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Wellness

Why We Need Better Training Tools For Ourselves And How Training Can Save Us Lives

With every passing year our trainers become more and more trained to the point that they are only half-trained, leaving the half-trained trainers who could and should be more helpful in their hands.

In her book, The Power of Habit , Harvard Psychology Professor John Tierney explains how he is a victim of the “Fitness Industry” that “crams all the science and psychology into its products in such a way as to promote all the very worst aspects of conventional fitness, as well as to keep you from actually doing it.” A common complaint among the general public is that if their trainer tells them to get in shape, then they “must” become fit. But what they “must” do, in my opinion, is to stop paying the trainer a dime. If the trainer’s only training methods are the ones they themselves are using, then they are just wasting a lot of money.

Instead, Tierney recommends that trainers focus more on training their clients’ habits, and to “be aware of when a habit is being reinforced.” He suggests that trainers “develop an intuition about their own habits and their clients’ habits, to help them learn to identify when a client is being motivated by a habit and when they are simply using that habit to motivate themselves.” It is also not enough to merely talk to clients about this. Tierney recommends “empirical methods of training” and using them together. This helps the client learn “what their habits are doing to them and why they’re not getting results.

There is a whole cottage industry that promotes the virtues of the “functional” exercise lifestyle. The most egregious example of this is the “re-sculpting” and “hypertrophy” exercise of barbells. This is a method that is supposed to help develop strength, which can then be used during athletic competitions. And it can be done in a short amount of time, too, which is also very useful for training clients who are busy or in the gym and do not have the time to take that afternoon off and do some calisthenics. What this is designed to really do, however, is make your clients, by definition, weaker and more sedentary.

If you think that a trainer’s goal should be to help you lose weight first and foremost, then stop paying them a dime and get yourself out of the gym. If you do not wish to do that, then stop paying those trainers a dime and get yourself out of the gym. It is a waste of our time and our energy and, frankly, it is insulting to be told that the reason we are in the gym at all is because we want to get in shape for athletic competitions, rather than because we have no time or energy left to exercise more.

If you do need motivation in your life and your training, then you need to learn to recognize what you are doing to yourself by taking the time to examine your relationship with your environment. If your goal is to make your body stronger so that you are capable of doing more physically demanding activities, you are being set up to fail. The best solution is to find what you and your friends do enjoy doing, and then take that into account when you are training. Don’t stop there. It is not enough to keep your mind or your body busy and interested, but as your mind starts to wander, then take the time to engage your body and your emotions in an activity. If you are not feeling any motivation, then find a way to engage your “gut reflexes.” Get the heart pumping like there is no tomorrow, and have fun doing it.

A lot of people think that by working out at the gym they are giving up on their life and that the goal is to not work out anywhere else at all. There is a lot to think about. By going to the gym at least once a week, do something else in your life that you feel has meaning. You may even be able to find a time every week to meet with friends or make plans for your weekend. But make them meaningful. Don’t just do it when you get home from the gym, or take time off of work. The best way to keep yourself fit is not to take time off. It is to keep taking that time off. The gym and even your weekly or monthly workout plan are just one of the things you can do that really help you stay fit. And if you have to do something else in the meantime to stay motivated, so be it. The point is to make the time you do have to workout meaningful.