How do you get a Lone Wolf to stay with the Pack? - Oxygen Strength and Fitness

How do you get a Lone Wolf to stay with the Pack?

How do you get a Lone Wolf to stay with the pack?

I have been in the fitness industry for over 30 years. Managed teams of gym instructors across various sites and I have been running my own gym business for the past 9 years. I have an extensive Personal Training clientele. In my private life I have competed for 19 years as a Powerlifter. And up until now it’s been just that, a private endeavour away from business and people where I can just be myself and let off a bit of steam.

For many years my sport has battled against other sports to be given the recognition it truly deserves. As when I began working in this industry pumping iron and Jane Fonda workout were everyone’s idea of the fitness industry. Now with the rise of social media platforms strength training in many forms has helped to increase the popularity of Powerlifting with everyone discussing there Wilks score and Squat, Bench and Deadlift 1 rep max. Directly as a result of this we have seen the demand for knowledge about powerlifting increase from our members. So much so that the majority of my clients are now coached or programmed for powerlifting instead of weight loss and/or body transformation.  In one way this is a break through moment that allows me to be surrounded by like-minded people who share my passion for the sport. In another it now means I have to share something that I always used to escape to, to rejuvenate, to recharge and my business and private life are merging together.

It’s like going home!

For me competing in Powerlifting is like going home!   Last weekend I had to merge the Competitor Ian and Coach Ian. I took a team of 6 members to compete at the GPCGB British Finals in Bristol as well as compete myself. Three days of intense competition, weigh ins, pre comp nerves, warm ups, being where you need to be on time, coaching outside of the safety of my own gym with my peers looking on. Doesn’t sound that hard does it? Pressure! Bear in mind my usual routine for competitions is to arrive weigh in and not appear until you need to lift on competition day and then disappear straight away is turned into being on call for 6 others over 3 days and trying to lift as best as you can in the middle of that, there’s a serious degree of stress for this introvert!

So, as any good Coach would do, I reflected back over the weekend. What went well? What could improve? What changes did I now need to put in place going forward?

I need time away from people!

Guess what I don’t like people. “Whoah! Wait a minute. That’s not true, I’ve seen how well organised and professional you are with people”. Well, the real me is a bit of an introvert, very relaxed and doesn’t like noise or attention of the personal kind. I quietly go about my business and let that speak for itself. In training I am a Lone Wolf who likes to be left alone to do his thing, not because I think I am a bad ass but that I don’t want to be singled out by people or fingers pointed at. All of these things are my self-coping mechanisms that I have had since being a teenager and feeling uncomfortable in social settings.

So, how did I cope? I must admit it was a challenging weekend and I did have a few moments where I struggled. In all, my best coping strategy was honesty with my team. Telling them when I needed space and giving them clear direction on what to do without me to ensure they got the most from the weekend. Very simply it all worked positively and helped the team gel together without me. I realise my team are more capable than I gave them credit for.   I feel proud to know I have given them the tools so they can go out into the big bad Powerlifting world and not just survive but thrive.

I found strength in the fact that my performance on the platform was motivation for them. I have seen areas of my interpersonal skills that could be improved to better work with my team and get the best out of each individual.

The weekend also taught me that in order to truly serve my team I need to compete separately. I am unable to switch my “Coach Head” off! To truly excel in my sport for myself this separation is needed. Selfish? Completely and utterly… YES, with no apologies.

My team wouldn’t want it any other way either. We are in it together to support each other to excel in whatever way works best for each individual. So maybe I’m not the Lone Wolf anymore but more of the Wolf leading the Pack.

In summary I’ve taken a lot away from this weekend not negating the fact that as a team we came away with a few British and World records with plans afoot already for World Domination!

So the question was “How do you get a Lone Wolf to stay with the pack?”

Answer: You set him free…