By Andy Bruchey – One question I get as a longtime trainer and gym owner, is why a professional bodybuilder would need a personal trainer. It’s a fair enough question, and a rather logical one at that. The premise of the inquisitor is that bodybuilders, especially the professionals, have been working out for such a long time, that they should know what they’re doing by now. The honest answer to this is that of course they know what they are doing, but that’s not any kind of a reason for them to discard their trainers. Based upon that same intuitive logic, one could ponder why an elite professional golfer such as Tiger Woods would have a swing coach when you consider how many hundreds of thousands of times that man has swung a golf club throughout his life. Tom Brady could be quizzed as well, as to why he has a throwing coach, considering how many times he has successfully thrown a football over the years.
There are many reasons why a professional bodybuilder would hire a personal trainer. One such reason, is that the trainer, if they are a quality, top notch, and experienced one, can offer insights about certain techniques that should be employed on certain exercises, based upon observation of the trainee’s posture, gate, form, and so on. Sure, a pro bodybuilder knows how to do a bicep curl, for example, but if I asked them to take a more medial grip when curling so as to put more of a concentration on the lateral heads of the biceps, as I know they personally are overly tight there, and have remedied the problem previously through myofacial release techniques, they would be able to get more growth on that side of the muscle than previously possible as the muscle is now elongated and the trainee is able to recruit more muscle fibers when performing the exercise. That’s one example of how I prove my professional worth.
Another reason for a professional bodybuilder to employ a personal trainer is less technical, but much more intuitive. It’s an extra set of eyes. It’s one thing to be able to read imbalances on a body, fix them, and help the client grow more muscle as a result, but it’s also a lot simpler than that sometimes. If I see a client, pro bodybuilder or housewife, it is irrelevant, shrugging while doing the reps of the aforementioned bicep curls, I can point that out, as the client may be focused solely on the rep count, or even just the burning sensation within the muscles, and may have lost focus on the form we are wanting to use.
A huge part of what I do as a longtime personal trainer in Austin, is not only read a client’s imbalances, remedy them, and of course, guide them through individualized workouts, but also guide them through nutrition. A lot of professional bodybuilders have nutritionists to help them through their contest prep diets, but I’ve always believed a personal trainer should be thoroughly knowledgeable in that area as well. Personal trainers, like any profession one could name, has it’s share of good ones and bad ones. Obviously it would go without saying that an accomplished, professional bodybuilder would have no interest in the stereotypical personal trainer working at a big box gym with 6 months experience under their belts. Just the same, you aren’t overly likely to hire a cook at a fast food joint to whip up an amazing 6 course gourmet meal either. Not that it is impossible in every case, but it’s simply rather unlikely.
Another reason a professional bodybuilder would work with a personal trainer, is to get an extra push. When you are working out as hard as they need to, and pushing your body to the limit in so many ways, from dieting, to supplements, the weight training, as well as the necessary cardio, it’s easy to allow yourself a bit of a reprieve, and coast from time to time. A good, experienced personal trainer will have an exceptional rapport with his or her clients, and therefore be influential in helping motivate their client when the client is looking to back off a little too much, as far as intensity goes. A great trainer will understand not only the client’s mindset, but also their body as well, so their limits won’t be exceeded, which is when it’s far more likely that the client will incur an injury. If a bodybuilder tears a muscle or any of their connective tissue, it’s game over. Therefore, the relationship between trainer and trainee, whether they are a newcomer to fitness or a professional bodybuilder looking to take a Sandow, is based upon well earned respect and trust. This way, everyone wins in the end.