Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Real vs. Perceived results

What is more important, in a commercial gym setting: results, or the perception of results? Unfortunately, the clients we see in a commercial gym are vastly different than the ones seen in a dedicated strength and conditioning facility. Not everyone who comes into our facility has the goal of getting Bigger, Faster, Stronger. Granted, the trainer has the ability (and the job) to try and sway the client into the direction of what they NEED rather than what they want. What many clients WANT, is the perception of an amazing workout. You show up for your first training session, with no exercise history and 30 pounds overweight. You meet your trainer with the arm-band and tattoo's and Ed Hardy shirt, and an hour later you leave after having done an hour of chest and tri's. You go to work for the next 3 days and can barely bend your arms, and putting on your shirt each morning requires 3 Aleve. Success! Your trainer totally kicked your ass! That is just what you wanted, someone who knows 13 different triceps extensions who can make you wicked sore for days after each weekly session!


But, thats not what our clients really need. We know now that its really most important for clients to focus on improving movement ability, soft tissue quality, improving posture and gaining strength on the good ol' fashioned compound lifts. If you are 30 pounds overweight, no amount of crunches or bicep curls is going to make a difference in your body composition. If you weigh 220 pounds and cannot do 10 legit pushups, bench pressing 75 pounds for 15 reps isn't going to help you at all.

Where is the line in the sand, though? Is there a point where results cease to matter, and the most important thing is that this particular client is simply getting into the gym? Not only are they coming to the gym, but they are starting to increase their self-efficacy. For someone like this, when do we decide that we are going to give up on squats and lunges because they hate them, and stick to leg presses and hamstring curls because they are simply WILLING to do them? It would make our job easier, but is it going to be better overall?

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