Riku Aalto is a long-time personal trainer and a pioneer in professional well-being coaching in Finland. In addition to coaching, Riku’s 25-year career has involved work as a trainer, innovator, and he is an author of more than 40 books on fitness and well-being.
Today, Riku sees himself primarily as an expert in holistic well-being and coaching. He is interested in the impact of lifestyle on health, functional capacity, and quality of life, identifying the increasing trend of poor fitness and declining life management skills as a central challenge of our time. Riku says:
“Physical fitness and health deficits are growing, and poor fitness and reduced aerobic capacity have a significant impact on our energy and vitality. This is the most important variable when it comes to energy, quality of life, and happiness. Without energy, you cannot be present and enjoy your free time to the fullest.”
To convey this message, in 2019 Riku Aalto founded Impulssi Coaching, a well-being content, concept, and education company, specializing in lifestyle coaching.
“When people’s energies decline, they lose their ability to perform, their life management skills deteriorate, and they seek clarity and goals in their lives. This is why training life coaches is an essential endeavor.”
Lifestyle Coaching Tailored to Today’s Needs
Impulssi Coaching educates coaches to meet the needs of today’s society and workplaces. The goal of the six-month program is to produce professional personal trainers with strong lifestyle coaching skills. They should be capable of coaching people from different backgrounds and life situations, including those with lifestyle-related illnesses and people who may not be initially motivated by exercise and well-being topics.
“Well-being is often still seen as a chore, and the notion of misery and sacrifice for well-being goals remains persistent. I believe this is a flawed mindset. Impulssi’s mission is to break down the current perception of exercise and well-being into smaller pieces and offer people a more forgiving and flexible perspective on well-being.”
According to Riku, it all starts with managing and building resources.
“You can develop performance as strong as you want, but not by taking shortcuts. First, you must build a foundation of health and functional capability. Only after that can you focus on optimizing performance and body transformations. This is often overlooked in coaching and fitness programs. People often need to adapt and be flexible with their plans, even though the plan should be adaptable and consider the individual’s current resources.”
Firstbeat Life as a Tool for Impulssi Personal Trainers
Impulssi’s courses include conducting Firstbeat Life measurements. Initially, the students measure themselves and build their own well-being, and then they transfer what they have learned to their clients. The training begins with holistic well-being management, and Firstbeat Life becomes familiar to each student. As the training progresses, coaching students apply various tools and techniques including Firstbeat Life, and recruit one or more clients to practice with.
“We want to ensure that our coaches have effective business models and the best tools available after completing their training, which is why Firstbeat Life is also included.”
Riku believes that people’s life management skills are being put to the test in today’s world. Many people may not recognize whether they are stressed and overloaded, or in good condition and ready for efficient training.
“It is important to make individuals stop and reflect on their well-being and teach them to identify their current resources and stress levels. Firstbeat Life is an excellent tool for this. It provides precise data on sleep, stress levels, and activity. It also reveals whether training is improving or overloading.
“People learn to use Firstbeat Life data, along with the coach, to identify their resources and provide their bodies with whatever they need at that moment—recovering, developing, or increasing the load. Generally, it is wise to invest in recovery skills and ensure sufficient resources before focusing on consumption and capacity expansion.”
Impulssi-coached personal trainers are skilled at coaching based on resources, considering all the factors in a person’s life. In PT training, they don’t teach rigid exercise instructions but rather programs in which the trainee becomes the boss of their own well-being and can make decisions on how to adapt the program while considering their overall load.
Impulssi recommends conducting a 3-day Firstbeat Life measurement at the beginning of the coaching relationship so that the coach and the trainee receive comprehensive data about the starting point. After this, monitoring is carried out during the client’s journey, and follow-up measurements may be shorter. According to Riku, it is crucial to learn to analyze one’s own resources and see what can be done better.
“Measurements should be used to confirm whether well-being actions are effective from the perspective of overall load. When I increase my activity, do the results show, or how do I achieve a balance between activity, exercise, and recovery? This is an effective tool for learning well-being actions, which is why tracking is important. The customer can see for themselves what works, and the coach also observes progress along the way and identifies areas for improvement.”
Around 150 students have graduated from Impulssi’s Personal Trainer program so far, and the training programs are available in five cities across Finland.
“Our training produces coaches with a holistic view, who can coach with a forgiving, flexible, and human approach. We don’t just coach performance, body transformations, or a knee; we coach the human being”.
Read this blog post to learn more about how Firstbeat Life can help fitness professionals and their clients.
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