Take a moment to think about your riding. We pretty much all have something we can improve upon, from fundamentals all the way up to advanced bike handling skills. It’s the time of year where we all make plans for our summer of riding, and I would like to think I can convince a few of you to add “Take a mountain bike clinic” to your list of summer must-do’s.

I find it rather baffling, there is a very clear split in those who feel doing skills clinics and sessions is money well spent versus those who don’t see value. I’ve noticed some correlation in skill level to perceived benefit of taking skills sessions, so I figured I’d take the time to clear this up and explain why everyone should spend time (and yes money) on some coaching. I mean, the best of the best mountain bikers have coaches and trainers, so why wouldn’t we?

I’m feeling a little nostalgic, it has now been a little over 10 years since I started my change of life journey, and that also means almost 10 years of being a Personal Trainer. So, for the sake of nostalgia, I decided to go over a few things I have learned in that time.

What worked for me doesn’t necessarily work for my client:

Like everyone, I have a unique personality. I have been referred to as a Type-A Australian on a couple of occasions–like that was supposed to mean something specific. But jokes aside, everyone responds differently to a change in lifestyle: our motivations, our fears, what gets us off the couch and exercising. One program and one approach won’t work for everyone, so it’s truly important to listen to what my client wants and find ways that would encourage and support them.

Exercise is more than just weight loss and increased fitness

I always knew that exercising more made you stronger and faster, but it does so much more. It also makes you happier. For me personally, it got me through the darkest time in my life and then I watched it help other people. Exercise will improve your mood and make you feel so much more positive about yourself, it can help with illness, and it can fix poor posture from hours sitting at a desk.

When given a little support and encouragement people can achieve great things

Sometimes the smallest bit of encouragement can help a person reach their goals by building them up with positive feedback. Celebrate their small wins and watch them grow and achieve their larger goals. Although it seems so obvious to me, over the years I have seen plenty of examples of the opposite of this happening.

Keep it simple, always

Doing a single-legged squat to overhead press to reverse lunge—all while balancing on a BOSU ball—is probably not beneficial to 98% of the population… but hell, I bet the client thinks it must be cool because it’s complex! I don’t need to go into much more detail here as I know I have expressed my opinion on keeping workouts (and the exercises in them) simple and relevant. The best results I ever see in clients come from simple programs that they can stick to and enjoy.

There is no “quick Fix”

Over the years, I’ve seen—and even tried—several different guaranteed ways to quickly achieve a goal. Maybe it was a quick drop in weight, or perhaps it was a large strength gain, in an unusually short time frame. It never works like advertised. There is no true quick fix to a healthier happier you. It takes time, hard work and perseverance, and it’s also not always linear. Some weeks we have great success, others we even take a step back, but if you keep working towards that end goal, you’ll get there eventually.

Getting clients to exercise is easy, getting them to eat right, not so much

I learned early on that exercise is the easy part, it’s eating properly that is hard. This is doubly compounded when clients aren’t as honest as you’d like them to be about their food habits. Food is so much more to people than just fuel: it’s emotional and it’s comforting. I am sure that half the time they don’t even intentionally lie about what they are eating, they just don’t even think about it. Food, like breathing, is habitual. Getting clients to honestly evaluate what they are putting into their bodies is the hardest thing I usually have to do as a trainer.

Rule number 5 still applies

Sometimes, you just need to harden the fuck up. Sorry, no need to be offended, but it’s true. I wrote a whole article about that you can find it on the website.

Not a definitive list, but certainly some things that have stood out to me over the years. How can this help you? Honestly, I’d say work with a trainer that understands these principles, who’s number one goal is helping you get the best out of yourself, and who wants to help you reach your goals.

Author Bio

Jaclyn Delacroix is a Professional Mountain Bike Coach, Internationally Certified Personal Trainer, and owner of Ozmosis Training. She is passionate about helping other people realize and achieve their goals. She holds skills clinics, teaches bike maintenance, and is involved in trail building and maintenance in the Lower Mainland of Britsh Columbia.