It is finally here, the third installment of the six things thatI have changed my mind about. I hope it has enlightened you a bit on how I havegrown and changed the way I have viewed fitness and exercise over time. And I hope it shows you to not be afraid to do so as well. There is a lot of information to be learned about health, and it is a relatively new field being studied. So there will be a lot more changes over time most likely for myself as more and more research in the science labs as well as the gym labs (where we do our workouts and test how well they work).
5. WHAT I ONCE THOUGHT:
Personal Training is for the obese and pretentious.
WhenI started working out at the BQE gym when I was seventeen, personal training was under the radar; you barely heard of them. There were no biggest loser shows on television. Trainers were specifically for the celebrities and the rich, and when I did see a personal trainer, the guy was rocking his frosted tip haircut and having his clients do sit-ups, bench-press and bicep curls foran hour.
As for myself, I once believed I never needed a personal trainer. I was self-sufficient enough to create my own exercise programs. I received tremendous results in my first year of training and I went around to all the biggest guys in the gym and asked them their secrets. But even with al lthat knowledge I gained, there was still a ton more that I was able to learn. And on top of that even more information. As I continued to learn I realized everything Idid when I was younger was incorrect. This is what made me change my mind about personal training.
WHAT I THINK NOW:
Everyone needs a trainer, at least some point in their life:
Even though I made progress and thought personal training was a joke, I now
endorse it. Is it because I too am a personal trainer? I think not.
Here are top 3 reasons you need a personal trainer:
1. It is not your forte.
Face it, for the majority of us exercise selection, program design, exercise progressions and regressions are foreign to many of us. It doesn’t matter if you’ve been training for twenty years or twenty days. We all have our jobs, our specialties that take up all of our free time. It wears you out so when it comes to the gym, you go inside, do your usual routine and get it done with. You follow a routine your workout partner has been doing for a while, or something you read in Men’s Health, or you just hop on the tread mill for an hour and call it a day.
Where are everyone’s training logs, that show a detailed description of their plan? How does anyone know if what they are doing is even working? There is barely a thought process anymore to peoples’ workouts. It’s all about “I just want to look good,” but not many people I see look much different than when they started.
Exercise is a science; it is very complex in its nature, just asthe human body is. Leave the science to somebody who has studied it for years, has practiced it in their lab (the gym) and has understood what human movement and exercise is really about.
You wouldn’t trust yourself to fix your car unless you were a mechanic, think of exercise and the human body is the same way. The body is like your car, the longer we live and use our bodies the more run down it gets. Between the aches and pains, the loss of strength and power as we age, we all need a mechanic (personal trainer) to fix it. Even I work with the trainers and strength coaches I am around to help myself get better and make sure my exercise technique is on point.
I am not saying that a person needs to do personal training their entire lives. I am saying that they should work with a personal trainerfor a significant amount of time to understand how to program design effectively, learn how to properly progress and regress exercises, how to playaround with the exercise variables (reps, sets, frequency and intensity) and how to perform the correct technique. Once you have gotten the basis, and have written copies of all the exercise programs you have been on, you can use that in order to continue your workouts and continually get results thereafter. Then pop by your personal trainer every now and again to make sure everything is up to par,
as well as get some extra motivation and some new tools for your new craft.
This one is probably the biggest factor in most peoples’ decisions to do and continue personal training – at least that’s what many of myclients tell me. After a long day of work, it is very easy to want to plop down on the couch and zone the rest of the world out when you get home. It is also easy to go to the gym, look at the deadlift bar and say scratch that I am tired; let me go do some light leg press. Hard work in the gym is the last thing anyone really wants to do. But if your committed to a trainer, you will give it all you got because now you are responsible not just to yourself, but to your trainer.
Having a trainer also gives you an appointment to go to the gym. There are no ifs, ands or buts. Your boss pissed you off that day by assigning you extra work, or your work computer was out for half the day and got so backed up you couldn’t finish your work, or Joe missed putting up one of his amazing posts (sad emoticon here). It all doesn’t matter because if you got that training session to attend and you will be there.
So that means you will be going to the gym at least two times per week. That is a great start. Now all you need to do is force yourself to attend one or two more times per week and there you have it. You will be consistently working out HARD for a long period of time. And that is the first step to achieving any fitness related goal.
3. You Butcher Your Exercises.
This is an important one. Exercise technique is one of the most important aspects of actually exercising. This is what will help you not only get stronger and leaner, but improve your posture, and help you reduce chances of injury and help rid you of those aches and pains.
Every day I am in the gym I see every exercise in the world being butchered. The most common on the cutting board are row variations, deadlifts and pushups.
Everyone is doing rows with their shoulders rounding forward and their head ninety feet in front of their head like a bird pecking for some bread on the floor. All you are doing is stressing your pec minor and your neck extensors, making your ever so slumped posture even worse.
I also see people doing deadlifts like they’re a camel; with their backs rounded so much their storage of water will burst at any second. 80% of the population will have back pain at some point in their life, and a large amount of asymptomatic people will still have some sort of disk degenerative problem shown by a number of studies. (1) With this all being factoid, it becomes essential that we all lift with proper technique, as to strengthen the muscles and structures of our body to keep our spine stable.
Using a trainer to help teach you proper technique is essential for everybody, no matter how good you think you are at a particular exercise. Many times a person just needs to be coached through some of the technical flaws in order to understand how to do the exercise. And once they practice it a few times, it becomes ingrained in their mind and technique will be perfected after that.
On the other hand there are also a lot of people who, no matter how many times they are cued to do an exercise properly, just can’t do it. All my clients who have this problem they know who they are. This is because they have muscle imbalances that prevent them from doing the movement at all. These people need to work with a trainer who can correct their muscle imbalances and help them move their bodies better so that they can accomplish good technique without compensation.
If you are looking for a trainer, read this really good article by Molly Galbraith on what to look for in a personal trainer. If they do not meet these qualities, turn around a walk away. Do not waste your time or your money.
6. WHAT I ONCE THOUGHT:
Results are based off the scale.
When I started working out, I was seventeen years old, weighing 120 pounds
soaking weight at six feet tall. I was what my co-worker would say, like a leaf that would be blown away by the wind. He still says that today, but it doesn’t hold much truth anymore. Thank God… I was barely able to bench the bar, and had about as much strength as a dying flower.
All I cared about was getting big. I wanted to get to 185 pounds so badly, no matter what the cost was. After eating meal after meal and spending a ton of money on food, the highest weight I have ever achieved is 173 pounds. And on about four different occasions, the second I make it to that weight, I get sick, and lose 13 pounds and revert back to 160. This happened to me most recently about 8 months ago. I have gained five pounds since going up to 165.
WHAT I THINK NOW:
Results are based on how my body feels and looks.
I no longer care if I make it to 185 pounds. If it happens awesome, but I want to keep my body fat at around 7 – 8 % so I will not force it. Plus, when I get sick at that weight, I get debilitated for three days, and lose 13 pounds. Definitely not fun.
I just care about getting stronger, maintaining a good posture and having zero
pain. I am doing a great job at all of this right now. My strength is slowly becoming respectable and I am not feeling much pain in my SI joint (low back) even though I had a herniated disk at L-5 S1.
If weight gain and increasing muscle mass is your goal, take it slow. There is no
reason to try and jump weight quickly and gain excess body fat. Because, that is what will happen with quick weight gain, unless you are seventeen years old.
If you want to lose weight, you need to lose the obsession with the scale. There
will be times, where the scale doesn’t want to drop for a couple weeks. But as
long as your clothes are fitting more loosely and you have the appearance of losing weight, you cannot get hung up about it. This is you losing body fat percentage, while maintaining or gaining muscle mass. This is good, and it a necessary step to prolonged weight loss. It is when you start to see no difference in how your clothes fit, how your body feels and looks as well as changes in the scale you should then work on what changes you can make to pass this plateau.
1. Jensen MC, Brant-Zawadzki MN, Obuchowski N, Modic MT, Malkasian D, et al: Magnetic resonance imaging of the lumbar spine in people without back pain. N Engl J Med. 1994;331(2):69-73.)
Was this post helpful, enlightening, the purest, greatest thing you ever read? What have you changed your mind about? Let me know, leave a comment below!