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May 26, 2020

071 | Listener Q&A

Listener Q&A episode 71 with Annie Miller

It’s time for a Listener Q&A. These are some of my favorite episodes. I asked you guys to give me questions on IG on literally any topic – life, travel, fitness. I’ll be answering them rapid fire, but since I’m long winded it won’t be THAT quick.

I have no prepared answers and have not looked through them, so I have no idea how long this will take. I hope to answer as swiftly and clearly as possible, and the questions will be anonymous. Below are an abbreviated version of my answers, for the full response, tune in to the podcast.
So, without further ado, let’s dive in.

If you could be a strength and conditioning coach for any team who would it be?

I would be a coach for MMA or wrestling because I’ve always been drawn to those sports – even since high school. My husband was a training partner for Rick Story and I have never taken part in martial arts but have been a huge fan of martial arts for a very long time. Not necessarily a team but type of athlete would be men or women in mixed martial arts.

Where to start with setting time, emotional boundaries and energy management? I can schedule and time block block but keeping energy and focus is tough.

Hard to answer because I don’t know what you’ve tried specifically. If you have written a schedule and time blocked and you’re having trouble keeping energy and focusing doing those things, then I would look at a few things. How long are you giving yourself and what is the expectation during that time block?

For example, it can be really overwhelming if I say “finish BBA home plus.” That involves me creating 12 different phases of programming. Instead of writing a task that involves 12 other tasks, break it down into smaller, more digestible pieces because that makes you feel like you have to focus on smaller bits at a time. That has worked for me. I learned that I really only like to focus for 1-2 hours at a time, then I have to take a break (walk, eat, scroll IG).

I enjoy doing those things and am more productive if I do those things every 1-2 hours. And then get back to work of course – don’t go on a downward spiral of not being productive, but I do think it is a learning process with you and yourself. If you find yourself not continuing to focus, ask yourself, is the time block that you have too large? Or the task in the time block too overwhelming?

I’d love to hear more about your competitive cheer experience…how did you get started?

I was the little sister that wanted to do everything my big sister did. She played soccer, I played soccer (even though she only played 3 years, I played through high school). She did competitive cheerleading and my mom would have to work so she would drop me off at my sister’s practices – so I sat and watched. This is where I met Paige Major – who I cheered under, then cheered for and worked with. And who is now my branding photographer and strategist. Basically I did it because my sister did it. I loved the work ethic, loved the team aspect of it. Everyone on the competitive cheer squad has a purpose. It is not like soccer; you are not as replaceable.

There is a dependability in competitive cheerleading, it’s another level of camaraderie and teamwork that I found really appealing. Started middle school, did it through high school. I decided not to do it in college but then started coaching right off the bat. I wasn’t really keen on leaving my hometown, I didn’t want to go away to college. Probably could’ve cheered most places, and some coaches were disappointed….but you know me and you know I do what I want haha. Coached for 10 years before we started traveling the world.

Whats your advice if you have two groups of ideal clients?

Your two groups of ideal clients are strength and conditioning for gymnastics and general population. I would say focus on one of those first, especially if this is online. Focus on your offer and relationship with one of those groups first, streamline that as much as possible and then start working on the other one. Choose which is most important to you and go all in, then open the door to the other one once the first is established and sustainable.

What questions do you ask in weekly check ins with your clients? Do 1:1 clients get weekly workouts based on check ins or one month at a time?

You can do both of those options. My question for my 1:1 clients is how was last week? How is the stress? Overall life questions. I do TrueCoach check ins so I normally text them after I do those. Then I can text and cite specific things from their workouts. We then talk about whatever it is we’re working on with that client. I tried a Google form for a while, but I didn’t love doing it that way. Google sheets are good for seeing trends and data – suggest that for something VERY specific. (stress, diet, etc).

With my 1:1 clients – we just focus on lifting weights. I realize stress and sleep and nutrition are all important in that – main focus is performance in gym and they know that when I text them on a weekly basis. Since we’ve been together for a year, or two, or more, when I text them they know they should be telling me whatever they need to tell me. They know themselves on a pretty deep level; they know the context if they had a shitty week and they are very aware of if its poor nutrition, not enough sleep, if they had a breakup with a BF of three years.

My check ins with my 1:1 clients are very open via text but you really get to choose what it is that your ideal clients needs for check-ins and what the promise fo your program is. If you’re promise is on a deeper level, like lose a certain amount of weight, or discover things about themselves – then maybe a deeper check in is needed and that is up for you to decide. As far as the workouts go – I program on a monthly basis with 4 -5 week long training blocks. I will talk to them if I see something in TrueCoach, or we discover we need a different exercise and we will discuss and change. But as far as programming goes – I program on monthly basis. If I was programming weekly I would charge FAR more than I do now.

How difficult has it been motivating clients through online training vs in person?

My online clients do not need motivation. That is not who I attract and that is not what I sell. It hasn’t been difficult because I am not a motivator and that is not my job. Your job is to show up and do what I tell you to do. That is the type of online client that I attract. They are either upholders or questioners, but typically a mixture of both. They appreciate some accountability but they do NOT need me to babysit them or motivate them on a daily/weekly/monthly basis. Yes, of course I learn my clients – I have them take a personality test when they begin working with me so I know what type of person I am working with. (I’m referencing Gretchen Rubin’s four tendencies). Most of my clients are fine motivating themselves, so I hope that answers the question.

Skincare lineup? Your skin is always gorgeous.

Well, thank you. Also, Instagram doesn’t always show my blemishes and good light can do magic for your skin. But, thank you for this. I only use FRÉ Skin Care (obviously) hahaha. If you’re interested, use my code FDBA (it always saves you money!) But seriously, I only use FRÉ. I haven’t used anything else in 3 years but I have tried some supplementary things (Vitamin C and Retinol). My skin is so freakin’ sensitive it hates everything besides FRÉ, which is why I talk about it all the time. It is the actual only thing that has worked for my skin.

Did you always know you wanted to be a fitness coach? Or how did you get there?

No, I have always been into fitness (we grew up on two acres and were always outside). My dad did 100 pushups, sit-ups and pull-ups every morning and I joined him (for a few). Weights and pull-ups are things I have always been exposed to and used. I always like being strong; I gravitated toward sports and pushing my body. From a young age I liked the burning in my lungs and legs when I would work really hard. I knew I would be in fitness in someway.

I took a semester off college actually and my mom literally almost had a heart attack. My logic was that I wasn’t going to rack up debt when I didn’t know exactly what I wanted to do. Spent a semester researching colleges and degrees and taking time to decide. It came down to fitness or cosmetology, and I chose to start my career at the community college and began working toward my fitness training associate degree. Through Clark College I realized I wanted to be a strength and conditioning coach.

I interviewed a local strength coach who told me I needed my CSCS (Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist) to become a college strength and conditioning coach, which meant I needed to go to a four year college. So I transferred to Concordia University after 2 years – took my pre-req classes at Clark to get into the program at Concordia. I did college strength for two years then decided I wanted to do my own thing. Always loved fitness and the human body.

How to start if you’re an absolute beginner?

I’m not shaming this person, not a dumb question but a poorly worded question because it is not specific enough. I cannot answer this question.

What is the best advice for batching pictures for Instagram?

For making my grid ahead of time I do not use Plann or Planoly (these are two apps where you can batch pictures and context ahead of time). As far as batching actual photos and taking them – have multiple outfits planned out ahead of time and maybe a list of the type of photos you need. You can either do a self timer (w/natural light and simple background) or you can work with a photographer, or a friend. Natural light is best, it requires the least amount of editing. If you’re working with a self timer – you can always take a video of you in different poses then take screenshots from that! Then you can edit and create content for a month or two.

Best and worst things a woman in the fitness industry can do?

The best? Become an advocate for yourself. Educate yourself and learn and be a scientist of your own body. Try things, keep track of things, be kind to your body, learn your body. That takes time, effort and awareness. The worst thing you can do? Is not do those things. In addition to being authentic and not speaking your truth. From a client standpoint – not having efficacy for yourself.

How to rebuild after an injury? A concussion has flipped my life and career upside down.

Find practitioners that are in alignment with your philosophy and have your best interest in mind. That is my suggestion, no matter the type of injury. Find people you trust and who can help get you back to where you want to be. And you must be willing to put in the work.

Do you keep a key list of movement progressions and regressions?

I don’t have a list but am working on creating something right now that is taking a lot of time. It is for the future, it is essentially an exercise library/index of sorts.

How to periodize training for clients in combo with them paying each month?

For my BBA and 1:1, they pay on the same day every month. BBA is assigned their program within 48 hours of signing up. I have it all set up for programs to align with the monthly payment plan. For 1:1 the payments aren’t always in conjunction with the program.

For farmer’s carries how do you measure their volume? Is one yard similar to one rep?

I always program it by yards and don’t think of it as reps. BUT if I were to do it, 10 yards would equate to one rep. You can either progress them with weight or yardage.

My to-travel list is a mile long, how do you decide where to go next?

Nate and I decide usually ahead of time and we batch locations. for example, if we’re going to go to SE Asia, we’re going to go for 5 months and hit all the locations we want to hit. We try to get “sections” crossed off because it is more cost-effective. It’s so much more fun in my opinion if you can go slow and enjoy the place for a week or a month. Then it’s less stressful and you can enjoy the location. We look at our list and see what we can cross off and visit together. It also depends a lot on seasons for us!

What is your system for setting up the best measurable progressive program for a client?

You have to look at the goal of the client and the program. Is this an olympic lifting program? A bodybuilding program? Or a gym rat program? Progressive overload is dependent on the type of program you’re creating. But it should be measurable because you’re writing a program and tracking results. You have to decide what you’re tracking, then measure that. My system isn’t a specific system, it is simply how you program. Your program should include progressive overload and record if that is happening or not.

How do you balance life with IG and boundaries you set in your online presence for mental health?

I am an introvert and spend a lot of time with myself, so this isn’t very hard for me. I have found that it is a bit harder for extroverts. Introverts can sort of sense when its time to take a step back and have some silence. That is how I do it – I pay attention to how I feel. With launches I need some space afterward to breathe and be.

Whats your take on working at multiple gyms as a coach?

I think its great if its allowed. As long as its not a breach of your contract it can be beneficial to work with other coaches, in other environments and learn from different experiences. If you’re young in your career get experience working with and under other coaches.

How nervous were you to start your podcast?

SO NERVOUS YOU GUYS. I can’t even put into words how nervous I was – I almost didn’t start it cause I couldn’t figure out how. Had to watch a free 3 day “how to start a podcast” tutorial. I am not technologically savvy nor do I enjoy it. Even though I run a business. If I were to do it again I would hire someone. But I knew I had things to say and that people wanted to listen.

Trying to understand hormone levels and energy through the month and coordinate workouts?

I have a whole coaching call on Annie’s Secret Lab of Brain Gains I have an entire call on training around your cycle. I dive into the phases and everything. You generally will be able to train heavier and harder during your follicular phase. And you will generally fatigue more easily during the second phase on your cycle This can differ for everyone. It is important to track your cycle, and if you’re on contraceptives this is also different. I recommend reading the Period Repair Manual. It is linked on my Amazon page. Also feel free to shoot me a DM.

What additional training did you do besides your personal training cert?

I have my degree in exercise and sport science. I have my CSCS. Outside of that I go to conferences through the NSCA (which I don’t always speak highly of but they’re getting better). I took Jacob Harden’s pre-hab 101. Highly recommend that – very hands out. I also suggest anything Active Life Rx does! I don’t have a lot of books other than MMA Ultimate Conditioning from Joel Jamison for Energy Systems Development and Heart Rate Training. It is great for you to try all different types of training and exercises. A lot of my knowledge has come through experience. Get out there and gain experience.

How to choose programming programs such as TrueCoach and others?

I tried almost every program three years ago and then one of my mentors introduced me to TrueCoach. And here we are. I think it is the best for the coach and trainee experience.

What are your favorite makeup products?

Currently I love Tarte cosmetics. Great transition into clean beauty. I was getting away from drugstore makeup but wasn’t quite ready to make the jump to BeautyCounter. I’ve heard nothing but good things about BeautyCounter. I like Tarte, they have a good mix and good transitions. quality makeup for a decent price. The products feel high quality and I like that they have a vegan product line. I actually have a blog post about my 5 favorite tarte products here!

Anyway, that Listener Q&A was fun! Feel free to DM me if you have more specific questions about anything mentioned here.

Review of the week comes from j_schlut and says,

“This podcast is amazing if you’re a trainer or a trainee, just like Annie says. There’s something (a lot) for everything to learn. I love that the episodes are straight and to-the-point and full of helpful information. The podcast is going to change my business, I can already feel it.”

Remember you need to check the show notes (here) to see if you were review-er of the week, and then keep an eye out to see if you were listener of the month as well. That will be in the show notes and Annie’s Weekly Wrap. You can subscribe to Annie’s Weekly Wrap here!

Listener Q&A episode 71 with Annie Miller

If you find value here, on The FitsPRO Podcast, then pretty please head over to iTunes, subscribe, rate and review the show. It means the world to me when you spread my message to more humans.

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I'm an adventurous introvert from Vancouver, Washington who lives on sleep + "me time." I'm a lover of lifting weights, dinosaurs, real talk and traveling with my husband. I am here to help you move better, lift more, bust the myths of the fitness industry, and inspire you to love the process.

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