“I’m sure you’ve all read the latest article on the popular muscle building sites about how to develop a fuller, thicker back with “these 2 new maximal hypertrophy igniting muscle shocking lifts!” The title lures you in, but when you get inside, you find a small man doing strange movements that make little sense and use almost no weight. They aren’t making him any thicker, and they aren’t likely to add slabs of lean mass to you either.”
Reputable physical trainers are usually well educated on what does and doesn’t work in the physical training world. They have served their time under the bar and made the mistakes necessary to acquire real world knowledge of the iron game. This is reflected in their physical training advice. They know the methods which work and which will not.
There is no substitute for real world knowledge acquired in this way. I call it “practice based evidence” as opposed to evidence based practice. In an ideal world we should be able to rely on evidence based practice but much of the physical training advice on the internet unless it is bonafide research is skewed or “sexed up” in order to prey on the gullible and sell product or courses. We live in a fast paced, rapidly changing world where people want immediate gratification and not have to wait. Why train your balls of if there is a simpler method?
Unfortunately you can’t get something for nothing. The reality is that it takes a long time to achieve your goals but don’t be disheartened because it still can be accomplished, and bear in mind that the time will pass anyway.
“There are no shortcuts. The fact that a shortcut is important to you means that you are a pussy.” – Mark Rippetoe
Physical training advice built on bogus claims
Please avoid media advice or adverts that contain the word “secret” or give a time frame for completion of their bogus claim, i.e. “build great abs in 6 weeks”, “gain 5kg of muscle in 10 weeks” etc. Physical training advice which seems too good to be true most certainly will be, because it’s marketing BS. Don’t let any trainer online or otherwise tell you anything different. Sometimes knowledgeable high end trainers with low integrity will sink to this method in order to attract customers to their seminars, courses etc. The intention is to make it sound easy and it will sell, the truth unfortunately does not make good marketing, and therefore does not sell product/courses. People like to hear that they are privy to important information and secret methods. They do not want to hear that it actually takes years to build and hone a physique to the standard displayed in the ads – they want it quickly. Consequently companies sponsor, advertise and display athletes in seemingly superb physical condition who have used drugs in order to help build their physique. They may advertise the fact that they have “the secret” which you can acquire in 6 weeks – and the world is made of blue cheese. There are no secrets, as there are no shortcuts – just hard work, good nutrition and time.
Practical physical training advice
If you are seeking a good personal trainer, try to find out who were their mentors and inspiration. There are a number of questions that you can ask – what is their base of education? who was their coach, who were their training partners? which teams were they a part of? What have they achieved? Did they compete and if so at which level? What are their competition lifts or what discipline have they competed in? Do they have “in the trenches” and “under the bar” experience.
Adversity hones character, so ascertain whether the trainer has faced adversity or did everything come easy? Observe the person giving you advice – what is the calibre of their physique? do they look like they train? If they have invested time and effort in the trenches it should be apparent for all to see.
If this appears not to be the case, decide whether this person has the experience to advise you or if they are simply regurgitating theory they learned on a recent course of how to be a Physical Trainer (PT) in 4 weeks!
If you are receiving physical training advise face to face from a potential personal trainer ask who they have previously helped or coached. What clients have they worked with, have they ever really trained a client? If they tell you that they have trained thousands of people then they are being economical with the truth. That would take decades, otherwise they have a high attrition rate. and if that is the case why?
Many of these PT courses churn out PT’s who are woefully bereft of knowledge, sometimes their practice can be downright dangerous and you only have to check “You Tube” for some of the videos of these unconscious incompetents in action. I recently witnessed a video of a PT assisting a female trainee with the deadlift by pulling upwards on her neck! I kid you not.
According to Mark Rippetoe (old school coach and author of “Starting Strength”) mediocre athletes who have given their all to be winners often turn out to be the best trainers and coaches. They are generally not blessed with the best genetics but have a tremendous work ethic and passion for their chosen sport. Their successes did not come easily.
Many good trainers will not possess extensive experience but will still be able to give you great physical training advice and help. Many though, do not possess adequate knowledge or experience but pretend that they do. You must learn how to spot this. By doing your due dilligence, asking the right questions and researching, you hopefully can weed these out before parting with your money.
There is no such thing as a perfect coach, as there is no “best training system,” or “secret methods” that can be taught or purchased. By asking the salient questions, you can judge whether claims stand up to scrutiny. If they don’t then in all probability the quality of the information or trainer sucks.