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Another Day in the Life of a Personal Trainer....

Occasionally we are going to do a snap shot of a day in the life, today is the second in a series , its hard hitting and nothing in here is untrue or spiced up to sensationalize . Read on. Its Friday , for most the last day of the week, for me its day 5 of 7 this week....trainers can get worn out too!! The day starts early, 5.30 am , I eat before I leave, this never changes even if I am running late, its cold as I hop on the bike, probably about minus 5 degrees but its only a short trek to the studio. First up its bootcamp ( BC for short) now it our third year and still full up 3 x a week. It takes a lot of effort to attend at that time of the day and we are still rolling with a full house, today is a station circuit , 50 seconds per station, 10 second rest, 3 sets per station , ( we do a working set, an isometric set and a working set back to back depending on the exercise) we work hard , we still have a laugh . Three bootcamp members (later) today are starting a journey to become personal trainers , which is awesome , I am going to be more than happy to help them grow and develop as they work towards their goals. I am proud of them...

One hour later we are done and off people go to work ,get the kids ready for school,and the next client comes in. We will call the client DP We have been working together for over 4 years and have a fantastic relationship, always smiling and sharing a similar sense of humour  aids to the session flying by. DP missed the first session this week so we pull back a little on the resistance levels paying close attention to a couple of injuries , we always do something new, I like to challenge each client mentally and physically. The client is having with breaking or changing some food habits and we agree to have a sit down hour in the coming week to go over some issues and hopefully we can find some agreed solutions.

Next up come a couple who are relatively new to Inspira. Last week the gentleman came on his own and felt the after affects of solo attention for a few days. From a training perspective its not nice to get feedback that points to me overloading the client and we agree to lighten up today. I regularly check in during the session to see if we are aggrivating any part of his body that was bothering him last week.We regularly rest as required. The session goes real fast and we swap  coaching ideas ( he is a lifestyle coach...always full of pearls of wisdom that I rebound back on to my clients)...we always do an educational component to each session , usually about movement patterns, what does what and why  in the body. I encourage them to get at least one session done before we meet next..

Back on the bike for a 20 min cycle south, its still colder than I would like, I guess its good for the complexion...and it burns a crap load of calories.I have pre written the next clients programme but H has just come back from an injury so we have to see how it goes, for example one row motion hurts the elbow, a quick switch doesn't help so we search for an alternative exercise. Ok thats better and the client can continue without pain... H is another long term client who always makes time to ask how I am and we swap a few stories health related along the way. Its all good at the end, I must remember to follow up on that elbow situation in a few days.

Moving again to another long term client, I arrive and SC seems bit down and quiet , it takes me at least ten minutes to ask and I find that she has been diagnosed with arthritis in her big toe,( she has been in a lot of pain probably from running and has other foot issues) this is a big problem as she is running a 30 k at the weekend and worse is leading a team of Running Room entrants ( and doesn't want to let them down at the last minute) . In short we are going to have to modify many exercises ( those that use the big toe to push off , bend , generally use...did not realize that even eccentric part of the squat was also a problem) ..so we have to think quickly, do some mental reassurance and show some quick " foot box" exercises for the ankle to try and take the pressure away from the painful area...( I found out 2 days later that the race was run and the soreness in the toe probably changed the gait pattern and caused some grumbles in the hip musculature..but hey we got there...)  We did discuss the possibility of not running especially as the " pain" and other potentially related injuries seem to be increasing with time and usage.

A quick 20 minute cycle back uphill and into the wind ( cold, cold, cold..) to the last client of the day,,,we have been training frequently just recently , working at increasing strength and at the same time introducing new and different exercises. We have been training over a year and progressing nicely . K was a complete gym and weights virgin a year ago , now she can do many many things that make me proud...her skill set has gone through the roof and she is probably only one of a very select few who has never sworn at me during a session. Soon..maybe soon.

Its bloody cold but I go home, exhausted, change clothing and pop out for crushing 30 min run in the cold, hard but enjoyable, have to keep in shape, have a 10 k coming in May so have to start training earlier if I want to beat last years time....,I am tired ,its early to sleep tonight.

Whats Wrong with the Fitness Industry and why is it not working?

Been holding off on this topic for a long time but its time to share some thoughts on whats going wrong. Lets see ... more gyms than ever, more trainers than ever, more health fitness and diet books, TV shows offering advice .. more companies trying to sell you your dreams, endless lose weight franchises.. I could go on... do you see where I am going with this ...health in general is getting no better despite advice and facility availability  reaching an all time high...Nautropaths, holistic nutritionists, dieticians.... ten a dollar , personal trainers " qualifying " by the bus load, gyms open 24 hours at the end of the street dragging you , sometimes literally in the door...so how come the health of the nation at every level is getting worse.

Where do I point the finger?

1. Government... a client recently told me he was meeting with a senior ( very senior ) government minister to discuss " health programmes " , I can't go into further details but lets say it was a good job I wasn't meeting the guy ....what does the Government do now, when you think about it it scrapes by with the bare minimum of input . A couple of years ago they even raised HST on for example " personal training" , hardly encouraging and a pain for gyms and their owners. But what could Governments do ... lets see... what about taking fast food adverts of TV that are directly aimed at children.... what about more funding for schemes such as " Right to Play" , what about banning sponsorship by fast food companies of sporting events ...its been down with cigarettes, why not with junk food. Mind you some sports would fall apart without MacDonalds and Coca Cola`s funding...at Government level the list of educational and financial input could be endless... why not use some of that extra revenue raised through HST and put it back into health, what about subsidizing obese peoples gym memberships and allowing Personal Training to be available to these people through health care schemes..

2. Big Gyms: Always advertising on the radio and TV promoting themselves, but what do they give you? Ever walked around a big box gym ( lets say in May) and check out a class, 90 % plus of the people in the class don't really need to be there ...then 10 % who do need to be are not even really getting results . Are the wrong people going to the gym, do the people who really need to go ever sustain attending more than a couple of months ( they end up paying for the next 8 months as they either can't cancel membership or feel too guilty about giving up)...gyms can be intimidating to the people who need them the most...do you ever see a gym advert showing overweight people ..? Do they specifically try to help minority special populations...not really.

3. Personal Trainers; Possibly the worlds most unregulated " profession" , countless certification providers, no continuity , poorly educated , ( its not there fault by the way) and allowed to work in a industry whose standards should be questioned and thoroughly scrutinized . Did you know that a 3 day training course and a 2 hour exam is all it takes to become certified in this country , then you are licensed to " kill" so to speak. When you compare time spent " qualifying " as a trainer relative to other professions its laughable , would you let a doctor tell you what to do, diagnose you, offer you a health opinion if they had  40 hours max education. I think not. Things seriously have to change and I speak from very close personal experience as we take on board coop placement students from local colleges for work experience, what they lack to be considered " safe"  , even after 2 years of college ,is shocking and sad to see. There is no one out there providing uniform standards or qualification, no one governing body and no sight of one on the horizon. Did you know that anyone can call them selves a " personal trainer " regardless of qualification, would you trust your body and maybe even your life to someone who is $30 an hour on Craigslist who is actually showing you a photo of themselves shirtless and showing off their abs..is this what it has come down to...you are better than this people..

 

4. Magic Formula Weight loss centres: Hand over your credit card now, but before you do ask them for their success ratios ... I know of one that keeps it statistics looking good by throwing people off the programme if they are not losing weight...no wonder " results are guaranteed".. these places play on your emotions, sell you some product and then sell you some more. There is no magic formula, its all down to you...I approached one of these places recently offering training services for their clients....apparently "their clients don't need a trainer", flabbergasted I left...

The fitness has been turned into a cash cow as business see an opportunity to make some bucks, I won't point fingers but the list of bad boys out there is big and growing , be careful where you spend your hard earned..