The following is our intern, Nate’s 200-hour internship report that he had to hand into to his professor for credits. I think Nate does a really nice job here of explaining how we program, select exercises and modify to each individual trainee. -JM
Since my first 100 hours my responsibilities have not changed a tremendous amount. I am still coaching clients and taking them through their workouts. I have started writing programs for clients which is a new responsibility for me, however, I am not independently writing them. Justin and I have written programs together with me coming up with a rough draft, and then Justin and I refine it.
The biggest change in my experience at Gain at this point is seeing the progression of exercises that Justin makes with his clients, and simply seeing the progress that the clients have made in these past months. Seeing clients who first started at the beginning of my internship to be where they are now is really a profound realization because what they have gone through is completely life changing.
This has definitely reinvigorated my love for this field because the change these people go through after starting with Gain is so incredibly amazing and inspiring that you can’t help but feel good about what you do.
This internship has taught me that not everything has to be perfect, and that standards to adhere to are a waste of time because what works for one person may not work for another. And when working with the general population that realization that everyone is different and requires different and specialized attention is imperative.
One flaw I learned about this summer was that I was under the belief that everything needs to be perfect, and everything has to be a certain way whereas now I know that neither of those are true. Some movements take time and throwing a million cues at a client will cause nothing but confusion. If a client only goes halfway down on a bench who cares. Are they hurting themselves? No. Are they feeling the right muscles? Yes. Then it doesn’t matter if it is only half the range of motion; in time they will fully bench, but if it is only the first few weeks it is totally fine if it is not 100% perfect. Movement is not something that magically happens in a day, it is something that takes time and figuring out how things should feel, and how to do them without compromising any muscles or soft tissue.
The typical client at Gain is part of the general population and is 40+ years old. They typically are experiencing pain in some part of their body, and they typically have not worked out in the past 10 years. This type of clientele means that the gym has to have screenings of each client to see where their ability to move is, where they have impingement, and what issues that might have that we have to be aware of. Based off of the assessment a program can be developed that meets the needs of the client. All programs have the same basic set up in terms of three exercises per superset, typically three to four sets of each exercise, and have a warm-up and finisher. Even the movement that is being done each day for the clientele is similar such as day 1 is almost always a squat day, day 2 is a upper body day, and day 3 is a hip hinge day.
What exercises that each client does is vastly different from one another which makes the program extremely variable meaning the template that Gain uses suites most anyone. For example, someone may be doing a barbell back squat on day 1 while someone else is doing a bodyweight box squat with half range of motion. Or on day 2 someone might be barbell bench pressing while someone else is doing a dumbbell floor press. The programming has to be able to cater to the needs of the individual. We all as humans need the same fundamental movement patterns, however, we are all at different stage of mastering that pattern meaning that we have to train that pattern differently in accordance to our skill set in order to progress. If I were doing half range of motion box squats I would get very little out of the exercise because I can already do a deep squat, but for someone who is still at the foundation stage of learning a movement that half range of motion box squat is exactly what they need in order to reach that next check point so that they can keep progressing.
Because of the skill variability of our clientele the facility has to cater that meaning it needs very basic equipment, but also equipment that can handle a very progressed client. So there is dumbbells ranging from 3 to 120 pounds, there are airdyne bikes, barbells, sleds, ropes, rubber plates, boxes of varying heights, a rower, and a ton of bands. The facility is very minimalistic, but has everything it would ever need. The trick is to get creative with the exercise selection because it allows you to not have a ton of equipment, but still be able to give the client what they need in order to progress.