Archive for psychology and behavior change, tips for trainers

Trainer Tip: Using the ‘Sandwich Method’ in a Training Program

by Meaghan posted September 13, 2016

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.

sandwich-method

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5 Essential Interview Tips

by Meaghan posted September 8, 2016

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.

keep-rambling-nonsense-and-drive-everyone-bananas-640x640

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To Change or Not to Change…Your Warm-up?

by Meaghan posted April 20, 2016

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.

mental fitness

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Smart Exercise Swaps for the Core

by Meaghan posted February 1, 2016

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

Instead of: 

Standard Crunches (requiring a flexed lumbar spine)

crunch-sf

Try:

McGill Curl-ups

 

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 »

Assessing Movement Efficiently with New Clients

by Meaghan posted January 20, 2016

This week, our FPTI Advanced Concepts students are learning the finer points of movement assessment. Assessing a client’s movement capabilities is one of the most important aspects of a first session. It gives the personal trainer the information he/she needs in order to write a program that addresses mobility and stability, and, most importantly, SAFE exercise selection and loading parameters. It also serves as a catalyst for the personalized programming in future sessions AND the explanation of it, allowing a foundation of trust to form between trainer and client.

Yet, movement assessments are probably the most neglected element of initial personal training sessions.

gofigure

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The Importance of Culture and Community in Training

by Meaghan posted November 6, 2015

Today we have another great post from Brent Carter, Starting Strength Coach extraordinaire!  

As I write this, my hip flexor is killing me, my back feels like it was beaten with a baseball bat, and my legs feel like jello. BUT, I have never felt better! This is because I just had the wonderful opportunity to lead a team of lifters at the 2015 Starting Strength Fall Classic to a victorious team win!

Team FPTI  wins!

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Q&A: Do I Need to Progress EVERY Session?

by Meaghan posted October 28, 2015

GreatQuestion

This one comes from a budding new trainer, and I actually get it a lot from FPTI students as well.

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Employer Spotlight: Interview with Josh Feldman of Crunch Fitness

by Meaghan posted October 8, 2015

FPTI Student Placement Coordinator, Brent Carter recently sat down with Crunch Fitness District Manager, Josh Feldman.

 

 

Read on to see what Josh had to say about FPTI students and working for Crunch:

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It’s Mobility Week at Focus

by Meaghan posted September 30, 2015

It’s Mobility week in FPTI‘s Advanced Concepts class! This week, our AC students are learning various mobility assessments and drills to improve range of motion and overall function in their clients and prevent injury, as well as how to incorporate mobility into both first sessions (as assessments) and overall programs to enhance progress toward other goals. They’ll even learn how to communicate the importance of mobility to prospective clients to get buy-in.

Among other great resources, one that we like to share with them is MobilityWOD.

MobilityWOD

Mobility Workout of the Day, that is. MobilityWOD is a website put out by Kelly Starrett, DPT in attempt to provide athletes with drills to increase mobility and improve their training and performance. His goal was originally to get a video-based mobility blog post up every day for a whole year. What happened, though, was that he became a go-to source for the industry’s mobility needs.

We like him for another reason as well: Even though Kelly is a physical therapist, he really “gets” the strength world and takes an intelligent approach to training. What’s great about MobilityWOD is that he doesn’t just put up a video of himself doing an exercise. Rather, he includes explanations (in both text and video) of how and why the mobility problems usually occur, along with how his drills work to improve them, as well as other strategies to prevent recurring problems. He also includes ways to test and retest mobility to evaluate and monitor progress, as well as questions and even assignments designed to get you thinking about how and why things work the way they do.

So whether you train just yourself or other people, I guarantee you’ll learn a thing or two from MobilityWOD that will enhance your results – so check it out!

Understanding Your Shoulder Pain

by Meaghan posted August 13, 2015

Our students currently taking Advanced Concepts learned all about the influence of scapulo-humeral rhythm on impingement this week. Here is a bit more of what we talked about:

The shoulder is probably the most misunderstood joint in the body, especially among those who don’t have a good foundation in human movement – which, unfortunately, includes the majority of people who work out. This, coupled with its inherently mobile/unstable nature, also makes the shoulder the most commonly injured joint in the body – which is why you see so many people in the gym doing stuff like this:

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