Cowboys(!?), a bit of bragging & how to spot a good Personal Trainer – Part 1

The ABS Gym - Personal Training - Dublin - Pushups JokeI read an article on Men’s Health recently that piqued my interest. Not necessarily because it was wrong, but because I had a few hang ups about it.

It’s on about cowboys in different industries and, to be fair, the personal training industry is at saturation point with good oul buachaill bo’s (did I spell that right? I can’t check it because I’m on a plane and I logged in on my phone so now my laptop is offline).

Seriously, there are people out there that starting training THEMSELVES last year, decided they liked it, and after a very short course, they are out there masquerading as fitness professionals.

Not us, we all have either honour science degrees, or almost a decade of experience, or both… each. I’m not bragging or anything, but you will not find a more experienced or qualified team. Okay, I’m bragging a little bit.

The first thing mentioned in the article is, “check out their before and after pictures”.

Not being funny or anything but only a small amount of people would agree to getting their photos taken, never mind published on the internet. The proof isn’t always in the pictures, although we have quite a few really good before and after pictures, that is just the tip of the iceberg. There are literally thousands of people that have come through our doors and the only evidence we have are their assessment sheets and kind, appreciative text messages from them.

The next point they make is spot on. They say if the trainer doesn’t do any assessment on you, they are useless. This is true. If you get a trainer and he/she doesn’t perform some sort of assessment on you (ours is integrated into the warm up) then run for the hills. Your posture could be bad, something misaligned here and a lagging muscle there and, shit, you’re injured.

These things need to be spotted early so that asymmetries and postural issues are fixed, or at least accommodated, as soon as possible so that we can continue with getting you results. i.e. You won’t get any results if you’re injured.

They mention the fact that your trainer should be helping you with your nutrition – true. They mention that you shouldn’t be just following some generic meal pan straight out if the gates. The trainer should know if you have any nutritional concerns/ allergies/vegan/diabetic etc. Then a plan needs to be based around YOUR schedule, not what the trainer decides is good for them, so it is good for you.

Some trainers would have you running around with 15 tupperware containers everyday and a gallon of water. This is absolutely unsustainable. Ever hear of the saying if you can’t pronounce the ingredients, it’s bad for you, or, if it comes from a packet it’s processed. Nonsense.

Anything you change right now for the better will improve your current situation. Simple switches like dumping the fatty sides and having some vegetables thrown in and, of course, no chips. Do that for a month and you will lose one or two kilos easily. Instead of a chocolate bar, have some popcorn. Instead of a smelly sandwich, get a salad (drastic, I know). Do this and you’ll lose another kilo or two.

You do not have to be a saint to lose weight. Your diet just has to be better than it was before. You don’t have to eliminate takeaways right away. Just make better food choices. You see, people that advocate eating like a hamster are probably new to the fitness industry and think that what got them the results should be prescribed to everyone they encounter.

Looks like I am going to have to do a part two. This is getting too long. I’ll get it over to you in the next day or three ?


Bryan Kavanagh BSc CSCS