Academy Awards & My Soap Box…..

The Academy Awards are over for another year. I rarely sit through the whole awards ceremony, but like most women I love to watch the Red Carpet. It is fun to see the beautiful gowns and jewels worn by the Hollywood stars. I remember a few years ago watching a special filmed the day of the Academy awards. One of the nominees had agreed to allow cameras into her world for the day as she prepared for the event. Her day started with the cameras rolling at 7 am. The day was a constant stream of people – her assistant, her publicist, manicurist – you know you have to have perfect fingers and toes for the day; make ups artist, hair stylists – all coming and going throughout the day to make sure she looked perfect. Her dress and jewels arrived later in the day and that started a whole other parade of people to help her dress, put on her diamonds loaned to her and naturally to touch up her hair and makeup. There was also a shoe lady there who came with several pairs of evening shoes so just the perfect shoe could be selected.


Once all that had taken place, she was finally ready to make her way out her front door to the waiting limousine and off to the Red Carpet. It was quite the day! So just remember ladies when you are feeling less than glamourous watching these stars that their whole lives revolve around looking good. Not feeling good necessarily, but looking good! They don’t have jobs to contend with – that is their job. For the most part they are not dealing with the demands of running a household – they have cooks, nannys, housekeepers. They don’t have to worry about driving kids to school in the morning, then going off to work or appointments for the day – then to rush off at the end of the work day to take kids to sports activities or dance classes, etc.

So let’s all keep the Academy Awards and the Hollywood stars in perspective. I think it is the men and women that have all the demands of real life and still make time to take care of their physical and mental well being that are the real stars – and that is you! So my hat is off to you – you are the real stars in my book.

Today’s topic came around because of a blog post I read last week from a strength coach in the U.S. The blog post was entitled, “Are You Making Your Clients Better or Just Making Them Tired?” That naturally got me thinking – oh oh……. So please excuse me as I step up on the soapbox for a moment or two.


This has always been an issue in this industry and one I have worked hard to change. I have also written articles about the issues within the fitness industry and my own stand on raising the bar on standards of excellence. With the explosion the last year especially, of bootcamps, training studios and the number of personal trainers in this City, you need to ask the question asked by the blog post – are they helping their clients or just making them tired?

It isn’t difficult to make people tired. Anyone can put together a circuit of exercises that tire people out, make them sweat and say uncle. It isn’t hard to make people experience extreme muscle soreness the next day. You often hear people comment about what a great workout that was, about how sore they are after or how close they came to throwing up during a workout. In fact, there is one gym chain with a couple of locations in Victoria, that pride itself on doing just that.

But, how are they actually helping people? And do the trainers even know why they are doing a specific exercise or using a specific piece of equipment? Is the exercise or program based on science or is it the latest exercise off the internet. With the rapid growth of various “tools” of strength and conditioning such as kettlebells, ropes, sleds, TRX suspension training; is there the knowledge by the trainers to support these tools. With Youtube being so popular, anyone can watch a couple of videos on kettlebells or ropes and call themselves an expert. The same can be sled about TRX training, sleds, complexes – almost anything.

Certain “tools” of the trade have requirements that the body must meet before they are ready to be incorporated into a training program. And when and how often they are used, is a whole other topic of discussion. And all of this will come back to assessment and judgement. If there is no physical assessment done prior to a workout regime being implemented then how do you know it is safe for the individual to participate. Bootcamps, group fitness classes, circuit training – they all should be carrying out proper assessments on all their clients.

Kettlebells for example require certain things to be in place before someone is ready to train with them. Assessment is #1 which involves a proper medical history, physical/muscle testing, ROM testing. A simple Par Q is not enough in my opinion. A “sit and reach test” tells nothing about the bodies ability to stabilize during movement, asymmmetries, ROM issues or all the other physical limitations that may or may not be present.


Whether it is kettlebells, sleds, ropes, dumbells/barbells or any other training there needs to be proper assessment, proper teaching and a system of regressions/progressions in place. With any of these forms of training you can make someone tired. You can make someone sweat and you can certainly make them sore. But, that doesn’t mean you are helping them.

Speaking of helping rather than just making you tired, we will be starting our new warm up protocols today at the gym. Please bear with us as we start to take everyone through the new warm up regime. The new warm up requires several new exercises to be learned, so some of the warm ups will be done on a one-to-one basis. Some may be staying on the current warm up for another day or two as we work through the group. Because a lot of these new protcols are put in place specifically to deal with hip and thoracic mobility in more depth, it is important that we learn the exercises correctly. To that end, we will be moving slowing with each individual to make sure that each movement is done correctly and to the best of your ability.


One of the things that I feel is essential to our ability to provide the best training services to you, our clients, is ongoing education. We have the opportunity the attend a weekend workshop with one of the most sought after speakers/presenters in the Industry. Eric Cressey from Massachusetts is a national and international speaker on corrective exercise and athletic performance. Kevin and I had the opportunity to hear him speak in California last year. He is the “go to guy” for anything shoulder related. Eric Cressey will be presenting a workshop “The Nuts and Bolts of Corrective Exercise – from Assessment to High Performance” in Vancouver. The workshop will be March 27 and 28. This will not affect the March 27 schedule at the gym, but March 28 (Saturday) the gym will be closed. For the Saturday sessions, please talk to me so we may reschedule that session for you. Thank you for your understanding.

Till next time,
“Monitoring, Mentoring, Motivation”

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    2 Responses to “Academy Awards & My Soap Box…..”

    Sarah Rippel

    Amen, amen, amen, amen…and AMEN!!!!! 🙂

    I love your rant, Narina!!!!

    May it also be said that the fact that numerous people spend countless amounts of money on the latest, greatest certifications means NOTHING if they are numbskulls…meaning that Joe Blow may have scads of letters behind his name, but if he’s an incompetent fitness professional in general, it ain’t gonna matter. Also, if “letter man” has zero personality, that’s gonna be another problem, LOL! Success in our industry involves PEOPLE skills…not just book-smarts! People need to drop the egos and stop trying to come across as almighty know-it-alls, because it’s getting quite old!

    I believe we should all practice what we preach. There are too many “experts” out there who obviously don’t exercise as they should. Ridiculous. How in the heck can you completely understand MOVEMENT if you sit behind a computer screen all day claiming to know everything? If you’re not applying your knowledge to yourself, first and foremost, as well as your clients…lol…well, I think you’re a LOSER!

    Same goes for having all the knowledge in the world but no idea how and why to apply it to individual. All the letters in the world behind a person’s name don’t mean a thing if they don’t have what it takes and/or acquire said certs just for the sake of acquiring them. That could be another blog post altogether!

    Whew!!!! Keep these rants comin’! I have been slacking on mine…and you get me fired up! 🙂 Thank you!

    Yours in Health,



      Sarah – thanks for your comment. I know what you mean. Lots of letters after your name doesn’t mean you are a great trainer. Same old adage – it isn’t only about book knowledge or courses. You need to be able to apply that knowledge in the real world with real clients.


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