Don’t kill your Fitness clients!!!

The other day I visited my local surf (dog) beach with my trusty Labrador (LIZZY) who is teaching my wife to body surf. Yes that’s right the black 2 year old lab loves the surf and chases after the frisby, turns around when the wave is about to break, and body surfs her way into the beach.

Further along the beach I was curiously watching a young personal trainer take his clients for a beach session. Two things really struck me. Firstly it’s about time he dropped the ARMY screaming and yelling technique which is not only old hat but disturbing to think that he didn’t know that we all don’t want or need to be yelled at or bullied to get a good workout. I noticed a woman who looked about 45 years old huffing and panting her way around a wooden board walk out of sight of the personal trainer. She was carrying a lot of weight particularly around her waist and looked like she was about to have a coronary. She was obviously far too heavy to be running as her joints and connective tissue would have been taking a pounding. No doubt she was working hard and doing her best however I thought I would need to give CPR any minute.

Obviously we have far too many weight loss shows on TV which the average punter now believes that unless you are about to drop dead you are wasting your time. Of course this is far from reality, in fact it’s sinful. I am not a big fan of this type of training as many people are at such different levels of fitness and it is hard to manage these larger groups effectively. If you were a 19 year old male who is fit and just entered the army you may just get away with this. However most of our clients are not elite athletes and puff when they walk up just one hill. When you are young and fit it’s hard to imagine others (especially some of our senior citizens) not having the same ability as you. I have watched trainers push people above their ability level and inevitably they leave never to return to fitness ever again. It is our job to assess effectively our clients’ level of fitness, coach them slowly at a comfortable level, encourage them, and build a good rapport with them so they feel safe and happy to return. It is really important that our up and coming Personal Trainers have the ability to work and understand the needs of the very young to the very old. Our PTS need to know how our bodies change as we age and what is appropriate for these different age groups and also have an understanding of rehab in relation to those coming back from injury. With all this in mind, and when completing beach or any other group type activities it is essential that you have in place a series of exercise to suit the different levels of fitness. A good trainer with a little thought can adapt exercise at suit level 1,2 and 3 participants. All it takes is a little common sense. If in doubt have your clients professionally assessed by a doctor or allied health professional. Sadly the fly by night courses offered over 2 weekends has produced some very dangerous personal trainers. MMMM….. stay away from these guys, check their qualifications and ensure they at least have a minimum of 2 years full time study under their belt before you risk your life and limb with them. Check and see they have insurance and ask to see their qualifications.

John Hart
“Master’s In Education” (Disability) Newcastle University Australia
“Grad Cert Education” Newcastle University Australia
“Diploma Fitness/Recreation”

“Diploma Sport /Recreation”
“Cert 4 Personal Training”
“Level 1 Strength and Conditioning Coach”

2 Responses to “Don’t kill your Fitness clients!!!”

  1. Rebecca January 10, 2012 at 12:04 pm Permalink

    Well said! I totally agree… Sometimes I just want to go up and punch some of the PTs here.. Did you know that in Sweden you can become a PT after just 11 days of PT course. Sick

  2. John Hart January 13, 2012 at 8:02 am Permalink

    Hi Rebecca good to see you still reading my blog…How is Sweden?..It is really hot here now..I am teaching Sharon to surf ..
    Keep up the good work in Sweden as a PT you were trained by the best !! HAHAHAHA!!!!
    John Hart

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