I was helping a guy at the gym yesterday with his squats. It blew me away when he said he had never done squats before. He wanted to make sure his back and form were correct, so he asked me to observe while he did the first set. I was happy to help out.
But, it made me realize how we take for granted what we know and start assuming that others know the same stuff too. Here was a guy that has previously played football and now working out in a gym, but had never done squats. The thing is… that’s not unusual.
I was looking around the gym and thought about how little people really know and the assumptions they make about training. You can see the poor form when they perform an exercise and how they just “go through the motions” with their whole routine. But… are they lazy? Are they useless? Is it their fault that they flounder around without any real purpose when they go to the gym? I don’t think so.
How Can We Learn?
There’s no formal education about exercise for the general public. Through school you do sports and recreation but they don’t really teach the kids anything. They just make sure they are active, which is a healthy thing for kids. But, after school it all stops. You have to get a job and a life and that’s it. Unless you go to university and do a degree in exercise science or something you don’t learn anything about health and fitness. If, at some point, you think about joining a gym you are basically on your own to work it all out.
Society also encourages us to “play it safe”. Don’t push yourself too hard or you might get hurt. Television will tell us to walk 30 minutes a day to be healthy. They can’t really say any more than that due to legal liability. If TV tells us to do squats and someone busts their back due to poor form, they want to sue the TV station because they “didn’t know I might get hurt”!
All this creates a void in people. They don’t really know what to do and they are afraid to push themselves hard. The only option left for them is to pay for a personal trainer that drip-feeds information and creates a dependency so that the PT gets regular revenue coming in. It’s no wonder some give up and never go back to training.
I’ve always had a thirst for knowledge. I’ve always learnt from others as well as reading books, coaching journals and other publications. I take an interest in how professional athletes train and how coaches approach planning the training of an athlete.
One thing I enjoy is sharing that knowledge with others and empowering people with the skills to train themselves. We need more education like that in our society so that more people are empowered to take action for themselves.
I’m working on a new ebook that will educate people about how to train themselves. How to test, measure and record their results. Analyze their progress and set their own goals. You probably do this yourself, but so many don’t. It’s time to help people change, but change themselves. You don’t need to rely on a “guru” or a personal trainer. You don’t need to be drip-fed information. You just need to take action and make the change.