Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Forget the Economy! Why You Can't Afford to NOT Do Online Training

It's over one month into the new year already! Time to stop licking the financial hemorrhage wounds and get your priorities back on track. Since so many people experience limited finances, it's important not to waste money on BS. You want to spend it on what's really important. What could be more important in this world than your physical health and well-being? You don't need to go out to dinner or otherwise seek entertainments or other dissipations but you DO need to maintain top physical shape and condition. When you look and feel your best, you feel good about yourself and you attract positive circumstances. It's difficult to attract goodness and beauty when you're feeling bad (and looking worse!)

One of the most frequent emails I get (of hundreds each week) is how do I organize my workout routines and what equipment do I need to achieve my goals? Often the requester lists the variety of what they are already doing and overall exhibit utter confusion about how to put it all together.

It's no accident that this is what I selected as my motto: It's how you put it together--because this is what I do best. There are countless people out there spending time working out without a clue of what's best for them. They show up in body but often fall short in mind. I've seen this in commercial gyms all across this country and beyond: people going through the most haphazard routines, using atrocious, if not downright dangerous form, and oft-times partaking in almost bizarre workout rituals without rhyme nor reason. Sometimes it's apparent they're following some type of plan, usually a cookie cutter plan from a fitness magazine, the old one-size-fits-all-but-not-me. Some of these programs are pretty decent but, once again, people fall short on execution, and it's painfully obvious they haven't received any instruction on how to perform the given exercises.

The majority of people need some type of guidance. Most gyms won't provide any type of workout programming unless you sign up for personal training and a good personal trainer is worth his weight in gold, but the good ones are few and far between. Most are amateurs themselves merely biding time until they get a real job. It's rare to find a true professional who's dedicated himself and chooses personal training as a full-time career. And these guys don't come cheap! They're the ones charging between $200-500 an hour and more.

Don't waste your money on the typical Gold's bench-press denizen. In this world, you get what you pay for, and the typical $25-35 an hour trainer is pretty much a waste of your valuable earnings.

If you're motivated enough to get yourself to the gym and don't need any hand-holding on the treadmill or Stairmaster, then you might consider an alternative: online personal training. Once again, if you can't get your ass out of bed in the morning, this, too, is a waste of your money. BUT...if you're simply confused and need someone to organize your training, put together a great routine and assist you in focusing on short and long-term goals, as well as providing the latest nutrition and supplement information, then this is where guys like me come in.

Don't get me wrong: online personal training is also fraught with hucksters and snake oils and you must show discernment to make sure you're getting your money's worth. I've heard some horror stories from clients! One was told to buy a certain book and turn to page, let's say, page 72, where he would find his program!

I've heard other online trainers, some of my colleagues, talk about how they keep cookie cutter programs on file and to download and send because "hey, they get what they pay for, right?" and advise me to do the same. This is tantamount to the personal trainer who takes a seat during his client's workout, engaging them all the while in mindless chatter.

So, how do you know if online training--and the online coach--is the real deal?

1) The trainer should have impeccable credentials and reputation

2) Individualized workouts should be the rule

3) Complete goal-setting should be done up front--both short and long-term plans

4) A complete health and fitness questionnaire to learn your lifestyle and habits

5) A total fitness assessment, including structural analysis

6) The trainer should be accessible for questions and should respond to, or at least acknowledge, requests within a reasonable time frame

7) A good online personal trainer expects to peruse your training log every week and responds with appropriate upgrades
8) Your programs are regularly
changed up as you adapt to--and master--your routine

9) The effective trainer is an example of his own work and theory--beware the fat trainer hiding behind the anonymity of the keyboard, meting out punishments he will not--and cannot--undertake himself!
I'm not saying a guy needs to be Superman, but anyone espousing training philosophy needs to model his own advice to provide a good example for his clients.

10) Your trainer should figure out how to work around you--the individual
He should enable you to work with minimal equipment, provide travel and vacation routines, help you peak for special events, work with you through any injury or illness and, above all, be engaging and fun.

The workouts should not be drudgery, but exciting--or at least interesting--challenges. Hard work, perhaps, but adventures nonetheless.

In this day and age of perceived economic woe and collective fear mentality, you might tend to shrink and pull back from what's genuinely important: your health is your most precious asset. Ask any billionaire laying in bed with a degenerative, chronic disease and he'll tell you all he'd trade for a robust and healthy body. Yet you needn't spend millions; like most people, you simply need safe, sane wisdom and guidance. You won't get good personal training for less than $100 a session and most people aren't willing to pay it.

In these times, online training makes sense and can provide you with the real nuts and bolts of what you need for productive workouts. Those of you who've been suffering from confusion can pay me, now, or pay the doctor later!

With Steve Maxwell, it's the real deal.

PS. My website has been re-done. I've got a new and terrific, motivated, web guy and I'm very happy with the new site. Take a look and let me know what you think.

I've got several workshops coming up and they're filling up, so if you want to decipher body weight exercise, kettlebells and joint mobility, come meet me in person and let's get some work done! Check out the Level 2/Master Workshops.

There's still space in the Body Weight certification this Saturday 7 February in Sacramento. I'd love to meet you there and help you maximize your body weight potential.

Yours in Strength & Health!

Ask Coach!!!!!

...I thought I had a minor strain after several 1-minute sets of 2-Arm Long Cycle//24kgs w/30-sec rest intervals, followed by a rack lunge/Renegade Row superset and a Hindu push-up/Hindu Squat superset on 12-26-08

I backed off, but continued to train, and finished it off on 1-2-09 with 1-min sets of 2-Arm Long Cycle /32kgs. I finally went in and had it looked at on 1-19-09.

He looked at me when I walked in and immediately said, "You tore it."
About 1/3 is torn along the clavicle.

It's really forced me to pack my shoulders and engage my lats during push-ups, very slow, tight, and under control is the only way I can tolerate it. Presses, Jerks, Snatches all cause pain. Push Ups, sometimes; Pull-Ups, Swings, and the Rack position all cause discomfort.

A: I've had great success training through injuries using the Super-Slow technique: basically, very high-tension, slow-motion repetitions using no momentum whatsoever, nor any ballistic stress.

The idea is to perform the negative in about 5-sec, with a slow reversal and the positive in about 10-sec, meaning that in 1-minute you'd do only four reps, at most.

Many people, even with severe muscle pulls, find they can do the slow, controlled reps like this.

To keep up your pulling strength, try the super-slow Body Weight Row, w/ scapular retraction at the top of the movement.
A good workout right now is a steady diet of BW Rows, Push-Ups and (assisted) Pistols.

If movement is too painful, static contractions, with no movement at all, have proven to be very useful.

Picking the weak range in certain exercises can be organized into a very effective workout, for example, holding the bottom part of a push-up, with the chest an inch off the floor, is a brutal chest workout, but safe, since there's no movement.


Adam Steer, Better Is Better said...

Good points Steve!

I've had incredible success training clients online. But I've had to stop taking on new distance clients because of constraints on my time. To do the online relationship justice, both coach and trainee need to put in a lot of time.

If you do decide to take on an online trainer, make a commitment to log your progress DAILY. Of all my online clients, the ones who logged in detail every day were the ones who had the most success. Daily logs allow both you and your coach to see exactly what is working and what is not. You are your coaches "eyeballs" in a distance coaching relationship. so the more work you put in, the better job your coach can do for you.


Chavo said...

Hi Steve-

Thanks for the chat last week! It was really good to speak with you, and I look forward to doing it again in person.