One thing I get from a lot of people is that they “know how to train themselves just fine.” This is one of those things that just gets under my skin because I think it is just so ignorant. In Creating the Holistic Athlete, Chip Conrad compares the human body to a car. Basically the metaphor was this: when your car breaks down or you want to improve something performance related on your car you naturally go to a mechanic unless you are a mechanic yourself. This is true for most tasks. If you want to re-roof your house you don’t just hop on the ladder and get to it. You go to someone who does that sort of thing. At least if you want it done well you would go to someone who specializes in that sort of thing.
So why then do we take our bodies that are vastly more valuable than the most expensive cars and decide that we have the necessary expertise to deal with fixing our improving our bodies. Most people think this is okay. A good fitness professional knows more about what you need to get closer to your goals than you do. Just as a good mechanic knows more about how to fix my car than I do.
Unfortunately, you do need a good mechanic. Maybe some of you have been to a mechanic who gives you a list of expensive “repairs” that your car needs. This holds true for fitness professionals. I see a lot of other coaches putting a lot of “filler” into their programs. Those are the expensive repairs. You get charged X amount of dollars to work with someone for an hour and you do a few good exercises and to fill the hour the coach will give you something that may not really help you with your goals. Your coach needs to be able to justify everything single thing that goes into your program. If you are doing something that serves no purpose you are wasting your time and by extension, your money. If your coach can’t justify every exercise, set, rep, rest period, et cetera, then you shouldn’t be working with that coach.
A good hour spent with a trainer doesn’t mean that you are huffing & puffing by the end of it and can hardly walk. Dan John makes a good point in stating that it’s not hard to make a hard workout; it’s hard to make a good workout. I like to say, don’t let your workout get in the way of your results. More and more I see this. Trainers beating the crap out of their clients and believing that this is the best way to see results. When I worked at another facility I had a colleague ask me why I was doing squats with someone so often. She asked it in a way that was “Do you think she wants to do squats every time she’s here? She’ll get bored.” Well this client came to work with me twice a week and she wanted to run 10K races. I believed that doing squats would help her with that. I believe that the goal must dictate the program. As such, I was willing to have her do squats twice a week because what she wanted was to be a more efficient runner. A good coach designs programs to get you results. Not to make you throw up or entertain you enough so you forget that what you’re doing makes no sense.
The last thing I think is important is spending money effectively. Nowhere is it more true than in the fitness industry that you get what you pay for. It’s really easy to justify going to a cheap bootcamp or hiring the trainer that is $35/hour. A good trainer isn’t cheap but they are worth the investment. You can go to a bootcamp a few times a week and do some random workout that may or may not be applicable to your goals and more than likely is just designed to get you tired so you feel like you did something. A better option would be to spend more money on a qualified professional who cares about getting you results.
So please invest in a good coach and when you look for one ask them how they design their programs. If you are already working with a coach, start asking them how everything in your program applies to your goals. Don’t settle for less than your body is worth.