Josh Peacock: Welcome to the Gym Heroes Podcast. Paul, can you introduce yourself to our audience and give them a little bit about your background?
Paul Meldrum: Yeah, absolutely. No problem. So, my name’s Paul Meldrum. I’ve been a personal trainer for close to 20 years now. I started very long time ago before online training was a thing. I did it when paper programming was an option. And when I started my career, I started off in a commercial gym facility. Within two years I had won the national personal trainer year. Now I’m in third year as well. So, two years in a row, which is cool. From there I then moved into private practice, so as a muscle skeletal therapist which I was studying at the time. And then from having a private practice in Leslie’s Legal stuff I realized that my clients still needed to train right. So, I basically doubled the size of the practice again moved it into a gym slash like a one-on-one PT slash Luslie Legal Practice then moved again got a business partner doubled it. And then we opened up the first semi-private training facility in Australia which we found out how it works from Alan Cosgrove from his book 50 Fitness Business Secrets I think long time ago. So, we’re the first guys in our country to be doing that which is really cool, and then from there we basically built our gym up to personal training, 400 something members doing about 12 to 1500 sessions a week all PT, which is really fun.
Then from the Covid thing shut everything down, as it does for pretty much everyone all over the world and now, I’m an online coach and educator of personal trainers. I still do work with clients and I’ve worked with clients ranging from like Miss Universe and Miss Australia, Miss Universe Miss World Competitors winners from the Australian world about 12 or so Olympians, bunch of body builders, physique competitors, professional athletes in most sports and musical theater of all things. So, a number of different experiences. So been doing this for a long time. So, what I do better than most things I do. So, my skill set is be able to take the lessons I wanted from different things and then apply them into a framework which online coaches can use with general population clients.
Josh Peacock: Excellent. So, well those things that you talked about before that I really wanted to get into is client transformation. So, before we dig into that what is client transformation so that my listeners understand what that that process is?
Paul Meldrum: Cool. So, my definition of client transformation’s a little different from most peoples. Not that it’s right or wrong or better or worth. It’s just different, okay. So, a lot of times I’ll say things as well and it’s not that I’m backing out anything else. It’s just that this is a little different approach. So, client transformation for me is not just about the physical. It’s not like how much fat you can lose in 28 days and get shredded or drop body weight. The transformation needs to be a complete package. It needs to involve training. It needs to involve nutrition. It needs to involve mindset. And basically, I’ve created a principle-based philosophy with three different components to each of them which allows trainers to A, detail that transformation for their clients. B, execute it really effectively. And C, give the clients a framework to take the changes from their transformation and make it a permanent fixture. So, there’s in my opinion, it’s all great losing weight in 12 weeks. Fantastic. I have no qualms or issues of someone losing 12 pounds, losing a ton of body fat in 12 weeks.
What I don’t want to see is in 12 weeks’ time they’re back to where they were. And I remember this really became solidified for me when I spoke to, I didn’t speak to sorry. I knew this person this coach ran a facility, and he was boasting on these social media pages about how one of these clients got fat again which is terrible language by the way. Shouldn’t say that. Got fat again after leaving him. So, I was like cool. You’re boasting about how badly you failed your client. Like that’s a terrible way to it’s not like, oh, you got your clients lose weight. Anyone’s clients can lose weight. Weight watchers works. There’re tons of tools that work. It’s more about did that client actually undergo a transformation and no, they didn’t? So, in essence my transformation is it’s not what happens at the end of day week 12, it’s what happens one year’s time. Are they actually a different person?
Josh Peacock: Excellent. So, now that we understand what that is or what your definition of it. Is this something that anyone can become an expert at executing?
Paul Meldrum: Yes, with the principles that I put down into, one of my things is I get a couple of like from a bunch of people from putting down methods a lot of the time. And I don’t ever really actually put down the method. I put down the context in which the method is applied. So, I use principles because principles are timeless and forever. Everyone knows that kind of cliche quote. But anyone when they understand these principles what they can do is they can take the pre-existing methods they know. Apply it into a principle-based framework and get better outcomes with their clients and know what things to do at the right time. So, it’s not something is like it’s not rocket science. It’s not understanding pharmacokinetics and how ionic exchange of amino acids or anything like that. It’s very simple ways to train your client to help them with nutrition and to communicate with them that help them get the last thing change.
Josh Peacock: Excellent. So, what would be the road map rather to client transformation expertise? What are they what are somebody looking at understanding for that?
Paul Meldrum: Cool. Easy. So, this is this is a question has a long answer, but we’ll break it down into sections so it’s easy to understand breakdown. And if anyone’s listening to it, just remember there’s three things and there’s three components each of the three things. So, there’s nine separate things we need to break down and once you got that, they all fit together as well so it becomes quite easy. As soon as you ingrain them, it’s kind of like it’ll make sense. The first thing is obviously the lifting of the weights, the training, right? So, we need to make sure training happens for a client transformation.
So training is based on three principles. I’ll say them all and then we’ll cover them all in a little bit of detail. The first one is really basic tool. It’s use the right tool for the job. The second principle is move well to move often and the third principles that individualize. So, let’s break those down. Using the right tool for the job is really like in essence like probably the most important principle that goes through nutrition and mindset too like what’s the right tool for the job. So, we use it for mindset a lot of trainers love the David Goggin’s Jocko like more high intensity motivation type stuff, right. Love it. Love pushing hard, because they personally they resonate with it and they work like that. That stuff’s all good, but for a client who’s just coming to the gym for their first workout getting them run to their toenails fall off is a terrible mindset approach okay, pushing through pain. They need to have more of a passionate approach.
So, we can really use the right tool for the job with everything we learn and apply it. So basically, from programming, we think of, alright cool. What’s the right tool for the job for each goal? So, we go through the most common goals fat loss anything that creates a metabolic demand that a client constituent is the right tool for the job. Because for pure fat loss clients we don’t need to get down to nitty gritty minutia of building muscle getting strong as possible, so we don’t need percentage-based loading. We don’t need to master RPE and reps and reserve and we don’t need to worry about training to lengthen, shortened and mid position of a muscle. They need to get moving and enjoy it. Okay? The right tool for the job is a calorie deficit that they can adhere to.
So really the right tool for the job for most fat loss clients at a beginner level is adherence. There’s one more, I should have mentioned this earlier. But there’s one more state of principles that I apply to this that allows you to bend zero in all these principles in a bit more detail. It’s my client level system. Its clients can be a level one, two, or three. A level one client is a beginner. They’ve never trained before. Have you watched Mean Girls? The movie?
Josh Peacock: Yes.
Paul Meldrum: Yep. Cool. So, remember when Rachel McAdam’s character, I don’t know which character is but they were like, is butter a carb? They don’t know what butter’s a fat obviously.
Josh Peacock: Right.
Paul Meldrum: Nutrition are eating those bars. That’s a level 1 client. They don’t know. They’re not educated in that realm yet. Which is okay because generally level one clients have other jobs where they make money so they can pay us. So, they’re doing awesome enough areas. They just haven’t learnt that yet.
Josh Peacock: Yeah
Paul Meldrum: So, Level 1 client, they’re kind of like beginners. Basic. Level 2 clients are people who go to the gym on a regular basis. It’s a habit. It’s ingrained in them. They could probably follow macros. They could benefit from a specific training approach. And a level 3 client is generally where fitness is one of their top three priorities in life. Like they might want to do a photoshoot, get on stage, compete in sport or powerlift for example. They it’s really important to them. So, they can-do higher-level training. So, whenever I look at a method, a tool or whatever it is I go is it for my level ones, twos or threes.
So then when you right tool for the job. For fat loss for example, a level 1 fat loss is more like, do they enjoy it? Can they do it frequently? For a level 3 point they might be doing like high intensity interval training or a lactic like so many tools you can provide. The list becomes limitless. You just get have a framework to now choose what’s ideal. So, for right tool for the job back to that we go to hypertrophy is basically what tools allow you to have the most muscle damage with the minimal joint stress based in the framework of a program. So, I’m training a body builder now. He’s prepping me for a show. I’m prepping him for a show, sorry not that way around. And he’s quizzing me because he’s like I’ve got no compounds in my program. And he’s like, it’s weird. I’ve never done no compounds before. But I feel great. I was like, interesting. I’m not against compounds. Just the right tool for the job. Because he’s training 6 days a week and he’s in a pretty good deficit, right?
If I get him heavy deadlifts, heavy squats, heavy benches, heavy overhead presses. He would struggle to recover. He would be gassed. He’d be sore. Because, so I’m giving him a lot of machine-based work and isolation-based work. He’s like, yeah, my muscles are gas but I’ve got no joint pain and I feel good even though I’m in a deficit which is rare of him. So that’s the right tool for the job. If I had a fat loss client three days a week cool. Compounds for hyper, sorry a hypertrophy client. Pardon me. Compounds. I’d cool. I need to target as much muscles I can in a short period of time frame. I will deadlift. So, that principle of hypertrophy you look at what’s optimal and then what fits in logistics and then you just married it too. You find your middle ground.
Next goal that most people have is strength. Cool easiest way to program your strength and use the right tool for the job is to use the training methods that will help the client demonstrate the strength how they like. So, they want to have a stronger bench and deadlift, guess what you do? You do bench and dead. If they want to do a use calisthenics. It’s basically how the client wants their strength to be demonstrated to the world is how you train for that. And then the last goal for right tool for the job. This one takes a little longer. Actually, gave a presentation at an interstate seminar last weekend on it and this part of the topic went for 90 minutes. But we won’t do that today I promise. Was the next of people have is feel better. Which is a combination they don’t want to get gas going up and down the stairs and chasing their kids and they don’t want to be in pain.
Like as simple as that like, we could say it’s mobility. No one, very few clients go into the gym saying, you know what? I crave mobility and a lower resting heart rate they want to feel better. So, for mobility it’s basically mobilize and stabilize whatever’s needs mobility or stability to help them move or so they got painful knees whatever they need to do to get out of that painful knee situation. And then if they’re out of breath and out of gas, we basically give the cardio prescription based on metrics. So, if someone has a resting heart rate say 90. We’re probably not going to give them high intensity interval training, because going upstairs is high intensity intervals for them. We might do low intensity steady state work or just even steps as a prescription to help that client get their goal. If someone wants to feel better while playing basketball, for example their weekend warrior, they go low resting heart rate. We might give them some interval training to help them deal with the stresses of that sport and demands. So right tool for the job for those four goals.
Next, so for that basically what that does, it doesn’t rule out anything really. Like any trainer can use what they already have and look at, alright cool these are the tools I have, like even if you’re in a park with kettlebells and bet TRX. For example, we know that’s probably not the best thing for hypertrophy, you can’t load it as much but you can change the programming metrics to get muscle gain if a client wants that. So, it’s more about just working out what the goal needs and what’s the best tool within the framework and logistics of what we have.
So, the second principle, sorry that one goes on a bit is move well to move often. So, use some form of movement screening to work out what your client can do in the gym without problems. What they need to do to get better and what they can’t do yet. It’s really simple. I teach all my students a framework which I develop which is kind of the touch inspired by the functional movement screen, but it helps clients the trainer. It’s basically an algorithm that helps the trainer identify exactly what a client needs to do and then how the trainer immediately after in the gym to consolidate the new mobility stability improvements. So, it’s a time effective way of doing it. That’s basically an AI that you don’t have to think about. You just tick the boxes and it kind of follow your own adventure and it’s like, oh you need to do glute work.
So that’s really cool. But again, that’s one method. That’s a method not a principle. Moving well is a principle. So, Pilate’s instructors can do it. Yoga can do it. It applies across the board really. And the third principle of training is individualize. So, individuality is something that I laugh a little bit about. Every trainer preaches that they individualize their clients’ programs yet they push everyone to be able to do barbell back squats, barbell deadlifts and bench presses. So, it’s not like a thing that is so, needs to be so nuanced and so specific unless you’re like getting like a high-level competitor in a sport where they may need something very very specific. Like there’s a thing in bodybuilding training now to focus on training for different portions of the lats. Like the iliac portion of the lats versus the lumbar versus the thoracic. It’s not relevant for our clients, right? It’s not the right tool for the job.
For individuality, we need three things for most clients. We need to individualize a warm up based on either their movement restrictions or the demands of the workout. So, for a hypertori workout you don’t go for a jog. You might do some warm up sets and that’s might be it. For a strength workout you might do some great force development stuff. like some jumps and stuff like that to get their nervous system happening. You just pick something that’s specific. Or you do movements that will help them restore their movement capacity that we found that you found from their previous movement screen. To get them moving well and then after that it’s just warm up specific to the workout.
You’ll individualized exercise selection, but individual to the individual and the goal. So, what I mean by that? If someone doesn’t have, you’re doing a hip dominant day, they don’t have the ability to do a full deadlift, cool you don’t do a full deadlift. You do a Romanian; you do a trap bar you do a kettlebell. It’s what can the individual do. If someone can’t squat, who cares. They want to get bigger legs put them weight press. Like it’s not going to something to kill them. Some people may have bony abnormalities that stop them from doing that, so we’ll put them on a leg press and they can still train their quads all day long. It’s all good. So, individual exercise selection based on the individual and then the outcome as well.
So, if you’re going to do bodybuilding for example maybe instead of a barbell curl, because they’re straining the elbows if they’ve got sore elbows, you might do kettle work. So, you got freedom of movement. And then finally individualized volume. But that’s been talked about a lot by guys called Renaissance periodization. For most general pop clients, you don’t really need to worry about the volume too much. Doing complicated formulas to get there. It’s just look at how well they’re recovering. And if they’re doing okay, cool. Keep it the same. If they’re progressing, if they’re sowing this plateau, you might do a little more. If they’re feeling good, if they’re plateauing and they kill a bit crap, you do a little less. But individualization of volume is really that simple.
So, that’s the training principles. It’s right talk of the job, move well to move often and then individualize. So, for most trainers, we get that, we can do that, that’s our bread and butter, okay? Once you understand those principles, it’s like cool. It makes a lot of sense. From here, then we need to go into the stuff that leads to the lasting transformation and that is nutrition and then mindset. So, nutrition the first principle I have is it sounds those philosophical is no dogma. So, what I mean by that is nutrition is not and should not be a belief system. Okay, so you know what’s the joke? Yeah. What problem does a vegan paleo cross fitter have? Telling you what they are first. Okay? Are they vegan? Are they paleo? Are they a cross fitter? Because they literally identify I’m a vegan. Like coming up to someone saying I’m a Christian but I’m a vegan. Well, your veganism is not your belief system. It’s just how you eat. Which is okay. There’re no problems with that.
o, with nutrition no dogma. It basically means this, from a trainer’s perspective. We respect what a client wants to do, first. We don’t put our own pre-existing beliefs and concepts about nutrition and shove them down our client’s throat, because adhere it goes to hell. So, I work with a ton of vegans for example. I work with paleo. I work with keto eaters. I work with crazy high carb dieters. Like I go to top, he’s known for top 30 in the world Iron Man Traflon. He’s eating more carbs than you can imagine. It basically we don’t have a dogma. But with that being said, we also want to protect our clients from their own dogmas. Their own beliefs about nutrition. So, we have a client who’s actively harming themselves. They’re not hurting themselves like physically but the nutritional system is actually hurting them. We need to help them. Kind of escape from that framework.
So, that’s a pretty, like it’s a simple system, but what it does, it essential simple principle, pardon me. But what it does it forces you to evaluate how you coach your nutrition. Are you getting everyone on the account macros, for example? Are you getting everyone to use the precision nutrition hand portion sizes? Which they’re all great tools, but there’s still a bit of a belief system to that. So, we work on client first.
The next principle is client centric or client centered. So, it kind of follows a little bit from the first principle no dogma. But basically, what I mean by client centered is the client is the driving force behind the nutritional changes. The level system helps here really well. So, a level 1 client, they say butter is a carb blah blah blah. They don’t really know how to eat from like a fitness and health perspective. They might have an altered relationship with food. They might have a lot of stuff going on. They might be busy, time poor, whatever it may be. That’s okay. We need to come up with changes or we need to facilitate them coming up with changes that are slightly better. So, these clients may come to us and I’ll use a common example. Beer. They may be drinking a lot of beer. So, we may look at their food journal. Get them to do that. That’s the best tool for the job in that one. And, all right cool. You’re drinking 15 beers a night. It’s not uncommon. Okay. In Australia it’s certainly not uncommon to have someone drinking 15 beers a night. Yeah. I’m proud of this country.
So, with that someone’s drinking 15 beers a night, right? They come to their trainer. They get the food jar. They want to get in shape. They’re excited. They want to impress us. Okay, because they’ve looked up to us. We’re like the pinnacle of health and fitness in their eye’s blah blah blah. Cool Paul. I’m going to cut out alcohol totally. I’m going to cut out cold turkey. 15 beers a week. A night gone, which is you know what? 30, 60, 90, about 105 beers a week. From 105 and to zero. That’s a stupid idea, because what happens there if a client and this will tie into our second mindset principle, okay. It all comes back around in a circle here second or third. They’ll probably fail, realistically right. Like the client has given us the goal and the outcome, but they’re probably going to fail. Our job as a trainer is to help them negotiate the middle ground. Well, that sounds really good that you want to do that, Steve. We call the guy Steve. Do you think that totally realistic that you can go from 105 to zero? What are you going to do if you slip up? And most people will have a moment where they slip up, they’ll just go screw it. They’ll throw caution to the wind and they’ll binge again, right?
So, the client guides the process and picks what they think they can do. Our job is to make sure it hits the middle if they’re trying to impress us. If it’s the other way round and the client makes a small change that we don’t think is significant enough. We need to also validate them and honor that and respect what they say. So had a client who was drinking a lot I’ve got some sparkling water here. You can see how much is in that. It’s about a glass or so. She was drinking one glass of water a day. No coffee, no shake, one tea, but one glass of water a day. She was wondering why she was like brain foggy and couldn’t focus and concentrate and remember and was sore all the time. And I spoke to her, I did a one-on-one sit down consult and I’m like, just talking to her about this afternoon. Cool. So, you’re drinking one glass of water a day. What do you think you could do Bella? And she’s, like I could probably go for two to three. And maybe I can get a bottle and fill it up and try and finish it for a day. And the bottle she had was a 600 million bottle of water. Isn’t an improvement? But is it optimal? Hell no. But what happened? She did that the next day. And she found it pretty easy.
So, guess what she did two days later. She was drinking two liters of water. I didn’t actually do any coaching. I just facilitated her doing a little bit better. I sat there gave her the space just listened. You can do this online too. It’s very easy to do. You can do it via Zoom. You can even do it via text messaging. I do a lot of coaching by chat. It’s great, because you can also measure and temper your responses and you don’t react. Sometimes people say stuff and you want to slap yourself in the face, but it’s always better to take a moment and breathe. Within two days, she was drinking 2+ liters of water a day and she’s like, wow, my energy’s great, I feel amazing I’ve lost a kilo and she’s not eating as much not because of the water intake. And she’s like, is it really normal to pee 5 times a day? And I’m like yes very much.
So, 5-to-7 is pretty much ideal for most people right and she’s like, oh my God, my life’s different and her work performance has improved. She’s now, again I didn’t do a single finger except let her talk about more water. She’s now measuring her calories like counting her calories, tracking her steps every day, submitting her cardio and doing all these other behaviors, because she was in charge of the process. So, she developed autonomy, intrinsic motivation and mastery. So cool putting the client in charge some of the times, allows them to develop all those qualities of motivation. So super powerful stuff. If you just let your clients make some decisions. The other, is they think you’re a startup. They think you’re a better coach because they’re like, oh my God, I could never do this before. Now, I’m doing this.
Josh Peacock: Yeah.
Paul Meldrum: You’re amazing. Thank you so much and really you just sat there like, going what do you think you could do? So, it’s really cool. And then the third principle is habit based and sustainable. So, with that, I like all my habit stuff to be done. All my clients base their stuff on habits first rather than worrying about tracking macros and all that kind of stuff. I want to have a good foundation in there and I use two approaches to coach it. I use habit staggering and habit stacking. So, I’ll just quickly touch on them. Staggering is easy. Week 1 drink more water. Drink. Week 2, drink eat more protein with every meal. Week 3, eat plants with every meal. That’s a really cool approach for online and in-person trainers to put into our program. It’s really cool because it becomes really simple. It’s really easy to manage and what you can do is you can literally create accountability within your training programs within a Facebook, like in your app that you use for example, through a Facebook group, through message group and you can people starting to challenge at the same time. So, it’s really easy to manage.
With the advantage of that too is if someone got changes their habits and they’ve gone from drinking no water to 8 glasses two ways a day or you guys don’t use liters or half a gallon a day, to having protein with every meal to having veggies much more frequently to then having a regular sleep weight cycle. Over a period of 12 weeks, they’re going to change their body composition dramatically without really focusing on it. Which is really cool for testimonials and then you can then go into macro tracking or something more structured, because they feel so confident.
Josh Peacock: Yeah.
Paul Meldrum: The other one habit stacking is teaching clients to get more out of west. So, this is a little bit more individualized in the coaching, but you can also use, you can gamify this. So, gamification is basically making a game out of everything. People love games. We’re all kids at heart. We’re all childish. I’m super childish. I gamify everything I do, because a lot of time I won’t do it but I don’t make it fun. We use habit stacking to basically get more done less time. So, every in the world well not every person every sane person in the world gets up and makes coffee, okay. In Australia, where coffee snobs where coffee freaks, we always complain about American coffee when we go there. We’re annoying. But when everyone gets up and has coffee right, cool, what do you do while you sit there and you wait for the kettle to boil the machine to work. Because in Australia we don’t generally have drip machines I think they’re amazing by the way, but we don’t really use them too much. But while we’re waiting for the coffee to boil or whatever we need to do, simple habit stack is have a glass of water with that. Because you’re addressing hydration concern. You’re doing something that’s health promoting.
The second habit stack to that would be take your morning supplementation like a multivitamin, Omega 3, whatever you may have recommended by your dietitian or whoever’s working with it and do back positive behavior. So, with the habit stacking it’s like how many things can you stack on top of the things that you normally do. Like if you go for a walk listen to a podcast. There’re so many things that can do in a habit stack that make multiple health facing behaviors happen effortlessly over time. So, it becomes a really habit stack you get home for work you packaging it. Like there’s so many different things that the clients can do and you gamify it and you can literally make a competition amongst your clients to see if you can come up with the coolest with some habit stacks. And then all of a sudden, they’re knocking off 10 positive health promoting things per day. I quite like the habit stacks be based around the habits I want to stagger as well.
Okay, so if someone’s a mindfulness practice. That’s a habit I like people to cultivate and it doesn’t have to be meditation. I don’t have any again no dogma. Just something where they get to have a little bit of me time. Cultivate that with going outside and getting some sun exposure. Obviously not 4 hours in the sun, burning. But a little bit of sun exposure for vitamin D. Habits that that. Have that with a glass of water. So, there’s so many ways you can do that. So, the habit based and sustainable allows the clients to do it for a long-long time. And to take advantage of the fact that most of our behaviors of driven. So that is nutrition. If you follow those three principles so no dogma client centered and habit based. It leads to a longer lasting transformation because it’s not just a relying on someone’s willpower anymore. Most challenges like 75 Hard for example. Which I would recommend for a level 3 client. Someone who’s a bit more into it. 75 Hard is a great example of willpower. Are you familiar with the challenge?
Josh Peacock: Yeah, I’ve seen several people do it yeah.
Paul Meldrum: Yeah, how many people have you seen successfully completed the first go?
Josh Peacock: None.
Paul Meldrum: Exactly. Because it’s all based on willpower. Like 75 days of following a diet. No alcohol working out two times a day. One of those outside reading a book every day. It’s not really a habit-based program. It’s a how much can I endure? Okay? So, that’s something for the Kobe Bryant type people. The Jockos, David Goggin’s, etcetera. It’s a great thing. If you can handle it but you need to be a level three client to get there because it’s not habit based. If it is habit based you’ve even become a monster. That’s how a professional athlete lives.
So, the final thing about the client transformation now is we’ve kind of addressed the training, that’s the simplest part. The nutrition is actually once you’ve got the idea around it it’s really simple because your clients guided. So, it’s then no one likes to be told what to do forever. It’s why we grow up. That’s not why we grow up. Biology dictates that. But it’s one of the advantages of growing up. We get to determine what we do each day. We don’t have to listen to our mum and dad tell us what to do. We just wait for our bosses tell us what to do and they allow our kids tell us what to do and we lose our independence that way but still that’s another Segway. With mindset that’s like the final step of the transformation that the total transformation, because it changes who the person is over the long term. And we don’t need to do anything radical here. Like we don’t need to turn someone into reading self-help books and walking across poles and stuff like that. They don’t hot holes they don’t need to do anything like that.
There’re three simple things that will allow someone transform their physical self, their physiology and their mental emotional self very profoundly. And the first one is to actually do with how we coach them. And it’s the biopsychosocial model of coaching. So, what this is it’s basically a model coaching that was invented or vulnerable pain management part of me. Sorry, I think it can originate in the 60s or 70s. I can’t recall right this moment. But it basically states that pain is interaction of bio factors so biological, biomechanical. Psychological and social factors. So, sociology, environment, power board up, etcetera, our social group, our peers.
Josh Peacock: Yeah.
Paul Meldrum: All that kind of stuff. There’s it’s very all-encompassing right? So, what we need to be aware of when we’re communicating is the impact of our words on someone’s psychology and social factors as well. So, we see this a lot with trainers that will make a mistake where, oh you got tight hamstrings. If you’re deadlifting, your own body’s fine out. Oh, you the weight like that you’re going to break. Oh, if you eat that gluten, your stomach’s going to explode and you’re going to get Crohn’s disease and die a horrible bound quick to death there’s a lot of catastrophization, okay?
Josh Peacock: Yeah.
Paul Meldrum: That trainers have when they do stuff and that catastrophization creates pain avoidance, it creates movement avoidance it creates a hyper awareness of pain. The reason why I put it first is because it’s more not being so much, we’re trying to avoid clients and getting the pain ever. Generally, if you train hard, you experience pain at some point in your life and it’s a pretty normal thing. You push the boundary, you’ll hit a risk at some point. It’s helping clients; I think most clients need to be told that pain will probably happen at some point and it’s okay. It’s just a natural thing. It’s just like aging and the skin getting wrinkles. It does happen, but we can manage it and improve it absolutely and move out of it. But it’s more making us aware of the impact of our words and how powerful they are with client. There was a number of years ago where, do you remember the strength coach Charles Poliquin?
Josh Peacock: I don’t think so.
Paul Meldrum: So Poliquin very successful strength coach, like 500, no not 500, sorry over 10 Olympic medalists that he coached. So very successful in the strength and conditioning world. He got into coaching personal trainers because it obviously it makes bank right. Makes a lot of money when you’ve got that kind of resume. And he did a lot of stuff like demonized cardio. That cardio is bad for you. And made some pretty outlandish claims that cardio would cause heart attacks. And stuff like that. Like some pretty terrible things. And that eating gluten would cause inflammation, you never lose stomach fat. Carbs are killing you if you’re over 10% body fat. Like some pretty ridiculous stuff. Great strength coach, but some of his statements were crazy. And a lot of trainers particularly in Australia. He was like huge hit, right?
So, we had trainers all over the world all over Australia the country, but all over the world too. Talk writing articles about how cardio’s going to make you fat. Stopping their cardio clients from doing cardio, and like I was one of them. Very okay to admit that. And I got clients now who are still think cardio going to cause some problems. So, I’ve heard it once from an expert and they think it’s going to cause problems and my attention’s really good. I’ve had clients for 19 years and it’s still trying to get them to undo some of the stuff that I did in the past which wasn’t great is absolute paying me out. So, your words have meaning. That’s the most basically powerful thing that the psychosocial for the client’s mindset transformation.
So, we basically take ourselves from coaches who are going oh that’s wrong, that’s wrong whatever it is you’re not doing this well to being more of an empowering type coach. Cool, you’re doing really well. Your form’s improving. You’re doing better than your diet. It’s more like giving people the confidence to succeed rather than making them fearful of things that they should avoid. One example would be the deadlift example I talked. Tight hamstrings are going to affect your starting position, your herniated disc. That’s one way to say it. The other way to say it is, oh, I’ve noticed your hamstrings are a bit stiff. If we get them mobilized a little bit get a little bit more length in that tissue, you’re going to be able to get in that starting position so much better. Find it easier and we’re going to progress so much faster. How’s that sound? It’s positive. It’s encouraging and supportive and actually someone being more motivated to do something right to get their performance out the gym. Then they are to do an exercise to avoid an injury that they may not even get. Okay? There’s no to herniate your disc. All that does is just say, oh, I’m just not going to do deadlifts. That sounds much easier. And deadlifts have got a lot of benefit for the client.
So that’s the first one. First mindset principle. The second one is, these two can go back and forth, but the second one we’ll say is the client’s relationship with food, okay? Relationship with food I put it in mindset rather than nutrition, because it’s more about stress management emotional management and dealing with emotional needs rather than the actual food itself. So, this is where clients put emotional and moral, sorry not emotional, moral values in food. Either it’s good or bad and they beat themselves up for eating bad foods, if they use food to deal with stress for example or alcohol or for alcohol in the year two. They use food as an emotional crutch. I’m upset. I’m going to need a liter of ice cream. All that kind of stuff that we see.
And with that you can survive a 12-week challenge based on willpower. You can’t do 75 Hard based on willpower most of the time. But you can get through a transformation challenge type thing based on willpower. But if your relationship with food is not addressed as soon as the proverbial poop hits the fan, they’re going to lose their progress because, sorry Siri, they’re going to lose their progress because their relationship with food sites. They’re using food to deal with stress. So basically, it’s we’re not therapists we’re not counselors we might not psychologists we may be trained in it, but generally most personal trainers aren’t and even though we feel like it half the time. But it’s facilitating our clients to recognize that yeah, they use food as a stress management tool, as an emotional tool, as in some way to deal with problems and give them alternative options.
We’re not trying to solve the deeper issues that are underlining that, because a lot of that comes from childhood that we can’t really, we can’t go back and do that but it’s not we don’t have time. We got to teach a slot, right? But making clients aware of that is really, really cool. And again, use a client centered approach to let the client pick new stress management strategy. So, for our trainers who are listening and going to watch this. How do we do this in real life? We use a food journal. It helps with the client-centered approach. It helps with identifying your relationship with food. So, if you’re looking at someone’s food journal for a week for example, Monday’s good, Tuesday’s good, Wednesday’s good, Thursday. Whoa what happened to you? You ate 17,000 calories in 20 minutes. What happened? You can literally look at the food journal and go what happened at this time? You can do it with MyFitnessPal and tracking apps too but generally writing it down is a little bit easier because most clients at this point are going to be level 1. You go what happened here? Oh, I had a really crappy day at work. I was really stressed. My boss yelled at me and then I got home and I had a fight with my spouse and life sucked and then I dropped the glass and that was all over so I ate all the ice cream. Cool. I used food deal with stress. Yes, okay. Do you see how that could be problematic? And that’ll generally will and then what I’ll do is ask them is this something that you do as a is this a regular occurrence?
What I also do is I say that I keep in mind that by a psychosocial model I say this is something that everyone’s done it which you’re going to talk about in self-compassion. I’ve done it. I’ve been stressed out being ice cream to deal with stress or drunk. It’s to say it’s everyone. So, it’s not a bad thing. Is this a pattern that you recognize? Yes. Cool. Is this something you would like to change? Most people will say yes. Okay. The only things that you’ll get to the exceptions of the rule, will be more addict type substances like cigarettes for example are a really big one particularly well not as much here anymore but they used to be. Because cigarettes provide a little lot of value for clients. Like it’s a stress management to if someone smokes, it’s a way to get like literally 10 more breaks a day at work in Australia. So, I just have a smoke break, it’s like I can’t. If I work at a job and someone else is having smoke breaks, I would take them too but I just wouldn’t smoke. I just understand that. It a great way to skip work. Call it a social media break, but It’s having the clients basically recognize that their relationship with food and they’re using it as a crutch. Mindfulness is the first step to them solving the problem and then simply applying more strategies. That they could actually then use.
And then the final principle and this one is the one that I talk a lot about this to a lot of coaches and I talk about this to MMA coaches and jiujitsu guys and these hardcore dudes with neck tattoos and stuff like that. They look at me like I’ve literally just swallowed two tabs of Mesellin. Its self-compassion and self-compassion sound like, it’s this like give yourself a hug everything’s okay type topic, but really, it’s not that at all. It’s a framework from which you can basically get up off the ground if you’ve beaten yourself up. So basically, it’s got three components mindfulness so be aware of what you’re doing to yourself pretty simple, very hard in practice. But being aware like say you’re having a bad relationship with food, you go, I’m so stressed out up. I’m eating my feelings again. Okay, so mindfulness is the first step to stopping that. Put that down.
Next one is self-talk. Which is how you speaking in here. And most people speak to everyone else far nicer than they speak to themselves. You suck. I can’t believe you did that again. Oh, you failed. I can’t believe that. You’re so useless. Blah blah blah. People are really hard on themselves. Everyone’s internal mind Logue is an asshole basically. And what we want to do is get to people to talk to themselves like they would their best friend. So, their best friend basically said, oh, man I blew my diet last night. Ate a liter of ice cream because I was stressed. We would generally say that’s cool. Best friend or their partner, but got a healthy relationship. We’ll say to them that’s cool. It’s okay. You just get back on the thing next day. It applies to training. Someone misses a workout.
Oh, I failed this week. It’s all a waste of time. I’m just going to blow out. Not go to gym at all. Everyone’s had a client who’s done that. Its okay. You’re right. Let’s move on. It’s just one workout. We can skip it. It’s basically it’s being nice to yourself, but the flip side of that is if your best friend or your spouse or whatever keeps on doing that behavior repeatedly you slap him in the face. Metaphorically. Okay. So alright, cool. Yes, we get it. You had you had a bad day. You’ve eaten the liter of ice cream every day. It’s time to hold yourself a little bit more accountable. So, compassion is, but we always think compassion is like unyielding like ability to just go it’s all okay. If you’ve got an animal with a broken leg, what do you do? Out of compassion, you put it down. I know it sounds really harsh, but like if a dog or a horse or whatever’s sick and they can’t be healed and it’s you put them down because it’s in their best interest.
So, compassion is can sometimes be cruel to be kind. Having the best interest at heart. So, I know that makes me sound like a horrendous person talking about putting animals down on the podcast, but it like literally it is literally the same principle there. You sometimes have to be cruel to be kind. And the last tenant of it is being aware of common humanity. Okay, so common humanity is everyone’s gone through the same stuff somewhere. Okay? And it’s not very unique to have cheated on a diet or I didn’t like the word cheat to have gone off your diet plan. It’s not very uncommon for people to miss a workout for them to miss a to eat their feelings. All these things have happened and every single person I’ve ever asked every trainer, every coach, and I’ve done this all over the world. I’ve asked, who here’s eaten their feelings? And every single person has put eaten the drunk has put their hand up. Who’s ever beaten themselves up for missing a workout? Who’s ever done this?
I say, after I’ve said that I was like, did at the time did you think that you were a total failure and unique? They always do. Oh, I’m the only one who’s battling the motto program for example in jiujitsu classes, like martial arts classes. Someone doesn’t miss the class whatever missed the class ever. They often wonder what everyone else is thinking about them and oh my god I’m not going to get my black belt or my next belt as fast. And really the people in the class they know they’re not there and next workout they come, oh cool, you’re back. Like no one cares, no one’s ever cared because they’ve missed the class before too.
So, self-compassion is really important as a framework and there’s a tool for clients to be able to themselves back up once they knock themselves down. It’s fall down 7, get up 8. It’s that principle, but a lot of people don’t know how to do that and don’t think that they should do that, which is really scary. I had a client who was messaged me through my training app the other day about how she gained something like 4 kilos over a weekend. Which is it’s a decent weight to gain, but it was like a perfect storm. She was in the middle of her menstrual cycle. She had a whole bunch of food like really salty really food that adds weight, really low carb, heavy stuff. It was a social event. There was a ton of things on. t was a perfect storm of weight gain and she was beating herself up and horrendously and I said, alright cool.
To help her, I laid down the information there. So, having your menstrual, going for your menstrual cycle you generally gain more the weight 1-to-2 kilos. So, we can account the half of it already. eating salty food, heavy carb food, you are going to get excess water retention alcohol. All these things combined to that makes sense. Of course, it’s upsetting. No one likes seeing unless they’re a bodybuilder. No one likes seeing four kilos over a weekend. The body builder generally thinks it’s all in their biceps. But what happens there is she needed to know that. It was normal. And then I said to her the next thing we’re going to work on is a planning for this, so you can work be aware that this will happen if this does happen again and that it’s okay, and it’ll probably less than 4 kilos next time. Because hopefully it’s not during your cycle. And actually, being able to pick yourself up when we move on went after this.
So, once you see that happening, not to beat yourself up and not go to the gym for the week. And she said, yeah, doing that is one of the hardest things that, she feels like she’s just failed. So, she’s like why even bother trying? And the only time you ever really fail is when you stop trying. So, when she kind of when she understood that she’s like, oh, like you can always lose more weight. Like it’s to suck sometimes. Like you have to go in the deficit for a bit and work, but you get to pick how you get there. She’s back on track. She hasn’t missed a single workout or Friday now here. She hasn’t missed a workout this week. She’s cracked at food which she can do. She’s at that level. She wasn’t even thinking about her relationship with food. She was just having social events which is very normal. And she actually had some successes there. She ate less than usual but she beat herself up for a very long time. So, once we got that on track, she’s now down the 4 kilos at offer. She’s back to normal. She’s back in the gym. She’s a happy camper.
So self-compassion, even though it’s the last principle of the whole thing. It really underlines all the other principles and it becomes this kind of like nice event diagram of they can all fit together. And it becomes a framework that we can teach trainers that I teach trainers all over the place. Because it allows them to use their own skill sets, their own tools, their own methods that I don’t know or I’m not aware of yet and to get their clients results in a framework that is long lasting and transformative. And from there, once you’ve got the kind of foundation of like you’re talking to a client in a way that’s not negative and they’re not talking themselves in a negative way. From a mindset perspective, they’ve got a pretty healthy relationship with food. I don’t think anyone’s ever going to have like the perfect relationship with food. Like affections like a unicorn. Everyone knows about it but that no one’s ever seen one.
And then a healthy amount of self-compassion, so they can tolerate stresses when they can tolerate failure and get back up on the horse and keep going. What’s going to happen there is you can then apply all the hardcore mindset stuff. A person on self-compassion will do 75 hard probably fail then go alright cool and they’ll be back on it the next day. They’ll be able to succeed for the rest of their life, because they’ll realize that like a setback is not a failure. It’s just one step forward and then they take another five steps. One step backwards sorry and then they take another five steps forward. So, that’s 9 in a very wordy conversation. That’s the 9 principles to do a complete client transformation.
Josh Peacock: Excellent. That’s a lot to digest, but that’s really in depth and extremely valuable. I am curious to get to like the question I think that everyone wants to hear. Yes, that’s all well and good. It sounds great. That sounds great but how does this affect the bottom line for trainers and for gyms? You had mentioned before that you; I think that you had supported like trainers who were trained like over 400 clients.
Paul Meldrum: Yeah.
Josh Peacock: Is this going to help them get more testimony get more clients and keep those clients longer.
Paul Meldrum: Yes. So, with this and combined with the client level system, right? This is what I found through lots and lots of experience. The most dangerous time for a trainer to have clients if it’s in a semi-private environment or whatever it is when they’re a beginner. Because if you screw up their onboarding process, if you beat them up like working way too hard or they get beat up emotionally and they don’t feel good. Your chances of retention are very slim. That’s the first step. So, giving someone the skills to go from a level 1 to a level 2 is really important. Okay? In terms of someone who’s like new to exercise and freaking out versus someone who has it as a habit. Because we’ve all had those clients who like they train three times a week religiously they come and see you. They never disappear, right. But they know what they’re doing. Like they can put their weights on and off. You say squats. They’re like, cool. Back or front. They’re very well clued into it.
So once the client gets a bit more knowledge then their attention goes up. If a client has a decent relationship with food and they feel in control relationship. They feel in control their progress and they’re succeeding. So, they’re getting results. Their likelihood of retention increases yet again. If you’ve got more stuff to teach your clients and take them through and they actually develop as a person they get growth, they stay for a lot longer because they go, oh wow, this is actually transformative for a lot of areas. What trainers will benefit from the most in my opinion is no one cares about how much about periodization structures, okay? No one gives a damn. No one cares if you do your linear undulating conjugate or whatever it is. No one cares. I’ve never had a can you take me through your different periodization structures, thanks Paul.
They want to feel better in themselves and they want to get an outcome it’s literally an outcome driven business. So, if they’re getting outcomes and they’re recognizing behavioral changes for a long time, it’s so powerful for clients and it develops you into an expert rather than a rep counter. So, with the trainers that I work with and teach, what I do with all of them for their actual business as well is they make them an expert in a particular realm. Say, it’s females with endometriosis whatever it is and give them the tools for training, nutrition mindset for that and you take clients on that on a journey.
So, if people have been taken along for a journey and they’re developing in all areas. They’re getting really good results in nutrition. They’re transforming their relationship with it. They’re getting knowledge about it. They’re learning how to train better. They’re talking to themselves better and then they’re getting as I mentioned, physique changes that they’re after, they’re losing weight, they feel better because you’re doing the right tool for the job. It becomes a no-brainer for them to stay with you. It’s basically, it would cost them more to weave than it does to actually pay your rates.
So, like with clients that like, I have done, I make one sale a day at the moment, which is pretty cool. I do one Instagram post a day, but everyone I get is, outreach for referral base. Because people go, oh, I’ve learnt this I’ve learnt, this you need to come learn this softball. Which is really cool from my perspective, but because I have a good business it’s a win. But what happens there is all the trainers who are following the same principle, they’re finding the same thing too. They’re moving from having to do launches on social media, that where they’re actually just signing up two more people a week. Which is like for online coaches in particular is amazing, because that’s $104 a year. That’s a million-dollar business in 2 years, 2, 3 years. It’s having that framework and it’s that allows the client to grow as a human being as well as just getting stronger keeps retention high. All the online coaches I work with this, is the structure.
They sign up to the trainer from a Facebook ad which promises all the things in the world and they get a discovery call. It’s always a discovery call or something like that, and they get a templated program which is based around like the goal that they’re selling say it’s glutes or like a booty program or whatever it is. And then they get them, client gets their macros based on their body weight with a little guide on how to use MyFitnessPal. Every trainer I’ve worked with, they lose, if they’re online in particular they’re losing anywhere between 40 and 60% of these people. Because the client doesn’t have any control over the process, the client doesn’t understand what the hell that the trainer’s doing. Because they’re like is butter or carb. What the hell do I do my chicken raw weight? How do I, what raw cooked, what? I don’t understand this chicken breast it’s creates a lot overwhelm and confusion. This principle-based practice allows the client to not be confused to be in control of the process and one trainer I worked with, he was on about 40 to 50% retention. He’s now pulling in $8,000 a week all online because he implemented the system very simply.
Josh Peacock: Wow.
Paul Meldrum: He basically picked a couple of strategies for the level 1 clients he had, a couple of training programs, couple of nutrition delivery systems, one or two mindset videos. hat he literally would he would just go, hey, how’d you go with this? When they mastered all the habits, he’s like he’s got clients he just keeps them on habits sometimes, because they’re like I’m happy with this. I don’t need to do anymore. I’m loving life. He then, alright cool, level 2. Then you’re going to do macros and then you’re going to do a few other things and then level 3, then we’re going to do some more advanced stuff. But he generally keeps people at level 2. He’s running now 150 or so online clients with retention rate and maybe losing one every 6 weeks.
Josh Peacock: Wow.
Paul Meldrum: Which is a phenomenal online business. And in all honesty, I love the guy. He’s a good friend that he’s not the most caring coach in the world either. He’s like, I hate checking calls I hate that shit. That’s literally what he says and but what he does is because he’s got the framework which he can work in. He just applies the framework really quickly the client answers all the questions for him which he loves. And now he’s training a virtual assistant to do the same process. So, you get that the only downside to my process is it needs to be built first. It needs to be understood then built and once it’s done it’s like a house. You just have to keep cleaning it. And you get that and that’s in my opinion which you know there’s many others. It’s just one of many. But it’s one of the most important things you can do to build sustainable online or in-person business that generates referrals rather than having to chase.
Josh Peacock: Absolutely. I mean that’s incredible. $8,000 a week. I think most trainers probably couldn’t even dream of that. That they would not even think that was possible. Awesome, dude. Thank you so much.
Paul Meldrum: Pretty cool man.
Josh Peacock: Yeah. This has been really great. This is an intense level of value. Where can listeners find you if they want to reach out and find out more about what you do?
Paul Meldrum: Cool, so best place to find probably the social media is a good one. So, Instagram it’s “Meldrum_performance_coach”, I think. And yeah, then the next one we have is social media Facebook just Paul Meldrum I don’t actually know what my TikTok name is, I don’t really use it. I just have one and “MeldrumPerformanceCoaching.com” and I’m Mark and Marky 8% now online coach. I keep a few clients in real life and grow gym just to keep the 58:02 [Inaudible]. So, and I’ve got all these systems put together, so I work with tons of a clients still. But tons of trainers in building these frameworks into their business.
Josh Peacock: Excellent. Well, thank you so much for coming on.
Paul Meldrum: No, my pleasure man. Thank you so much for having me.