The 2018 Fitness Summit Recap: Takeaways to Level Up Your Health and Fitness

A Recap from the Presentations given at the 2018 Fitness Summit

I was invited to attend the 2018 Kansas City Fitness Summit by former Men's Health editor Lou Schuler. The purpose of my visit was to interview all the presenters for a piece that Lou and I collaborated on.

The finished article is more for trainers but, it's a great read.

It can be found here: How to Build an Online Following From Scratch

While at the conference, there were some great presentations. Fortunately I got the chance to take a few notes.

Hopefully my suspect handwriting got most of this right. Here are some highlights from that day!

Kelly Coffey: Tips for Working with Clients in Recovery

Health and fitness were not a part of Kelly’s story for half of her life. At one point, Kelly was 150 pounds heavier than she is today. After over a decade, she has maintained that weight loss.

She normally speaks about her weight loss but, she wanted to speak about her alcohol recovery in this one.

By the time she was 7, Kelly knew alcohol was going to be a part of her story. She took her first drink at a wedding at 12. The bartender didn’t ask her age and she got drunk on screwdrivers.

Her dad wanted to drive home drunk and she finally stood up to him. Alcohol gave her the ability of a woman with enough self respect to not put herself in harm's way.

Since 1992-alcoholism has been on a steady incline-its sharply climbed since 2001-2.

She quit drinking alcohol at 25 when she lost weight. She went from 300 to 140 lbs and could not process alcohol the same.

March 21st, 2005, she took her last drink.

Kelly specializes in helping women who deal with addiction. I connected with her personally over food addiction in our talks.

10 Tips to Help Us Rock this Wellness Thing:

1. Abandon the moderation or bust approach to wellness
  • Alcoholics are all or nothing people. They’re either in the light or the dark. Offer support and laughter. They go to extremes.
  • It's okay in the short term for people to go to extremes. Our Job is to help them laugh off the mistakes and help them figure out what to do next.
2. Rethink rewards-see the pleasure in process
  • Women often think that they need to earn rewards-cheat meals etc.
  • Rewards systems don’t tend to work well-especially for addicts. They only tolerate things. This thinking runs the risk of making them think that they have to survive training in order to earn a reward.
  • Help them notice how good they feel immediately after they exercise. It’s not as good as a drink but, it’s pleasure.
3.Table the long term goals-internal vs instrumental motives
  • Long term goals are difficult to sustain because they are so far away. Focus on goals you can set, meet and accomplish today. Eventually you’ll get there. Have your client pat herself on the back when she does that.
4. Remind your client what she’s capable of. Offer her a fresh perspective.
  • When you first get sober, everything is called into question. You have been very honest with yourself to reach that point.
  • Clients have done incredible amounts of work and soul searching. They realized that they would die if they didn't.
  • Feel free to point out that they are very capable and have recovered from addiction. It offers perspective.
5. If she’s open to a daily habit, support it
  • They may want to go all or nothing with their exercise, get creative to avoid injury and overuse. If it’s not going to hurt them, support it.
6. Spell out and have her sign off on your terms-every client, every time.
  • Women are really capable of being full of shit and lying to you.
  • If you’re going to have a policy of enforcing your rules 100% of the time, they shouldn’t be a rule. No show clause for example.
7. Be honest-don’t be a yes man, be real.
  • People don’t just want to hear that everything is possible-preface the relationship in reality from the start.
8. Share your experience, strength and hope but, keep it in perspective
  • You don’t want to be perfect, it doesn’t allow people to see themselves in you.
  • Anything that has felt like a struggle to you.
9. Recognize your own professional limitations-have referrals to offer
  • It feels like you’re a therapist sometimes but, you’re not.
  • Have a really updated referral list!
10. Honor that all addictions are not created equal-better is awesome
  • If you’re working with someone with an addiction-perfect is not a prerequisite.
  • They don’t have to give up cigarettes. Clients may have already come back from other addictions. Cigarettes are just the last thing they are holding onto.
  • They don’t have to give up the unhealthy foods, they will notice how eating good feels. The rest of their lives will make those things feel wrong. Support the good thing they are doing.

Kelly can be found at her website,

Mark Fisher: Tell Me What You Really Think; an Exploration of Feedback Systems

Mark Fisher is the co-owner of two New York based training studios Mark Fisher Fitness. Mark has been able to vastly improve his business through feedback.

Feedback is something that seems to elude businesses. People aren’t always willing to give feedback so, it’s important to capitalize when you can.

Feedback is just data. Don’t take it personally.

Tell me what you really think:

  • Why does feedback matter? It shows that you care about improving.
  • One book on feedback is “Principles: Life and Work” by Ray Dalio
  • People live in the dream world often. You need to focus on reality, what is actually true about your business?

Why it’s so hard to get feedback:

  • Your brain can’t comprehend all the bits of information that are coming at you at once.
  • There’s naturally a tension between your need for acceptance and self improvement. You want people to accept you as you are but, you also want to improve who you are.

You need to know your feedback sensitivity:

  • It’s just data, it’s a big deal but, it’s not. You can’t take it personally.
  • Couple important questions on dealing with data:
    • Do you ever change based on feedback?
    • Do you always change based on feedback?
  • You can’t choose both of those extremes. They own the feedback, you own the analysis of the feedback. If you start to see a trend, you should address it.
  • If its a one time complaint, it might not be a big deal.
  • Behaviours are better than stories. If you can watch how people are using a product, all the better.
  • Most feedback contains diamonds, you just have to find them in a five pound bag of shit.
  • Feedback is generally very generic and not actionable.
  • What are some of the observable behaviours that you could film?


  • Don’t try to spot what's wrong with feedback. Feedback is fundamentally flawed. There are still useful things in there. Notice the way you react to feedback.
  • People are complicated. It’s hard to separate feedback from how people are feeling.
  • You get the best feedback from people who don’t like you.
  • Context matters.

Avenues for Feedback:

  • 1 on 1’s- (maybe smiles and dials)-you can see people and ask questions.
    • The questions you ask really matter. You want people to feel safe. If it’s a bad question they won’t.
    • “What’s one thing that I could start doing that would make me a more effective trainer?”
  • Email Surveys-these can be hard to write but, you can gather good amounts of data from them.
  • Tips:

    • Don’t make name a required field but, if they do enter a name feel free to follow up.
    • Don’t make it long and onerous-they're doing you a favor-96% of clients don’t ever give feedback.
  • Leave out a suggestion box-you can also create a digital suggestion box-ways you can do a better job of things.

8 Weeks Out NPS: Net Promoter Score

  • From the beginning of a new member start. Scale of 1-10 how likely they are to refer.
    • 9 or 10/10-they talk well about you-send them an automated message asking for a review when they do.
    • 7 or 8/10-ask for one thing that you could do better
    • 6/10 or below, they are already out there bad mouthing you. Get on the phone if you can to find out what’s wrong.
  • You’re looking to get 4.7-4.9 on reviews, people don’t often trust 5.0

Phone: 1-573-443-1495

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