Jeff Cook began training at age 13 in the family garage with a weight set his parents purchased at Montgomery Wards. “It came with a large chart of all the various exercises you could do. The windows in our gravel floor garage didn’t open, so it seemed like it was 120 degrees for every workout. I didn’t have a bench so I used my Dad’s toolbox and a piece of carpet, so my elbows wouldn’t hit the ground when bench pressing. Not knowing, I did every exercise every workout and would go inside and tell my Mom how hard it was.”
So Jeff was bitten by the fitness bug. By age 27, Jeff had acquired enough equipment to have his own strength training gym and a number of trainees. Jeff had the pleasure of working with a family friend’s young daughter, Diana whom they felt had potential. She did. She ended up breaking the American squat record for females 16 – 18 at 127 lbs. “That was one of the many successes I shared in with those I trained. Among other things, it taught me to have a greater sensibility to 16 year old girls and their fluctuating emotional states – intermittent tears and anger.” It was tremendously rewarding.
We asked Jeff if he preferred working with one type or age group over another: “Athlete, non athlete, skilled or experienced in training and conditioning – it doesn’t matter. In fact, many of those who ‘work out’ have fallen in love with their workouts and seem confident in their training knowledge. It’s difficult to effectively train someone who already knows it all. So, the person I enjoy working with is the person who is driven to succeed and despite ANY obstacles will not quit or lose focus of their expressed goals.”
“True motivation is not something I can provide. Motivation is an inside job. I can foster and feed it, but it has to be there to begin with. I am a great trainer with decades of success. I am, however, not a miracle worker. Although each individual is unique and has their own needs and wants, those who succeed follow our agreed upon plan. The person who ignores their plan, which we have agreed upon together, will not achieve their goals They will probably be more physically and mentally fit, but their refusal to eat responsibly, not fanatically, will find limited success.”
Why make it your business model to work with individuals in the 40 – 60 age group, we asked. He responded: “A number of reasons: It’s difficult to help someone who, at age 25 already believes/knows more than I do, although I have been training and coaching people for longer than they have been alive. I have worked with many 20-30 years olds who have been very enjoyable to train. They wanted the knowledge and loved the results.”
“However, the 50 year old is different. Over the years of raising a family, career, life and it’s complexities, they have gradually seen their weight and health deteriorate. The challenge is where to go and how to get the help needed to reverse this trend. They don’t want to go to a ‘gym’ somewhere, not having a clue as to what to do, how much, how often, not wanting to risk injury, things to avoid (previous injuries, medications, etc.). They feel embarrassed and just are not going to stay with it through January of every year.”
“So, my ideal client is the adult who knows they need help and are willing to accept it. They want to invest in their life and their future. Additionally, a 50-60 year old knows that I understand life. Seriously, how can a 20 – 30 year old relate to being 50 or 60 or 70?”
“You know what counts? Injury free results. That’s it. You’re paying for training and doing your part and the results just aren’t there, or worse yet you get injured, that’s not a good trainer. One final point on my record as a trainer with older adults: I have NEVER hurt or caused a client to get injured, that’s a record I am very proud of.”