Category Archives: fitness assessment

What story are you telling? (part 1)

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This may sound presumptuous, but in many cases, one good look at someone’s physique, static & in easy, everyday motion (gait) and I can tell a lot about what’s going on.

No, I don’t have X-ray vision, or sub-dermal myovision, nor am I a psychic predicting your FMS score before running the assessments.

But I do believe in being able to read how our bodies tell the story of how we got to where we are today, beyond generalization of the known lifestyle of our modern sit-down, neck-craning, tiny-screen gazing, thumb-typing society (although that accounts for a lot of it).

And truthfully, most trainers with more than a few year’s experience ought to be able to feel assertive enough to make such a claim. Put humility aside for a second, and be confident in the skills you acquired. I would take it a step further: if you don’t think you know your shit, then don’t advertise knowledge any three-letter acronym months or years after you acquired said acronym(s). If you’re RKC or SFG and can’t swing properly, CPT and have shit form, FMS and can’t run a basic shoulder mobility, active straight leg raise or deep squat at the very least, then either ask for your money back for not having learned anything, or refund your clients.

(I remember when my smarter peers and mentors were already established a few years ago, and at the time had less experience in the field than I do today. Unless I am really dense or slow, it’s not a huge speculation to accept that what I gleaned has value. And if one is not confident in one’s abilities, too modest, would that inspire confidence in clients?)

Of course, that’s assuming that you are a good trainer in one of the most unregulated industries, where confusion and fear mongering are rapidly growing to feel inadequate as a trainer, or a client, if you don’t possess XYZ under your belt. After a while, it is no longer the measure of your own performance, but the results of your clientèle that ought to be #1. While we still expect you to perform, life, aging, kids, needs, time can get in the way and we get that. If I were in a wheelchair or lost a limb, surely I’d have new limitations, but unless I suffered brain damage, that knowledge is still there (with plenty of room for more).

Can you take a look at your body and have it tell its story in motion, not words? Can you tell a bodybuilder from a powerlifter, a soccer player from a  football player (using the US terminology here), a boxer from a wrestler?

I don’t mind a little disagreeing here, as this can be very specific, and I invite that conversation. It’s not about telling a lawyer from an accountant, a baggage handler from a grocery store employee stacking shelves (respectively sedentary and physically activities), it’s about looking at the muscular development, ability to perform basic tasks like squatting. We should be able to move like healthy 5-year olds (before we are subjected to sitting down at chairs and desks not custom fit). And the accountant can be a powerlifter, the lawyer a recreational baseball player. You can still tell those sub-plots, which is where the (qualified) personal trainer can never replace the cookie-cutter template from a fitness magazine.

Coincidentally, I was sent a video, by another trainer who needed help with his technique for one drill, and in a matter of a few reps, I was able to spot the subtle issues going on. The response to my observation off of those few reps was: “Damn. That is exactly how it feels. Good eye!”