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The almighty Fitness Grail!

By May 27, 2016December 2nd, 2023No Comments

I have a new book. The material covered in this book is designed to educate a broad range of personal trainers with different skill sets varying from novice to expert. This is not on any test, or evaluation. I want you to read, digest, and think. I have never sold this material. I have never shared this with anyone. I have never let anyone read it. I did copy-write, and register, and protect it of course in the library of congress. I will release it soon, however its just for Fit-Pros Academy Students. It is my firm belief that all trainers, regardless of their level of experience, knowledge, and skills, will benefit from the book’s emphasis on moving from theory to practical application. The more knowledgeable and experienced the trainer is the more he/she may find the introductory material elementary, but it is a good review. Even though few of our clients are likely to probe us about the theories that guide our practice, it is imperative that trainers have a comprehensive understanding of musculo-skeletal and cardiovascular physiology, flexibility, and nutrition.

It is important to note that the material presented in this book or any other book is not the last word of aforementioned subjects. If there is one thing that my 30 plus years as a personal trainer and student of exercise physiology has taught me, is that trainers must continually increase their knowledge base. I encourage everyone to continue to be open-minded to new ideas and advances, whether these ideas come from academic research and/or practical experience. Trainers must keep in mind that today’s dearly held “truths” can very well be tomorrow’s regrettable blunders. There is no shame in admitting that a program’s designs could benefit from change; however, there would be shame in continuing a program with ineffective methods.

Think of education as a challenge, similar to as you might challenge a client to push beyond self-imposed limits. Challenge yourself to push the limits of our own knowledge by getting involved with organizations that teach facts, and real science objective truths, rather than someones subjective experimental opinion. Read the journals for the latest research, glean what you can, ask more knowledgeable trainers, explore, and challenge yourself as you expand your knowledge. Both the trainer and clients will benefit from the active pursuit of the broadest possible education. Who knows, you may develop or discover something remarkable yourself!

What I would like this to be more than anything else is an opportunity for each of you, regardless of where you are in your development toward building a personal training business, is to be able to take home a large quantity of practical information. If you are new to the personal training world, or if you have been in it for many years, you will learn and take away something from this book. As a reminder some of the information such as basic chemistry and physiology may be brand new for some and for others it will be review.

In order to provide a foundation, I am going to distill a rather diffuse set of ideas into a model I call “The Fit-Pro Academy Triangle.” The sides of the triangle include flexibility, strength, and cardiovascular fitness. The base is cardiovascular fitness, which includes both aerobic capacity and endurance. Research has shown that a consistent, sensible program of cardiovascular exercise can greatly reduce the risk of many degenerative processes, especially ones associated with Type 2 diabetes and coronary artery disease. In fact, the best treatment for type 2 diabetes is movement.

Traditionally, cardiovascular fitness has received a disproportionate amount of attention. Certainly, the importance of cardiovascular fitness cannot be overemphasized, but it must be pursued in conjunction with other elements of fitness. One of these elements is strength, which is one of the support sides of the triangle. Strength as an element of fitness is finally getting the attention it deserves. Fit-Pros Personal Training School / Academy perhaps as a corrective measure to its historical emphasis on type, intensity, duration, and frequency of aerobic exercise, finally seems to have recognized the importance of strength training on overall fitness. In the Fit-Pros latest guidelines there is a significant discussion about strength as a necessary complement in addition to cardiovascular fitness.

The other support side of the triangle is flexibility, an area which research has so far told us little about. There are few studies on what increases flexibility, what limits it, and what kinds of physiologic adaptations occur when stretching. However, the deficiency of research studies referencing flexibility is being addressed. It is worth mentioning that there are no physiological rules that demand loss of range motion as a person ages. However, there is research that supports the importance of keeping joints mobile and moving. In fact, flexibility, pursued properly, can improve more rapidly than strength or cardiovascular health.

The fitness triangle might be viewed as the head of an arrow pointing to a general fitness goal, which is for the average person, attaining and maintaining a healthy body-weight. One does not need to be a trainer to know that a significant percentage of the population of the United States is “over fat” or obese. Despite all the knowledge gains made over the past few decades, research from the Center for Disease Control suggests that fewer people are engaging in fitness-related activities than were ten years ago. While our children are getting fatter, physical fitness programs in the schools are on the decline. There are tremendous opportunities in the fields of fitness training and personal training. If we plan on answering to the growing need, we must take the responsibility to match our capabilities to the concerns of a given segment of the population.

Clients have a variety of specific, often idiosyncratic needs, and it is important to keep in mind that a trainer’s job is to meet those needs. The trainer’s job is not to impose personal wants on to their clients. Since many trainers come from a competitive sports background, when working with any of the three sides of the fitness triangle, there may be a natural tendency to emphasize performance and not fitness with clients. Competitive athletes are often willing to accept great risks in order to increase performance. It is not the trainer’s job to risk clients’ well-being in pursuit of some arbitrary performance goal. The focus should always and must be on fitness and not on performance. Fitness is not only a relatively low-risk goal, but it is the foundation to performance. Clients interested in increasing performance must first be fit. If a client is encouraged to adopt a performance mode before fitness, then that client is immediately put an unacceptable level of risk. A client can always be introduced to performance training after attaining an acceptable level of fitness. The dictum fitness before performance is especially important when working with persons closer to either end of the age spectrum: the young skeleton maturing or the old, mature client.

As a final point on this topic, I would like to introduce the notion of “relative risk.” Trainers are often told there are certain postures no client should adopt and certain exercises no client should perform. These “no nos” are lumped into a category of “contraindicated movements,” for which the knee-jerk interpretation is an overly simplistic “bad!” Yet for every contraindicated movement, there is an athlete out there performing it. The reason is relative risk. If the athlete and trainer determine that the benefit outweighs the risk, then the athlete will perform the movement. Few movements are categorically bad. It is better to keep an open mind with regard to the notion of contraindication. Rather than adopting labels such as “good” or “bad,” movements should be evaluated as “not useful” when the risk of performing it outweighs the benefit.