Dave Schoch on Experience, Stories, and Stimulating the Change with the Gen Pop

Though athletes and general population clients may seem different, they have the same reason they go to the gym: to change.

Whether it’s to change their athletic performance or their capacity to do their daily chores, IFAST morning coach Dave Schoch suggests that the job of coaches and trainers is to facilitate the changes clients desire.

But working with the gen pop requires a different approach.

After graduating with a bachelor’s degree in Exercise Science from Indiana University in Bloomington, Dave worked with many older general population clients as an Exercise Therapist, an experience where he had the chance to use a skill necessary to successfully train general population clients: empathy.

In today’s episode, Dave and I discuss the factors that lead to success in training general population clients.

We describe the role and value of empathy in coaching and explain the difference between coaching athletes and gen pop clients.

We explain why initial assessment is crucial in determining what success really means to your clients.

And we also underscore the art of adapting exercises according to the need and level of gen pop clients, and highlight what it means to “leave a trail of breadcrumbs” and “feed the baby birds.”


Whether they’re an athlete or an 80-year-old-client, everybody comes into the gym seeking some kind of change. Do everything you can to stimulate that change. – Dave Schoch


This week on the Physical Preparation Podcast:

  • How Dave fell in love with training and the world of physical preparation
  • Why Dave gravitate towards working more with general population clients versus athletes
  • What his experience as a chiropractor showed him about working with gen pop clients
  • What it means to stimulate change within a client and Dave’s philosophy on training gen pop clients
  • Setting expectations with gen pop clients and helping them understand the reason for each exercise
  • The struggles Dave has encountered with training athletes and general population clients
  • Giving gen pop clients a goal and helping them expand their vocabulary around fitness
  • How coaches and trainers can have meaningful conversations with gen pop clients
  • Why creating context is an important piece of Dave’s coaching puzzle
  • The importance of relating an exercise or a program to a client’s end-goals
  • Adapting programs and exercises to help older athletes maintain great movement
  • The check-box approach of writing a program and the value of approaching a client where they are
  • Big progressions and the need for micro-progressions for gen pop clients


Connect with Dave:


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Thanks for tuning into this week’s episode of The Physical Preparation Podcast with Mike Robertson – your one-stop-shop for fitness trainers, coaches, and athletes.

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