I’m pretty good at assessing and writing programs for clients. It’s something I do daily, as I have for years. I’ve successfully trained people doing everything from rehabbing shattered shoulder blades to winning a Bellator Fighting World Championship.
There is one person though, that I really just shouldn’t write programs for: Myself.
It’s incredibly difficult to be objective with oneself and create a program that includes all the things that I know I should be doing, but don’t really want to. And to be honest, after a day of carefully assessing a bunch of people and poring over progressions, compensations and set-rep schemes, I really don’t feel like doing it for myself. Instead, I just go do something I like to do and spend some time on the pullup bar, drag a tire around or deadlift.
All the things I make my clients do like foam rolling, elaborate mobility warmups and specific core work can easily be tossed aside in the event of other pressing matters, like wanting to go home and eat dinner. For some reason, doing something for yourself that you do for other people all day seems to invite shortcuts and a biased perspective.
My solution: I hire an expert to do it for me. Or, more accurately, to make me do it right.
No matter how good you are at something, there is always insight to be gained from seeking the perspective of an outside expert in the same field.
Several years ago, just as I was getting out of the military, I knew that I needed to take advantage of the normalcy of civilian life to follow a legitimate program to fix the assortment of compensations, joint imbalances and injuries that I had accumulated over the years. I knew the pitfalls of trying to assess and program myself, so I hired the guy who I felt was the best in the industry.
I hated much of the program Mike Robertson gave me. Foam rolling, corrective stretching, basic movements… all the stuff that I make my clients do and strategically avoid myself much of the time. But, because it was in my program and I wasn’t going to waste Mike’s time or mine, I followed it to the letter.
About half a year later my back didn’t hurt for the first time in years, I could run as far as I felt like without the knee pain that had plagued me since SOF selection and I had added almost a hundred pounds to my deadlift.
Ever since then, I’ve had an appreciation for the benefits of bringing in an outside expert, even when it’s a field in which I’m already knowledgeable.
Now, when I begin feeling joint issues or a lift doesn’t feel quite right I don’t hesitate to ask someone else to help me out. I have Marshall, our lead instructor in Denver, watch my technique on squats. Periodically, I have my friend Jonathan Pope of Rogue Performance do a full assessment of me, and he never fails to find some compensation or imbalance that I had been somehow ignoring. If I need some really technical insight, I give Mike Robertson or Scot Prohaska a call.
I could do all of my own billing, tax stuff and accounting for Barefoot, but I don’t because I don’t want to spend time there that I could be spending focusing on my actual job or just doing something I enjoy. Instead I have a full time accountant whose only instructions are that I want to pay as little in taxes as possible and I don’t want to go to jail. Likewise, I could create designs and convert word documents to elaborate editable PDFs if I wanted to spend the time on it, but instead I take about two minutes to email them to a guy in Hungary who does that sort of thing professionally.
I still create my own programs from time to time, but just as often I follow outlines given to me by guys like Mike, Marshall, Jon or Scot.
I suggest trying the same. If it’s a task that isn’t a part of your main profession, hire a pro so that you can forget about it and focus on the core of your business. And even if you’re damn good at what you do, hire someone else you trust to oversee it for a while or provide the same service for you. It doesn’t need to be fitness related. If you’re an accountant, have someone else look over your personal finances. Massage therapist? When’s the last time you’ve had anyone work on you?
No matter the field, if it’s something you’re immersed in every day, it’s quite likely that you’ve got a number of subconscious biases when it comes to yourself. Bring in an outside expert, and I promise you’ll learn something and be better off because of it.