Training Gimmicks and Training that Works

Training Gimmicks and Training that Works

Exercise should be fun is a common sentiment I hear all the time from clients, prospective clients, health club members, and trainers trying to build their client base, but should it be fun?

That depends on what you consider fun, I suppose. Some people love grueling hard work and find enormous physical efforts bordering on the impossible to be fun. Most people don’t.

The argument is often made that any activity that gets a person doing more than they normally would have, must also be beneficial; hence *exercise classes like Zumba and SoulCycle*

[Wendy Learns to SoulCycle – YouTube](

“Wendy Learns to SoulCycle – YouTube”)

that are only marginally more intense than a fast paced walk are promoted as fun alternatives to the harder workouts associated with traditional weight lifting, Spinning, running, etc.

On the other end of the exercise spectrum you have the *extreme intensity activities like CrossFit [What is CrossFit? – YouTube](

“What is CrossFit? – YouTube”)

[The Problem(s) With Crossfit – Gawker]( “The Problem(s) With Crossfit – Gawker”)

and all its derivatives*. These encourage you to workout at extreme intensities with no real specific goal in mind beyond getting better at doing those specific workouts, unpredictable body shaping results (maybe you’ll bulk up or maybe get skinny), no transferable improvements for sports or other athletic activities, and an extremely high risk of injuries.

Michael Boyle is one of the most highly respected strength and Conditioning coaches in the world of NCAA collegiate athletics and professional sports, with dozens of published books to his credit. This is what he has to say about CrossFit.

Members and inexperienced trainers often fail to understand that the chronically out of shape civilian has no concept of what exercise intensity means. They actually believe that coming to the gym 2 hours a week is a lot of work. They believe pushing 50 lb. on a leg press is tremendous, even though they might weigh 180 lbs themselves. It’s not their fault. They have no reference points at all. Also, they’re really not that interested in whatever goals they might tell you and themselves, they have. Anyone who really cared about fitness and athletics would likely have been engaging in fitness and athletic activities most of their lives to begin with. And then there is belief. Most of our clients don’t really believe they can get in shape. They don’t really have goals. They have fantasies that deep down they believe are impossible to achieve, and so undermine their own efforts every chance they get by consuming junk food or too much food or exercising without consistency or jumping from fad diet to fad workout to discouragement and abandonment of any effort.

Many believe it is just strictly the luck of good genetics or bad, and there is some truth in that. But good genetics that get you by when your 20 will fail you when you’re in your 30’s unless you take action. The sooner you start the better, but it’s never too late.

Photo 1

Photo 1

First, I’d like to thank Monica for the kind praise, as it was all her hard work and willingness to follow my slightly sadistic advice to the letter.

Monica isn’t an actress or professional model. She’s a “real” woman with a real job and has a real commitment to her workouts and getting the results that she wants. She doesn’t live in the gym 4 hours a day, and she knows that when it’s time to work out you work out damn hard and real smart (or hire a real smart trainer like me) and then you go home. I won’t be specific about her age, but she wasn’t a child when we started, and 10 years later she looks better than she ever did. Period.

Forget the trends. This isn’t rocket science. I’ve been at this for 29 years and the fundamentals haven’t changed. Do what I say you need to do in order to achieve your goals (or whatever shorter term measures I deem more appropriate for each individual) and you will.

Train smart. Train hard. Don’t be a mark for every con game that comes around.

See you in the gym.



2 thoughts on “Training Gimmicks and Training that Works

  1. I think fun may be the wrong word for what’s needed. I would say “satisfaction”. I know some people who are always in pain and suffering from exercise. They never get a pay-off for their efforts. I really don’t know what keeps them coming back. I find that working out in groups, while one can argue that they may hold some people back from a maximum effort, do keep people coming back to the gym.

    1. I’ll stick with “fun” cause that’s the word I’m responding to most frequently. And this post was not an attack on group exercise. It was quite specifically an attack on Zumba for anyone doing Zumba expecting an exercise result who isn’t geriatric or otherwise severely physically impaired, SoulCycle which violates multiple exercise principles ensuring that neither the ride nor the weights are sufficiently challenging to elicit a meaningful exercise response in the vast majority of those participating for $200/month, and the “extreme” activities like CrossFit (also around $200/month) which err on the other side of the intensity equation.

      When the intensity is ratcheted up so high; as in CrossFit type activities; that the chance of catastrophic injury becomes statistically significant and even an eventuality if continued long enough, the point of exercise (to get fitter and healthier) is lost.

      Now, if someone tells me they don’t care about getting healthier, they just want to have fun and socialize, Zumba type classes are the way to go. But the people taking those classes believe they are getting an exercise benefit that most of them simply aren’t.

      If you tell me you want to prove you’re the toughest m/f on the block, consequences be damned, then CrossFit type workouts are the way to go. Tell me how tough that dislocated shoulder, blown rotator cuff, and/or sciatic damage make you feel in a year or two.

      If you want to cross train and get a total aerobic/anaerobic workout in an hour or less, like SoulCycle promises, there are hybrid workouts that can more efficiently accomplish that goal. The army’s been doing it for 100 years. It’s called “basic training”. The gym equivalent would be to take a high intensity cycling ride for 20-30 minutes, get off the damn bike and do a high intensity (with PROPER FORM AT ALL TIMES) upper body weight circuit.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.