The first time a personal trainer came into my life was in the throes of a eating disorder, anorexia nervosa. During my college education, I had to fill in slots with electives, one of those electives was Weight Training 101. I fell in love with training the first time I ever experienced the feel of an iron dumb bell in my hand. Once I started training, I thought fitness magazines and shows would teach me how to lift and look like a fitness model. After 8 months of lifting incorrectly, I was told by a chiropractor that I had developed bone spurs on my C5 and C6 vertebrate and had a curve in my lumbar that was not supposed to be there. Due to my inexperience, I just thought that squatting 135lbs was cool since I only weighed 106lbs at the time.
At the time, I was working out with a couple of guys who were self-proclaimed trainers and they thought it was cool such a tiny girl could compete with them. After all, I was doing everything that the fitness girls were doing, and I idolized fitness greats like Madonna Grimes and Cory Everson whom I thought were the perfect specimen of a women's figure.
I have learned a lot in 20 years as personal trainer. For example, those fitness models who look amazing that I mentioned idolizing? They do an intensive diet down and then take enough photos in one sessions to carry them through several issues of magazines that they are in. I have seen several of the same fitness models just a couple months after and they look much different, they do not look like that all the time and do very unhealthy things to get to that point.
When I had decided to take the weight training course, I met an adjunct professor who was teaching the class and he quickly put a stop to my bad techniques before I did any real damage. I had just decided that I was going to compete in my first bodybuilding show and I remember going to his office to ask him if he would help me get ready for a body building competition. He told me later that he thought I was a cute girl but couldn't handle the butt bones sticking of my tights,nor the spine that protruded from my fancy leotard. He was also the first to teach me about food being my greatest weapon instead of the enemy. I had always seen food as a necessary evil, eating about 700 calories a day. He had to hydro-statically weigh me to show me that the weight I was gaining was muscle and that my fat was actually readjusting and decreasing. I was doing 2 hours of cardio daily to try and keep the scale at 110lbs. Like many people, the scale was my measuring stick and I was obsessed with it. I wanted to share this story because in my 20 years of training people I have heard my story over and over. Most women that are overweight now are trying to eat and workout like I did which is actually causing them to to gain fat and lose valuable lean tissue instead.
Corey and I always like to visit gyms when we are out of town and sadly, we often see people doing the same workout as their idols in fitness magazines and injuring themselves. At Body Basics, we see this all the time with new clients, they reach their late 40's and early 50's and end up with wrecked shoulders, backs, knees and hips. I can't tell you how many clients come in broken and on the verge of surgeries asking us to help them get healthy or just be be able to lift again. If they had just had a certified, seasoned trainer show them how to lift and stretch correctly, they would still be active and pain-free today.
One of the biggest role of all our personal trainers at Body Basics is teaching clients how they are lifting incorrectly, how their movement patterns are uneven and actually causing structural issues and helping them correct these issues before they become permanent. My obsession with correct, healthy training is because of learning from my own mistakes and is a philosophy everyone at Body Basics adheres too.
When choosing a trainer make sure they are experienced in teaching correct form, function and movement while training. As NASM certified trainers, we always start with Stabilization (Phase 1 ), Strength (Phase 2) and Power (Phase 3). Phase 1 consists of learning to warm up properly, stretching and work on corrective exercises to address any injuries or weaknesses you have. Phase 2 is strength, endurance and muscle hyper trophy training, and Phase 3 is maximum strength. Going through these phases correctly will take you further than you ever imagined toward being fit and leading an active lifestyle.
I want every client to be empowered in their lifestyles, to know how to " feed the machine", what to feed it, when to feed it and why we feed it; to go into any gym and own their space; and have the knowledge and experience to do their program whether in a gym, at home, or on the road.