Archive for exercise programs, strength training, tips for trainers
Hope everyone enjoyed the snow day off! Might as well run this again. Be careful on the ice!
After last week’s snow storm, NYC was left with not only a snowy mess, but also some pretty slippery sidewalks due to the rain that followed this weekend, in conjunction with the erratic bouts of warm and cold temperatures we’ve been experiencing lately. Sheets of ice still coat the city in several areas and, needless to say, we’ve likely experienced a recent rise in the rate of falls…
That’s right. Much of what you thought you knew is wrong.
8-12 reps for muscle growth, right? Not necessarily.
30-90s only of rest to recruit more muscle fibers, correct? Nope.
Moderate intensity is best? All wrong.
These are ALL myths.
Those of us who have been in the fitness game for more than a decade now have seen a host of trends come and go – thankfully, for some… – and the evolution that has taken place these past several years, especially. The “functional” movement characterized by stability balls and bands that plagued the field in the ’90s is now officially a thing of the past, and these tools have been mostly replaced by the barbells and bumper plates required to perform functional movements at high intensities. The term “functional movement” is, therefore, still quite prevalent in fitness; it has just been largely redefined with the rise of CrossFit and other barbell-focused training methods.
So why the shift? Well, believe it or not, exercise science research is actually starting to catch up and become useful (not completely, but more so than before). And while society becomes more plagued with chronic disease, musculoskeletal dysfunction and weakness brought on by sedentary behavior, we finally have enough good evidence that working at high intensities improves physiology faster and to a greater extent than low-intensity training, and that being strong and able to perform daily “functional” activities is perhaps the greatest predictor of longevity. (Shout out to the Starting Strength movement!)
In honor of Veteran’s Day, Men’s Fitness interviewed 8 of FPTI‘s current Veteran students.
Now that Focus offers funding through the GI Bill, we’ve welcomed an increase in Veterans looking to start the next chapter of their lives. Check out THE ARTICLE to learn more about how our Veteran students are taking to the Master Course program, their career aspirations, and experience transitioning back to civilian life.
It’s about that time of the semester again: Next week, FPTI students will get the chance to network with many of NYC’s top fitness employers as they gather on our training floor for the quarterly FPTI Career Fair. They’ve been working hard with our faculty this week to get their resumes organized, with the goal, of course, being to set up interviews for internships or jobs in the weeks to follow.
That said, we figured it’d be a good idea to reinforce some essential interview dos and don’ts.
After all, a polished cover letter and resume may get you an interview, but a solid interview is what ultimately lands you the job.
So, here are a few important things to consider when preparing for an interview in the fitness industry:
When did you graduate from FPTI?
I graduated in December 2012 and was immediately hired by Focus Integrated Fitness.
I was just talking to my students yesterday about just how much client psychology can drive a program. Most trainers have at least one client who, for one reason or another, is resistant to certain exercises, training methods or modalities – and it’s usually the ones that they need the most that become barriers.
People might simply dislike an exercise (or type of training) – for example, I once had a client who would not do a cat-cow because she was afraid of cats… – but, more often than not, they are resistant to things that they just aren’t good at. Motivational interviewing is a technique that often works (more on that in a later post), but deep down, it’s usually a matter of confidence.
Enter the sandwich method strategy.
Well, we’re getting ready to wind down yet another class here at FPTI. I can hardly believe it’s been 5 years since we started! Classes have continually grown and, by now, we’re sending A LOT of prospective trainers out into the field. Our improved career services are largely to thank for our increasingly high job placement rates, including the recent addition of mock interviews in our curriculum.
I ran the following post a while back but it seems fitting to run it again now as many of our students are currently interviewing – either for actual jobs or for their second semester internships. SO, here are a few tips from Focus Integrated Fitness employers, Joe Masiello and Gabe Valencia, and FPTI Placement Coordinator, Brent Carter, on how best to prepare for interviews:
1. Make a good first impression. Your potential employer is assessing whether you are a good candidate before you ever open your mouth. What does your posture say about your confidence? Do you have a warm smile? Are you dressed appropriately? Do you have a firm handshake? Make sure you start off on the right foot by asking yourself these questions.
2. Do your research. Do some digging and find out about the company. This not only shows initiative but attention to detail. It says you have a vested interest in the company and are likely to work hard for it.
3. Be concise. Listen to the questions and answer thoughtfully in a quick, honest fashion. There are few things worse than an interviewee who goes off on a tangent and rambles about things that are not relevant.
This week, a new class of FPTI students is learning how to use the warm-up component of initial training sessions with potential clients to assess their movement capabilities (more on that HERE), along with some mobility strategies to address what they see.
And while the students (and trainers in general) spend ample practice time conducting dynamic warm-ups with the goals of increasing core and tissue temperature and range of motion, and preparing the neuromuscular system for the workout to come, an often overlooked aspect of warming up is the information it gives us – not only about movement, but also about mental state.
I feel like at this point I shouldn’t still be talking about the importance of prioritizing neutral spine and core stability over movement in training, but I still see so many examples of the opposite that I guess not everyone is up to speed. For brevity’s sake, I’ll try to simplify the science as much as possible.
First, the sheer structure of our lumbar spine suggests that it’s not meant to move very much. Each of its five vertebrae have only a few degrees of available motion, and between them we have discs that have shown to wear down with excessive movement, especially under load. And there are all those fragile nerves sticking out at every interval!
Additionally, the anatomy of most of our core muscles is unlike that of our prime movers: The fibers aren’t really aligned in a manner that is optimal for large amounts of force production. Rather, they seem better suited to absorb and resist force through isometric action. To no surprise, many of our core muscles also seem to elicit greater EMG activity with isometric exercises than they do with movement-based exercises.
That said, to both prevent spine injuries and optimize performance and appearance, doesn’t it make more sense to train them in the manner for which they seem to be designed? I certainly think so. That may mean simply training the core to keep the spine stable under load through larger lifts like squats and deadlifts that train our bigger, stronger hip extensors to produce movement. Or, for some clients who feel the need to “do abs,” it may mean making smarter exercise selections – and here are two examples:
SMART SWAP #1
Standard Crunches (requiring a flexed lumbar spine)
As our renowned and leading researcher in spinal biomechanics, Dr. Stuart McGill, points out, your pelvis and lumbar spine stay neutral in this exercise due to the position of the legs while the more mobile thoracic spine moves to lift the chest and shoulders. Moreover, the tactile feedback on the hands in the small of the back tells us if we’re moving from places where we shouldn’t be. And for stubborn clients, the exercise still looks and feels very much like a crunch! Continue reading »