Ask Alfonso: Would YOU Train At This Gym?
I am slowly transitioning into the fitness industry. I work in a Personal Training gym teaching a cardio kickboxing class and I also have a few training clients. I was offered a job as a trainer at another gym but their style of training isn’t what I’m used to and I want your opinion.
The gym is very small and is only equipped with machines. Their philosophy is ‘efficient and high intensity’ workouts to build strength. The trainees get a 30-minute session in which they perform one set of exercise, done very slowly and to failure.
They feel that using free weights prevents the person from going through a full range of motion and that machines allow it. Plus all workouts are pre-written and each client gets the same workout because they say that men and women have all the same muscles. The only thing that changes is how much resistance is used.
My question is this: Is this an effective way to train individuals?
Hey Steph, wow that’s quite a lot of information.
First thing I’m going to say is RUN away from this gym and don’t accept a job offer from them! Where should I start?
Ok, yes it’s true men and women have the same muscles, but each gender has their own special set of needs. Men tend to be weak and deconditioned in areas that women are not, and as INDIVIDUALS, each person may have their own set of goals and needs. One of the very first things I said here on the site was that workout routines can’t be “cookie cutter”. That’s one surefire way to not get results. Plus not all machines fit all people and few allow for a full range of motion! That’s an ass backwards way of thinking!
When using free weights YOU, the trainee go through your individual range of motion, which may be different than mine, or the gal next next to you. No matter what the case is, it’s universally known that free weights offer far superior range of motion than any machine, save for cables that is. And just how high intensity and efficient can sitting down on a machine be? I’ve said before YOU DON’T GET IN SHAPE SITTING DOWN!
My mind is literally racing as I write this because I’d love to have a talk with the owners of this ‘gym’. 30-minute sessions? One set to failure? Your central nervous system isn’t even warmed up by the time the first set is over. You need multiple sets of an exercise to tap into and recruit many muscle fibers. In my opinion, one set won’t do much at all, especially as people become fitter and get further into a program. I just love seeing those workout cards in gyms, where everyone does the same workout week after week. Have you ever noticed that those people never look any different and after a while you don’t see them at all anymore?
Here’s the deal Steph. Many of these gyms have popped up with their sales pitch being that they can get you fit in 30 minutes, a few days per week and it’s mindless. Just sit on a piece of equipment, push or pull it through its range and in weeks you’ll be fitter and healthier. It’s bull. If it were that easy to get in shape I wouldn’t be wasting hours in the gym busting my ass nor would anyone else who knows anything about fitness. The simplest way to think about this is to understand that exercise is a stimulus for change. Just how much stimulus can be provided in one set for 30 minutes? Not much, and if the only training variable is adding weight, your body will surely get bored and adjust easily.
So no, it’s not effective in my opinion at all and actually I feel it’s a great disservice to those people who are trusting that this gym knows what it’s doing. These trainees aren’t going to learn anything, won’t develop core, balance or stability strength and I’d bet after some time will just stop going. But of course the gym owners will probably have them sign a yearly contract and collect money on all of the people that don’t go. It’s just terrible in my opinion. Stay where you are and gather experience in training. Keep your mind open and use common sense. If it sounds too good, it is.
And if you have a question – please just click here. I’d love to help you!
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about 10 months ago - 2 comments
Hi Alfonso, I just found your blog and I love it – please help: I used to work out all the time but I ate terribly, smoked and drank. In the last 5 years I’ve quit smoking, hardly drink and I don’t eat processed foods. BUT I’ve become lazy. I’m in perfect medical health…