Tag Archives: bodyfat

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: 


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.




Wrap the Fat Away (AKA Chris Rips on Wraps)

Body wraps in various forms have been around for quite some time and are hardly a new thing. I’ve noticed a sudden increase in products promoting results by simply wrapping your waist.  I’ve read and heard claims including “Lose the fat”, “Lose Weight”, “Detox” and “Lose Inches off your waist.”   These products are available over the counter, online and through multi-level marketing (MLM) groups, the latter of which often pairs the product with nutritional supplements of some sort.


The short fact is that some of these companies and independent distributors are making product claims that are not supported by any scientific evidence.

In the case of the MLM products  (and in being fair) sometimes it is NOT the parent company making the false claim but actually the independent distributor adding his/her own flash and sizzle to get a sale.  In that situation I would ask the distributor if they would be willing to allow independent body composition testing (bodyfat testing) by a competent third party and to provide peer reviewed scientific literature to back their claims.

Body wraps and waist belts do not burn fat nor do they shrink your fat cells no matter what the material the wrap is made of, or if it is infused with various minerals, enzymes, salts or herbs or nothing at all.  If in doubt, heavily soak a cloth in whiskey, tequila or whatever your favorite adult beverage is, wrap your waist and tell me if you get drunk.

Actually, don’t do that….a simple body composition test will work just fine and you need not waist your top shelf adult beverages.  (See what I did there?)

Fat loss comes from reducing your food intake and instilling caloric deficit and increasing your level of activity. A wrap will not shrink fat cells nor will it change your eating habits.  It took time and effort to gain that excess bodyfat, do you really think it will come off far easier and quicker than came on?

THE COMMON CLAIMS                                                                                                                  “REDUCE YOUR WAISTLINE IN ONLY ## minutes!”  Can a wrap reduce inches? Yes, but the result is temporary due to water loss,  not fat loss.

“LOSE ## INCHES IN 1 HOUR!”  You would commonly see this with full-body type wraps.  Cumulative measurements are taken across multiple points of the body (waist,legs,arms,hips etc) during the pre-wrap and compared against the post wrap (aka the dehyrdration part.)  When all numbers are added to together the “## inches in an hour” is given.

Misleading? I’d say so.Once again, Inches and Fat are not the same thing.

Although misleading (and in my opinion deliberately so) it is not an outright lie.  If the claim was ” LOSE FAT WITHOUT DIET OR EXERCISE IN ## minutes/hours”  there would be serious issues unless the procedure involved some rather drastic surgical procedure.

The detoxification and aesthetic claims are largely anecdotal and at best debatable.  I would actually have no issue whatsoever if the wrap was marketed solely as a “spa treatment” without any claims of fat loss.

Fat Loss Skills (AKA The 11 Habits of Diet Mastery)

Source credit for the following blog goes to Josh Hillis and Dan John, authors of the book “Fat Loss Happens on a Monday.”   I highly recommend this book and you can purchase it on Amazon.com


I am currently reading “Fat Loss Happens on a Monday” and greatly enjoying it.  I believe the simplicity and reasonableness presented in the book is what appeals to me.

Over the course of my career I’ve been presented with a dizzying number of diet plans and workout routines that seem (at least to me) to require advanced degrees simply to make sense out of them.  I have often wondered how people adhere to them, as difficult things are quite hard to sustain.

MINI BLOG IN A BLOG:  A friend of mine attempted a food combining diet.  Based purely on the allowed foods list it was chock full of healthy choices.  The difficult part was you were only allowed to eat certain foods in combination with each other, some could only be eaten by themselves and some couldn’t be eaten in the same day.   To adhere to this sort of diet you would need an incredible memory, stellar food journalism skills and would likely need to carry around a rule sheet with you at all times.  Attempts at clarifying the rules led to lots of things be missed and to make matters foggier, a descendant of the diets founder had problems explaining it clearly.

Was the diet bad? No, It was quite wholesome.                                                                                   Was there any science to back up the diet?  Not that I’m aware of.  The diets originator was not a Registered Dietitian but was self-educated on the topic. The problem was the diets difficulty.

Fat loss comes down to engaging a series of habits.  The focus is on your eating habits and not some fad (well covered here on MTC.)


Everything starts with having a plan.

HABIT 1: PLAN. Plan your meals (aka your success) on either a Sunday or Monday.  Grid out 28 meals (3+A snack.)  The book recommends “free days” or “free meals” or even focusing on a single meal/meal type at a time, then adding successes from there.

Produce Aisle wholefoods                

The best stuff in your local market is usually in the outer aisles

HABIT 2: SHOP. Do your shopping on Sunday or Monday based on your plan.

Food ScalePortion-Chart

The food scale and portion proportions are handy little things in the kitchen

HABIT 3: COOK. Prepare, cook and portion the food on your plan on Sunday or Monday                                                             


              Hi-Tech or Low-Tech doesn’t matter.  What matters is honesty and consistency

HABIT 4: JOURNAL.  Keep a daily food journal.  Review your food journal weekly either on Sunday or Monday.


HABIT 5: PROTEIN.  Make sure you’re getting protein at every meal.  Shoot for 3/4 gram of protein per pound of body weight.


HABIT 6: CALORIES.  Review your food journal for the total calories consumed.  Compare your total calories to your weekly weight change..

Baby Tortoise

This guy loves eating slowly.

HABIT 7: SLOW DOWN.  Eat SLOWLY!  A meal should take at least 15 minutes to consume.


HABIT 8: 80%.  Leave the table when you are 80% full.


HABIT 9: EAT HEALTHY FATS.  Make sure you’re eating good fats at most meals.  Add good fat to meals you normally feel hungry after and see if that helps make you feel fuller.

Good Carbs

HABIT 10: QUALITY CARBS.  Check the quality of your carbohydrates.  Are your getting most of your carbs from vegetable, fruit,quinoa,brown rice and sprouted grains?


HABIT 11: GRATITUDE.  Everyday write down, or reflect on one thing you like about yourself or your body.  BE GRATEFUL FOR WHO YOU ARE!

Master one habit at a time.  Plan to master that habit and try working in little clusters of habits.  You could, for the sake of improvement, commit to only a single meal per week.  For example, this week I will wake up each morning and enjoy a healthy protein/fiber rich breakfast.   Then you plan out seven days worth of breakfasts in your planning grid, journal each breakfast including how long it took you to eat it.

“I’m losing weight! (but not size?)

Awhile back I posted a blog titled “I’m losing inches! (but not pounds!) which has turned out to be one of the more popular pages so far.  If you are new to the Mytrainerchris page, you can find it here: https://mytrainerchris.wordpress.com/2013/05/19/im-losing-inches-but-not-pounds/

It can be boggling,  how could a person weigh less, yet retain nearly the same size? Unless you are on a helium diet, the following are my usual suspects…

1. Measurement errors.  Body measurements including scale weight, tape measure, calipers and bio-impedence readers are imperfect.  Your body weight moves up and down throughout the day, in some cases up to several pounds/kg’s.  The foods foods you eat, the amount of water you can retain and how much your stomach bloats following a meal can all alter measurements.  In the case of skin fold calipers and measurement tape, a slight variation in placement can alter readings.

2.  Measurements need to be taken of multiple parts of your body.  Typically this includes the waistline, thigh, chest, shoulders and upper arm, calf and neck.  If you are only measuring the waistline, please note that this is usually the slowest portion of the body to reduce size.

3. Weight loss typically comes before size loss, but the amount of each is not equal nor exactly proportionate.  Losing weight means you lose fat, water and muscle.  The goal of course is to lose fat and maintain and preferably build muscle.

When you lose fat, which is less dense than muscle, you lose bulk.  When you lose muscle, you still lose weight, but you lose less size.


4. Your current workout program could be causing you to lose more muscle than fat.  During a recent 12 week transformation challenge, I noted a contestant who spent hours nearly everyday on the cardio equipment at a modest speed drinking fat-burner drinks.  I can only recall him lifting weights once.  In the end, he did indeed lose both size and weight, which is awesome and will certainly benefit his heart and joints, but his overall composition looked like a slightly smaller version of his previous self.  Personally I would have prescribed doing less exercise at a higher intensity, allow his body to recuperate between sessions and couple his cardio training with resistance to build muscle.


5. You body is a miser.  This taps off nicely with point #4, during endurance based exercises your body burns the muscle’s glycogen stores.  The more you train, the more your body becomes miserly with glycogen expenditure, better at refueling it and you become more bio-mechanically efficient, therefore expending less overall energy.  Therefore you lose less fat.

With resistance training, and varied workouts including HIIT, MIxed Martial Arts and CrossFit Workout of the Days, you’re utilizing other aspects of your muscles, and your body spends glycogen more freely.

With my current weight loss clients, I prescribe cardio after our resistance/HIIT training. I want to lower their glycogen stores before they engage in steady-state or interval cardio training.