. Pushing them a little bit every session leads to a big result later down the line.

  • Achievable goals – I work with my clients to set short term realistic/achievable goals to help them on their way to an overall or longer term goal. I will also create goals for clients to work on based on weaknesses or movement dysfunctions I’ve identified during our sessions. Goal setting is extremely important as it helps to focus the sessions and gives me a framework for which to choose proper exercises from. There are literally thousands of different exercises to choose from, so knowing what we are working towards, really helps me to narrow down that list.

  • Communication – During an exercise session I am in constant communication with my client. Whether it’s demonstrating exercises, cueing form/technique, asking for perceived exertion, or giving words of encouragement; I keep a constant dialogue going with them. It is so important for us to be on the same page so that we can keep the quality of the session high and get the most out of it. I need to know when to push them or when to hold back and that constant communication helps us to get into the “Goldilocks Zone.”

  • Compound and functional movements – I put a high emphasis on compound and functional movements. These are exercises that recruit large muscles and incorporate multiple joints. Often I will incorporate some offset loading to engage the core muscles and make it more challenging. These kinds of exercises are the best for creating overall strength and durability. I love it when my clients tell me things that they are able to achieve outside of the gym due to our workouts.

Now a snapshot of Coach Justin and Coach Anna's coaching philosophy will be just as effective, but is unique to their own.

Coach Anna shares:

My philosophy around coaching is less focused on the body as it is on the environment and mind. Physical results come, but the world around us plays a huge role in our success rates.

When I work with my clients, ultimately my goal is to help them achieve their goal, which is 99% of the time weight loss, on the surface level that is. One of the biggest driving forces in how I coach is first having my clients identify their why. I ask them why they scheduled our first call, why they attended that first appointment with their doctor asking about weight loss. More often than not the answer isn't about the number on the scale, it is the pain they are done living with, or the children they want to keep up with, or the energy they are tired of existing without. So for me, that why is the starting point for everyone I work with.

When it comes to the actual process of coaching, I work with human tendencies to create success. Meaning, I strive to help them create healthy habits that are sustainable and consistent. Sometimes that means doing work that wouldn't necessarily be expected out of working with a fitness coach: assessing current habits around diet and exercise, deep diving into what is working for them and what is not, and getting into their schedules on a detailed level. It also includes the question "what do you hate doing for exercise?" If I assign a client a workout filled with things they absolutely despise, they aren't going to do it. So I work to find forms of exercise and movement they love. Most often the reasons I see people fail in establishing healthier habits is because they failed to plan, they failed to be real with themselves about what they enjoy, and they set too lofty of goals that didn't meet their availability at the moment in time in their life they are trying to set them. A 30 minute walk one day a week, consistently, is more likely to grow into three 30 minute walks and three 45-60 minute gym sessions a week than 10 days straight of exercise every 6 months.

So to sum it up, we do what we can with what we have, and when we can do more, we do more. But first, what is your why so you can keep going even on the tough days, and how can we create sustainability and consistency in your routine? If we can establish those three things, our work together is going to be great for you and for me.

And Coach Justin shares:

I feel as though my coaching philosophy is comprised of several different components. Having a certain uniqueness about your approach and the values you hold to be important in training somebody is absolutely necessary. This is what makes up what type of coach you are and your particular style. But most importantly one style of coach will not work for everyone you need to be nimble and conform to a number of different styles if you hope to be successful with a wide range of clients. Whether it’s based on performance, prevention, maintence or a holistic approach. Whichever route that may be, always my goal to be as effective as I possibly can be and make the most out of every session together.

“Do upon others as would do upon yourself” everyone has preferred methods and reasons why they do what they do. There are lots of different ways to get to a particular end product or goal. Never right nor wrong. I think it’s important to do everything with intent to better that person. Being open to new methods and techniques that can lead to a more efficient outcome. But ultimately, you’re perusing the avenue that best suits that client and trying to be successful in improving a person’s overall functionality and quality of life. There needs to be strong reason for what you are doing it and why, either intrinsically or extrinsically there needs to be a source of motivation to keep pushing forwards and not looking behind. “Yeah life happens and this is where I’m at, how do we get you going in a positive direction and maintain that. A coach can always provide motivation but it’s more important to instill and encourage self-motivation. Expect things to be frustrating and there to be setbacks along the way but always stay the Course of progression no matter what. Lastly, Maintaining trust and transparency with each relationship is very important. When you have this, it’s an avenue for effective communication. Looking at things objectively is only one piece of the puzzle. Always need to be on the same page with everything you’re doing. You’re a team working together to improve one another. The stronger and more stable you can make that relationship it will lead to the best possible outcomes. That is what I’m always trying to achieve. It is pretty incredible to think that three coaches working under the same title of Fitness Coach can have such different approaches and yield such incredible results with the clients they work with. We are thankful for their hard work they put in each day as a part of the AHMFC team and can't wait to see how they continue to grow.


If you would like to learn more about one-on-one coaching with Coach Erik, Coach Anna or Coach Justin, contact the front desk. Your goals are our focus.

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