By Isaac Davidson
When choosing your personal trainer, especially when it’s comes to an online personal trainer, the quality of the program and specificity to your goals in which they provide you with is one half of the difference between you producing draw dropping results and seeing no change at all. The other half is how well you execute that program. We have all heard the saying before “If I was to give you the most basic program and you were to execute it to perfection, you will see results. In turn if I was to give the perfect plan for you and you were to execute it poorly you will attain poor results”. Personally when it comes to training I couldn’t find a truer statement!
Over time I have found that some of my personal training clients produce remarkable results, whereas some will only see average results. Average for me isn’t good enough, at the Clean Health Fitness Institute we are renowned for the incredible results we produce with our clients out of our Sydney CBD and Chatswood gyms. So in my work environment average is not accepted, like attracts like so my end objective is to ensure all of my clients get fantastic results!
From my personal experience I have found these eight factors below to be the determining factor between the ones who produce incredible results and those who produce average results. This is especially relevant to those using online personal training without the hands on guidance from experienced, educated personal trainers.
- Rest periods:
Not following the rest period properly is a major issue I find in those clients not getting the most out of their program. We will use the exercise below as an example…
A1: High Bar BB Back Squat: 4×8 @ 4010, 60 sec rest
Now here is a scenario, once the set had finished the client would walk over and grab a drink, then once they get back they hit their stopwatch to start timing the rest period, by this time 20 seconds may have gone. It gets to 60 seconds on the stopwatch and they realise the rest is up so they start setting up (85 seconds gone). They then un-rack the weight, slowly walk into position, take a few breaths and then start there set (100 seconds gone).
First of all you need to either have a stopwatch using your phone, watch or stopwatch. If you are prescribed 60 seconds rest in between your sets of squats, at the 50 second mark you should be setting the bar up on your back. At 55 seconds you should have un-racked the bar from the squat rack and have walked into position. At 60 seconds you have begun to lower the weight and started your set. As soon as you are finished your set reset your stopwatch to begin timing your next rest period.
Now by intensity I don’t mean take your shirt off, grunt, be an alpha male by beating your fists on your chest like a baboon and hit a one rep max every workout. I simply mean training with intent, training with focus and training hard with the mindset to progress yourself in every session. Commonly you will see a large lack of intensity, mainly due to distractions and a lack of goals.
The first thing I have found to increase intensity is too have a coach set and monitor the loads (weights) you use in each session. The second thing I have learned to increase the intensity in anyone is to have a coach who is experienced in goal setting, set goals and have a ‘why’. Find a purpose to be in the gym and you will see your intensity skyrocket!
The most common issue I find first is that the client does not understand what tempo is, which leads to rushing the working reps and sets. All too often I see people rush through their workings sets with inconsistent tempos, which may not elicit the desired training variable you are after!
To understand more about what tempo is, check out this video explanation below from legendary Strength Coach Charles R Poliquin…
- Warm Up Sets:
The most common issue here is clients simply walking straight through the door and into their first working set without even warming up correctly. In my opinion this is the most underestimated factor when it comes to a successful workout. All of my clients are provided with a warm up prescription just like the exercises in their program for these specific reasons and I am not just talking walking on a treadmill! As taught in our CHFI Performance PT Level 1 Certification the benefits include improved performance, injury prevention, pre-activation and increased range of motion.
An example would be the following, let’s just say your first exercise was 4 sets of 10 reps on the high bar BB back squat and you knew your working weight was going to be 100kg. An appropriate warm up routine would be the following:
- Warm up set 1: 10 reps @ 40kg, rest 1 minute
- Warm up set 2: 8 reps @ 60kg, rest 1 minute
- Warm up set 3: 6 reps @ 75kg, rest 2 minutes
- Warm up set 4: 4 reps @ 90kg, rest 2 minutes
Then commence set 1 at 100kg!
- Understanding your program:
One of the biggest factors that can limit results can be when the personal trainer hasn’t explained the program properly to the client as it can leave a lot of room for error.
Ensuring your personal trainer has explained your program to you is vital to success! Take the time to run over your program before you walk in the gym, study it and make sure you understand everything on there before you start your session. If not, communicate with your personal trainer to ensure is no risk of error!
- Training partners:
One of the most common issues here is that one friend who just wants to talk rather than train! We already know the people whom you spend majority of your time with have a large impact on your success and this applies to training also. If you are serious about your training, be selective about who you train with. Pick someone of similar experience and drive as you, who has the ability understand the program as well as you, or take it a step further and hire an experienced personal trainer
- Tracking your progress:
A common issue here is not filling in the program card to hand back to your coach. Meaning there is no way of understanding whether you are progressing adequately or not, no way of understanding what adjustments need to be made to the program and no way of understanding whether you are putting in the correct loads for your workout.
My advice is to take your program card with you to the gym or have access to it on your phone via Dropbox. Fill in the weights used, the reps completed and leave notes on your program to provide feedback for your personal trainer.
- Trust in the plan:
This comes mainly from experienced trainees who have been taught certain things or are stuck in certain beliefs. Seeing something on the program and thinking it will not work so they you change the exercise or reps. Another common scenario is feeling as if you haven’t done enough so you add in extra volume to make sure you feel it the next day.
As simple as it sounds, trust your plan! If you have selected the right personal trainer the plan will be made specifically to you and your goals. Everything including exercise, reps, set, tempo within a program provided by our Clean Health Fitness Institute Sydney CBD and Chatswood personal trainers is there for a specific reason for each of their clients goal. As the trainee your job is execute it to perfection, be patient, be consistent and you WILL see results, drastic results.
In closing from day one of your next program apply these factors and execute them to perfection, I guarantee if you apply these eight factors you will see a significant increase in your progress and value in the program you are using!