Why I Do What I Do

I train people with intensity. Whether it's in the form of near maximal weight lifting or speedy interval training, I don't spend a lot of time in the long, slow, body builder style sets, reps, and muscle group scheme. It has it's place for correcting imbalances, and buttressing movement, but isn't a core part of every person's training regime.

I do this because being strong makes life easier. You want to put that heavy box on a higher shelf? Carry those groceries home rather than have to drive? I do high intensity workouts because that is where fat gets burned. That is where you push all your muscle fibers to exhaustion and adaptations are made. That is where you gain greater vascular flexibility, incurring faster recovery and general better cardiovascular health. I have clients lift heavy weights because it increases their insulin sensitivity and generally changes a person's hormonal profile to have more energy and better use the food they consume.

Doing bicep curls or shoulder presses on a bosu ball can be fun, but is going to get you nowhere fast as far as strength, endurance, and fat burning are concerned. You have to focus so much on balance that you can't load up with much weight or move fast enough to get your heart rate up. Sure, it will get all those little stabilizer muscles from your hips down, but how useful is that unless you're a surfer, skateboarder, or specifically training for earthquakes?

I don't put clients on machines because the stability offered by the machine means that the client doesn't have to learn to control their own movement or handle their own support structures. You see it all the time, the guy on the leg press/ hip sled with so many 45 lb plates who can't squat for shit. Or the guy with biceps the size of softballs who never does a pull up.

The people that work with me get it. That's why they still work with me. People that don't get it, or want to have their hand held from one machine to the next, won't work with me beyond the first trial session. I've had it happen before, a person wanting a trial session and when lead them to the squat rack first thing are generally like "oh no, I won't do that." They don't come back. And really, it's no love lost on either side.

I write this because it was brought to my attention that the level of intensity I use was questioned by other trainers. Obviously, this wasn't at either of my CrossFit facilities. I don't even do "true" CrossFit because I don't see the point in pushing someone to complete oblivion. It gave me pause, and I looked around the facility. I had to think, I'm sure these people are smart, and I'm sure they stand beside what they do. But I could never in good conscience, train someone in that low impact, low intensity, muscle isolation way and think "Hey, I'm making a difference!"

I treat my clients like athletes. I want them stronger, faster, and better. And sometimes we do cartwheels, too.