Before & afters have been part of the coaching business for decades — cause they work!
They’re a powerful way to cut through the noise and reach potential new clients who want to make a similar change.
I’ve always been a bit apprehensive in terms of beating the before & after drum. For one, it’s, well… unoriginal. But I also feel guilty taking the credit for someone else’s hard work. That’s true today, too.
In every success story I’ve been a part of, all I did was design the plan and offer support. Maybe make some tweaks and answer some questions. Nothing major. The clients did all the work. Many of them are 30+ or 40+ years of age or older. They’ve got busy lives and families.
So it doesn’t seem right to take credit just to build my business.
I’ve always taken pride in aspects of the coach-client relationship that are less showy — like how long someone has been with me, or what I might’ve helped someone overcome. That’s what stokes my fire. But that’s just me.
So, with that in mind, I want to talk about my long-term client, Tim, who’s been with me for a few years now.
Yes, he achieved a great transformation, but what’s really impressive is that he’s in his mid 40s with family, kids and a busy career.
But what I take personal pride in is that not ONCE did we put training or nutrition before his responsibilities outside of the gym.
Those responsibilities are real. They’re important.
If you’re ignoring your family responsibilities so that you can “get jacked,” that’s a problem. A coach who asks you to do that is a bad coach.
I helped Tim maintain his fitness during some seriously stressful times with work and family, and then, when life calmed down, he was able to surge forward and make new progress.
We worked with his responsibilities. We didn’t ignore them. We didn’t just fight against them.
This speaks to my underlying philosophy — that the key to long-term success is to weave fitness into your life. The key is NOT just adopt the “best” plan and hope (or force) the rest of your life to accommodate because otherwise you’re just “not serious.”
That’s not coaching. It’s a dictatorship. And it’s not sustainable.
Real coaching is about supporting your real-world challenges and helping you make it all work. The “best” plan depends on context.
Here’s a bit of what I mean:
- I built his training around his work schedule, purposely pulling back when he was swamped or stressed.
- We also arranged to peak in accordance to family vacations, since I don’t like to see guys diet or even train much on vacation; training on vacation should be fun and impulsive, unless you have some kind of high-level strict deadline.
- When dieting, when it was usually warmer, I’d have him do more outdoor walking. In Tim’s case, this was something he could also do with his wife as well so they could have time together.
- When work was nuts we’d train a bit less to free up time.
- Similarly, when work/life was getting intense, I’d have him do more fun “pump” training and less prescriptive heavy work. This way, training became a way to get after it and blow off a bit of steam — instead of becoming that last straw that broke the already-overworked camel’s back.
Here’s what Tim had to say:
“Working with Bryan has been a life-changing experience. Not only has he taught me how to work out more efficiently and get great results, he has shown me that by concentrating on the ‘big rocks’ (as he puts it) and focusing on the things that move the needle, that you can be a busy professional, still live a healthy lifestyle, and look great doing it.
I’ve had a lot of deadlines (vacations and events where I wanted to look my best) during the three years I’ve worked with Bryan and he has helped me plan and hit my goals every single time. He has been ‘in the game’ a long time and he has worked with some of the best in the business. His wisdom and extensive experience are apparent in his approach. I highly recommend working with him.”
I’m very proud of Tim, and I can’t wait to see what’s next for him.