Monday, February 7, 2011

5 Ways to Filter Trainers, Fitness Products, and Programs

When a fitness program or product has the word "Guarantee" along with vertical jump, 40 yard dash, weight loss, strength gain, etc; my suggestion is to keep the credit card in your wallet. Today there are so many trainers, gyms, and online programs it's hard to know which one will provide the best results. Now, throw in the YouTube generation, everybody who's ever laced up some Nike's or cleats thinks they are an expert.

Here's a couple ways to filter through to know whether a program is garbage or not.

1. "Have they been there, done that, and still doing it?" Fitness guru Alwyn Cosgrove said this pertaining to internet products. When it comes to internet products claiming ridiculous results, first do some research on where they work, what results did they get, and are they still working in the trenches. Have the consistently improved their athletes or just had great ones to begin with.

2. If they claim to have the "One Secret you need to gain incredible results," it's probably crap. Many times parents, coaches, and even athletes come to me suggesting, "We need to do this one drill. Johnny did it and he's really fast." If I've learned one thing in my career so far, it's that one exercise, drill, or lift won't make or break a program. It's the sum of a good overall strength program, performed consistently, that will translate into better athleticism and results.

3. Ask about their injury rate. If they say, "I'm not sure," or "It's probably good," they are not paying attention to the most important detail. Which is that a sport performance coach or trainer's first job is to keep them healthy so they can play their sport. Every coach should know their athletes and whether or not they had any muscle pulls or serious injury that was non contact.

4. Experience over certifications. If you have the choice between Larry, whose had tons of experience with thousands of athletes and only has 1 minor certification versus Jimmy who has 5 well known certifications and has worked part time for a couple years. Always chose Larry. Certs are great but experience gives coaches the skills to teach effectively.

5. Is it for show or for purpose? Many times even great trainers market the harder looking exercises that only a small number of athletes might be doing. What they don't show is the beginning where they had to teach the actual skill that developed into intense drills that look cool on youtube. Today a lot of trainers and gyms base everything they do on how bad@$$ it looks and if you feel like puking after. This often leads to pain and injuries, along with the annoying "frat boy cockiness" syndrome.

(Relax, some of my good friends were in frats).
If the coach hasn't been established, ask why he's doing certain exercises. If he says "It gets them faster" chances are he's doing exercises just to do them.

The overall point I'm trying to make is not to focus on one drill or aspect of a program but the overall process that is consistent, progressive, and safe.

The Other Side:

I'm addicted to raw energy. It's something that can be faked. It's probably a reason why I fell in love with sports. It comes in all different forms from being in a energetic crowd, sky diving, music, dancing. It's a situation that gives you the chills and makes your jaw drop, makes you smile, or just say "oh my......" This past weekend I attended the SDSU Aztecs basketball game vs TCU. At the beginning there is a chant the entire crowd gets into and the whole places shakes. This is raw energy!


  1. Well done. Most people have no clue how to choose a trainer. This is certainly a big step in the right direction!

  2. Great post! It's refreshing to see more professionals like yourself providing good information among the strength training community.

  3. Matt and Damon,

    Thanks for the comments I'm glad you enjoyed it!