By Karyn Gallivan, MS, ATC, CSCS, NSCA-CPT, NASM-CPT
Contributor, Sports+Fitness Network
In thinking about what I would write about this month, I came across this unfinished post that I had started in February of this year. Much of this may be somewhat repetitive, but the message continues to be pertinent, especially in my circles…
I tend to write a lot about a lot about paying attention to the little things and what we, as personal trainers, can do to create the best outcomes for our clients. The reasons for this are two-fold: In my primary job as a teacher to our current and future health and fitness professionals, I strive to make students aware of the importance of a strong foundation and to always honor any potential weak link that clients may exhibit. This sometimes means that in order to move forward, there may be a short pause in the current program in order to “shore up” these weak links. Inevitably, this often means spending a little time with some of the basics such as balance, stability, and core strength.
As a teacher, I often run into many students who already have a lot of experience in the fitness world –whether it is their own fitness/athletic quests or in helping others to reach their goals. And, as a practicing personal trainer, I often encounter clients (and other personal trainers) who get caught up in their “plan” or the current popular workout regime. Both of these can be both good and bad.
Let me mention the “bad” first. The bad thing about this is that we (yes, I will put myself in this category, as well) tend to advise others based on what has worked for us in the past, or the current new thing (fad) that seems like would work. There are many examples of how this approach can lead to burnout, injury, or just nothing. Just because we can state a fact or have heard that some popular program is helping many folks to gain amazing results, does not mean that it is right for our clients. Or, the activities/exercises may be okay, but the intensity tends to be too much; leading to problems. Keep in mind that this idea also holds true for nutrition and supplements. Be careful to not influence a client into a specific diet of any type; the majority of us are not dietitians, so giving a prescribed diet/nutrition plan can easily be seen to be overstepping our practice act.
The good thing about creating (and following) a successful plan is that if it is researched appropriately, the information you are putting forth has a very good chance to produce positive results for your clients. We all must be very careful when giving folks our opinions. As fitness professionals, it is incumbent upon us to base our advice and exercise panning in science –not popular ideas. If we do use popular programs/ideas, alter them appropriately for each client and be sure there is a sound physiological and biomechanical basis for use with your client/athlete. It is better to progress a little more slowly than you may want to, than having to stop because of injury or overtraining (yes, speaking from experience, here… ).
Paying attention to the client in front of us and adapting to how they present each day is going to be the key to continued success –not just forging ahead with the planned workout of the day. Taking time to focus on these more abstract points helps to keep your focus on your client and not the program.