Rants, Thoughts and Other Observational BS – The State of Fitness Training

Stephen Yale is the owner of EPE Training Systems, located in Laguna Niguel, CA.  EPE is a one of a kind fitness training facility catering to both athletes and adults of all ages and levels of experience. You can visit the EPE website at www.epetrainingsystems.com.  Stephen can also be reached at Stephen@epetrainingsystems.com.

 rant 2

I live in Southern California – land of the sun and fun, and bronzed bodies, etc. So yeah, compared to my years in the Philadelphia area people are definitely in better shape. But if you expect this part of the country to be some mecca of fitness, I just can’t bring myself to agree. Yes, there are a lot of people doing something, but there is a lot of fitness fluff out here. For example, we all like to make fun of the whole “functional” wave;  no matter how much of a bad rap it gets on line, I’ve literally watched trainers put their clients on top of Bosu Balls, and perform any number on strength oriented movements. In fact, this reminded me of my buddy and his wife, who live in San Diego. They’re telling me about this great trainer she once used, he supposedly used to train Madonna. They went on and on about this guy, and how “high level” was things he was having her do. Apparently he would put her onto a Bosu Ball and have her do one arm dumbbell curls (!?!?). Trainers to the stars! Gotta love em, huh?

bosu ball pulley

Picture from Google Images

I realize that anyone who reads this post already gets it, but just in case; When your body is on an unstable object, it directs energy away from whatever movement is being performed. You are then not placing enough stress on your muscles to force a positive adaptation (supercompensation).

My gym is actually located in Orange County, and it appears to be the land where everyone wants to get in shape, but nobody wants to really work for it – unless maybe they’re a Crossfitter, but that’s another story. I mean, whoever said that bootcamps are a thing of the past has never been out here. I think it’s fair to say that they are alive and well in the O.C.  – just as are Bosu Ball sales. So enough picking on California, because doing something is a lot better than doing nothing (blah, blah, blah), even if it is an incredibly inefficient/unintelligent approach towards achieving one’s goals. I mean, just walk down Market Street in Center City, Philadelphia some day, and do a little people watching. Suddenly, Bosu Balls aren’t the worst thing in the world – even though they are best left in the physical therapist’s office…………Okay, maybe they are, but moving on!


squatting on stability ball

We’ve all seen this classic before.


So, probably no matter where you live, the personal training aspect of the strength and conditioning industry is a very distant, and mutated derivative of athletic performance enhancement, as well as competitive bodybuilding – both of which have lots of excellent trainers who intelligently and efficiently approach whatever goals they’re targeting. But in the personal training community there is an acceptance for sub-par training that goes on when the average person wants to get in shape and is willing to pay an “expert” to help. I think I have isolated the problem and am going to take a stab at coining a new term for it, let’s call it, “Creative Training”, for lack of a wittier phrase.

Personal trainers assume incredible creative license at the expense of actual results. They get away with it because their client base is largely uninformed. They do it because most personal trainers, who cater to the general population don’t tend to possess a whole lot of knowledge, anyway – which is perpetuated by the low expectations of their uneducated, inexperienced client base.

So, the personal trainer resorts to bells and whistles to entice their clientele. They invent exercises and workouts that look interesting, but do not rely on strength and conditioning science. They ignore basic tenants of strength training which has been empirically proven to work, for years and years. They often times create their own little version of PX90 or Insanity, or some form of “cross training” – enough said. They often times don’t teach how to properly perform compound free weight movements because that would be too much work. They combine strength training and conditioning into one cute little goulash, which is time efficient, but completely ignores the problem of competing metabolic systems, creating compromised results – sorry CrossFit and bootcamps, but it’s the truth. Great business models, but piss poor fitness models!



Putting traditional personal trainers aside, today’s average person wanting to get into shape is often enticed into joining one of a variety of specialized fitness classes. Stuff like, Pilates, Yoga, pole dancing, TRX, Spinning, Brazilian Butt, twerking (!!!!!!!), something with a ballet bar or some other single piece of equipment, etc. There is nothing, per se, wrong with any of these, but they are all incomplete when used as one’s primary means of fitness. None of them – not one – provides a well rounded strength base, which is the foundation from which all other fitness goals are progressed. Developing a well-rounded base of strength is absolutely essential for developing and maintaining a truly healthy body, at every age level.


So there you have it. Through nifty little business plans and marketing strategies, corporatization of the fitness industry, and sheer laziness, the American state of fitness has been homogenized and pasteurized to the point where people are “twerking” their butts in the name of fitness. Absolutely comical! Sure, we super size our food these days, but the current state of fitness in today’s America shares its portion of responsibility for today’s de-conditioned American.


miley cyrus twerking

Am I just getting too old for this world?