Personal trainer advice

JimManusPA
JimManusPA Posts: 27 Member
I started lifting weights about 3 years ago at age 42. I got hooked. I got a personal trainer to move from machines to free weights and learned a lot, mostly dumbbell stuff though. However, my trainer wouldn’t show me deadlift and squats due to my age. Said that was a “young man’s game and would lead to back problems”

I hurt myself deadlifting and know my squat form is bad. I also suck and finding a program. So, I’m going to get another personal trainer at gold’s gym.

Any advice for how to get my money’s worth?

Replies

  • claireychn074
    claireychn074 Posts: 796 Member
    edited May 15
    Wow. Well I didn’t start lifting weights at all I was 42. I am female, cancer survivor, can deadlift almost twice body weight (don’t do powerlifting now so haven’t tested in c3 years), and a couple of weeks ago i qualified for the British Nationals in Olympic Weightlifting (yep, I’m boasting because I’m dead proud of myself). I also had to see a sports physio a few months ago for a cancer-related weakness and he had 70 year old ladies deadlifting there. His attitude is that you never stop needing to deadlift stuff (shopping bags) or squatting (getting out of a chair).

    So find a PT who isn’t ageist but who understands you might need longer recovery times or warming up, pay really close attention to your diet, and check out some of the phenomenal athletes who are over 40 and work out here like @AnnPT77 @JBanx256 (okay she’s just turned 40 I think but has a physique people half her age will kill for) and I need to go and check handles of a few other inspirational peeps here 😀

    Edit: @sijomial @cwolfman13

    All those tagged people work out HARD 👍
  • JimManusPA
    JimManusPA Posts: 27 Member
    JimManusPA wrote: »
    I also suck and finding a program.

    Suck AT finding a program…
  • sijomial
    sijomial Posts: 19,636 Member
    edited May 15
    "young man’s game and would lead to back problems”

    That is shocking and a nice illustration of the very varied levels of knowledge in general gym PTs.
    At least in my country the basic credential required for someone to get work as a PT is a pretty low level.
    That can unfortunately mean people who couldn't hold down a desk job scrape through! ;)

    For me the key is in checking what education and interests the PT has continued AFTER gaining their basic qualification.
    For cycling advice I'd consult the semi-pro racer with advanced bike tuition qualifications, if power lifting, I'd consult the competitive power lifter, if body building the body builder....
    My favourite strength and conditioning training source was working as a PT while he did a Sports Science degree (and is a semi pro rugby player.....)

    On the flip side I wouldn't consult the excellent squash coach about weight training who gives the most awful weight training advice ("10kg on leg press is plenty" - to an 80kg person who has just walked up and down stairs without issue....).
    I wouldn't consult the keen runner PT who says "I don't really see the point of strength training".

    You are the customer, be demanding as you are paying for a service.
    And at 45 (you could be my son!) it's dreadful to use age as a reason not to learn two key and highly valuable lifts. Yes, when you are an old fart like me warming up and recovery needs more care, but you are twenty years away from that. There are strength athletes who don't hit their peak until their 40's - not dead yet!
  • AnnPT77
    AnnPT77 Posts: 24,842 Member
    edited May 15
    JimManusPA wrote: »
    JimManusPA wrote: »
    I also suck and finding a program.

    Suck AT finding a program…

    Have you seen the thread about that here? There's quite a bit of discussion of various programs, and it can be a place to ask questions.

    http://community.myfitnesspal.com/en/discussion/10332083/which-lifting-program-is-the-best-for-you/p1

    Like Claireychn074, I think your former trainer was off-base if s/he thought age per se was a limitation. It sounds like some of the "bigotry of low expectations" (to borrow someone else's phrase) that is often applied to us as we age.

    Now, if your trainer was basing that on something about your then-current physical capabilities (flexibility/mobility, muscle imbalances, etc.), that might be reasonable . . . but s/he should've recommended exercises to improve those limitations, not just dismiss you as "too old" IMO. If there was some limitation from your personal health/injury history that would limit doing those exercises, that also could be reasonable. But age alone? No.

    I don't have much advice about finding a good trainer. I've never used one, though I've had multiple good coaches in my sport of choice, rowing. Mostly, that was from seeking out the best options that were available to me as a practical matter, looking at their success in terms of success of those whom they'd coached.

    I mostly don't even lift nowadays, to be honest, though I think I'm in OK physical condition - above average, probably - for my demographic (female, age 66, lightweight (now that I'm post-weight-loss) for rowing competition purposes). I usually lift for a few months in my rowing off season, if I can talk myself into it. During on-water season, it drops out of rotation for reasons of recovery, time budget . . . and distaste for the doing.

    I was semi-consistent about lifting in my late 40s for a couple of years. I was lucky to stumble into an adult ed class (Weight Training for Women, and yes, there was a Weight Training for Men class available, too). That was in my local school system's evening adult ed programs, taught by a very knowledgeable (and successful) competitive powerlifter. The women in the class were of varied ages, and he didn't rule out any exercises on an age basis. (Pretty sure he was in his 40s or beyond at that point, too, but obviously he'd been lifting for some years.)

    I didn't start seriously being consistently active until my mid/late 40s, also after cancer treatment, so definitely a late starter. It wasn't so common for young women to be as athletic/active back in my 1960s youth as it is now. I was a bookish kid, one of those "chosen last in gym class" types.

    Maybe look for a trainer with some years on him/her?

    Regardless of their age, ask the person some questions about what role they think age plays in athletic or fitness development, whether they think there are limitations, what differences may apply to training older people vs. young ones?

    Looking for answer like the things @claireychn074 mentions: Resilience, recovery, warm-ups; plus maybe injury avoidance, considering and accounting for any pre-existing conditions that might be limiting for you as an individual (since we can have accumulated more of those than the 20-somethings).
    (snip some good stuff)

    So find a PT who isn’t ageist but who understands you might need longer recovery times or warming up, pay really close attention to your diet, and check out some of the phenomenal athletes who are over 40 and work out here like @AnnPT77 @JBanx256 (okay she’s just turned 40 I think but has a physique people half her age will kill for) and I need to go and check handles of a few other inspirational peeps here 😀

    Edit: @sijomial @cwolfman13

    All those tagged people work out HARD 👍

    Aww, @claireychn074, you're too kind! I do OK for a li'l ol' lady, I think. 😉

    I'd for sure kill for Jbanx's body . . . my problem is that I won't work as consistently and patiently hard as she has and does, over a long time period, to get it. I'm more a hedonistic aging-hippie type, will work hard at things I think are fun to work hard at, and that's about it. 🤣 I'm lucky to like doing a pretty fitness-useful sport or two.
  • Djproulx
    Djproulx Posts: 2,792 Member
    In addition to the good suggestions you have received, I'll offer my two cents based on working with personal trainers for over 10 years. First, I might consider moving to a different gym. If the trainer you mentioned held that opinion, it tells me that perhaps that gym doesn't always serve the client's best interests. At my gym, any one of the trainers would have engaged and provided guidance on both the movements and your safety as a gym member. Secondly, prior to working with a trainer, I WRITE DOWN my goals, as well as my questions and areas of focus. That way, the trainer knows where I'm coming from and what it will take to reach my goals. We then have a sit down to map out a plan together.

    Finally, as others have mentioned, you are the customer and you are shopping for a professional service. It should not be hard to find a trainer who will deliver the program help that you want. At my gym, there are MANY members in the 60-80's group who are deadlifting, squatting and pushing the sled every day - safely.
  • JimManusPA
    JimManusPA Posts: 27 Member
    Djproulx wrote: »
    In addition to the good suggestions you have received, I'll offer my two cents based on working with personal trainers for over 10 years. First, I might consider moving to a different gym. If the trainer you mentioned held that opinion, it tells me that perhaps that gym doesn't always serve the client's best interests. At my gym, any one of the trainers would have engaged and provided guidance on both the movements and your safety as a gym member. Secondly, prior to working with a trainer, I WRITE DOWN my goals, as well as my questions and areas of focus. That way, the trainer knows where I'm coming from and what it will take to reach my goals. We then have a sit down to map out a plan together.

    Finally, as others have mentioned, you are the customer and you are shopping for a professional service. It should not be hard to find a trainer who will deliver the program help that you want. At my gym, there are MANY members in the 60-80's group who are deadlifting, squatting and pushing the sled every day - safely.

    Thanks @Djproulx and others!

    Should I just ask for form help on the exercises I don’t know; squats, deadlift,etc? Or should I let them train me? I’d hate to talk 5 mins about form and spend the remaining 55 minutes with a rep counter…. But if a rep counting method is the best way to learn, I’ll do it. Just looking to make good use of my $65 per hour…
  • JBanx256
    JBanx256 Posts: 1,172 Member
    edited May 16
    Since you've specifically mentioned deadlifts, one possible route would be to look up a USPA certified training center close to you and check out their coaches. If I could go back in time and have a coach to teach me how to squat/bench/deadlift, that would probably be my go-to. They definitely won't be standing there holding a clipboard and counting reps :) They will be sticklers for form on the movements so you will learn how to execute safely.

    edited to add link since uhhhh that may be useful, eh? https://www.uspa.net/affiliates/list.php