Today's post doesn't have a ton to do with strength and conditioning tips for you. Instead, I wanted to write about something I've thought about for some time: changing my title to a "Strength Coach" instead of a "Personal Trainer."
The difference may seem petty, and frankly, that's because it sorta is. But, I've realized that simply calling myself a personal trainer is just a ruse for what I do on an everyday basis: show people how to get strong.
(Sidenote: before moving on, I want to apologize in advance to any Tracy Anderson groupies. But seriously, you're doing it wrong!)
As my clients could tell you, everything we do is focused on strength. They don't run on the treadmill (much), or do crazy metabolic work that's really not doing anything but beating them down. Instead, we focus on getting long and lifting hard.
1. No amount of exercise is going to lead to fat loss without a proper diet. I'm sorry, but it's true. What can actually make a mark on your body is getting strong, and increasing your lean body mass (read: muscle). This way, or at least in theory, increasing your lean body mass is going to give you a higher metabolism than the cardio junkie that's spending all of their time on the treadmill and hating life.
Furthermore, if you're thinking that the cardio/elliptical/bike triad is all you need for fat loss, I have another question: is needing an hour every day to exercise really that sustainable? Many of us don't have time for much as we are overworked and, subsequently, don't get enough sleep. In terms of exercise, it's always quality of quantity. If you only have time for 3-4 hours a week (like me), that is absolutely plenty.
2. Many people are in pain, or are bound up and tight, and the reason is actually due to a lack of strength. As I've said before, strength is the ultimate equalizer, as it helps everything you do: become more mobile, run long/faster, lose weight, and even hate on Justin Bieber. I've seen numerous nagging injuries go away pretty quickly once someone became stronger, and I once even saw a unicorn run by when a client of mine deadlifted 300 pounds. (Ok, maybe not.)
It's also important to define what "getting in shape" actually means to the average person. For many, it's the feeling of not getting winded after several flights of stairs, or being able to run a few miles on a whim without feeling like death. Proper training will cover all of that, but at the same time, cardiovascular shape is actually something that comes pretty easily. It's strength that you need to continually grind in order to see gains.
So, what's the big difference between "strength coach" and "personal trainer?" Well, there really should be none. Proper training should be focusing on breaking PR's, lifting heavier weights, and getting stronger.
If you're not getting those results, then what exactly are you training for?