Guidance is a truly complicated and unpredictable task. It’s the capacity to give advice or information aimed at resolving a specific problem. The guidance that I give is of a distinct category. Simple in theory, but by no means can one avoid going down the rabbit hole. The skill and art of training someone is a multifaceted discipline. Our medium is exercise, our canvas the human body and just like any form of art there are forgeries, fakes, and pretenders. For the imposters, the parameters that keep this field of work significant are not relevant nor existent to them. No integrity for what they do, no respect for who they train, they are empty; sometimes you can even barely feel their pulse. These are the unresolved issues, the problems, and the tribulations that are now an everyday reality. These are things that keep me awake at night and I’d like to share my nightmare with you.
My perspective on what personal training should be is very inconsistent with the mainstream. The antithesis. No gimmicks, no passive aggressive bullshit, or ego. Trainers will almost undoubtedly give you a laundry list of criteria showing you how seemingly “capable” they are. A catalog of useless certifications backed by no actual hands on experience, followed by the brigade of tool bag selfies and followers on their social media platform. They’re convinced that they’re onto the latest trends in the industry. That they somehow after completing their two-day online course have discovered something new and are going to bestow you with invaluable knowledge. Ironically, even though they are very willing to display how capable they can be, they are even more willing to allow you to run the session. They consent to letting you dictate the pace, the choice of exercises, and yes even the nutrition. They are reluctant to initiate any form of confrontation and give you the ruthless feedback that we all desperately need. They’re hesitant to tell you that you’re doing it wrong, that it doesn’t work that way and yes even that what you just did was fucking horrible. It’s this dynamic that starts out as a trivial pimple and quickly deviates into a benign tumor. It could of and should have been dealt with. They could have set the precedent and tone of every session from day one, but they didn’t. They should be upfront with you and genuine enough to let you know about the path they’re about to lead you down. But if this sounds like its asking too much…it is. To them, it’sjust another paycheck and a temporary friend to waste their hour with.
I have become more privy and aware over years regarding the issue of what a “capable” vs an “incompetent” trainer is. The line has become blurred and non-distinguishable between the two, like comparing two piles of shit with the only difference being the smell. My radar has become more sensitive, observing all those that claim to “know” as they wear a helmet and lick the window in front of them. But what exactly allows one to “know”? For the everyday trainer, their delinquency starts with the origins of their information and what they deem to be “valuable”.” Their education is a cocktail filled with only the best of ingredients; gullibility, ignorance and manipulation. Their campus is the internet, while their faculty are comprised of the many “guru” trainers who over promise and underdeliver. Their course work is comprised of the irrelevant, unnecessary, and psychotic. They’ll dive blindly into the abyss, only to find an endless plethora of contaminated information. They eat it whole, skip the chewing and regurgitate without question to their clients. They finally graduate with their false sense of security, eager to help when they can barely help themselves. You can hear their pretentious, condensing tone from the high horse they ride on. They claim to know all of the secrets however, they fail to understand that simply knowing something does not give you the ability to implement it proficiently.
There is certainly a disconnect between what is necessary and unnecessary and if there’s anything I’ve noticed, it’s that there’s an unyielding surplus of shit. It has spread like an intestinal bacterium causing the worst of the worst to shoot out from both ends. Flatulence has become the new vernacular, as information is just vocalized for the sake of hearing oneself speak. For most trainers, there is no fact checking (as if facts should even be a consideration) and worse, no understanding. They use social media as an ends, a safety blanket for the uninformed and the ignorant, as they let their fitness guru tuck them in at night with it. They blindly follow each trend carefully on their phone not realizing the contradictions that exist right before it from the post prior. Their knowledge is linear, basic, one dimensional. By the time they realize the depth of what “this” actually is, they have already drowned. They believe in a one-size fits all approach and when their master plan fails, they crumble. They’re afraid to think outside of the small box they’ve been living in. They overcomplicate, attempt to reinvent the wheel, thinking their success is valid while they travel in an endless circle with it. They postulate that push-ups on a bosu wearing a weighted vest, while on one hand, with their feet are suspended in a TRX could be a “good” idea. They do it over and over while twiddling their thumbs, pondering why they and their clients have shoulder and back problems. They claim to understand nutrition, while their only experience with it is confined to the alphabet soup after their name on their business card. It’s this type of mental clutter, that causes a severe distortion of priorities. The end result is the blind leading the blind. Why can’t a squat just be a fucking squat? Does it need to be done in a dark room with lights and glow in the dark headbands while bouncing on a trampoline? What is actually being emphasized? Is it the training or the mental hernia that you’re rapidly developing? Don’t worry, your answer to these questions lie in an E-book that have been copied and pasted from someone else.
For me, personal training isn’t a job and no, not even a career. It’s an ever-changing philosophy. Something that you should have developed and refined over time. It has become an extension of your ethics, morality, experiences and interpretation of training. You’re there to give what people need, not what they want. To help them uncover the realization that there are prerequisites for what they want to accomplish. That the “need” requires a set of prior conditions for the “want” to happen or exist. To accomplish this, you need tobe creative yet practical in your approach. Be willing to not only build but also to pick up the pieces when the inevitable happens. While my awareness has sharpened, my patience has simultaneously dwindled away no longer adhering to what little filter I have left (it’s not coming back as it has been forcefully discontinued). There has been more emphasis on mediocrity and streamlining fitness to the point that anything that has been watered down is now evaporated. People frequently ask, what are your credentials? How many certifications do you have? To me, these are formalities at best. My experience is of a different sort and one that few are unwilling to undertake. And if its taught me anything, it’s that there is absolutely no replacement for hands on experience. And experience is extremely expensive. The constant trial and error, revaluation, and testing of everything and anything that I do. It is the accumulation of training people non-stop for over 15 hours a day, 7 days a week for over 10 years. Nevertheless, I still don’t “claim” or “guarantee” as I have barely scratched the surface. I feel as though I have just begun to become somewhat proficient at this, leading me to believe that the mirror we hold up in front of ourselves should always have a reflection of humility. With that being said, I have no intention in complying, becoming content, or giving in to the conventional or the orthodox anytime soon. For the few that are left that are willing to take the road less traveled by: get rid of the smoke and mirrors, remove the vale, fuck the façade.