Last post I shared a few secrets from my days as a full-time trainer and coach. Today I thought I’d share some more training specific secrets that most coaches would rather you not know. Some of the things I’m going to tell you are actually just common sense but others are closely guarded secrets that could ruin many gyms and inexperienced trainers business models.
1 hour Workouts:
Do you know why your workouts last an hour? Because we charge by the hour and it’s an easy unit of measurement. Know how much time it takes to get a great workout that will elevate your metabolism up to 48 hours after you finish? Depends on the workout. Anyone who has completed one of the CrossFit “Girls” workouts at RX in the time and intensity it’s designed for can attest, sometimes 4 minutes is all it takes. Everything that happens after that is just filler. If you complete a short couplet with intensity and focus you’re done for the day. NOTHING else is needed, not strength work, not skills work, go home shower and go about your day. Coaches know this, but we also know if you don’t get “the hour you paid for,” you’re going to complain.
Some workouts are long, some are short, some go on for hours, the variety is the point, especially in CrossFit. So why is every group class an hour long? Because most clients only know what they’ve read or heard, they don’t understand physiology or exercise science. They want a burn and a butt kicking. Coaches and gym owners want to get paid and pay their bills. You get a 1 hour workout every time you come in the gym, whether you need it or not.
There is no magic number, it all depends on your goals and individual biochemistry. If size and maximum strength is your goal, 3 times a week with real rest in between is the answer. Rest means no exercise and plenty of sleep and food. Some people tolerate daily high intensity exercise very well, most will soon fall prey to burnout after a few weeks. Your body grows and rebuilds at night while you sleep. The more you exercise the more rest and food you require. High stress jobs, crappy diets, and 6 hours or less of sleep a night do not support frequent high intensity training. Sadly most of my group class clients fit into this very group; overworked, underfed, and under-rested. Most of you reading this can make great progress working out 3 days a week, if you would just pay more attention to eating clean and optimizing your habits outside the gym. My secret: I can get anyone shredded with less than an hour a day 3 times a week, if we can get your diet and other habits on point.
I Need Heavy Weights, Supplements, and Gear to Get Big, Fit, Healthy, and Shredded…
I hear this statement so much in one form or another and it could not be more wrong. Everyone is looking for a “Hack” a shortcut to success and achieving their goals and many unscrupulous trainers, coaches, and gym owners are more than willing to cater to this delusion. Yes it is a delusion. The belief that you can get something for nothing is the backbone of a billion dollar fitness gadget industry. The key to strength, size, definition, weight-loss, and skill is in one thing: hard work, mind numbing, boring, monotonous daily hard work.
Want to get big? Master the basics of body-weight exercises and control. Gymnast have some of the finest physiques around and many of them rely entirely on multi-joint body-weight exercises and movements. They are using gymnastics (go figure) to develop the very body types that weight-lifting body builders would kill for. Most of you do not need to lift heavy weight, strength is good but you need to master moving your own body first. Most of you do not need supplements, especially protein, you need to stop eating garbage and get some sunlight. Most of you do not need wraps, sleeves, special shoes, or belts, you need to harden the hell up and get some calluses, bruises and learn to sweat. My secret: I can forge a rock hard body that is stronger than most weight lifters with nothing but a floor, a wall, and gravity. This brings me to my last secret for today.
You Do Not Need a Gym:
This one MYTH annoys me more than any other. I need a gym, a nice well lit, sterile, comfy place to purposely subject my soft civilized body to discomfort. We are so weak and soft collectively as a society that we have to make up work for our bodies to do.
Where I come from we have a saying, “that dude is farm strong.” It means a person whose job entails daily physical labor so much so and so often that there is no need for working out. Their bodies are strong from actual use and function, not from made up work. We all (humans) used to be very strong, flexible, agile, and powerful. We had to be or our environment or the things living in it would kill us or eat us. It was a very real daily threat.
The next time you hear someone or yourself saying “I couldn’t make it to the gym today, I missed my workout.” Recognize it for what it is, a cop-out and an excuse. The road to poor health and obesity is paved with cop-outs and excuses. The secret I withheld from a lot of my clients because I wanted to keep my job: I could give you a kick ass workout anywhere. In fact I could give you a more practical effective workout outside in the rain with nothing but a bunch of rocks and a hill, and you’d love it.
These are just a few of my secrets, in my next article I’ll start talking about actual training practices and tools I’ve used to help people achieve their fitness goals. Thanks for reading.