I’ve been exercising in one form or another for two decades but I’ve only been a Personal Trainer for two years. Figuring it out is no different than most other professions. You work hard, study as much as you can get your hands on. Eventually, you ace a big exam and are awarded a nice diploma. Or a certificate of completion, or even just a checkmark on a clipboard, all of which denotes your newfound authority and makes your word law. Your future clients will be disciples speaking of you in reverent dulcet tones; spreading fables myths and inspirational tales of how you changed their life and the whole world.
It’s a nice vision to be sure and it’s there for the taking so long as you can carve out your own path with your eyes on the prize like an unstoppable juggernaut. The reality is that these trails have already been blazed and you’re now walking down paved roads same as everyone else. Streets named after these very legends you thought you would have become by now. You’re not discouraged though, you knew all this when you started. For most of you, this won’t even be a setback because you have accounted for the human element. Those who haven’t continue reading.
What I mean by the human element and as it relates to Personal Training and Fitness is the confidence inherent in us all. No matter who we are or where we are in our lives, there are things we know that are irrefutable and things we know about ourselves that nobody else ever will. This gives us our own stamp of approval as an authority on what is best for us. With every client, I have seen versions of this mindset outlined clearly so let me touch on it briefly as it relates to the unique challenges one faces in training and giving orders to another human being.
The Archetypal client comes to me with a need for my services. They could be in great shape and need a specific goal or trouble area to focus on. They could be recovering from surgery or other similar procedures and are hoping to regain lost flexibility, mobility or their very quality of life. It ultimately doesn’t matter the specifics. Bottom line, they need to get fit and I am just the right person to get them there. They’ve seen my social media posts, read my blogs, seen my photos, they’ve talked to other clients who rave about me. I am the authority and my word is law!
We discuss their plans and goals. The guys want to bring out the muscles in their arms, build an upper body that makes their chest pop that can flash a 6-pack and develop a strong butt. The girls are different. They want to tone their arms, build a strong core that makes their chest pop with a 6-pack and they all want to grow that J. Lo butt. Ok, mayhap they’re not so different fundamentally. Both sides want the same thing and I can work with that.
The difference comes when you get to the gym and the human element kicks in. I’m extolling the virtues of a cardio warmup as a way to loosen muscles and the benefits of elevating your heart rate and cardiac output in preparation for the upcoming training session. The client will look at me and nod in the right places while their eyes glaze over with doubt. Some are merely going through the motions. Saving the effort for the strength training portion of the session. Some are mildly upset and a little nervous that the session will eventually leave the treadmill. In their mind, the answer to everything they want is to run and run and run until their body gets the hint and all the muscles move into the right place and the fat disappears like the sand on an eroded shoreline all without lifting a single weight.
To anyone out there in the gym with or without a trainer, here is the blunt part of my manifesto. First of all, if you’re reading this on a bench or sitting on a machine that someone else could be using, get the fuck up and read this in the lounge or juice bar, people are here to work. If you’re reading this on a treadmill or bike, good for you, now take it up a notch and push yourself, If you can read this while running, you could be pushing yourself harder. With that out of the way, listen to your trainer. If you knew what to do in the gym, neither you or your trainer would be where they are right now.
To those that prefer lifting things and hate cardio; note that its an important part of the equation right next to your diet and proper form. To those that love cardio and only cardio, its part of an equation and NOT the entire answer. Running is an extremely damaging activity for the human body and will tear you apart from the inside out if done too frequently. There is no right answer or magical formula for everyone to follow as not everyone is the same. The role of the trainer that you hire is for them to figure out the best approach to help you. If you tell him as a woman that you don’t want to lift weights because you don’t want to develop the bodybuilder physique I advise you to review that theory. First of all, the mere act of weightlifting or strength training will not make you look like a bodybuilder. Your internal body composition and the hormones regulating them will not encounter that scenario unless you’re specifically taking pharmaceutical steps to change that. To the guys that are averse to cardio because its not something you need to do and you don’t want to lose too much mass; wrong on both counts. Your heart and lungs need to be pushed and challenged. The older you get, the more you will appreciate that. When you’re lifting weights,all the demands on your body increase. That includes caloric requirements for the motions you’re undertaking, air intake to oxygenate the blood traveling to the muscles that desperately need that air as well as the white blood cells for the microscopic tears in the muscle fibers that occur as you’re exercising. All of those processes are vastly improved on an individual with good cardio. Conversely, someone who likes to run will appreciate a strength training regimen that supplements their pace and lap time while keeping the body strong against inevitable wear and tear. Additionally, weightlifting happens to burn on average, slightly more calories than a cardio regimen due to the similarities as an endeavor that requires total body cooperation.
Need I go on? Haven’t I already said enough? Did he just use a swear word? can he do that? In a nutshell, when you hire a trainer, trust in them. They know what they’re doing, they know where you need to go and they want nothing more than to see you succeed. We can push, manipulate, trick you into doing what needs be done if it comes down to it. If you want results however and don’t want to waste your hard-earned money, meet us halfway. Thank you for reading.
This piece will focus on two overlapping groups: Those that are new to the gym/thinking about it and those that have made exercise a part of their daily routine but are still adjusting to the ins and outs. These may not be universal but its just things I pick up on.
1. Bring a buddy. The benefits in this entry alone could be a separate piece. Having someone with the same goals as you will help keep you motivated when your will starts to crumble.Taking turns on the bench or on the bar will keep you focused on the routine you’re doing rather than letting your interest and heart rate go down. You have an automatic spotter because just like at the beach, there is no way you’re going out into the deep end without someone to pull you back when you have nothing left. If you find yourself in the gym by yourself, you will lift or run only what you know you can do.
2. If you don’t have a buddy, don’t be afraid to ask. For the most part, everyone is working towards the same self-improvement goals that you are. If you need a spotter for a particularly heavy set, you will always find someone to help you. If you’re lucky, you might get some tips on your form or even make a new friend!
3. Don’t get in the way. Whether you’re too shy to notice, or eager to ask for help, assess the environment first. If someone is buried deep into their set, it may be wiser to wait until they’re done before approaching them. if they’re running the rack(ask someone at your gym what that means), it would be best not to stand between them and the free weights. A gym is a shared space so be respectful.
4. Be respectful. We know how big you’ve gotten and you can’t wait to show it off. we know you saw a hot girl doing squats and its “your duty to tell everyone”, no. Just NO! save that douchebaggery for the clu- matter of fact, don’t even bother to save that for later. The people in your gym are decent, hard working and committed to improving themselves no matter where they come from in life. For every stereotype you see in those commercials of people who “lift things up and put them down” there are several in its place setting a proper example. We are living in a wonderful version of the present day where the athlete and the scholar are not only lifting side by side, they are increasingly becoming one and the same. Don’t ruin that.
5. For the ladies specifically, I know why places like Lucille Roberts exist and it is tough to find some private time/space when all you want to do in a regular gym is exercise and not get hit on. Its not specific to health clubs and it’s well known how prevalent it is in your everyday lives. I don’t have a magical solution for that but again, I strongly advise the buddy system. The best I have been able to do is attempt to steer my own clients in the proper direction which is on their own workouts while saying once again, there are good people out there too. So if you’re reading this right now and you’re on the fence, be a good person. Be a paragon of virtue. BE AN ARCHETYPE!!!!
These are just a few helpful tips to help you get used to the gym environment. If there are any stories you may have of your rookie mistakes in the gym or any suggestions you may have that would make for a great tip, feel free to leave a comment. Thanks for reading.Till next time!
In my capacity as a trainer, I change routines, perceptions and lives. The most important thing I have come to find, is the mindset of the average gym member. There is an overwhelmingly large amount of people finding themselves dissatisfied with their results. The root of this can be attributed to not being in the right frame of mind for the goals you have set for yourself. The following is a list of rules and tips that I live by that have proven successful for me.
1. Get into crisis mode. I start my workouts with a short jog to elevate my heart rate. I then focus on the workout, trying to keep my rest times at a minimum. When the body is in danger, the brain will activate the necessary mix of nutrients, hormones, fat stores and lung capacity. Once you are tired and fatigued, you still have a workout to finish. Your brain may be panicking but your body is perfectly capable of working under these adverse conditions and if it cannot keep up the first time, finish up. Go home. Come back next time and the body will adapt. That’s basically Exercise 101. Once the body adapts, so will the brain.
2. Don’t look around. Your eyes will always find someone at the gym who is better than you. It’s a great way to lose your focus and confidence. Realize that exercise, unless specifically stated, is not a competition. Its an activity for your own personal health. To compare your journey in life to someone else is unrealistic. Even if you start at the exact same place doing the exact same thing, everyone is different. No matter your level of fitness, no matter their size or measurements, there is no need to compare their numbers to yours
3. When at rest, do not sit. In between sets or after a jog, your natural inclination is to take a seat and stop all motion. Keep in mind that you engaged in this activity specifically to be active. You also want to remain in that crisis mode I mentioned earlier. When I rest I still find myself pacing, walking around, forcing the lungs to take in oxygen that my heart will then deliver to my bloodstream and all the muscles that need it. My logic is that all these vital supplies will be distributed quicker when the blood is moving faster. On the flip-side, the carbon dioxide is forcefully expelled as well helping you recover faster in time for the next set.
4. Put yourself through hell. A lot of exercises have different variations in which they can be performed. If you are doing pull-ups for example, with your palms facing you; you already know for a fact that the maneuver is a LOT harder when your palms are facing out. You can take the easy road by having the biceps do the majority of the work, which is doing your back no favors as its the main target area for this particular motion. Or you can face your palms out, lift with the back and have not only the biceps, but your entire upper body reap the benefits. You can jog for an hour on a level treadmill or you can mess with the incline and engage different muscles in your legs. Don’t settle for easy. You did not come here so you can be the absolute minimum, you came to be the best you can be. Every action you take should be a reflection of that.
5. Never say you can’t. There’s nothing wrong with knowing a certain obstacle is impossible. It’s precisely why we are here. To make the impossible a personal best. I never allow myself, nor my clients nor my friends to say no. What we will accept is “I will try” as well as ” I will find out”. If you succeed, you have redefined your capabilities and increased your future potential. If you fail, that is great news. You have reached your max, your wall. Going back once again to Rule #1, you’re in crisis mode. At this point your body will repair itself as it adapts and the next time you come around you will break through that wall with newfound strength that wasn’t there before. All because you refused to say no and trust me when I say that feeling is wonderful
6. Visualize the plan of attack. Before a particularly heavy set, focus on visualizing the muscle. Imagine how it will move to achieve the motion, the effort that will be put in. Visualize yourself successfully completing the reps. If everything goes right and it still doesn’t work, go back to rule
7. Focus. If you don’t have it, you aren’t going to get anywhere. Passive aggressive strolls while resting on the treadmills will not get you there. 10 sets of everything without proper form will not get you there. You have to be focused, you need a good routine that best fits your goals. its not something you can cut and paste, you can’t just take a few suggestions out of a magazine. Find what works best for you and find the proper exercises that will safely and efficiently get you there.
8. Be objective about yourself. Be serious about what you want and be realistic. You are working hard, sacrificing blood sweat and tears but improving yourself isn’t easy. Real healthy significant change will be reflected after a lifetime of work. Not with fancy diets or insane drills Exercising never gets easy and that’s the beautiful thing about learning something you can never master. Like a dull blade encountering a whetstone. One day the blade will be sharp enough to cut the very air itself, and it will have the whetstone to thank for its patience and focus. With the proper mentality, a day will come where your fitness goal and your body is razor sharp. The mind is the whetstone that will get you there and these easy-to-follow rules will definitely help. Best of luck!
There are many layers to the planet we live on. we all have our favorites . A comfort zone we don’t stray too far from. For some it is the promise of what is the come and the promises written in the stars. The feelings that the world inspires. the feeling of something just beyond our capacity for understanding. Invisible strings hinting at actions and forces beyond our control
Others take a more pragmatic position, preferring to deal mainly with what is evident. Here and now, Dead center and behind us. The obstacles in our way, the rewards to reap, the connections established. Unyielding tangibles.
These two categories have us as the common thread. Though we are all unique in our own ways, we all use the same basic tools at our disposal to receive all this information. Brains, noses, eyes and ears translate the world where we live. When all that information is processed by the individuals, it then becomes open to interpretation where no two views are the same. That interpretation is poetry.
That was a long winded intro and I hope you’re still with me after all that. Also i dig your style and consider you a snappy dresser. Regardless, I make a strong point for a specific reason. Poetry is everywhere and in everything. Thusly, it is present in exercise and fitness. Hard to believe? It shouldn’t be. Art is lends poetry another voice to express itself and one of our most favorite subjects again and again is the human form.
Every line tells its own story. When I workout, I look for every single story, Every day that I am in the gym sweating through the reps I am writing a new chapter. Every time I train a client, pushing them towards their goals, I watch their brains, eyes and ears sense that they are rewriting their own biographies, crafting their own legacy. My time in the gym has taught me that its more than just physical, its more than just the spiritual. When it is done right, it is a combination of all of these things. It is poetry in motion.
For those that took the time to click on my page and read this blog, thank you so much(Extra gratitude if you came here looking for a personal trainer). I get as much out of writing this as I hope you get reading it. I had hoped to have this up by Wednesday to establish a pattern but life got in the way. I will do my best to stick to a regular schedule but I can’t guarantee it. I can only humbly ask that everyone keep checking back for more. Until next time.
For my first blog, I have the luxury of remaining topical while getting nostalgic so long as the focus is on health and fitness somehow someway. For those of you who follow pro wrestling fanatically, and for the rest of you who check the news on Google and Yahoo, you are well aware that The Ultimate Warrior passed away early Tuesday evening. for a frame of reference, there is this:
This may seem silly now, all insane and out of context(don’t worry, even in context, it was insane.) but if you were growing up in the late 80’s and watching wrestling, this was one of the guys you looked up to. A mountain of muscle with the energy, facial expressions and fashion sense of a five year-old. To an entire generation of kids who felt that Hulk Hogan was too much of a Goody Two-shoes and The Macho Man wasn’t crazy enough, there was The Ultimate Warrior, a man who screamed intensity. And hyperbole. And his workout routines. And his thoughts on the weather. The man screamed everything. As he got older, he quit the wrestling business in favor of touring the lecture circuit as a conservative speaker. The equivalent of Iggy Pop running for city council. He was more well known however, for starting up his own website and blogs where he would rant and rave from the relative comfort and safety of a computer where we would come to find out, he kept himself in tremendous shape and all the stuff he was ranting and raving about was about believing in yourself, trying your best, never giving up, and to not let anything or anyone stop you from reaching your goals.
These are ideas no doubt formed under a barbell or squat rack.
That’s me on the left. I ran a Warrior Dash 5k a few years ago and its not hard to figure out why I said yes to this specific event. I grew up with asthma that kept me indoors and away from sports for most of my life. When this opportunity to run three miles for no reason came up, I decided to take a chance and see if I could train hard enough to pull it off. To my surprise, I managed to get into fantastic shape. It was all because i believed that I could, I set a goal for myself, I got it done and as if a sign from “the heavens above” jumped in front of me in the form of this one guy who was inspired enough to wear a Warrior costume and nice enough to take a photo with me; it set me on this path that lead me to you guys now reading this blog as i revel in the fact that I tied it into health and fitness somehow.
His last appearance was on WWE Monday Night Raw where he gave thanks to the fans that believed in what he was doing and whom he credits for his Induction into the company’s Hall Of Fame along with this fitting monologue which his death lends a certain gravitas(to be fair, this is again, all he ever talked about. He lived every day apparently, like it could have been his last).
“No WWE talent becomes a legend on their own. Every man’s heart one day beats its final beat, his lungs breathe their final breath. And if what that man did in his life makes the blood pulse through the body of others, and makes them bleed deeper, than something larger than life, then his essence, his spirit, will be immortalized by the storytellers, by the loyalty, by the memory of those who honor him and make the running the man did live forever.
“You, you, you, you, you, you are the legend makers of Ultimate Warrior.
“In the back I see many potential legends, some of them with warrior spirits. And you will do the same for them. You will decide if they live with the passion and intensity. So much so that you will tell your stories and you will make them legends as well. I am Ultimate Warrior. You are the Ultimate Warrior fans. And the spirit of Ultimate Warrior will run forever.”
it is that spirit that i hope to bring to any who read this and decide they need to get in shape. It is with that strength of will that I hope to inspire growth and change. Helping others achieve their goals and spreading the message that everyone is capable of being the spark that leads by example is the essence of Archetype Training. Thank you for taking the time to read this. If you made it this far, I hope it was good reading. Keep checking back for the next blog. I promise it will be of equal or greater value. oh, and, R.I.P Ultimate Warrior