Posts Tagged ‘Trainer’

Thousands of athletes around the world are laser-focused in their desire to get better at certain movements/skills in our sport of CrossFit. Whether their goal is to improve strength, endurance, mobility, or any other aspect of fitness, there will always be a laundry list of skills to choose from at any given moment. While I love how CrossFit inspires and motivates people to want to make themselves better, it also leads to people trying to do too much, too often.

If they want to get stronger, they’ll add a squat program to their weekly programming. To improve their ring muscle-ups they’ll spend thirty minutes every day practicing transition drills and kipping technique. When the goal is to improve aerobic capacity, multiple 3-6 minute sprint workouts and a few track workouts will get tagged onto the end of an already brutal training week.

By themselves, those scenarios are not necessarily a problem. What is a problem, however, is when people do so much work that their bodies are constantly beat up and are never given a chance to recover properly. Being sore and tired is part of the game, I get that. Anytime you train hard as an athlete, those feelings come with the territory. It becomes counterproductive, however, when athletes constantly live in that state of fatigue.

Prioritizing rest and recovery is the biggest missing piece in the puzzle for so many athletes to achieve their next training breakthrough. When you take care of yourself (through stretching, massage, and other forms of self care), you’re giving your body a chance to repair all of the damage that intense training puts on your muscles.

Take a look at my video below and see if you agree with me. Regardless, let me know your thoughts, and let’s talk about this together. Happy Thursday!

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The Merriam Webster dictionary defines an Ivory Tower as “a secluded place that affords the means of treating practical issues with an impractical often escapist attitude; especially a place of learning.” I think there are a lot of trainers out there making statements about fitness from a very similar place!

They read in a book that the back squat is taught one way, or learned a skill from a coach in a particular way, and from that moment on they live and die by the concept that no other way of teaching that movement could possibly be correct! Well, if you’ve ever coached actual humans in an actual gym, you quickly learn that no two people learn things the exact same way. If you only have one way of explaining, you will miss connecting with a variety of athletes.

In my opinion, as long as your athletes are safe, there is no right or wrong way to teach something. I believe it was Matt or Cherie Chan who once said to me, “the best cue to give an athlete is the one that works!” Instead of sitting back and commenting on how other people are teaching things incorrectly, open up your mind and consider that some people just need to hear the same thing explained in a different way for it to click for them!

Check out this episode of Drive Time with Smashby, and let me know whether or not you agree with me…. and why! Happy Thursday!

When a workout is programmed (or created), there is almost always an intended stimulus in mind. This means that the coach writing it likely expects the work to be completed within a certain time frame. When athletes complete workouts, they’re not always aware of these goals, or given specific things to strive for in their efforts. Does this matter?

If you walked in the gym and saw the workout of the day was Helen (3rds of 400m run, 21 KB swings, and 12 pull-ups), what would you think? Would you look at the movements and decide whether or not you could them, and do them at the weight they’re prescribed? Would you think about your previous PR and whether or not you’d be able to beat it? Would you simply think about whether or not you like the movements in the workout?

Does the thought ever entire your mind about how long a workout “should” take an athlete? Maybe some days are more or less important than others to scale up (or down) in order to finish within a particular window of time?

Should coaches play an active role in explaining those types of things to athletes, or is our role simply to make sure no one gets hurt?

These are questions that are really important to me, and I’d love to hear what you think about this topic. Check out the video below, and then…. let’s chat!

The next week of Smashby’s Tip of the Week is live, and it’s the final of my four week handstand push-up progression!

Although the video is a bit long, I cover a lot of information.

The first three weeks focused on my process for teaching athletes how to safely get upside down and support their own body weight. This final week moves through progressions I use to continue to build confidence in athletes, along with timelines for when I think the next step should be t

Here’s a snapshot summarizing my 4-week series:

  • Learn and progress through the steps to safely learn Wall Climbs/Wall Walks
  • Learn and progress through the steps to safely learn a Headstand
  • Learn and progress through the steps to safely learn a Handstand
  • Build strength and control through the use of Negatives
  • Learn and progress through steps to safely apply Kipping to Handstand Push-Ups

What did you think of this series? Did you find it helpful? If not for yourself, do you think it’s a good way to teach other athletes?

Let me know in the comments, and let’s talk about this. If it’s good, I would love to share it with others. If it sucks, help me improve my content so it can help others.

Thanks in advance!

What a time to be alive!

Self-driving cars, sushi burritos, and billions and billions of armchair coaches (who watched seven Coach Burgener videos and three hundred slow-motion montages from “Hook Grip“) that are chomping at the bit to let you know what you did wrong on your last lift!

I’ve been in this game for a long time, and when I review my own lifts I can tell you what I’m doing wrong. I already know! I’m constantly working to get better because it’s a process. If it were easy, everyone would be perfect. That’s why I post so many of my training videos online, because I want advice and (constructive) feedback on how to get better.

Most people are not me, though.

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When you’re scrolling through your phone looking to share your endless wealth of knowledge (especially to people you don’t even know), think twice before hitting “enter” on your post. If you’re actually in a gym but aren’t the coach, be extra careful!

Last month I wrote a post about the risks of giving advice if you’re not qualified to do so. (One wrong cue could lead to someone else getting hurt because of you.) This post isn’t about you being qualified, though. It’s about being aware enough to recognize when no one asked you in the first place! That may sound harsh, but it’s true. If a friend asks you to watch and critique, that’s one thing. But otherwise, let it go.

“Oh man, you missed that snatch. Extend your hips more, scarecrow tall, pull under harder, and punch to the sky next time!”

“Are you sure? I thought I was supposed to pull the bar up to my eyeballs and then fall on my back. Is that not how this lift works? Thanks so much for your help that I didn’t ask for…”

Moral of the Story

Don’t give someone unsolicited lifting advice if:

(A) You’re not qualified to do so.

(B) You weren’t asked for it!

There are, of course, exceptions to this rule. But there are far more people giving advice than those asking for it! This is something I’ve had to get better with, myself. My intentions are always so positive in wanting to help others, but I need to remind myself that not everyone wants my opinion. If I’m leading a class, that’s one thing, as I’m literally being paid to help others. But outside of that scenario, I try to only give feedback when I’m asked for it!

I’m convinced that time is just going to just keep moving faster for the rest of my life. HOW is March already over?! While a large portion of my energy was focused around the CrossFit Open, and helping athletes prepare for it more effectively, it still felt like 31 days went by in a flash. But, we’ve got some recapping to do, so let’s get to it!

March 2018

Fitness- The 2018 CrossFit Games Open is OVER! We did it! After five long weeks of competing, personally redoing every workout once (and doing better each time), I ended up in 278th place in the South West Region out of 9,236 men. That places me in the top 96th percentile in the region, for those of you keeping track at home. Oh, none of you are keeping track? Ok, cool. Another fun stat, is that I finished as the 99th fittest male in Colorado! Top 100, baby! Check out my rankings, by year, since the Open started. I wish they’d show how many people were in each category for scale. This is fun.

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Last month I felt I had a lot of success with snatching. That’s weird because I don’t remember snatching much at all this month. The Open ruled my training mentality, and that’s fine because I knew that would happen going in. Now, it’s time to get back on track and set some goals!

My “First Ever” class this month was YET ANOTHER another Yoga class with Em. January was just a regular yoga class. February was partner yoga. This month, it was my first time doing yoga with approximately one million other people! I’ve always seen pictures of yoga mats laid out, side by side, as far as the eye can see. I didn’t understand how that could be soothing, or comfortable… and now that I’ve taken a class in that setting, I still don’t! There was a cool “Deep House Yoga” practice that took place inside a night club that I had been to many times… which is inside of what used to be an old church. Yes, weird on so many levels, I agree. But, I’m three months into 2018, and have done yoga three times. Go, me!

House- The garage is done! Check out this beauty. I’m actually really proud of this project. Now, to organize! We also bought a new tent for summer camping adventures (correct, there will likely never be any winter camping chosen by this household!) and set it up to “waterproof” it before our first big weekend trip in a few months! It’s awesome.

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Other- My “baby” brother turned 18 years old in the middle of the month, and my dad randomly messaged me in a Saturday asking if I wanted to meet up with them the following weekend in Tuscon. We had a blast! I also got to try an old Stupid Human Trick during the few hours of down time I had with my bro. Here’s my pool jump!

What’s going on with all of you? I’d love to hear some of your accomplishments in March, or goals for April!

Something pretty funny happened last week during a personal training session with one of my clients. They were in the middle of a workout, and like a lot of us do when we’re tired, they miscounted reps of one movement before moving onto the next. Conveniently, it was the movement they enjoy performing the least. “Whoa, nice try. Three more,” I said with a smile on my face. “No way, that was 10!” they replied back to me, obviously unimpressed with my challenge. “We’re in a gym with no one else around. I’m literally watching you work out and counting your reps for you. I’m pretty sure I know how to count to 10,” is the only thing I could think to say. Just waiting for the witty response I knew was coming next, they hit me with, “I guess you’re right. Do trainers even know how to count past 15? I feel like you’re all just glorified counters!” We both laughed, they finished the three reps, and we continued the session.

I’ve been a full-time personal trainer, athletic coach, health and fitness professional (or whatever you want to call what I do) for over half of a decade, and I have been doing some combination of all of those things part time for most of my life. Yet when I’m asked what I do for a living, I still don’t really know how to respond. When I say personal trainer the image of a person texting and sipping on a Big Gulp while standing next to their client who is “warming up” on a treadmill with a 20 minute jog for the first third of their hour-long session is the what pops into my brain, so I don’t love saying that. But, it IS what I am, right?

I remember sitting in my high school Psychology class with Mr. Will, and thinking to myself, “People are awesome!” Every single person we come in contact with in the world is a completely unique individual. With their own beliefs, past, goals, and quirks. And in my line of work, I get to come into contact with people from so many walks of life. I liked the subject so much that I ended up majoring and getting a Psych degree in college. It’s also one of the best parts of my job today! In one class there’ll be a high school sophomore tripping over their own legs as their body goes through some major changes, a stay-at-home dad coming to terms with not having a 9-5 because his wife is the primary bread winner and their kids love having him home, a retired couple that chose to improve their health and reconnect through fitness, and the CEO who has to block out an hour on their calendar in order to find time to work out.

While it may sometimes seem like being a personal trainer is just reading words on a white board and barking orders at paying customers, I’ve always viewed it as much more than that. It’s being given the privilege to help shape the moods and lives of the people I work with. Have a stressful day at work? Want to celebrate fitting into that dress for the first time in years? Need to let off some steam after a fight with a significant other? Earning the beers you’re going to have after work tomorrow? I’m tasked with navigating the “right now” of every person I train, every single time I see them, and understanding that tomorrow that person could be in a completely different head space. The best part is that I absolutely cherish the responsibility. So yeah, I’m “just a personal trainer,” but it’s so much more than that to me, and I wouldn’t change it for the world!

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“Do as I say, not as I do” is a saying that is often associated with negative scenarios. A kid gets yelled at by their parents for saying a bad word, that they learned from hearing their parents say in the first place. A prosecutor being arrested for some heinous crime that he fought against for years. *Insert the story of any current politician resigning due to reason x, y, or z* You get the point.

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In personal training and coaching, however, I feel it’s much more common to encounter this situation. Some clients are elite-level athletes that are able to do things that their trainer could have never dreamed of doing themselves. Other coaches are past their own athletic prime, but have an incredible understanding of human performance. And then there’s the coaches who were never amazing athletes by their own right, but are simply incredible educators and motivators.

My old friend, Kevin Ogar (Owner of CrossFit Watchtower), always said that the best coaches were the second-tier athletes. Top tier athletes were typically so good, and so genetically gifted, that it would be hard for them to explain what comes so natural for them to others. Second tier athletes became good at their sport or craft because of years of hard work. Since they got to where they were through trial and error over time, they would often be more effective in helping others with progressions, and offering support through their trials and tribulations.

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I had a conversation with a personal trainer last night who explained that he would never ask his clients to perform something he couldn’t do himself. Now, I understand the concept of what he was trying to say. Be responsible, don’t create absurd movements or circuits for your athletes that could get them hurt (which happens a lot in our industry), and so on. But I fundamentally disagree with him. In my opinion, being an effective coach means training and empowering others to perform to THEIR full potential safely. Not your own.

For example, in CrossFit the Strict Ring Muscle-Up is considered a fairly advanced movement.  I know dozens of trainers who aren’t able to this movement themselves. Does that mean that they should never teach others to do them, as long the movement and progressions are taught safely? To me, the answer is obvious.

This also brings the up to question of the physical appearance of the trainers, themselves. Some people love looking at trainers who are specimens of human perfection! Six pack abs, a booty strong enough to bounce a quarter ten feet in the air, arms or legs the size of tree trunks. But does the body of a trainer have anything to do with their ability to help others? I don’t think it does. Of course, there’s a distinction between a coach who is 80lbs overweight and eats fast food every day and someone who works out regularly and is still “normal person” healthy. I’m not suggesting that anyone wants to be coached by someone who has “really let themselves go,” merely saying that there isn’t necessarily a correlation between physique and effectiveness.

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I know there’s no Right or Wrong answer to this topic, but I think it’s a really interesting one to discuss! Do you feel it’s important that trainers are able to do all of the things they ask of their clients? Do coaches need to look a certain way in order to be effective or credible? Let me know!