Jean-Claude Vacassin – there’s no guarantee you’re doing things right online exercises.
Jean-Claude Vacassin is the Founding Director of W10 Performance, the Professional Fitness Coaching Academy and the International Fitness Business Alliance. He also consults on corporate wellbeing programmes, as well as to personal trainers and other gym owners.
He was recently asked – how much responsibility do online trainers really bear for people copying the workouts they recommend? Jean-Claude Vacassin, is not a fan of fitness via social media or, as he terms it “excer-train-ment”.
“What people see on social media is marketing. Extreme fitness sells, it’s exciting. It used to be that running a marathon was hardcore. Now, that’s not enough: you have to do a multi day ultra marathon. A lot of these online training regimes are aimed at millennials who want to buy on the first click and transform their body on the second – and they push themselves too hard.”
“No one wants to spend eight weeks moving more and eating less these days because, sadly, people don’t believe basic exercise, done well, is going to get them anywhere. There’s this idea that it’s boring.”
He cites the case of a builder who got a deal with a supplement company because he works out a lot and has hundreds of thousands of Instagram followers. “But does that mean he knows what he’s doing? No! He’s a builder, not a personal trainer.”
Vacassin adds: “In our gym, we have gym standards. People undergo an assessment before they get a programme. HIIT – High Intensity Interval Training and complicated exercises under fatigue should not be in 90% of people’s fitness regimes because they don’t have the physical capability.”
“These online accounts trick people into thinking this is easy. No one posts a bad workout. No one posts the workout they missed. No one posts the depression they have when they get injured or the relationships it costs them. All you see is the good stuff.”
Deep squats, lunges, deadlifts and high-intensity cardio are the mainstay of online workouts. “We’ve seen an increase in the numbers of clients coming to us having injured themselves doing online workouts,” he says. “People get hurt largely because the message is: ‘This is what I do and there’s no reason it won’t work for you.”
Extrapolated across the population, that’s not going to be good. While it’s a great thing that people are being encouraged to be active, if you’ve never lifted a barbell and then start lifting 10kg, you’ll put your tissues at risk.”
Part of the problem is in the age differences. “The trainers are usually in their early 20s, but a lot of the people using the programmes are mid to late 30s and 40s. That matters, because your tissues are far more resilient when you’re under 30.”