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Trainer Q&A: Surpassing Limits and Keeping Things Simple

Trainer Q&A: Surpassing Limits and Keeping Things Simple

IMG_3674.jpgSometimes you just want to hear straight from the pros – so welcome to a new series on the Merritt Clubs blog! Every month we will chat with one of our trainers as they impart some fitness wisdom and give workout tips for our blog readers.

First up is Shane Thompson from Merritt Clubs Canton. In addition to being a National Academy of Sports Medicine (NASM) certified personal trainer, Shane is an experienced Tribe Team Training coach. He recently sat down with us to talk about dealing with injuries, pushing past limits, and mastering the basics.

What’s the most common goal or problem that people tell you when they sign up for a personal training session?

Shane Thompson: There are a couple. Not being consistent as they’d like, and I think the most common one would be there’s no direction. They have no options in regards to where they should go, what direction they should head to, where they should start. So they usually lean more going towards cardio. ‘Cause it’s usually the simplest option.

What do you tell them?

ST: Work on the basics, build a foundation. Cardio isn’t something that we should eliminate completely. It’s definitely an option. But we need to broaden our fitness horizon and start trying other options in regards to fitness. It’s as simple as going towards body weight exercises such as push up, a pull up or a body squat and then grow from there.

For clients with injuries, what do you have them do?

ST: It definitely depends on the severity of the injury and where the injury is located. But definitely any type of injury we wanna go low impact. And also we want to work the ranges of motion in our joints, depending on the type of injury. But we want to make sure mobility is there and functionality is there before we can apply resistance. We always want to regress some movements in order to progress into full movements or range of motion.

How do you encourage clients to push past their limits?

ST: I highly encourage my clients to perform the best of their abilities. Sometimes we get into our own minds where we don’t feel as though we can push to a certain point. I set a goal and I try to train them to push past that goal. So then they realize that they can actually do a lot more than what’s set in front of them. And I just encourage them to keep getting better and stronger.

And when they say that they can’t go any further, I’ll tell them “Just try one more rep. Give me one more rep.” And help them get over that hump, that mental hump that we have. Usually when it comes to fitness or surpassing a certain weight or a certain goal, we get into our own minds and that hinders our performance. So my job is to try to encourage them to push past that so they can reach their goals or see progression.

You’re also a Tribe coach. What can you tell us about Tribe Team Training?

ST: When I first started off as personal trainer, I preferred one-on-one training over other forms of training. Then I was approached about coaching small group training – I didn’t feel comfortable doing that at the time, but now, I love it. If I could only coach small group training, that’s all I would do. I love the atmosphere and the energy that each class brings. Small group training is not just a session; it is a community. We want that feeling to spread like wild fire. We want Merritt to feel like a community when they come in – it’s not just your average gym.

When we run a Tribe session, we want to bring in a lot of energy….this is team training, let’s be competitive and cheer each other on. We want everybody to turn their heads and ask, “What are they doing? How can I join that?” And Tribe really does that.


 Shane (left) with his Tribe team back in August ’17

What is Tribe exactly?

ST: When people ask me about Tribe, a simple answer would be, it’s a 60-minute high intensity functional fitness program. We have two programs, TribeFIT and TribeLIFE. FIT combines athletic aerobic movements with functional strength exercises that will have you looking and feeling amazingly. It’s great for those that value competition in their workouts. LIFE combines low impact aerobic movements with functional strength exercises as well as core and flexibility exercises that will give you renewed energy to take on more of what life has to offer. This program is great for those that already lead a high impact lifestyle or those recovering from injury who are trying to take it easy on their joints. FIT and LIFE offer similar intensities within their workouts but exercises do vary across the programs.

What results have you seen from members who have done Tribe?

ST: We’ve had some members that have participated in Tribe for over a year now and their results are amazing. While many have seen numerical differences in weight-loss and body-fat percentage, others have seen results in different ways. We’ve seen members go from doing 0 push-ups on their first season of Tribe to doing 15 to 20 unassisted. We’ve seen members increase their mobility, flexibility, and stamina. Something as small as seeing a member touch their toes for the first time in months is just so rewarding because they were missing that functionality before in their life.

The members that see the most results are the ones who put the work in outside of Tribe sessions too. If our members are utilizing everything the gym has to offer – like group classes, small group training, free weights/machines, and/or personal training – there is no reason they should not see results.

Lastly, do you have any tips for people who are just starting out in their process of getting fit?

ST: One piece of advice that helped me when I was first starting is “Get the basics down first.” Social media is full of fun looking exercises that you may want to try right away, but make sure you have mastered the basics in order to perform the ‘fun’ exercises. Starting off, utilize your natural resistance. Practice proper form with body weight exercises (push-ups, pull ups, and squats) before applying additional resistance. Proper preparation prevents poor performance. Keep it simple!


Visit Shane’s trainer bio page to learn more about him: https://merrittclubs.com/team/shane-thompson/