Email to a Client: Boot Camp Brainwash and Metabolic Repair

Well, in keeping with our theme of client emails this was a gem of reading.

Most people don’t realize that I do a lot of writing and the MAJORITY of my is answers my clients’ questions. So I try to be as thorough and detailed as possible when I answer back because I just don’t want my response to be, “Because I said so.” I want my clients to feel educated on the methods behind the madness. Below is a response to an e-mail from a client in regards to her starting her new program with me.

We were in the beginning stage of her NEW program and she was a bit disappointed because she didn’t sweat “her normal” amount that she had in other trainers’ programs (these were boot camp programs, so they were more of the “make you tired workouts”), and because of that, she felt that she didn’t get a great  workout from our session.

She was concerned about her ability to get results with this different style and just wanted a better idea of what the plan was again. I NEVER mind these kinds of emails, in fact, I enjoy them, because it forces me to realize that I can always do a better job explaining how at RTC we are different from just a workout and to help a client understand why we do what we do. So below is my response to her email.



Oooooooo this is going to be a long one so get some coffee 😉

I’ll wait… You back? Ok 🙂  …and before I go any further, I do appreciate your e-mail with questions. I don’t ever take any of this personal and in fact, I enjoy it because it lets me see into your mind about what you are wanting in addition to seeing how serious you are about this. 

Two things come to mind when I first read this:

1. You have been boot camp brainwashed (metaphorically speaking)

2. Inconsistencies with the program’s design and timeline

Boot Camp Brain Wash

The boot camp mindset is where the participant feels that in order to achieve their fitness goal, they must work hard and A LOT.

 I do agree with the working hard because it is a given that if you don’t bust your a$$, you won’t lose your a$$; but the argument that I have against the 5-7 days a week program is two parts:

  1. Is it a workout or is it a structured program?

  2. Are you allotted enough recovery time (piggybacks off the previous answer)

 Most boot camps are just workouts (there are SOME I have seen that I have been impressed by, don’t get me wrong) and with a lack of a program not being in place, the results that are delivered are sub-par from participant expectation. Honestly, admit that if you had the results you were looking for coming from boot camp you would not have decided to work with me.

 Remember, anyone can make you tired but NOT anyone can make you better.

 With that said, one of the BIGGEST things I see that get the boot campers is really a lack of recovery. There are some that can recover quickly from those workouts but those people most likely have a genetic advantage (I hate them too) or they don’t have as much of the stressors of everyday life such as you and I do; an example being they don’t have to work (I’m just jealous lol). Those individuals that fall into that category can get some good results with the camps but others aren’t always as lucky.

 Now, bring everything together so you don’t think I’m going on a big rant here, which I kinda am lol. What gets people feeling good about boot camps is the endorphin rush they get with a hard workout. We learn to love that addicting feeling we get with a good endorphin rush, its a chemical drug, and when we don’t get that fix we almost feel let down like we didn’t accomplish anything (sound familiar?)

 The issue comes when we seek the rush but we don’t get the result; in other words,we are looking for more of a fix.

 Trust me though, I understand! I still sometimes find myself seeking that rush as well! What I have found over time with clients and myself is that we end up looking more for the rush instead of result and results end up becoming compromised.

 How so?  Well, I’m glad you asked 😉

 There’s an inverse correlation with hard workouts and recovery. For every time that you have a “killer” workout, you need to factor in additional recovery to allow the body to compensate (get stronger, leaner).

 Make sense?

 Where a lot of classes fall short is that they don’t allow for the compensation mechanism to occur before they go back to beating up on the body again… and that is what causes a lot of burnout and sub-par results to occur with participants.

People don’t want to hear that, though. They don’t want to hear that they need an easier workout (what we sometimes call a “de-loading” workout) or a few days off because we don’t get that endorphin fix that we are accustomed too.

 Side Note: I wrote an article for a website a few years ago about this EXACT topic so forgive the rant. This is just something that I’m passionate about and obviously, have some strong opinions on how these programs should be run. Trust me, in January I AM launching my own program based around smart principles, not just “let’s see if I can’t make Sandy throw up” kind of mentality.

Inconsistencies with the program timeline 

This is where I’ll admit that we (you and I) have just had a rocky start. In all honesty, I’ve only had one chance to work with you before we were forced to relocate, and I do feel horrible for you because it has NOT allowed me to make the tweaks to the program in the early stages to jumpstart your body back up.

 Part of working with a new trainer is that there is a learning curve that both parties have to get through first. As of now, I’m learning what you like and your expectations and you’re beginning to understand some of the methods behind my madness.

Yesterday was, in my opinion, my first day that I really had a chance to work you and test out a new style (which I always will because I’m curious if a few tweaks can give you faster results) and see how your body responds. I can see that your form, technique and body awareness were not in alignment with the style of training that was implemented, and that’s OK! That’s how we learn.

 This is another reason I was pushing you so hard yesterday to come in today, to get you back to a style that I think would be better for you. As I work with you more, I get a chance to learn more of what your body likes, responds to and what does NOT work for it… at least not yet.

 So far, here are some things that I have noticed that I’ll need to address over time with you in helping get your body where it wants to be:

  1. Mind muscle connection needs to get better

  2. Certain hormones seem higher and others lower

Mind-Muscle Connection

We talked about this before and you brought this up.  Yes, this needs to get better and the bitch about it is that it can take some time. It takes lots of sets and reps for your to understand HOW a is supposed to feel when it’s being worked.

For your posterior chain (hamstring, glutes, back) and arms are the ones that stand out to me, which just means that we need to have you train these more often to develop a better connection and in turn better results with those muscles. Trust me I can fix that

Hormonal Irregularities

A person’s shape reveals all and can tell us if there are any hormones that we need to help modify to keep you from being held back.  After watching you yesterday, I saw a few key signs that let me know some things needs to be modified in your program to help with:

  • Slightly elevated cortisol levels

  • Estrogen levels may be a bit higher (do NOT take that personal if your estrogen level are out of recommended range, we tend to see people hold tissue in their hips and thighs)

  • Testosterone levels need to be higher (this will help with the estrogen as well)

Cortisol just means that your body is under some levels of stress, this could be emotional or physical (long hard workouts elevate cotisol levels, especially if done a LOT).

Estrogen is a must for the human body, but in my opinion, too high of levels makes dropping body fat and gaining muscle VERY hard. No supplements are needed, we just need to get you lifting heavier weights three, maybe four times a week. This will help elevate testosterone levels as well and that will get your estrogen and testosterone ratios back in alignment.  You will not get bulky; you don’t have the hormone levels to garnish bulk.

Program changes

Here are things that you can expect to see as of next week with your program:

  • Cycling in heavier weights 3-4 days a week

  • Thinking more along the lines of performance and NOT annihilation

  • 2-3 sprint/HIIT cardio days

  • Metabolic Repair

Metabolic Repair

I just wanted to touch on this one a bit.  After talking to you yesterday a few more things stood out to me. You work out more than I do (seriously I only train 4 days a week) and you train more than 90% of my clients… on top of that, you eat significantly less than most I recommend.  With you working out as much as you do, you SHOULD be allowed to eat more and STILL lose weight… it’s not happening the way you’re wanting though is it?

I think that your metabolism has slowed down a bit to where losing weight is becoming very difficult (which it is) so we need to slowly speed it back up.  This is a long process BUT very easily done and to be honest when everything is said and done, you’ll be much happier because you get to eat more food (good food, of course) and you’ll be leaner.

I’m not kidding about that, it’s not a myth its science.

How do we do this?  

First, send me a food journal on what you have eaten over the past 3-5 days or even further if you can remember. I already have an idea but this gives me a starting point to work with.

Ok, now I’m tired lol and I’m sure you’re tired of reading all of this. I hope this has helped give you a better understanding of what’s going on with the program and the ‘why’ behind the results (or lack of, in this case).

Just remember that we have just started working together and we haven’t had the easiest start either,  but I can assure you that it does get better the longer we work with one another.

I’m always happy to help and answer anything that is on your mind. So feel free to ask more questions today if you’re up for it 😉



In Health and Awesomeness,

Travis Merritt, BS, CPT, (and other letters behind the name) is the Owner of Rowlett Transformation Center in Rowlett, TX.

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