There is a TON of information out there on health and fitness! So much, in fact, that it can be really hard to determine what's useful, and what's worthless, albeit even dangerous. On top of that, useful information for one person may be problematic for another depending on their current fitness, potential for injuries, imbalances, and more. However, there are 5 easy red flags that you should RUN from if you see any of them in a program, and especially in one that you've paid any sort of money for! 1) The PDF The year is 2021, not 2004. If you're getting a personalized program, it's definitely not personalized, if it's in a PDF. Any halfway decent trainer will have their own app (like the Backcountry Fitness app), or at least an excel sheet with links to exercise descriptions for each movement. Ensuring a client understands how to properly execute a movement is just as important as telling them what to do in the training world, so if there are no video descriptions or explanations, move on. 2) The "Fun Challenge" Workouts You'll see these all over Instagram. "100 Burpees, 100 Air Squats, 100 Push Ups, x10". This is not a training program, this is just a dumb jumble of exercises. If any of your programs feature formats that "add up to 1,000!" or "12 rounds for December!", find another trainer. Worst case scenario you'll get hurt, best case scenario, you'll lose track of counting and don't have to do it anymore. 3) Push Ups, Squats, and Crunches This one is a little harder for the average person to spot, but here we are looking for "balance". Balance between pushing and pulling, flexion and stability, forwards and sideways. Lots of programs, especially bodyweight programs, throw balance to the wind and go "Push/Push/Crunch! Push/Push/Crunch!", leading to injury from overuse down the line. Find a program that has rows, pull aparts, planks, glute bridges, and hamstring work just as much as it has barbell back squats. 4) The "Trainer Because I Did It" There are trainers who have gotten their degrees, spent years honing their craft with countless hours of in person clients, have a beyond solid understanding of the underlying human anatomy, physiology, and psychology.... and then there are the people who just hiked to Everest Base Camp, so now they think they can help you do it, too. Experience in doing something is rarely enough to help another person physically and mentally prepare for that same thing. The skill a good coach has is not their ability in getting one person to their goal, but in getting any person to their goal, with all facets of that person's life taken into account. 5) The Randomized Workout Generator There is a huge difference between "working out" and "training". Working out could be any type of physical activity- hitting the gym, swimming at the beach, doing a spin class. Training is working out with a purpose, and one that's been clearly defined and progressed over days, weeks, and months. If your training program has a bunch of fun workouts that get you tired, great! But if they don't progress in weight, distance, duration, reps, rest, volume, or any number of factors, methodically and over a period of time, with a clear purpose... you're not training. You're just breaking a sweat. Do you have any other red flags you've seen and run (or not run??) away from? Let me know in the comments below!
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