By Anthony Rogan
Sometimes I despair at the fitness industry. I have been in the ‘industry’ for 5 years and can honestly say if I wasn’t at my current gym then I’d find another career to work in. Recently I was tasked with finding suitable trainers to bring on board to the new Henrietta Street Gym and this compounded my previous feelings.
Javelin Block is building us a unparalleled space that will be a premium gym. At the current moment in Fighting Fit City Gym, even with what we feel are inadequate changing rooms, toilets and a tired looking gym we are turning down PT sessions because we are oversubscribed. I have been looking for Personal Trainers who fit our brand integrity to approach about coming on board as a trainer either employed or on freelance basis. Our rents, employment structure and new gym is far better than any ‘deal’ or gym that they could get elsewhere but Neil (as am I) is adamant that we need trainers that not only benefit the gym financially (we can find anyone to pay rent or employ) but enrich the gym, so far it has been a tough search.
Scouting missions to gyms and watching Personal Trainers train clients and better still interviewing ‘Personal Trainers’ has reinforced my belief. The industry standard of Personal Trainers is very low and occasionally a popular ‘cheerleader’ Personal Trainer may have a busy diary but the substance of their teachings is somewhat flawed. We realised that Personal Trainers may not be what we are looking for and that experienced Boxing and Strength & Conditioning coaches are what we are after, if we can couple this with a knowledge of nutrition and client progression then these are the trainers we are after.
Having a trainer who can throw a flawless 12 punch combination is great, but they must understand that you need to be able to teach people basics first. A competitive Olympic weightlifter who can Snatch 100kg is good, but he must understand how to increase range of motion in the hips and shoulder girdle and may have to progress someone by overhead squatting and flexibility work before starting a snatch programme. A bodybuilder at 6% body fat is inspirational but he must understand getting people to increase water intake, eat breakfast and stop eating takeaways is the pre cursor to looking at macro tracking.
When you hear ‘Fitness Professionals’ advise people, I am not surprised that gyms are so full of misconceptions about training and diet. Google is responsible for many of these ‘researched ideas’, but you should research who gives you your information and who you chose to listen to. We are ensuring that advice given to people on our gym floor is correct – not what you want to hear or what sells sessions.
My new role as head trainer has left me in charge of monitoring sessions, recruitment and development of our junior apprentice trainers. We recruit amateur boxers for this role and initially they are only allowed to train and advise on aspects of boxing, boxing coaching and preparation for clients on upcoming boxing shows – a field of knowledge they have expertise in. As our juniors progress, they attend external training courses so they may start to add in conditioning work, circuit work and Olympic weightlifting and pass on their gained knowledge. This ensures everyone who is passing on information is passing on sound and correct advise.
The part of my role that I am relishing the most is the online support that we are now offering our elite members, this will include training schedule, programme design and nutritional support. This will allow me to change, advise members what they should be doing to get maximal results from the gym. Sometimes people are miss-directed with their training and so much of it comes down to them not understanding the balance of training and that the cornerstones to results with your training are based on three things
An example of how these cornerstones can be applied is with a particular pet hate of mine – people doubling up on classes, either with back to back classes or people training twice daily on high intensity classes. Having spoken to people who do this, there is usually one of two reasons that people are looking for. 1. Improving Fitness, 2.Losing Weight
Training: There is no point hitting the same energy system twice in a 24 hour period. You could do this only if you were hitting the aerobic system on one or both the sessions.
For Fat Loss: If your goal is fat loss there is some merit in training twice per day, but not with two high intensity sessions. You could do one high intensity (cardio or weights) and one low intensity cardio.
For Fitness: Two high intensity sessions per day will result in over training and in inhibited performance, you will regress not progress and may find increase fat storage on your mid section from elevated cortisol
Rest: You glycogen stores will not recover if you hit two high intensity sessions in one day, nor will it if you train for longer than one hour which you would do if you did back to back classes.
For Fat Loss: When you run out of glycogen (muscle fuel) you are running on empty so start to burn up lean muscle tissue. This is counter-productive to fat loss.
For Fitness: When training on depleted glycogen your performance will be inhibited. If you are looking to improve fitness then better getting one quality high intensity session in than running on empty.
Nutrition: 50% training, 50% diet is the key for most goals.
For Fat loss: I’d argue the above 50/50 ratio is nearer 80/20 for fat loss. Ultimately calorie restriction will play a key role but adequate calories, enough protein, essential fat and nutrient dense foods are key.
For Improved Fitness: You need enough fuel to power you through tough sessions. Not only the choice of foods is essential but nutrient timing particularly for pre and post workout. These will be key for glycogen replenishment.
Sometimes train smarter not harder and if in doubt get the advice of a reputable fitness professional who knows their field.