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"If you look at most of today's top athletes (and top BMXers for that matter), most have personal trainers. Do you think having a personal trainer is a necessity? Or a good training partner? to getting the most from your workouts? If not, how can you overcome not having professional or very good guidance and support?"
Ok, let it be known up front that I am a personal trainer and as such much of what I'm about to say is valid and not just me talking out of my ass.
There's an interesting phenomenon in BMX where Pros get lured away from BMX by the fame and money mountain biking has to offer then reappear the next year and kick ass. Most recent example: Wade Bootes. Bootes showed a lot of promise in '95 and '96, winning several cruiser titles and being a consistent top-ten contender on his 20". Then, for whatever reason, his career started to stagnate and he was relelgated to being a semi-maker. Last year he dropped out of the 20" scene halfway through the summer and devoted his time to riding (and training on) his mtb. Now, after laying low during the fall, he reemerged and doubled at Ontario, one of the most stacked races of the season. His first AA double ever to my knowledge. Did he get on some secret Eastern European drug protocol and burst onto the podium full of EPO and anabolics? Not likely. What he did was was train his ass off in a scientific, regimented manner, most likely under the guidance of a qualified cycling or strength coach. Mike King's career enjoyed a similar rennaissance back in '94 when he showed up at the ABA Grands after a solid season of dedicated downhill racing and won three of five classes. My point is these guys were introduced to true athletic training protocols - heart rate training, periodization, etc...and got their asses in gear. I'm gonna take some shit for saying this but most of us AA's are in relatively shitty shape as far as pro athletes go.
Good coaches cost big bucks - anywhere from $50 and hour and up. The big mtb teams like Trek and GT can foot the bill for coaches and massage therapists whereas the average AA is lucky to pay his rent on a low-contigency month. The average "personal trainers" for hire in gyms are rarely qualified in sports conditioning to really help a top-level athlete. Half of all personal trainers are just sorry-ass gymrats who charge extortionate fees to do nothing more than yell cliche' stuff like "one more rep for big daddy" in clients' ears as they lift. The other half are knowledgeable and legit but are better versed in training for aesthetics rather than function (most clients, mine included, are more interested in flat stomachs and tight butts than a quicker 40 or better 1rm in the power clean).
Finally, most of us deep down don't want to squander our youth with a
bunch of electrodes strapped to us while some pencilneck with a pocket
protector monmitors our heart rate while we spin out on a windtrainer. We'll
do our squats and sprints to keep up with the other guys in the gate but deep
down, we'd rather hang at the trails all day and just ride. Stileman and I
figure that only about five guys really start the season with the goal of
winning a title really in their hearts and minds. Most AA's are just happy to
have a ride and get paid. Past that, most of us just show up and see what
happens when the gate drops and go with it rather than planning our seasons
around specific objectives. Those top five or so guys, the same ones who are
always in the top-five - Leveque, Allier, Romero, Nelson, et al...most likely
are under the guidance of a coach or were at one point in their career.
No I don't think that is a necessity to have either a personal trainer or a
good training partner. I do that think that both are excellent though. And
I would highly recomend trying to find at least one or the other. I think
that how you train is going to be directly affected by your desire to do
well. If your really commited to the sport then you will train like it. And
if your not, then you will need someone to help push you more.
Yes, since I have had my own trainer/coach, things have improved. (Ed. Note: Wade has won his last 4 AA races and a dual slomom event. Talk about progress!) I get an e-mail every week telling me what to do. It is so much easy when it is written down and you know what you have to do and that is the most important thing I have to do all day.
Also having a training partner helps out to, either just someone to ride with or to help you at the gym. I have been working out with Robert Macpherson and I can learn a lot from him and vice versa. I have always just worked out by myself either because no one can push me or keep up and now having someone at the same level as I am it makes us try that little harder.
To over come not having Professional help, the best way would be to hook up with one of you friends and become training partners and tell the other person what the need to improve on. Work toward making that area better either if it is gates, gym or wheelies. Having someone to watch and give you some guidance will help. Make a Work out schedule with Sprints Gym and trails and get to it.
I think that having a trainer is a great idea. I personally hired one to help me in the beginning of my career only to loose weight, but I found that without his constant motivation it was harder to maintain a high intensity level of training. My trainer (Skip Sylvester) has become one of the most important tools in my personal training routine. His constant support, much like that of any good workout partner, has become as helpful as the workout's themselves. With his overall knowledge of training and excercise,I feel sure I am getting the best and safest training available. A certified personal trainer will make sure you are doing exercises the right way so you don't hurt yourself.
--Kevin Tomko, HARO
Without a trainer and motivate, a pro BMXer will never make it to the top,
maybe in years past it has worked by ones self to win and be successful in
BMX but those days are gone. It is obvious who is working and who is not, as
far as amatuer BMXers go. It is a must to have a few friends that take BMX as
serious as you do, pushing one another will make both riders better and
anyone who says " I don't need any help, I know what's up" is in left
field..To be your best you need help, that is the deal...Good luck to all who
read this and keep comin back to BMXTREME.COM...It is the coolest site around!
I have been working out with so-so results for the past 7 years. And yes, although I'd be one giant mass of lard if I didn't exercise at all, I never really got the full effect from my workouts...until recently. I now have a personal trainer and he pushes me to limites I never thought possible. Not only is my form accurate and my muscles isolated, he's there to guide me, spot me, and push me to go the extra mile. It is simply impossible to do that on one's own. I'm not saying you can't have a great workout by yourself, but unless you have someone there to push you and motivate you, and most importatly spot you, you'll have to stop your exercise before your muscles are completely worked. Personal trainers aren't always cheap. But if you can find a good person to train with, then that can be just as good. I notice the difference even when doing sprints. When I'm sprinting with a buddy, we want to win each sprint, so we always go all out. When I'm by myself, I may not. Plus training partners make the whole miserable experience we call exercise a bit more fun!
--Grant Hansen, BMXtreme.com
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