30 for 30: What 30 years in the Trenches Has Taught Me -Tony Poggiali (part 2)

Here is part two of what the last 30 years has taught me about the fitness profession/industry.  Here is part one in case you missed it.

16.  Even after three decades, the true number one reason that this still excites me is the opportunity to make a difference in someone’s life.  No matter how small that difference may be, coaches are in a position that very few people can compete with:  A daily chance to impact lives.  There was a chance that ASF was not going to continue past 2018, but I couldn’t imagine not seeing everyone on a daily basis.  In many ways, I am just getting started.

17. Continuing that thought, in addition to impacting the people in which we work with, we also have a responsibility to impact those who are just getting started.  My Miami teaching position has really opened my eyes to how unprepared young coaches can be if they don’t get practical knowledge taught to them.  Whether it is in college, internships, mentorships, or the like, we have a major role in leaving the profession in a better place than when we entered it.

18. Be true to you.  “I believe that one defines oneself by reinvention. To not be like your parents. To not be like your friends. To be yourself. To cut yourself out of stone.” Henry Rollins.  I am so far from perfect, it is laughable but I am always moving the needle in the right direction.

19. Give thanks.

20. The human body is amazing.  I think I know what to do to help people improve performance, lose weight, gain muscle and strength, get faster, etc. but how do we really know what works? We are coaches, who observe who/what is in front of us and use the knowledge that we have, and make educated guesses.  The best coaches make the best guesses.

21. Those who give freely – knowledge, advice, etc – and expect nothing in return are diamonds in the rough.  I made the mistake years ago of giving with expectation.  I still value any form of “Thank you” but know people much better now, and have more realistic expectations.

22. Passion may not be enough to make it in this profession.  The reason that I started ASF is not the reason that I continue ASF.  In the beginning, I thought it was giving people a place to train, get results and have some fun.  Now, it is those PLUS the impact, both now and in the future, that transcends just “working out”.  I get excited to coach a session but even more excited when we get to talk before or after the session.  Ironically, those conversations are mostly about non-training topics.

23.  Good times never last, neither do bad times.  I think I am lucky in that I do not get too high or too low based on any one business performance or metric.  It doesn’t mean much unless a pattern occurs.  Over the years, I have embraced the stoic response to life much more and feel it is one of the keys to long-term business success.

24.  The kind thing is always the right thing.  There are some business decisions that are based on kindness rather than making a buck.  Not every decision needs to be based on the bottom line, especially if it is done with kindness as the driver.  It is not about money at that point, but about a person.

25. Nutrition and exercise are just the beginning to long-term health and performance.  The second tier (and arguably part of the first tier) are related to genetics, hormones, metabolism, microbiome and sleep/recovery.  Each one cannot be taken for granted and expect optimal results to happen.

26.  Humble bragging is a relatively new term, (at least to me) but it applies to coaches and trainers quite a bit.  One example is when coaches post a high level college or pro athlete and take credit for their development or some other metric or quantitative accomplishment.  You certainly helped but the groundwork was already there.  Color me old-school but the athlete is front and center, the coach is the background.  Make it ALL about the them.

27.  At this point in my career/life, I only have the energy to spend on getting better, surrounding myself with people who want to get better, and feel like every day is a tangible chance to get better.  It is done, in part, to be a better business owner, coach and person for my family, but also to transfer that knowledge and wisdom to the people in my life instead of keeping it to myself.

28.  It took me a while to reach out for help but I now know that going at this alone usually does not end well.  With that being said, do some research on the person or company you are going to use as a mentor/coach.  There are some shady guys out there who are not in a position to benefit you or your business.

29.  Continuing the above thought, the team makes the difference, not the boss/owner.  We have had amazing coaches over the years and each one did the best they could. I am very grateful for each one as they are the lifeblood of ASF.  I love all of you, especially these two goofballs!  

30. In the end, there is no shortcut, no hack, no easy way.  It is hard work.  It was part of the deal when I was training people out of World Gym, and what I signed up for thirteen years ago when I completed the lease at our current location.  It has been a journey like I never would have imagined.  Mistakes, victories, rough spots, highlights.  It has all lead to this moment right here, right now.

As this concludes, I can’t help but think of what legacy will be here after I am gone….Did I do enough?  Did I impact…anybody?  Did I leave the world a better place, albeit a tiny fraction of a tiny corner? I hope so, and those questions will continue to drive me each day I awaken.


Thanks for reading!



Leave a Reply