Meet Alex Boettcher: A talented fitness coach with a unique style
What are you known for and what do you do professionally?
I’ve been a fitness coach for about 10 years now. The vast majority of that time has been spent working with people new to gyms and fitness. One of my first clients told me the thing I did better than any trainer she had hired (and she had hired a lot over the years,) was that I was first one who really listened and heard her. I still think about that almost every day and it leads my method to be more of a team effort. I watch and give suggestion and/or correction and you feel and communicate the good, the bad, and the ugly. Then we come together and make sure we’re on the right path.
What makes you unique from other practitioners?
I’m not a drill sergeant. I won’t yell at you to do one more. I’m not going to try to leave you wrecked or too sore to stand after a session. In fact, when you’re done with a session with me you should feel better and more energized than when you walked in. That’s not to say we don’t work hard, I just keep a firm hand on the intensity of the session so you can make progress over the long run. You can grab a random person off the street and tell them to make you tired and it’ll work. People work with me want more than that.
What is your professional story/background? How did you choose your profession, why do you do what you do?
I definitely happened upon fitness serendipitously. I started lifting in my 20s after I inherited a bench press bench, a barbell and some weights. Very quickly I found I couldn’t stop reading about all aspects of it. While I never went to school specifically for it (I was always good at math and science so I had a good background in biology, physics, and chemistry,) I was fortunate to be exposed to incredible, passionate strength and conditioning coaches. These coaches were putting out regular articles before “content creation” was a term widely used. I was quickly able to get certified through NASM after a little studying on top of the reading I had already done.
What are three things you want clients to know?
1) If you’re going to make a habit change, make it easy. I’ve heard the same story far too many times. Someone wants to make changes and they try to overhaul their entire life. To their credit they probably have an example of someone who did what they are and it worked for them or maybe they did it in the past. The far likely outcome is each individual change is harder and takes more time out of their day than they anticipated. Compounding several things like that leads to spectacular failure, which can lead to shame and demotivation to try again. Do one thing, do it as consistently as makes sense (if taking lunch to work 5 days a week didn’t work or won’t work, do 3, 2, or 1), and reflect on how you feel when you succeed at the new habit. Ask yourself, did you feel good? Awesome. Did it feel bad? Then maybe we need to reassess.
2) Act as if. Are you trying to get to the gym today but don’t have the motivation? Put your gym bag or a change of clothes in the car. On the way home, plan a route that takes you close to the gym. Park for a second. Walk in the door. Do your warmup. If you do your warmup and everything still feels bad, go home. If committing to the whole deal is too much today, commit to each step one by one. I find that 9 times out of 10 once someone finishes their warmup, they’ll do the whole workout.
3) Listen to your body. As an addition to the above tip, if you do your warmup and you still don’t feel good, go home. If you can, replace that gym time with some other form self care (walk, sit and stare at the horizon, do a few minutes of breathing exercises, journal).
The above three things address the vast majority of difficulties people encounter when adding a gym routine to their life.
What inspires you most in life and in your profession?
Seeing people succeed doing the thing they love and people using novel approaches to solving a problem. It’s addicting for me to listen to someone who’s passionate about their hobby or profession talk about the incredible nuance of the thing they love. It definitely helps if I’m interested in it too like when I’m listening to Mike Robertson talk about coaching, Brett Bartholemew talk about communication, or Matt Mercer talking about world building, but I could honestly listen to a biologist talk about wetlands ecosystem or a sailor talk about knots just about as easily as long as they love doing it.
Another thing that inspires me is seeing people exploring novel ways of solving problems especially if it doesn’t work. Not everything needs a new or novel approach and there will always be a place for the method that has worked, but you will never know if there is a better method or even a situational method if you don’t explore. The world of fitness moves so fast since it is a relatively young science. I can’t tell you how many seemingly silly or unimportant things that I initially wrote off, that I would later pick up and use or would guide large portions of my development as a coach. If I did everything the way I did it when I started 10 years ago and held the same beliefs and values as I did 10 years ago, I would be a pretty bad coach.
Here is a recent review from one of Alex’s clients:
“I have had chronic lower back pain throughout my adult life, which has limited my ADLs in recent years. I have tried massage, acupuncture, circuit training, and many years of physical therapy. Massage and acupuncture, while great for temporary relief, did not have long term benefits. PT exercises often left me with worse symptoms and a need for lengthy recovery time.
Then, a year ago, I was told I needed back surgery (fusion) if I wanted my pain to go away, and I was certainly a candidate for spinal steroid shots. Instead, with a combination of massage (Greg), acupuncture (Kileen), and a couple months of REST I was able to reset. Now, personal coaching with Alex is helping me reprogram my body and mind so I can take on the second half of my life with a renewed since of hope and physical resilience. No pain! No shots! No surgery!
What is different about Personal coaching this time? Alex is different! First of all, I actually enjoy my one-on-one workouts with Alex…I look forward to them and feel energized when I leave (that hasn’t happened since I was 17). I attribute this to several factors (aka Alex magic): he is a lovely human; he paces the sets in a way that feels easy even though strenuous; he truly fine tunes movements that match how my body is or isn’t working; movements in workouts are exactly like movements I do in real life, so I can tell muscle memory is being formed; I’m not having to hijack or manipulate my psychology because I’m actually feeling stronger and more confident every day, which keeps me motivated (never had this happen before).
After just one month working with Alex, I’m stronger and feel better than I have in years. I’m tackling activities I couldn’t do at all a year ago. I’m looking forward to seeing what my body can do instead of cursing it for failing me.
All this is to say…I’m a tough client and Alex and the rest of the team at Well Balanced have been instrumental in keeping me living my life how I want to be able to, which is active and moving. Huzzah!”
Article written by Alex Boettcher
Interview questions by Kileen Swenson MAOM