I tried out a new pizza place last week that has been getting great reviews. The friend I was with first said he wanted to try everything because they all sounded amazing, but then he suggested their Margherita pizza. He went on to point out that the Margherita is only 3 ingredients (tomato sauce, mozzarella, basil). How well they can make a Margherita is a great measuring stick of how well they can make a pizza. Extra ingredients can make for a tasty pizza, but it can also mask a mediocre base. But a place that can make a piece of heaven out of three ingredients? That is mastery.
What a great point, and a truth that goes beyond pizza. I think it is fair to say that espresso is the margherita pizza of a coffee shop. If they can’t make a great espresso, then nothing else matters, although the syrup and milk will partially hide a bad espresso in a caramel frappuccino, if you start with great espresso, everything based on it will be better.
So we can judge a pizzeria on how well they make a Margherita pizza, and a coffee shop on their espresso. What about your profession? I am wondering this myself. There are a lot of personal trainers out there, and a lot of gyms. Each has their own menu of offerings, and their own specialties. But what is that basic, simple, product or service or behaviour that we offer that really defines our performance?
Can we say it’s “the big 3”? How well we, or more importantly, our clients can squat, bench press and deadlift? Or is the FMS (Functional Movement Screen) the standard – how well our clients move? Maybe it should be more basic: pushups, pullups and squats? Or substitute single-leg squats for squats?
Is it even right to measure the quality of a gym or a trainer by how well their clients do an exercise? Or is it about how much energy we have? Or how hard our clients are working? Is it a factor of our demeanor? How much weight they lose? Some of these feel like outcomes instead of fundamentals. I started this blog post thinking that I would present the margherita pizza of personal training. And obviously, it would be brilliant. Truthfully, I am stumped. Maybe that is a reflection that my elevator pitch needs work. Or maybe it’s a reflection that it is hard to measurably define a great trainer. In fact, maybe this ties in to why most people in the market for personal training products and services can’t tell that there there is a
worlduniverse of difference in quality between Jillian Michaels and Michael Boyle.
I wish I had the answer, but I don’t. So I’m asking what you think is the answer. This is a question for both the trainers and the training public:
What is the margherita pizza of personal training?
Please post your answer or thoughts as a comment below.
I’ll follow up with another blog post with a summary and impressions of the comments.
PS – We opted to share two personal pizzas: the margherita and then one with pear, prosciutto, pesto and goats cheese. The understated and the overstated. Both were great, but we both preferred the Margherita. Simplicity done well is a beautiful thing.