Specific Instructions, Not Empty Platitudes
Posted January 26, 2023 by Matthew Romans
Fortunately, I have not had to set foot in a commercial gym in nearly twenty years, but the more things change the more they typically stay the same. Technology may be more advanced and interactive, but the atmosphere in health clubs/fitness centers is still a noisy circus. People who refer to themselves as "trainers" still typically dress as though they are the ones going through a workout, and the facility is filled with poorly-designed (and often dangerous) equipment that serves very little productive purpose. Most of what passes for "instruction" or "personal training" at gyms is glorified cheerleading; essentially, the "trainer" is just a workout caddy that carries a tablet and hangs out with the client while they go through the motions. For this privilege, many people pay between $60 and $70 per hour a few times per week.
Exercise is a serious endeavor and should be treated as such. In order to stimulate the body to safely and efficiently make physical improvements, a clinically controlled and distraction-free environment is the optimal setting, not a social club filled with noise, mirrors, and crowds. In order to optimize performance and results, one needs a specific plan of action and someone to teach them how to tap into physical and mental resources they didn't even know they had. You need a real exercise instructor, not someone who passed a multiple choice test on a weekend fitness course. You need a teacher who will provide you with specific instructions, not a part-timer who will spout empty platitudes.
A Total Results instructor considers himself a teacher first. It's no different than teachers in other settings; the idea is to convey information in a way that is easily understood and to give the client (student) the tools necessary to optimize their chance for long-term success. I suspect that if you look back on your years of formal schooling, the teachers that had lasting impressions on you were the ones that really made you think, and made the material the easiest to absorb. We are teaching concepts that are new for most people, and it should be understood that there is a learning curve. Clients learn and progress at different paces, but we have structured how we teach our protocol so that you can absorb the information and not be overloaded. There is a particular purpose and reason for everything that we say, starting with the initial consultation where we give a general overview of our philosophy and explain preliminary considerations before we even put a prospective client on a piece of equipment. Our expectation is to instill in the client a sense of purpose, and a solid understanding of the primary exercise objective of thorough muscular and metabolic inroad.
There are two exercise examples that really display our commitment to detail in instruction. The first is the Leg Press, the most important of exercises and the first movement that we introduce in an initial consultation. We go over the repetition cycle schematic, discuss speed, pace, and turnarounds, entry/exit of the machine, and customize your machine settings before even performing a single repetition. This is information that serves you well not just on the Leg Press exercise, but as you move forward and learn additional exercises. The second example involves the Calf Raise exercise, which is a smaller movement typically introduced a few weeks down the road for most clients. This exercise does not have a significant metabolic impact on the rest of the body, but is a very important movement that helps improve lower body circulation and has a notable influence on foot and ankle stability. Your instructor will go into painstaking detail about proper loading of the musculature, knee stability, foot placement, and gradually increasing the stretch for the calf muscles as well as the Achilles tendon. These details may seem to be unnecessary, but we go to these lengths to ensure safety.
Clients look to their instructor for guidance, and it is our job to lead. We are detailed in our instructions by necessity, but not overly technical in order to avoid confusion. There is a fine line between spouting off highly technical jargon and not purposely dumbing things down. Specific instructions must be given at the precise right moment, along with gentle corrections that will assist the client to perform better and inch closer to achieve the ultimate objective. It is the instructor's duty to know what they're saying and why they're saying it, and less is often more. Exercise sessions are purposeful and meaningful undertakings, and it should be acknowledged that a Total Results workout is not a social event. I certainly enjoy chatting and connecting with clients before and after sessions, but in the workout room it is strictly business. We value your time and your safety, and would never do anything to compromise your focus.
Someone who simply holds an iPad and periodically says "good job" is not an instructor. They are probably well-intentioned, but could be more appropriately categorized as a workout buddy. Frankly, you could probably find a friend that would do that for free, not $70 per hour. That might motivate some people, and motivation is certainly important, but the best motivation is internal rather than external. A drive to succeed is enhanced by positive reinforcement, correction of mistakes, proper teaching, and accumulation of knowledge. If you're serious about achieving positive physical change safely and in minimum time per week, you need Total Results. Call us today.