Monthly Archives: June 2015

The Return of Personal Trainers that Suck (AKA Chris’s 2015 Rampage)

It’s been nearly two-years since I posted my epic five part rant entitled “Personal Trainers that Suck”  Recent events have inspired me to revisit the topic and see if I’ve changed any of my opinions.  For a trip back in my ranting past: 

https://mytrainerchris.wordpress.com/2013/08/30/personal-trainers-that-suck-part-1/

For my mid-2015 rant I decided to poll members of my personal network for inputs.  My network is composed of fitness professionals from first year trainers and business owners to allied health professionals and coaches with 20 years or more experience.  We have numerous members holding Masters Degrees or above, National, or higher level competitive athletes and coaches with credentials covering an exceptionally wide swath of the profession.

Fake Dr

The “I have a God Complex” trainer.  These trainers will diagnose injuries and illnesses and in the case of movement related issues, believe they can “fix things.”  They cant see beneath your clothing, much less whats going inside of your body, how can they fix something when they don’t even know what it is they’re looking at?  Truth Time: Personal Trainer boards invariably have a number of these guys.

corrective-exercise-bell-curve

The “Correctives, and Correctives only…for everyone” trainer.  The trainer has learned some corrective exercise, functional movement or breathing based training and views this as the end all and be all of training.  YOU SIMPLY HAVE TOO MANY DYSFUNCTIONS.   My thought is there is an amount of correctives that can certainly be beneficial, but how many of the supposed “dysfunctions” and “compensations” we think we are seeing are actually structural in nature, and is something that NO AMOUNT of corrective exercise training will “fix.”  Not to mention the fact that if things are seemingly that bad then an allied health professional needs to be consulted.  If the client is post-physical-therapy guidance can be obtained from them.

RedFlags

The “Red Flag” trainer.  This trainer puts up red the flags quickly.  They do not perform any sort of assessment, ask any questions regarding your health history, medications or possibly even discuss your goals.  Minimally the trainer simply counts reps and escorts you from machine to machine, you do some level of work and you may be doing the same program every other one of the trainers clients are doing.

Jaw Day

The “More talking, less lifting” trainer/”Rent a Friend” Trainer.  While over-cueing a client is distracting, at least the trainers heart and mind are in the right place.  Volume and simple cues are very good teachers and not everyone moves exactly the same.  Technique will get better over time.   The trainer I’m referring to here is the one that will literally talk your ear off.  They are far more concerned talking about any subject OTHER than you, your efforts (good or bad) or your goal.  The Rent a Friend is one step worse, I knew a trainer that met his client for coffee instead of a workout session, and still charged her rate. Knowing the trainer I can guarantee the conversation was anything but fitness or goals.  Aside from not being Physical Therapists/Chiropractors and RD’s, the typical trainer is also not a Psychologist.

bad-trainer-WH

The “I look good doing this” trainer.  Men and Women that are trainers for all the wrong reasons.  (1) Easy Money (2) Get Laid (3) Some sort of social status (4) Since they work out they MUST know how to train others.  Typically, these trainers are D-Bags.

Beachbody Coach

The “I’m not really a trainer” trainer.  This can be a little tricky.  Some are legitimate trainers that got into multi-level marketing as an additional income stream or to get discounts on the products. Some Multi-Level marketers go on to certify as trainers to increase their marketing potential and to give the appearance of legitimacy. Some could be quite good at their craft, but in my opinion they are stepping outside their scope of practice and have a conflict of interest in regards to dietary supplements. Then there are “trainers/coaches” that HAVE NO ACTUAL EDUCATION OR FORMAL TRAINING in exercise or nutrition science.  No kidding around here, they will take a pre-designed workout and hand it to you while also selling you supplements and attempting to get you to to sell the product as well.  They are often disregarded, if not outright considered vocational lepers by non-MLM trainers, which is a pity because some of them as previously stated might otherwise be very good at their craft and wind up getting painted with the same brush simply due to affiliation.

muscle-confusion

The “I am certified, but I still don’t know what I’m doing” trainer.  Yes, this happens, and far too frequently for my tastes.  A trainers certification only means they studied and passed a test, which vary greatly in degrees of difficulty. Within just the last few months come across a trainer certified in February that was about to start training people in her home.  She had no experience with weight training and didn’t know what type of shoes to wear on the matting. Flash forward several months and she is giving another trainer “advice” on strength training for runners.  Another person had no idea what exercises people should do, how to program and had near zero experience training even himself (and he was a MLM guy!)…..and now these people are going to train others.

Fat to Muscle

The “I don’t know human anatomy or physiology” trainer.   Basically the trainer is lacking in all, or most of the scientific foundations of training.      If the trainer cannot name body parts or muscles accurately what makes me think they can select proper exercises that produce specific adaptations?  How would they know if an exercise was even an appropriate choice?

'Just run you fat cow! Run!'

The “Fat Shaming” trainer.  Do I really need to explain these guys?

The “Certain Fruits/Veg makes you fat” trainer.  I’ve been told this personally by two trainers.  So me being me I start asking questions, What’s the RDA for Sugar? Does Fructose in a natural fruit and veg metabolize differently?     What’s the Glycemic Index? Do you have any clinical trials you could reference?….and so on.  Usually that ends the fruit makes you fat sermon.

texting

The “Phone Checker” trainer.  The only thing I hate more than the phone checker is the trainer that eats in front of his client.  Calling 911 or using an app directly related to the client in front of you is acceptable. Everything else can wait.

The “I’m well built, so I know I how to train other people” trainer. Instagram, Tumblr, YouTube and Facebook accounts are easy to set up and populate with motivational images and links to articles other people wrote.  What the person is actually capable of is another matter entirely.  My personal favorites are the men and women that competed in a single physique or bodybuilding show (may not have placed) and are now diet, health and fitness experts for a wide swath of humanity.  My other favorite of course is the MLM coach that has no real knowledge of training people.

Weird Hip Thrust

The “Call me Dr. Frankenstein” trainer.  I’ll admit they’re entertaining. They come up with some of the goofiest looking things I’ve seen in the gym and can graft parts of one exercise to another exercise and come up with something that I believe is less effective than either previous option.  Machines and the various tools laying about the gym (Bosu,Kettlebells,et al) seem to be the most abused.

Walking ATM

The “You look like an ATM to me” trainer.  Exactly what you think it sounds like.  The trainer only cares that they get paid.  Your goals and safety are irrelevant.  The I’m not really a trainer trainers, Red Flag Trainers and I look good doing this trainers all get thrown under this bus.  In fairness to the MLM guys, not all are out to sell you the product.  Some simply take advantage of the discount offered to distributors.

Huge Head

The “I’m smarter than you” trainer.  More commonly seen in online boards and among co-workers.  If your trainer is always bad mouthing other trainers (other than the trainers that are being dangerous) there’s a good chance you have someone that often doesn’t get along well with others.  They may indeed be very smart and educated, but their lack of social skills keeps them from reaching their potential.  The most common online antics I’ve noted from these arrogant types is continually reminding us of their degree and the money they supposedly make.  Ironically I’ve noted a high-number of them don’t look like they lift and a basic Google search doesn’t usually turn up much on these giants of our industry.

 

 

Advertisements

Get Up and Give Back (AKA Chris has revelations while lifting stuff)

“I do not think there is any danger of a crack up, and the reason is that he is a thoroughly well-organized individual with no energy leaks in his make-up.  He operates a well-regulated machine. He handles things with easy power and carries burdens without strain.  He never wastes an ounce of energy, but every effort is applied with maximum force.”                                                                                 Norman Vincent Peale, The Power of Positive Thinking.   

I practice hardstyle kettlebell techniques near daily, and have increased the depth,load and volume over the past two months in preparation for my November StrongFirst certification. The other day I had a particularly demanding practice involving 100 Single Handed Swings followed by 10 Turkish Get Up using a 24kg (53lb) Kettlebell for timed practice.  It was the first time I have attempted this  and figured I would set a baseline as the time standards are not easy.  The 100 swings must be completed in 5 minutes or less, you are given a 1 minute break and then need to perform 10 perfect Turkish Get Ups in under 10 minutes.

I smashed both requirements on my first attempt.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     The Turkish Get Up holds a special place for me as it was the first kettlebell technique that I taught myself to a fair degree of competency, and I feel it is the technique that sings to me the most. This is not say my Get Up is perfect, far from it actually. Recently two small corrections were given to me by a StrongFirst Level 2 Coach in the Philippines that instantly improved things.

When I receive tips,corrections and suggestions they are immediately copied down and applied in the next practice session including the name of the issuing coach. I treat my training logs more as journals as I ask questions, draw pictures or jot down drills, questions and ideas that come up. This level of detail takes time, but I feel it is an investment both in myself as a coach and a valued part of my practice.

TGU Blog Pic

My practice journals are pretty detailed and chock full of questions,insights and corrections,drills and advice from coaches around the world.

I am currently training the single hand swings  and Turkish Get Up with a 28kg kettlebell. While two hand swinging the 28kg are not hard for me, the single hand swing is an entirely different animal. Since today’s practice was short I trained a version of the swing which requires re-setting the kettlebell between each swing, thereby requiring maximum power generation on each swing. This becomes quite taxing on the body and requiresfocus on each repetition since momentum has been taken out of the technique. It was not that long ago in the Turkish Get Up that I had problems stabilizing the weight overhead and making the transitions from point to point. Today I worked the first half the movement sequence and by the time I had completed my 10th repetition felt confident enough to perform the movements at a much slower pace. Moving slowly is challenging, but allows you to explore the technique and locate any leaks.

The process of perfection is arduous and never ending, and I am far from where I can ascend.  My journey is one that I hope to share with others.

StrongMa’am (AKA Chris talks about weights not making women bulky)

I have occasionally bragged that in my gym no other trainers general female clients are stronger than mine, with several female competitive power-lifters  being the athletic exception rather than the rule.  I swear it sometimes seems that that there are trainers against the idea of women lifting things that are relatively, or absolutely heavy compared to what they weigh.  Granted, not everyone needs to lift heavy and not all goals require the use of weights, but strength does cover quite a bit of bases both short and long-term.

abbye

Abbye “Pudgy” Stockton was a classic StrongMa’am that was anything but pudgy or bulky.

My current clients programming largely contain these exercises:                                                 Basic Barbell: Press, Chest Press, Squat, Row and Deadlift variations.                                         Kettlebell: Swings, Squats,Get Up and Press. Single and Doubles                                             Olympic Lifts: Clean, Push Press, Clean and Jerk                                                                         Sandbag: Lunge variations, Clean, Press, Loaded carry, Squat variations                                     Bodyweight: Suspension Trainer, Original Strength resets, Strength Movements (Air Squat, Pull-Up, Bodyweight Row, Chin Up, Push Up.                                                                       Movement: Marching/Walking/Jogging/Sprinting and Loaded Carry                                             Accessory Lifts: Usually Cable or Dumbbell, a machine if needed.                                               Programs are designed per client according to skill and goal, but this is the Lions and Lioness share of what my programs comprise.
sheri-kaminski

Sheri Kaminski, SFG, NSCA CPT.  My StrongFirst Coach and personal friend.

Programming wise, some variable (weight/rep count/volume/set density) is continually adjusted to provide progressive resistance and continual performance improvement.             I honestly train my women nearly the same as I train my men. They are a different sex, not a different species and we are dealing with the application of external force and resistance to create internal and external change.

All clients (male and female) start with mobility and then progress to foundation strength. Beyond those two everything else can be improved (speed,endurance,hypertrophy etc)

Based purely on personal experience, the differences I’ve noted between training Strong females and males:                                                                                                                           – They pick up the hinge pattern (Deadlift/Kettlebell swing et al) much faster than many males.                                                                                                                                                 – Their 5RM (Maximum weight they can move 5 times) is proportionately higher to their 1RM compared to men. Men could be a difference of 20-30lbs (9-14kg), women can often be much closer, as little as 10lbs (4.5kg) or less.                                                                                             – Based on early observations, females pick up on the Turkish Get Up much faster, including those without any previous form of athletic training.                                                                    – The Pull-Up, Push Up and the Deadlift seem to very liberating and confidence building exercises.                                                                                                                                           – Left to their own devices many women will underestimate what they can actually lift, which runs counter to the men that attempt weights above their strength and skill level. Fact: Some male trainers underestimate what the older or smaller female can lift as well.                    –  In terms of Strength development, they’re generally more patient.                                             – They dig it when they can see and feel their muscles, even if they didn’t think they would in the first place                                                                                                                                 – Initial programming seems to favor more pulling movements than pushing movements, based on personal observation I’d say roughly 3 pulling movement to 1 pushing movement.

My highly unscientific strength goals for healthy women under 50 years young.                    Ability to perform push ups                                                                                                             Ability to perform a static hang for 30 secs                                                                                     Bench Press 75% of their weight for 1 rep                                                                                       Press 50% of their body-weight for 5 reps                                                                                       Deadlift their body-weight for 5 reps, and 1 rep at 150% body-weight                                         Squat 75% of their body-weight for 5 reps.                                                                                     Ability to complete 100 1 Hand Swings in under 5 minutes, take a 1 minute break and then complete 10 Turkish Get Ups in under 10 minutes starting at 12kg and working to 16kg.

Among my professional network, over 50% of my colleagues are female and among them area high number of accomplished  power lifters, StrongFirst Coaches, Personal Trainers, Kettlebell Sport athletes, CrossFit competitors/coaches, Martial Art instructors and Triathletes.                                                                                                                                 StrongMa’ams are everywhere, and they are awesome.

 

PROfile Spotlight on Andy Frisch (AKA Chris interviews Fitness Professionals)

AndyFood

                                                   Andy Frisch, Lebanon,TN. USA

Andy Frisch is the owner of FreshEvolutionFitness and a trainer with Sports Village Fitness in Lebanon,TN USA since 2011.  Andy’s lengthy list of credentials include Sports Performance Enhancement, Corrective Exercise, Weight Loss, Women’s Fitness, Senior Citizen Fitness, Behavior Change coach and Certified Personal Trainer under the National Academy of Sports Medicine (NASM) and is also a Fitness Nutrition Coach under NESTA.  As a continual student, Andy is currently undergoing coursework for Precision Nutrition Level 1 certification.  

After improving his own health during his early teenage years, Andy  decided to pursue his new found passion after seeing the impact he could make by helping others get in shape.  Andy has since ventured into online personal training via FrevFit.com and enjoys helping improve the lives of others all across the country.

Hello Andy, welcome to MyTrainerChris, What events led to you becoming a trainer? 
I had always enjoyed the feeling of working out and the results that came with it, but when I saw the sheer gratitude in the eyes of those I was helping I knew I had found my passion. My first big success was helping a friend lose almost 70lbs (32kg) and I’ve been sold ever since.

What are you up to these days?
I train 6 days a week, full time, at Sports Village Fitness here in
Lebanon. It’s a lovely, family run, full-featured facility. But I’ve been hard at work developing my online training services. I specialize in weight loss and total body transformation and have been having success with it. It still blows my mind that I can help impact somebody across the country!!

“…when I saw the sheer gratitude in the eyes of those I was helping I knew I had found my passion.”

What is your vision when training your clients?                                                                           I want to fully empower them to live their lives to the fullest. Simple things like running or jumping to more advanced things like pull ups or heavy squats can seem impossible. I love helping my clients learn how to live healthy, fulfilling lives while losing the excess weight. As they gain their health, we push their level of ability as well so they not only lose the weight but they gain back their confidence, happiness and excitement for life.

What has been your favorite client transformation to date?
That’s REALLY tough to narrow down.  I’d have to go with Beth (photos and story below), who has lost over 100lbs (+45.5kg). What makes her different is that, after losing that weight, she and her partner were finally able to get pregnant and have their child last July. She is now at her lowest body fat % ever, able to do 5 strict pull ups, and back squat 275lbs (125kg)!

BethBefore                           BethAfter-1

Andy’s client Beth and her amazing transformation after losing more than 100lbs (45.5kg)!

” My lifestyle change started around 6 years ago when I was diagnosed with poly cystic ovarian syndrome.  This disorder made it very difficult for me to become pregnant.  Due to the difficulties associated with PCOS, I had to take many different fertility medicines, both oral and injectable.  During this three year period, I was still unable to become pregnant. We decided that due to the stress of not being able to get pregnant and poor lifestyle choices, it was time to try a different approach. One of the symptoms of PCOS was obesity, so this is where the second part of my pregnancy journey began.

20150610_163754

” I was able to loose 35 pounds before meeting my trainer Andy Frisch. With his help, I have lost an additional 70 pounds. With loosing weight and without taking fertility medicines, I was able to become pregnant. I stayed active during my entire pregnancy and continued to train with Andy. Of course as the pregnancy progressed, we had to modify some of the training. After my childbirth, I was released by my physician to return to training.  Almost a year after my daughter was born I am now smaller, stronger, and even have a lower body fat percentage than I had prior to pregnancy.  This is the best shape I have ever been in. There is no secret pill to weight loss but by eating clean and staying active anything is possible.”  – Beth

If given the opportunity to give advice to new trainers, what would it be?
To not give up!! It can be slow at the beginning and you can easily get disheartened. I thought I made a mistake my first few months in. If I had given up, I wouldn’t have experienced all the life changing stories that I’ve been so lucky to be a small part of. Stay focused on your goal, stay consistent in your work ethic, and stay excited about what you’re doing!

Andy is currently accepting applications for new online clients. He can be contacted at:
www.FrevFit.com
www.Facebook.com/AndyFrisch21
Andy Frisch on YouTube
@freshfitandy on Instagram & Twitter

AndyBack

PROfile Spotlight on Bryan Jackson (AKA Chris interviews Fitness Professionals)

This is the second in a series of interviews with fitness professionals from around the world.   It is my hope that through these interviews I can connect readers with one of these outstanding coaches. –  MTC

BJackson

Bryan Jackson, San Diego, CA, USA.

Bryan is an NASM and NESTA certified personal trainer and power lifting coach with 24 Hour Fitness for 1 year and 6 months.  His specializations include Corrective Exercise, Performance Enhancement, Powerlifting and TRX Suspension training.  In his spare time he competes in local,state and national powerlifting events.

I stopped drinking,quit smoking, dropped 70lbs (32kg) in 7 months, lost 17.5% bodyfat and reversed my bodies diabetic trend.

Hello Bryan, could please share what events led you towards becoming a personal trainer?  In 2011 I had a near death experience due to my health.  I weighed 230lbs(105kg) and was at 33% body fat.  I had high blood pressure and was close to being a Type 2 Diabetic.  My condition put my health and position in the U.S. Navy in jeopardy and I knew I had to make a change. Through the Navy Fitness Education Program I stopped drinking,quit smoking, dropped 70lbs (32kg) in 7 months, lost 17.5% bodyfat and reversed my bodies diabetic trend.  I now maintain a healthy lifestyle through a balanced nutrition program, a 6-day resistance training regimen and progressive cardiovascular training.

What skills should be considered “essential” for helping a new trainer succeed in a commercial gym?  Sales and customer service skills are what will make or break you at a commercial gym.  It doesn’t matter how many certifications you have, if you cannot talk to people you’re not going to make it.

How can I make myself the “go to” trainer in my gym?  You can make yourself the “go-to” trainer by not being the guy/gal sitting behind the desk waiting for someone to come up and ask for training.  You have to be proactive and engage the gym members; even the folks you might think won’t purchase training.  You have to find our what you’re specifically good at and then perfect it to the best of your ability.  Also, you could just tell people what you do.  Offer them some advice or tips, but don’t let this go.  The next time you see them as them how it went.  Trust me, if it was eye-opening , or even had the slightest difference in their performance in the gym they will find you and tell you about it.  Congratulations, you now have a new fan in the gym.

What can I do to retain the clients I have? The simple answer is to make training fun and  without too much exercise confusion.  Most clients aren’t training to be a physique competitor, bodybuilder, power lifter or an Olympic weight lifter, they just want to look good naked, feel better and not break their hip when they fall.

What would you have done differently in your first year as a trainer if given a chance to turn back time?  I would have approached everyone on the floor, whether I thought they needed help or not.  That’s the biggest thing in a commercial gym.  I approached folks who I thought wanted training or looked like the didn’t know what they were doing.  The truth is the folks who either had been there for years, or were looking for some type of advice may have felt neglected.  Truth is I’ve had folks who looked like they were in the best shape of their life approach me on the floor more than the folks I thought might need my help.

What’s been your favorite client success story so far? I have a current client who has lost more than 35lbs (16kg) and he is still going.  He’s been training with me since February and is going very strong.

What are your future professional goals? I’m currently in school studying kinesiology. I would like to one day open up my own powerlifting gym and work with populations struggling with Type 2 Diabetes and provide preventive care through exercise.

Bryan is currently offering small group training for 3-5 people per group focusing in high-intensity interval training using strength equipment and body weight.  You can contact Bryan at the East H. St. Bonita Branch of 24 Hour Fitness at (619) 656-0018