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  1. Equipoise is offline
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    Posted On:
    7/25/2007 5:27pm

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    Hell yeah! Hell no!

    Selecting a Personal Trainer.

    Alright guys, this thread is going to be about how to pick a personal trainer and to make sure that you're getting the most for your money.


    Part 1

    :XXknight: The first rule that people need to realize is that if you're not willing to work, it doesn't matter how effective your trainer is. You won't get any better, slimmer, larger, etc. This doesn't mean staying in the gym five hours a day and devoting your life to exercise. What this means is that you are willing to exercise and push through a moderate amount of strain and fatigue. Excuses result in nothing.


    :XXknight: Next on the list is realizing that most trainers...you guessed it, don't know dick about training. It's sad but true. The things I've heard trainers say and made their clients do is absolute crap and in some cases detrimental if not dangerous. Just because your trainer has on a shirt that says "Personal Trainer" and is the size of a building, doesn't mean that he or she knows what the hell they're doing. Most personal trainer courses are a one day thing where you sit through a seminar and take an hour long test at the end. No one picks up physiology, kinesiology and exercise practices in one day of being talked at. Many places also don't require that a trainer has any certification; they just get paid more because of it. The same goes for those possessing an actual degree in exercise science. I have seen these persons pull the same nonsense with their clients as those with minimal schooling.

    - Want to see if your trainer is worth his/her salt? Ask them "Why" they make you do one thing or another. If they give you a logical explanation with science, you can place a little more faith in them. A trainer with little knowledge is going to give you some nonsensical answer that it works one muscle or another. A big thing I've been noticing is trainer's telling their clients to stretch prior to lifting.... big no no. Stretching reduces force output and can increase the rate of injury during lifting. Another load of crap is this partial repetition nonsense to "lengthen" or "shorten" the muscle for a designated look.... Insertion points determine said length. Nothing short of surgery will change that. Feel free to verify what your trainer says on here with us. We'll tell you if it's true or not as well as cite the sources for our logic.


    :XXknight: If your trainer is making you do exercises that are mostly a team effort type thing in regards to having to throw a medicine ball, etc. They're setting you up for more sessions. Remember it is a business.... Partnered drills =/ independence.

    :XXknight: Tell your trainer your goals. Make sure he/she trains you in that capacity. I've seen a lot of clients blindly follow their trainers without asking why. If you're not getting what you want from the training, tell your trainer. I've noticed this where I hear gossip from someone about a client who is unhappy because her trainer has made her able to kick holes in buildings with her legs. This may be great for those aspiring to be competition squatters, but not for everyone.

    :XXknight: This brings me to another point. Your trainer is GENERALLY going to train you how they train themselves. Again this generality goes along with the idea that most trainers are idiots. Big huge guys will generally train you how they train with just a lot less weight.
  2. Equipoise is offline
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    Posted On:
    7/25/2007 5:46pm

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    Part 2



    :XXknight: High repetitions does not mean you're going to get "cut up." Heavy weight does not mean you're going to get massive. I can't stand these stupid generalities. Sadly a good amount of the population believes in this and many trainers continue to espouse this nonsense. Your look and size are going to be determined by a lot of factors:

    - Genetics. This is the end all, be all folks. If you are very thin and have an exomorphic somatotype (thin/slender/skinny) You're not going to look like my Avatar. It just won't happen. However, you can improve your look and strength. Set reasonable goals for yourself, not impossible things. The same goes if you're endomorphic (large/round =-). Chances are that you're not going to be super thin. But again you can improve your look and your strength, fitness, etc. One thing to note and drill into your brain is that models on tv, magazines, etc are airbrushed and modified heavily. Tons of lights, computer enhancement, makeup and tanning lotion can make Quasimodo look like Prince Charming.

    -Training. There are tons of different methodologies for training. Depending on which one your trainer uses, will push you towards one area of fitness or another. These fitness areas are specializations and as such are suited for different people and things. More on this later..


    - Diet. If your diet sucks, don't expect anything to change.


    :XXknight: Elaborating on the diet, don't expect your trainer to know anything about nutrition. The big ones generally eat too much meat and a boring selection of carbohydrates. The thin ones who are generally female and aerobic enthusiasts stick to fru-fru foods including Tofu. Tofu for the record not only tastes bad, but is bad for you. Use the search function.. Both spectrums of this diets are bad. Eat breakfast, eat smaller meals through out the day and balance your foods. All 3 macronutrients (fat, protein, carbohydrates) are essential and important. Eat food that makes you happy as well. Depriving yourself of satisfying meals will just cause you to start sneaking in snacks or get bored of your diet and exercise altogether.

    :XXknight: Your type of training should mimic your real life activities to the extent that if you're not a marathon runner, you shouldn't be running a lot. If you're not an endurance athlete, you shouldn't be training like one, etc. Train for specifics. Your trainer should push you to this. Doing endless repetitions of one exercise or another does nothing but facilitate boredom. The idea of "fitness" is nebulous. IE it's a load of semantical crap. Your speciality will make you fit whether it be power lifting or sprinting.
  3. alex is offline
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    Posted On:
    7/25/2007 10:26pm

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    Hell yeah! Hell no!
    for the first year of my degree in sport and exercise science we learned that the 3 main things towards being a successful trainer is-

    self promotion
    interesting (not neccessarily effective) programs
    gimmicks (loads of kickboxers I know are also PT. good gimmick)

    knowing how to actually train people? the vast majority of clients will not continue their training even under the best personal trainers, until you start getting up into the level where you are training bona fide athletes, and then the priorities change quite a lot. but for your run of the mill gym jockey PT, knowing how to actually make an effective programme is a secondary goal to the 3 things mentioned above- remember that.
  4. JabCrossHook is offline
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    Posted On:
    7/26/2007 7:28am


     Style: Kickboxing, Judo

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    Hell yeah! Hell no!
    Great post!I'd just like to discuss one specific statement:

    Quote Originally Posted by equipoise
    A big thing I've been noticing is trainer's telling their clients to stretch prior to lifting.... big no no. Stretching reduces force output and can increase the rate of injury during lifting.
    I agree totally with the statement regarding stretching. I am currently gaining certification as a personal trainer and some of the crap they're spouting is ridiculous. It is also a "decent" course, run by the YMCA.

    It seems there are 2 problems with personal trainers today:
    •They have gone on a 3 hour seminar and learnt close to buger all but got a certificate
    OR
    •They've partaken in a lengthy course to gain certification, but learnt a load of crap in the process.

    Admittedly a lot of the physiology in my course was sound, but their training protocols are very "set in stone". For hypertrophy, you WILL do 8-12 reps, for example. I have to do the practical assessment soon, where I have to meticulously state every minor detail of what I am doing to an examiner. That includes stretching before exercise and a VERY silly programme.

    I don't really know what can be done about the rising number of shite "exercise professionals". I'm taking a very reputable course in the UK and they're making me learn absolute crap!
  5. spirez is offline

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    Posted On:
    7/26/2007 12:24pm


     Style: BJJ/no-gi

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    Hell yeah! Hell no!
    I've just finished a course with Premier and i know they are a rival company to YMCA but quite a lot of mud slinging was going on in YMCA's direction. I don't know if it's true but i've been told that some of the material used is not up to date there and they don't teach a lot of the exercises that are key to a decent weight programme. One lad did his level 2 with YMCA but said the standard was a fair bit lower than the Premier course and they were more set in stone with regards to teaching exactly what's in the syllabus.

    How have you found the course in general? Have you been told to use machines in your programme at all? What do you feel they are teaching you that is crap.

    I'd like to think i'm going to make a good PT as i've witnessed bad ones in the past and they are a waste of time and money.

    The initial Level 2 gym instruction course was 2 weeks with a lot of anatomy and physiology, then the Level 3 Personal Trainer part was 5 weeks and expanded on all of that as well as going into kinesiology and all sorts of gym related stuff. We were in the gym for quite a lot of the time too gaining practical experience. I've also done a Level 3 Sports Masage Therpay course for another 5 weeks and have gained loads more practical and theory knowledge on muscles, bones, joints etc, how they work, how to identify/test for problems and how to treat them.

    It's been good, but results are what counts.

    Cheers
    Last edited by spirez; 7/26/2007 12:39pm at .
  6. JabCrossHook is offline
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    Posted On:
    7/28/2007 10:23am


     Style: Kickboxing, Judo

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    Hell yeah! Hell no!
    Quote Originally Posted by spirez
    How have you found the course in general? Have you been told to use machines in your programme at all? What do you feel they are teaching you that is crap.
    Yeah.. they've covered machines too. One of the advantages listed for them is that "many machines will only target a specific muscle through the same ROM each time, making it easier for the personal trainer to set exercises based on the participant's needs". WHAT THE HELL? I can select exercises perfectly well using a bar and some plates. My main point is that they are very pedantic in what you teach and how you teach it. We are told to demonstrate everything in unnecessary detail. A good example is with stretching.

    I must stretch every muscle which is to be used in the session. To do this I have to explain the name of the stretch, area it targets, specific muscle(s). I then have to do a silent demonstration and tell them to walk around and observe from a number of angles and then I show them again but talk them through it. There's a few problems with this method:
    •They pay me by the hour and we'd barely get the warmup done in an hour!
    •It's boring as hell for them
    •There's no opportunity for your personality to show through
    If I miss one of these steps for any stretch I have to retake. Same principle for exercises and cooldown.

    I also have a chart telling me the volume/intensity for each training goal. There is no crossover, regardless of the idea tat changing protocols actually promotes growth.

    The initial Level 2 gym instruction course was 2 weeks with a lot of anatomy and physiology, then the Level 3 Personal Trainer part was 5 weeks and expanded on all of that as well as going into kinesiology and all sorts of gym related stuff. We were in the gym for quite a lot of the time too gaining practical experience. I've also done a Level 3 Sports Masage Therpay course for another 5 weeks and have gained loads more practical and theory knowledge on muscles, bones, joints etc, how they work, how to identify/test for problems and how to treat them.
    I'm doing distance learning for the theory as due to A-levels in Sport Physiology, psychology and biology as well as my own reading I already know a decent amount of the stuff. Other bits are new but they provide a decent amount of support. The physiology is sound.. it's just the application which I happen to disagree with a lot of.
  7. Equipoise is offline
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    Posted On:
    7/28/2007 4:48pm

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    Hell yeah! Hell no!
    Part 3-

    :XXknight: Your posts also illustrates the point about "exercise professionals." Upon recently going to a YMCA in the area, I noticed that the trainer's only form of exercise is opening their mouthes to espouse nonsense to other trainers. A few of them were overweight. This brings up the idea of "Would you go see a mechanic who can't fix his own car?"

    :XXknight: Your trainer should not be working out with you. That's such a load of crap. You're paying for a personal trainer not a glorified work out partner. Your trainer shouldn't even have the same lifting/exercise plan as you. If that's the case either your trainer is getting paid to lift with you or he/she doesn't know what they're doing.


    On a side note: I actually lost a client about three days ago because I told him NOT to stretch and cited why, etc. Older Male, weird personality; similiar to talking to the old sound blaster "AI" personalities. They take several minutes to respond, have a monotone voice and generally speak of something totally unrelated. He called me to tell me that he pulled a hamstring during our routine. Apparently his hamstrings are in his arms or chest.... He whined to the manager and tried to state that I didn't know what I was doing/talking about. The manager came to give me flak and I responded that I'm not going to go against modern science or my training as doing so would put the client at risk. He was reassigned to another trainer. =-) This is one reason that I can't stand working with men...at all. 99% of the time ego gets in the way of learning and training.

    On a side note... a good trainer does training as second job. That way he's not out to make money from it.
  8. spirez is offline

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    Posted On:
    7/28/2007 5:43pm


     Style: BJJ/no-gi

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    Hell yeah! Hell no!
    What do you mean by not stretching? Pre workout?
  9. Equipoise is offline
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    Posted On:
    7/28/2007 7:04pm

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    Hell yeah! Hell no!
    Yes. Or post for that matter. Stretching post exercise is dumb as well. The muscles have been forced to contract so forcing them to stretch is a bad idea.
  10. spirez is offline

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    Posted On:
    7/29/2007 7:58am


     Style: BJJ/no-gi

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    Hell yeah! Hell no!
    I've always learned to wait 1-2 hours before stretching properly post, but should still dynamically stretch before a workout.

    Jab, the problem with distance learning is that you don't get chance to question the stuff that's in the syllabus. But i can understand you don't have much choice with the rest of your workload. We were also given a table of the training variables eg strength 1-5 reps, 3-5 mins rest etc etc but were told that it;s only a rough guideline and shouldn't be taken as anything else. That's the problem with not having a lecturer i find, a lot of the material can be down to how someone may interpret it.

    Sucks about the machines. We weren't allowed to use any in our programmes, apart from cables and lat pulldown but they're not fixed path machines anyway. I've been watching a few clips of UFC fighters going through their conditioning routines and it shocks me how many of them are told to use a lot of machines by supposedly top conditioning coaches.

    The stretching thing sounds strange. Do you have to do all of that before the main session?

    For the exam we were required to do a 3-5 min warmup, 3 dynamic stretches, around 10 reps for each and then onto the main session.
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