Official Website of Sarah E. Rippel, BS, CPT, FMS

-Forget What Others Say…What Do YOU Think?-


The fitness industry is a prime example of one that thrives on information.  Our clients want information on how to lose weight, eat better, and improve their overall health.  As trainers, we want information on the latest research findings, exercise techniques, and nutrition.  It’s information overload!

With all this information everywhere, it can be overwhelming at times, not just for the general public, but for us trainers as well.  There are virtually a gazillion (yeah, a gazillion!) exercises we can have our clients perform, and three gazillion progressions possible once they’ve mastered the basic movement.  How in the heck do we know what’s the best choice?

We must have a working knowledge of our craft.

A working knowledge obviously means that we work with clients.  We instruct, educate, motivate, and monitor them as they go through their workouts.  This is a given.  

A working knowledge ALSO means that WE as practitioners MUST have hands-on experience training OURSELVES.  

There are tons of personal trainers out there who don’t work out.

I’m serious.

I know a few of them.

Who wants to be trained by someone who doesn’t do it themself?  If I were a client in this position, it would be really hard for me to take the trainer seriously.  Why should someone listen to a trainer who goes on and on about how important it is to exercise at least three days a week, when they spend their free time sitting on the couch playing Halo 3?

With that being said, how the hell can you teach someone how to perform an exercise correctly if you have never done it yourself?  It makes absolutely NO sense to me.

Furthermore, how can you determine which exercise progressions are “better,” if you don’t spend time comparing them by DOING them.  Sure, you look at an exercise and realize that the emphasis is on hip extension, so the glutes will be doing the bulk of the work.  You know this, but do you really know how to coach someone through it?  Do you really know how it FEELS?  Do you really know how YOU can best get the point across?  How can you determine your own “exercise speak” for that particular movement?  What I mean by this is, how can you determine an effective cueing to relay to your client if you haven’t first gone through the movement yourself?  Yeah, it looks good on paper, and the video of that guy doing it looks pretty cool, but…

Forget what others say – WHAT DO YOU THINK?  Can you APPLY the knowledge?  Can you select what you determine to be the “better” exercise choices from the plethora of options readily available?  You see, what works for one person may not work for the next.  You must be ready for this, and have SOLUTIONS in mind…not just EXERCISES.

Your most important client?

YOURSELF.

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4 responses

  1. APB

    Talking about fitness industry…what do you think about Tracy Anderson? She is Madonna and Gwyneth Paltrow’s trainer. Million of women watched her on Oprah claiming that “no woman should lift more than 3 lbs”. She released 2 DVDs in 2008 to advertise her so-called Method. I googled her and found that:
    1) Her client’s workout consists of 1 hour of her “Cardio Dance” + 1 hour of her “toning exercises” 6 days a week. She recommends working out in a hot room.
    2) She recommends a starvation diet…see it for yourself on http://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-542948/Madonnas-secret-weapon-The-fitness-guru-whos-given-50-year-old-singer-body-25-year-old.html
    No wonder people lose inches! Hot room = sweat = water loss + starvation = muscle loss!
    But there’s more. I borrowed the Mat Workout (and saved 30 bucks) from a friend of a friend, curious of what this “fitness guru” might have invented.
    There’s an interview of hers in the DVD…she talks about “rearranging your muscular structure to give you a teeny tiny dancer’s body” , “strategic muscle exhaustion”, “when the accessory muscle are properly developed, they pull in the larger ones, creating a tinier body structure”…What?
    Since I was not satisfied with this, I decided to try her workout…for one hour, you swing and extend your legs like in an old-fashioned aerobic video, you wave your arms in the air with no weights or with those awful pink mini-dumbbells, and perform ab crunches with extended legs…not a single squat, lunge, push-up…She claims you should perform 50-100 reps of each exercise.
    I thought “This cannot be true!” and “People have gotten smarter…they are not going to fall for this” but I was wrong! Amazon is packed with 5-star reviews of what looks to me like a load of crap…
    The old myth of “If you train with weights, you’ll bulk up” is still out there…and somebody is taking advantage!

    December 15, 2008 at 1:44 pm

    • My take on Hollywood trainers? Most of ’em aren’t worth an ‘nth of what they are paid. They are overhyped, much like most actors. 🙂 Hey, it’s Hollywood…NOTHING is real there, ya know? I’m like you, stuff like this ticks me off. It does nothing but perpetuate fitness myths and give people sub-par programs…while making the “celebrity” trainers super-rich. I personally would be miserable living that life. Maybe most of these trainers are scared to buy into what really works because they simply aren’t educated. They got Madonna skinny and she goes and tells everyone, ya know? They continue to do the same dated workouts because they are so busy and “in demand” that they have no time to further their education. Time to jump forward a few decades from the 80’s! 🙂 Maybe they are scared of being sued b/c their lack of expertise could injure some primadonna actress. I’m sure we’re going to be seeing more celebrities swinging rinky-dink 3-lb kettlebells soon like on that infomercial I saw recently. Shudder. And giving a celebrity a starvation diet is EASY! Celebrities will do almost anything to get skinny. Celebrity trainers have no-brainer jobs. Horrible stuff. Glad i’m not a part of it…BUT, I DID train Wonder Woman while she was here in Baton Rouge filming Dukes of Hazzard. No lie!

      December 15, 2008 at 7:11 pm

  2. coachrouse

    I used to live in Asia and more than 50% of trainers in the commercial gyms didn’t train. The main reason was they didn’t have time – the gyms you look badly upon a trainer who was training rather than on the floor getting clients. they are also made to work up to 7 days a week.

    I regards to “Hollywood Trainers”, couldn’t agree more. I have trained a few celebs and they were shocked to discover what real training was all about. They felt like they wasted years on useless information provided by so called “Hollywood Trainers”.

    February 14, 2009 at 10:08 pm

    • Hey Coach!
      I can’t imagine living that kinda lifestyle…working 7 days a week, working all day long, and attempting to train clients with an upbeat attitude! Talk about burnout city! That would cause 99% of trainers to quit waaaaaaaaaay before their time was really up. 😦 As fitness professionals, we all know that our own workouts do, at times, take the backseat to those of our clients. It happens. But to not be able to work out entirely? I would go nuts! Aside from this, my energy level and mental well-being would most definitely take a nosedive!

      From your YouTube vids i’m not surprised that your celeb clients were shocked (in a good way) to discover how it REALLY feels to work with a true professional. I can’t imagine being a “Hollywood Trainer”…I would probably get fed up with some no-brained, full-of-herself celeb actress and tell her off after she accused me of making her butt bigger thanks to bodyweight squats! LOL! 😀 NO PINK GRANNY WEIGHTS HERE!

      February 14, 2009 at 10:33 pm

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