Is Your Personal Trainer Really Qualified to Train you as an Athlete?

Is Your Personal Trainer Really Qualified to Train you as an Athlete? It is very common to see personal trainers offer programs for athletes. Before you sign up for one it is a good idea to do some assessment first. Keep in mind that your run of the mill personal trainer has no degree, or at least not a degree relating to exercise science or human performance. This means that they haven’t had anatomy, or physiology, or exercise physiology, or motor learning, or biomechanics. These are fundamental courses for understanding how the body works and adapts and how all of the parts work to together. Compound that with the fact that most have never successfully worked with athletes.

 

  • How do you define successfully working with athletes? As developing an athlete over a long period of time (2 or more years, minimum, preferably 4 or more), demonstrating increases in performance with reduced injuries and risk of injuries, WITHOUT the use of STEROIDS.

 

Why do I add that last part about steroids?

  • First, steroids are cheating and will be tested for at higher levels. If you had to use them to get there, when you have to stop using steroids you’ll fail.
  • Second, steroids are a tremendous advantage in adaptation and will effectively disguise poor training systems. They acutely improve speed, power, strength, focus and reaction time. And they allow you to continue to adapt to training programs that you should not adapt properly to. This includes increasing strength from programs that should yield little strength gains, and getting faster while doing workouts that should otherwise slow you down. It also includes continued adaptation to programs that would have otherwise plateaued and thriving on workouts that should cause over-training syndrome.

 

Many personal trainers are experts in one thing, how to get their clients effectively on steroids. Its the part of the industry that no one talks about. Its the nature of the beast. For a very small percentage of the population, being muscular, lean, athletic, strong and having a constant supply is natural. For the rest of us normal people, we are lucky to get ONE of those natural gifts, the rest have to be worked for, and worked smartly for. So, many trainers juice to fit the bill that potential clients expect. Its sad, but at least 50% of the personal trainers (excluding strength coaches) that I have met  and worked with over the last 18 years  either periodically or constantly cycle steroids. So its only natural for them to recommend steroids to clients that are “non responders” to their system. In addition,  many of their successful clients have followed their advice.

 

A GOOD RULE OF THUMB: one of my old bosses in college strength and conditioning use to say “If they’re bigger than everyone else, and leaner than everyone else then they are either a freak among freaks or they’re on the juice. And its much more likely that they’re on the juice!” After 18 years in the industry and training 2500 athletes including 4 Olympians and 500 plus SEC level athletes,  I have met about 5 of  the freak among freaks. Three ended up getting paid for their freakness. For those freak among freaks that didn’t ended getting paid, its because they were too lazy or too dumb to make it at the next level. In either case, you don’t want them as a trainer. So if your potential trainer looks like a freak of nature (and they were never successful athletes), your alarms should go off.

 

OK, so now that we cleared up some of the red flags, what do you want to see in an effective personal trainer for athletes?

      • At least a B.S. in exercise science
      • A strength and conditioning related certification like the CSCS. As I stated in an earlier post, even most Physical Education majors that train at high schools can’t pass a basic strength and conditioning certification, demonstrating a lack of fundamental knowledge for developing athletes.High School Strength Coaches
      • Experience coaching and/or playing at least at the collegiate level
      • A history of success (at what level did their athletes compete, and did they get better over time)
      • A very low injury rate? (you should see very few major injuries, chronic injuries, or movement caused injuries whereas impact caused injuries are impossible to prevent)

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