I gave my friend her first “official” training session this past Friday. In the very short amount of time I entered this world being the trainer and not the trainee, I realized a few things that I am sure all great coaches and trainers hold near and dear to their hearts.
- You have to know your athletes or clients and what they are comfortable with. For instance, I didn’t even think to ask my friend first if it is ok that I make physical contact with her to tweak her positioning. She didn’t have a problem with it but some people might.
- Communication is key. As it was our first session together and she’s a beginner, I repeatedly asked her during movements how she was feeling. I wanted to make sure she was using the right muscles and feeling the burn where she should. I also wanted to make sure she wasn’t breezing through things with no burn because well, we know how I feel about sandbaggers.
- As my friend and former trainer, Rick, reminded me before Friday, when it comes to training someone, you have to start them in kindergarten, then first grade and so on. (He also diplomatically told me, “Missy, don’t have her do all that crazy CrossFit shit you do.” Keep it basic at the beginning to really focus on core and good form. I also was reminded that what I think is scaled down may even need to be more scaled down. For example, I programmed modified push -ups to be from the knees and figured two sets of 10 were totally feasible. Those suckers can burn your arms out pretty fast so I tweaked the second set to be 5 reps.
- Training is kind of like dating. Both the trainer and the trainee need to be vested in it. I’ve had my share of personal trainers and out of about 5 of them, I clicked with two. I had a trainer cancel a half hour before my 6 am session for supposedly being sick (when in actuality, as I found out later, he was just out partying the night before). Obviously this isn’t professional nor is it respectful of the other person’s time.
On the flip side, my two favorite trainers, Rick and Drew, were just as excited to train me as I was to get after each workout. They kept it fun and challenging and really took the time to understand my style. I like to know how many reps in a set I am doing (right Rick??) and would get frustrated by the surprise element of “oh do 10 more.” Once they understood this, they knew how to motivate me. They also would get just as pumped as me as I hit new PR’s. So as I begin this journey training my friend, I intend to really understand what aspects she likes and what needs to be improved.
In case you are curious what programming I had my friend do (or want to offer up any advice), here it is:
- Box Squats: 2 sets of 15 (box was about 20 inches high)
- Squats using a swiss ball against the wall: 2 sets of 15
- Front plank, side plank on each side: 2 rounds to get a cumulative of 30 seconds on each
- 1 minute of max sit ups (modified so that she crunched lifting her back off the ground a few inches)
- Modified Push Ups: 1 set of 10 and 1 set of 5
- Swiss ball dumbbell press: 2 sets of 15 using 5 lb dummbells