Don’t take this too literal. It’s just a fun way of saying that coaches should do exactly what their title entails. Instead of just sitting their, counting reps, not fixing things, and not telling you to do things outside of the gym. Might as well call them ‘couches’.
I highly recommend getting a coach. You could be the CrossFit champion of the world, the strongest woman in bench press, or the faster runner. There’s just something about having that person that watches you when you can’t watch yourself and keep your accountable for showing up all the time. Have fun too. Let your session be something you anticipate, not despise.
Coaches make you better, and hopefully you get a taste of some Jungle Gym coaching just by reading this blog.
You May Need A New Fitness Coach If. . .
1.) They don’t have a morning strategy for you. Right when you hop out of bed, before you check your phone for the closest Pokemon Go’s, you should have a plan of domination. You are most vulnerable when you wake up. Your cortisol levels are at it’s highest and if you don’t deal with that immediately, they can continue to rise. Drink a glass of water to wake up your organs. Drink something hot to wake up your muscles. Finally, do something active. Walk your dog, walk your block, or stretch. I know most morning’s are spent hitting the snooze alarm and fighting your cats to get out of your closet, but it’s important that right when your body wakes up, it’s prepared.
For more information on Jungle Gym’s morning strategy, read this. —-> Wakey, Wakey, Protein Shakey
2.) They don’t know what fascia is. Fascia may be one of the most underused words in the fitness world. Any bad personal trainer can mouth off all the 4 muscles in your quad, but can they tell you the important details? Fascia are the muscle fibers that surround your muscle, tendons, organs, and ligaments in the human body. Compare it to a nice summer day when your sitting in a hammock. Do you know that engulfed feeling you have? The hammock is fascia and your body is your innerds. Most exercise causes damage to the fascia because it’s your shield. Injury usually occurs when it’s penetrated. For the little dings and dangs your body takes daily on an exercise program, fascia is important to take care of constantly. Therapeutic massages, daily foam rolling, and myofascial release tools like runner’s sticks, lacrosse balls, and PVC pipes will do the trick. Your coach should have plenty of these lying around.
3.) They don’t stretch. Your muscles and tendons are pliable. In order for you to get comfortable movement, they need to be rolled out like pizza dough. I highly recommend stretching for aerobic activities like running, biking, and swimming. For weight lifting, mobility work is probably your best option. Hip circles, arm circles, ball slams, squat thrusts, tempo push ups, and even some running in place or jump rope. Either way, if stretching isn’t in your DAILY mode of exercise, ask your trainer what their dealy-yo is.
4.) They eat from the dollar menu. Before your trainer even speaks, you should want them to look the part. That being said, their lifestyle should probably fit the mode. It’s that ‘practice what you preach’ method. If their car smells of stale french fries and cheeseburgers, it’s not really fair while you’re busting your ass on fruit smoothies and eggs in the morning.
5.) They try to diagnose everything. A good well-rounded trainer should have a bunch of medical professionals that they recommend people to. Little things are going to happen, like strains and repetitive stress injuries (tendinitis and arthritis). With repetitive stress placed on joints and muscles, they’re bound to nag you. With proper cold/hot therapy, myofascial release, and blood flow recovery these things can be limited. However, trainers don’t know what’s wrong with your knee or shoulder. If they diagnose you with something like a strain when it’s possibly much more, you’ve got some problems. Coaches are not doctors (and most doctors are not coaches). Go see a professional, then once it’s diagnosed maybe your trainer can help you with some post therapy exercises.
6.) They don’t have you on a muscle building plan. Whether you’re trying to go from scrawny to brawny or a pud to a stud, no trainer should ever just have you eat salads and walk on a treadmill. Your goal, no matter the size is to maintain your muscle. After all, muscle is what burns your fat. The more oxygen your body can turn into carbon dioxide and release it, the more fat you burn. Muscle is what processes that. Unfortunately, burning fat is not about sweating.
7.) They don’t enforce muscle recovery with you. Coaches jobs really aren’t giving you exercises to do. Their main job is to hold you accountable for the other 23 hours of the day you live. Diet is definitely the most important thing going into your fitness journey. However, second is muscle recovery. Then we can rank exercise structure third. There is really no such thing as over-training. However there is such a thing as under recovering. When you step foot in the gym, train for an hour, then go home an sit on the couch watching Hulu, you have just made things much worse for you. This is where your trainer should step up and give you proper ways to recover quick. We’ve gone over the fascia and stretching, but now it’s your job to make it an important part of your lifestyle. Or should I say, your coach’s job. Slow progress or reverse progress happens when your body hates you. Fast progress happens when your body loves you for your efforts to make it feel extra special.
8.) They don’t air drum. First of all, with air drumming, there’s music. With music there’s motivation. With air drumming there is also personality, and this could be the make or break your training experience. This doesn’t mean dump your trainer if they don’t like to bang the air with imaginary sticks. This means make sure that you can laugh or relax a little in your session rather than being afraid they’re going to eat your face off.
9.) They tell you not to eat rice and potatoes. Your main fuel source for your workouts are carbohydrates. The two best sources of fuel for your workouts are definitely these two grocery list necessities. While fruit may be outstanding for having a great nutrition plan, starches like potatoes, rice, and even oatmeal beat them surrounding your workouts. The most important thing you need to know is that they will replenish your muscle glycogen and that these contain the starches and glucose your body needs to thrive and recover.
10.) They call you “honey tits”. Frankly I think it’d be funny if my coach called me “tiny balls”. Regardless, make sure they’re professional and you can understand their sarcasm.
11.) They tell you to do fasted cardio. I’ve been preaching this for years about how fasted cardio eats muscle and is hypocritical when it comes to energy dissipation and muscle preservation. In fact, most fat loss strategies nowadays make it almost impossible for people to preserve muscle. As we talked about earlier, your body’s cortisol level is elevated in the morning. Doing cardio on an empty stomach adds to this. Cardio is best done post-digestive state (about 2 hours after eating).
12.) They don’t constantly talk about strong backs and shoulder safety. Believe it or not, one of the most destructive exercises can be a push-up. However, it’s one of those exercises that should/could be done daily. Your trainer should constantly remind you how safe you need to be on bodyweight exercises like planking or pressing. A lot of people tend to believe that heavy lifts like dead lifts and kettlebell swings damage backs. However, constant hyperextension of the lower back during push ups, planks, or burpees can destroy a spinal system. For shoulders, constant separation with added pressure is the culprit for pain. Make sure they constantly tell you that your form sucks especially when you’re getting tired throughout the workout. Andrew’s preferred method is, “Please stop.”
13.) They talk about muscles more than they talk about joints. Muscles are important, but joints are what hold them together. Collagen, tendons, ligaments, and joints should be monitored always. Remember to ice joints and heat muscles when you feel discomfort. Heating a joint or nerve center will lengthen your inflammation. An added note: joints needs to be properly warmed up. If you’ve ever cooked with coconut oil, you’ll know that it’s hard at room temp and turns liquid when heated. That’s how the synovial fluid in your joints are. It’s starts off crunchy then turns into a lubricant. You shouldn’t lift any significant amount of weight until your joints have been heated in a sauté pan first.
14.) They don’t make you sprint. Sprinting is the ultimate fat loss training tool and the ultimate muscle building agent. If we don’t understand that high intensity interval training is the way to go, your trainer is probably still stuck in the 90’s.
15.) They have you do the same workouts with the same weight. Not only is it important to always try and improve your weights weekly or monthly, but it’s very important to change the loads of the weights you use. One of the main reasons why people don’t get stronger on bench press . . . is because all they do is bench press. You also may want to change up your weeks. Some call them de-load weeks. I call it recovery weeks. It’s a week where all you do is bodyweight exercises to alleviate pressure from your joints. You’ll still get a great muscle burn, but your “gains” will never stop or plateau.
16.) They don’t recommend extra curricular activity. If your coach doesn’t tell you . . . I’m telling you right now to go play a sport or find a hobby. Not only will you get extra exercise, but it will possibly give you something to train for when you’re stuck at a fitness crisis. For me, Sunday’s are obstacle course training, Wednesday and Friday’s are kickball, and everyday between 1PM and 4PM is fetch with the muscle dogs. You don’t need all of this, but picking up hiking will definitely boost your performance in the gym.
17.) They don’t drink coffee. Never trust a person in charge of your program who doesn’t drink the succulent juices of Columbia.
I may be a little biased. . .
This is where your body changes,