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Personal Training: Trends Versus Science


shutterstock_151249754Keep an eye on your trainers and how they train. If they use scientific training, periodized training and progressive resistance, then they are on the right track. Fad training, however, is not only dangerous to the participants, but can also be detrimental to your trainer’s reputation.

An example of this is CrossFit. Although this is a hard, efficient and challenging workout for athletes, for the average non-skilled individual, it is not only dangerous, but also impossible. Yet, so many trainers I see in health clubs try to create or perform CrossFit workouts with clients that have no foundation of fitness, nor do they have the skills needed to perform many of the complex movements.

When you ask the trainer why they are doing the workout, the only answer they have is because it is hard. Just because a workout or program is hard, it does not mean that every client should do it. That is the dangers of fad or trendy workouts.


Vic Spatola is the director of personal training for Greenwood Athletic and Tennis Club in Greenwood Village, Colorado, a suburb of Denver. Spatola offers consulting on personal training business development. For more information, contact him at vics@greenwoodatc.com.

Rachel Zabonick-Chonko

Rachel Zabonick-Chonko is the editor-in-chief of Club Solutions Magazine. She can be reached at rachel@peakemedia.com.

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  1. Sarah November 22, 2013

    Provided the trainer is educated, CrossFit can be a great workout without having to be an athlete. It is often scaled appropriately to the client’s level of health and fitness. Instead of “Rx”ing a “WOD”, one can do push-ups against a wall, ring rows instead of pull ups, partial range of motion squats instead of full squats, etc. Everything, including the length of the workout is able to be modified. I use scientific training, periodized training and progressive resistance in my training as mentioned in the article, but I am also a CrossFit coach who understands it takes a long time to develop fitness foundations and skills before building intensity and complexity.
    A trainer who can only answer that they are putting a client through a CrossFit workout because it’s hard, should not be training. Don’t blame the type of workout, blame the trainers who are not educated enough to know how to put someone through a safe and effective workout.

  2. Vic Spatola December 5, 2013

    Sarah, you are absolutely correct. A modified program can be implemented. However, not all trainers take the time to modify and tailor workouts as the WOD. They simply take the workout and apply it to all their clients, without modifications or changes. And this applies not only to CrossFit! This applies to stability ball workouts, Kettlebells workouts, Insanity programs or Olympic lifting. Any workout that suddenly gains popularity among the general public can be abused by the uneducated or uncaring individual, trying to prove how hard they can train people. That is the point I was trying to convey.


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