The James (OPT) Fitzgerald Assessment Cert
Last weekend I had the pleasure of spending two days with James aka OPT (optimum performance training) Fitzgerald taking one of his modules on his coaching cert program. The cert was focused on assessment in it’s many forms so I as a trainer/coach have better tools to track and measure a client’s progress and help avoid injuries along the way.
James Fitzgerald and myself
We started the cert at the ungodly time of 7am on BOTH days which required plenty of caffeine. The first day opened with a little ‘get to know you’ part where we all individually spoke about what we wanted to get from the course and a bit about ourselves. If I am honest I would have preferred if we just did a workout right up front so we could all get to know one another and break the ice (we did that at lunch time).
When I was asked whether I did any crossfit competitions I answered that yes I came 12th in the European Crossfit regionals last year but unfortunately in this year’s sections I let my vagina speak to me too much and failed to perform. Yes I know, it sounded funny in my head and it was greeted with deathly silence and a moving swiftly onwards look from James. Remember Dominic, you do fitness and health NOT funny.
Over the first day we mainly covered body fat testing which was really interesting and showed how particular body fat sites can reveal what’s going on with your hormone levels. He borrows directly from Charles Poliquin on this and was working with Charles long before he became a big name in the fitness industry.
Form there we moved on to physical assessment and movement analysis and I explain in the video below what that entailed. We finished the cert on Sunday with work capacity which, for me, was the most interesting part of the cert as it explained in detail what energy pathways we are trying to test and work in various levels of abilities. This part is critical as I see far to many fitness trainers and crossfit coaches just throw out a bunch of ‘stuff’ and tell their clients to jump right in. This is a fairly dumb idea for two reasons -
1) Chance of injury or drop out – most trainers do no testing what so ever with clients before they get them to do what they consider simple movements yet are surprised when the client gets injured. For example, why would you get a client to do bench pressing without firstly assessing upper body mobility and strength differences between their push and pull muscles? Think it’s a good idea to do high rep box jumps with clients that have shitty ankle mobility? Yes, it’s dumb so assess first, draw up your program and figure out what way you might have to change a workout to get what you want from that workout. Clients have to earn the right to move on to the more complicated and you are doing a disservice to continue to allow them to use poor range of motion on ANY movement. That being said I have worked with LOTS and LOTS of clients that simply WON’T do the basics first and want to move on to the more complicated because that always looks way cooler and sexy.
That looks so cool I want to squat with chains!! Dude you can’t even do an air squat correctly so take a step back and work the basics
2) What are you trying to train – the average trainee goes about their workouts as if it were a group-on deal i.e. this month they will do lots of running because their friend read the book run fat bitch run and lost some weight, next month it’s bikram yoga classes, the month after it’s a workout they picked up from a trainer that says all you need are a pair of water bottles and a complete lack of range of motion on any movement to get in shape.
All of these examples do not address what the individual needs to work on in regards to their ‘fitness,’ which can mean for some that e.g. you might have a good ability to run in a straight line for 30mins but can’t even do a press up yet complain that you have no muscle ‘tone’ or strength or you have decent strength levels yet continually pick up injuries or burn yourself out with badly programmed workouts.
Overall, this component (work capacity) made me think much more about what I want my clients to get out of each and every session and reinforced what I already do with my clients.
Here is a short summary of the cert -
If you are thinking of doing any certs or courses to further your development then I highly recommend OPT. I look forward to doing his other modules later on this year or next year and then using that info to help you look and feel your very best.
Thanks for reading and share with others you know would benefit from this now.