Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Personal Training: Art and Science

Hey everyone out there!

I've had some interesting conversations the past week on the personal training and combining the art and science of it. As a trainer it is vital that you are proficient in both areas of training in order to be an effective trainer. So, here are some tips on how to be effective in both the art and science of training:

Science

1. Know Thy Body

It is not enough to just have a general surface knowledge of the human body. You must have in depth knowledge of origin and insertion, deep versus superficial muscles, technical movement terminology, energy systems and biomechanics. Solid trainers are able to effectively explain how different facets of the human body work together for the greater cause of human movement efficiency.

2. Stay Current with Research

One of the biggest stereotypes of fitness professionals is that we "just give workouts" or are "just gym rats". Well, I can tell you that we are more than that! One way to really drive home your competence as a trainer is to stay current with peer-reviewd research in health, fitness and wellness. New research is always being published on a variety of topics in our field of work. Choosing to not stay current or being oblivious to effective new techniques and understandings of our how our body responds to various training stimuli will not cut it. Great trainers are able to use research to educate and empower their clients. One thing that I have found effective with clients is to provide them with some research literature from time to time to keep them informed. Here is a link to a great site for keeping up to date on current research in fitness: http://www.sciencedaily.com/news/health_medicine/fitness/


Art

1. Communication and Personality!

How you communicate with each of your clients is without a doubt a huge part of a solid client-trainer relationship. Don't be afraid to ask your clients what type of communication works for them. Ask questions such as how do you like to be coaches or motivated? Would you prefer detailed explanations and instructons? How would you describe your personality? How would others describe your personality? Are you open to trying new things? What has been your past experience with exercise and how has that affected you socially and emotionally?

All of these types of questions help to understand your clients' personality and communication style. If you can find that then you have already done most of the work involved with being a successful trainer. Great trainers are able to adapt their style of communication based on their clients' personality profile. In essence you are really trying to find out what your clients' psychological core is all about. Overall, you are trying to establish trust, honesty, value and loyalty...all the things you want to establish in any sustaining relationship.

2. Humor

While you might not be comedian, you definitely need to loosen up as a trainer and enjoy the time you have with your clients. A little humor always breaks the ice and allows for a more natural training environment. The skill in humor is knowing how to weave it in to your training session while also keeping your clients on track. Follow your clients lead in this. If some of your clients are funny, charismatic individuals then have fun with it! If your clients are a little more subdued then pick your spots with humor and find out what makes them laugh. Recent research in laughter and heart and blood vessel health has indicated that laughter increases blood vessel dialation causing increased blood flow (Miller, 2005). Here is the link to the article: http://www.umm.edu/news/releases/laughter2.htm . So, laugh a little bit with your clients!

Ok, those were just a couple of things you can do to increase your effectiveness as a trainer in both the art and science aspect of training. I hope you all were able to benefit from this information. Thanks for listening! Oh and here's a workout that I've done tons of times that I think you all will love! It is called Brazilian Circuits and it was one of my college track coach's favorite preseason workouts. You can do it practically anywhere. Below is an outside version of it on a football field and a version of it in a group exercise studio. Enjoy!

Outside (Football Field)

Brazilian Circuit

20 Chinnies or Bicycle Crunches
1 x 100 yard run
20 Push Ups
1 x 100 yard run
20 A-Skips
1 x 100 yard run
20 Mountain climbers
1 x 100 yard run
20 Squats
1 x 100 yard run
20 toe touches
1 x 100 yard run

Record how long it takes for you to do this one time through. Take a 3 minute active recovery break (walking or drills) and then repeat the circuit two more times.

Indoor (Group Exercise Studio)

Brazilian Circuit

20 Chinnies or crunches
10 x up and back on the run
20 Push Ups
10 x up and back on the run
20 A-Skip
10 x up and back on the run
20 Mountain climbers
10 x up and back on the run
20 Squats
10 x up and back on the run
20 toe touches
10 x up and back on the run

Dr. Darian
"Let Your Heart Wear the Crown, Not Your Head"
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