How many styles of training mythologies are out there?

By Filipe Pereira

Would you be able to tell how many ways of training and how many styles of training people tend to gravitate towards? I am going to mention just three of them as I am very sure there are many styles I won’t be able to cover or even heard of before in my life. In this text I am not going into member’s specific goals, objectives, length of training, injuries etc. These are just some observations I take from the gym goers, Fitness professionals and businesses point of view.

Let’s take three examples;

Example number one –Traditional Style of training

This style is what some people call ‘Body building’ it could be considered the longest form of fitness training there is. Eugene Sandow made this modality popular around 1890s but it only really took momentum in the 50s, 60s and 70s with the big events like IFBB and NABBA at the time all men want to be shaped like a Greek god where all muscles are visible to now, where the ‘Big guys’ want to have a particular muscle as big as it can possible grow to. The ideology that was initially placed in the early competitions has been lost in my opinion, but that can be discussed at another time.

From the stand point of the;

Gym goers traditional is what generally most men want, great physic with more muscle and less fat. When they think about training that’s where they gravitate towards the most, Many reason why but mainly because;

  • It’s easier to start with.
  • A lot of these style of training is based around fixed machine based equipment so it’s safe
  • they can feel the direct ‘burn’ right away
  • It hurts like hell (DOMS) the next day and that can only mean its good right????????
  • It’s what google and youtub tells you to do to get in shape (it’s what everyone does)

All in all, it’s a great form of training with obvious benefits such as increasing muscle mass to increase metabolic rate, bone density, overall joint health and many many more. When done well and combined with clean eating and high intensity cardio can work wonders.

Fitness Professionals; Love these members because again, it’s somewhat easy to train (if it’s the traditional machine based exercises), spot and guide a new member/client towards this style of training. Unfortunately it can also mean lazy trainer limiting at counting reps only, prescribe same exercises to everyone, sitting on the machines while client is training, I’m sure you have seen these at your gyms, that’s what I like to call the “one style fits all” type of trainer.

Businesses Love these members,

  • little hassle (apart from asking for a specific bar, machine or weight)
  • very regular member so they stay longer
  • can fit many people a day therefore increasing the number of members ie revenue
  • It’s the most amount of equipment used at any given gym, so in their minds is a good investment
  • There is no need to have a massive headcount on staff because members tend to ‘know what they are doing’ (ye right)

Example number two – Progressive;

This is the other end of the scale from traditional, this style is about using all gimmicks and gadget there are out there in the market including but not limited the electro pulse abs machine they saw on TV at 3 in the morning. I mean any fad and new peace they will be the first ones using them. Like the apple fan camping outside for Iphone 36 triple XL coming up.

Gym Goers- use all so called tools (equipment) only. VIPR, BOSU, Kettlebell, suspension training, steel bell, Medicine ball, slam ball, Bulgarian bags and whatever else there in the gym. Basically, everything but a dumbbell and machine exercises. These are the type of members that make up the most ridiculous exercises you have ever seen like using a VIPR on one hand while squatting on a Swiss ball and throwing a medicine ball, more like a circus act than a workout.

Fitness Professional- either love them or hate them. If the trainer is into a particular equipment or form of training, let’s say suspension training and so is the member that’s a huge bonus, if the trainer is not they will do the up most to convert them to suspension training, it’s also harder to coach and correct these members/clients due to complex moves most exercises demands. Similar to traditional style I can call them “the one style fits all” type of trainer.

Businesses these are worst nightmare members. I mean, they require more space to fling swing and through stuff around not to mention the ridiculous exercises they come up with that makes no sense whatsoever. This also means less equipment and more empty space (not great on square foot rental cost).They tend to ask for more and more specific equipment. However, when the fitness facilities get it right, these members are very loyal and their biggest advocates.

Example number three- Hybrid

This Style of training is (in my opinion) the best option for overall fitness goals. It’s about combining traditional exercises like squat, bench press, dead lift etc with progressive styles power bags, kettlebell, battling ropes, suspension training and programming them efficiently. This form of training has just the right amount of strength work to gain muscle density and over all lean muscle while using full functional range of movement to condition your stabilizing muscles, inner and outer core as well as your transverse plan of movement (rotational movement)

Gym goers that train this way are clearly ahead of the game, they have a great understanding of stability, strength and power exercises that will provide a strong and lean physic overall. These are the type of members that fitness industry has to work towards in educating and steer the general population towards.

Fitness Professionals- you might or may not have notice that in the previous two styles (traditional and progressive) I mention the fitness professionals and trainers and that was for a reason, Mainly because what they do is prescribing exercises, counting reps and look at their phones while client/members train. Now I would like to call them Coaches, these are the guys that are up to speed with the latest fitness studies, journals, courses and take time to try out by themselves ie practice what they preach. A lot of hybrid coaches tend to program the workouts for themselves and their clients giving the best results over all. These coaches that adopt a hybrid style of training (traditional + progressive) are the most valuable type and if you are a member look out for these, if you are a fitness business owner recruit and train these coaches. Members/clients will certainly gain more results from these coaches.

Businesses- will have the best rewarding and loyal members, you can call these facilities more of a performance style of facility and not so much a commercial fitness center (although that’s what they are moving towards now). These facilities are great at creating a community feel and have the coolest layouts and motivational quotes on the wall (cheesy I know but I love them though). These businesses are not about filling it up with members and wish them good luck, these are the facilities that will cater for most fitness goals and support them either through 1on1 training or in small group training.

Maybe I am being bias but that’s the style I like to train and I like to train people, of course it all depends on clients goals. If someone wants to pack on muscles size programming will gear towards the traditional style and add a bit of hybrid (maybe 10% of the program) if someone wants to just have fun, sweat while trying something new, enjoy what they feel comfortable with of course I would go with a more progressive style of training while adding a bit of traditional exercises (maybe 10-15% of the program). I do try to implement a bit of both in all workouts just depends on the person in front of me and what they want to achieve, ie what are their expectations in coming to the gym and I will do my best to meet them. One of my favorite questions is

How would you like to feel when you leave the gym? That goes to you too, how do you want to feel when you leave the gym?

Let me know what you think of this post and all the best towards your fitness goals whatever they might be.