PT and alternative exercise

Hype after hypthumb-nationaal-convenante sweeping through the fitness and reviewed on TV and other media. As PT you want to follow the fashion but you lack the investment power and knowledge of these new hypes. But did you analyze these hypes? Do you really need to buy all these equipment?

When we analyze most of the new hypes we can see that they are copies of other used performances sometimes from way back. Let’s look at the kettlebell hype. This useful instrument came from Russia and India and by promotion of some individuals made their way to here. Are these exercises new to us? The answer is no. In Rotterdam I saw the same exercises done by ship loaders and freight forwarders in the ‘70’s  with bags of beans, rice or other products. They used different tolls but with the same effect. Can we replace the expensive kettlebell for something cheaper in the gym? Yes, we just can use weight plates with handles and the problem is solved. No need for investments.

Some products are handy and have a long term use. TRX or related products give a huge variety of exercise opportunities and cost relatively not much. The practical part is that we can use it in- and outhouse. It is possible to make exercises as heavy as we like by using elastic belt resistant. This again saves us weigh to carry around. I saw one trainer who made it more fun by using a plastic 55 cm ball as a kind of spring board so the kids could jump and pull up. They seem to have great fun.

Alternative training must be studied well and understood before using it. In one particular case I saw a trainer using a trampoline and a weight plate as resistant. He forgot that balance is the main purpose of using the trampoline and as expected the jumper got the weight plate full on his head and was out for the time being. Irresponsible and stupid.

When you want to use alternatives, record them first. Sit down in front of the screen and analyze the movement, research for alternative (cheaper) equipment, train yourself first before implementation and most of all; Keep it simple. Never ever start complicated moves when basics is not mastered.


Arnaud van der Veere


PT and machine

Machine trhelaining is a real issue in PT. Are you a good PT when using machines or not? That question can only be answered by looking at the target and level of the customer.

First of all the level is important. When a customer comes to you the start must be the operational movement “machine” of the individual. You teach them how to move well, perform the exercises in the right way and adapt to new challenges. Next is motivation and coordination. At the end of your series of lessons you teach how the customer can set up its own program and measure performance. This is the normal situation of PT work when working toward a final goal and let the customer go. If you and the customer agree to have a permanent relationship, the building blocks are different.

In most cases of top PT the customer comes with a target in mind. A real target, not such vague one as “oh sir, I want to lose weight”. Performance PT is target directed. You start at A and end at Z. When the target is reached both move on their way.

In the first part we use machines to support motion control. Each machine has a fixed movement pattern and it is often hard to adjust it to an individual level. Our bodies are not made to get accustomed to fixed movements as we all have an individual adjustment system and unequal left and right movement. Hardly anybody has a synchronized or symmetrical movement between left and right side. Machines offer no choice than a symmetrical movement. This can increase injuries in many cases.

Free weights or alternative resistant offers a wider range of motion and enables individual adaption. A PT should use this more than machines. But there are reasons to use them. Fun reasons such as a circuit training, revalidation of specific area’s with low or max resistance under safe circumstances, control of the range of motion and in some cases used as test instruments.

PT and sex

Being a PT is dealing with sexual issues. Every PT gets close to customers, often in a direct physical contact. Close physical contact stimulates emotionsnon verbal and sometimes impropriate touches or idea’s. In many cases PT will go over the border. Read magazines, book, movies and so on and you be confronted with the fact that PT is a sensitive job with a strong sexual content.

Being PT gives you the responsibility over a person’s sexual responses and at the same time their private relationships. Always keep in mind that when you cross the border you damage the customers personal life at once. You are in a very responsible position. In many cases you can make and break a personal private life by just a few touches to much.

One of the first rules of engagements a PT should observe is distance. Having a proper distance is important to make sure the customer is safe and will not be bothered by thoughts of intimacy. Having the right professional distance is using the circle of intimacy;

While working out with a person you should stay in the social space for most of the time. Entering the personal space is done with a minim touching and the smallest possible surface. The larger the connection area the more intimacy occurs.

When you get intimate with a customer, something that is always possible, you should stop the professional connection at once. Having a professional connection and intimate contact does damage your reputation and always lead to the end of your career. Stop the professional connection and let another trainer take over. Be brave to acknowledge your weakness at this point and act upon it.

PT and mental

How many PT offer mental training? Bet you think that many are able to do this. But mental training comes not only with tricks and gadgets but from actual experiences and years of training. Being a mental trainer implies you have and the life experience of a full grown adult and the knowledge of a scholar. Gueimagesss how many under 30 PT trainers do have such abilities?

Be honest to yourself. Most PT do not have the right and appropriate tools to give mental training. Offering something you are not capable of is dangerous for your reputation building, it can have long lasting effects. When you read back my former articles I focus on being a good PT, a specialist in your field.

Offering mental training is also a specialism. If you are a good teamplayer yourself it will be hard to understand and coach an individualist and the other way around. When you grow up in sport you lack the experience of the commercial world and cannot make the switch needed to coach someone from that industry. If you want to be an overall coach you should also work in environments that you are not use to and learn to adapt. Working under different stress related situations gives you inside how others may feel. Being a psychologist does not make you a good mental coach either.

When you want to offer mental coaching stick close to your own experience and be able to say know and “I do not know”. Being proud of showing of a none venerability is not clever. Learning to be venerable during the giving of mental training is an important issue which will bother most macho trainers. Mental training is not like weightlifting. You cannot continue to add on weight until the muscles give up. During mental training the overload is reached on a much different scale of measurement.


PT and equipment 2

Most PT start with lots of enthusiasm and energy. First you will take on any customer but soon you discover that having people around that are “energy draining” you need to change approach. Being a PT is also to become a specialist. Most PT work as entrepreneur. It is impossible to be a “know it all”, specialism is a need.

To become a specialist you should focus on your core energy products. A core product is that what energizes you and makes you happy doing it. PT is personal, not only to the customer but also toward yourself. PT is also being honest to yourself and the customer. Do not take part in exercises you have no knkick2befit-thumbowledge about.

In 2015 I started the course “paddy man”. This course is specially for PT who want to learn how to use the different pads in a safe and secure way. Most PT come to the course to learn tricks but forget that their body is not always strong enough to hold every customer. Being a paddy man has two sides. One side is to assist your customer to work out safely, entertaining and result oriented. But the other side is more important to the PT itself.

Most PT
forget that they have a limited body. When their body is sick or injured they cannot perform and make no money. Using the pads in the wrong way can damage the body severely and permanently. In my direct surrounding I have examples enough from operations to the wrist, shoulder, back and neck. These operations are directly linked to the wrong way of using the pads.

With using the pads you receive impact. Your body is like a boxing bag. Being on the receiving end demands a good way of neutralizing this impact and preventing it to hurt your body. Just holding up a few pads and let people hit like in the movies or Youtube is asking for trouble. But most PT do not care that much for their capital body.
Being a PT implies that your most important capital investment and equipment is your own body. The first and foremost important thing a PT should need to learn and understand is how to protect that investments. Do you know how to do this?

PT and equipment

bagworkout-thumbAs PT you are confronted with a huge variety of possible training equipment. Each product is designed with specific techniques in mind. The people behind the products want to sell them, no matter how effects. Sales is important to them.

As shop owner I receive monthly a huge amount of new feature products. All promise to be successful, exclusive, result oriented and cost effective. But with over 40 years dealing I have seen most of them come and go, very few can stand time. How many fashionable hits have you already seen?

One advantage of my work is that I do not have to follow the “hypes”, in fact I rarely ever have done so. Most hypes come and go and will leave a trace of “lost money” behind. Investments are made and after the products failed to accomplish what was “promised” they will be put aside.

When considering products it is important to choose wisely. Your first investment should be ion your core interest and specialty, not in what you think the customer will like. At any investment you should consider who you are and are you capable and interested to use these products for a long time. If you invest in Hype you will lose money. Most hype does not last long enough to make a return on investment.

Choose products of which you can be sure to earn them back within months not years, you are not a gym. If you want to invest on a large scale, for instance by having your own personal gym, your first choice should be iron. Iron such as weights and machines can be sold when not needed, they always keep a certain value. Plastics lose at least 50-80% value at the moment you buy them.


How personal may personal training be?

japansUntil now most people take personal training very personal as one-on-one but is that really necessary? In over 40 years of experience I found that people like company and even a little competition. Having more than one person at your personal training will improve results. Most PT are wary of asking the customer to share the lesson with others but why should they? We can sell them an extra profitable experience.


First of all you lower the price of the individual with a few Euro or increase the time you spend with them. It is important you find a person of the same level and interest to partner up. If you take the friends of the current customer you will lose the edge of competition and often the result is not positive. To get the best results, use strangers. Do not introduce them too much, just in general, that will keep some tension.


Competitive feelings are a need to get short and long term results. If you make the training too easy your customer will not get the desired effects. In CrossFit training you can see that people boost each other by natural competition. Putting different competitive elements in training gives you the opportunity to let a training grow to a peak.


PT must have the goal to stimulate, motivate and get the customers into action the rest of the week. If you have the “luxury” to choose customers it would be the best to have every customer one or two times a week and get them to train by themselves at other times. Your training should be used , beside the mentioned mental effects, for instruction, technique and new items.

Age Control

Age Control

 Ageing is a process that everybody has to go through. There is no choice and no possibility to stop time. The ageing process leads to a slow loss of our hard earned physical and mental capabilities. As years go by certain restrictions in life start to occur which we would rather not have.

Despite the fact that many of us try to live healthier, actual ageing cannot be stopped. Ageing starts at the cellular level. Part of this is caused by a steady breakdown of the telomeres. Telomeres are sequences of nucleic acids extending from the ends of chromosomes. Telomeres act to maintain the integrity of DNA. Every time a cell divides part of the telomere is lost, leading to information loss, cellular damage and (cell) death.

Ageing already begins at birth. Till about the age of eighteen there is a rapid division, multiplication and specialization of cells. Functions are building up by which body and mind slowly form a unity. Around this time a first turning point can be recognized. The growth in length halts and all energy starts to be focused on further development of muscles, organs and other body parts. The basic functions are expanded and optimized. From this age on clear life goals can be set.

Till about the age of thirty there is progress in physical and mental capabilities. For most people another turning point can be observed around this time. Certain stabilization occurs in their social life (relationships, marriage, children, work, study and career). In general we can say that mental maturity in male in current society is at age 35 and female at 30.

Despite the feeling that life is on the right track, small changes start to occur. The number of injuries increase, cognitive functions decrease, sensory functions decline, joints starts to loose suppleness, muscular endurance and strength start to decrease, body composition changes etc. In general more effort has to be made to reach the same results as in the past.

Which factors are responsible for these changes?

After thirty changes occurs in the hormone and enzyme balance. Several enzymes and hormones start to loose strength and functionality or are even completely build off. Many people feel their physical condition and/or sexual capabilities start to decrease. The digestive track is declining gently causing insufficient nutrients to enter the bloodstream.

Stress can be an important factor with negative implications. But stress cannot only be looked upon as negative. Stress is also an important factor for performance. Look for example at top sporting competitors. They only perform at their best under maximum stress. In our daily lives we need small amounts of stress to perform well. In fact the fitness training many of us perform is a form of stress we need to combat the daily stresses from work and social life.

Stress only starts to be of concern when it stays on too long or in the wrong situations. Possibly you have already experienced some of the side effects of stress like hard painful muscles in the shoulders, neck or calves.

Relaxation has a positive influence on the body. A sufficient amount of rest must be taken. The question is if we are truly able to realize this every day in our society, which is so much based on production and performance.

Another important factor is our eating habits. Our work and social life have not only changed the way we eat but also the composition of our meals. Most often these changes are not positive. The body needs a good and constant supply of specific basic nutrients to accommodate to the activities and stress of daily life.

Another factor is the activity of free radicals. Our cells are supplied with oxygen and nutrients by the blood stream. This circulation depends on a sufficient amount of movement. Movement can only be achieved when there is a supply of energy.  To form this energy a biochemical reaction has to occur. This reaction uses oxygen and causes waste products; parts of these are free radicals. “Free radicals” is a term used to describe any molecule that possesses a free electron.

A free radical wants to neutralize itself by attaching to other molecules and stealing a matching electron. In doing so, they create new free radicals and damage body cells. This can cause a loss of function in organs with serious health consequences (sample; cancer).

Some of the factors that stimulate the forming of free radicals are stress (elevates metabolism), chronic inflammations, environmental pollution, artificial food additives, cigarette smoke, chemotherapy and all kinds of electromagnetic rays among which sunlight.

There are ways to combat the negative effects of aging.