Why do people feel that they are Fitness Experts by reading magazines and books?

1 June, 2012
Why do people feel that they are Fitness Experts by reading magazines and books?

Knowledge is meaningless until your experience gives it meaning, making it wisdom and without wisdom, knowledge is more stupid than ignorance

I have recently started seeing more and more people in the gym teaching friends and colleagues etc how to exercise. They have read it in a magazine and now think they are experts. And when you approach them to correct their technique, they get defensive and start trying to argue with you that they are right and you are wrong….. I mean what do I know; I’ve been in the industry for over 18 years and have continuously updated my education on recent studies and progression on exercise and performance? I even had some guy try to argue with me and give me advice on BOXING the other day, just because he has done some classes and had one white collar fight, I had to bite my tongue like never before so he didn’t get the full on Cathy reaction wrath…. he will be told though, but when I’m feeling a bit calmer (but that’s a story for another blog).

Why do people feel that just because they have read an article or even had a personal training session, they have the knowledge to pass onto others? And it’s not because I feel threatened (far from it) or that I feel that there is no place for me as a Strength and Conditioning Coach or touting for new business (as my books are full), it’s because along with seeing them trying to teach a movement, I am seeing very bad technique being taught too, which inevitably results in bad form and bad injuries, especially when it comes to complex movements such as power cleans, deadlifts and squats.

And it’s not just members of the gym I am seeing, but more often actual personal trainers who have been in the industry for a long time and never upgraded their qualifications, so they haven’t learned the correct technique themselves and are therefore either watching other personal trainers and copying or from reading it in books and magazines, this breaks my heart even more. Go and upgrade your knowledge, stop being so lazy. They talk a good talk but they can’t walk the walk and are injuring clients left, right and centre.

A lot more people are doing complex movements in the gym and their form is so bad they will most certainly end up with long term injuries, as complex movements are powerful and need to be performed correctly. I overheard someone the other day complaining of a bad back when doing deadlifts, but then being encouraged to stop moaning and then putting more weight on… I mean REALLY??!! More often people are even doing simple movements like a bicep curl which is too heavy and therefore their technique is shocking and they are not working the muscle as you should be and hence doing a pointless exercise, as they are not using the movement patterns that make that particular exercise work the muscle they are working on. So stop being so egotistical and trying to load weights up too much, do the exercise correctly. If you have only read how to do it in a magazine then ask a trainer for help, there should always be a trainer able to help you. Even if you pay a trainer once every six weeks to upgrade your program, it will be money well spent as you will not only be leaning correct technique but also changing your program so you don’t hit plateaus in your performance and you will get progression with your training, whatever you want to achieve.
BUT …when looking for a trainer you should not only ask for their qualifications and experience, but also when the last time they went on a course or even a refresher course, just to make sure they are up to date with new scientific research into exercise.

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