Wednesday, August 17, 2011

How to Find a Good Gym and Training Program (Part 2)

In Part 1, I discussed how to find a good gym to train at. Environment, culture, and who you surround yourself with is important, and unless you are a highly motivated and experienced person when it comes to training, commercial gyms just don't get the job done.

If your gym looks like this, it sucks.
If it looks like this, on the other hand...

If you've never seen an open facility like this and are confused as to where "all the stuff" you would see in a big box gym is... don't be. This guy Steve Krebs dominates business in his area and is absolutely murdering the competition. Why? Not only does he run a great business, but his clients get results.

And results are the topic of this post. You know from last time how to find a good gym to fit your needs, but how do you find a training program to get results?

If you've read The Theory of Fat Loss, you should know exactly what goes into a complete, long term training program. (If you haven't, check out the reviews by clicking on the image below.)

The Theory of Fat Loss: A New Paradigm for Exercise

Also, FYI, I have a bunch of free training templates up on that "Buyer's Bonuses" link up there for everyone who bought the book, and a few free samples on my Facebook Page.

So, if you are one of those people who is both motivated and experienced enough to write a program and follow it, by all means, do what you want. If you need more guidance, go to one of those good gyms I've been telling you about and sign up for a program!

Here's what you need to know:
Specialty Programs- Specialty programs are a complete waste of time IF you aren't participating in a consistent training program. They are like supplements. If you're diet sucks, you can supplement all you want, and you won't get good results.

So, if you want to try a specialty class (such as a core or TRX class), by all means do so (they are a cheap way to figure out if your gym has a great culture and good coaches before signing up for the real deal), but keep in mind you aren't going to get better if that is all you do.

Bootcamp Classes- I have turned 180 degrees on bootcamps (or, as they are more appropriately named, group personal training classes) since writing The Theory of Fat Loss. The reason is because I've seen what GOOD ones look like.

The problem is when you go to a big box gym and they offer bootcamp classes where you get some idiot trainer at the front of the room who doesn't know the first thing about exercise progressions and regressions, program design, technique or coaching. All he/she does is stand at the front of the room, probably working out instead of coaching, yelling at you to try harder until you hurt yourself. It reminds me of Crossfit but somehow the programming is even worse.

Anyway, a good bootcamp class will require you to go to an orientation or even give you a personal assessment, will incorporate a complete soft-tissue and dynamic warmup program, will have progressions and regressions for most exercises to accommodate different skill levels, will have programs that aren't just random nonsense, and will have coaches actually coaching and teaching rather than yelling.

How do you know if bootcamp is right for you? Bootcamps (but only the good kind I just talked about) are for people who want to lose weight and want to do it now. I still prefer the long term approach to fat loss overall, but a solid bootcamp will get you moving in the right direction.

The cost of a good bootcamp will run you approximately $129-249 dollars per month, but that is highly dependent on how frequently you wish to train and the area in which you live.

Semi-private training- If you are unfamiliar with semi-private training, you typically train with 2-3 other people under the direction of a coach. (Keep in mind that other effective models of semi-private training exist as well). The programming is more flexible and personal than with bootcamp as well.

Semi-private training is a good option for people who have goals other than fat loss and for those who need more personal attention. If you want to get really strong or want to train for a specific sport, for example, a semi-private program will serve you well. Likewise, if you really are just the most uncoordinated person in the world... you could use the extra personal care that semi-private brings.

Semi-private training rates vary significantly from facility to facility (I've seen very specialized programs up over $800 per month), but for the most part they are likely about $50-100 per month more than the equivalent frequency of bootcamp classes.

Personal training- Personally, I don't recommend personal training unless you are really rich and hate people being around you when you work out. Semi-private is a better option because the culture of it is so much better. When you are surrounded by people who are working hard getting results, you work harder and get better results. So skip the personal training. It isn't worth the money.

I hope this post has helped you determine how to find and pick what type of training program is best for you so you can be on your way to getting whatever results you wish to get.

Got questions? Did I leave anything out? Leave a comment.

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