- Should I try Crossfit?
- Should I do long, slow distance running?
- Should I wear a minimalist shoe?
- Should I do crunches?
- Should I drink protein shakes?
My answer? IT DEPENDS. I am not trying to avoid the question. I truly believe that the answer to these, and many other fitness-related questions, is dependent upon the person asking. Every one of us is unique. We all have our own strengths and weaknesses, our own goals and ambitions, and our own history of injuries. It is because of these distinctive characteristics that makes my answer vary from person to person.
If a client loves to run, has no major imbalances, and wants to train for an upcoming ½ marathon; then long distance running is part of his or her program. If someone’s primary goal is fat loss, I would recommend more high intensity interval training over the often prescribed slow, 6 mile weekend run.
If someone works in “Corporate America” 5 days a week and grew up training his “mirror muscles”, I would be cautious in recommending frequent Crossfit routines where the typical WOD (workout of the day) includes 30 power snatches for time, 30 kipping pull-ups, and then ring dips to failure.
You get the idea…there is a lot of “gray area” out there in our industry. And, while giving a client a tactful answer may not be what they want, it is best to make sure you have all the facts and provide them with all the pros and cons for every scenario. One of my industry pet peeves are trainers who feel they have to know all the answers, or feel they have to provide definitive answers to questions like the one’s listed above. Unless you have all the facts, you are providing a disservice.
Telling a client or athlete, “it depends” or “I’m not sure, let me ask another qualified professional that question and get back to you”, is the right way to go in my book. Be ok with not knowing all the answers. Your clients will be better off in the long run if you take a little extra time to research the question and provide them with the best possible answer.
Aside from people asking me if exercises like these are “functional“, my answer to everything is…it depends.
Doug currently works at Fitness Quest 10 as a personal trainer, strength coach, and Operations Director for Todd Durkin Enterprises (TDE). He is also the strength coach for Alliance MMA in Chula Vista, CA. He earned a B.S. in Exercise Science with a minor in Business Management from Westfield State University and completed some graduate work in Biomechanics at SDSU. Certifications and specialties include the ACE Personal Trainer Certification, NSCA-CSCS Certification, TRX instructor training, EFI Gravity instructor training, LIFT Sandbag Certification, Spinning certification, FMS training, and CPR/AED instructor status. He has appeared in multiple fitness videos, manuals and magazines; produced his own 2-DVD Set on strength & conditioning for combat athletes, completed a MMA Conditioning Coach certification program, and has competed in multiple grappling tournaments.
For more information please visit www.dbstrength.com.