Guest Blog - Reactive Training Gym

Train Safe

This week we have a guest blog from Robert Clarkson who runs Reactive Training Gym in Glasgow. Robert discusses the complexities of training men and women at different stages of their fitness journeys. He also outlines why he often recommends physiotherapy for prevention as much as a cure.

Meeting clients in the middle 

Reactive is a private gym in the east end of Glasgow. We offer group coaching to men and women that is mainly strength training. Clients get a level of personal coaching that allows them to take on the ‘big weights’ area with confidence; something they might have avoided in bigger, more commercial gyms. 

The challenge for me as a coach is to make sure the sessions cater to everyone's level in this setting. By testing clients every six weeks, I gauge what they can lift, swing, push, press and pull. This allows me to split them into smaller groups so that they can work safely for another six weeks. 

All ages and abilities 

One of the things I am most proud of is the range of ages and abilities Reactive caters to. Again, this isn't without its challenges. In coaching men and women from 20-75 years of age (yes, 75!) we have to be mindful of not only their individual goals but their general health and injury history. 


A young client that has never set foot in a gym in their life might be more vulnerable than someone who is older but has trained on and off over the years. Because someone has a niggling hip injury doesn't mean they are less able than the client that is younger but sedentary until they join. It's a case of constant observation and meeting people in the middle. Pushing them, but not to the point where you risk setting them back through injury. 


What clients do outside the gym matters

What clients do outside the gym counts. Reactive members receive support outside the gym via our app. It includes nutritional advice, at home exercise and they can chat to coaching staff via the app if they have questions about their training. There's also a closed Facebook group, I regularly hold live Q&A's via Facebook Live too and members themselves provide peer to peer support. It is a thriving community. But training can come undone outside the gym. 

Encouraging clients to look after themselves outside the sessions isn't easy. They all have busy lives. They are often used to putting themselves last. It can be why they end up having to make a change and why their health and well-being has suffered. And after they've come to three or four sessions a week, there's not much time for anything else! Physiotherapy is often something clients would only consider if they were injured.

If a client has anxiety about injuring themselves or if they need a helping hand with their mobility, I recommend physiotherapy. 

It's my job to address improper technique. As a gym owner, I also invest in good quality equipment and upgrade it regularly. I emphasise the importance of rest days and there are often two coaches at each session, both with the client's safety in mind. But I believe in clients helping themselves too. I tell them that by seeing a reputable Physiotherapist, they can develop their own injury prevention strategy. This will help them to gain confidence when it comes to pushing themselves and moving forward with their training. 

Prevention is better than cure

The main point I want clients to take away is that prevention is better than cure. Taking all possible steps to prevent injury will ensure clients are in the best position to maintain consistency needed to be successful in their training. 

To learn more about what small group coaching and strength training, see: reactivetraining.co.uk 


Sarah McMillanComment