When I just started personal training, I had no clue to what I was doing. I knew some semblance of muscles and bones from yoga teacher training as well as from being at a conservatory where in movement classes were required.
When I was handed my Certified Personal Training certificate, I thought, "Great! I am going to be able to help everyone with there issues!"
Now, don't get me wrong. Being optimistic and passionate can help a trainer to keep going, but I am going to pause, and say this clearly.
It is never the job of a personal trainer or yoga teacher to fix or think for a second we can heal a person. What we can do, however, is set up an environment for another human being to help themselves engage in their own process of coming back to peak health and function.
As I become a more studied trainer, and started to study things like neurology, immunology, energetic medicine, biomechanics, and other modalities, something hit me square in the forehead.
reating the body from a one size fits all assessment process is a dangerous path to go down.
In the beginning, I would catch myself being a naive trainer saying "Oh! It's this muscle doing this thing causing this." I stopped myself rather quickly. Reason being? Well, I can't say I know exactly what causes what in the body. One person's pathway of what is happening may be different from another. It isn't in my licensure as a trainer and there are too many lenses to look at the body for me to say what may be causing what.
As a trainer and a movement coach, my job is to set up the optimal conditions that will provide an environment for clients to gain strength, and the tools to move and stand with the least amount of dysfunctions as possible. It is my intention to support them in their success of their own goals. If my conditions can't provide this, then I refer out to the proper person ( i. e. chiro, doctor, physical therapist.)
When you take a step back to pause and look at all the ways a trainer can help facilitate change in the body, I personally feel the typical assessments seen in CPT Manuals don't quite make the cut. Yes, they can be a great place to start, especially if you are just gaining an understanding of movement patterns. However, one must be careful with clients to say "x is causing y to do this, and that is why z is showing up." To say that as a trainer or yoga teacher can put you in a tricky bind that I prefer to stay out of.
Not only do the assessments we see commonly in the training world borderline on diagnosing, they can be quite reductionist in their platform. To say only one thing is causing another things to show up is like trying to tell a kid to pee in one side of the pool only. Admirable, but probably not likely.
Being able to have the client look at their health and well being not just from a muscular standpoint, but from a whole systems picture, is where I personally see the results stick.
It isn't just about the bench press or the speed of their kettle bell swings. Factor in stress, environmental situations, spiritual practices, food and nutrition, pain and movement issues, sleeping, etc. and you will start to get a bigger picture of what may be dancing with each other.
It can be an overwhelming realization to think of all the ways these systems collaborate with each other, but it may be the keys to the kingdom to help you or your clients succeed in having your results last and improve.
When starting out with this, keep it simple. Trying to be a jack of all trades leaves you being a master of none. Take 6 months and really focus on one key system that peaks your interest and how it could be moving with what is going on with your clients. Maybe it's how they sleep, maybe it's their stress levels, maybe it's general food guidelines.
As I say over and over again in my writings, finding a proper physical therapist, doctor, and other licensed practitioners will help not only keep your clients strong, but will help to inform you and create a powerhouse team for success for everyone.
Happy Sunday and keep moving!
-Peak Body Integration