Home » Myths and Truths

Tag: Myths and Truths

No Trends, No Fads, No Quick Fixes

Some might say what we do at SVPT is boring.  From a certain point of view that is true, as we aren’t sexy, we aren’t flashy, and maybe the cool kids don’t dig us.  But what we are great at is teaching you to master your movement and build fitness that will ultimately make you a bad-ass in life…….for the long term, not just for the next 2 months.

There is no screaming at you, making you puke, or trying to crush your soul.   We believe in building you up, not breaking you down.  I mean, isn’t that the reason you started exercising in the first place – to feel better physically, mentally, and emotionally? No one likes to walk away from a workout feeling worse than when they walked in.

It’s not about being flashy or sexy, cool or stylish – it’s about building fundamental movement skills through challenging fitness fun.  Mastering fundamentals reduces injuries, slows aging, and builds a body that allows you to live a fuller life. When you move better, you live better.  Isn’t that what fitness is supposed to be about? Living a better and more full life, because you are physically able to.

We frequently get asked, “Hey have you seen the latest fitness trend _______ on social media?”.  We see it.  We have cringed at it, and we don’t do it.  We don’t get caught up in the latest social media phenoms.   (And we won’t name any of the current trends/fads out there, because this is not about bashing them, it’s about explaining why we don’t buy into them.)

Training trends and fads are usually the ‘latest and greatest’ exercise, system, or concept to gain attention in the fitness industry or achieve notoriety on social media.  However, just as the latest diet and fashion trends die off, training fads and trends will fade.  And after they fade, you will see many coaches and trainers reverting back to tried and true ‘boring’ systems, because they work.

Boring works.  Simple is genius.  So yeah, we are kind of geniuses.

While we do continuously educate ourselves about the “new” fitness trends, we have found that the common themes of most good fitness systems in our industry involve simplicity.  As we continue our education, we continue adding more tools to our training toolbox.  But more importantly, we learn through experience when it is appropriate to use those tools.  This would include knowing when to use non-traditional or “fancy” implements such as kettlebells, bands, chains, TRX, stability balls, etc. We also know when and when not to use more advanced training methods such as eccentric training, tempo, volume, etc.

A lot of the trends and fads can be effective (for a time), but it comes down to understanding if these trends and fads serve the client’s purpose and goals LONG TERM, because we want to see you continue with your fitness, not blast a 30 day challenge twice a year.  Quick fixes in fitness are just that – quick.  Often not long lasting.  Building fitness is a skill and takes time, just like any other skill.  If you are jumping around from trend to trend, you are more than likely risking injury and not truly building a solid fitness foundation. A foundation is what you need to sustain fitness for the rest of your life.

Great coaching, efficient programming, and good results will never go out of style. More importantly, they will never stop being effective.  Mastering the basics and building a foundation will never be wasted time, and learning quality movement will always be important.  It’s a matter of understanding when the basics can be modified to make them more challenging and fun, but still effective and safe…not a circus act to post on Instagram that will eventually make the Gym Fails compilation.

So when a client vocalizes their disdain for a certain exercise due to boredom or simply because it is a hard exercise, we remind them of the why.  Something wonderful happens when you explain to a client why they are doing something. They become empowered.  All of a sudden they do that exercise just a little bit better.  Ultimately our job is for you to feel confident enough to leave our little gym nest……FLY BIRDIE FLY!   Our job is to have you not need us anymore, and if we are constantly bouncing from trend to trend, we aren’t giving you the foundations to understand fitness and do it on your own.

You will notice we do not sell anything or push anything flashy, sexy, or trendy on you except good old-fashioned hard work, consistency, and sound programming.  That is the secret, our “secret”.

 

Shara Vigeant, BA, NSCA-CPT*D, CFSC

The ONLY Thing You Need to Get Fit EVER

Now that we have your attention, it’s about time we talk about this one thing that you need to get fitter, healthier and dare we say, happier:  SLEEP.

I am sure you have read or heard before how important sleep is.  Well, we are saying it’s the ONE AND ONLY thing you need to live a healthier and fitter life.  Big claim, right?  Well, we dare to say it because if there is one consistent factor we see in clients that affects their performance, mood, food choices, mental clarity, stress…it is LACK OF SLEEP.  Everyone wants to get more done in a day, and with our hectic lives, sleep is usually the first activity to be sacrificed.

We see a lot of people at SVPT and can honestly say that the one issue that keeps coming up with clients is their lack of sleep, or living in sleep deprivation.  They think it’s their training program or diet that is not working but actually it’s the fact that they just simply are not getting enough sleep! 

Proper sleep means normal energy levels. If you are trying to get in shape and sculpt your body you will definitely need energy. People who feel sleepy can’t find the energy to work out, prepare a healthy meal or simply take a walk.

On top of lack of energy, sleep deprivation also means that your body won’t have time to recover from training. In case you didn’t know, your body needs some time to repair muscle tissue after a workout and also restore chemical balances.

Here are a few other things that can happen with a lack of sleep (no citing sources here, but you can ask your doctor and the internet):

  • Memory Issues
  • Mood Changes
  • Weakened Immunity
  • Difficulty Concentrating
  • Accidents
  • Weight Gain
  • Poor Balance
  • Risk of Heart Disease
  • High Blood Pressure
  • Decreased Performance/Endurance
  • Injuries Won’t Heal 

You cannot crush fitness goals in a consistently sleep deprived state.  Normally we would say that consistency is the real key to fitness success, but without sleep you can’t apply consistency.  

Sleep is one of those things that needs to be trained, and made into a routine.  The body loves routine and homeostasis.  Make a plan to go to bed at the same time for 2 weeks.  Yes, even on the weekends.  Commit to getting a solid 8 hours for 2 weeks and see what happens to your energy, recovery and quality of life. 

We dare you.

A well-rested body (and mind) is a force to be reckoned with! 

 

Shara Vigeant, BA, NSCA-CPT*D, CFSC

F*ck Burpees!

Literally. Please stop the madness. STOP.

We don’t burpee. Ever.

On the heels of some of the top trainers in the world, including Ben Bruno and Mike Boyle, we too are saying NO to burpees. #justsaynotoburpees

I know, I know – there are no bad exercises, only bad application. The fitness industry is awesome at fear mongering when it comes to certain exercises (squats are horrible for your knees, don’t you know??!!), but this demonizing of squats, deadlifts, or any number of other legitimate exercises is generally unwarranted and unnecessary.

However, we believe that burpees are one of those exercises that is an exception to this rule and should be retired. While ANY exercise can be dangerous if performed incorrectly, we as trainers can teach and reinforce proper technique to reduce injury risk, as well as scale the difficulty level and choose appropriate load for the trainee. But…burpees are neither coachable nor scale-able.

Simply put, there is no good way to perform a burpee! Too many things can go wrong, as instant fatigue quickly leads to a breakdown of form and feelings. Excessive fatigue leads to sloppy movement, and the resulting floundering, flapping, and flopping that is commonly observed during a set of burpees is a little bit hard to watch, if we’re being honest.

Let’s be real for a moment. There are not too many humans on this planet who actually truly enjoy doing the movement. Why push a client to do something they don’t like, when you can find something they dislike a lot less and you will get far better work QUALITY? After all, isn’t training primarily about learning proper movement and constantly improving the quality of this movement?

Why does a trainer even consider a burpee? Most trainers (and by most, I will say those that are using them regularly) use burpees to ‘punish’ or to raise the heart rate, as a conditioning tool. And of course, it works ‘every single muscle’ in the body. More bang for your buck, right? The huge downside is that as the client gets fatigued, form becomes absolutely atrocious and their risk of injury increases – especially in the lower back. All for the sake of making them tired.

Full disclosure here. Did I program burpees in the past? Absolutely. But once you know better, you do better. As a new trainer, I thought my job was to kill the souls of my clients, and what better way to do that than burpees and all the variations of burpees known to mankind!

Once I started getting more experienced and educated I thought to myself…there has to be BETTER options for the same effect (whole body movement, conditioning, energy system development). After seeing clients butcher the burpee and literally just stop having any productive or high-quality movement, I cut the exercise from my programming for good.

In summary, we free you of burpees for the rest of time. You do not have to do burpees to get in shape, to be fit and to crush goals – there are so many other options and exercises that, when programmed properly, can crush your soul all the same.

Shara Vigeant, BA, NSCA-CPT*D, CFSC

Myths and Truths: Strength Training for Runners

The way to get better at running is to run.

This is a sentiment that many runners subscribe to.  While there is truth to the need to run to become a better runner, cross training and strength training can improve your running without the high impact.  Let’s be real for a moment, running is extremely hard on the body, so anything you can do to keep your body injury free WHILE improving your running without further impact on the body is a win-win.

A well-designed strength program will supplement your run training by adding strength and durability.  This means you will get faster, stronger, and less likely to incur an injury.

Here are a few common myths and truths about strength training as part of a runners training program:

 

Myth: You only need to do strength exercises when you’re injured to fix the injury.

Truth: As a general rule, runners exist in a vicious cycle of chronic injury. The cycle begins with an injury. The runner might then see a physiotherapist or other professional, do their prescribed rehab exercises, then jump right back into the program that injured them while letting the exercises fall to the wayside because the injury is “fixed.”

Injury occurs when the external load exceeds the load bearing capacity of the tissues. Put simply, if your joints, tissues and muscles are not strong enough to perform the tasks you’re asking of them, an injury is inevitable. When an injury occurs, it is because the tissues can’t handle the training load. When an injury is rehabbed fully and properly, it means that the tissues have been restored back to their normal functioning capacity – equal to pre-injury capacity, or ideally even higher. If you do not rehab fully, and jump back into the same running program with tissues that have lower load bearing capacity than they did before, it is no wonder that the injury reoccurs.

Strength training will increase the load bearing capacity of your muscles and tissues in a way that running can’t. This translates to being able to handle a higher training load, with a reduced chance of injury. Strength training will allow you to run more!

 

Myth:  Strength training will make you big and bulky.

Truth: Strength training will add lean muscle mass. Trust me, as someone who actively tries to gain visible muscle, I would love to be able to run everyday and also have the physique of Hugh Jackman in Wolverine. The reality is that this isn’t what happens when you lift weights unless you train very hard and very specifically.

In distance running, the goal is to get from the start to the finish as fast as possible. For many, weights equal muscles, which equal more mass to carry, and this translates to slower times. There is some truth to the idea that the heavier you are, the slower you will be; however, a gain in lean muscle mass is not the same as a gain in adipose or fatty tissue. Adipose tissue is useless weight that you have to carry, while muscle tissue can help do the work. Think of strength training as adding hands to help do the work.

 

Myth: Strength training takes away from your run training.

Truth: A proper strength routine should add to your run training, not take away from it. Your program should be designed to prepare you for your sport. Running is about efficiency, so a training program designed to strengthen hip extension, arm drive, and rotational core, will make you more efficient in your sport. If you find yourself doing a program that includes biceps curls, ditch it. Favour a program that includes functional movement (i.e., exercises that will carry over into your running ability) over isolated exercises.

You don’t have to spend hours in the gym to get strength benefits. It can mean as little as 30-40 mins 2-3 times per week. Your time in the gym should also shift as your running program shifts, meaning less time doing strength work during the high volume weeks and as you get closer to competition. Strength training is your side dish, while running is your entrée. Neither is complete on its own!

 

Kristen Hansen, BA, CSEP-CPT, PFT-NAIT, NASM-CES, FRCms