We recently received our latest diplomas nicely presented and embossed for us by our Alma Mater the IART (exercisecertification.com). The first thing that jumps out at you is we are accredited not as Personal Trainers but ‘Fitness Clinicians’. Now certainly we have made it clear we take a clinical approach however is there actually a significant difference between P.T.’s and F.C.’s? That is – is it a distinction based solely on format or possibly just a marketing gimmick? Why it should matter to you is multifaceted, from making an educated choice on weight loss and exercise strategy to finding out why most fitness programs fail and specifically where they fail to deliver.
We talk continuously about two items; first is the dire need for an individualistic approach and second how seemingly separate issues interact and ultimately determine your physical outcomes. Basically the difference between a Fitness Clinician and a Personal Trainer, Nutritionist or most any Wellness pros is where the actual practical applications originate from. The way the others work is taking static, theoretical recommendations and plugging them into a program for the user. The detail of which this is based on the goals of the user will depend on the expertise and diligence of the fitness pro but regardless it will be built from pre-existing parts. Furthermore, the programs and recommendations will be limited to the specific areas of interest to the professional in question. A Personal Trainer will put you through exercises with possibly some general adjunct diet advice and a nutritionist may offer a detailed food plan with a general recommendation to exercise and be active.
When you work with a Fitness Clinician all aspects of your physical fitness are considered together as interdependent…because they are.
1. of or relating to the observation and treatment of actual patients rather than theoretical or laboratory studies.
Your exercise will depend specifically on your nutrition needs and vice versa. Moreover, your workouts, eating plans and general lifestyle considerations will be determined not by a combination of generic/cookie cutter parts but how your body, your lifestyle, your needs and goals interact with the science. Physiology contains general rules and facts relative to all humans HOWEVER how the actual combination and exact measures of these elements should be prescribed is ultimately person specific. Different people react differently, not only are we somewhat varied in body type and genetic heritage but also our lives contain a personal mix of influences. Each of us are physically not to mention mentally/emotionally influenced by our own daily stressors. How we act and react and how this affects our bodies is a somewhat complex conglomerate of who we are, what we do, what we did and where we are going.
By simple example we won’t address your shoulders and neck with exercises predetermined to focus on those areas, we will let your actual shoulders and neck have a say. What is the issue and what is the specific condition of the tissues in question (and here is the truly important point) at the time they are being addressed? How much of your condition is long term and how much is from recent activity? How is related muscular movement from adjacent body parts affecting matters? Will indirect movements for other body parts help or obfuscate the situation…and so forth and so on.
Exercise programs smartly designed by experienced athletes fail all the time because they don’t account for the ever changing state of the individual. How you are physically today is not how you will be everyday. The success or failure of eliminating body fat and weakness while trying to build stamina and strength is in the sum total of the details. There are energy systems affected by your sleep and nutrition as well as types and levels of stress. There is muscle physiology influenced by genetic fibre types and neurological make-up based impart on experience as well as personal perceptions (motor patterns, feedback responses etc).
Your somatic characteristics (body type) determine responses but so do your ingrained habitual behaviours. We are not trying to overcomplicate matters it is just that the sum of cross interactions matter as much as anything. Bottom line the actual final precise measurements of what you need will be based on your unique equation. The truth is the ‘best’ program for you is the one which is a result of bringing together the science with your actual real world/real time responses.
Proof of commitment to this approach is not just the controlled, background noise elimination of the clinical format. The foundation of a Fitness Clinicians education is in case study work. After the thousands of pages of material relating to all aspects of human physiology are covered the real work begins. We are required to present case studies containing full work ups on actual clients which detail every aspect of their fitness goals then format these and over see these for months making constant adjustments (with detailed explanation as to why choices were made).
We make predictions, analyze and re-analyze over the course of the study and address all aspects of actual outcomes in full detail. Finally we not only note observations but determine conclusions as to what happened, why and what the future course should be. It is all conducted in the proper scientific method with actual practical proof of ability being tested. This allows the clinician to demonstrate their knowledge base as well as their ability to problem solve, further research and apply practical solutions.
This is the clinical methodology, where each part (equipment/tools, interactions, background work-up, statistical testing etc) is handled precisely and the culmination of the particulars is case specific. Our clients are as patients and as such are treated to a continuous state of solution development. Thus a Fitness Clinician is not a style or tag, it is actually what the name describes.
This is not to suggest there aren’t excellent trainers out there just that we don’t want to train you to do a few things better, rather we work to facilitate changing you physically on whole for the better. There are many proficient diet based professionals but we want to determine what will actually work for you not just what looks good on paper. We are not just involved in athletics…we are healthcare professionals and as such must be responsible and take into account all aspects of your health and needs. If you have injuries we work beyond short term relief to eliminate and protect you from disability. If you have lifestyle stresses and commitments pulling on you they don’t need to work against your fitness they should work into it naturally. If you have unique physical traits they need not be barriers to fitness but rather your program can embrace them.
For us fitness goes beyond looks and even beyond function, this is your life and your health and this is how we choose to assist.
As always be well and do not hesitate to forward questions to us, we are pleased to respond.
Be well, be strong
Andrew and Tierney