I'm about to do something that I don't do very often, and that is go on a rant without providing any sort of resolution or answer to the problem. This is my time to be mad. Quick, somebody ask me...
I've finally found something that I dislike about this industry; and I'll generalize it as the entire fitness industry. I am really really fucking tired of fitness professionals who just don't give a shit. The worst part is that they are everywhere. I get it, though. I get that every profession has people who are good at their job and people who are bad at it; it's part of life. But the thing about the fitness industry that kills me is that the barrier to entry is so low. Almost anyone can find a certification to get that will allow them to get a job as a personal trainer. Unfortunately, most commercial gyms could give a fuck less what certification you have as long as it's nationally recognized. This means almost every commercial gym is filled with chuckledick trainers who don't know their ass from their acetabulum doing stupid exercises.
There are different kinds of bad trainers and, unfortunately, we have both at my gym. The first kind is someone who just has no idea. They may be educated in exercise physiology/science, but they have stopped learning and don't actually do anything with clients that will produce any results. This trainer will do loads of tricep kickbacks, crunches and quarter squats. This trainer sucks, but chances are they aren't going to hurt anyone, they will just waste their time and money.
The other kind of trainer, I think, is the one that pisses me off the most. This guy thinks he knows everything about everything. He may or may not have a background in exercise physiology/science, but he has worked out for his whole life. He has managed to achieve pretty good results with himself, so he obviously has what it takes to achieve results with clients. This guy spends zero time learning on his own. Maybe he peruses t-nation and reads the latest article, but all he does is read it. The deeper understanding of how to utilize that information isn't there. Even worse, he asks no questions. He see's his co-workers doing something with great effect with their clients and he institutes it without ever asking "Hey, what does that do? How does it do it? What effect do you hope to achieve?" He just does it, whether or not he is applying it correctly. This trainer will apply the correct exercises (big compound lifts), but with terrible-awful-no-good-very-bad-programming. He'll throw a bunch of shit to the wall and see what sticks. "15 different exercises for one set of 20 reps? Sure. 100 goblet squats to finish a session when the client is training again the next day? Seems like a great idea!"
What is it that both of these trainers have in common? They both think they know everything, they have no interest in learning. Their passion for this industry is non-existant. Passion trumps everything in this industry. No one is in this for the money and the fame; there are no respectable coaches out there who are household names. Nobody is retiring at 45 from this industry. Why do we do it? It's because we love it. We love helping people get healthy and be happy. We love making someone stronger and faster and better at their sport. That's why we fucking do it. If you don't love it and want to learn every way possible to get better at your job, why bother? If you can't even take the fucking time to sit down and write a simple program for your client, then go do something else. Using one workout for all of your clients for a given day doesn't count as programming. Having an obese weight-loss client spend her hour with doing 15 exercises for one set each is far from the most effective way to reach a goal. That's just you not giving a fuck and knowing how to properly program a client, or get them to understand what the best way to achieve their goals is.
Nobody in this industry knows everything, everyone is learning constantly. Tony Gentilcore recently wrote about how he was having some issues with his own body, and had to reach out to a friend in the industry to get it figured out, and get the programming to fix it. If a guy who writes an extremely popular fitness blog, writes for T-Nation, LiveStrong and Mens Health, and co-owns a nationally known and respected strength and conditioning facility continuously talks about the cool new things he learned, what could possibly make anyone else think that their level of information is perfectly acceptable?
If you're not passionate about this industry, why be in it? The pay isn't that great and the hours suck. You could be mindlessly mediocre at a lot of other jobs that would require much less effort, and you would get paid more too. It'd also allow those of us who love this industry and love what we can provide for people to get more hands-on with the people who really need it.
I have no solution to this problem, but it pisses me off to no end. For those of you who care, please go lift something heavy today!