Mondays: A Fitness Professional’s Worst Enemy (Behind Tracy Anderson)

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LOL – see what I just did there?  I burned Tracy Anderson right from the get-go!  Oh man this day is off to a good start already.

The only thing that could make it better is if by some miracle it started raining bacon.  And, you know, I drove a tank to work.

But I’m getting a little carried away here.

Tracy Anderson jokes and bacon aside, Mondays generally suck no matter which way you look at it.  Personally I don’t mind them that much because I actually love my job.  But there was a time, when I first started in this industry (in corporate fitness), where my Mondays consisted of getting up at 3:45 AM to drive 50 minutes to work so that I could open up the gym by 5 AM.

That…..sucked…….donkey……balls.

Even more so when it was the dead of winter, ten degrees outside, and the roads weren’t even plowed yet. For those unfamiliar with central New York winters – it’s essentially the lake-effect snow capital of the universe (yes, the universe), and it’s abysmal weather from December to April.

But at least it’s not Edmonton (sorry Dean Somerset).

Suffice it to say, I’d spend most of my day on Sunday dreading the start of Monday.

But that isn’t really what this post is all about.  Things are cool now. It’s true what they say:  if you enjoy your job, it’s never really “work.” Mondays now are just like any other day in my eyes.

Except for the day AFTER attending a seminar.

I know I’ve seemingly harpooned the CP Elite Baseball Development seminar this week and have taken it hostage, using it as the impetus for every post.

But what can I say?  I learned a lot – and it provided me with some blogging ammo for a week.

Yesterday I dissected a quote from Eric Schoenberg on how “arm care” programs shouldn’t just be limited to the shoulder.  As Eric noted, we don’t throw a baseball with JUST our shoulders.

Sure, the shoulders play an important role – and it’s no coincidence that they’re a problematic area in many baseball players – but throwing a baseball involves the entire body, and taking the mindset that we should solely focus on the shoulder (and elbow) is a bit, well, dumb.

Having said that, not everyone reading this blog follows baseball, plays baseball, or really cares one way or the other how we train them.

So I’ll do everyone a favor and shut my yapper on that front.

But there is one more gem that I took away from the seminar that I feel applies to any fitness professional reading whether they train professional athletes, high-school athletes, soccer moms, type-A doctors, lawyers, and CEOs, or bomb sniffing dolphins.

And that’s this:

Turn on the brakes!!!

The hardest part about attending seminars – and something Mike Robertson alluded to in THIS fantastic post –  is the following Monday, where you want to try all the new exercises you learned, and demonstrate to the world that performing a one-legged squat on a BOSU ball while juggling oranges is EXACTLY what everyone needs to be doing.

I think there are many fitness professionals out there that bombard their athletes and clients with a host of exercises thinking that more is better.  Worse, is that they’ll attend a weekend seminar (which should be commended by the way), arm themselves with an endless supply of new and “cool” exercises, and then, without any discretion what-so-ever, include them in every client’s program on Monday.

Throwing a nice corollary into the mix, Dennis Treubig, PT, DPT, CSCS, wrote a nice guest post on Mike Reinold’s site earlier this week where he talked about the same topic, but included something I’ve read about is several behavioral economic books I’ve read referred to as the jam experiment.

Mmmm, I like Jam

If you are unfamiliar with this experiment, here is a brief synopsis (officially titled, “When Choice is Demotivating: Can One Desire Too Much of a Good Thing?”).  Shoppers at a grocery store were presented with two different displays of jam – one had 6 flavors and the other had 24 flavors.  The results showed that 30% of people who visited the display with 6 jams actually purchased jam, while only 3% made a purchase after visiting the display that offered 24 jams.

So what’s the take home message?  Less is more.

Or better yet:  refraining from being an a-hole and recognizing that not everything applies to every client….is more.

Don’t go thinking that the more exercises you include (or add) in your programs somehow shows off your superiority as a trainer or coach. All it really demonstrates, with bright, gleaming colors, is that you’re unable (or unwilling) to think for yourself and to properly apply what you’ve learned.

This isn’t to say that you shouldn’t apply new techniques, exercises, or principles into your programming.  On the contrary, you should STRIVE for that. I can’t even begin to tell you how much it saddens me when a trainer or coach never grows, cultures, or adapts their training methodology.

All I’m suggesting is that, come Monday, don’t jump the gun and immediately overhaul your programs with an avalanche of new exercises.  Take the time to actually dissect and assimilate the information and to see what (if anything) applies to you and your clients/athletes.

Having more of a “filter” and learning how to disregard new information is just as important as learning it in the first place.

Did what you just read make your day? Ruin it? Either way, you should share it with your friends and/or comment below.

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  • deansomerset

    I’d take my winters compared to what Rob King’s going through right now. Buddy’s been hit with about 4 feet of snow in a couple days, with more on the way. That being said, -30 hits you pretty hard and tends to make your life hell, ESPECIALLY when it’s Mondays. Great post dude.

  • Mike Anderson

    The monday after attending a seminar I’m usually in the midst of a shame spiral because I feel like I don’t know anything and that everyone else is smarter than me. I’m also usually in the middle of re-reading every piece of literature I can find and will be second-guessing myself constantly.

    • TonyGentilcore

      HA! I’m kind of the same way. We’re all right there with you dude.

  • Barath

    Wonderful post! This is actually applicable to trainees as well. Of late, I’ve bumped up my training frequency, and I find that it is beneficial if my DL days are economical, from the recovery stand-point. So instead of doing DL, Pendlays, seated rows, blah blah, I just do an extended DL session followed by a few sets of face pulls (and maaaaaaybe some curls) and call it a day. It’s worked wonders for me so far.

    • TonyGentilcore

      Why thank you Barath! This is definitely applicable to regular folk too, who may read or see something on the internet about some latest and greatest exercise.

  • Stephen Holt

    I know exactly what you mean. I eventually learned to limit myself to only one new exercise to implement per day post-seminar.

  • Stephanie

    Great post!! This also applies to the athletic training field… I have found myself, after a weekend at a symposium or conference, thinking “OH! I can do this! and this! and this!!” I often have to take a step back and realize that a lot of the stuff I learn is not applicable to every athlete or patient that I work with, and just because I’ve learned something new, doesn’t mean I have to use it every day.

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