Frequently Asked Questions
About Training @ The BTG
I'm (new to training, recovering from injury, out of shape, etc.) - are your workouts right for me?
Yes, you can. Everything we do is designed to be as joint-friendly as possible, and scalable to all levels of fitness and physical ability. Coach JP's original training background was (and Coach Julia's current emphasis is) primarily in post-rehab conditioning - that is, exercise for recovery from injury, surgery, etc., so we're comfortable working with just about anything you can bring to the table.
As you'd expect, our Semi-Private Training is better suited to dealing with more major issues and/or getting you up to speed faster, so that's why we have some people start with Semi-Private - the smaller group size and more individualized programming just lend themselves better to someone just starting out who needs more focused work.
For most people, however, our Small Group training is the way to go. The workouts scale to all strength and ability levels, so we can get you working hard at your level in a group setting right away.
We just ask that you be willing to work hard and test your limits early and often, because we find that's the quickest path to improvement. If you're willing to commit to working hard, we can absolutely make training at The BTG work for you.
Do you do assessments with new clients? I've been told that's important.
Us having a really solid knowledge of how you move is super important for us in designing your Semi-Private programming and evaluating how you'll fit into our Small Group sessions. We need to know where you're at to make sure you're not going to get injured, and so we can figure out how best to help you meet your training goals.
Honestly, most people end up displaying similar issues due to the prevalence of chronic seated posture / behaviour in our modern society. The most common things we see are tight but weak hip flexors, under-active glutes, forward head and shoulder positioning, weak grip, and poor core timing/coordination and strength.
Instead of taking you through a static "assessment", your first session with us is our "On-Ramp" program, where we get a look at how you move by having you...well...move! We'll take you through the fundamental movement patterns we use in the gym to see what you already do well, and what needs work so we can work out a game plan for your continued training with us, and also give you some concrete things you can start doing right away at home to accelerate your progress.
For the large majority of people, that is more effective and time-efficient than a canned "assessment", and gets you moving towards your goals sooner. Almost everyone who goes through our "On-Ramp" session is moved forward to our signature Small Group Training.
If we see some significant movement issues during "On-Ramp" that require more focused work or deeper investigation, then we'll schedule you in for Semi-Private training or maybe even for an NKT assessment session with Coach Julia for her to figure out why whatever's going on is happening. That is the exception, rather than the rule, in our experience.
What's the difference between Small-Group Training and Semi-Private Training?
Basically, the difference in the session types comes down to trainer:client ratio. Semi-Private sessions allow for up to 3:1, while Small-Group sessions allow for up to 6:1.
The difference in the training memberships is a bit more complex:
- Semi-Private Training members have 1 or more regularly-scheduled Semi-Private Training sessions each week included in their membership.
- Semi-Private Training members also have access to any of our Small-Group Training sessions (space permitting)
- Small-Group Training members only have access to their regularly-scheduled sessions.
- Semi-Private Training memberships include our BTG Foundations Nutrition/Lifestyle Coaching Program (powered by PN ProCoach) led by Coach JP, while Small-Group Training memberships include access to the curriculum, but not the coaching.
I Don't Want to Strength Train Because I Don't Want to Get Bulky - I just Want to Be "Toned".
To be "toned" you need to have muscle. To build muscle, you need to lift/move/carry heavy things, including your own bodyweight. That is strength training.
Building muscle doesn't mean looking like a bodybuilder. In fact, most people's bodies 100% cannot look like a bodybuilder's without significant pharmaceutical aid (E.G. steroids, HGH, etc.).
What you do sounds a lot like CrossFit. what makes you different?
First off, we think CrossFit as a concept is awesome. Coach JP was following what CrossFit was doing and frequently doing the WOD from the website back in 2006/2007, before CrossFit really started to blow up. We really like that it has exposed a lot of people to the idea of training hard, working with barbells, kettlebells and bodyweight instead of machines, and just exposed the public more to the kind of stuff we like to do. The basic idea of varied training stimuli with a strong emphasis on strength work is something that we are totally in agreement with, and we love the idea of a community of like-minded individuals working hard to better themselves through movement.
That said, there are some things (certain movements, training certain other movements under conditions of high fatigue, and a general acceptance of laxity in terms of form due to fatigue) that are programmed into or considered acceptable for a lot of CrossFit workouts that we don't feel are appropriate for our clients, or for a lot of people in general. The risk:reward ratio in terms of injury potential vs. fitness improvement is just not there, unless you're planning to compete in CrossFit events. If you're going to compete you need to train differently than someone who wants to be fitter than Joe/Jane average but doesn't want to feel beat up all the time.
There are also other movements that are a big part of CrossFit, like the barbell Olympic lifts, that we as trainers love to do personally, but the technical demands are too high for most people to just pick them up over the course of a 4-8 week training rotation, and then not do them again for a few months. Then every time we come back to them, it's almost like starting from scratch. These are movements that have to be trained consistently year-round to really be good at them. For most people, so much time has to be spent learning the technique that it's just not time-efficient for us when we can get 80% of the results with much less technically difficult movements, and have people working those movements hard from Day 1 instead of Day 21 or 41 or more.
It's less prevalent these days now that CrossFit has "matured" a bit, but there was a real "push till you puke, day in, day out" kind of mentality to CrossFit workouts that was really glorified, and again that is just not appropriate for most people. Honestly, I don't even believe that's appropriate for those prepping for CrossFit competition, because beating your body up that badly all the time inhibits recovery, and it's during the recovery phase between training sessions that you get stronger/faster/better. Don't get me wrong, we push HARD, but we try to stay just this side of that vomit threshold - LOL! Seriously, though, we have some workouts where you push super hard, and others where we focus more on technique and you may just barely break a sweat, but we always tell people to err slightly on the side of caution and take an extra bit of rest if they need to, or scale down the movements or intensity if need be.
I could go on for a long time with little details of what we do differently, but in the broad strokes, we encourage everyone to work hard, but respect the limits of their technical and physical ability (instead of just pushing till stuff breaks), and we focus mostly on movements that are technically simple and joint-friendly so that our workouts are more approachable, but still very physically demanding.
I have another question about training that you haven't answered here...
Feel free to Contact Us with your question. We're happy to help, and will make our best effort to answer any questions you may have, or at least point you in the right direction for answers!