Andy Ewington loves the freedom he has created in his life.
The 32-year-old OPEX CCP coach wakes up at 6:30 or 7 a.m. and spends a couple hours programming for and communicating with his 21 remote individual programming clients. Then he takes a break for a mid-morning workout.
After lunch, Ewington generally spends some time studying, constantly educating himself about all things health and fitness. Often the early afternoon is dedicated to more programming—or doing lifestyle consults or technical coaching sessions via video calls with his clients—and he wraps up his day by 4 or 5 p.m.
Though he mostly works with his clients remotely, Ewington, a Kiwi living in Dublin, Ireland, has met every single one of them in person. Further, he periodically does training sessions with his clients at a gym in Dublin, and sometimes he does their lifestyle consults in person over coffee, which he said has gone a long way in building stronger relationships with them.
The freedom his lifestyle has today was never available to him when he was coaching back-to-back group classes at a CrossFit gym, often pulling split shifts.
(Further Reading: Learn the difference between the OPEX Model and group classes here.)
“I was often forced into doing mornings and evenings because most people want to train before or after work, and I just couldn’t tolerate that life for long. I did it for three years and I was a zombie,” he said.
“Today, it’s a much more manageable schedule. And I like that I get to do things when I’m at my best. I am better in the mornings, so I like to do my programming then,” he said. He also loves that he has the luxury to train himself in the mid-mornings because he has learned if he leaves his training for too late in the day, he just doesn’t end up training.
This is exactly what used to happen when he coached split shifts, he said, and it’s what many coaches in the group class model often complain about: Somewhere along the way, they simply stop prioritizing their own fitness.
Not only does he have a sustainable lifestyle today, he said he also feels like his clients are receiving a better service from him now.
“It was really frustrating in the group. You kind of leave the clients in the dark a bit,” Ewington said. Meanwhile, the people who did become more educated about their bodies and the training program started to figure out they weren’t getting what they needed in the group, he added.
“When the clients became wise, they’d be like, ‘I shouldn’t be doing this,’ …But in the individual program design model, we really try to educate clients so they can look after themselves. They have so much more knowledge so they buy in a lot more,” Ewington said.
He added: “As a coach you can be more honest, too. You’re not selling something you know doesn’t work, so you can get fully behind it and your clients notice this as well.”
He credits his ability to run a remote individual program design business to what he learned from taking the OPEX Coaching Certificate Program (CCP).
Ewington went into the course expecting to learn a lot about program design, which he did, but what surprised him was how much he got out of the lifestyle consulting modules of CCP.
“I wasn’t that excited about the lifestyle stuff at the start, but I sort of fell in love with it. I learned so much about how to communicate with people, and how to work with them on realizing where they want to go and what they want to do, rather than trying to force something on them,” he said. Get an introduction to our approach to lifestyle consulting here.
Communicating this way with his clients wasn’t something that came naturally, he admitted.
“I’m a numbers geek so the programming stuff comes more naturally to me, but I actually find the consulting part the most rewarding. It’s a different feeling when someone has a breakthrough there,” he said.
“When you see someone get a personal best on a lift, that’s great, but when you see someone have an aha moment, when something clicks with their lifestyle, I think it’s where you can make a bigger difference in their lives.”
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