A Dirty Story & The Principle of Progression

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Every personal trainer and fitness instructor worth their weight knows about “The Principle of Progression.” It means that you start with small motions and work up to bigger motions. It means you start with light weights and work up to heavier weights. It means that – as a fitness pro – you have to be willing to work with newbies, and it means that – as a client – you have to admit that you are a BEGINNER and a LEARNER…

…And that is NOT a popular notion that sells big in this “make everyone feel good about themselves” world. Think about it: A trainer offers an overweight client two programs, one of which is labeled, “Simple workouts designed to slowly improve your waistline.” The other is labeled “Killer workout to shred that waistline in 6 weeks or less!” If you are desperate to be the biggest loser, which one do you pick?

Here’s a better question: why is the client doing the picking?

I believe my clients are smart, but they are hiring ME to do what I have been trained to do BEST. The client doesn’t have a degree! The client hasn’t been trained and mentored for YEARS… and neither have a LOT of trainers and instructors out there! I know a few trainers who think that giving a client their best means giving them their HARDEST moves. They’ve taught their clients to pursue pain!

But I believe in playing safe, because each of my clients only has one body to ruin.

  • Trainers and instructors should have the know-how and education to analyze their clients at a glance (After 6 years of caliper tests and hand-held bio-electrical impedance measurements and 16 years in the fitness industry, I can guesstimate a person’s body-fat percentage within 2% and whether they have a diastasis just by looking at them!)
  • Trainers should NOT be training every client the same, yet the average open-all-day fitness center insists on very little real training for their online-certified supplement peddlers! True story, and I’m working on getting one trainer I know personally to write what happened to her on a blog on here.
  • Instructors should NOT be forced to teach canned classes where one routine is used for every fitness level in a class for full that one wrong move would result in a black eye! A seasoned instructor can see one person struggling and adapt the whole class without them even realizing it!

We are not owned or run by a big brand or corporation here at Fit2B Studio.

We own ourselves. And we are yelling really LOUD about how true fitness needs to be about progression not pain. It’s hard to convince people, though…

The Dirty Story: When I was working for a club – that shall remain nameless because I am scared of the power in the story I am about to tell – I had the chance to start teaching canned “body” classes. I would need to buy the choreography and the music myself and have myself filmed in my bra top doing the moves perfectly, and then I’d need to send that video off for review. If whatever stranger watching my video should deem my body and my parroted moves worthy, then I would be eligible to teach said moves for THREE months before learning the next routine – which didn’t have to be videotaped. I was told I would make up to $10 more per hour!

Being the poor college student I was, I started the training… Until a concept I was learning in my UNIVERSITY level fitness courses stopped me cold: The Principle of Progression. Where was it in the choreography? If I couldn’t deviate…  if I couldn’t slow the class down to bring one person in the group up to speed for fear of being thrown off by one beat… if a certain exercise wouldn’t work for the pregnant woman in the back… if the research changed and suddenly I found myself teaching something that no longer aligned with modern facts… If they forced me to teach a “controversial” move… what would I do???

I was assured there would be no controversial moves {who defines that? it’s always changing!} and I was also told that I would be eventually be “let go” if I didn’t go along with this new group style of teaching. I was told that if I did choose to “buy into” the program … and every instructor has to make an investment in these programs, which sometimes the clubs reimburse a little bit… that if I deviated from the choreography one bit and was reported, I would be demoted and dropped to a lower level of payment and not given choice class selection.

I chose to not buy in. I chose to not sell out. I chose to be my own girl, my own instructor. My classes were smaller, and eventually I was “downsized due to class size.” I was fine with that because from the outside looking in, those programs kept the instructors in a constant stress and tizzy trying to keep up. Meanwhile, instead of trying to keep up with a corporate brand’s notion of what would work for a mass of 50 people crammed into one room, I finished my degree and learned how to dissect muscle tissue, read statistics, talk with researchers, manage a fitness club, and THINK FOR MYSELF!

I used to do this move all the time! I now know that it tears at the connective tissue of the abs!

I just had a long conversation with a few trainer gals on LinkedIn who did “buy in,” and a couple of them couldn’t – literally COULD not, did not have the ability to – open their minds to the concept of no crunches and no planks because … well, I’ll let you read it if you care to join the group and follow this link. Notice the people she works for and the brochure she attaches, claiming that it is safe for pregnant women. Notice how I state precisely why three of the exercises in that brochure are NOT safe, and how open the original poster is… but then see who jumps into the fray and what they say!!! I admit I got a wee bit testy at one point… 😉 I’m not sure if it’s good that they let me have the final word…

Me, pregnant with my son, modeling my tummy with my daughter.
Click the image to be taken to AWESOME info about Pregnancy and what we offer!

But what is sad and scary about all this, is that garbage like this doesn’t just happen face-to-face in athletic clubs and fitness centers where clients and members are trained by lazy people who have run out of ideas and are willing to take orders from a corporation based on what sells the most memberships! It also happens everyday on supermarket shelves selling exercise videos and equipment, and the average Joe or Joe-Mama inevitably picks the workout regime that promises the most gain…even if it brings the most pain. All because the half-naked models on the cover (who were photo-shopped) offered to tear them to pieces with the subtle promise that those rippling, lean muscles are attainable within weeks!?!?

We are NOT about pain here. We want you to say “oooooh, I feel that” not “OWWWW, I tore something and won’t be able to walk right for a week!” Our workouts are relaxing and build upon each other. You’ll start learning about yoga in a chair! You’ll be a real beginner as you discover a few muscles that don’t get talked about in big group fitness classes (unless you’re in one of mine!)


Workouts that can be done on the floor or on a chair... because life happens!

Our members are directed through specific pathways of progression that allow them to track their progress and see how they’re advancing. We start small and slow, and that means we aren’t as sexy in the selling department because we aren’t showing our six-pack and bouncing around, yelling at you in our bra-excuse for a sports top. Because BECAUSE because…

true fitness is NOT about what you see on the outside after six weeks of connective tissue-shredding workouts you don’t care to EVER repeat! True fitness – the kind that starts on the inside and outside all at once and then meets in the middle – leaves you excited to exercise again because it was enjoyable and soothing and fun!

Try us for a month and see for yourself how we progress every exerciser toward greater strength and wellness.

2 thoughts on “A Dirty Story & The Principle of Progression

  1. Kristine says:

    You have – nearly word-for-word – given the explanation that I offer when people ask me why I don’t teach the “canned” classes. I don’t see how a trained professional can stand in front of a classroom of clients, offer up movements, and not be able to be responsive to what she sees out there.

    My client base is consistent and stable, and even still, from week to week their needs change greatly. I just cannot fathom being hemmed in by prescribed choreography. (Nor do I want to spend my time and energy learning said choreography!)

    And don’t even get me started on the “at home” programs … !

    Thanks for a good post.

  2. Pingback: Your CYCLE of Workouts | Fit2B Studio

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