Written By: Gerrick King
Although I am only 26 years old, I have worked at almost all types of fitness environments. Commercial gyms, strength and conditioning / sports performance facilities, physical therapy clinics, hospital exercise physiology settings, luxury fitness clubs, and corporate wellness. I have also networked with the fitness field's elite and have studied the craft extensively through schooling, certifications and seminars.
My approach to personal training has been shaped by my experience and exposure to different individuals and work environments in the fitness industry throughout the last 8 years. Throughout this time, I have always stuck with and followed the same training philosophy, "Absorb what is useful, discard what is not". Wherever I go, I try to "pick the brains" of everyone around me and learn and extract as much information from them as possible. I take what I learn and analyze it, then I apply what I find useful and implement into my own training style. I like to think that this mentality and pursuit for more education has kept me quite humble (some of you will probably roll your eyes at this); I am one to admit that I don't know everything.
To me, personal training is about solving problems, people problems. To effectively solve these problems you must first gather information. My approach to personal training comes in 5 distinct stages:
1. Assessment - All new clients are put through a comprehensive assessment process that helps me set some baseline measurements so that I can record the client's progress over time. Utilizing Gray Cook's Functional Movement Screen (FMS), I evaluate and identify any imbalances in strength or mobility that a client may be dealing with. I am also looking for any weak links, pain, discomfort and any postural issues/limitations.
2. Program Design - After gathering all the information from the assessment process, I then start designing their exercise program. The right exercise program will depend on a variety of factors like their age, fitness level, goals, medical history and schedule. The program design stage is the most tedious in my opinion because you have to be able to visualize the client's progress over a long duration of time and plan accordingly. Every exercise that I program has a reason and an intention, I don't put exercises in just to make you sweat (Throwing shade at Orange Theory and F45). I find that a lot of trainers have trouble creating an exercise program that is a perfect fit for their client; a program that isn't too hard but at the same time not too easy for them and also getting them to their fitness goal in the shortest amount of time as possible.
3. Education - This is the phase that differentiates me from other personal trainers. There are a lot of trainers that purposefully program their client's exercises so that the client feels like they "need" to be with their trainer because they can't do it by themselves. And honestly, you'll have those clients that just want to show up and do what their told and leave. I train with the mindset that my clients will hopefully no longer need me later on and will be comfortable and confident training on their own or take my classes. Teaching form and explaining why and how to do certain exercises and having your client fully understand what your saying truly takes skill. My clients should be able to read a program that I write (full of my exercise abbreviations) and be able to complete the workout after working with me.
4. Training (Execution of Program) - When I first started personal training, I was really awkward, quiet and nervous about messing up; it was social anxiety. That quickly goes away with practice, the more personal training sessions you do the better you get at it. I've completed over 12,000 personal training sessions so I think I'm starting to get the hang of it (lol). I'm a pretty quiet person so I've always been more of a listener and people watcher and this shows in my training style. I am more analytical and only like to talk when spoken to or when correcting exercise technique. Actually, personal training isn't hard at all, the set up to get to this point is more difficult. I approach a training session as a scheduled hang out with a friend, I'm only there for support and to observe that the program that I've created is being implemented correctly and efficiently.
5. Repeat - Depending on how many sessions I have the client for, I either repeat the process when their training session package ends or after 6-8 weeks of training. This is significant because this is where we measure progress. I revisit the information gathered from the initial assessment and re-test and measure to see what changes and improvements have been made. Then adjust the program accordingly.
WORD. K. THX. BYE.