Make It Happen Monday – What Are Your Indicators?


One of the things I do to set myself apart as a strength coach is that I’m always learning and seeking out new information. I usually try to get about an hour of study in every day, and when I’ve got extra time I often go over that. For example, over the Thanksgiving long weekend I read three popular training articles, two journal articles, two books that totally opened me up to some new ideas in nutrition, and watched a couple of videos.

Now, there’s a couple of things to be observed from this.

First, I hope that it shows that I want the absolute highest of successes for my clients, so I’m always looking for ways to give them an edge. Once the basics are covered, life becomes a game of inches, as the saying goes (somebody please post in the comments what that’s a reference to. I’ll hook you up with something just for being cool.), and when it comes to my clients… They get their inches.

Second, I obviously live like a hermit and have no social life. *sigh*

We’re going to go ahead and focus on the first point today and gloss over point number two…

One of the videos I watched was a great old vid of Joe Defranco being interviewed about some of his methods and running a successful training business. There were a handful of good little tidbits in there but one of the most interesting things he talked about were “Indicator Lifts”.

What Joe meant by Indicator Lifts were the lifts that he used as an indication that his athletes were making measurable progress. These are core lifts for his training style like the Box Squat, Bench Press, Weighted Chin-up, Trap Bar Deadlift, and so on. As long as these big lifts were going up then he knew the athlete was getting stronger, faster, and more powerful.

I likewise use Indicator Lifts in my own training business. I want to see my clients regularly improving on lifts like the Deadlift, Front Squat, Overhead Press, Close-grip Bench Press, and Weighted Chin-up, as well as a few other exercises. If those lifts are improving then my athlete is getting stronger, and that means they’re getting better.

I got to thinking about Indicator Lifts, though, and how the same idea can go beyond training. You can, and should, use “Indicators” to determine if you’re progressing towards any goal.

An Indicator needs to be something you can quantify, and something that is correlated with the result that you’re looking for. Let’s pick two common areas people have goals in that aren’t directly related to weight lifted: Physique and Business.

A common Indicator for the physique you want, which might be hard to define exactly (“looking good” is sort of vague) might be your waist measurement or notches on your belt (from tightening it, not scoring). If you know that you look your best at a 34″ waist, or three notches lower than you are now, then you can track whether you’re on the right path pretty easily. Is a 34″ waist or three less notches on the belt going to be the be all and end all of your physique? Probably not, but you know that your physique is the best when those numbers are in line, so that’s a good indicator for you.

In business, the size of your contact list is often a key measure of your success. If your list is large enough, it’s possible to predict pretty accurately how much money you can make from each promotion you run to that list. This allows these businesses to focus on one of their Indicators: Adding subscribers to their list with confidence that each subscriber added is going to add X.XX towards their ultimate, but less quantifiable goal: More money.

Does having subscribers in and of themselves get you paid? No. However, if you have a solid history and you know the average income per subscriber, then it stands to reason that if all other things are equal, more subscribers equal more cash.

Having Indicators in place allows you to improve towards your main goal without always working on the main goal. This lets you focus on other, more measurable tasks while still feeling confident that you’re making progress towards the goal you’ve set.

Sign up on the right and you’ll see some Indicators of success in action!

What Indicators do you use to know that you’re moving towards your goals?

Comments on Make It Happen Monday – What Are Your Indicators? Leave a Comment

November 29, 2011

Scott H @ 2:59 am #

The reference to life being about inches is from Any Given Sunday, when Tony was talking about how you have to make sure you don’t miss anything in life ’cause everything counts — every inch counts. He was making the point because it’s the same in football; sometimes inches can mean getting that needed touchdown or field goal that makes the difference between winning and losing. Put everything you have into every moment in life!

Isaac @ 8:42 pm #

Scott: Dead on, homie.

Great speech, great movie.

Drop me an email at Isaac -at- and I’ll hook you up!


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