I have news for you: you have my job description ALL WRONG!
In fact this may be closer to the truth than us trainers all admit:
I have to thank my mentor and role model in this industry, coach Nick Tumminello, for really helping me sort this out last November at a seminar which he does a great job of explaining in this latest interview on John Izzo’s blog. This understanding really helped me stop going down the path of being a jack-of-all-trades-expert-of-none.
Here’s a list of things that I, as a personal trainer, AM NOT:
1) A chiropractor, massage therapist, physical therapist, or any other type of manual therapist. If you are broken, go get fixed by someone who’s taken FAR more schooling than I to do that job. In fact, let’s be so clear as to say that if IT (whatever that is) has been bugging you more than 3-4 weeks: it’s time you go get it looked at by a professional. I keep a working relationship with every kind of professional for this reason.
2) A medical doctor. That lump you have, that skin thingy or the weird reaction to your birth control pill…yea…not my expertise. I know I seem smart but really?!? Go see a doctor!
3) Your mother. Clean your room, show up for your appointments on time and for everyone’s sake, stop whining about how hard it is. Nothing in life worth having was achieved easily.
4) Your nutritionist, dietician, fad DIE-t expert or some food Nazi who punishes you with fifty 1 leg burpees for not sticking to your meal plan.
Here’s what my job description really should be:
1) A fitness expert! 1st and foremost I am the guy who teaches you how to exercise. Coach Nick said it best: “The fact is, I’m just a gloried PE (physical education) teacher who loves telling people about the training concepts & techniques that I’ve found to work well for me.” If you need to get back in shape, if you need to be stronger, if you need to be able to get up a stair case without wheezing like a 2 pack a day smoker…I’m the over glorified PE teacher that can make it happen.
2) A motivator. I love sending the random text message, email or Facebook post to a client who’s kicked some ass, met a challenge they never thought they could or reached some goal we’ve really been working on! I’m super proud of my peoples that put it in, work their butts off and realize what they are capable of. I’m just here to share it with everyone to motivate, encourage and tell you that YOU can do it too!
3) An exercise program specialist. Look anybody can pick up a _____ magazine and follow along with the workout-of-the-month and probably see great results. So why would anyone hire a personal fitness trainer? Well, the first clue is the first word of my job title: personal. It’s my job to take the 500+ exercises I know of and write a program in a very specific and personal way that will help you reach YOUR goals. My main stream of continued education should in fact also be to learn new exercises, techniques, systems and discover new training equipment that will get the job done better than anyone else!
So if your goal is to possess a bootay like this:
Or a very impressive physique like this:
I’m the man for the job!
So where lies the conundrum?
Why should you not hire a personal trainer for fat loss?
Seems silly to proclaim this when 80% of the people who walk in my door have their first goal being body fat reduction.
It’s not that I can’t help, it simply comes back to YOU not understanding MY job description versus YOUR job description in this equation!
Let me break it down for you:
1) Get you into the best physical performance shape (being fit) you’ve ever been. I named my business Adrian Crowe Athletic Training for a reason. My goal is to make everyone feel like an athlete and get them into awesome shape!
2) Making you faster and stronger than you’ve ever been. In that process comes our goal to gain a significant amount of muscle mass!
3) Correcting mild postural issues that may be causing pain, loss of energy or other health factor risks
4) Helping you alleviate stress. I hate to say it but the venting thing comes with the territory so I’m going to have to listen and get good at helping you sort out things that may be holding you back. I have one rule: shut up when it’s time to lift. And I know it’s time for you to lift again when you start talking normal versus gasping for air mid-sentence.
1) Show up for your sessions. Seriously, if you can’t get yourself into the door how the hell am I supposed to get you into shape??
2) Put your heart into the exercises I prescribe. When I ask if you think you could lift heavier, more explosive or just with better form…if you think you can, then answer yes and just do it!
3) Communicate things that may hurt while doing exercise. You’re not a hero for “toughing it out”
4) Communicate discomfort in any situation (such as you ladies being around a bunch of 24-year-old gym monkeys that don’t know how to act right around a lady)
5) Communicate things you really enjoy doing and or situations, things I do/can do that will motivate you to push harder
6) DON’T F*** UP YOUR NUTRITION
7) Get some sleep!
8) Lower your stress levels
I really hope the above list clearly shows who has the harder job here, where most of the responsibility for YOU accomplishing YOUR GOALS really falls and who is usually first to blame if those goals aren’t happening in the time frame you want. Not to say that I don’t sometimes get it wrong or that I may not be pushing you hard enough. But again that comes back to #5 of your job. If you truly think it’s me that’s the problem however, please, just fire me. I may not be the personal fitness trainer for you.
Let’s do some math. If I see a client 4 times a week for 90 minutes each session, then how much of this client’s entire week am I there to make a difference?
3.57% is the answer. I see this client 360 out of the 10,080 minutes that exist for the client this week.
And that’s 4 training sessions a week!! Most of you I see half that.
So how much do you think a personal fitness trainer is going to accomplish in just 3.57% of your week? Well, the answer is quite a bit actually. Exercise, for the general population should consist of three goals:
1) Gain muscle. I’ve already explained why HERE.
2) Gain body awareness. Learn skills via exercise that teach you to be able to perform more tasks, perform them better and also keep them pain-free.
3) Improve cardio-vascular and muscular fitness. Sweat, move hard enough or fast enough to hear yourself breathing aloud for your entire workout, scream a little when it gets brutal. Hell, even drop a choice 4 letter word if it helps get you through the set. Intensity rules all in fitness.
Exercise is nothing but a catalyst for positive change. If performed intensely enough that catalyst is HUGE!! (hence why we should not be focusing on physio-like exercises and leaving that to the physio therapist’s job). We should be concentrating on what you can do, not so much what you can’t, for over time you will be able to do more and create an even bigger training effect/catalyst.
But let me tell you this: you are weaker, smaller and in less health when you leave a gym than when you entered. Every time. Why? Because hard exercise beats your body up! It breaks down muscle, it stresses the body out and leaves you in need of adequate and appropriate food intake, stress reduction techniques and also sleep!
So, it’s YOUR job the other 96.43% of your week to get the sleep, eat, and stress reduction in order. It’s your job to eat right to lose fat. And when you do, that’s when you’ll see the results you’re working so hard in the gym for.
You need to hear me again when I say you quite simply cannot out-train a sh*tty diet!
In part 2, I’ll give you some solutions to the problems I’ve now left you with. I’ll also explain how your body is way smarter than you and how it doesn’t want you to lose weight! In the meantime, get back to your fitness, getting stronger, communicating your needs and struggles and let’s make this summer the summer you’re dying to show of that hot bod of yours!
P.S. If you need some motivation and you dig hip-hop music, well check out Stic-Man (of Dead Prez)’s new album entitled The Workout. Here’s the vid link for “Back on My Regimen” http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8nartK6wodo or for the runners his vid “Runner’s High” http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vrIElFT6JhI
BTW, you can now find me on:
Facebook page at Adrian Crowe Athletic Training “The Crowe’s Nest”
or email me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org