Is it making you better?

July 26, 2013

Recently I’ve been working with a couple of clients in a small personal training studio.  It’s been interesting.  I’m used to (the good) life at W10 where we all follow the same principles and have a similar training ethos; a place where the programmes make sense (to me).  This is not always so when I look at what goes on in some other fitness facilities.

At W10 we always ask ourselves the ‘why’ question when we write programmes.  Why do we do certain things?  Why that particular exercise?  Why not another exercise?  Why ten repetitions?  Why in that order?.  It’s not because we’re a pedantic bunch, it just doesn’t make sense otherwise. “Right, we’re going to do ten of these, five of these, ten of these and so on”, Ok, that sounds like fun, but why?

Does that exercise or programme make sense?  Is it the the best or most efficient way to get that person to their goal?  If not, we don’t do it, it doesn’t make sense.  It’s unlikely to yield even short term results, clients won’t buy into (they won’t understand why they’re doing things) and it’s hugely difficult to progress a random list of exercises into any sort of meaningful programme.  The whole thing just doesn’t work if there’s no reason or structure to it.

Many personal trainers aren’t answering the why? question.  Most aren’t even asking it.  They just exchange a hat full of often badly coached random exercises for an hourly rate.  This is the distinction between ‘working out’ and ‘training’.  Workouts could be defined as some random exercises which are varied but with no reasoning.  Training programmes are planned and progressive and things are done for a reason, with the end goal in mind.

Nothing wrong with workouts (whatever gets you moving), but it might not be the most efficient way to get you to where you want to be. Everything we (trainers) do should be with the purpose of making people better – especially if you’re charging a professional fee.  And by better I mean a step closer to their short and long term goals.  If your goal is simply to get a sweat on and to move, do random workouts.  If you have specific goals, timescales and requirements, follow a training programme.

If what you’re doing is not making you better, stop doing it.