Fitness, Health and Exercise Facts: Teachable Moments – Look For a Trainer Who Will Teach, Not Just Train

Hi everyone! This latest Fitness, Health and Exercise Facts blog will hopefully help you take charge and become proactive in improving your own health and fitness. Enjoy!


Teachable Moments: Look For a Trainer Who Will Teach, Not Just Train

Presented by LEC Fitness, LLC

“If I train my client, I’m in control I have “THE POWER!”  If I teach my client, I have transformed them into a person of action, someone who can take ownership of their own health and well-being.” (LaRue Cook)

One of the things that I love about what I do is having the opportunity to help others by serving as a source of useful fitness, health and wellness information. One of the ways that I do this is by serving as a contributor to several fitness professional list serves and blogs – counseling and advising other trainers and fitness professionals.  I recently responded to one trainer’s question about the role of a personal trainer. I responded that I see a major part of what we as trainer do (or should do) is to teach.  I truly see this as way that I can have a positive influence on my clients’ health and well-being now, and in the future.

After answering the trainer’s question I started to think about this a bit.  My answer and the quote above goes to the core principles of how I work with my clients – I view a major part of what I do as TEACHING.  Early on in my career I realized that the true value of what I can provide to my clients is the art of designing effective exercise programs for them, and the science of helping them understand how the human body functions.   After all, clients don’t need me – or any trainer for that matter – to simply stand there and COUNT 1, 2, 3, 4… as they perform one of the many exercises that I prescribe for them that day. What a waste of my time and their money.  You can pick-up a book or magazine with photos of exercises and count to 10 or 12 by yourself.  The real value lies in teaching the WHY – the science – and not just the how.

I LOVE my role as a teacher! I LOVE my role as a motivator!  I LOVE my role as a trainer!  So, I thought that I’d devote this Fit Fact to a couple of  basic facts about how our bodies work – the kind of basic teaching that I like to give to my clients to help empower them to take some ownership of their own workouts and exercise.

Make no mistake about it there is tremendous value to your having a trainer.  Exercise programs that are designed specifically for you, that are scientifically based, that are effective, and perhaps most important – that are safe, are all great reasons for using the services of a trainer.  But, I think that the real value of your trainer, beyond the art of programming – is using the science of exercise science to teach, to empower and to create a level of independence.  This is what is lacking from some client-trainer relationships, and is definitely lacking when you get your exercise advice from a generic workout or list of exercises that you might find in a magazine or book!

So here are a couple of simple lessons in exercise science.  Stay with me here because although these facts will be basic in nature, they will be also be a useful reminder of how your body works, and instrumental in helping you create some basic exercises for yourself.

Back Muscles

Here’s a very simple, yet very effective lesson:  Our back muscles PULL.  That’s it!  So, how can you use this information?  If I’m working with one of my clients and assuming that we have worked together long enough that she now has an index of exercises at her disposal, I can give her a homework assignment of doing an at-home workout before our next session together by saying something like “do 3 back exercises at home tomorrow,” and my client can design her own workout for her back.  She immediately knows to START PULLING SOMETHING!  Not only does this allow her to workout at home and be better prepared for our next workout together, but it also gives her some basic knowledge of how her body works.

With this information, she can develop exercises as simple as tying a rope to a locked and secured door, sitting on the floor and pulling herself across the room toward the door (an exercise that you’d have to see first to fully understand, but one that I use with some of my junior athletes), or it could be performing a single arm bent-over rowing motion with a full gallon milk jug.


Opposites ‘Contract’

Our bodies are a wonderfully-designed machine!  We are created in a way that there is a natural symmetry (or at least most of us are born with one) to our bodies; when one muscle stretches its opposing muscle contracts.  So, for example, if I perform a bicep curl exercise (i.e. contracting my bicep), my opposing muscle (triceps) elongates or stretches.  So how can you use this information?  Use it by making sure that you understand the need for exercising and stretching a muscle AND its opposing muscle – this will help you maintain or develop symmetry.  Biceps-triceps, hamstrings-quadriceps, abdominals-lower back are all examples of this concept.

So there you have it!  You’ve just learned two simple, yet important facts about how your body works!

Good luck and have FUN!

*** As with all exercise, always check with your physician to ensure that your exercise plan is appropriate for you BEFORE undertaking any exercise. ***

This Fitness, Health and Exercise Facts blog is brought to you courtesy of LEC Fitness, LLC