Social media and its effects on training and results


Training has evolved in recent years as more and more people are beginning to understand basic principles and methodologies. The beauty of training is unlike 2 x 2= 4, the gym, or training environment, for want of a better phrase, offers a platform of paradoxical theorem that is used to achieve a myriad of goals. Hypertrophy, Drop Sets, AMRAP’s, Metcons, HIIT and Eccentric Training; these words can be like some complex mathematical jargon to someone first embarking on their fitness journey, right? With the hundreds, if not thousands, of training systems out there how are we able to figure what is best for us and our goals?

Attention to Detail

Social Media has had a huge impact on our perceptions of training these days and someone with a disguised or, yet unrealised, aesthetic goal in mind will login to Instagram and see the phenomenal physiques of those posters and assume ‘they know what they are talking about’. Of course some of these people training and posting their workouts online have knowledge of training systems and their effects on the human body…. right? Let me tell you, from training myself, through years of professional and semi professional football, a Level 3 Personal Training qualification, untold professional training camps during pre season and hours upon hours of training alone across multiple disciplines; attention to detail, to me, is the most important component in achieving results.

I sometimes scour through social media pages to obtain fresh ideas and I can honestly say that during the course I may, at best, find one or two exercises that I will jot down and see how they fit into my own training regimes. There are some fantastic athletes out there that have phenomenal workouts, they look explosive, powerful and extremely fun. Some of the females, that look great in their outfits and full make up doing an advancement on the cable donkey kicks can easily misguide an unsuspecting subscriber to thinking that these exercises are easy. The Plyometric Superman Press Up, that looks out of this world; because I can do a few of these, does that make me any more qualified to train someone that cannot? Imagine starting with knee press ups, progressing phase by phase into a Superman Battle Rope Press Up! My point is, it is the attention to each phase of the movement that will enable this advancement and the evidence, to this day, I have not found. I do not want to see a trainer show the advancement themselves, I want to see a trainer show me the evidence of a 245lb man on knee press ups advance to plyo press ups and the journey that took him there.

The reality is that we need to start somewhere.

Without fully understanding a movement, an exercise, or a training system does not allow for future growth in our training journey. Our job as PT’s is to watch our client’s every movement, to correct, advise, refocus, educate and motivate so we can get our client to the promise land. With Social Media compounding training arrangements in gyms with members working from isolation to compound, compound to isolation and endurance to hypertrophy and constantly conflicting exercises without sound knowledge of how to get those results we must believe in one of two things: Our Personal Trainer or our knowledge of each and every system we are going to use in our training and how it will impact on our ultimate goals.

As a kid I would watch Ronaldo play for Inter Milan and I would practice every move I saw executed on Match Day watching Football Italia on Sunday afternoon. I would go to school and show all the boys the moves I learnt the day before that Ronaldo did, one of which was the infamous ‘flick flack’. You know what I didn’t do? I didn’t go and research how he manipulated that ball from start to finish. I didn’t look at his standing foot, the shoulder positioning, core alignment, centre of gravity and weight distribution to his left side whilst he ‘flacked’ on his right. There was no evidence, I only saw the finished article and tried to emulate it. By the end, I could do the flick flack….. but never, ever, ever, quite as good as Ronaldo – why? I focussed on the execution, the quick fix, not the start to finish of the movement hence the mediocrity – a result, but not the best I could have done.

On social media we see the best of people, we see the best of exercises. We do not see the beauty of learning it from the start to finish which is why I use social media for creativity, nothing more. Without dissecting the physiology of an exercise and then arranging that exercise into a bespoke training plan tailored to my own personal goal it is just an exercise performed well by someone else – not of benefit to me….. or my clients.

GF Fitness

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