My personal war against trainer mediocrity.

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Mee-dee-oh-ker

– adjective.

1. Of only ordinary or moderate quality; neither good not bad; barely adequate. Not Satisfactory.

Synonyms: Undistinguished, commonplace, pedestrian.  Antonym: Extraordinary, superior, uncommon.

Mediocre, Mediocrity…..save for the racist and sexist words “Mediocre” is the English word which I absolutely hate the most.  It could be argued that at least the racist words (as words themselves) as harmless and are only harmful based on the context in which they are used.  I would counter-argue that the person offering this point of view is either (a) Saintly or (b)  has never been on the receiving end of a racist or sexist attack.

Mediocre trainers are something that both scare and anger me.

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Mediocre gets no such break from me.

A few lessons in mediocrity have presented themselves in the past 24 hours.  Last night over the course of a few texts with three former athletes of mine each person expressed various levels of dissatisfaction with their current trainers.

One has routinely cancelled, or “forgot” about a clients appointments, another was fired due to making his clients pass out during training and a third trainer seems unable to answer any question the client asks.

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From the Hagakure. The Book of the Samurai.

Trainer #1 cannot seem to manage his appointments.  If this is true, how can I believe that he can take care of the big things (I.E. The athletes safety and well-being, much less their programming and results) when he cannot take care of the little things?  (I.E. “I will see you again on x day at x time.”)  Angry Brown Man Chris offers a darker speculation…trainer #1 cancels on clients he/she doesn’t want to work with, but probably never cancels on either the highly attractive or wealthy clients.   Neither situation is good.

Easily fixed.

Option 1: Re-distribute 50% of his clients to reputable and reliable trainers and see if he can handle the decreased workload, if not, cut further clients until a manageable number that he can service is reached.

Option 2: No trainer is assigned a high number of clients in the beginning until their work ethic has been firmly established.  Increases in responsibility are gradual.

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“Hmmm…. Fun, fun, fun…OHHH!! I’ll make chubby puny human sprint with a sack full of kettlebells until they puke and watch their skin changes into weird colors!”

Trainer #2 caused at least two people to pass out, or nearly pass out during training.  I say at least because that’s what is known but the number could potentially be higher.  I blame the trainer, not the client.  Furthermore, I blame the person that hired the trainer in the first place.

The trainer wasn’t monitoring the client at all and simply smashing a human being.  He pushed a person well-beyond what they were physically capable of performing.  Purely speculation on my part, but I would wager this “trainer” does not hold a CPR/AED/First Aid certification and furthermore has no formal education in how the human body works.  The upside is the gym fired him.  The further downside is someone hired him, and that person still has the ability to hire another person just like that.

Personally I don’t mind pushing a persons limits and see some value in it.  But there is a line that is not to be crossed, much less urinated on and this type of training must be used in appropriate measured doses.

My response to the trainers that love the “Smash Puny Humans” method of training:  “Would you let me train your mother using your same methods?  

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That little bit has devoted its resources to looking at boobs and calculating exact protein intake.  There’s not enough in there to use on thinking about you or your exercise program.  As far as this trainer is concerned…Pfft…plans are for fools!

Trainer #3 is a little more difficult to call, but I worked with the athlete for 6 months and remember the types of questions she liked to ask.  In her case no question was beyond the common material found in the major accredited certified personal trainer programs.  I have read and reviewed the material for ACSM, ACE, ISSA, NASM and NSCA (I have the books for 4 of the 5 of these as well) so I speak with some experience in this matter.

She never asked about training special populations, medical considerations or highly advanced training principles.  She liked to be informed of the “why” just as much as the “how” in any given technique and would often pick up little details while executing her techniques.   According to the athlete she asked why she was performing completely different workouts every single time and 100% on machines.  His answer was something along the lines of “So I can hit your whole body.”

Fact is he didn’t hit the whole body. The last four workouts involved the biceps+mid back on one day and calves abs and shoulders on the second day.   Secondly, which in my opinion is the biggest of the issues is he cannot articulate the reasoning behind his program and state why each exercise is there, or what the program was designed for in the first place. Third, since his program has no means of measurement there is nothing that can be managed.  How does he truly known if she is getting any stronger without any data to support it?

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 “Chris this baby is for YOU!”

I like Dean Martin as a performer, but his Las Vegas drive namesake seriously flipped me the bird this morning.   While driving to my first session of the day at my athletes high-rise I ran 7 minutes late due to a train stopping in the middle of Dean Martin Drive.

I HATE being late to things…anything…and I felt bad even though my lateness was reasonable given the unforeseeable circumstances.  My athlete was quiet understanding and told me not to worry about it.  After all, according to my athlete, his other trainer (yes…his other trainer) has been late or last-minute cancelled on him many times.

I for one cannot accept mediocrity.  I don’t accept it in my profession or from my athletes and as the athlete, you should NEVER accept it from your trainer.

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