Fitness trainers are often busy and don’t have time to keep up with new research and literature, but they do make mistakes that can be attributed to carelessness, not lack of time. Such errors are simply unacceptable. If you have hired a personal trainer, you should also be aware of these mistakes so that you can warn your trainer of the omission. After all, we are sure that you want to get the best possible service for your money. If you notice that some of these mistakes are repeated, you should look for a new trainer or simply buy a fitness manual and try it on your own. After all, fitness is not rocket science. Most fitness trainers have only completed some form of short-term training/highly simplified course.
Here are some examples of mistakes that should not happen to any personal trainer.
1. Exercise as punishment
Why it’s bad: Athletes should not fear exercise, they should enjoy it. Excessive training volume can cause overtraining and lead to failure or injury. Endurance training has a negative effect on strength training. Giving punishment in the form of additional endurance exercises can easily reverse the positive effects of strength training.
2. Training twice a day for the beginning of the season
Many clients rest during the summer or train in a reduced scope. Training 2 or 3 times a day can seriously harm the body if it is not adequately prepared for such sudden shocks and challenges. The progression should therefore be gradual, which will lead to the desired result – without shock and injury.
3. Heavy strength training early in the morning
During sleep, the compressive load on the intervertebral discs is reduced, allowing the discs to absorb more fluid and increase in volume (Urban and McMullin 1988). During the day, this extra water is pushed out as normal movements and stresses on the spine occur.
Early in the morning, the pressure inside the disc is 240% higher than before going to bed (Wilke et al, 1999). During the day, the disc becomes stiffer in compression and more flexible in bending, it becomes more elastic and the possibility of disc prolapse is less.
If the morning is the only part of the day in which you have time in your schedule to exercise and you do not have the opportunity to train at least 2-3 hours after waking up, it is recommended to do a longer warm-up and the use of exercises in which you don’t have to put a heavy load on the spine.
From a physiological and hormonal point of view, the best time of the day to lift weights would be early in the evening (about 6:00 p.m.). During the morning hours, your body temperature is usually at its lowest and therefore it will require you to exert more pressure if you are to increase your energy levels. This may result in injuries, as cold muscles are harder to stretch than warm muscles.
Levels of both testosterone and cortisol are highest in the mornings and lowest in the evenings. Fitness trainers used to advise men to lift early in the day to take advantage of the higher testosterone. The problem with this approach is that the higher levels of cortisol that occur at the same time offset some of the benefits. You’re better off lifting later in the day. Lifting weights at 6:00 p.m. has been shown to optimize the hormonal environment by elevating testosterone proportionally more than cortisol.
4. Neglecting or completely ignoring strength training
There are countless and irrefutable studies that confirm the positive impact of strength training on every aspect of your life. If you are not using it – it is time to start immediately. Your clients deserve it.
5. Too much focus on strength
Some trainers stay at the other end of the spectrum and train only slow movements with heavy loads. This limits the client’s endurance, mobility, and flexibility and opens the door to injuries. Always remember the three basic components of muscular fitness: muscular strength, muscular endurance, and muscular flexibility. Muscular strength is the amount of force a muscle can produce – for example, the amount of weight that can be lifted. Muscular endurance, on the other hand, reflects the ability of a muscle group to generate force repeatedly in multiple contractions.
The ability of a muscle to work for a sustained period of time is also important in most sports. Not having a good level of muscular endurance leads to muscle fatigue, causing our arms and legs to feel tired and heavy. Finally, muscles that are not stretched regularly become tight, causing pain when we stretch them. A loss of flexibility can also be caused by problems in the joints, such as worn-down cartilage or lack of synovial fluid. A smart and dedicated fitness trainer will incorporate all three aspects of muscular fitness into his clients’ workouts.
6. Neglecting “auto-regulation”
Planned periodization is good and useful, but you should not blindly follow the written plan. Auto-regulation refers to “listening to the body” and planning training in accordance with the athlete’s current condition. If the athlete did not sleep well or had lunch, is under a lot of stress, or is just tired from the last training, this can greatly affect the performance. Training should be adapted to such specific situations.
7. Absence of diagnostics and results monitoring
Many coaches do not conduct initial tests to determine the condition of the athlete and what his limits are. “If you don’t measure – you guess!” – that’s a saying that perfectly describes why diagnostics should be carried out and progress always monitored.
8. Training in only one plane
In sports and everyday life, movement involves a blend of planes, which is why so many committed and educated fitness trainers incorporate “multiplanar” exercises into their regimens. That is perfectly understandable because oftentimes we exercise more in a single plane of motion which can lead to muscle imbalances. This is especially true for exercising in the gym and less about doing specific sports. If as a fitness trainer, you are not familiar enough with the concept of planes of motion and axes of motion it’s high time you deal with that topic as well.
9. Allowing bad technique
Perfect exercise technique should be a priority and a starting point, especially in fitness where the focus is on improving health status. The personal trainer must be able to identify and correct any exercise execution errors, bad posture, or mistakes that the client may engage in right when they occur.
10. Absence of specialization and individualization
Clients differ in gender, age, activities, level of training, history of injuries, etc. Programs should also differ in relation to their needs and capabilities in order to achieve the set goals. In order to learn to effectively manage the physical exercise process and avoid these mistakes, continuous and never-ending education is needed.
11. Poor social etiquette in personal training
As the old saying goes, “no one cares how much you know until they know how much you care.”
12. Disregarding the need for recovery in personal training
If you choose to forcibly or voluntarily skip the rest phase of your client because it’s a “waste of time,” you will inevitably be forced to deal with the consequences sooner rather than later. An injured client who developed an injury under the supervision of a trainer will certainly have many doubts about the competencies of such a fitness trainer. The bad word spreads quickly.
13. Not admitting that you don’t know the answer to a question
When you don’t know the answer, you’re much better off telling your client that you’ll have to find out and get back to them. They’ll respect you for it in the long run — and even if they don’t, you’ll still be able to respect yourself.
14. Showing up late
Time is money — and this holds true not only for you as a fitness trainer, but also for your clients. If you’re late to your appointments with your clients, the message you’re communicating is that your time is more important than theirs. And that’s the last thing you want your clients to feel. If you can’t avoid being late, call ahead of time to apologize and explain the situation, and make sure you extend the session to make up for the lost time.
15. Not maintaining good communication and motivation
A primary duty of any personal trainer is to establish sound and fruitful communication with the client. A good starting point is to understand that the client is the boss; therefore the personal trainer must have the tools to assure professional, correct, joyful, and powerful communication with all clients. Some personal trainers struggle with barriers for establishing communication with clients in a more informal and unstructured fashion. This happens particularly with novice personal trainers, who are often more focused on communication about the exercise prescription components.
With experience communication, you can create an environment where the clients feel good about the exercise and themselves. Some personal trainers have difficulty communicating effectively with their clients. To boost communication competence, personal trainers can use insightful strategies and plentiful practice.