It was while playing as a walk-on football player at the University of Missouri where Steven Mack discovered his passion for health, fitness and the well being of the human body. After discovering how to transform his own body and helping others transform theirs, he set off on his journey that led him to found Simple Solutions Fitness.
Simple Solutions is a semi-private fitness environment with the individual in mind. Mack specializes in 1-on-1 training with his clients and establishes attainable goals for the betterment of their long-term health. Mack is a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist with a Bachelor’s Degree in health sciences. Brayton Wilson got the chance to catch up with Mack and learn about his business in Columbia, Missouri, and discuss his close interactions with his clients using specialized programs from CoachMePlus.
I started writing programs in a notebook, which was somewhat organized because I would basically write everybody’s program and then fill it in as I went. It was extremely tedious. I didn’t want to do Excel, so I started looking for other platforms. I settled on a competitor and it seemed like it had everything I needed, but there were just different pieces missing.
I felt like CoachMePlus was better than the other program at certain things. They’ve been super helpful. They’ve tailored it to the needs of what I feel like I need to get accomplished. That is tracking people’s workouts, making sure that it’s straightforward and simple for them, and it’s easy for me to access all the data. Being able to track trends over time with the weight display is something that I hadn’t seen on any other platform yet. That’s super helpful because I can look at a lot of things just at a glance.
Once I saw the questionnaires, I thought that was awesome too because it would get at what I was trying to accomplish. I was going to try and piece together all the same things that were found in one platform.
What type of facility do you run, and how many clients do you normally work with?
I like to keep things as individual as I possibly can. It’s a private studio environment. People can see me strictly by appointment, and I go anywhere from one person to no more than four. The reason why I do that is because of the individual attention. My youngest client right now is eleven, and my oldest client is 77. Everybody’s got a different individualized program suited towards a different goal, and that’s something that CoachMePlus has helped me with tremendously. I’m able to give everybody something that fits them and meets them where they’re at now as opposed to having a generalized group workout. I’m able to deliver it repeatedly to this person until it doesn’t deliver results anymore, and then I have to change something else. Or maybe I start off with this program and I make modifications because this person has got an issue with their knee, or this guy just had shoulder surgery so I need to change the program. Maybe this person’s not feeling good today so I need to adjust it. Then we’re able to do it that way. It’s all very small.
How long have you been working with some of your clients? Have you had a lot of long-term clients, or do you have more short-term programs?
I do three, six and 12-month agreements, but I’ve actually had some clients with me basically from the very beginning. One of my clients has been with me for around 13 months. I have another guy who’s been with me for 15 months. Our retention has been pretty good. I’ve lost maybe five clients since I started business in February of 2015. It’s less than 10.
What is it that you enjoy most about working as a fitness professional?
It is typically seeing people reach their goal. It’s going to be different for everybody. I recently got super excited just looking at how one woman with PCOS (Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome) lost eleven pounds and she’s doing great. My 77-year old client fell down at one point on a run with his daughter in the park. One day, he stands up in a business group and starts talking about how he was feeling strong, feeling good and how he didn’t think he would’ve been able to recover from that fall as quickly as if we weren’t working out together. I was touched by that. I had a guy who had been with his wife for 15 years, and he knew they were going to be on a beach in Mexico at some point. He’d look at her and feel so proud to be with her, and he wanted her to feel the same way. I’ve helped him and his wife and it’s been awesome every step of the way. Being able to point to a specific fitness point is always great when someone comes in and they get in way better shape and they’re able to do things that they weren’t before. They’re excited about it. Hearing about the stuff that they don’t do while they’re with me is even better.
How have you been able to interact with your clients using CoachMePlus?
CoachMePlus is very helpful because I can take a program that works very well for beginners, fit it to that person and individualize it if need be. I’ll do some testing with someone and figure out where they’re at right now, put them through a beginners programs and take it from there where I can individualize it using CoachMePlus. General programs work very well for a while until they need to be individualized even further. I can create a program based on solving a problem and use CoachMePlus to deliver it repeatedly to that person and bring it back around. If I want to use different programming styles, I don’t have to reinvent the wheel. I can go into CoachMePlus, deliver that same program to that person and that works out well.
It’s also worked out where I have people that can handle higher volumes. I can track and write a workout where their volume’s increasing over the cycle using CoachMePlus without actually meeting with them on some days. They may miss an appointment, but they can still track and log their workout. I can still communicate with them, put something in CoachMePlus and tell them to do certain workouts. It’s worked seamlessly.
So it seems like you’re able to use the program just as effectively outside of the gym than you were with someone at the facility.
That’s correct. I’ve also been able to expand business in that I can help more people who maybe can’t afford to see me as often. I’ve got some people that can only afford to see me once a week, but they still want to work with me and I still want to help them. Maybe it’s their schedule; maybe it’s their budget. But they come in; I make sure they can do all the exercises themselves, and CoachMePlus allows me to continue to coach them, work with them and to help them get better without actually having to physically be there with them. We can communicate on what’s going on and what kind of changes we need to make and to monitor that situation that way.
Has CoachMePlus helped increase your engagement with your clients?
It allows me more time to communicate with my clients and focus on enriching our relationship. Now that I’m not spending time reinventing the wheel or doing the same things over and over again, I’m able to use the system to write things and deliver them very quickly. It saves me a lot of time on the weekends, so now I can spend more time learning, talking and communicating with clients and getting to help them. This gives me more time to actually coach them and to talk to them about what they have going on.
Is it challenging to retain your clients? How does CoachMePlus help keep your clients on track and keep up with their progressions?
As long as you can prove that you’re getting great results with people, that’s not necessarily an issue. As far as showing people that they are getting better, it makes things a lot easier. If your goal is to lose weight, we want to track that trend over time. You have your chart on CoachMePlus, and your weight is trending this in direction. If I can pull up a graph and show them what their weight has been doing over the past few weeks, they can start to understand how these different parts of the process are playing into it. Being able to show people their numbers, their history, all of that has been great. A lot of people like when they’re able to see their history and see that they’re using more weight than they did before. It’s another added layer of measurement. You want to take as many baselines as you possibly can and track all of that.
How much of a time saver has CoachMePlus been for you? You have to have a little bit more time to enjoy life now that your data can be charted and plotted out for you.
It’s a huge time saver. I used to have a Sunday routine where I would sit down and spend the entire day from 7 a.m. till, some days, 5 p.m. or 6 p.m. writing programs and thinking about what was going on there, making sure that I had that done. When they weren’t written out and ready for me to go, it took that much time. Now that I’ve got several sets of programs that I know work effectively to accomplish different things, it saves me all that time because I can literally just insert all the programs to that client in about five minutes.
While you’re in a facility, does that extra time allow you to work more with your clients on an individual basis?
It allows me to learn more. That’s the majority of what I end up doing with my time. It either allows me to work more on my business, or it allows me to spend more time learning about how I can help the clients I’m already serving even better.
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