Posts Tagged ‘Help’

“I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”

― Maya Angelou


I think this is one of the most powerful ideas that each of us should embrace. Imagine going through your days thinking, “how can I use this opportunity to help someone else?” It doesn’t need to be some sort of grand gesture. Have you ever been in line at a coffee shop and when you went to pay for your drink, the cashier told you that the person in front of you bought it for you? I haven’t (!) but when I heard about the whole “Pay It Forward” philosophy, it made me so happy. You’re telling me that people are going out of there way just to help complete strangers? And they expect nothing in return?

There’s a cheesy, yet powerful, ad campaign that came out a few years ago highlighting this. These actions don’t have to be big, expensive, or life-changing, but they can all have a huge impact on another person’s day. Or life.

The thing to remind yourself is that everyone is fighting their own battle. Kevin Love (a professional basketball player) wrote an AMAZING piece on Mental Health last week called, “Everyone Is Going Through Something.” I liked it so much I’m working on a response piece of my own to discuss the same issue, but the gist of it is that no matter how much you might be struggling at any given moment, you’re not alone.

It’s so easy for us to get caught up in the world of our “Social Media Persona” and feel as though struggling isn’t normal. Any time something in our life makes us sad, we often feel ashamed or embarrassed about it. So instead of letting ourselves feel down, we hide it and hope that no one notices. Knowing that, I think we should approach each person we meet by giving them the benefit of the doubt that they might be going through something that’s really difficult at the moment.


I first shared the image above on my blog YEARS ago, and I feel exactly the same way about it today. No, I’m not saying that eating Cheetos and drinking beer is a bad thing. I literally did BOTH of those things yesterday, and I felt great! What I’m saying is that just because someone else seems to have everything together, it doesn’t mean that they do. A little gesture of kindness like holding the door for them or looking at them in the face and giving a genuine smile, could really go a long way.

To watch one example of how generosity can have a profound impact on someone you know, watch this video. There are so many details missing from this short clip. What we do know, at a quick glance, is that teammates came together to do something nice for a friend and it immediately brought him to tears. Moments like this should happen more often. Not the crying, the kindness.

We all know that friend who loves a particular drink from the place you go every morning. Once a month, surprise them with one! When it snows, if you’re out early in the morning before your neighbors, consider shoveling their driveway or cleaning the snow off of their car, too! I guarantee you’ll get a lot of weird looks at first, but after a while, this type of behavior really does start to build momentum. That piece of trash on the street that everyone walks by, pick it up and throw it away. Someone will notice, and it might motivate them to do something nice later on in the day.

At the gym, this kindness can come in really simple ways. When everyone finishes the workout, help other people put away their weight. When you grab a wipe to clean off your kettlebell, grab one for the person who worked out next to you. Before class, when you’re stretching with a few other people, ask someone how their day was… and actually listen. Sometimes, we don’t need people to DO anything for us… we just want to feel like people ACTUALLY care.

My challenge for you is to do ONE THING today that doesn’t benefit you in any way other than being a good person. Don’t do it for attention. Don’t do it to share with other people. Do it for you. Then see how it feels to brighten the day of someone else in the process. It might just make you feel really happy, too!

It really doesn’t take that much.

I love helping athletes get better at fitness. All kinds of fitness!

That could mean making a physical change in their set-up for a lift, discussing how to begin the first kettlebell swing of a set, and even strategy on how to attack specific workouts! CrossFit is a complicated game with so many moving parts, and I’ve always loved helping people “crack the code” to their own success.

Would you like to see me use this blog to share some of these tips and tricks I’ve accumulated over the last decade? It could be a recurring segment (once per week) or could just pop up whenever questions are asked. They would likely be a combination of short text summaries and a quick video demonstration of the skill of the day. I’m completely flexible on the structure of the segment, just wanted to see if there is interest out there from all of you.

The survey is simple:

  • If you would like to see this segment become a reality, simply type YES in the comments. If you already have ideas for what you’d like to ask me, drop a few examples in the comment, too!
  • If you have zero interest in this whatsoever, ignore this post and leave NO comments.


I’ve been a full-time personal trainer and coach for over half of a decade. My reason for remaining in this profession all this time is that working with someone and having them improve is the most rewarding feeling in the world to me. When I lead a class, I convince myself that every single person in that group is putting their trust in me to help them get better. Sounds dramatic when I see it written down, but it’s true.

At gyms like the ones where I work, all around the world most athletes show up, do what’s on the board, then leave. Fitness isn’t much more than that to them. But on either end of the spectrum from those athletes lie two groups that I lose sleep over sometimes! These three groups have led me to create “Smashby’s Athlete Bell Curve“:


Middle of the Bell Curve: MOST”

Most people live here. These athletes are in the gym for fitness and fun. They try their best to make it in 3-5 days per week, love seeing friends, blowing off some steam, and hope to see incremental improvements (see also: Gainz) over time.


Right side of the Bell Curve: HELP

Typically these are newer members at the gym, or just shy people in general. They want to get better, want coaching, and would love for you to check out their technique and give them feedback. They just don’t feel comfortable asking! Asking “which one is a hang power clean again” for the 10th time embarrasses them, but maybe it was never explained to them in terms they were able to understand in the first place. Making breakthroughs with this group is my favorite. As athletes become more confident asking for help, they usually start to improve faster, and quickly join their friends in the middle of the curve.


Left side of the Bell Curve: NOPE”

Thankfully, this is the group work with least of all, but it can still be frustrating to think about. These athletes just don’t like you.  Maybe you made them feel stupid one time a few months ago, maybe you have an annoying laugh, or maybe they don’t like going to your classes because you have horrible taste in music. Maybe your coaching style doesn’t work for them, or maybe they just don’t like who you are as a human being. They are simply not impressed. Sometimes, you’ll never be able to create a meaningful relationship with these individuals. I still try, though!

When all three types of athletes are shown together, “Smashby’s Athlete Bell Curve” is the result!


There’s nothing wrong with being in any of these groups. While I wish I was able to connect with and help 100% of the athletes I come in contact with, that’s not how the world works. Just know that my goal is to live in that middle space where:

  • People enjoy working with me
  • Athletes feel like I’m there to help them
  • No one ever feels attacked, picked on, or criticized
  • I’m equipped with tools to actually add value in a meaningful way


As a coach, it’s important to know your audience and to tailor your approach to each person individually. In a class of twenty athletes, you may need to exercise twenty different coaching styles. Effective communication should be the primary goal in order to strive for success; both in the gym, and everywhere else.

Don’t spend years coaching the same way. Learn new cues, try new approaches, and check to see if what you’re saying actually registers with people. Saying the same thing in a slightly different way can create a major breakthrough for someone. Keeping the lines of communication open and regularly checking in with your athletes not only gives you a current update of who you’re working with, it can also show people that you actually care. While we’re personal trainers, we’re also a special kind of therapist! Sometimes, just showing someone that you care about them is enough to make their day.

Our most important job is keeping our athletes as safe as possible. If we’re able to create meaningful relationships and help foster positive change in their lives, that’s icing on the cake!

(HUGE shout-out to Heather for helping making Photoshop magic out of my silly idea!)