There Is No Substitute For A Trainer

Whatever good advice you may get elsewhere, there is no substitute for your own personal trainer. My trainer helped me gain 34 pounds of muscle!
As I began my bodybuilding life, I was fortunate enough to have the encouragement and advice of Gunter Schlierkamp, one of the leading IFBB contenders for the Mr. Olympia title. Gunter not only has the superior physique of a bodybuilder par excellence, but he is justifiably known as one of the most personable men in the sport. His high marks as a true sportsman and all-round good person are unparalleled. Via e-mail he advised me and wrote me in words which encouraged me as I started out. His assistance was a great boost which I needed. I shall always be most thankful to him for all he did. However, since he advised me from afar, a personal trainer was still a necessity.

Gunter Schlierkamp #5, Mr Olympia 2002

Whatever good advice you may get elsewhere, there is no substitute for your own personal trainer. I know of some who have no trainers and rely on what they have learned elsewhere or on the views of some of their friends. "Elsewhere" guidance may be untrustworthy. Even the best intentioned friend may be limited in his knowledge of diet, cardiovascular exercise and weight training. Their limitations may be the cause of injury in training and probably will be a reason for lack of good progress toward your goal.

John With Gunter Schlierkamp

An experienced trainer, your own personal trainer, is a necessity. There just is no substitute for having a well-qualified trainer to guide a bodybuilder's program of physique development. I strongly urge bodybuilders, whether beginners or advanced, to make room in their budgets for the expense of a well-qualified trainer. The price of a trainer's service can be high, but remember that you are obtaining a specialist whom you require to direct you toward your goals. A specialist in the field of bodybuilding is as important in your life as a bodybuilder as is a specialist in the field of medicine for your medical well-being.

Such a specialist, to use words from Scriptures, "is worthy of his hire". This is so because the trainer not only sets the path toward physique development, but also is insurance against the many injuries which can occur in doing uninstructed exercises. The qualified trainer is also schooled in nutrition and can insure that you are given a diet which meets the specific bodily requirements of the sport. Like the lawyer who takes his own case to court, the bodybuilder who is his own trainer has a fool for a client. To use another old saying, he is "penny wise and pound foolish."

Pushing to the limit!

A trainer's objective view is more to be trusted than our own subjective view of ourselves. There are days when I, mindful of what I must gain before my next contest, just cannot see what progress I have made and become discouraged. There are other days when I have had a really good workout and my mind translates that into over-confidence. Neither attitude is profitable in my path toward the next goal. My trainer, however, sees me objectively from his professional stance. He can level out the discouragement or over-confidence so that my stance is profitably corrected. He will adjust my training to meet my real bodybuilding needs without the erroneous input from my self-view.

So many think bodybuilding is just weight lifting. It is that, but it is more. Your trainer is one who knows which specific weight exercises will develop each of the muscle groups. He knows how often those exercises are best done by you and with what intensity. Left to our own devices without a trainer, there is a very real danger that we would either over train or under train or both. On the other hand, the personal trainer can objectively view us and decide what is best for us on the road to our goals.

Bodybuilding is more than weigh lifting. It requires that we faithfully and with discipline follow an exact diet and cardiovascular exercises tailored to our own individual needs. Often I receive e-mails from men asking me for my diet or my exercise regimen. I can only answer them in generalities about calories, carbohydrates, proteins and fats, not a specific diet. I can only speak to them of the need for exercising each muscle group individually and doing each exercise with full range of motion. I cannot recommend my diet and exercise regimen to them for their use for it was constructed by my wise trainer with my specific needs in mind, not theirs. You see, this is one of the indispensable values of having your own trainer. He knows you and what specific needs you have.

My Trainer, a Competitive Bodybuilder

If you plan on entering bodybuilding competition, and from all I have written in this and my other articles, you know I encourage you to do so, that plan makes your need for a competitive bodybuilder as your trainer more urgent. Very often I have seen bodybuilders on stage who have not had the training and guidance of a trainer who knows what is necessary, what the judges look for in evaluating the contestants. They do not have the required leanness to show their muscular definition and symmetry. Some look bewildered, frightened, on stage since they are not schooled in the proper poses. Their routines are not designed to emphasize their good points and ignore their less satisfactory muscle groups. In preparation for contest entry, the competitive bodybuilder trainer can assist the entrant to look his best, showing well the results of his months of preparation.

And now some words about my value of my own trainer. When I took as my goal the eventual entry into NPC Nationals' Bodybuilding Contests, I knew absolutely nothing about competing at all. I had had only a few months of workouts with a young, most helpful, but inexperienced, trainer who had no knowledge of bodybuilding competition. I did know that I would be required in contests to do various poses, but I did not even know that there were specific poses required, and I certainly did not know how to do them. I knew even less about the posing routines done at the contests.

Poses For Show Routines

I knew there was something called the NPC (National Physique Committee). I had seen references to it in my surfing the web. I found the NPC e-mail address as well as its phone number and contacted them. I told them that I was a "senior citizen" starting bodybuilding rather late, knew nothing about poses, and asked them if they knew of a bodybuilder in my area who could instruct me. The NPC President kindly gave me the name of the Chairman for this NPC district. The District Chairman put me in touch with their bodybuilding trainers in my area. I contacted one and, by this process, became the client/trainee of Dror Erez, holder of the prized Mr Israel Bodybuilding Championship, 1995.

My Trainer Who Knows Bodybuilding Competition

I am indebted to Dror beyond any measure. I am certain that it took great courage and dedication to bodybuilding for him to accept me as his client. What I brought to him was dedication to the sport and discipline in all of its requirements, but total lack of any knowledge of bodybuilding itself or competitive bodybuilding. I was only 'raw material' from which I expected him to guide me in crafting a bodybuilder who could present himself with credit on the contest stage. The challenge I presented to him was even more severe, for I had allowed my body to deteriorate for about 40 years with no significant exercise. Added to all this was my announcement that I wanted to begin competitions very soon and to be ready for Nationals' competition by my 75th birthday, then less than three years away.

My Trainer Requires "Full Range and To The Limit"

"Your goal is my commitment" is Dror's stated motto as a trainer. I suspect that when he took that motto, he never expected a trainee like me with such a demanding and challenging goal! However, he accepted my sincerity in setting my goal, and has shown in his training of me the truth of accepting my goal as his commitment.

I had set a nigh unobtainable goal (Nationals competition in my 75th year), as I have mentioned in my previous article on Dror, in his wisdom, has taught me, not relinquish that goal, but to direct my whole focus on the immediate workout of the day, not distracted by the ultimate goal or those intermediate ones like the next contests. He knew as an accomplished bodybuilder competitor that I would never be ready for any goal without focus on each and every exercise as it was being done. Without him, I would have put in my time at the gym, but unproductively.

Before bodybuilding I knew how to "diet" to get my weight down by counting calories. However much that may reduce the number of pounds, it is hugely different from the correct dieting of a training bodybuilder. From Dror, I have received and followed diets linked to cardio vascular exercises. Familiar with my body and its metabolism, Dror constructs my diet with attention not only to calories, but to fats, sugars, carbohydrates and protein. The diet constructed by a skilled personal trainer insures that the bodybuilder will not sacrifice muscle to loose pounds. The body will use fat for energy, not muscle, and will take from that ingested in the frequent meals rather than from the already gained muscle. Because of the diet and cardio prescribed by my trainer, I presently, in the past five months, have gained 34 pounds with only a 2% increase in body fat.

I will be ready for my next contest, thanks to Dror, my trainer, and know that I could never have said and believed that were it not for him. As you start or continue your life in bodybuilding, I encourage you to obtain a qualified trainer like mine if you do not have one. May you find one like Dror, as dedicated to bodybuilding, and accepting of his client's goals as his commitment.