This is in reference to coaching, be it a large group or a single client. I know this is something I am always working on — just being brief and clear in any exercise or drill instruction I am giving. I find that at times, especially when explaining a more complex exercise (think a deadlift vs. a step up), that I will begin to explain more than just what the client needs to know. Fortunately since this has been something that I’ve had to work on since I started training two years ago, I’ve learned to read people as well as just catch myself in the act which gets me back on track to just get the client doing the exercise.

Another thought I have now is that if a client needs more explanation about an exercise or drill such as if they don’t understand my initial explanation, is to switch to another mode of teaching. So instead of trying to explain it further, I will switch to demonstrating the exercise or putting them in the position I want them to be in. I have found this to be more of an experience thing as I get better at recognizing people’s learning styles with each client I work with.

CB

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Learning from Experience

September 25, 2008

Being a naturally introverted and good looking man, it has never been very difficult for me to reflect on my exeriences. Howeevr this summer, I started reflecting a lot more frequently…every day I was at the gym for sure, so after working in the gym I’d take the train home and this would give me the perfect opportunity to reflect on my day. I’d go over what I thought I did well, what I could have done a better job of and how, and what I learned.

As the summer went on, I realized that not only was I learning things that I needed to do to be a good coach, trainer, etc, but also things that I would do differently from the scenario that I learned from. That actually seems like an awkward way to describe it.

This point of experience teaching me something I don’t like or don’t want to do has become really clear regarding one of my classes this semester. Its an entrepreurship course, and it is beneficial in the sense that I will leave the course with a greater business sense, but also in that general entrepreneurship and financially assessing opportunities aren’t things that excite me. My entrepreneurial goals are more about the specific technical work I do than about just being an entrepreneur without a technical allegiance.

CB

Hello Universe! I thought I’d take the time today to comment on what I’m doing in the gym right now:

One of the big changes I’ve made to my own training recently is working my abs FIRST, instead of last. (And by abs I really mean all the core muscles). I do two exercises each workout before I get into any bench pressing, squatting, etc. I’ve also set it up so that a different aspect of core strength is focused on each day. One day is upper abs flexion, another is lower abs flexion, another is basic stability, and the last day is rotational stability. Why I’ve done this is simply because it is the opposite of what we’re told to do (train core last), and to see the results that come from using this approach. My goal here is simply to improve my core strength so that I can pass the FMS rotary stability test.

Tougher than it looks!

Tougher than it looks!

I’ve also gone back to a higher volume approach focusing on my arms. One day has a traditional exercise order of compound movements to isolation movements, while my other upper body day begins (after core) with isolation exercises followed by a couple compound movements. Again, this is more to go against the grain a little bit and try soemthing new, but not simply for the sake of being different.

So that’s a rundown of what I’m “experimenting” with right now in my own training.

CB

Coming into the gym to train in-season isn’t at the top of very many athletes’ priority list. This is something I really believe is a problem in the “journey towards improved athletic performance”.

Many athletes can work admirably during the off-season, however once the in-season rolls around, they stop coming to train. So basically what has happened is that any gains the athlete made in their off-season training will be subject to the law of reversibility! Strength gains, power gains, and endurance gains will all decrease eventually to what they were at the beginning of the off-season.

This of course will be reflected on the field, court, or ice. Pitchers may end up with a “dead arm”, basketball and hockey players will “lose their legs” late in the season.

Unfortunately, at the end of the season is the playoffs; when most teams and players want to/expect to play their best. How can this occur if the athlete isn’t as strong or fast as they were at the start of the season?

Now the important thing about in-season training is that it is an ADDITIONAL stress in an often busy in-season competitive schedule (especially at higher levels), so to maintain aspects of fitness gained in the off-season, volume must be limited and intensity kept high. This way the athlete can recover from the training sessions instead of causing the athlete to become overtrained!

Looking at this from both sides though, I must wonder if part of this lack of in-season training is due to us trainers?? Are we making the training environment in the off-season FUN and ENJOYABLE?? If we are, the athletes might be more inclined to continue training in-season. This is definitely an area I focus on for this very reason (amongst others)!

There’s always mroe than one piece to the puzzle.

CB

When I began my journey to become a personal trainer almost two years ago, I didn’t realize that being a trainer did NOT necessarily translate to being a good COACH…little did I know…

What I’ve realized in the past couple months (which seems to be in the front of my mind daily) is that having training knowledge doesn’t count for all that much in becoming a successful coach. For me at least, acquiring and understanding all the information on training and anatomy/physiology is the easy part. I find the hard part (which also happens to be what I believe will be more integral in my professional success) is knowing how to COACH.

For me, knowing how to coach is largely a matter of communicating with people EFFECTIVELY. Different ages, different skill levels, different personalities all make this something which I have to continually focus on in order to improve. Funny thing is in certification courses I’ve taken, this “Art” of coaching stuff isn’t mentioned! When people are entering into the fitness industry, they’re never taught to take a certain coaching approach with this personality type and another with that personality type.

Working at SST has opened my eyes to this, and it is something that I believe will bring me closer to my dreams than trying to memorize every supplement protocol or some training text. Some of my biggest professional goals have become to interact effectively with ALL people, and teach the client something/make THEM think and become an active part of the training process. These are things I believe  make a successful coach.

Fortunately I’ve realized this very early in my professional career.

CB