We don’t always know what’s best for everyone.
WHEN IGNORANCE IS BLISS:
A great pitfall for a trainer is to confuse what clients want and what clients need. When you’re just fresh off your cert’, ACE, NASM, ACSM, AFAA or any other nationally recognized brand, and your level of experience is low (in terms of paid client hours worked), it takes little more to a training session than just direct traffic from big body parts to smaller ones, tell folks “do your cardio”, all following a basic bodybuilding routine, whether the clients wants to gain mass, lose fat or “tone up”. I mean really, it’s all a variation of the same song and dance.
If you’re in it for the long haul, you start to become more knowledgeable, curious, educated and will invest a lot of time and money, which you recoup with greater results and client retention. And then, it happens…
WHEN IGNORANCE HURTS:
The aforementioned type of trainer, blissfully following a routine from a fitness mag, certified with just the basics and the knowledge of their own body and Myosplash or CreabombX super supps they ingest, will likely not correct your form, “stack fitness on top of dysfunction” (Gray Cook) and make you feel “hurter”, which in the language of the neophyte means “wow, this really works!”. To me, that one millimeter of imbalance is what makes the tower crumble later down the line. More often than not, I end up being the one to correct some other person’s work. I know tattoo artists don’t finish someone else’s tattoo, but I need to eat and if I can make your life better by moving better, I will.
WHEN KNOWLEDGE HELPS:
The trainer who invests into more education, training, research etc, will shine by comparison. It should be apparent at the first session already, with a good assessment of movement, abilities, form etc, as well as a progress map outlined for the client to follow. That type of trainer will justify your investment in the long haul.
WHEN KNOWLEDGE HINDERS:
Sometimes, trainers who know a lot become almost too rigid in their approach, by going into what Pavel calls “Paralysis by analysis”, wherein too much knowledge stops one from doing work and always be correcting. In other areas, this is a form of perfectionism which also leads to procrastination and lack of progress, like rewriting the first sentence of your Pulitzer prize winning article, thus never completing it.
WHEN TO STOP:
Sometimes, the client just wants to work out. So, sometimes, you let them. Yeah, you make sure there’s nothing wrong in the execution, allow the muscles to feel the pump, let them enjoy their process. You’re still getting them fitter and better, even if it strays from your adamantium-clad program design. The same goes for music. Sometimes, you need to sit down and listen to a piece, dissect it, appreciate its nuances and theme variations. Sometimes, you just need muzac in the background. Doesn’t make you a bad person. Makes you flexible and human.