What Medical Professionals Wish Personal Trainers Knew About the Human Body
The fitness industry has become a well-settled profession due to the prevalence of diseases related to sedentary lifestyles and the wish of people to be fit and handsome. But many trainers, coaches and fitness professionals are working in fitness centers and gyms, and most of them lack the essential medical and scientific knowledge. Many of your clients ultimately come to healthcare professionals to seek advice about their health. Personal trainers should know the basic and relevant medical knowledge about fitness and health.
Stress Affects Performance and Gains
A personal trainer should have knowledge of stress. Stress is the body’s response to physical or emotional tension. The type of stress that a person experience during exercise is called physical stress. Physical stress may have positive or negative effects on a person. In modern life, everyone is facing different types of psychological and physical stressors.
Workout or exercise may impact you positively or negatively. In most people, stress due to exercise produces positive effects. These effects include increased release of good hormones (i.e., endorphins and serotonin) and decreased release of bad hormones (i.e., cortisol). Good muscle recovery and decreased fatigue and muscle tension are also positive effects of stress. But it may affect negatively due to increased intensity and frequency of workouts and decreased recovery. Other factors that may increase stress in addition to poor workout habits include disturbed sleep and an unhealthy diet.
A trainer who is aware of the stressors can guide the clients better. They can encourage the clients to adopt a healthy lifestyle and better workout habits so that goals become easier to achieve. If the stress is not properly countered, it may result in easy exhaustion and reduced gains, despite hard workouts. Personal trainers should also tell the clients about when the hard workouts can help them to achieve goals.
SAID (Specific Adaptations to Imposed Demands)
A well-known criteria and principle for strength training is the SAID principle (Specific Adaptations to the Imposed Demands). This principle is well documented and states if one wants a specific change/adaptation to occur a training regimen must stress a muscle/group of muscle utilizing a specific energy system.
Examples of this are:
- Strength – designing a program to target a specific type of strength (absolute/ maximum strength, speed-strength, starting-strength, endurance-strength, strength-endurance, skill-strength, core- strength, flexibility-strength, etc)
- Endurance – what type of endurance? Aerobic? Strength? Speed? Skill?
- Hypertrophy (muscle growth) – must tax the muscle with a certain level of stress (number of sets/repetitions/exercises per muscle groups – this is referred as Volume of training), length of rest periods between sets and exercises, and number of workouts per week/exercise/muscle groups. Research indicates that moderate-intensity is standard for muscle growth, but it is the VOLUME of training that elicits that optimal overload for muscle growth, especially in intermediate/advanced trainees. Genetics also plays a substantial role in one’s ability to maximize muscle growth.
If a client wants a specific adaptation you must physically train a specific way to achieve a specific outcome.
A good personal trainer professional should know about the demands or goals of the clients. He should allow the clients to adopt specific plans to fulfill these demands. A trainer should have information and underlying reason about everything added in the program, including workout routines, diet plan, etc.
Knowledge of Musculoskeletal Anatomy
The musculoskeletal system involves the scientific study of muscles, bones, and connective tissues such as tendons and ligaments. The attachments of muscles on the bones and the range of motion of each muscle play a role in muscular development. If you exercise each muscle according to its range of motion, it will give better results.
Personal trainers should know anatomy, especially musculoskeletal anatomy. It aids in understanding the function and structure of muscles and changes occurring in them during exercise. In this way, trainers can equip muscles with the correct biological facts. It can also help trainers to choose a specific training program for the clients to produce fast results.
With adequate information about anatomical facts and proper command over them, a personal trainer can encourage clients to hit their weak part effectively while doing workouts. It can also help them while offering rehabilitation facilities.
Many clients come to a personal trainer with conditions like abnormal posture, chronic pain, and restricted joint movements. Knowledge of anatomy will prove beneficial for addressing these conditions accurately.
The Psychology of the Clients
Professional personal trainers should learn the psychology of the clients by their non-verbal actions and expressions. Psychology is the study of mind and behavior. It involves understanding brain functions, mental processes, and behavior.
Trainers should be able to differentiate between when the client needs motivation and when the client is exhausted or drained by observing their behavior. In some clients, taking care of the emotional states is also significant.
For example, you make an addition to the workout program without asking the wish of the client. Most of the clients will not tell you that they do not like it, instead remain quiet. You will motivate your client for that addition, but he is not willing. Maybe you assess his unwillingness as a lame excuse or character defect that is even worse.
A good personal trainer will not pressure or force clients to do something that they are truly uncomfortable with. They ask them about the suggestion, and maybe the clients have a good reason for their unwillingness. So, to be a good personal trainer, you should not only provide answers to your clients but also ask questions.
Energy Systems of the Body
During exercise, three energy systems work in our body to produce force and overcome resistance. These systems increase or decrease the activity of the body as required. Personal trainers should know these systems and how to train them. These systems include the aerobic system, anaerobic glycolysis, and phosphagen system.
The aerobic system is a default energy-providing system of the body, and 20 minutes of exercise at a continuous pace can train this system.
The anaerobic system involves the breakdown of glucose and glycogen to produce energy. This system trains in the absence of oxygen, and its training duration ranges from 30-120 seconds. Your body will return to the aerobic system as soon as your breathing becomes normal.
The Phosphagen system involves the breakdown of ATP by creatine phosphate to release a burst of energy, but due to low levels of ATP in muscles, this system lasts within 10 seconds.
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