Personal Trainer Spotlight: Geoff Blake of Strongman For The Everyman
I had the pleasure of sitting down with Geoff Blake, a personal trainer and inquisitive mind that is always finding ways to challenge himself and become a better version so he can help other reach their goals in life. Recently, I saw he helped a few women achieve their goals of competing in a Powerlifting competition and wanted to learn more about his views on fitness training. Plus it was also great to catch up with a good friend because he has helped me with my own strength and conditioning program in the past.
How do you motivate women in fitness?
A lot of times motivation comes from curiosity, such as seeing their friend (male or female) involved in fitness, or they know they want to make a change in their life. It may be easier if the woman is already involved in a fitness routine or activity (such as yoga, rock climbing, lifting, etc.) and wants to improve her current abilities. However, for women that are not currently exercising, I want to show them how they can better their lives through the solid choices they make in regards to activity, diet, and their thought of mind. They have to believe there is benefit in my services before I even show them an exercise routine.
Short answer: Slowly and with a high success rate. Don’t give them something that is past their current ability because then they are going to fail, and that discourages them to come back, which in the end does not get results.
What common themes do you see between a man and a woman in training?
Stereo-typically, and this is so stereotypical because not all men will train like this, and not all women will train like this: Early on, men will try to do more than what they are capable of while women will try and do less than they are capable of doing. Regardless of the activity, I’ve just seen with my experience, that men will jump in a little too fast and women will jump in a little too slow. That being said, all of my clientele come to me looking for good form. Both men and women are interested being safe and efficient with their form. Both will thrive on a good community of support, but don’t confuse that with hand-holding. Overall, I’ve only noticed small differences between men and women training because everyone comes with different goals yet an open mind.
Talking about good form in exercise, how would a beginner find a good trainer, like yourself?
Luckily, I am in a good “bubble” and hardly see any “bad” trainers. It is within this social circle and work environment, I get to see some amazing people do incredible things, in regards to the other trainers at my gym, and their clients. The big difference I see between a good trainer and a bad trainer is the focus. A good trainer will focus on doing the basics doing really really well. A bad trainer is going to focus on entertaining their client. To an extent, we all like to be entertained, so I understand that, but if the trainer is just giving them new exercises because the client claims they are bored or the trainer thinks they will leave because of doing the same thing over and over, it creates instability in their training and usually doesn’t lead to success. A good trainer asks what the client wants, a bad trainer just assumes that they know what the client wants.
How would you describe your relationship with your clients?
I once read or heard this saying that you’re doing a good job if you’re hosting a BBQ and you have 1/3 friends, 1/3 family, and 1/3 clients there, you can’t tell the difference between the groups. You know you’re building a good relationship when it is built on mutual respect and trust. Communication is also key as I am very question-driven trainer. I am asking about other factors, such as diet, stress, social life and choices, and other areas of their life that will affect their fitness and well being, before an exercise demo has even begun. It also helps that we genuinely like the company of one another and realize that the relationship is a two way street of communication.
That’s interesting in regards to that previous question because as I’m going through my Yoga Therapy training, we have learned about not treating the symptom but seeing the person as a whole using the pancamaya model. When adjusting their physical output you have to take into consideration what is going on inside their head.
So, what is your next upcoming exciting event?
I’m running another Goal Setting Seminar. This is a place where we will focus on exactly what they want to do and getting them on to the path of success. The last one I hosted earlier in 2015 was a huge success with over 20 attendees. This will be a smaller version because I also learned that so many people had their “lightbulb” moments and I want to make sure everyone has ample time to share their moments with the rest of the group. I work with them one-on-one to set up their plan of action through my process. They will walk away and be able to implement their plan that very moment they leave my seminar. It’s going to be March 28, 2015.
Geoffrey Blake is a personal trainer at Arenal Fitness, located in Pikesville, MD and runs Strongman For The Everyman. Contact him at GeoffFit@gmail.com