April 15, 2015 Damon Hayhow

Conversation with a Fitness First Personal Trainer

I was getting in a workout at a local Fitness First gym when a random, skinny-fat, annoyingly over-confident Personal Trainer appears out of nowhere and asks:
Why do you use such loose form?
Me: You think my form is ‘loose’?
Trainer: Yes. You aren’t controlling it.
Me: Well, it’s a 200kg barbell! Nobody in the world does anything with a 200kg barbell that’s ‘loose’.
Trainer: I mean, you’re not controlling the weight slowly.
Me: That’s because it’s a 200kg barbell!
Trainer: Well why don’t you reduce the weight?
Me: Because I’m training to lift the weight!
Trainer: But it’s too heavy.
Me: How is it too heavy when you saw me lift it 10 times!?
Trainer: But you didn’t do it properly.
Me: What wasn’t proper about it?
Trainer: It wasn’t slow and controlled.
Me: Look, what I’m doing is called weight training. I’m not doing slow training. I’m not doing Tai Chi. I’m training to lift weight because I want muscle and moving weight is what muscles do.
Trainer: But wouldn’t you be better off lowering the weight and working on your form?
Me: I already did that. I started very light and practiced beautiful rows. They were called ‘warm up’ sets.
Trainer: That’s not what I mean.
Me: So what do you mean?
Trainer: I mean you should be working more on your form.
Me: But I’m very happy with my form. I’ve been training 23 years. I’ve worked on it a lot! I can row with any form I like. I can row as slow as I want too. By lifting stupidly heavy weights fast I can lift lighter weights with any form or speed I want. But doing slow, light rows won’t give me the ability to do heavy, explosive rows. So I don’t do it. I don’t need to work on my form or slowness with light weights because I already can do that. The thing I need to work on is moving weight. That’s what I’m doing.

Why don’t you reduce the weight? Because I’m training to lift the weight!

Trainer: [looking confused] but you aren’t working your back properly when you use loose form.
Me:  Really? So what am I working when I’m bent over and pulling a 200kg bar upwards then?
Trainer: Well you’re just using momentum
Me: OK. And where do you think that momentum came from?
Trainer: I don’t know? It’s just momentum.
Me: [stunned speechless]… Well, if you say so?… I have nothing to say if that’s what you think? 
Trainer: I just mean your form is loose. You are just throwing it up and down.
Me: Look! I did what you are saying. I lifted light and pretty. It was called warming up. Then I did more weight because that’s the purpose of weight training. You think I would become more capable of lifting heavier weights by never lifting heavy weights at all?
Trainer: Hmmmm… yes!
Me: Oh really? Because that’s what worked so spectacularly for you?
Trainer: [proudly] yes it has! I put on 5kg last year.
Me: Wow! So you can row this 200kg then?
Trainer: No. That’s too heavy.
Me: Uh huh. What if I took a plate off each side?
Trainer: No. That’s still too heavy
Me: Right. So have you ever even SEEN anybody row 200kg?
Trainer: …. Um, no. But you weren’t rowing it properly!
Me: But you want to tell me how to row 200kg properly even though you’ve never seen it done and can’t lift even half that training your way???? 
Actually, never mind. I apologise for my sarcasm. Thank you for your advice. If I ever want to look like you I’ll know to reduce my weights by 3/4. In fact, you have really made me think about my training and, on the basis of your recommendation, I am going to change the weight and my form. I’m going to 220kg to do some absolutely disgusting reps!

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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