Biggest Screw-Ups I Made As A Trainer

Posted: June 1, 2016 in Exercise, Fitness, Hawaii, Strength Training
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I’m not going to sugar coat it.  I’m exceptional at what I do.

Majority of my time is spent on continually improving my coaching acumen.

Don’t take things out of context though. I don’t presume to know everything because I’d be lying to you if I said I’m a big deal. In fact, my first year as a trainer I made a lot of mistakes. I’m amazed that I even made it out of the trenches alive.

Looking back at it now, I wish I could travel back in time and slap myself silly for the things I did.

Come on now, we all have those moments where we ask ourselves, “What the f**k was I thinking?”

Here are the biggest mistakes I made as a trainer.

Doing Too Much Too Soon


Anybody who knows me can easily identify me as a strength guy. It’s no secret that I have a deep affinity for lifting heavy weight.

Want to get stronger? Lift heavy weight.

Look better? Lift heavy weight. 

Did I mention I love pizza?


Humor aside, in my three years of training I’ve only injured one client.  This setback happened last year and it was to one of my best female clients. It was 5:30am and we were doing Zercher Squats.  She had 95lbs on the bar and she said her low back started to act up. In hindsight, I should’ve had her warm up a bit more thoroughly.

All of my clients can attest to this — I’m a stickler when it comes to form and function, so we dropped the load a bit and I gave her a couple cues that’ll facilitate her core as opposed to her spinal erectors and passive structures doing most of the work. Unfortunately, she was still experiencing the discomfort in her lower back.

The next day she said the pain had gotten worse. I came to realize that she might’ve injured her low back.  Rather than shift the blame towards her, I owned up to it and took responsibility for it. She had about a month off before she could start training again. I referred her to my chiropractor to get things moving smoothly.

She still trains with me to this day, but let me tell you, I felt terrible about what had happened.

Progressive overload is one of the key determinants of growth, but lack of auto-regulation in conjunction with a haphazard warm up can make for a horrible training session.

Trying To Be A Jack-Of-All Trades


**Full disclosure: I know my limits as a coach. If I’m working with an individual that is in need of service beyond my scope of practice, I refer out.

This is an issue I feel a lot of novice trainers still face. While I do think it’s paramount to be knowledgeable in all realms, going way beyond your scope of practice is going to be a hindrance to your development (and for the client).

As a frame of reference, I once worked with a female who was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis. Rather than declining and referring out, I opted to work with her.  Obviously, our training was subpar because practically any movement would induce more inflammation to her joints.  After a few weeks of training, we mutually agreed to part ways.

The man who chases two rabbits ends up with none.

There’s a lot of value in being around other professionals. Go out of your way to build your credibility and that of others by seeking out numerous experts in their field. Establishing a network of professionals that you can learn from and refer to is essential.

Working closely with my chiropractor and massage therapist has provided me with a ton of information. Most importantly, it has allowed me to do what I do best with my clients — lift heavy and look good.

The take home message here is to specialize in one area and solidify your authority.


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