Friday, August 30, 2013

Life Lesson After Oncology Massage Clinic

Doing some reflection on the saying "luck is where preparation meets opportunity."
3 years ago, I was in Utah and grad school had just started. It was earlier that year after I received my acceptance letter that I started to have inner conflict about the route I wanted to go for my education. I had kept a a small journal where I would write many of my personal thoughts. Many of them I've posted here (or had posted at some point, but removed). One of those thoughts was attending massage school.
I made the mistake of doing some "spring cleaning" in my life. I went through many of my ramblings and deleted them or threw them away. I did this with my Facebook page (taking down pictures and "deleting" friends that I never interacted with) and regularly try to keep the "clutter" low in my social media. One of the things I am disappointed with is throwing away was something I wrote about my hands being a tool for healing. At the time, I was dating a girl with chronic back pain and I wanted to go to massage school to help her live in as little pain as possible. 
Knowing I would have to choose massage school or grad school, I chose grad school. The biggest benefit of that choice was befriending Seth and his wife Tavia, and Tina. I regularly reflect on the fact that I'd already be licensed if I listened to my heart, but I wouldn't have developed the friendships that came about because of the University of Utah, and I wouldn't have had the opportunity to work with Geri because I am unsure if any of the schools in Utah offers an introduction to oncology massage.
Things happen for a reason.
Geri taught a 2-and-a-half day oncology seminar during our 3rd quarter at UWS, which they provide as a part of a curriculum intended to prepare us for working in more of a healthcare setting (UWS is predominantly a chiropractic college). During this seminar, Geri reached out to me to make sure I had signed up for the oncology rotation that was offered during our 4th and final quarter. The clinic was offered on alternating Thursdays from 10-3. I told her that it interfered with work, so she offered to have me join her on Mondays with the Salem campus crew, and I accepted the offer.
Little did I know that the book we used for class was written by a Portland resident who has been working hard to bring oncology massage to the hospitals in town, such as Providence and OHSU. There's also the Peregrine Institute in New Mexico that offers a 300-hour oncology massage certification. Turns out Geri attended the Peregrine Institute and she works one day a week at OHSU. The hospital gave Geri permission to give us a tour of the different cancer- and chemo-related facilities (like bone marrow transplants and the radiation unit) that are a part of the Knight Cancer Institute. This tour was Wednesday, August 28th. 
It was really neat to see the acceptance of massage therapy within the hospital setting. Many of the staff had hoped we were there to give massages and were bummed to hear we were only being given a tour. They were, however, very congratulatory on the fact we were almost done and could be potential therapists for OHSU. Comfort-oriented massage seems like a missing component to allopathic medicine. Geri told us a story of a patient who told her, "This is the first time someone has touched me without hurting me."
Let that sink in for a second.
Finger pricks, blood draws, chemo infusion, potential surgery for some kind of removal or transplant, and recovery from treatment all come with some kind of pain. One of those pains is the emotional pain of sitting in a chair knowing you have cancer. Or a disease that requires chemotherapy and/or radiation. Geri and the other OHSU massage employees offer something unique. She then told a story of a doctor who told another staff member that if Geri's in the room, wait until she's done because that's where the real healing happens.
When you're not feeling well, what is it that you desire the most? A person you love (usually your mom, don't even lie) sitting beside you, offering you comfort, rubbing an arm or your head telling you everything is going to be okay. 
Oncology massage is a little different in the fact that it's not outcome oriented. The pressure is light, the length can be as little as 10 minutes, and the area you work on is best suited for their situation. If it's post-treatment, it'll be a little different, but you still need to be weary of lymphedema risk if they've had lymph nodes removed.
After my clinic rotation at Compass Oncology located in Meridian Park hospital in Tualatin, and after my tour of OHSU, I have been reflecting on the experience and wanted to share them with whomever may end up reading this post.
Massage does not spread cancer. How is that even possible? If massage can do this, anything that applies pressure or movement to the body can spread it (like laying down or walking). I was intimidated and slightly anxious to begin, but that's the first sign of growth, and I never anticipated this would teach me so much. 
The first thing I learned was awareness.
I had to be aware of how the patient was feeling before and during treatment. I had to be aware of my pressure and my strokes. I had to be aware of any abnormalities to the area I was working on. I wasn't anticipating that awareness of MYSELF was going to be given such importance. Did I need to stop and take a deep breath between sessions? Then I needed to do so. Did I need to use the restroom or grab some water? Then I needed to do so. If I am anxious, stressed, or rushed, it will show in my massage and my interaction with the patient. 
It's okay, and usually necessary, to slow down, which goes along quite well with awareness.
It's okay to be turned down.
Nobody likes to be rejected, but I especially don't like it. I probably would've dated more during my single years had I had the courage to be turned down. It was an important lesson for me to be persistent after being told "no thanks." These folks were going through chemo and sometimes they just wanted to be left alone.
Step out of your comfort zone.
This not only applies to my experience, but my experience with male patients. Yes, male patients. As a male massage therapists, I can sense the discomfort when a male sees me approach them. It's not their fault, they're expecting to be comforted with massage and being comforted by a male is probably not high on their list. But massage can be truly comforting when you're having to battle treatment. I can't think of any session I've had, male or female, that ended poorly. I may've not been their favorite, but it was never "bad."
The last thing I learned is that risk pays off.
Geri is an awesome human. She genuinely cares about helping people feel better. The crazy thing is my cohort (the group of students in my massage class) had a little bit of conflict with Geri during our weekend seminar in our 3rd quarter. I think at least 2 of them were pretty happy to have the weekend with Geri come to an end. Turns out that going to clinic with Geri may open doors of opportunity for me in the future. She is a great person to not only know, but to network with, and I am grateful that I could potentially work with her in my future.
As much as I had hoped for having my massage license by now, I am grateful for my experiences at UWS. Not only was the timing great for school to start (my boss had just finished writing his book so I could take a step back from my work duties in the evening), but it allowed me to attend a great massage school with great staff, that's all a part of the chiropractic college.
And for the record, I lost more money by going every other Monday than I would've if I had gone Thursday. The majority of my personal training is during the mornings of Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, along with teaching the morning group classes all week. That will pay off one day through this experience and being able to network with Geri. Guaranteed.

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Learning from my mistake

For those of you who know me, you know that I am currently enrolled in massage school and at some point I will likely be pursuing further education to become a physical therapist. There's nothing that will stop me if that's the route I choose, but I plan on taking a break from school for at least a school year to see where this massage license (and the continuing education I look forward to attending) will take me.

With that being said, I want to share some advice that could help you in your future endeavors toward educating yourself for your desired career: Don't Take The Easy Way Out.

I know, that isn't anything groundbreaking or new, but let me preface it with some history and how it would've made my education goals of the future come a lot faster.

My parents were both high school dropouts and drug addiction ruined their marriage. I grew up in low-income parts of the suburbs of Portland, but I wasn't "poor" by any means. Money saving isn't exactly a skill in my family and impulsive decision making still haunts me. My parents have always been loving and caring individuals and have supported me in all of my decisions, while giving what they could when they could afford it. However, I wasn't exactly "pushed" toward work or education that would set me up for a financially secure future for myself and my family. I was just pushed to work hard and follow my dreams. Because I had no idea what I was capable of, I always settled for the easy way out. I was very much a "Cs get degrees" kind of person.

I was held back my freshman year of high school, so I had to do all of those same classes my next year. Took me 5 years to graduate. Took me 6 years to get my bachelor's degree. I then did another year toward a master's degree, but didn't finish. Now I'm about to start my last quarter of massage school. Since high school, I've had over 8 years of school. Yet I STILL need pre-reqs for physical therapy.


I did only what I had to do, and nothing more. Nothing above and beyond. Nothing extracurricular. No volunteering or participating in school organizations. Just go to school to get a piece of paper that will increase your chances at finding good work for a financially stable future. It shows discipline. It shows commitment. It shows exposure to broad topics which will help you relate to more people, which is great for what most jobs are: customer service. Even if they're not, most jobs involve interacting with people. 

But those skills aren't all you need when you desire something like a Ph.D or Doctorate. If I would've taken a full school year (3 quarters/2 semesters) of chemistry and physics, I'd have a much smoother ride applying for more programs. If I had taken some organic chemistry and/or biochemistry, I could apply to a functional medicine or chiropractic program. But you have to take chemistry first. And how did I ever walk out of Portland State with my degree that has an emphasis in exercise, yet I didn't have to take physics? Isn't that the basis of biomechanics/kinesiology?

I went for my degree because exercise became my therapy. It is my stress relief. It was my route to self-confidence and it gave me strength that was beyond physical. It took away the feelings of being average; of being mediocre. The confidence broke down barriers and helped me realize that settling, whether it were a job or the grades I earned, will not lead me down the path of success that I so desire. I wanted others to change their lives in the same way I did, but I didn't realize that helping people move better and reduce/eliminate pain would be a better fit for me. This is why I desire physical therapy school and this is why I applied for massage school. Everything I've learned over this last year has already been a blessing in the gym, I can't wait to see where my education takes me in the next 5 to 10 years.

I can't help but stand here in frustration as I type, however, because as I look at trying to become the best practitioner I can, I have to wait to get started because of 6 classes. In 7+ years of school, I didn't take some of the basic and most useful classes and it's delaying my potential success. As a 29-year-old male who has been ready to start his career since he's been 28 (ready in my head and not held back by my "easy way out" self-talk), don't do what's easy. Do what's necessary. That way, when you're 4 years post-bachelor's degree like me, you won't be regretting the classes you DIDN'T take. 

Nothing will fall in your lap, and waiting for success to happen to you is very much akin to watching water boil. It could happen, but it'll be a hell of a lot faster if you walk away from that pot of mediocrity and take risks. The risks that I failed to take and am still trying to figure out at nearly 30.

But I'll be damned if my life isn't epic. I will continue to change the world, one person at a time.


Saturday, May 11, 2013

What is the key to a happy and successful relationship?

Every good relationship begins with a good connection.

I met Erin at the gym and I immediately had a huge crush on her. She has these warm, blue eyes that shine from across the room and long dark hair that looks completely adorable tied back into a ponytail.

When I saw her personal records, I knew she was one of the top performers in the gym. She also has the ability to turn her head off and go. She has a competitive drive, yet a laid-back demeanor that makes her push her limits and allow her to come off as lovable and kind.

Erin was always easy to talk to, yet she keeps her personal life and emotions tied up inside for few to see. I always enjoy a challenge.

5 months or so after I moved back to Oregon and started working at CPC, Erin came home for Christmas break. I asked her out to Zoo Lights on December 17th. It was a kinda cold, cloudy Saturday evening. For those who don't know, Zoo Lights is Christmas lights put up all around the Oregon Zoo (not limited to Oregon, though). We had fun, but I think I had more fun trying to pry information out of Erin.

I didn't know how we'd work out with a 7 year age gap, but we saw each other everyday for the rest of her break. Just before heading back to school, I asked Erin if she wanted to continue with the relationship while she was in Corvallis for school. She didn't see us doing anything but continuing to date, so for the next 6 months, Erin and I saw each other almost every weekend. If I didn't drive down, she drove up. Luckily, she was only an hour-and-a-half away. When she moved home for the summer, Erin decided to stay local and apply to Portland State University. Graduation is Father's Day and she just needs to take an extra couple of classes over the summer and she'll be done.

In getting to know her over the last 15 months I've realized that I could be with her for the rest of my life. If we get into an argument, it's usually petty and blows over quickly. We're honest with each other and support one-another's decisions and career goals. We love each other for all of the right reasons.

The best part? She has a sense of humor that's similar to mine, all-the-while she's just as playful as me. It's quite refreshing to know that I have to keep my abs flexed when she's nearby because she might punch me out of nowhere. Most of the men I know poke, prod, and pry when they're being flirtatious and it makes me happy to know Erin and I are still very playful with one another.

I have asked this question to a few people over the last few years, but only one answer has stood out above the rest. I asked, "What is the key to a happy and successful relationship?"

I was curious because, at the time, I was newly single and the breakup was difficult, so I wanted to know what kind of response I'd receive from people who appeared happily in love and who'd been married for many years.

The best response was : "The key to a happy and successful relationship is humor."

That's the one thing I never want to lose with her; our ability to make each other laugh brings a smile to my face as I type. We're now engaged, so I figured I'd give some history to everyone. I look forward to growing old with my beautiful bear.

I love you Erin.


Saturday, May 4, 2013

Hindsight is 20/20

Thursday May 2nd was one of the worst days I've had in a very long time. Before I explain why, let me take you back a few weeks.

I discovered a blog called Go Kaleo and I read a post titled Adrenal Fatigue as a Cover for Starvation. I was very intrigued by the concept and it made complete sense. The concept is that many people (especially females) are not fueling themselves enough to meet their required caloric intake if they were on bed-rest, let alone for all of the activity they may participate in. Not to mention that the brain requires energy, too, so the body's response to under-eating will have similarities to starvation. These symptoms are often diagnosed as adrenal fatigue, but most (if not all) of these symptoms could be resolved with an adequate caloric intake for your activity level and metabolic needs. Yes, I am saying that adrenal fatigue is more than likely just a symptom of a caloric intake that is too low too often.

I found out there was a private Facebook group where people shared their stories and struggles with the concept of upping their calories and adjusting the numbers to meet their needs. I joined the group and was paying attention to it all when I realized I needed to share this message to help as many people as I could. I wrote a post about it for my fitness/massage site and my boss said he wanted to share the message with a broader audience by having it posted on Everyday Paleo; a blog operated by Sarah Fragoso. A client of mine even emailed me an awesome study that I used as an example in the post.

I copied and edited the post over to Everyday Paleo and it launched on Thursday May 2nd. That's when the cascade of embarrassment, guilt, and shame poured over me.

I failed to give credit to Amber at Go Kaleo for using her concept and the same calculators that are a part of her original post. When the post launched, the private Facebook group was livid. I was now the plagiarizer of Amber's content for the thousands (nearly 80,000) of Everyday Paleo Facebook fans to see. Sarah called me three times that day to try to sort this out, but she ended up removing it altogether and shared Amber's original link on her Facebook page later that evening.

Everyone in the Facebook group started antagonizing me and heckling me, meanwhile they were on Everyday Paleo's page telling Sarah to be "finished" with me. It was harsh.

Not only did I embarrass myself, I embarrassed my boss and I embarrassed Sarah. She handled the situation in a very mature manner and Go Kaleo, her followers, and Sarah's own followers showed a lot of respect for that. I am grateful that the fire appeared to blow out as quickly as it started.

The client that emailed me the study I used in my post decided to email me an amazing article by Malcolm Gladwell titled Something Borrowed. It discusses how Malcolm's work was basically copied and turned into a play, and how he couldn't be mad that the message was being shared, while giving other examples of copied or borrowed material from other realms of entertainment. She understood that I wasn't trying to steal credit, just share what I had learned from others. It was nice to see all of the support that I was given from the people closest to me. I even had another client tell me that she saw what happened and to continue sharing information because of how helpful she finds it. I just need to give credit where credit is due.

This is the blog I now use as a "release" of sorts. Although words don't convey the same meaning, and I can't do anything about the embarrassment and public humiliation that brought me nearly to tears, but the least I could do is write this down and put it out there for everyone to see.

1. Amber: I am sorry that I used your concept without giving you credit. I wasn't trying to steal your shine or take credit for what you came up with, I was just trying to share it with the masses who follow Everyday Paleo and stumble across her blog. I feel like it's huge - especially for the Paleo community who probably accidentally under-eat because of how little the macronutrient density Paleo food choices can be. 2 cups of chopped broccoli and 8 ounces of ground beef is only 540 calories for goodness sake, but you already know that. You expressed to me that you were glad the message was spreading, and I appreciate that you weren't too mad at me when I came to you after the plagiarism comments started to pile up.

2. Sarah: I don't even know what to say because sorry isn't enough. You trusted me and I let you down and nearly made Everyday Paleo look bad. That was never my intention and I only need to make that mistake once to never do it again. I am sorry for the tears, frustration, and the trolling comments that you had to put up with on Facebook. Correcting your grammar after lashing out at you for my mistake? Really?

3. Jason: Sarah trusted your judgment with me and I let you down by not citing my sources. I am sorry for any tension that I may have created between you and Sarah. I now know to over-cite everything I write due to this whole debacle.

4. My clients, friends, family, and colleagues: I don't usually say things without giving proper credit and I apologize if any of you witnessed what occurred. It's Saturday and I am still embarrassed. When I am very stressed and upset, I don't eat, so I have some catching up to do for these last couple of days. I appreciate the support you've given me thus far. It is very much needed after mistakes like this. Especially public mistakes.

I know that this probably won't be read by very many people, but I want you to know that I made a mistake and now I have to own up to it and focus on never doing that again. When I learn things that I think are important to share, I want to share them with you all and I don't intend on changing that. Thanks for reading if you made it this far.


P.s. the original article from Everyday Paleo found its way onto another person's blog. Luckily, it was the first updated version that gave credit. It was edited later with bigger font at the very top, underlined, and more apologetic on my part, before it was completely removed.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Treating the symptom, not the cause.

I haven't posted in a while because I am in school and I run another blog, but I wanted to interject some personal opinion today.

2 minutes from my apartment complex is a mall. At about 4:00pm every day I head out to school that is about 25 minutes away. When I left my apartment on December 11th I saw cop car after cop car after cop car on the other side of the freeway. There was a shooting at the very mall that is 2 minutes away from me. It made national headlines. And it hit close to home. A regular gym member was under the food court where the events took place.

Two days later, a gunman took the lives of 20 children plus 8 other adults. I was nearly brought to tears, while filled with disgust and anger. If you hate yourself and the world, take yourself out of it without harming innocent people. Now the talk is all about gun laws and gun control. If you think about this like I think about the medical model in the US, I look at it as treating the symptom and not the cause. Let me explain - if people use guns to kill people, regulating guns is not doing anything to prevent the cause. The people who do these things need help psychologically. If someone wants a gun, they'll find a gun. Remember prohibition? Making alcohol illegal sure worked.

I'd like to use ladies in an example. In the fitness industry, how ladies view themselves and their mental self-talk are increasingly becoming drivers of failure or success. The more you hate yourself, the more likely you are to fail. This is all psychologically driven. Nobody tells you  (hopefully) that you're ugly, worthless, disgusting, and nobody wants to be with you. Most of the time it's something you've created in your head with no shred of evidence of truth. Why do you want to look better? It usually boils down to one thing: reproduction. If you're attractive, you'll attract an attractive mate and you'll have babies that spread your great genetics. This is called reproductive fitness.

Let's flip this to men.

If men have negative self-talk, body image or relationship issues, are socially awkward, and aren't the alpha type, what do you think happens? They're probably not getting laid. With testosterone, aggression, and some mental disturbance, you have a nice recipe for destructive behavior. Some of the things that I read that have lead me to reflect on this subject come from John Durant's Twitter account. Here are some of the highlights:

  • "It's these castrated, sexless, socially-awkward white and asian beta males."
  • "His [Adam's] mother filed for divorce, father a tax specialist so probably smart but a pushover. No real man present in this kid's life."
  • "It's disturbing how all these school shootings have taken place in gun-free zones. Almost as if the laws don't work."
  • "Recall that black men -- who are over-represented in just about every violent crime stat -- seem to be under-represented in rampage killings."
  • "From Eric Harris' last journal entry: "why the fuck cant I get any? I mean, I'm nice and considerate and all that shit, but nooooo.""
  • "Here are some of the tough questions [related to gun control]: Why so few black rampage killers? Why so many virgins? Why histories of sexual and social rejection?"
  • "Men are not designed to abide by involuntary celibacy and social rejection."
  • "If guns+violence are to blame, can someone explain why young black men aren't the perps of most rampage killings? Hint: black men get laid."
  • "the VT guy had serious mental problems, but also had problems with women. the people who do it usually have multiple issues."
  • "Why don't guns cause women to commit rampage killings? Maybe we should spend more time studying male psychology."
Guns laws don't fix the psychological problems young men face, especially when they appear to have mental disturbances.

Women beat themselves up with psychological issues related to reproductive fitness, while young men tend to take it out on others.

And it's heartbreaking.


Thursday, September 13, 2012

Strength Blueprint

As a fitness professional, I am humbled to know that there are people who pay attention to what I say and respect my opinion. One of those people is Brad Gatens, a Twitter follower for some time now.

He sent me a private message about a month ago offering me a free copy of his Strength Blueprint, co-authored by Adam Schussler - CLICK HERE. While I've been busy with the gym while my boss has stepped back to work on an upcoming project, I knew I needed to take the time to throw up a review. If he was kind enough to give me a copy, I need to be kind enough to tell you all what I think.

*Disclaimer: I am not being paid by Brad, nor do I get a percentage of your purchases. I am just promoting an Internet friend who is offering information I stand behind.*

Strength Blueprint is prefaced with a personal story about "the little guy" trying to pack on weight. And you can tell right away that it's aimed toward the younger crowd, particularly high school folks looking to build strength. Yet, anyone looking to build strength could benefit from the information in the Strength Blueprint. Here's a quote:

"So I knew I had to make some changes. Sometimes, trying harder is not the solution. You need to take a different approach. It wasn't until I was around 26 years old when I started figuring it out. When I did, it truly was a revelation. What an experience it was to pack on muscle what seemed to be overnight. And the best part, I wasn't working any harder than usual. It was a coincidence, but it was also around this time that I started to regain my confidence and self-esteem. Maybe a coincidence, probably not though. Eventually, my thesis did prove correct. More muscle = more confidence. More confidence = better quality of life."
The introduction sets the tone for the rest of the document. It's about training and putting in the work to add strength. Period. You want a cookie-cutter routine? Cool, this isn't for you. From the introduction:
"Let me start off by saying that I hate bullshit. I hate sugar-coating things. I hate fluffy, feel-good exercises that get you in-touch with your inner child or whatever crap is currently being spewed by what passes for an authority on fitness. I want results."
You want results? Put in the work. They could've said what most marketing ads say and offered some sort of 4-week or 6-week guarantee, but they understand that results are accomplished by effort.

They go on to discuss exercise principles and terminology before moving onto the program they've designed, which will help you understand the "why" of what they're trying to accomplish. The program uses compound lifts with accessory movements designed to get you stronger. No machines, just your body and some iron. The old fashioned way.

They use strength, hypertrophy and a strength/hypertrophy hybrid program with their reasoning to back it up. Namely, to get bigger and get stronger. If strength training and hypertrophy training did the same thing to the human body, bodybuilders would also be the best powerlifters. But they're not.

From there, they offer a 9 day outline that gives the parameters of exercises and response they're seeking for on those days: strength, hypertrophy, or the hybrid of both. That's followed by proper exercise form description and links to helpful information about proper execution of those movements.

The document goes on to describe the mental approach, an often overlooked aspect of training. Up next is nutrition. This is where I always approach things with a hesitant eye because you should know by now that I am a big fan of whole, unprocessed foods. Then I caught this gem:

"So what foods should you eat? Consume as much good food as you can and avoid junk food as much as possible. A mass building diet cannot be too strict in order to ensure an adequate amount of calories are consumed. Sometimes it’s difficult to eat enough calories from quality foods. Put it this way; eat quality foods, and if you still need more calories, take them from anywhere you can get them. So what are quality foods? These are foods that supply nutrients and antioxidants. Nutrients are chemicals that are required by the body for proper health and function. Antioxidants are substances that help protect against cell damage. Any type of vegetable, fruit, meat, poultry, fish, dairy product or nut is a quality food. If a caveman would recognize it as food, it’s probably ok. Eat as much of these items as possible."
Bravo, Brad and Adam. I can totally respect your point-of-view. They break down carbohydrates, proteins, and fats, along with other important factors like insulin. Their supplement recommendations follow the dietary information. I can't say I disagree with any of their supplement recommendations, except maybe the multivitamin, but they encourage supplements like vitamin D and fish oil. The same supplements that I would recommend.

Lifestyle factors is the next section. Cortisol, sleep, stress, estrogen, etc. are all covered in this section. Even team sports and cardiovascular exercise. This is followed by their guidelines for this program, with topics that include: record keeping, stretching, and time off. The conclusion is great, too, with advice to work hard, but play hard, too. I especially like this metaphor:

"Watering a plant keeps the plant alive. Watering a plant every hour will kill the plant."
After a Q & A section, there's a bonus interview with Dan John. The same Dan John I talked about in my last post.

These guys link some great stuff from people I respect, like: Mike Robertson, James Smith, Gary Taubes, EliteFTS, T-Nation, Jim Wendler, and more. Knowing that these guys seek out information from people I respect and look up to gives me the impression that Brad and Adam are well informed and that their product will help you build the strength and size you desire.

Strength Blueprint is 69 pages of great information, and it's only $19.95 with a 90 day money back guarantee. What have you got to lose?

You just need to put in the work.


Tuesday, September 11, 2012



What makes things "worth it"? 

Why name-brand versus generic? Why Trader Joe's instead of Safeway? Why Starbucks instead of your local coffee shop? Why Toyota instead of Hyundai? Why Grey Goose instead of HRD? Why Ben and Jerry's instead of Talenti Gelato?

We place value on those things we are confident will provide results. As a trainer, what makes us valuable? Is it the improved energy? Is it the improved strength? What about the improved body composition? Could it be the pain that has subsided? What makes me and the rest of the trainers at Clackamas Physical Conditioning more valuable than a trainer from a local gym or 24-Hour Fitness? 

As you can see, there many considerations when analyzing worth. The bottom line for customers in the fitness industry is: will this give me the results I'm looking for?

I'd like to think that CPC has a pretty decent results page: CLICK HERE. You could even check out the fun on our Facebook page: CLICK HERE.

But there are still many people who walk in and look at our pricing like it's unreasonable. Or something they can't afford. Granted, for someone like myself, I would agree. I think for many people, however, it's just an excuse because they don't see the value in the changes we're capable of making. To them, we're "just a trainer."

I'd like to steal a quote from Tony Gentilcore real quick: "The hardest person to train is yourself. So why not let someone else do the thinking for you?" I have a four year degree, over two years experience (plus internships), plus I work in mostly a group setting, so I've been able to be a part of a plethora of transformations. 

I've personally helped a severely overweight woman do a near perfect air squat in 3 sessions. I've helped another lady with hip and knee pain build confidence and eliminate that pain so she feels much more comfortable and confident in her own skin. I've changed body positions to help people attain personal records on movements like squats and deadlifts. I can spot poor movement patterns from across the gym; even my boss has commented on my keen eye. My number one goal is safety and I will modify the movement to fit a person's range of motion, and still be able to get intensity out of them.

But most people don't know or understand that when they first walk through our doors. They don't know my education, experience, and it's unlikely they've heard any testimonials from other members. It's even unlikely that they've seen the testimonials page on our website.

So, what are you willing to pay for the best (or perceived best) in the industry? I wanted to search a few names of the people whom I look up to (and have learned from) and check out how their prices compare. The first is Jason Ferruggia. According to his website, his single training session price per hour is $250-$350. Click the link, that's not a typo. Our personal training rates are $60 for non-members and $50 for members.

Most of you should know that I am a moderator for Everyday Paleo Lifestyle and Fitness. It is run similar to a group class (meaning the program isn't personalized), but there is a PLETHORA of information on the website. And we apply personalized recommendations if we see (through video submission) that someone needs to add specific strengthening or mobility work to their routine. There's nutrition guidance, exercise demonstrations, deviations to watch out for, PDF documents to download and print to take to the gym, a lift rotation with instructions, metabolic conditioning that's posted every other day, and mobility/foam roller work. Not to mention a forum with thousands of threads and comments. All of this for $20 a month. However, to have a month long program written and designed for you with consulting services by Mike Robertson, it'd cost you $399 (Click here and scroll down to the summary). I am sure there is a lot of involvement, like video submission and weekly Skype calls, but that is $160 more for one month than Everyday Paleo Lifestyle and Fitness' non-specialized program is for one year.

Lastly, as an extreme example, I'd like to talk about what I recently came across from Dan John. Dan John is probably one of the most respected names in the fitness industry. He's been around for many years and has tons of information and ideas if you simply do a Google search with his name. From T-Nation articles to eBooks with Pavel Tsatsouline (another great who is probably best known for his reputation with kettlebell work), when Dan John speaks, I listen. And I recently read this interview where he was quoted as saying: 
"If I have to take 45 minutes of an hour, and I charge $1500 an hour, and I take 45 minutes of that hour talking to you about all the missing foods, what am I telling you? I think it’s important."
With the right information and reputation, there are people who charge $250 to $1,500 an hour for something my gym charges $60 an hour for, at most. I love helping people become stronger, more mobile, minimize pain, and accomplish tasks they never thought they could accomplish. And I might be a little sadistic. But I pay attention to what the greats in the industry are up to and I pay attention to what they're saying. As a matter of fact, Mike Robertson (from above) finds so much value in manual therapy that he's going to massage school to become a certified massage therapist. I feel ahead of the curve because I start start massage school in just a few weeks.

Clackamas Physical Conditioning and Everyday Paleo Lifestyle and Fitness offer a ton of value without charging an arm and a leg, but in all honesty...

I think we should.