What will your training programme look like when you are 120 years old? It’s a great question. I recently reached out to Anders Varner, a highly experienced S+C coach and gym owner from the United States. More recently Anders co-hosts the internationally popular Barbell Shrugged podcast. He has been there, done it and got the Tee Shirt! I wanted his expert opinion on the increasing disconnect that I see between technology, instant gratification and the human body. Anders took time out of his day to help me focus my efforts.
The disconnect between instant gratification / results and the human body
It seems that everywhere is speeding up. In the fitness world we have a surge in get fit quick programmes. In other areas of everyday life we do not have to wait like we did even 2-3 decades ago. Technology in the form of Apps, software updates and wearables is giving us what we want, when we want it. All this in the palm of our hand. As a leading personal trainer in Fulham I worry about a growing disconnect between peoples expectations of fitness and then realities of the human body. We are simply not used to waiting and working for results.
So many people in the UK only think of losing weight and getting fit in the summer – when their beach holiday is 6 weeks away. I recently had a client turn up at a group class 3 weeks before her holiday asking if it would help her bikini bod! This is madness. Over time we have become increasingly reluctant to think long term and the fitness industry is responding to this with get fit quick initiatives.
Control the controllable
Anders first piece of advice was to forget fighting technology and the trend / culture of ‘I want it now’. We can’t control technology and it’s fast pace so there is little point worrying about it. The issue is that the human body hasn’t really evolved much over the past 10,000 years, but technology has! You have to control the elements of a persons expectations that you can. As a Fulham Personal Trainer I can control the conversation that I have with clients.
Through effective communication it is essential to gain the trust of your clients. If you can explain what the real deal is when it comes to training and how the body really responds to exercise, you can build trust. With the trust of the client established you are then in a position to effect positive change and strengthen the working relationship. Only at this point can you alter a clients viewpoint from the get fit quick phenomenon.
Training at 120 years old?
Anders said that he initiates the dialogue with asking potential clients what is their training going to look like when they are 120 year olds. Training must be sustainable over the long term, and this is perhaps where the high intensity, quick fix methods fall woefully short. Train too intensely for too long and your headed for burnout and injury. The question isn’t so ridiculous with populations living longer it’s simply a matter of time before we see 120 year olds working out!