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Beginners Suck…and it’s the “Trainers” Fault


While it’s getting to the end of New Years resolution gym rush time, there are still some more motivated guys and gals who have hung on. These people are still beginners, I’m talking like total newbies. Yeah, they bought an issue of Men’s Health or whatever and they took the centerfold, fold-out, workout out of it and they carry it around the gym and so the exercises for the sets and reps prescribed, but let’s face it, they suck. Now they don’t suck a little, like as in, not good or that’s wrong, but they suck a LOT- a- bit.

This is the type of crap experts have beginners do...how far is that going to get you?

This isn’t to bash on these folks, they’ve overcome a lot just to get to this sucky point and quite honestly it’s not entirely their fault. First off, they showed up. That’s hard enough when you don’t have a clue what’s going on and is a hell of a lot more than what most people do. Which is to say, make up in their head some make-believe reason, verbalize reason and sigh out loud, sit on couch for next 4 hours and watch TV.

Secondly they realized they didn’t have a clue so they looked for help, granted it’s from a website, magazine, book etc, which is like me trying to learn car maintainance from a book. Yes, with enough time and practice pretty much anyone can become competent at almost anything, but I’m better off not buying the book and taking my car into the mechanic. It will cost me more but the job will be done right and I don’t have to struggle thought the learning curve …But hey, at least these people are trying… 

A BIG part of the problem is the “Trainers” at gyms…Seriously, what they hell are you/ they doing?

Ohh, it's cool, I saw a "trainer" do it......

 Stuff like the jackassery above is a BIG part of the problem. What the hell is that doing besides being overly complicated and getting nothing accomplished?

Here’s the problem some “trainers” don’t do shit…no, I’m not joking. I once had a “strength coach” (self-appointed, he was, mind you) tell me, “I don’t do it. I coach it”. WTF? For real?????        FO REAZL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  So how would that person even know what works and what doesn’t..Would you go or take advice from a mechanic who doesn’t work on his own cars? ….It’s a job that requires little to no entry-level knowledge, any one can do it….

Then there is the other third, the “trainers” who do workout but have never “trained” a day in their life. They equate the latest greatest fad of the moment with a successful training program…Bender Balls, Bosu balls, TRX, Kettlebells, Foam rollers, Shake Weights, Zumba, CrossFit, P90X etc, etc, etc…and all types of future cappy crapola. It’s not that the modalities suck, they all have a purpose and can have GRRRRRRRRRRRREAT applications. It’s that these jackholes buy into anything entirely and use it exclusively until the next BEST THING EVER comes along. ….These people have never had goals except look good naked, which is perfectly acceptable but because of this they never set goals, they never THOUGHT about what they were doing they just went, “It’s hard and I’m dying in a pool of my own sweat and vomit so it must have been a great workout. I’m going to be really sore tomorrow”.

So the goal of this workout was:

  1. To be really tired.
  2. To be dripping with sweat.
  3. To not be able to raise their arm or walk down stairs tomorrow.

and the goals of the next workout will be…………the same…

Really? That's the goal of EVERY workout?

 Again, that’s alright some of the time…but it should have a place and purpose…not just because it’s Tuesday and the website or Yoda at the certification last weekend said that’s what you’re going to do.

Then there is the other third. These people  train, not workout. They have put THOUGHT into what they are doing. They can not only explain the what and how but the why. These people actually think about what’s going on in their training, where they have been and where they are going. They tend to have definable goals, even if those goals are as opened ended as, “I want to get stronger”, “I need to be less fat”.  These trainers are usually NOT doing very sexy things in the gym, most these things are centered on their own body weight, barbells and dumbbells….They tend to do the same old, squats, benches, deadlifts, lunges, pressess….yeah they may use a TRX for a couple exercises, Kettlebells for some, maybe even a Bosu for some core training, but overall they’re program is pretty basic and focuses heavily on….THE BASICS….strength, movement, crazy shit like that…They usually tend to be both the most knowledgeable and “in the best shape”…….

Wierd, I know.

Here’s the problem: BEGINNERS DON’T (think they) LIKE THE BASICS (at first)…..

They get bombarded with all the junk in the industry from tv, magazines and websites, lets face it people, even very smart people, buy into marketing and just from watching an hour of tv you’ll realize there is a lot of fitness marketing and by golly they aint pushing those things called barbells..you know the thing that has gotten the more people stronger, leaner, healthier than probably any other fitness apparatus….EVER….

Might not be sexy but damn does it work....

Not, squats, pushups, rows….But jumping, kicking, punching…Really? That’s how beginners should start? A guy who has spent the last 10 years doing nothing but sitting at a computer and sitting in front of a tv should be doing squats on a Bosu?……Can he even do a squat without the Bosu? ………………psssst, I’m guessing no…………….

Unfortunately these beginners never learn a core truism…the basics are the basics for a reason. Mastery of the basic concepts of training will hold true until the end of time.

“Methods are many, principles are few. Methods always change principles NEVER do” -Alwyn Cosgrove by way of Bruce Lee

And that my friends is the problem. Beginners come to the gym and are never given proper instruction and introduction to and in the basics. Too often they are given an overwhelming number of options (methods) but never taught how to push, pull, pack a shoulder, hinge a  hip, squat, lunge. We skip the most important part to put them on a series of high Intensity Plyometrics followed by circuit training or some other looks cool but inappropriate crap…


ohh, don’t worry, it’s cool, we did a very scientific dynamic warmup first…..I guess that makes it right.

So think about it, go into almost any gym and you have 2 thirds of the “trainers” ie knowledgeable, “expert” staff doing mind-numbingly stupid things with people and the other third doing that not very sexy, learning to master a split squat thing.

If you’re a beginner you’re screwed from the minute you walk in.

You see:

  • Trainer A: Client Standing on Bosu ball doing bicep curls
  • Trainer B: Teaching a hip hinge pattern
  • Trainer A: Client doing box jumps
  • Trainer B: Teaching how to open the hips and push the knees out during a squat
  • Trainer A: Client doing bench presses on a stability ball
  • Trainer B: Client learning how to do an elevated pushup on a smith machine

Which one would you go with? Obviously trainer A!!!!! That shit looks hard, and they must obviously be very good or they would not have been about to teach someone to do those things right away…right? Any way I saw that stuff on TV and it looked like fun….plus I did pushups in high school 10 years ago and they were waaaay easy.


There is NO DAMN reason for a dead beginner to do that stuff day 1…it doesn’t make sense on any level at all….except, shhhhhhh, you’re bad at what you do and cover up your deficiencies with cool looking but stupid/ inappropriate tricks….shhhhhhhhh.

So what does the beginner do? What all beginners do everywhere, they mimic what looks cool, what looks like fun. Let’s face it people, often incorrectly, equate complexity with effectiveness. Remember, they don’t have the education and knowledge to understand why it’s stupid. They can’t, that’s why they came in here and watched what you were having your client do in the first place…they were trying to learn……….great job teaching prof.

If you’re a beginner and you want to become good at this whole exercise thing stick with the basics, buy books like Starting Strength, Core Performance, The New Rules of Lifting, and Maximum Strength….any of those programs and some dedication will get you a hell of a lot further than the tv-infomercial, I saw a trainer at the gym do this trick one day BS that is constantly thrown your way. Learn how to move your body and lift a barbell, dumbbell, kettlebell correctly.

Think  about it, the really strong guy at the gym who squats 400lbs easy….yeah, he got that way by squatting, twice a week for the last 5 years….not changing programs every month, and buying into fads and tools every other month for the last 5 years. He got really good at the basics, while the functional training guru got really good at….the fad of the minute be it standing on a stability ball while juggling, P90X, ropes whatever…….all nice tricks I suppose, but is that really where you want to be 5 years from now?

Not an overnight success.

I guarantee the guy or girl who starts training focusing on the basics will be feeling better, looking better, moving better and way more motivated to come to the gym and smash PR’s than the poor soul who is trying to learn the new training  fad of the minute every other week.

Hat tip: Tony Gentilcore

It’s a Pullup….pretty damn basic

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