February 23, 2014 Damon Hayhow

Get an Elite Athlete’s Body in Less Time with Less Work (and Why Personal Trainer’s Cannot)

Why People Go To Personal Trainers

When you go to a gym or Personal Trainer your goal is pretty obvious: you want a better body! Leaner, more muscular; more athletic. If you’d wanted to learn to balance on a large, colourful ball, you would’ve joined the circus. If you’d wanted to be a boxer, you would’ve gone to a boxing studio. If you’d wanted to be a runner, you would’ve joined a mate who liked running. But you went to the gym/trainer because you never cared what kind of athlete you actually were, you just wanted to look (more) like one!

What Recomp Trainers Do

The body recomposition methodology used by the Recomposer software and practiced at my Recomp HQ centre is based on the recognition that:

to achieve the athletic physique you want, you need to develop the commensurate athletic ability!

The only athletic capability that corresponds directly to body composition is: strength! And because strength training with weights is precisely measurable, we can even predict exactly what weights you need to become capable of lifting in order to have the exact bodyfat percentage that you want. When you see our math you will realise its actually painfully obvious!

Recomp trainers

  1. measure your body composition and strength
  2. calculate the change in bodyweight, muscle mass and strength for your goal body composition
  3. prescribe the precise strength training and complimentary sport nutrition to turn you into the athlete you want to look like.
  4. constantly remeasure you to fine tune the diet and program

Body recomposition is as simple as that.


What Personal Trainers Do

When you go to a Personal Trainer, you don’t get such a rational, mathematical approach. If you show them a picture of your desired elite athlete’s body, they’ll say “yeah yeah” and “rah rah”. Then they’ll start talking about ‘core stability’ and ‘flexibility’ and ‘rectus abdominus’ and ‘heart rate’ and ‘vastus lateralis’ and ‘technique’ and ‘motivation’ and basically try to drown you in about 500 gallons of BS without ever even mentioning the sole determining factor in you achieving your goal: you need to become an elite athlete (or as strong as one at the same bodyweight).

And then, if you let them, you’ll get given the same generic routine most trainers give to ALL their other clients. It will basically be a condensed 5th Grade PE lesson complete with stretching and calisthenics stolen from a 1980‘s Richard Simmons video followed by a bunch of ‘Retirement Village’ rehabilitation exercise. There’ll be some pulling on an oversized rubber band, lying hunched on a ball squeezing your bladder and, finally, leaning against a wall in a sitting position, but, wait for it… without a chair! Because thats gonna create a super hardcore athlete! Do you “Feel the burn”? Its actually your life, sanity and money being sucked into a black-hole, never to be reimbursed.

Of course, with a personal trainer in a gym you might also get a splattering of half-assed weights machine exercises with REALLY light weights! Heavy weights are dangerous, you see. Really Dangerous! Nothing like the safe sports such as Netball or Rugby where you run as fast as you can, leap through the air, land sideways on one foot while rotating quickly and, off balance, try to pass the ball before getting hit by a neanderthal traveling slightly faster than an express train. Knee and shoulder reconstructions? They only happen to people who lift those dangerous, heavy weights, obviously!

Lets say you argue that you don’t want to do the generic garbage that the PT themselves would never, ever do (because they know its utterly useless, time wasting junk). Lets say you insist upon training like a sprinter because you want to look like an elite 100-meter sprinter? Well then the trainer will give you a training program akin to the advice you might get from a retarded person copying the sprinters they saw in the background of the Olympics telecast. You’ll probably have to embarrass yourself in a public park by doing an incredibly gay, high-knee-kick run. Then, like a dog on a leash, you’ll get tied to your trainer with an oversized rubber band and have to try to run away. You’ll probably have to run up and down some stairs. And you might even get to run around the park with a parachute tied to you. And in fairness these are all things real sprinters do. The only difference is that your program won’t include the actual sprinting… or the stopwatch timing your sprints… or the expert guidance of a person who actually sprints… or the 5-6 days per week regime of a real sprinter… or anyway of making or measuring any sort of quantifiable progress toward your very specific goal of becoming an elite sprinter!

You’ll get your heart rate measured; but not your sprint times. You’ll get your VO2 Max measured; but not your speed. You’ll get your training session times measured to the nano-second; but not your workload. In fact, the trainer will jerk you around with every irrelevant measure that you never asked for (flexibility, heart rate, VO2 Max etc) and NOTHING relevant to the goal you actually stated at the start.

And people wonder why they fail to look like any sort of athlete when Personal Trainers are not qualified or trained to develop athletes? As I keep saying: “Fitness” is specifically the absence of athleticism! It is the minimum physical capacity required to avoid injury and nothing more.

Personal Trainer Nutrition

Not that athletic performance is all about training. As everybody knows, diet is crucial to performance. Obvious too is that nutrition for athletic performance is radically different to disease-prevention nutrition for a sedentary person. Healthy eating guidelines – ie “fruit and veggies are good; McDonalds is not” – just won’t cut it for an athlete – you need a measured DIET! Thats why at Recomp HQ we always write programs and diets that go together. You just can’t make one work without the other!

Unfortunately, your average Personal Trainer is worse than useless when it comes to diet. You will not get a prescriptive diet – because they are not qualified to give them – and ‘guidelines’ based on ‘weight loss through calorie cutting’ is the worst strategy for achieving the athletic performances you aren’t training for anyway!

Its All About Performance

Now, I personally can’t understand why anybody would want to look like an endurance athlete; most of them look like extras from c-grade zombie movies! But if you did want to look lean and skinny like a marathon runner or triathlete, here’s a tip: lasting the distance is not good enough! Fat, out-of-shape people ‘finish’ marathons and triathlons everyday. Doing a marathon won’t give you the stereotypical marathoners body. The marathon runners who look like marathon runners are the ones who finish in the top 10! If you want to look like one of them then you gotta perform like one of them! And that probably means you’re going to have to train like one which means you’re going to have to train for several hours per day, at least 6 days per week. You can’t be any sort of endurance athlete without having to ENDURE! Thats what ‘endurance’ is: seeing how much you can do before you keel over dead (yeah, there’s another ‘healthy’ activity!).

Wanna look like a ripped, muscular Kickboxer? Or one of those incredible speed-rock-climbers? Or a Pro Surfer? Or a Gymnast? Then the bad news is the same: what these athletes do in their training is not what gives them their incredible physiques. The ‘secret’ is the elite performance level they attained in their sports!

The same rule applies through to the most obscenely massive bodybuilders abusing bodybuilding drugs. The drugs and/or training is not the secret. The secret is the level of physical performance capability they somehow, mysteriously attain; despite the fact they never use or demonstrate that performance.

Achieving an elite athletic performance level often requires many hours of gruelling training each week. But doing the same hours per day of training and suffering similar pain will amount to nothing if you still don’t achieve the performance! It is very easy to fail to become an elite athlete even with all the hours of work. Your failure to become an elite athlete will also mean you will not look like an elite athlete. Which is why all that faux boxing in the park with Personal Trainers never, ever made anyone resemble or become an elite boxer!

The Recomp HQ Solution

If your life dictates that you can only train a for limited periods each week then you need to choose an athletic endeavour that suits. Endurance is out because you cannot become an endurance athlete without enduring. Endurance is all about the hours you put in. Which leaves you with Strength/Speed sports. And the only activity where you can actually become, literally, a world-class elite athlete training just a few hours per week is weight training.

Fortunately weight training offers the most readily accessible performance measures to attain pretty much any level of muscularity and leanness you want: its all about how much you lift!

The Secret is the Deadlift

In terms of strength, the deadlift is the simplest and purest measure: virtually no requirement for skill or coordination; just brute strength! Stand up with a weight. It doesnt matter how ugly your ‘form’ needs to get – you can either lift it or you can’t. You cannot ‘cheat’ a deadlift! So how much you can lift is due solely to how much muscle you’ve got. Substantially more muscle equals a bigger deadlift. End of discussion.

If you can’t deadlift progressively more weight its because you are not getting stronger. It does not matter whether you can bicep curl more or leg extension more; the truth about your all-over strength and muscularity is simply: how much you can lift on a deadlift!

Hardly any personal trainers anywhere will get you to deadlift anymore; because apparently its far too dangerous for a human being to pick up a balanced weight in a controlled environment! Nor will they get you to eat appropriately. Or train appropriately for any sort of athletic performance.

And so everybody – including the trainers – blame their ‘genetics’ for their fat, unmuscled, unathletic body when the answer really isn’t that complicated! To look like an athlete you need to be an athlete. End of discussion!

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Damon Hayhow

Damon Hayhow has been in the body recomposition (Recomp) and bodybuilding industry for 30 years as a coach, competitor, gym owner, teacher, sponsor, show promoter, judge and MC. He has won National competitions in both powerlifting and bodybuilding, set world records, and coached others to the same success in strength sport and physique competition.

Body recomposition diet and training concepts based on logic and reason; not scientism