One of Albert Einstein’s student assistants once asked him, “Professor Einstein, what test are we giving the students this week?” Einstein replied, “The same test we gave them last week.”
Bewildered, the student assistant replied, “But Professor Einstein, we already gave them that test.” Einstein patiently answered, “Yes, but the answers are different this week.”
The one thing that remains true about the fitness profession is that things are changing fast.
Traditionally – fitness programming has been nothing but the cross-breed of a bodybuilder and an endurance athlete. We just did body part routines and steady state exercise. And it worked great because in the past, the gym members had a relatively active lifestyle and added to that lifestyle by joining a gym…
A traditional one hour program consisted of a 10 min warm up, 50 mins strength training (muscle group split) and usually 30+ mins cardio on “off-days”. These people would come to the gym every single day for 90 mins or so.
But just like all businesses and services need to evolve over time – the fitness profession needs to evolve. Currently we are in the middle of an obesity epidemic (who ever thought we’d need to create FAT LOSS specific programs twenty years ago?)
Today’s client has changed – the gym may be their ONLY physical activity . Seriously we have clients that their entire physical activity is the gym a couple of hours per week.
Today’s client arrives in worse shape than levels seen even 16 years ago . We have tracked the body fat of every single member that has ever joined our gym over the past sixteen years. The average body fat percentage of a beginner is about 6-7 percentage points higher than when we opened, and their functional movement screen score is about 4-8 points lower.
Today’s clients lives have changed . Today’s clients goals have changed (speed training programs for kids? Youth fitness?).
It’s essentially a new client and the fitness profession needs to evolve — and quickly…
We can no longer offer solely strength and cardio — the modern fitness professional really needs to consider seven key areas:
- Mobility and Movement Preparation: activate muscles, stretch tight muscles and improve movement.
- Corrective Exercise: Do you know anyone who has ever had a shoulder injury? I’m sure you do – it’s one of the most common musculoskeletal problems of today. Let’s start implementing some basic strategies to make the body resilient…
- SPE (speed, power and elasticity): We need to develop power and speed in ALL populations. Power is lost faster than strength — let’s develop it through sound training practices.
- Core Training: Despite what some writers would have you believe – direct core training is necessary0 the science validates it. And today’s core training is about stabilization and dynamic stabilization — not thousands of crunches in an “ab class”.
- Resistance Training: Still the most important part of a program — but we need to focus on function, linked system strength and real world strength – not necessary isolation. Science has shown that a higher frequency exposure to training each bodypart, and a multiple exposure to rep ranges outperforms the old-fashioned “once a week, three sets of ten” approach for today’s client.
- Metabolic Training: 21st Century cardio – the ability to do higher levels of work – and sustain that output over time — not just the ability to work at a level where you can “hold a conversation”
- Regeneration: If you have a training strategy – you need a recovery and regeneration strategy. Life is too demanding to just assume that not coming to the gym is optimal for your results. We have too much science available to ignore.
And by the way – you need to get this done in maybe three hours per week….
In addition – the traditional tools of weight stacks and treadmills are fast becoming obsolete. We need to embrace bodyweight training, The TRX, The X vest, the ValSlide and Sandbags alongside dumbbells and kettlebells to reinvent our training programs and provide what the modern day trainee NEEDS.
The game has changed.
The client has changed.
The goals have changed.
We need to change.