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The Most Important Training Variable

This weeks blog post is by guest author  Jim Galvin. Jim is a former Royal Marine Commando, Navy Sprinter and British Bob Sled competitor who now runs a successful Personal Training and Strength & Conditioning business in Sussex called Atlas Fitness and Conditioning. Jim has trained at some of the most prestigious S&C gyms in the world including the Parisi Speed School in New Jersey  and of course our very own Plymouth Performance Gym and has since gone on to work with a wide variety clients helping them to reach their goals. In this article Jim looks at one of the most underrated yet crucial aspects to achieving success in the gym…

Scientists and Strength Coaches alike have debated for years what the most important training variable is – reps, sets, tempo and rest intervals probably being the 4 main ones, but we can also delve a little deeper and look at room temperature, music volume, and how flexible the bar that you’re lifting with is.

After following an incredibly scientifically advanced program for a few months, not really enjoying it and seeing mediocre results, and also following a comparatively basic, and very generic strength and power program, but loving every second of the delivery from my Coach, with a great training group and experiencing a 5kg body weight increase and a PB 40 yard dash, I’m going to go out on a limb here and say the most important training variable in any program is good old fashioned work ethic!

This might sound obvious to some, and flippant to others, but one of my coaches once told me he believed that a billy basic program taken from a 1960s Muscle Mag, followed to the letter and with complete dedication will elicit far better results than the World’s most scientifically sound and specific program followed halfheartedly.

So maybe Personal Trainers and S&C Coaches need to focus less on the nitty gritty of whether we think a face pull with a resistance band is better than a “cable machine scarecrow” for your rear deltoids, and more on whether or not the client is actually enjoying the sessions to make sure the application of effort is as high as possible.

Whether I’m training an old, retired lady, who merely wants the putting on of her socks to be slightly less painful in the morning, or a GB Athlete preparing for the next Olympics, I make sure I remember that the delivery is just as important as the program. This is fairly controversial (as is standard for ATLAS) but something I feel very passionately about.

So if you’re a fitness enthusiast and your PT is instructing you how to complete an ‘Overhead Lunge – to – Step Up’ with the enthusiasm and charisma of an 18th Century Librarian, you might want to look at ditching them and looking elsewhere.

I think a lot of people will agree with this in terms of Joe Public clients looking to either lose fat or build muscle, but the point I’m trying to emphasise here is that even Athletes need to enjoy their sessions, and how much they do will determine how much effort they put in, and thus the result. Sounds simple right? It is, but I think it’s something that’s often overlooked when training people with a Sports Specific focus.

But if you’re not an Athlete, just an avid Gym goer and you’ve had less than satisfactory results in the last few months, think about how you FEEL while packing your Gym back, if you’re just going through motions and looking forward to getting it over with, maybe it’s time to mix it up and jump back in bed with some exercises you used to do, even if the fitness blog bandwagons are saying it’s not that good! It might help re-kindle the fire of passion for training that’s been dwindling recently.

If you are in the Sussex area and looking for a trainer who will commit to helping you achieve your goals make sure you look up www.atlasfitnessconditioning.co.uk. You can follow Jim on Twitter @Jimgalvin2 or search for Atlas Fitness and Conditioning on Facebook.

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