Whichever gym owner thought it was a good idea to recommend their employees perform the same poor movements with their clients over and over again, unsupervised, and without basic strength and conditioning awareness must have been the mastermind of how to workout the wrong way – and of how to get people to think such “training” is good. I have witnessed far too much and I feel there is a desperate need to warn the general public about globo gym-style training, as it encompasses everything in strength training gone wrong.
Basics Are Bust
First, I will not include bodybuilders in this discussion because I guarantee you that what these globo gyms are offering and how these “personal trainers” are training clients is far from anything any knowledgeable bodybuilder would ever partake in. I will also not include the functional fitness community, as the next time anyone here who knows anything about general fitness thinks that a seventy-year-old female with a post-op shoulder doing strict overhead kettlebell “swings” supersetted with kettlebell high-pulls is okay, we have an even more serious problem. (Not that that doesn’t happen.) So who am I referring to? The trainers out there that people are trusting and paying to do everything wrong and who simply have no idea.
I have to tell you that I haven’t seen anyone do anything right. Sound like just a disgruntled exaggeration? It’s really not. I have been watching every single day for many hours at a time as I myself am between gyms and have temporarily landed in a globo gym. I have been through many over the years and the story is never different. It’s almost like a plague. I have watched my share (so far as I can without losing it) of recklessly swinging barbells, half-rep assisted (by feet of course) “pull-ups,” and dumbbell disaster after dumbbell disaster. It is almost like these “trainers” get together in the morning to see how many weird and pointless things they can create. It seems every one of them feels they have to come up with something new and fringy (and I do not meant that in a good way) to make up for the simple and sad fact they do not know how to teach or use the basic tools – a dumbbell, pull up bar, or barbell.
I fear that ignorance is the bottom line and this lack of knowledge is creating a globo disaster. The days of the proper, strict barbell curls, interval training, and the sit-up, pull-up, pull-down, and push-up are long gone. And you know what else is going extinct? Results.
So What Went Wrong?
Quite honestly I wish I could tell you a simple reason as to why and how it all went awry, but let me do my best to put this globo disaster together for you.
First, training and coaching standards are lower. Client demands are simultaneously lower. Some people just want to check the box, and by that I mean both trainers and clients alike. Neither party really “wants” it and that is okay for them. This relationship works out well and these people expect nothing more (and they also might not know anything else).
Second, with gyms popping up everywhere there is more competition out there and these globo gyms are trying to keep up. Sadly, they have no idea how to do that, not realizing that results lead to the ultimate success of a gym. People are getting results elsewhere and this puts a lot of pressure on globo gyms. Or maybe not? I can’t remember a time when I saw a manager take all of his or her employees and walk them through the gym to teach them how train or how to use anything. The sad story is that even the managers have absolutely no clue how to get people results.
Lastly, you can get a job training people anywhere with just a basic certification. The testing is a joke, the hours learning and training for the trade are short, and the decreased knowledge about the human body and basic anatomy are rampant. I have asked many trainers some basic questions and I can tell you that all of the above are true. I leave these conversations asking myself, “And these people are training people?” Just the other day I watched a young trainer doing a dangerous (and obviously made-up) version of a neck adjustment with an older gentleman that I know this trainer is not trained to do. Scary stuff. You might fail a client on a half-assed push up, but please don’t pretend to know more than you do and endanger a client.
The Source of the Problem
The gym owners and managers hiring these trainers have no idea how to train themselves. I have seen manager after manager watch firsthand some seriously wrong training methodologies and these managers don’t do a thing. Most likely because they don’t know the difference. The trainers they hire are usually young teens who spend more time on their phones or sitting around than they do working with people. I have never seen so much nonchalant coaching.
I have adopted clients routinely from these gyms (not because I seek them out, but because they come to me), and I hear the same stories each time. What I have heard is disappointing and scary. No one has taken the time to teach these clients the proper basic movements. And this is after months and sometimes years with a trainer. These clients went into the globo gyms with goals. The trainers assured them they would create the programming to reach these goals. But after months and months of frustration, the clients were fed up, lost, and confused. When I looked into the programming they were given, it was no surprise to me at all they were getting nowhere. It broke my heart to see so much time and money wasted because the trainers simply didn’t care about or listen to these clients. Every program I saw was the same, though the goals each client had were not.
When you spend hours in a place and watch client after client doing the same thing wrong over and over again, there is a problem. New and different is good, right? Sure. But what’s actually happening is the same “new and different” way of wasting people’s time and money. So what does this tell me? These globo gym trainers are going through the motions. They have no idea how to program, teach, or to train the basics.
Tips for Finding a Good Trainer:
- Watch the people in the gym around you who look the part. If your trainer looks like he or she has never lifted a weight, you might want to rethink where your time and money are going. The best trainers aren’t always the huge guys or girls either, so look for someone who looks fit and strong and who knows how to use everything in the gym.
- Watch your trainer workout sometime. Does he or she train hard? Does he or she train well? Then watch others in the gym and compare them. You don’t have to have the most educated eye to see when something just doesn’t look right. The people training properly will simply look better, both in physique and in movement. They look like they have done this before. Train your eye to see it and be choosey with the trainer you pick.
- Find a trainer with energy who doesn’t go through the motions but has a concrete plan for you each day. And make sure that program fits the goals you stated. If the trainer wanders around the gym without a plan, make your escape plan and go elsewhere.
- Make sure your trainer loves what he or she does and isn’t just there for a job. If trainers care about health and fitness, they will put the time into it and into you. Watch for those who are always doing research and learning, who follow up with you, motivate you, and are present with you at all times.
- Do not just trust anyone a gym assigns to you when you walk in. Ask questions and if the trainers cannot give you concrete answers, then walk out.
This is my “globo warning” but it also applies to any gym or training facility. Be mindful and aware, ask questions, and seek answers. Be knowledgeable. Train hard. Train well. Train smart.
Photos courtesy of Shutterstock.