This is the slogan on one of my favorite shirts, although I rarely wear it because I have so much amazing FitGuana gear!
This phrase caught on with me years ago because it’s something I wholeheartedly believe in.
I was never a big talker but love to be active. I love to be challenged and included in physical tasks. Therefore, I was often frustrated or surprised in my early fitness career when coaches, teachers or athletes would waste so much time excessively talking about something instead of physically working on it.
Now keep in mind that I completely believe that every aspect of training should be analyzed thoroughly from every possible angle to improve performance… for the high level athletes among us. Now how many of you are there? Exactly my point. The vast majority of the population are not pro athletes and have jobs, kids, duties, spouses etcetera. So why complicate training or teach highly technical movements which don’t necessarily carry any benefits?
I work with all types of high level athletes during personal training sessions and also during our group classes for conditioning (less sport specific obviously) but the majority of my time is spent training groups which mostly consists of people who are not pro athletes, which is obviously the vast majority of people.
Therefore, my main focus is giving them the best workouts possible in the safest ways possible, all while challenging every single person at their own individual limits, no matter how fit or restricted. Some of the biggest compliments I have gotten is that my workouts are incredibly efficient, challenging and no nonsense. My clients stay injury free and accomplish great results as a result of their efforts and focus. Seems like I hit the mark.
The average person needs to move more and eat better. This is undeniable, simply look at the statistics. They need to expend more energy than they currently are, using safe training methods in a safe environment and focus on better nutrition. It is not everyone’s goal to become muscular or lean, become a bikini model or a powerlifter. However it’ll be hard to find someone who doesn’t want to have optimal health.
That exactly is why we need efficient workouts for those people which work on various facets of fitness, regardless of your goal. Too often I notice athletes and coaches make errors which compromises the quality of training. Time is precious and many people have a hard time making enough time for training already.
Here are some of the big efficiency killing issues I see:
- Too many coaches spend so much time talking, obsessing, overcomplicating and dramatizing which leads to inefficient training. Some try to impress clients by spitting out big words or teaching complex movements which are completely unnecessary and can easily be avoided by offering simpler and safer training methods in which you use other variables to make things more challenging. Can a 65 year old perform deadlifts? Of course, with proper coaching. Should he / she necessarily to make progress? Not at all.
Let’s be honest, most of our clients don’t need to learn certain complex movements or 200 exercises to get in shape. Most don’t even need to ever perform the big three: deadlift, back squat and bench press. The vast majority of people can train much safer and more effectively without these complex movements and reach the same or better results, all while being highly challenged.
Teaching and educating is part of our job, as are continued progress and challenges. However too often we see too much verbal exercise and not enough physical. Odd enough, some of those coaches don’t seem like they walk the walk themselves.
As a coach, I believe you should lead by example. Actions speak louder than words.
- Sometimes a chat or checking the phone is too tempting. Keep in mind it doesn’t only cut into your training time but it also sucks the intensity and focus out of your training.
- Putting the wrong program together. Training planning, both in terms of micro-, meso- or macrocycle as well as within a single training session is both an art and science. There are 1,000 factors to consider from a physical and mental standpoint (tolerance, over- or undertraining, having fun, recovery, resistance, heart rate zones and ….) The assignment should never be random and always have a reason, no matter how crazy it seems.
This can make or break your training, your experience or even your body (think injuries or overtraining). If we look at it from an individual session or even circuit, it is important to place the right exercises together and get the load, reps and rest correct. Too much rest or too little reps make it inefficient, the opposite makes it unrealistic or unpleasant.
If muscle fatigue is the goal, placing same muscle group exercises back to back is great but if an elevated heart rate is the goal, you will want to switch the muscle groups so the intensity can remain high. This is not always the case (think leg work with a trained athlete) but most often will be as the average person’s muscles will fail before they can sustain an elevated heart rate. Just one example of many.
- Not setting a goal can be an efficiency killer. Having a goal dramatically increases your motivation. It is beneficial to know what you’re working for and towards. Always set both a short and long term goal and work towards it the best you can.
- Unsafe situations or environments can also lead to inefficiency. Not only does your progress drop to zero if you get hurt but you cannot work properly or push yourself in a state of insecurity or fear.
It is important to surround yourself with knowledgeable trainers and with the right equipment. You should always challenge yourself but again, big words and complex movements aren’t for everyone and not necessary for making progress.
- Not being mentally prepared. Make sure your head is in the game. Try to use your training sessions as some time for yourself, some self care. Even though you will be pushing your limits, it is something you do for yourself. Prepare yourself mentally and focus.
As a trainer, I make sure my clients are challenged but safe. They progress with highly efficient and high intensity workouts but stay injury free and within weeks we see drastic results. I try to educate while I coach so they learn and understand why I want them to do what I ask them to do. This leads to better understanding and better fitness choices.
All this can easily be accomplished without compromising training quality or wasting time. As a trainer, you are responsible for your class management so efficiency should be a top priority.
While so many people waste time chatting it up or complicating things, we’ll be in the gym crushing it.
Less talky, more lifty.