Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Important Lessons

In this past year, I think I really started to hit my groove as a personal trainer. I learned a lot about the way that I train, and what I can do to get the best results with my clients. I'm in no way saying that I'm the best, though, I realize that I still have a lot to learn and a lot of room for growth.

The 3 Big Lessons:
1) What's good for me isn't necessarily good for my client - Sure, I know what to do with myself to get results. I also know that the ways that I do things might be the most effective and occasionally the most brutal. For a while I thought it was most important to get my clients to want to do those things. That's not the big point, however. My clients are all grown ass folks with lives of their own. Despite their desire to work hard for the 1-4 hours they see me each week, they still have stuff to do outside of the gym. This is my life, not theirs. They want to eat food that's good for them, but not everybody is ok eating chicken breasts with montreal seasoning and sauteed spinach Every. Single. Night. I still encourage them to make good food choices, but at the end of the day I'm happy that they are even thinking about their food.

2) I can only do what you can only do - As I just mentioned, I see some clients for as little as just one hour per week. That leaves them 167 other hours in the week to do whatever they want. Some of them will actually make it into the gym and do the homework I give them, but some will just sit on the couch and watch The Real Housewives of WhoGivesAShit. I understand the importance of thoracic spine mobility and try to push that knowledge onto my clients, but if they aren't going to do their homework, then what can I really do about it? I am able to do whatever I can within those 60 minutes and that is it. My only option is to work around it. If someone isn't going to do their t-spine stuff, then we are going to have to modify some of our choices. If someone won't do their static stretching, then I guess we will always pull deadlifts from an elevated position. If someone won't come in and do their conditioning work, then I guess he won't lose the weight he wants to.

3) My clients are teachers, analysts, therapists and parents; not powerlifters - I've always built my training around the major compound lifts: squats, deadlifts, benching and overhead pressing. My goal used to be to get all of my clients doing these exercises as intended. You know what, though? It doesn't matter. It's fantastic that this guy can pull off the floor, but that doesn't make him a better therapist. Is it more important for us to spend all sorts of time getting him capable of pulling off the floor, or is it just as useful to get him really strong on something like rack pulls or trap bar deads? I want my people to all have proper mobility and full range of motion, but not everyone is going to be able to achieve it. They aren't competitive athletes, but I still need to get results.

They aren't groundbreaking ideas or anything, but they are things that have affected the way I train after this past year. Always moving forward, always getting better!

Now, go lift something heavy!

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