Before we begin, you should know something going into this post. It’s a rant.
This is a post detailing exactly what I do at work every day.
And what I don’t do.
I don’t use long, boring, steady-state cardio or Bosu balls.
I don’t do any jumping. Unless of course you can squat more than your body weight and we’re doing plyometrics.
I don’t make people powerlift, body-build, or perform strongman exercises.
Essentially, I use my expertise in the field of “fitness” to help people reach any goal that they might have in mind, be it performance, aesthetic, or health-related.
I make people stronger. Not always strong in the eyes of the strongest, but stronger than they were before and therefore better.
I make people mobile (or flexible, whichever you prefer). This involves joints moving throughout their entire range of motion. This also involves understanding joints and what the right range of motion is. For instance, knowing how to recognize a forward migration of the humeral head during a bench press, saving someone from some shoulder issues.
I make people stable. Sometimes it’s being uncoordinated, sometimes it’s joint laxity. Either way, I help people gain stability to safely use their new-found range of motion.
I help fix people’s hips, knees, backs, and shoulders. I’m not a doctor, physical therapist, or massage therapist, nor do I claim to have the same level of knowledge, but I am able to have a profound effect on pain simply by understanding how to balance the body. I understand spinal issues, subacromial impingement, patella-femoral syndrome, and more, and I know how to address each one.
I understand the efficacy of soft tissue work and can sometimes help people feel better by simply showing them the correct spot to foam roll.
I deal with all of the stress, sadness, anger, and various emotional disturbances of each clients day. Training isn’t always a step toward a goal, sometimes sessions need to serve multiple purposes and I’m glad to entertain those purposes. Moreover, I don’t judge anybody based on their goals. To each his own.
I use barbells, kettlebells, TRXs, dumbbells, bands, sliders, and functional trainers, creating an exercise encyclopedia of hundreds of exercises, all in my head. I can adjust sessions as needed on a dime and I come up with new variations of exercises almost daily. I can regress exercises back if they’re too hard, but also progress them forward so that you won’t be able to walk the next day.
I teach the Olympic lifts, play around with med balls, and utilize speed work to address all facets of the strength-speed continuum.
I know what your “core” is and how to get a six-pack. I understand all three planes of the body and how to develop the core so as to be strong in each plane. The core truly is the basis of all strength and you can recognize a skilled trainer or coach by his knowledge of anti-extension, flexion, lateral flexion, and rotation exercises.
I understand anatomy, physiology, biomechanics, physics, chemistry, biology, myofascial meridians, periodization, resistance training, interval training, and nutrition, among other things. I draw upon all of these sources of knowledge each time I step inside the studio with a client.
Building upon that, I know how to help you lose fat, gain muscle, or do both at the same time. I know that to be successful with any type of body transformation, you must be on point with your nutrition and training and ignoring either one will be the difference between success and failure.
I bring people to their first chin-ups and pushups.
If you want to sweat, I’ll fashion a sled for you our of various pieces of equipment in our small studio and I’ll make you pull it around until you want to collapse. And if that isn’t hard enough, you can do some farmer’s carries as rest. Being strength-oriented doesn’t mean you can’t be well-conditioned too.
I spend hours cleaning the studio so that clients can come workout in a clean environment. I spend hours writing programs so that clients can always have interesting variations of exercises.
I consider myself a healthcare professional, in the sense that a good personal trainer or strength coach can and should be the first defense against injuries and health problems. While we can’t fix everything, we can do a whole lot more than you’d expect.
I spend hours of my free time reading articles and books on anatomy, physiology, and strength training methods. This is because a good trainer/coach will only be as good as the last article they read or wrote, not the degree they graduated with.
And yes, I sometimes torture my clients by forcing them to listen to Brad Paisley Pandora against their will.
Sometimes, it’s easy to look at trainers and see the burpees, the running laps, the bad squat form, or the ridiculous Bosu-ball-cable-row-and-lunge things. It’s easy to dismiss trainers and strength coaches as non-essential employees , businesses that technically don’t need to exist. Of course, you can get all the same benefits of a good strength coach from a fitness class or DVD that you ordered from an infomercial.
So now, after reading this article, you might be wondering about your own trainer (or potential trainer). Just ask them what FAI is. If they’re worth your time, they’ll know.