Sean Yeager-Diamond is a fitness industry leader with a focus on developing the educational side of startup fitness companies as well as individuals. In addition to being a consultant, Sean, is also the Fitness Director of a large Athletic Club in the Santa Barbara area.
TrainingTips.com: Why do you think that “progress should be measured by how we move?”
Sean: From the outside looking in the Fitness Industry can very easily be viewed as narrowly focused on biometric change equaling success. There is no question that having empirical data to measure body change, endurance increases, strength gains, or range or motion are crucial to progress, program development, and motivation.
A result of this, though, is the body can be reduced down to a few data points and the importance of the larger picture of what the individuals experience is may be missed. For many people it is a lack of comfort in their own skin that their trying to change. They assume that weight is the issue so the scale, BMI, or body fat percentage becomes the obvious choice for progress checks. Unfortunately, that can over shadow true daily progression as a way of measuring success. The process of becoming more active immediately results in the physical body feeling better and the emotional body becoming stronger. That to me is true progress and results. Recognizing daily improvements in the way we move and feel should always be a large part of the goal and how we measure our progress.
TrainingTips.com: How has your past experience of transformation influenced your approach to personal training?
Sean: I often have to clarify for clients that my initial weight loss is not what I consider success. I lost the initial weight with drastic lifestyle change, yes, but I did so without any form of education in proper exercise or nutrition. The result was confusion, frustration, and extremes. I went from program to program and took all the bad advice along with all the good and it was a very confusing process for me. The positive of the process was that I learned A LOT, good, bad, or indifferent.
I’ve made it my mission to stay on top of new information as it comes out, enabling me to become a filter for my clients. I want to help them process the information that’s being thrown out at them, giving them the independence in the future to decide for themselves what makes sense for their lives.
The transformation hasn’t ended; I’m always surprising myself and challenging myself by trying new things and getting to know what my body is capable of. This too, I think helps me inspire my clients and community to ask more of themselves.
TrainingTips.com: Can you elaborate on how the reason behind a goal can be more important than the goal itself?
Sean: When it comes to setting goals its easy right? “I want to lose 10lbs.” Okay. The real reason behind that goal is what will keep us from losing our way, being derailed or losing focus. If I say I want to lose 10lbs and leave it at that it becomes just a number. If I say “I want to lose 10lbs because I feel like it represents my having stopped practicing self-care and my kids are suffering because I can’t be the Mom/Dad I want to be” NOTHING will get in my way. The process of achieving that goal may change over time, but the odds of being not stopped are placed more in my favor. When the goal is grounded in lifestyle the goal becomes one in many to come over the years.
TrainingTips.com: What advice would you give to someone interested in making a big lifestyle change but is concerned about their ability to commit fully to the process?
Sean: Recognize that concern first, respect it. That concern says that what I want to do is a big deal, its admitting that where I’ve been and where I am isn’t comfortable for me anymore, but the thought of leaving that comfort zone is scary. It is. The process doesn’t take guilt, or regret, it takes self-discovery. Transformation is about what works for you, finding new parts of who you are and using those to create life change. Look at the process as the creation of new opportunities.
TrainingTips.com: Can you share how Foundation Training has caused a fundamental shift in the way you work with clients and also how you work with your own body?
Sean: Again, I believe what how we feel in our bodies is of the utmost importance to our minute to minute experience of life. If I am unable to do whatever it is I want to do without discomfort or unreasonable difficulty then there can be no true enjoyment in life.
Foundation Training, developed by Dr. Eric Goodman, provides a simple platform for body mechanics training that addresses this. By asking a person to perform a few simple exercises that promise to teach their body new principals of movement you are empowering them to take control over their day to day lives. Teaching the body how to anchor its pelvis, stabilize the spine, hinge properly, and decompress out of injury are literally life changing lessons. Foundation Training achieves that with a system that can be performed while living life, anchor while you brush your teeth, perform the Founder or Integrated Hinge before you deadlift or pick of a heavy load of laundry.
Foundation Training has given me the tools to get people out of pain or at least show them that they have control over how they deal with pain. It has provided a platform for already active people to achieve more by increasing their biomechanics efficiency. The work has also allowed me to take control over my own body and provided a new chapter to my personal transformation. When a client starts a session in tears of pain and ends in tears of hope, that a fundamental shift in their lives and influences my work.
TrainingTips.com: Do you think that Distance Training sessions (via Skype, Facetime, etc.) and be as effective as training in person?
Sean: Distance training is a tool for achieving goals, just like a bicep curl is a tool. The tool is only as effective as the effect it has on the end user. If the client benefits from distance training, then it works. If the client isn’t consistent with it, isn’t feeling satisfied with the interface, and then it doesn’t work. In terms of body mechanic work, specifically Foundation Training, distance training is a great tool.
The biggest struggle any trainer faces with a client is compliance. The time I spent with an individual is only as effective as their willingness to carry on the work when they’re not with me. A whole industry of online training tools has developed to combat that problem. Online training software and applications, although in their infancy, provide a nice tool for maintaining accountability and monitoring the clients “homework” while at the same time providing them with all the material they’ll need to complete any given assignment.
I don’t know that I would view it as being as effective to in person training. I think there needs to be certain level of tactile connection between the trainer and client, the ability to touch the shoulder blades. I also believe that a handshake, a high five, or a hug can’t be replaced. That being said, if the client and trainer are able to form a connection then the that I would view it as being as effective to in person training. I think there needs to be certain level of tactile connection between the trainer and client, the ability to touch the shoulder blades. I also believe that a handshake, a high five, or a hug can’t be replaced. That being said, if the client and trainer are able to form a connection then the tool is effective.