Secrets of Personal Training #1

In some of the coming posts, Iíll reveal a few of the secrets that I have used to help people to get into shape, some of the things that every trainer wishes their clients would know, and some of the things they hope to keep a secret.

First: It is very likely that you really have no idea what youíre doing.

I say this with as much humility as I can muster. I had been exercising and doing sports training since I was a kid and thought that I knew what I was doing when I went into a gym or weight roomÖ I was wrong. There is a big difference between working out and training. If there is one thing that I learned in my education to become a personal trainer, itís this: There is a lot more to it than I thought.

You canít really understand what youíre doing just by reading an issue of Menís Health or Muscle and Fitness Magazine, and just because you got sweaty; it doesnít mean that you got a good workout.

For example: Last year, I competed in the Louisville Ironman triathlon. I trained specifically for this event for a full 9 months. It dictated my daily schedule in how much sleep I got, what kind of food I ate, what I did on the weekends, and of course what my workouts consisted of. I use this extreme example to make a point. It would have been useless for me to try and use the same training tactics that I used to prepare for football in high school or that I would use for a client whoís trying to lose 50 pounds. I simply wouldnít have been able to complete the race. And I used a very specific plan that gave me a daily schedule for that entire 9 months to follow in preparation for the race. This plan included things like Strength building phases, Speed vs Endurance work, Heart-rate training, Recovery cycles, Easy workouts, and a long Taper period. It would have been foolish for me to just set out to try and go farther at each workout hoping that by August 29th I could Swim, Bike, and Run 140.6 miles. I needed to get educated and follow a plan.

You may not be interested in doing an Ironman triathlon, but your training needs to be tailored to your goals and what youíre interested in accomplishing with your time (and probably) money investment. This is where it helps to have a personal trainer.

The CrossFit Games

This past weekend was the final stage of the 2011 Crossfit Games. Over the past few months, athletes from all over the earth worked their way through an intense open competition, regional cuts, and finally the games which included the best 50 or so men and women and teams from all over the globe. After 10 events spanning a wide range of competitive endeavors, Rich Froning and Annie Thorisdottir were crowned the fittest man and fittest woman on earth. If you havenít had an opportunity to watch any of the competition, you can still see a lot of it at games.crossfit.com, and probably on espn3.com.

I would like to express some of my thoughts regarding this competition now that itís over.

Crossfit doesnít merely choose one or two aspects (think strength or endurance) of fitness and focus on that. The training methods are aiming at an overall competency in all areas of fitness. They did an effective job of testing overall fitness in an increasing level of difficulty as the competition filtered out the less-fit, leaving only the most competent to compete in the games.

This was my first year of watching the games, but I have seen elements from last yearís competition and I saw a documentary from the 2009 games, and I feel like they designed this yearís games around Crossfitís core statement of ìWorld class fitness in 100 wordsî from coach Glassman.

ìEat meat and vegetables, nuts and seeds, some fruit, little starch and no sugar. Keep intake to levels that will support exercise but not body fat. Practice and train major lifts: Deadlift, clean, squat, presses, C&J, and snatch. Similarly, master the basics of gymnastics: pull-ups, dips, rope climb, push-ups, sit-ups, presses to handstand, pirouettes, flips, splits, and holds. Bike, run, swim, row, etc, hard and fast. Five or six days per week mix these elements in as many combinations and patterns as creativity will allow. Routine is the enemy. Keep workouts short and intense. Regularly learn and play new sports.î

They included major lifts, gymnastics, traditional cardio work, and even some sport specific skills.

I have been doing Crossfit for about 6 months now, and have grown in my abilities across their broad spectrum of tasks, but this weekend showed me just how far I have to go if I want to call myself truly fit.

Finally, I felt like a weirdo all weekend. I was very interested in watching the competition, and I started talking about the competitors to my friends like they should know who I was talking about, but they didnít seem to be very interested at all. It was like they were asking me why in the world would I be so interested in watching other people workoutÖ I guess Iím interested in seeing the the potential limits of humans made in the image of God. I guess I want to know what I could do if I devoted myself to it. Maybe I am a little weird, but more and more people are joining me in my weirdness, as referenced by the large crowds, and the fact that it was on espn.