David Bergwerf explains how he personally tailors coaching programs to suit is clients, either in the gym on via his online coaching program, after understanding exactly what drives then, where they have been and where they want to go.
To hear the full interview, simply press play button below (make sure your volume is turned up).
Apologies for the sound quality…technology let us down on the day.
Or if you prefer to read the transcript of the full interview, see below –
Rod: Welcome everyone. Rod from Sports Adventure here. Today I continue our fantastic interview series where I interview inspirational people from around the world to share their expert insights on good nutrition, mountain biking and men’s health.
My guest today has been in the health and fitness industry for over eight years. He’s a columnist, a guest public speaker, a keynote presenter, author, brand model and has trained many celebrities.
He’s created an online personal training website under his own name for those who struggle to find a place for health and fitness, for the time poor and shift workers, for those without gym memberships and for those who just want to lose weight.
Today I’d like to welcome bodybuilder and personal trainer David Bergwerf. Welcome, David.
David: Oh, thank you so much. Glad to be here. And thanks for the wonderful intro.
Rod: No worries at all, mate. Just checking out your website and a few things you’ve done. You’ve got a very impressive past, mate. It’s extraordinary. You should be congratulated.
David: Oh, thank you. Yeah, it’s been crazy, you know. I don’t really remember half of what I’ve done. I just know that it’s been a little bit incredible to get here, so yeah, thanks. I should have another look at it.
Rod: Yeah, good on you. Well done. Now we’ll kick it off. For you, what’s so good about being a fitness coach or a personal trainer?
David: Well, it is a tough and very draining job and it’s one that has long hours and you’re always giving but the glory of it I suppose is just to be able to see the change in the people that you interact with every day, the people that you invest your time and effort in. When you see that you’re actually changing someone, that you’re helping their life, I think that’s the greatest thing–is to feel that you’re actually doing something out there as opposed to, you know, if you’re in some other industry and you’re just doing it to make ends meet. I suppose the good thing about coaching or PT’ing is that you’re helping people and they love you for it, which is also–it’s a big, love job, you know.
David: Yeah. It’s just great just to see them thank you and the thanks that they give you is also an amazing part of the job.
Rod: No, that’s terrific. Well done. Can you give us a bit of background–how you got involved and how you kicked off? And what led you to become such an expert?
David: Well, it’s sort of something that evolved over time. I got into a gym at a very early age of nine years old when my dad was sick and my mom took over his gym membership and I found me and my brother both here at the gym and while she was going to get a massage and we’d basically get knocked around in the gym and then it sort of took off from there. Then we became the big junior and senior sports champion of the school that we were in and then I took on like when we had electives for the school of what kind of sport you want to do, I chose to go to the gym. And from the gym there was always the bigger guys there or the guy that was injured and they’d begin to personal train me and be my first kind of coaches.
David: And then I would take other friends to the gym. I know it’s what happens to everyone that goes to the gym these days except it wasn’t as broad as it is now. And then basically another ten years or another fifteen years went on and I became about 28 years of age and that’s when I saw people starting to be employed or you know make a business out of it and I suppose I thought I would jump into it. And didn’t really know how much I could help somebody or how far it would go but basically since then it’s just been improving, improving and improving on things that work for people. And this year–I’m in my ninth year prescribing exercises and prescribing foods and what works for people.
Rod: Yeah. Terrific. Well done, mate. You’re very experienced and got a lot of knowledge to offer people there, so that’s surperb.
David: Yeah, well, basically those people have taught me everything. It’s like person after person seeing ten people a day. And it’s not like you’re just prescribing something and letting them do it themselves; you are doing that part also. You’re doing it with them and you see if you give out one prescription how that–like an exercise prescription, like some sort of exercise, and you see how that performs on different body types and different people and different mentalities. And you see the kind of response that you get back. So this taught me everything that I know. And basically over time you start to see patterns like and things that might have worked on somebody else. And see those patterns reoccurring so you have this large library of prescriptions which might work for a person and I suppose you just get luckier and luckier about prescribing the right mix.
Rod: Yes. Certainly, mate. I like your approach. It’s not a one size fits all type thing. It is quite personalized as you said. Your experiences allowed you to guide people depending on those patterns and things, and help them get the best results which is fantastic.
David: Yeah, absolutely.
Rod: Yeah. Mate, what would you say if there was a bloke out there–he had a bit of a health scare or went to the doctor and things aren’t looking too good for him–what would you say would be the best way for him to get started to turn his health and fitness around?
David: Well, I get this a few times, you know, like what do you say to somebody that I don’t know. And I suppose the last question as well it’s all about tailoring so I can’t give him any advice until I know him. So basically what I would do is I would get to know him.
And I would have a consult with him and I’d try to break down exactly what drives him, exactly where they’ve been, where they are now and we would try to decide exactly where we want to go.
So if they’re at a point where they are now and we can say okay, this is where you are and they agree and we go okay, and so exactly where you want to go and try to define that as well and then from where we are to where you want to go we build a path and we agree on saying okay, well this is going to be the type of approach that we’re going to try first. Will that work for you? And then we keep on finding anything that will hinder that path, that will get in the way, if we have like a holiday or they have a wedding or they have got some sort of event that are going to be into play if the have a doctor procedure but what I would say to that person is look for a coach, one that you like and you can get along with and stick with that person. And guide each other to the way that you want to go.
Rod: Yeah, certainly. No, that’s superb. And this question is how long is a piece of string, but what sort of time do you see it would take someone that’s quite committed, quite dedicated to really start to get the benefits out of some of your coaching?
David: Normally, because I work with food as well, the results are normally quite immediate.
As soon as I get a hold of the person and I’m talking to them in that first consult, I might say, okay, I think I’ve got you. I think I understand you. I’ve got you. And that’s what people want, they want to be able to be led.
They want to know that somebody has got them. And I won’t lie to them. If I don’t understand them, I’ll keep on picking away at what’s inside them, what makes them tick until–I’ll keep asking them questions until I’ve got what makes them tick. And where–exactly where they want to go. And then I’ll be a mirror for them and I’ll say is this you? And then I’ll explain who they are, and where they are and where they want to go back to. And they’ll say, yes, that is me. And then I’ll say, okay, well, I’ve got you. I know exactly what to do with you, or so I think. I know how to get started. And then they have that hope in them, you know. Everything they’ve tried before didn’t work. They’ve tried to do it their own way, it didn’t work. They’ve tried to buy something off the shelf like your Weight Watchers, Jenny Craig, Lite ‘n Easy or something, some $5.00 shake plan or whatever it is off the Internet. Anything that’s not tailored and for some people but maybe it didn’t work for this person. For whatever reason, whatever didn’t work for them, if I think that I can help them, then they go okay. I’ve got hope again. And so once again, that sparks a fire up for them, too, so there’s that immediate kind of approach. And then I will, once they do a questionnaire for me and I start writing out programmes and foods and shopping lists and all this for them and then I give it to them, they know that all they have to do is follow that and they’ll be A-OK. They’re on their way to victory.
Rod: Yeah. Terrific.
David: And it’s true, it’s done.
David: So as soon as they start their meal planning and their food shopping, which starts at the immediate from–as soon as they start to eat the food they–and then they get into exercise. And then exercise is a slow, snowballing effect that compounds. And I’m once more the sweeper that comes on and shows my face in three months time. So yes, it is immediate but the glory just keeps coming I suppose. And that’s a big part of it.
Rod: Yeah, mate, that’s superb. You’ve been doing this for some time now. Would you have any real life examples of some of your clients that have followed your coaching and some of the results they’ve experienced? You must have a lot of tales to tell, there?
David: Yeah, well, on my website www.davidbergwerf.com.au look at the testimonials part, those testimonials are what I have grabbed in the last 18 months. Before that, I’ve had transformations and testimonials but I just haven’t been good enough to be able to capture them. So like yes, I do and from what the people out there can see is just what’s on the testimonial page on my website.
Rod: Yeah, terrific. No, that’s fantastic, mate. If you had a secret to give to listeners about personal training and coaching for people wanting to kick off and start a new life–turn their health and fitness around, what would that secret be for anyone starting off?
David: I would say ask around for your five fittest friends and ask them all for a referral to a PT, and have a look at them and get a feel for them and then basically–the hardest thing for a lot of them–I mean they might be making this decision for the last two years and basically they have to pick up their phone, get the number out and just text them and say, Hey, I’ve been thinking about PT and that’s all they need to do. The coach will take it from there. But basically they just have to text hey, I was thinking about PT. That’s all they need to do.
Rod: Certainly. Mate, I noticed on your website you’ve got a number of different programmes there. Can you explain a little bit how a personalized, one-on-one coaching session with you, say in a gym in Newcastle, Australia would be, as opposed to being coached by you online?
David: So basically, if someone was to come on with me on one-on-one, they get the online coaching as well. So the online coaching is basically meal planning and exercise programming.
So I’ll make a meal plan for them based on what they like and what they don’t like, what’s going to work for them, and I get that via questionnaire. So they make a questionnaire, I make a meal plan and exercise programme for them and then I will coach them via text, email, phone call to make sure–and they might take a video of the exercise to make sure everything’s okay, and then each four weeks, they will get a new plan. When it comes to one-on-one, they get exactly the same thing, except that I’ll probably see them an average of once or twice a week and I’ll take them through their plan. So they get the detailed work there, where yes, I’ll have a look at their week that they’re going through, and then I’ll also take them through the exercise that they’re going to do today. And then through that exercise, I’ll basically–I’ll just keep on touching up the form on all the exercises and say, “Oh, I like how you’re doing it, but this is how you can do a better one and make all the weights feel a little bit heavier than what they’re used to”. And basically, just the devil is in the detail when it comes to one-on-one. And just making–over time, making each of their exercises a little bit tighter and a little bit more beneficial.
Rod: Mate, that’s superb. It’s great you’re able to provide that personalized coaching if someone as I said is in the gym with you in Newcastle or on the other side of the world in the USA.
David: Yeah, another aspect of PT’ing is the mentality side of it.
And I find that what stops a lot of people getting to where they need to go is basically themselves.
You know, they’ll find a reason to not do what they tell themselves that they’re going to do. And because, once again, I’ve had exposure to a lot of these people that keep on falling off the horse, so to speak, I continue to find ways to motivate them to get back on the horse and to keep going, or reasons to not just let it all fail. So where people–they’ll strive for perfection and then if something interrupts it, they fall down to failure, making that the reason to not keep going–because okay, they’ve failed once again; why keep going if I keep failing? So yes it is two steps forward and one step back and then another two steps forward again. And basically I show them the reason why it’s important to get back on the horse as fast as possible. And that mentality part of the coaching is one of the most important aspects to coaching as apart from what you can just see on the paper.
Rod: Yes, certainly. Now you’re spot on that mindset is so important, and once someone falls off the wagon, it’s so important just to keep that focus and as you said, two steps forward, one back, but just to keep moving forward. Sometimes in our day to day life it’s hard to be healthy, it’s hard to be fit. Because there are so many challenges out there on the telly and in the supermarket that take us away from a healthy diet and all that sort of things. So to keep people focused with that mindset is so important. Yeah.
David: Absolutely, yeah. I think that another part of my job is keep all the cogs to the wheels turning. Now, like I might see somebody once a week, but there’s only once a week for one hour and then the rest of the week, they’ve got to do this by themselves. So I’ve got to text them, I’ve got to make sure that their plan that I give them for the rest of the week is tight so it keeps those wheels turning. Have you ever seen on stage in the old days they had those big–like a performer on stage and he had those broomstick handles and then on top of it they had those spinning plates–on the top of the broom?
Rod: Yes! Yes.
David: That’s sort of like the job that we have. And it might have like six broomsticks with six plates on top of them and they’re all spinning. And we’ve got to go around and make sure they all just keep on spinning. And that’s the job we have. We have to just keep on making sure that they keep on moving forward day after day, day after day. Make sure that nothing is stopping them. And that’s sort of the job–is the performer that just keeps on keeping plates spinning.
Rod: Yeah. Terrific, mate. That’s a great analogy. Well done. Now where can people find more information about personal training?
David: Personal training in general? Just basically Google search personal training in your area. That will be–and then after that you might want to narrow your search down to if you’re after strength training or if you’re after crossfit or if you’re after some sort of running kind of specialist, or if you are after some sort of fat loss specialist so maybe you’re into yoga or whatnot, but–I mean, some personal trainers may or may not have a website but you probably find that if they do have the website they’re probably a little bit more established and have a little bit more experience up their sleeve and therefore when an individual–a new individual comes across their path, that person might be able to tailor or might be able to cater to that person. But I would say look for the website.
Rod: Yeah, mate, that’s a great suggestion, because there’s certainly not one type of exercise that suits everyone, and you rattled off a couple of different options there. So there is certainly plenty of variety out there for those that want to try something a bit different. Or if they’re not sure what it is, try a couple of different things until they find one that suits them and they feel happy and comfortable and rewarded by and go with it.
David: Well, that’s exactly right. When you talk to people about exercise, and I mean you and I, we’re in the world of exercise, so everyone exercises that we know. But if you take yourself out of the bubble that we’re in, we choose exercise and out in the normal world where you know, it’s all beers and barbecue and take out and that’s like a daily thing, where people would say I don’t like exercise, you know? I don’t like healthy food. I just like what I do, you know, which is basically normal society and they think we’re strange.
Rod: Yep. You’re spot on.
David: But I believe there’s exercise for everybody, and it’s just about finding what works for that type of person. And I think everyone works on a different frequency. Everyone likes a different type of music which sure runs on a different type of frequency because that’s in harmony with the way that their body vibrates.
So there are all different types of exercise run on a different kind of frequency as well. So the weight training that I do is very hard and very heavy and it’s very aggressive, and that suits the people that are very driven, very power related and they have those powerful jobs and they like that aggression, that grrr. But there’s also people that likes yoga or something that isn’t like a sprint, unlike a sprint, that’s something that’s fast, then rest, then fast, then you rest, where something which is more endurance would benefit that type of person as well. Yeah, I think about the match making definitely.
Rod: Yeah. Mate, that’s a good explanation there. Mate, just to round off now, I’ve used up a bit of your time this afternoon. I know you’ve got another appointment shortly. How can listeners contact you if they want to find out a bit more about your personal training options, then?
David: Basically, get onto my website, www.davidbergwerf.com.au, or just Google me, which is David Bergwerf, and through there you’ll find a way to contact me. And just basically enquire and I will get back to you as soon as I can.
Rod: Terrific. That’s great, thanks mate. I’ll include the link to your site at the bottom of the post and I’ll wrap it up there for this afternoon. Mate, thanks very much for your time. I really appreciate it. I know you’re a busy man, but great to have a chat, and you’ve shared some great info to the listeners. So I thank you again.
David: Thank you very much, Rod. I really appreciate your time, too and I hope I made the best of it. But it’s been an absolute pleasure, mate. Thank you so much.
Rod: Good on you. Thanks, David.
David: Thank you, too. Bye.
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About The Author
Rod Bucton, mountain bike fanatic from Mid North Coast, New South Wales Australia… helping middle aged men improve their lives with exercise, good nutrition and good health and while you’re at it follow Rod on Facebook or Instagram.
Like any sport, bicycling involves risk of injury and damage. By choosing to ride a bicycle, you assume the responsibility for that risk, so you need to know — and to practice — the rules of safe and responsible riding and of proper use and maintenance. Proper use and maintenance of your bicycle reduces risk of injury.