Dave Hargreaves Personal Training

IIFYM, Flexible Dieting & Personal Training at Doherty's Gym, Brunswick

Dave Hargreaves Personal Training

IIFYM, Flexible Dieting & Personal Training at Doherty's Gym, Brunswick

Knowledge vs Understanding

Knowledge vs Understanding

or should I say “Jargon vs Plain English”, or “what they say vs what I say”?

As you might be aware I’ve recently started offering PT at a new location as well as just working behind the desk of the gym but… well, I’ve spent enough of my life behind desks so the “desk” job tends to mostly be spent on the gym floor showing people how to use the machines / do their exercises more correctly. Been doing loooooots of programs as well and making people happy.

One of the best compliments I’ve received (a few times, actually) is about how I apparently “put everything into plain English terms that we can understand”. Or, you know, variations on that theme. It was well timed too, as I’ve been networking a little online with other trainers and I notice a lot of them talking to each other in really complex technical terms about training and nutrition. I find myself having to sort of translate the conversations back to plain English in my head before I can form an opinion on whatever point they’re making! So I was trying to decide if I found this impressive or not and wondering to myself if I needed to lift my game a little as far as being able to provide really technical explanations to back up my strategies.

But then I thought, “nah bugger that”.

Like I said, fortunately I’ve been getting a few compliments about my “no bullshit” approach where I like to make things as simple (aka logical, straight forward and sensible) as possible. So, that’s what counts to me. Can I get through to people (PT clients) and make them understand my point and put it into practice? Surely that’s better than having them say “wow this guy really knows his stuff! I couldn’t understand a word of it but wow his knowledge is so in depth”, right?

Maybe at a really advanced, elite level of body building or figure modelling the really technical stuff might be important but for the average guy or girl who just wants to get into shape (even GREAT shape)… well, I think most of the time the technical talk is just to sound important and try to show off with how knowledgeable you are.

Knowledge is great but I think when you truly understand something, you can make it seem simple.

So, while they’re talking about “[x] percent of your 1 rep maximum with increased time under tension on the eccentric contraction” I would just say “lift as heavy as you can for [x] amount of reps, nice and slow”. Which one sounds like I really know what I’m talking about? Which one is a more helpful instruction to a non-expert trainee (for example your average PT client)?

Lau Tsu said

The sage resides in substance, not in attenuation.
He resides in fruitful reality, not in blossomy ornament.

I quote Lau Tsu a lot here lately! I guess I’m saying that the complicated technical terms are the “blossomy ornament” that I’m not terribly interested in.

In training a simple approach is usually enough to get results. There’s definitely a tendency to look for more complicated (over-complicated!) exercises, programs and approaches as if they might bring better results more quickly.

As my friend put it to me the other day, it’s not about making things more complicated; it is about taking what is actually quite complex and making it seem simple.

That’s all!



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