Fitness Coach Mentorship - Feedback from Clients

The Fitness Coach Mentorship has been an awesome service for me. I obtained this service because I needed something different that would meet my needs.  Being deaf, Michael provided something that I have not seen others do.  Individual attention, personal assessment of my strengths and weaknesses, progression at an appropriate level, and assignments that challenge critical thinking, are just a few of the many experiences I've gained from working with Michael.  The biggest takeaway so far has been the simplicity in how Michael explains things and how it challenges my creativity towards programming and exercise selection.  I would highly recommend this service to anybody who really appreciates the art and science of programming and coaching.  I plan to continue this service for as long as Michael can tolerate me!
--Brad Forbes (Fitness Mentoring Client)

I have been a remote coaching client with Michael since November 2011. During this time I was able to see how effective and methodical his individualized programming is. The overwhelming results I achieved in such a short time left me wanting to know more. As soon as a space was available for Fitness Coach Mentoring, I jumped at the opportunity to become involved in the program. I feel like I was able to take my coaching to a much higher level by learning how to target specific energy systems and design appropriate strength sessions using reps, sets, tempos and rest times.  Having the knowledge to understand, program, and explain these methodologies to others brings nothing more than results for myself and the clients I train.  I would definitely recommend this program to other coaches looking to expand their knowledge; it is like having a personal trainer teaching you the science behind coaching!
--Chip Thorndike (Remote Coaching Client, Fitness Mentoring Client)

I decided to sign up for the Fitness Coach Mentoring because I reached a point in my training where I was all over the place, and needed some guidance. I have qualified for the Northeast Regionals for the last two years, and had disappointing finishes. I was following and talking to James FitzGerald for about three years, and was trying to implement this style of programming into my own gym, Vagabond CrossFit, for the last two years. However, I needed more guidance and knowledge for practical application.  I have been talking to Michael for the last 6 months and my knowledge has grown. Both myself and my clients have seen great results. Without Michael’s guidance, I can honestly say I would be stuck in a rut, and the programming in my gym would be sub par. We have seen huge gains within Vagabond, since I started working with Michael, and also since we have been doing the online classes for OPT CCP.

More specifically, I have learned to be a critical thinker, and actually have a plan and purpose to my programming. I have tried to do this in the past, but now we actually have a rhyme and reason. We are not guessing at what we are doing, but we are assessing every little thing, and the improvement within our gym has shown this. All my clients have improved in someway, and they have done it injury free. The time and effort I put into my programming now, I take pride in because I now have a scope of what I am doing when I sit down to program for each individual.  I am always thankful to the Optimum Performance Training community, and what they have provided for myself and Vagabond CrossFit.
--Kevin O'Mallay (Remote Coaching Client, Fitness Coach Mentoring Client)

I have been doing the remote coaching service with Michael for 7 months now and it is definitely the best thing I have ever done.  I used to be one of those guys who would always train based on ‘feel’. It got to a certain point, but then after honestly assessing myself I knew I wasn't reaching my full potential and I only had myself to blame. Subconsciously, whether I wanted to admit it or not, I did favour my strengths. Having an emotional connection to your training can be a good thing, but also can be a big downfall if you are letting it dictate what you do on a daily basis.

This all came to a head in August '11 when I woke up one morning.  I bent down to put my shoes on before going to the gym and felt a tweak in my back. It was definitely a culmination of overtraining and under-recovering. Cut a long story short, I ended up having a disc bulge at L5/S1, it resulted in me having a thing called foot drop, which meant that when I was walking as soon as my heel touched the ground my foot would slap on the ground (I couldn't dorsiflex my ankle no matter how hard I tried). I was seeing a Neurologist and almost had a discectomy. The Neurologist told me I would never be able to lift over 30kg again the rest of my life.
I think the way any bad news works is like this: negativity, blame, acceptance, and progression. It was a pretty shit time, I always tried to lead from the front and seeing guys who I always used to train with start to beat my times from the past was depressing. I did pretty much nothing for 3 months except some walking and light swimming...

I avoided the operation and eventually one day I tried to raise my foot up and it actually came up. It was only for a short period, but it was progress.
I started to really look inside and be honest with myself, I knew how I would be going back to training (if I ever did again). I knew I would pick something up, think 'that feels good' put a bit more weight on and keep doing that and eventually I would be back to hurting myself again. These were hard things to admit to, knowing I am really not the best at taking care of myself - when I am someone coaching a heap of other people and I should be setting an example!

I needed a coach who would tell me what to do and keep me grounded, I didn't care how long things would take, I just wanted to not have a paralyzed foot and start to move around again.  I needed a person who's views of fitness also correlated with health and who I trusted. Michael was the guy I chose.

I am waffling on now but my first week of training was super simple, I think the hardest thing I did was air squats @ a slow tempo. I had no ego and didn't care because I was happy to be moving again.  We slowly progressed everything and now 7 months in things are starting to come together. I still have a long way to go, but I don't forget where I have been, which is the most important thing. I am still about 40kg off of my deadlift and back squat PR from before the injury, but that stuff doesn't really matter anymore nor is it important in the big picture. I am thankful every day for being able to move again and most of all I am appreciative of being associated with a guy who has his head screwed on and can take some time out of his day to help me out.

I did the OPT CCP in November last year and it has made me grow tenfold as a coach. 'The more you know the more you realize what you don't know' is such a wonderful statement.  I always want to try and be the best coach possible and I knew working with Michael in the Fitness Coach Mentoring program would help keep me focused and on track with what I believe about health and fitness. You need to be able to question things and make things uncomfortable for yourself to grow and working with Michael helps encourage that to happen with me.
The past 12 months started out being the worst I have ever had (not being a skirt, I know people have endured MUCH worse) - but looking back on it now without it happening I never would be where I am today - "everything happens for a reason".
--Scott Dillon (Remote Coaching Client, Fitness Coach Mentoring Client)