Why Training Experience Doesn’t Always Matter

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woman personal trainer with client in machine

She’s been a trainer for 8 years and still gets every client to use this silly machine.

If you’ve been working out at a gym regularly for five or six years then you’re experienced at weight training, right?

Sure.

Does that mean that you know what you’re doing or that you have a lot of knowledge?

Not necessarily.

What if you’ve been doing the same workout for years and haven’t managed to improve your strength or put on any muscle? That’s a waste of your valuable time. Some people will acquire more knowledge and expertise in three years of weight training than the average gym-goer will after twenty years. It’s about finding the right sources and learning with passion and intensity.

Experience, Not Success

Being experienced, but useless, isn’t helpful. There are plenty of personal trainers who fall into that category. They’re still training people with the stuff they learned from their weekend certification back in January 2007 (Wow! Seven years of experience. Awesome! Was the sarcasm obvious here?). Even worse, they ignore the latest information and stick what they learned years ago. They have seven years of experience doing a very limited amount of exercises and programming in the same way.

Over time, many people get lazy and think that their experience up to that point is enough. Nothing could be further from the truth. There’s always more to learn.

The Blind Leading The Blind

If the only advice you’ve ever gotten about weight training is from other gym-goers with approximately the same amount of knowledge as you, then what you actually know about training is a drop of water in an ocean of fitness knowledge. Hell, I’ve been training with weights for over twenty years and I still feel like my knowledge is only a few drops in a glass of potential information (are you sick of the water analogies yet?).

That’s not to say that you can’t get valuable information from other people in the gym. You can. Just make sure that you chose your sources carefully.

One of my biggest pet peeves in the gym is listening to a guy who’s clearly a novice giving his girlfriend/wife pointers on doing bench presses, tricep kickbacks, and other random exercises that he thinks he knows about. It seems like the ladies assume that he knows something just because he’s worked out a few times.

Stop it. Please.

Gain Additional Knowledge

If you aren’t continually learning something new then you’re falling behind. The fitness and nutrition world moves very fast, and it’s impossible to keep up with everything (even for those of us that try). Learn more. Try different things. Adapt and change.

Experienced Doesn’t Mean Knowledgeable 

Enthusiasm for learning counts for more than just time in the field. Passion for knowledge is vital. Not all elderly people are wise. Many people get through 80 or 90 years of life without experiencing as much as some of us have before we hit 30. You can accumulate a lot of knowledge and wisdom with experience. Or you can learn nothing new and never progress.

Make sure that by the time you’ve been working out for ten years you have all the wisdom that a long period of training implies. Not to mention a body that shows you walk the walk.

Ivana Chapman 

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Ivana Chapman

Ivana Chapman

Ivana Chapman BSc BA CSCS is a Canadian fitness and nutrition coach, happy wife, and mom to an energetic 6-year-old boy. She is a writer, published fitness model, speaker, 3rd Dan black belt in Shotokan Karate, former World Cup Karate Champion, one-time marathoner, and CBBF National level Natural Bikini competitor. She loves weight training and chocolate, not always in that order of preference.
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