Ric Moylan: Promoting habit formation in gym members

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“What I want to do with my clients is, rather than be sort of being quite autocratic, and say, you know, you will do this, I want them to understand why I’m asking them to do something, I want them to understand the process and understand the journey.”

Do gym members and professional athletes train differently? We asked Ric Moylan. With 20 year’s experience working at the highest levels of human performance and elite sport, today he is one of the UK’s leading athlete coaches and as Mancunian as it gets. His straight-talking, no-nonsense approach is certain to give you some useful takeaways!

Listen to the full episode now:

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Read the full transcript below:

Ric Moylan  0:01
People think that pro athletes have these elite training programs. They have training programs that do the basic things really, really well. And then our job is to get them to adhere and then to understand why. And I remember I did some coaching and mentoring for myself with a chap who was in the SAS for many, many years. And I asked him the same question and I found myself asking, what’s the training program that the SAS use? And he said, Ric, we do the basics. Well, he said that we do them consistently.
Craig McNeill  0:37
This is mPowered and I’m your host Craig McNeill, the fitness podcast designed to help you step up your gym game. The January madness was a bit of a blowout this year. From smartwatches to smart clothes, and Zoom classes running without delays. Everyone’s working on their list of New Year’s fitness goals from their living room. The big question, how can you support your gym-goers throughout the rest of this pandemic? Joining us today is performance and leadership coach with 20 years experience in the fitness game. He’s become a hero to many athletes. Ric Moylan, we are chatting about the importance of training plans for building fitness habits. And we’ve got some practical tips that you can try with your gym members straightaway.
Craig McNeill  1:27
Welcome to mPowered podcast. I’m here with Ric Moylan Our guest today. Hi Ric, how you doing buddy?
Ric Moylan  1:33
Hi Craig, I’m well thank you, hope you are also?
Craig McNeill  1:36
Yes, I am mate, I am. And we’re living the dream, which hopefully we’ll kind of dive into in our podcast today. So we’ve got a really interesting kind of topic for you guys in terms of hopefully you can you can get some golden nuggets from I’m going to pick Ric’s brain and find out what he’s doing right now, and also what he’s he’s learned in the past to help us from a from a coaching perspective. And our main area that we’re going to talk about Ric today is going to be more focused on how do we form habits for trainers, then to provide habits for the, for the clients, for the members. How do gyms try to get them into a cycle of repeat adherence to training, which is the holy grail? Erm, but before I do that, obviously I’ve given you a bit of an elevator pitch of what you’re doing Ric. You’re a very busy guy, and you are all over the place even even at the moment. So to kind of come off the professional radar, give us something a little bit more interesting about Rick Moylan for our listeners?
Ric Moylan  2:44
Interesting! That’s probably that could be a challenge. I mean, you know, I wanted to give you a bit of a personal insight. I think the most important thing for me in my life is I’m a dad to Liam, my son, who’s 11, he’s growing up, he takes great pleasure in the fact that he’s now almost as tall as I am. That’s not that difficult. If you’ve ever met me before. I’m definitely
Craig McNeill  3:10
Six foot seven?
Ric Moylan  3:10
A little bit ver- (laughter) a bit vertically challenged! That, that, er, that might, that has been said. But yeah, I’m a dad to Liam, I am absolutely clinging on clinging on to trying to be a cool dad. He’s very much 11 years old. Now he’s seeing me as a taxi driver and a bank. Other than that, you know, I’m a sort of born and bred Mancunian for my sins, you know, a family guy, a normal bloke who loves training, PT, and helping people you know, in the mechanisms that I do. That that’s me, a normal dude.
Craig McNeill  3:54
Awesome, mate. I hope kind of to dive into what you’ve learned in terms of coach and professional athletes and, and training people physically and obviously that has a natural move into mental fitness as well. How you you apply that to be a dad because that’s something I always laugh about and always speak about because there are some transferable skills there mate. And that would be interesting to find out what Liam thinks of that as well. In terms of going into topic straightaway, we we know the importance of of members and clients adhering to training. So what’s your thoughts about what are the main important points of people following a tailored training program from your perspective?
Ric Moylan  4:49
You know, it is a challenge for all of our trainers for all of our there’s a number of challenges for our trainers for our PTs to to get our members to follow a training or training program, and I think one of the biggest challenges, and I was gonna say right now, but I think it’s been a challenge for a long, long time is that there is a lot of information out there already. And it’s overcoming the barrier that the member is, I suppose kind of fits into one or two categories. You’ve either got the guy or the girl that kind of thinks that they can do it anyway, and they know what they’re doing. Or then you’ve got the whole, I’m just going to get myself fit. And then I’ll get myself a program. And then maybe there’s maybe these people who fall into the middle as well. But, you know, it is a challenge is that there’s no question about that. And that’s the part that I want to make clear from the get-go is that getting people to adhere to a trading program is challenging. There’s no doubt about that. I think inherently, what us as trainers have to do is really coach our clients, and I was going to use the word sell but I’ll stay with coach, instead, is coach and teach our clients the benefits of following the program, in terms of what they will get in the short, medium and long term, if they stick to that.
Craig McNeill  6:24
Yeah. Yeah.
Ric Moylan  6:25
That’s the starting point.
Craig McNeill  6:28
Do you also think that we need to be honest with them from the get-go? as well? You know, there’s no short term fix, and do we need to get them to buy in, so to speak, to the concept of this is that this is a journey.
Ric Moylan  6:45
Yeah, absolutely. I, you know, I mean, I’m interested in industry trends. And, you know, and I’ve been in the industry a long time, I can remember the days of aerobics, and then the days of spin, and spin went, and then, you know, spin now through various mechanisms or spin classes has sort of reappeared, but, you know, PT, and how we coach PT, in terms of, to the member, in terms of what they get from it has followed trends as well, and I’m very much in agreement with yourself, Craig, is that exercise coaching, personal training is a journey. And it’s not something that can really be achieved in the very, very short term. So I think we, we have to be honest, we have to manage our clients’ expectations, in that, you know, if they are inactive, the the truth of the matter is, is it’s going to take a period of time to teach them to move safely to teach them to, to, you know, perform a certain exercise in the correct manner. And it’s only then and perhaps I’m going ahead of myself here, once we’ve learned those movements and whatnot, that when we can, you know, really add load, and really do that the sort of sexy stuff in the game-changing stuff and all that. So I think communication is crucial. I think managing expectations is crucial. You know, they they come to us four weeks before their holiday, seeking out what they believe is perfection and what they believe they should look like. And again, that’s a whole other conversation with them. I think I think it’s absolutely important that we that we talk to them about, you know, that we manage their expectations and talk to them about Yes, we’re going to get you where you want to be, but it’s really important we do it in a healthy manner in a safe manner, and then build on it from there.
Craig McNeill  8:40
Yeah, great point. That’s a really good point. So in terms of how you do that with, with pro athletes, and you, you’ve got a great experience of working with commercial kind of coaching. And when I say that you’re working in gyms, you’ve done your apprenticeship where you’ve worked in gyms on the gym floor on the shop floor for years and years, you’ve worked with clients from so many different backgrounds, which is really important to kind of understand the kind of the base of what skills you need as a coach. And then you move that into kind of professional athletes now. What do you think the pro athletes do differently? And then what are the similarities that make sure that they have a structured program? So when we’re talking about the pro athletes, they, they, they have to have a structured program. What are the differences between people that go to to a commercial gym versus professional athletes of how they work towards a program from your point of view Ric?
Ric Moylan  9:47
I think, you know, I get asked the question a lot about the the train-, what is the training kind of the training regime of the athlete and what is the training program that they follow, and so forth. Fundamentally, there’s, there’s also, I mean, let’s I’ll start with this, that there is an assumption that a lot of athletes like training, and actually not all of them do! So again, you face the same challenges in terms of getting, you know, even from the get-go again from the get go is actually getting them to train is one, you know, often they’ll like performing, they’ll like the sport that they’re involved in. But, you know, the process that leads up to it is is a different matter. So it comes down to, again, clear communication, managing their expectations, here’s what you will get the whole, the whole kind of what’s in it, for me principle, really, you know, if you follow this structure, here’s what you will get in the, in the short, medium or long term. You know, I work a lot in in boxing, and historically, that our boxer would say train for 12 weeks. And I would I would work with some boxers and and I would enqui- I would ask about the structured program. And it’s something that has evolved over that certainly the last 10 or 15 years that historically there perhaps wasn’t one. They were just sort of pretty tough guys and girls, and they go and train really hard. And they do loads of sparring and, and they’d have a rest, and then they just go again the next day. And I think as you know, research has improved over the years, what athletes now do buy into is is that some days, we’re gonna have a hard training session, some days, then we’re going to have a little bit of a de-load training session, but we’re still going to move and we’re still going to train some days, we’re going to recover and do nothing. And for me, what it what it comes down to is, again, is those absolute basic principles that I think is the same for the guys and girls on the on the gym floor. If we communicate with them, if we manage their expectations, if we’re very open and honest with them, then I think we’ve got more chance of buy-in, I think we’ve got to be prepared that rather than, you know, yes, we Yes, we are the coach. And yes, we’ve done our qualifications. And then we you know, we keep fit ourselves and all those things. And perhaps some of our clients, you know, whether that’s athletes, or whether whether that’s members of the public, you know, maybe they haven’t gotten the qualifications we have or anything like that. And maybe they’ve not got the experience we’ve got. But that said, it’s, it’s still a nego- almost like a negotiation we have with them. It’s a little bit of a, for me, what I want to do with my clients is, rather than be sort of being quite autocratic, and saying, you know, you will do this, I want them to understand why I’m asking them to do something, I want them to understand the process and understand the journey. And for them actually, to come to me and often say, Hey Ric, I’ve had a bit of a thought. And I think you know, on a Thursday, you know, rather than not doing anything, I think I’m going to train, but I’m just going to have a bit of a lighter session. And then I’m then going to turn around and say, Hey, you know, Craig, I agree with you excellent. When are we starting? And, you know, I think to kind of bring it back to answering your question, the more I learned about sports science, and the more I learned about nutrition, and anatomy and physiology and all those different facets of what makes a good PT and what makes a good coach, the biggest thing that we’ve experienced, and again, this is, you know, is is kind of no different in pro-sport as it is to members of the public, I realized I had to learn more about people and realized that I had to learn more about the way they think and what makes them tick. And that actually pro sports people. Yeah, they sometimes they’re just like members of the public. Sometimes they’re really up for it. Sometimes they hate training. But they’ve also got hopes and fears and dreams and exercises that they love and exercises that they hate. And if they you know, they, they do a squat or a deadlift for argument’s sake and they can feel what they think is a bad back that I have to educate them that it’s not a bad back. It’s it’s the fact that we you know, transverse abdominals in certain origin in and around our spine, just to give you a crude example. Yeah. So I think is a fundamentally the same in that when they understand why they’re doing something when they have really bought into it, and it’s almost like they’re, you know, making a bit of a decision that they’re doing. You know, yeah, I’ve decided I’m going to take it easy today. I sit back then as an experienced coach, going great, I’ve got them to adhere to the program. I’m moving them to the, you know, to where they want to be. I’m moving them towards a position where we’re getting results. Actually, I’m cool with them, thinking that, you know, they’ve kind of made the decision, ultimately, we’re getting the adherence. And, and and I think for our clients, especially again, which is similar to sport, we increasing the chances of getting the result we are in a results-based industry. And, you know, for me, following the program, in sport, a big have a big thing about regret. If, if we lose a game, if we lose a fight off, if we lose a match, and we haven’t followed any programming whatsoever, I’m going to walk away with a lot of regrets and a lot of questions. If we lose, and we’ve done everything we can, if we’ve ticked all the boxes, you know, we’ve given our all we’ve given our best I think, we’ve you know, that’s where I’m at.
Craig McNeill  15:44
Yeah. So that’s really great to hear in terms of that, there’s actually a lot more crossover than what people may think, in terms of, you know, we put pro athletes to kind of our, our pedestal, and they can’t do any wrong, when they’re, they’re super motivated. And they just love what they do. And actually, yes, that could be true for 60% 70% of the time, but not 100% of the time. And just like, just like everyone who, who, who trains, we all have our wobbly days where we don’t want to train, or we, or we don’t want to eat that nutrition plan. We want to come off it because of stress because of, obviously, situation, what’s going on in terms of dips in motivation. So actually, to hear you say that pro athletes go through that journey as well is really nice to hear. And it shows that everyone’s human, at the end of the day
Ric Moylan  16:45
It is absolutely that! They all everybody is a human being, you know, like you say, and we all have, I think I said a minute ago, we all have those exercises we love we all have, you know, the, I think, you know, you can have like exercises that are sometimes occasionally associated with sports. So you know, as I say, like with me with combat sports, so maybe running for boxers and running down the road, and throwing punches or skipping or whatever. And I’ve I’ve regularly had them come up to me and say, Actually, I don’t like running. And I’m like, Well, why you doing it then? And and and you know that they’ve that they following a, what’s the word I’m looking for? Culture. Yeah, that that all boxers run? Yeah. So again, we’ll you know, through talking and all that open line of communication between coach and client, which is what they are, you know, I’ll say to them, you don’t have to run? What exercises do you like? Well, you know, I love, you know, just for argument’s sake, you know, I’ve done again, these are just crude examples, what, I love my mountain bike, so I’m like, Okay, well, as a coach, then that’s great, because I’ve got them physically active, they’re more likely to, to actually adhere to it, if it’s something they enjoy, I think, you know, most of us are like that. And so then I, you know, my role then in programming is okay, you know, What benefits do they get from cycling? for argument’s sake? And what do I have to negate then in terms of, you know, them tightening their hips up, and all that kind of stuff, and how that affects their ability to punch and move and so forth, like that, and their glutes. And so then my programming, again, evolves that way. And I say, okay, you know, you know, whoever it is male or female, brilliant, let’s do the bike, let’s do something you enjoy. And then there’s a little kind of trade-off, here’s what I need from you as well. Here’s, I need you to do this, I need you to do this exercise, you know, this, this little activation routine before you go on the bike, this little mobility routine for after you come off of the bike. And then this is the crucial bit for adherence, here’s why I’m asking you to do it, here’s what you will get from it. And I think when our clients really understand what they will get, we get more buy-in, we get more adherence, and you’ll you’ll see them though, they’ll come back to say, you know, I’m going to try and obviously be be mindful of my language on the podcast, but you know, I bloody hate that exercise coach but I’m doing it, because you know, and I’m when I do it I feel this and, and I’m just there going. I agree with you – well done. I reinforce that behavior pattern then I agree with you, did you feel good, you know, ask them some key questions. Tell me how it made you feel physically. Where did you feel the exercise? What about mentally? How did you feel afterwards? You know, great, I agree with you. Same time next week, same time tomorrow. And I think it’s that ownership from them that when they really understand what they’re getting from it physically and mentally. We just kind of keep the plates spinning then as coaches.
Craig McNeill  19:55
Yeah. And I must say I’m picking out very very clear coaching cues that you’ve got. And that’s why I call that out at the beginning that you’ve got commercial fitness experience and coaching experience. And they are different. There’s a lot of, there’s a lot of fitness instructors, personal trainers, whatever they were in terms of job titles that we would associate them with that they tell the clients, the members what to do, and there is no coaching behind that. And that’s so, so important. And your, your examples, keep on coming back to that where education is important. Making sure that they understand the journey that they’re on, it means that there’s a two-way relationship, there then Ric in terms of what you said, again, just to pull out your words, negotiation, and making sure that they understand when they are making decisions themselves, that they understand the consequences of that. So if you’re telling them to have two rest days, because today has been quite hard and you deserve, and you need two rest days, on day two, when they’re getting itchy feet, because they want to just do something, and they go for a run, that the consequences of that is is is something that’s down the line and your your coaching style comes across in that way that that’s got to be that process alongside that program.
Ric Moylan  21:19
Yeah, absolutely. I mean, you know, we, even if we, you know, even with the clients that perhaps buy into their training a little bit more of that, perhaps, maybe a certain period in their life, and then maybe perhaps financially a bit more stable. And they might train with us, you know, three times a week, or three or four times a week, I think we’ve got to be very, very clear that, you know, even the best program in the world, and I think this is, when I talk about programming, it’s it’s the 360 of the program, is a program for me, is is yes, it’s given them that that routine, yet it’s given them that structure when they come to the gym, you know, and they always say, don’t they that, you know, the sign of great coaching, or the sign of great leadership is how people behave when you’re not there. So, yes, it is absolutely, that, you know, I want them to come in the gym, and I want them to, to do the right warm-up, I want them to do the right. You know, maybe a lower-body routine, or whatever their plan looks like. But then equally when they leave the gym, I want them to understand that tomorrow is a rest day or that. And of course, you know, things change. And we have a saying in pro sport, embrace the chaos, you know, and we talked about our fly and have my morning bid been a bit chaotic this morning, things do change. I want my clients, you know, my clients in the going back to the commercial gym, they might have children or they may be you know, professional people. And, yes, they’re there, they may have get called to a meeting and miss the training session. But I want them to have the understanding of the program as a whole, you know, in terms of the whole week in terms of where we’re going on the journey so that they they know like you say that, you know, if they miss a session, it happens. It’s not the end of the world. But then if they go to the gym the day after and absolutely smash their selves to bits because they’ve been panicking, that they’ve missed that session and the Ric PT is going to really tell them off cos they’ve missed that session. Actually, this impacts then, you know, through the rest of the week, and the rest of the plan, that nobody’s perfect that, that yes, we work to structure things occasionally happen. But But they’ve got enough knowledge, enough ability to, you know, flex their behavior, what so that we can just carry on?
Craig McNeill  23:52
Yeah, exactly that, it’s kind of, it’s teaching them when they get to that crossroad, that they can be independent, and they can make the right decision by themselves. And that’s the Holy Grail. And that’s, that’s a byproduct, we say a byproduct, but it’s probably just as important as everything else.
Ric Moylan  24:11
When a client comes to me in a in the gym, or you know, and again, I think any any scenario, if I if I’m working in a gym, and I’ve had this, you know, many, many times and I’ve training clients and say I’m training them once a week. And you know, of course you takes time to educate them and to build to build the program and all that kind of stuff. But if a client comes to me, you know, and we’re a period of time into our, into our journey together and they’re kind of like, I don’t know what I’m doing today, Ric, you know, at some point that you know, previously, I’ve not fulfilled my duties, they they should understand what they are doing when they come into the gym. You know, they of course they need our guidance. Of course they need our coaching eye and our technical capabilities and our and our adjustments in their movements and all those kind of things and, and I’m a big believer in in, you know, trainers really earning their keep so to speak in terms of, I don’t like to over coach, but I do think that while we’re stood there, I don’t want to see arms folded, I want to see you crouch down observing technique and giving them small cues and adjustments, you know, just turn the foot a little bit further that way, just move your hands here and elbows here, etc. Yeah, yeah. But equally, they should be competent to a level to know that, hey, you know, I see Rick on a on a Monday. It’s Thursday today, right? Where’s my program, I get it out, I know what I’m doing, I’m gonna crack on. They may, they might come to me and say, Ric, do me squats. They’re my deadlift, you know, I just want you to double-check that with me next time, can I just check my hand positions, and I’m like, sure, we’ll run through that again, next time, I want them to take them to a place where that they feel confident. And we all know that when we’re confident with something, we relax into it, we’re not second-guessing ourselves as much, that they feel confident that they can go in the gym and crack on. And that for me is effective PT it’s effective coaching, whatever, whatever, you know, your job title is.
Craig McNeill  26:19
Absolutely great point. Really good point. Ric, just kind of moving it to a different direction. But in terms of taking what you’ve just mentioned there, to this different place, I want to I want to get your your thoughts on, kind of moving over to gym owners. So let’s put ourselves into the mindset of we, you and I own a gym. We’ve got, we’ve got 1000 members in our in our membership. We know we know the breakdown of actually how many members come into our facility. And we know how they, obviously we’ve got a good PT model. So we’ve got 10% of our members following PT programs, and PT with a PT, we’ve got 400 members who are sadly, not active at the moment, they’re just sleeping members. So we’ve got 500 members of our database. What would be your quick guess, of how many of those 500 members would actually be following a program right now?
Ric Moylan  27:19
That’s a really, really interesting question. I’m gonna I’m gonna, I’m going to be slightly broad with the answer. But then I’m going to, I’m going to, I’m going to dig into it a little bit more, not enough is my answer. And not and not enough following an effective program is then my second answer. The, the biggest challenge we’ve got is that there is information everywhere. And again, a mindful, I’m on a podcast so I’m certainly not going to use any names or anything like that. I’m sure you could edit that out anyway, but it’s all well and good as and I’ve been there. I’ve been there as a trainer as a as a, as a facility owner, and PT penetration’s not where I’ve wanted it to be, you know, gym usage and swipes are not where I’ve wanted it to be and members are inactive. And for me that would always put them as high risk. And certainly in terms of the facilities I was involved with anyway, high risk of leaving, not enough PT, members are following an effective training program, ie a training program that’s going to keep them safe from injury, keep them moving reverse or slow down the aging process and get them results. So my my then, sub-question as a gym owner is what am I going to do about it? What am I doing about it? And what am I going to do about it? You know, it’s all well and good, perhaps complaining that they’re following the latest celebrity influencer, or following the latest online program that we that we know is no good for them, we know that we know that you know, doing burpees constantly is gonna smash them to bits. But the sub-question is, what systems have we got in place to do something about it? Yeah, I know as a PT through my younger career, and I’m only talking about myself here. But I would hazard a guess. You know, in fact, I know because I’ve got the data when I when I ran a PT team as well. PTs, slightly sweeping statement but I’ll make it anyway, we we follow systems which talk to members, we walk the floor, we target ourselves to meet new people and get out there and help our members. And then we start to get clients and we start to get fully booked. And it’s brilliant. We sign a new client or we do their what’s the word I’m looking for. They’re like assessment sessions and we measure them and all those kinds of things will give them loads of love. Now, there’s an old saying that my parents taught me many many years ago: familiarity breeds contempt. And we slowly stopped doing the things that got us successful. Yeah, so we don’t do those measurements quite as often. And we don’t go back and redo the seven-point movement screens or the biomechanics assessments, the body fat tests, or we used to always phone our new joiners when we were a new gym, and we were really, really keen. And we used to bring them all and say, Hey, Craig, welcome to the gym. You know, here’s what you can have as part of your membership. And again, familiarity breeds contempt. We just stopped doing it. Yeah, you know, not all of us but, let’s just say some of us. And so for me, I still think there’ll never be a time when we’ve done enough I’m always about we can, we can do more. I’m always about that, that communication journey with our members. So that, you know, yes, penetration might be brilliant at 10%. But we can always do more. And we can always from our member perspective, we can always help more people can always pick up the phone and say, Hey, Craig, how’s it going? You’re not been in for a few weeks, let’s get you in for a review, you know, for argument’s sake. So I think and I think, possibly it might come across some quite passionate about that as well. I hope that came across, you know, that there’s always going to be industry trends, there’s always going to be you know, particularly in the world we live in now, the new influencer, who’s doing a certain nutrition plan that we don’t agree with and so forth like that. We can’t change the behavior of the influencer, what we can do is look at our business and say, am I am i doing enough? Are our members? Are enough of them following the right programs? And if not, what are we going to do about it on a daily basis? And it’s often the small little things, rather than the big glory, things that will matter the most to our members.
Craig McNeill  31:49
Yeah. So I want to ask the next question then: what what would you say those small things are? What can we go away and implement quickly? Again, we don’t want to be kind of changing the world. I disagree with trying to go and change the world. Because if we go and try and change the world, why has someone else not done it already? So what are the small little things that we can do, Ric, in your, in your experience that we could start to chip away at? Exactly that gaping hole that we’ve just, we’ve just blown apart in terms of the numbers that we’ve just been talking about?
Ric Moylan  32:24
I think that one of the things that that we we can all do better, is basic customer service and basic communication. I think I think we’ve certainly improved at this as as an industry as as a whole. But for me, I’m a massive fan of, you know, even the fundamental basics of eye contact, you know, and yes I know, I know, we’ve got to focus on our clients, I’ve just said that in terms of, you know, assessing them watching their sessions, and so forth like that, we can glimpse and just say hello to somebody, how are you doing, you okay? And just let them know, we’ve acknowledged them in the gym. So that’s, I mean, if we’ve got 50 people around us while we’re trying to train someone, that’s it. That’s a different story. So I think as trainers and PTs, we can do those small things on the on the gym floor, give eye contact, say hello, how’s it going? You alright? And I think that’s, you know, perhaps more from a commercial gym perspective there. But we can we can do that. Yeah, I think any size facility, we could we can pick up a phone and and just check in with our, with our members and say, I’m just calling and see how your membership’s going. Yeah, what what’s your favorite part about the gym? What’s your favorite class? Or, you know, if you’re in a smaller box style facility, you know, you know, your membership, you get this many classes, how are they going right now? Which instructors have you have you have you been to classes from? And just get them talking, you know. Showing my age here, but BT had a, had a, ran a campaign saying ‘It’s good to talk’. (Yes!) And remember that that is showing my age there? And I think, of course, we don’t want to you know, there’s only so many minutes in the day. But I think just checking in with people and just talking to them and saying How’s it going? And you are right. What do you need? What more can we help you with? those little things? Those little conversations make a massive difference.
Craig McNeill  34:20
Absolutely mate. Guy mentioned that on our first episode of mPowered that we, in some respects, he’s seen a lot of clubs, go back to basics, and that’s the phrase that we used on there where we picked up the phone and spoke to our members. We’ve not done that for years, Ric, and it’s like it’s made a pandemic make us go back to our basics. It’s kind of that’s a positive out of everything. What’s happening in the moment.
Ric Moylan  34:47
Absolutely, I mean, we walk past people in the street, don’t speak to them. And and you know, and then and then send ’em a WhatsApp message afterwards, you know, we we they you know, know the in certain you know, in the corporate world and so forth. You’ve got to have paper trails and email trails and all that kind of stuff. But we as a nation now, we walk past somebody and and you know and don’t speak to them and send them an email afterwards. And I’m going off on a different tangent, no, but we can’t have what I call a courageous conversation anymore. Well, actually talking to someone, and this is something when I’m mentoring PTs, I say I’ll say to them, I’ll say, how many new people have you met today? How many people have you spoken to? How many new people have you met? Just to say, Hi, my name is Ric. And if there’s anything I can do to help you just come and give me a shout. And that’s all you don’t have to be salesy. That’s all you’ve got to say to them. Hey, I’m Ric. I’m working in the gym today. And that’s any size facility? You know, let me know what help if you need anything, and have a good workout. And that’s it. How many new people have you met today? Something I’m huge on? (Yeah) Because we all one, there’s an assumption that that as you know, just like with the athletes before, one is an assumption that just because the members joined, that they really want to be there whereas actually a lot of the time you really don’t want to be there. You know, they don’t really like exercise, they don’t really know what they’re doing is quite out of their comfort zone. And I think for us to just go and settle them down a little bit and just say, Hello, that makes an enormous difference. You know. And I think that, that that is something that we can, it doesn’t take a lot of time, it doesn’t take a lot of effort. It just takes us being conscientious and understanding that our members might feel uncomfortable.
Craig McNeill  36:45
Simple, Simple. Keeping it simple. That’s the key, isn’t it? Make it Yeah. Because people won’t do it. People don’t do complex.
Ric Moylan  36:55
They don’t do complex. I, I just like I’ve been asked the question many, many times, you know, people think that pro athletes have these elite training programs. They have training programs that do the basic things really, really well. And then our job is to get them to adhere and to understand why. And I remember I did some coaching and mentoring for myself with a chap who was in the SAS for many, many years. And I asked him the same question. And I found myself asking, what’s the training program that the SAS use? And he said, Ric, we do the basics wealth. And I was I Oh, right. Is that it and he was like, Yeah, he said that we do them consistently, we do the basics well, and we do them consistently,
Craig McNeill  37:45
Really, really good point. And it’s nice to bring it back back round that, you know, programming can be complex at times, but then simplicity also needs to bleed through, as well. And, and being that coach and being that real-time coach is fundamental. Obviously people go through, through peaks and troughs through that through that eight week through that 12 week program, it’s not going to be linear. If it was linear, it’d be it’d be more boring. Anyway, it won’t be as fun for us to coach them, then through that 12 week journey. So just just to kind of ask you one last question Ric. In terms of what you know, we’ve been naturally talking about programming throughout our topic today in our in our conversation. So in terms of programming, the reason why that keeps on coming back to us is because we need to form habits with our members, clients exercisers. What, what key takeaways, would you say in terms of how do we help members, clients, exercisers form habits, from an exercising point of view?
Ric Moylan  38:59
How we help them form habits is we absolutely have got to educate them on what’s in it for them, perhaps on an unconscious level. Yeah, is that often a lot of people come to the gym, you know, because they may be unhappy with the way they look or you know, they want to lose weight for argument’s sake, they want to lose weight. Yeah. Now, it is coaching is the saying the problem is never the problem. And I think if we if we just talk to them about Yeah, do this and you’ll lose weight. There’s that battle between you know, do want to lose weight badly enough to do this, bla-de-bla-de-blah, but when we then talk to them a slightly deeper level, you know, in terms of what’s in it for them, in terms of their self-esteem, in terms of their self-confidence, both in their personal life, in their in their physical relationships, in their working life, in terms of role modeling for their for their children perhaps if they’ve got kids or whatever, you know, when when we can really get into the what’s in it for me on a slightly deeper level, being mindful of staying in our lane that we’re also not, you know, conducting therapy sessions or anything like that. I think that’s when we get, you know, real buy-in, because we all have that what I call the decision, we all have it all the time, whereby, you know, we are arguably, let’s just say we, you know, we have good and bad days, let’s put it that way. And we have good and bad hours, we have good and bad moments and we all face that decision: can I be bothered going to the gym today? It’s cold it’s raining or can I, you know, we’re in lockdown can I really be bothered to go outside and do that exercise. And I think when our clients are really in tune with, on an unconscious level, what’s in it for them, they can override. And and what I know what I believe with habit-forming is I think, like you said before, no one’s perfect. And that’s okay. No one’s perfect. But if I could get them to just do it once, and then connect with what’s in it for them and the feelings they’ll get what’s in it for them in terms of their deeper goals. If I can then get them to, to, you know, perhaps, just go again, a second time that habits take practice, habits take practice. And the more that I can get them to be in tune on an unconscious level, with what’s in it for them. more chance I’ve got of them making that decision when that little voice says I don’t feel like it today. I’m actually going Oh okay, I’ll do it. And that habit will then slowly accumulate.
Craig McNeill  41:43
Awesome mate. Completely agree. To kind of bring it round 360 mate we’re gonna sadly wrap it up because we can probably just chinwag for many many more minutes, what would be your biggest takeaway for our listeners from all the topics that we’ve just kind of gone through there?
Ric Moylan 42:02
I think my final takeaway, I think, like you say, to wrap it all up and to bring it all together in one, one statement, and this is for PTs, coaches who are on the front line, on the gym floor but also for gym owners, er you know guys and girls managing gyms etc. as well, again it’s something that I’ve been taught, you know all of this is stuff that, yes I’ve learnt by experience but ultimately I’ve also learned off others as well? And the statement is this: The methods are many, the principles are few. And it’d be great for the listeners have a think about that – The methods are many, the principles are few. What are the key principles? Being a great PT. And I think at any level, from working with beginners right up to elite sport – The methods are many, the principles are few. I’ve given a couple: doing the basics, all that kind of stuff. So yeah, that would be my final take-home.
Craig McNeill 43:12
That’s awesome Ric, you’ve got me thinking. And, in terms of any other pearls of wisdom, so is there any books that you can think of that you’re kind of aware of, that you’ve read in the past, you’re reading now, you’re writing now, is there anything that you could kind of prompt our listeners to go and find more information out about that kind of philosophy as well?
Ric Moylan 43:41
I think a great entry book for any new PT is ‘How to eat, move and be healthy’ by Paul Chek is one that I was given at the start of my career, er of course and my nutrition knowledge has diversified and I, you know, I’ll use some exercises and others and whatnot like that, but I still think that’s a really good base-level, entry-level book – ‘How to eat, move and be healthy’ by Paul Chek.
Craig McNeill 44:10
Yeah, aw mate, that’s pretty much using our time together there mate – we’ve got some really good insights into what you’ve learned, what you’re doing at the moment, and really really appreciate your time today Ric in terms of just having a really open conversation of what you’re doing and how you’re finding things and how you can hopefully give our listeners some key points to take away, and go and apply, whether that’s a gym owner, whether that’s a freelance PT, whether that’s someone who’s looking to come into the fitness industry and make decisions on the back of past experiences from fit pros and also interesting to deep-dive into the pro-athlete world and actually, finding a little bit of common ground there that they’re not different to the general public and they do have fears and they do have down days and they do need support just like us! It was awesome to kind of, to dip into Ric, so really appreciate your time buddy!
Ric Moylan 45:12
Er, no, I mean I enjoyed it! Thank you, it was an absolute pleasure and I hope the listeners enjoy the podcast.
Craig McNeill 45:20
Yeah, cheers Ric, and in terms of if our listeners wanted to go and find out a little bit more about yourself and reach out to you Ric, would they be able to do that?
Ric Moylan 45:30
Erm, so I’ve got my website which is ‘ricmoylan.co.uk’ – there is no ‘K’ it’s r-i-c-m-o-y-l-a-n.co.uk and I’m on all the social media channels, you know, Facebook, Insta all that kind of stuff, again, no ‘K’, @r-i-c-m-o-y-l-a-n, @ricmoylan
Craig McNeill 45:53
Legend. Awesome. Go and get some more info from Ric if you can everybody. Right buddy, get back to your coaching, go and live the dream! Thanks for your time and hopefully we can catch up for a beer next time we speak, that’ll be nice.
Ric Moylan 46:10
That would be great, thank you very much for having me I’ll see you soon!
Craig McNeill 46:14
Cheers Ric!
Craig McNeill 46:17
Thanks again to Ric for joining us today. The methods are many, the principles are few. This is your reminder that whether you’re a gym owner or a PT, it’s a good idea to re-evaluate your core values as a business owner from time to time. Make sure your principles are solid, strong and clear. And if you’re a gym owner, tell the rest of your team what they are. You can offer many services, but the key to success is that they align with your core principles. Thanks for listening. You can find more about our podcast at membr.com.

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