Monday, April 20, 2009

Pushing through the gym myths, jargon, and ignorance to get results

I workout at the University gym during the week and hit the up the local YMCA on the weekends for a change of pace and scenery. I try not to pay attention to every one's methods of exercise, but it is hard to not want to give tutorials to the patrons and even the staff at some of these places. Just this weekend I heard the following advice and observed the following things:

  1. "you ain't never gonna get big wit out no set (that's right, "set") ups and push ups"
  2. The guy saying the previous statement had a trashbag suit on that matched his son
  3. A staff member," Ya see, your stomach muscles are never fully activated that's why so many people are so big"
  4. Same staff member, "That's what I love about sprint'n, regular jogging doesn't use your lungs or get your heart a pump'n at all"
  5. This guy was on a roll, "Ya need to just eat a buncha good ol' chicken breast to lose weight. I did it all last summer... chicken breast and water. I have put some weight back on, but it worked then."

After I died a little bit on the inside from watching the little kid with guy from statement number one doing half push ups with his feet against the wall I had to go to a different part of the gym. I am all for these people getting in the gym and sweating, I just want them to realize that there are more effective ways to get results.

I read some of the profiles of the workers and they don't have very many exercise science undergraduates and only one masters graduate at the facility. I am taking a mental note of the things that irk me about current gym processes or staffing problems that I observe to make my facility as idiot-proof as I can. I want to be able to educate my staff and make them have confidence in what they say is fact. I want to have my staff go through some power training sessions with me so they know how to properly execute a snatch, jump squat, and clean ... also I want to go through some essential lifts like deadlift, back squat, front squat, and incline dumbell press to make sure that my staff has at least an idea of proper form and body placement.

I have the university population to get my workers from... I will find as many kinesiology and health promotion students that want to work in this field as I can to staff my gym. All of this should help the problem.

Friday, April 17, 2009

End of an Era... On to a Salary

I recently (7:30 this morning) passed my oral exit exam and have a job all but locked up. I will finish my graduate degree in Exercise Physiology in about three weeks. I have worked with faculty and staff through my graduate assistant position; doctors, students, aspiring doctoral candidates, and a couple masters students through my personal training at the University of Kentucky; I worked with a professor's research study focusing on the strength and conditioning of fire fighters; I have sat through hundreds of hours of classes (some I enjoyed, others the opposite); I completed a 300-hour internship at a corporate wellness facility; and last, but not least, I added ten pounds to my max bench and 60 pounds to my max squat.

I have said the wrong thing and learned how to be more politicaly correct. I have said the right thing to the wrong person and stood by it. I have rubbed off on my peers and tried to absorb as much useful knowledge from intelligent people that I could during my two years at UK.

Now I am on to direct a gym. I am able to master as many exercises as I can and learn new ones, better my knowledge base through research that I want to read, help fitness professionals that have what it takes succeed, and see my friends be placed in jobs across the country. I am looking forward to the day when I can help out a colleague that I have studied with, shot the shit with, and experienced, and more importantly, endured the masters program here.

I am not the same student, person, or worker that I was when I came to UK two years ago. I talk a lot about bettering myself physically, but I have been challenged mentally and met the task head on throughout this masters program. I did not graduate from an easy program. There are things that I need to do more research on and need to buckle down and figure out the concepts of certain things, but I do not mind bettering myself.

I don't mind asking questions, I just choose the right people to ask. I don't mind debating theories or processes to get other people's opinions or improve my own vision of either.

I spoke with my lifting partner about putting a book together. It is going to happen. I am a do-er. A compilation of thoughts about certain subjects, people, exercises, programs, or completely random happenings that have occured in both of our lives over the past two years. A publication of some of the points of view that you should read and consider for your own... Haha, or to just consider.

Enough of this novel, go get better.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Incline Update

If you take a look at a couple of my messages ago, you will notice that I want to improve my incline bench press strength... mostly because it is pathetic, but partially because I want better overall development in my chest.

I completed 235 for 4 sets of 5, 245 for a set of 4 (I was shooting for five, but failed), and 240 for a set of 5.

I think I started doing 5 sets of six with 215 on incline a couple of weeks ago so I feel pretty good about my progress.

My better is better than your better. Keep up.

Evaluation of Personal Trainers

I have noticed several people doing exercises incorrectly. Pretty much any one that can read would say where there is a gym, there are people that perform exercises wrong. Whether it is improper technique, they make up their own WAY COOL exercise, they believe everything should be done with full body swing, etc... they do something or a lot of things wrong.

My concern is when it is the personal trainers doing these exercises wrong. This is comparitive to a history teacher not recognizing the Declaration of Independence, a guy at Valvoline not knowing how to check your oil, a pilot that can't fly a plane... do you see where I am going?

I have seen various personal trainers that have done the following:
-Overhead squats in which GUY came up on his toes and his knees were wobbling all over the place
-The outstanding exercise (WACK) of side bends done with a dumbbell in each hand (I call it the teeter totter)
-Deadlift to a front raise to a incredibly slow snatch

I am not claiming to know everything and do every exercise perfectly, but I know that shoulder press doesn't work the chest. I talked with some people at the gym where these "professionals" work and it was decided that every trainer would be evaluated.

About time.

I think every one will get great feedback on parts of their knowledge base that need a software upgrade. This is a university gym... take a class if you are ridiculously ignorant in physiology, anatomy, exercise testing, strength and conditioning, or some other area. Why wouldn't you want to? Would you really want people staring at you in a gym laughing at your uneducated techniques or methods? I would assume a great trainer wants to know how to more effectively train his/her clients.

Better yourself...I'm going to.
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