We love it…
It’s our world and we are immersed in it daily, and we wouldn’t have it any other way.
The people we serve in our fitness community don’t always come to us with that same love or passion for fitness, so they trust us to do our homework and provide them with the right environment to reach their goals.
What I am going to show you is the outlook that we believe every patron of a gym environment should absolutely consider if they want to get the best possible results in the shortest amount of time, while enjoying the process to its fullest and staying safe from injuries that will derail them from those precious goals.
My challenge is to see where your current fitness facility fits in on this scale. How do they rank in these vital categories of serving those in search of fitness, fellowship, and fun?
Some will do great and some…
Well, not so much…
Of course if you aren’t a member somewhere, then this will serve you all the more with your search.
Here we go:
1) Does this guy and his friends go to your gym, and take up all the space in front of the mirror checking out their abs, and kissing their biceps between sets?
Don’t get me wrong, I have nothing against those that are extremely muscular, but if you are part of the rest of humanity, then this guy using the word “bro” like it’s a punctuation mark, probably makes you feel a little out of place.
I asked one of our members, who came to us very out of shape what he liked about Raw Fitness and he said,” I feel comfortable here. You guys have everything from newbie to ninja.” I chuckled, but I got the point.
2) Is there a high premium put on strength?
Just because you use weights does not mean that you are strength training.
Doing high repetitions of lighter weights works ok when you first start exercising because it is a new stimulus.
The weights should systematically get heavier because strength is increasing. In order for that to happen for someone who isn’t a newbie, you need to do heavier sets of fewer reps.
For example, doing 4 or 5 sets of a weight where 5 reps are challenging will make you much stronger than doing 3 sets of 10. Contrary to popular belief, it is also one of the best means to achieve muscle tone without bulk.
Here’s Neghar Fonooni. She is a popular figure in the fitness world site france viagra. In this video she is deadlifting 210lbs for 5 reps at 125lbs of body weight.
I would hardly classify her as “bulky”
Believe it or not, changing what you do every time you come in the gym isn’t good either. You won’t be able to record the size of weights you used last week so you can go progressively heavier. Your body won’t pick up steam as it adapts to the progressively heavier stimulus.
We have clients doing something different every day of the week but have them repeat the same Tuesday workout for 3 weeks in a row, while they watch the weights increase and their body fat decrease.
On the flip side, if you never change your program, this is just as bad. It will be “plateau city” all day long.
Bottom line: If you want to get and stay lean, then going back and forth between a treadmill and a row machine will only get you so far. Getting stronger will provide the best results and help them to stick because a body that is strong requires a faster firing metabolism to exist.
3) Was my movement quality assessed before I was told to exercise?
Here is the cold hard fitness fact that every knowledgeable fitness professional cannot ignore.
Every client is different. Period.
Some people have nagging injuries that need to be worked around.
Some people can bend over and touch their toes, and for some, there isn’t enough stretching in the world to get them there. Each will have different needs when it comes to deadlifting or swinging a kettlebell, for example.
Some people have great shoulder mobility (it can move through a healthy range of motion) but have poor shoulder stability (the ball and socket have trouble staying in sync with one another, or the shoulder blade wings out wildly during movement, making things like pushups super hard).
Some people are just the opposite and can’t scratch their back or correctly press a weight overhead without arching the heck out of their low back to make it happen.
Try and reach your hands as close to each other as you can, reaching behind your back. Perform with both the right hand on top, and then try with the left on top. Were they similar or different? If they are different, I doubt very highly that you were born with 2 asymmetrical shoulders.
So if they aren’t the same now, should I be handling weights the same on both sides without any corrective measures?
I’ve screened thousands of people using a system devised by a physical therapist called the Functional Movement Screen. It is used to check the integrity of the 7 main movement patterns that make up all of human movement.
There is only one thing I can tell you for certain; everyone has their own individual issues that need to be tended to or injury rates go through the roof.
This shouldn’t be done only for those with a personal trainer. We do a ton of group fitness and we know our clients’ limitations and present modifications for them when necessary.
There are other assessment systems that are probably worthy of using outside of the FMS as well. That’s just the one we like.
But the fact I hope you hold close to your heart is the question, “Was I assessed for limitations and asymmetries before I was given an exercise prescription?”
Hurt clients get terrible results and injuries aren’t very fun. If you’re in an environment like this, you probably know a bunch of clients that have plenty of pings and knocks.
4) Does the staff care more about my fitness or their own personal achievements and physique?
Most people get into the fitness industry because they like working out. I started the same way. There is certainly nothing wrong with that.
However, to really create the environment of change, the staff should care more about helping people than they care about themselves.
Here is the litmus test: Do they chronically post pictures and videos of themselves on social media? Are they wearing revealing clothing to show themselves off?
I’m sure they are a very nice group of girls, I just wouldn’t let them train my dog, let alone a client with a shoulder injury.
The true barometer of a good coach or staff member is that they are enamored with the results of their clients/members and not overly impressed with themselves.
This is a people business, thus you must care about people on a deep level to help them to achieve more.
Don’t get me wrong. We shouldn’t be hypocrites, we should be fit ourselves, but it shouldn’t own the meditation of our heart over serving others.
In fact, in my experience of training trainers, the ones who are overly obsessed with their own bodies need to spend more time studying functional anatomy and less time molding their own. Dealing with the human body is serious business.
5) Is the facility littered with big fixed plane of movement machines (Freemotion, Nautilus, Hammer Strength, etc.) or do they carry more functional equipment like kettlebells, TRX, bumper plates, and sandbags?
The research is clear at this stage of the game. Sitting down on some machine that only works isolated muscles at a time is a waste of time compared to the big bang for your buck exercises that your whole body is engaged in like squats, deadlifts, Pull-ups, Kettlebell swings, Turkish Get-ups, and the like.
6) What is the coach to trainee ratio during group fitness classes?
To the untrained eye, having a group of 20+ people working out may look ok, but to an experienced coach, it looks like a burning building about to crumble.
Now I’m not saying that everyone does everything incorrectly, however many trainees need to be coached up for them to get the full benefit of the movement and not hurt themselves. There are always plenty of form “fires” to put out in a group setting.
The goal is to have every rep be a masterpiece. We have found that when group sizes get much over 12, there is chaos.
7) Does my gym get a lot of members off of Groupon or deal of the day sites?
This is an easy one.
If you do a Groupon, you can get dozens of new people starting up over a very short period of time. However, it now makes it impossible to assess people or get to the heart of their goals.
It also forces class sizes to not only be way oversized, but it also has them full of new people who need lots of coaching.
The spine needs to remain neutral, shoulders back and down, the glutes and core need to be engaged, weights need to be squeezed tightly to cause more stability in the shoulder.
No one knows this stuff when they are new. If I have 8 new people in one class and no assessment, then I am rolling the dice with everyone’s health.
Groupon is a great way to succeed if money is your top motive, but if doing what is best for the client is your best motive, than that option should be off the menu.
8) Am I measured regularly to assess levels of muscle, body fat, and total body weight?
This is the one that I want to grow in our ability to execute. (Yes, we in no way claim to be perfect) We do an OK job, but there are some members that we could be more consistent with.
How can you possibly know whether what you are doing is working, if you aren’t testing to see progress? Blindly taking action may lead you in a ditch. We would recommend someone get measured every 4-6 weeks at the longest.
If the numbers don’t move in the right direction, then you need to change exercise, or nutrition, or recovery methods.
9) Is motivational and nutritional support provided?
If I client is with me 3-4 hours out of their week. That means there are another 164-165 hours in the week they are not with me. This is often where the battle is won or lost.
They need coaching on how to eat correctly and they need encouragement to keep their mindset right through the often turbulent waters of their lives.
This is the job of the coach. At the end of the day, no one is paying me “dollars for workouts,” but instead, paying me dollars for results. If they aren’t getting those results, it is my fault and I need to take ownership of it.
I know I got a little long winded, but we believe that everyone should enjoy a healthy empowered life. I designed this to be a guide for you to get what you pay for, wherever you may live. There are a lot of great fitness professionals that I have met.
Hopefully you are served by this info well.
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Thanks for reading!