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It is hard to say why larger workshops are so effective, and so positive, but they are, and I have many to compare with. And I am so happy personally that we have two really high-end personal trainers on the present workshop, too (Nate and Ben)—you’d think that our work would be a ‘perfect match’ for PTs, but that’s not the case, and it’s worth thinking about why.

One reason (and I have no doubt about this, knowing a great many personal trainers and having talked about this subject at length with them), is that the commercial gym training environment that the majority work in is the antithesis of what’s needed: loud music, many PTs working side-by-side with other clients and their trainers: the visual and aural distractions are many. And this environment simply works against measured, effective analysis and communication.

Next is the infrastructure: the PT work week is 40–60 clients, one after the other, and tied to the hour. There is a constant need to complete the workout with the present client, and get on to the next one. ‘Success’ is the busiest PT; these are the stars, and they make the most money. Gym owners encourage this in different ways.

Next is the client’s expectation: their motives for being in the gym are varied, but their time with the PT is limited and they want to ‘get the most out of it’ and that, usually, means one more set, not a needed stretch, or the relearning of a dysfunctional motor pattern. The absolute necessity of being able to see and correct dysfunction is why the Monkey Gym simply forbids the use of headphones, has no music playing, and asks that phones be turned off when attendees step into the space. Compare this to the typical 5,000 member gym: they are different worlds.

And then there’s the general perception that stretching (like working on ‘abs’) is the thing that you tack on to the end of the real workout; a luxury that can be forgotten if necessary and (perhaps) made up at the next workout.

But we know that effective training requires sound biomechanics, and if absent in the body presenting to the first training session, is unlikely to result from the workout itself.

Now, it might be objected that I am caricaturing the commercial gym environment—but if I am, not by much, and I have personally seen much worse. Bored PTs (listening to their own music) yelling out to their tubby trainee, ‘one more rep; feel the burn’, looking at a lycra-clad beauty across the room.

How does someone become a PT? One route is the ‘Cert. III’ and ‘Cert. IV’ qualification. When Olivia did hers, the instructor deferred to her constantly once she knew OP’s background—the fact is the instructor simply was not sufficiently experienced or knowledgeable herself to teach that course. Many of our teachers who (for legal and insurance reasons) have had to study the same courses report almost identical experiences. From my perspective, these course are simply not adequate and, worse, they pretend to be. All the good PTs that I know have got their Cert IIIs and IVs because they had to, and learned their craft from people like Steve Maxwell, Steve Cotter, Coack Sommer, and people of that weight—many of whom are unsung local heroes.

There is much more to say on this, so I am only opening the dialogue with this post (and I have to go); so more to come.

Red Tongue wall; a great breakfast spot

Red Tongue wall; a great breakfast spot (except I don’t do breakfast!)

See you tomorrow