Think seniors moving torturously slower than they wanted to doing choreographed moves over a chair.
“While there are instances where low-intensity, low- volume programs are appropriate (i.e., beginning programs for individuals with frailty or CVDs), the greatest benefits are possible with progression to moderate to higher intensity programs.” (Fragala et al. 2019)
Our progression to that Silver Sneakers program would be going home.
It’s almost as if we put a glass ceiling on our older adults, put em in a bubble.
“No they shouldn’t lift that.”
“They’re going to hurt their backs.”
We say forget that.
Our UpFit Master’s program members put a lot of young bucks to shame.
Joe loves Goblet Squats
It took courage, patience, consistency to get here, but these badasses know what it means to be anti fragile.
To be strong.
To be tough. ✊️✊️
To be resilient.
And they’ve earned it..through good ol’ fashioned hard work.
Pat loves to train!
Ask about our UpFit Master’s Program, and let us show you how to start believing that age is truly just a number.
“Maintaining a high muscle force-generating capacity into older age is related to beneficial effects on functional performance, which may not be achieved with recreational activity, thus highlighting strength training as an important contribution to healthy aging.” (Unhjem et al. 2019)
Learn the fundamentals of strength and power training and how to put on muscle at ANY age.
“Despite what could be interpreted as a blunted ‘physiologic reserve’ in aged skeletal muscle, numerous studies provide encouraging evidence that older muscles adapt vigorously to resistance training with marked myofibre hypertrophy.” (Hunter et al. 2004)
The program is here, the community is here, the coaches are here. Are you?
When I first became a personal trainer I remember a colleague saying “People become personal trainers when they don’t want to be waiters”. As a young trainer at the time it seemed a little condescending. Surely being a trainer required a special set of skills and proficiency that not everyone had? Fast forward a bunch of years and here I am today, a career trainer, with a an understanding of what he meant.
The fitness industry is not regulated. Legally speaking anyone is a trainer in their own right. There’s no overseeing body that gives out licenses and no state exam. We have independent companies giving out certifications but no one to accredit those institutions. The amount of choices out there is unfathomable. The masses have determined a select few to be well respected (NASM, ACSM, etc.) but that doesn’t mean you can’t go online and get a different cert in minutes. Don’t get me wrong, most gyms will not hire someone without a more accredited cert but that doesn’t change the overall landscape. You’re not going to find the best trainer by looking at a resume but watch their training and you’ll clearly distinguish between the ok trainers and the great ones.
Jim Bishop once said that a good drunk doesn’t necessarily make a good bartender. A fit person doesn’t necessarily make a good trainer. There’s simply a lot more to it. As I delved further into the industry I started to see all the different aspects needed to make a truly good trainer. So with that here are some things to look for:
1) Look for higher education. This is your health we’re talking about. Your trainer should be fully invested in fitness and in turn your well being. A degree in the field really means a lot. It’s not the end all and doesn’t automatically make someone good but it’s definitely a nice start. Also look for someone who wants to further their education. Continuing education is a huge part of the field as our understanding of the human body progresses. If your trainers education remains stagnant there’s a good chance you will too.
2) A passion for fitness. More directly a passion for your fitness. If a trainer shows no interest in your session then it’s time to move on. Look for a high energy individual who loves what they do and gets as excited as you do when you reach your goals.
3) Correction and Attentiveness. Let’s start with the obvious. A trainer does not need to be on the phone the whole session. If they aren’t particular about your movements and showing your correct forms then you need to look for another trainer. During the workout if at any point you don’t feel comfortable, you need to speak up. The trainer should attempt to fix, enlighten, or offer a replacement. If the trainer doesn’t respond constructively, you need another trainer! All the workouts in the world mean absolutely nothing if you walk away with injuries and cannot continue. I can’t overstate how important form is to all of this. It’s ok to ask questions, your comfort and well-being should be priority in all your sessions.
* A special side note for group fitness here. I recognize it can be difficult for a trainer to manage large workout classes but it’s all the more important you see them correcting improper form. This is why at Upfit we cap our group fitness classes at only 4 people. It’s important to us that all clients receive ample attention.
This guy is definitely not interested in your well being
4) Look for programming. Often I see trainers throwing random workout routines at people. There’s no rhyme or reason as to why those movements were used. There’s no tracking, there’s no progression. Even worse they ask “What did we do last time?”. If your trainer doesn’t even know what they did with you during your last session that’s a huge red flag. How can you reach a specific goal if there’s no quantitative progression towards said goal? Look for a personal trainer who creates customized fitness regimens for their clientele.
5) Find a personality you mesh with. This one will be more so based on personal taste but you should enjoy being around your trainer. If you dread their personality or if you seem to clash then you need to move on. For many people staying consistent is hard enough, the last thing you need is a trainer who doesn’t brighten your day. I’m not saying we’re therapists but the word “personal” is in our job title so odds are you’re going to want to like the person. It goes both ways; a trainer has to be comfortable and enjoy training their client. While a session can be physically grueling it still needs to be absolutely enjoyable for all involved.
Paul W. Park is a personal trainer and co-owner of Upfit Training Academy a workout studio offering unique 4 person capacity fitness classes in NYC
Winter is nearing its end, and the hibernation and take out foods from Seamless that have kept you feeling snuggly and warm have started to peek through in the mirror and on to the scale. All you can think about now is how you’ll look on the beach in a few months, and that June wedding that you’re going to be in. “Let’s get that gym membership and lean the hell out!”, you tell yourself as you book that free consultation the gym has provided you.
The trainer that works with you seems nice enough, and he’s confident he can get you in tip top shape by the time Memorial Day comes around. “My health is worth it. Everyone is going to be amazed at how I look for the wedding.” So you commit to a 3 month training package worth a down payment for that new car you’ve been eyeing, and start getting ready to put in some hard work.
3 months have passed and not much has changed except for the nagging pain in your back. You think to yourself: “I’ve done everything my trainer asked me to. What’s going on?!” Your trainer says, “Not a big deal, let’s up your frequency to a couple more times a week. This will really boost your progress, and soon we should be hitting all the goals we talked about”, while charging you for the next round of sessions, as you say good-bye to your BMW. You start reflecting, “What happened? All those burpees and kettlebell swings must of done something!”. And then you remember your trainer’s texting habit during sessions, his constant tardiness, and inattention to detail.
This guy does not care about your form
The responsibility of your trainer/coach is to get you to your goals as quickly and safely as possible. Unfortunately today, personal trainers and fitness coaches like the above example are more common than not. Our country has started to realize the importance of our health and wellness, causing a rise in demand for fitness instruction since the last decade. With this rising demand for trainers, and not enough qualified ones, a ton of “hobby” or “side-gig” trainers are getting into the field, and not providing us the quality coaching that we need.
So how do you make sure you’re working with a real professional fitness coach? Working in the industry for just over 10 years now, I’ve noticed some common differences between genuine, legitimate coaches worth your time, money, and trust vs. those who really have no business being in the industry. Here are 5 distinguishing traits between a high-quality fitness coach, and an inferior trainer that could possibly be hurting your health AND your checking account.
A huge component of training is the mental aspect; traits like perseverance, grit, and discipline need to be developed to see consistent and sustained improvement. Does your trainer bring an enthusiasm into your sessions that help you grow these characteristics? Is he/she someone that brings your energy up and inspires you when you are around them? These type of people have a genuine passion for their career, and don’t view their time with you as just another paycheck. They have made it their life’s mission to help their clients and it shows through their undeniable positivity and belief in their clients.
Is your trainer/coach punctual? Do they value your time with them and try to pack as much coaching, information, and learning into the session as possible, or are they distracting you with personal stories of how they spent their weekend? There’s nothing wrong with getting to know your trainer, but their time spent with you should be focused on getting YOU better. They should be giving you the attention to detail and technique that you need to get the most out of your exercises. If you feel like you’re doing an exercise wrong, and not getting detailed and actionable feedback, your trainer is being unprofessional and they are not doing their job.
A good coach should have a plan tailored to meet your specific needs.
3. A Plan/Program
Getting stronger, leaner, in better shape, and more energized requires a structured training plan with progressive overload, and SPECIFIC exercises that work for YOU. Anyone can work a trainee to exhaustion, making them feel as though they are getting a great workout, without any focus on technique or quality movements. There are no plans to progress or regress based off your fitness and experience levels, no tracking of your progress, and disregard of all of the other demands/stresses of your life. The human body needs a consistent progressive overload coupled with proper technique, rest, and nutrition to see sustainable improvements without injury. Ask to see at least a multi week training program based off the agreed upon training frequency for your fitness needs. If your trainer/coach does not have one, it’s time to reconsider your training and coaching options.
4. Genuine Empathy/Belief for Their Client
Much of the training process involves the mental effort and discipline it takes to continually improve and sustain growth. To have a coach who can understand and empathize with the pains, challenges, and obstacles of what you are going through can make all the difference, as this support can bring out the best in you. Imagine a trainer who constantly barks orders, and tells you do things you know he/she probably can’t do. The motivation to continue working hard with this trainer will run out FAST, and so will the realization of your fitness goals. On the contrary, a coach that completely empathizes with the difficulty you are going through and encourages you through those moments will make it easier for you to give it your all. Your consistent best efforts will guarantee the results you are looking for.
5. Continuing Education
The human body is a very complex entity; there is so much to learn in the realms of physiology, biology, anatomy, and psychology that directly relates to improving your health and wellness. The field of health, fitness, and wellness is constantly evolving, and your trainer should be looking to expand their repertoire of knowledge and tools to best serve you.. At the same time, your coach should not be training you exclusively with the latest trends and fads they that they have just learned, or the workout of the day from an Instagram fitness model for the sake of doing something new. A professional, educated, and well-intentioned trainer can filter through all of the information and choose which methods will be most applicable and effective for YOU!
The health, fitness, and wellness coaching industry is growing everyday. Learn the differences between an all star coach who can get you to your fitness goals with enthusiasm and professionalism, and the trainer who is more focused on his social media likes than your squat technique. There are plenty of career fitness coaches who have dedicated their lives to positively impacting their clients; use these traits to distinguish them from the rest of the pack!