Are you Getting Stronger?
One of my clients transferred to a personal trainer for 6 months. She started with me to learn the lifts in the Starting Strength Barbell Training Program and stayed for two months and then decided to start training at one of those fancy cross-fit places. (To learn more about Cross-Fit, read this article: https://startingstrength.com/article/strength-training-crossfit-and-functional-training).
They had better time options that fit her schedule. She sent me a photo of her squatting and kept telling me her new trainer said, “Whoever trained you on technical aspects of the lifts did an excellent job!” That’s because I attended the Starting Strength seminar twice, and have read the book multiple times. The other Coach Rippetoe knows what he’s talking about!
I took her from squatting 30 lbs to 70 lbs in two months, deadlifting 55 lbs to 110 lbs. It’s always great to be a novice because the linear progression looks great on a chart, and it builds your confidence like nothing else will. (https://startingstrength.com/article/programming/who_wants_to_be_a_novice_you_do).
So, after a hiatus from July 2017 to December 2017, she comes back in for a technical tune-up. No problem. I am always happy to make sure clients continue to lift safely and efficiently. I figured she would be capable of lifting much more after 6 months. Per the program, we start her on squatting. She was able to do 15lbs more than when she left, that’s at least an improvement, albeit a small one. And it wasn’t easy for her as she came really close to failure. We went on to press; that was only a 5 lb increase from when she left. Still an improvement. And then the deadlift. We had to go backwards, a 5lb decrease which should have been more but I wouldn’t let her get away with it. After all, she told me she had implemented Power Cleans, the 5th exercise, into the program, usually brought into the workout rotation once a lifter is able to deadlift their own bodyweight, so I figured she could deadlift her body weight at least. I was “dead-lift” wrong.
What was this Cross-Fit trainer doing with her? She knew a new squat style – Sumo Wrestler stance, and after hearing that I didn’t care to know any more. But I think what’s more important here is that a trainer isn’t a coach and has very little education and next to no experience in coaching. Coaching requires thinking, planning and developing a plan that will achieve a goal. Granted, maintaining a healthy lifestyle is a great goal if you are predominately a couch potato. But this client swims multiple times a week, walks her dogs multiple times a day, and has to appear on the Hollywood red carpet several times a year. She can’t just be maintaining, she has to look great and be thin for the cameras! Trainers just aren’t going to be able to do that long-term, maybe for 6 months or less, but after that you’re most likely starving your body of nutrients or you’ll start to see that fat creep back into your arms, usually in your triceps area, and around your thighs. Two places which you don’t want the camera to see. The fashion industry just loves making clothing to hide those two areas.
The Program Works
I guarantee my female clients that they’ll lose weight, rid their bodies of fat in those two places (and just about everywhere else) if they stay on the program. Leave for 6 months though, and all guarantees are null and void.
Trainers are great at watching you and cheering for you as you do the exercises they pull out of a hat for that day – “What should we do today to make you sweat?” Coaching on the other hand, requires building a program that will accomplish a fitness goal. And the best way to do that is to use a proven system used on a multitude of people for over 40 years. Build their strength and they’ll meet their goals. Use the Starting Strength system and they’ll build their strength.
Kenneth is a Life-time member of the American Swimming Coaches Association and holds certifications as a Level 4 Disability Coach & Level 3 USA Swimming as well as US Masters Coach. Coaching since 1985, Kenneth specializes in Swimming, Strength and Conditioning coaching.