The best training program for you, is the one you’re not on


There are too many workout programs out there to count. Understandably, quite a few people are confused when the latest and hottest thing comes out with people flailing around, making loud breathing noises, flipping babies upside down (and catching them of course), chasing after chickens, or working out in the snow in your undapants. To the average gym member, this could be daunting.

When I was a youngling, I wanted to get bigger. Being 150ish pounds soak and wet my freshman year in high school, I knew I needed to put on size if I wanted to play football. “You gotta lift some heavy weights kid”, said one of my high school coaches. So, that’s what I did. I followed my schools “Weight Training” Program all four years. By my freshman year in college, I put on about 10#’s, but I wanted more. Was I bigger? Sure, but only by a little. And I still couldn’t bench 225, even for a half of a rep. So I ate and ate, trained 5 days a week, and by my Sophomore year I was around 180 lbs! I became friends with my buddy Dave, who was on the Illinois State football team at one point, and my buddy Mike (“The Hulk”) all lifted together in our dorm-gym at “South Side”. It was epic. These dudes were hyooge to me at the time. We didn’t follow any program in particular. We just lifted. And it worked.

Fast forward to my career as a Personal Trainer at a local gym, where I had 20+ clients, each and everyone of them were different. Some similar in goals and abilities. Programming for these folks at the time was hard because I was more familiar with what I had done for myself to get strong and lean.  A member one day came up to me and asked, “So my girlfriend is doing P90x. She’s done it for 2 months and I could tell a difference in her already. I’ve been doing Spin and some of the other classes for a while and haven’t seen much. Should I do that??” Given my experience with results and training some of my clients, I replied  “I don’t think so. They don’t use any real weights. If you want to get results, you need to lift heavier weights.” Since then, my view point has changed.

A couple years ago, I attended the Perform Better Seminar in Chicago. I was heading to a class, only to run into one of the best Strength Coaches in the world, Coach Dos Remedios (if you don’t know who that is, check him out here). I took the opportunity to ask him

“Coach, how do you feel about Zumba?”

As he always does, he dropped a knowledge bomb on me saying, “I love it…”
“What?!? Why??”

“Ya know…..because it gets my mother off of the couch.”

I thought about that conversation for a long time. From that point on, anytime and every time I saw a new workout program or DVD that came out, I kept thinking to myself “that may be what someone needs to get them to reach their goals.” Something new. Something different. That is the key to constant progression and success.

Whether it’s changing up your rep count, adding in new exercises, going to a different gym, getting a trainer, or even doing Zumba.

                                          “The best program is the one you’re not.” 

Now, don’t go jumping ship and on to the next one. It’s important to note, that if what you are doing is working, stick with it. The downside to all the programs that are out there, is people are suffering from “paralysis by analysis” and are quick to do the thing that their closest friend is doing that got them to lose 20 lbs in 2 months. Programs tend to have an end. Follow through and make sure to give it your all. Full programs aren’t meant to be used “half-assed”. To expect 100% of the results when the same amount of effort isn’t there is foolish.

If you’re not having fun with your “4 easy payments of $59.99” DVD you purchased-yet busting your butt and not even meeting your short term goals, it would be wise to consider switching gears. When that time comes, consult with a fitness pro or shop around for a trainer to build you a program that fit’s YOUR needs. It just may be the best thing you haven’t done…yet.

Why “Training” is better than a “Workout”

As an adult, some of us have been in gyms where we see the following: people hammering away on their cardio machines, in the classrooms swinging their hips to a catchy tune, seeing that guy doing that thing on the back extension machine that would undoubtedly show up on YouTube or “Awkward Gym Moments” on Facebook, or perhaps sitting in the lobby area watching to see if your favorite dancer gets voted off unfairly…BUT COULDN’T HELP HERSELF BECAUSE SHE’S A CONTEMPORARY DANCER AND NOT A BREAK DANCER!!!!!! SERIOUSLY!?!? I MEAN COME OOOOONN!! THIS SHOW IS RIGGED!!!!  THAT’S IT, I’M TURNING TO REAL HOUSEWIVES OF THAILAND!

Ahem, sorry.

Granted, as a trainer and having worked in such a place, shines a bit of light on the fact that there are people in a “healthy” environment being surrounded by those doing healthy things. However, I”m a professional in a results oriented business, where just “working out” just doesn’t cut it. I train people mostly because I like it….NAY….I looooove it! People train because they want to change their habits and work hard to reach their goals in the gym and life. So let’s take our friends in the gym “working out”, walking around looking to see what others are up to that may look like they’d get a “good sweat in.” You come back a year later….and they still look the same. You know you’ve seen that person if you’ve gone to the same gym for years. You wonder what the heck are they doing? It’s likely they’re shooting the breeze and getting that good sweat in. By no means is this meant to knock on those going to the gym for a workout or whatever they want to do. Trainers know 80% (or so) of progress in the gym is getting in there in the first place. The other 20% however, is what you do in the gym that makes the biggest difference.

So now let’s take our friends in the gym who are “training”. These are the folks just straight getting after it with intensity, passion and focus. Usually these are the people getting the “looks” in the gym as if you’re Quasimodo with a Barbell. Heck, you may be one of those people giving those looks. Don’t be afraid of them. Be inspired by them. These people who “train” have a goal in mind, set a plan, and put that plan into action. No, you don’t have to be a competitor to train for a competition. But rather think of it as training for life in general. The key difference between the two here is whether or not you have INTENSITY, PASSION AND FOCUS. This also applies to your nutrition as well and every other aspect of your life. Not to mention cutting your workout time in half and able to reap the benefits of your hard work. That’s what I love about working at The Athlete Factory. There’s no machines, we build ’em (yep, I just said that). We train athletes to become better at their sport, we train non-athletes to better themselves with intensity, passion and focus. You’re constantly surrounded by a group of people with different goals, different body types and different fitness levels. Which is the perfect kind of gym setting everyone should be in. If you’re not, go and find it. You won’t regret it.

Having said all of that, “workout” or “training” wise, being in the gym is way better than being on the couch, being lazy, or better yet, being in a box underground 24/7 (didn’t mean to get dark there, but it’s something to think about). If you want to take your workout experience up a notch, find a “training” partner or a trainer to help get you the results you deserve and have more fun in the gym.

Until then, enjoy your workout. Enjoy your training session. Enjoy life.