At Flemington Strength Studio, many of our clients have previously enlisted the help of a personal trainer and been dissatisfied with the result. The most common reason for their disappointing outcome is that their trainer “pushed too hard” and “just didn’t listen”. That’s unfortunate because personal training, when delivered correctly, can deliver exceptional returns.
Personal trainers are not immune to the pressures of society. The stereotype would have us believe that as trainers we must shout, yell and scream at our clients and deliberately push limits that otherwise would have been respected. While some in the industry may be happy to support such an image, it’s not something that we condone. Limits exist to be respected, they are the body’s way of controlling stress. Deliberately and consistently ignoring warning signs can lead to injury, illness and lack of motivation.
In order to improve, the body must be exposed to stress. Physical activity is stress and stress needs to be carefully managed in order to produce the desired outcome. The appropriate stress stimuli will result in a positive form of stress called eustress. Excessive stress stimuli will result in a negative form of stress called distress. By paying close attention to a clients reaction to exercise, a trainer can gauge the appropriate amount of stimulus needed to produce eustress. Failing to recognise early warning signs results in clients being pushed beyond their limits, at which point their training becomes counter-productive.
I’m not suggesting that personal training shouldn’t be hard work, challenging and at times uncomfortable but the notion of “NO PAIN, NO GAIN” just doesn’t fit with our philosophy. One of my earliest mentors taught me that in order to progress the body must be stimulated, not obliterated. It is this concept that allows us to keep our clients in a sate of eustress, thereby promoting a gradual and continuous rate of progress.
“No pain no gain?” We prefer “Stimulate, don’t obliterate”.
It’s easy to become confused as you set out upon your journey to better health. One “expert” says you should eat low carb, the next recommends high fat, another proclaims that “everything in moderation” is the only way to eat – who do you know who to listen to and why does it seem that everybody recommends a different way of eating?
It’s simply really. Everybody is correct. Everybody is also incorrect. Let me explain.
Nutrition is a science that we know very little about. We learn more every day but our understanding of human metabolism is still in its infancy. So on one hand we have a “low carb/high fat” advocate that achieves great results with many clients. On the other we have a “moderate fat/moderate carb/high protein” advocate that also achieves great results. Both these people understandably believe that they’ve discovered the secret to fat loss. They may have, for the individual they were working with. But the same eating plan may not work with another individual, or even for the same individual at a different stage of their life.
The only way to know what works is to measure. The use of a metric provides data that can be used to formulate your energy and nutrient requirements. Providing the metric is consistent you’ll have a reliable tool to guide you through the confusion.
There are many metrics that provide reliable data. At FSS we use the Poliquin BioSignature method which measures 12 skin folds. By examining which skin fold sites rise or fall, it is possible to determine whether an individual is eating the correct foods for their unique metabolism. You can read more about the system we use on our website at:
Eating too many carbs? We’ll see that in your skin folds. Not enough carbs? We’ll see that too.
There is no rule for eating. The metabolism is unique to the individual. Metabolisms change with time and from influences such as stress, exercise, sickness and even food intolerance. If you’re not measuring, how do you know what works?
If you want something to improve, measure it!
Stay lean, stay strong!