Most workout routines reflect the experience and preferences of a particular fitness trainer. The Optimum Performance Training (OPT) method takes a scientific approach that involves collecting data on a client and using it to design a program that fits their needs and delivers results. Mark Chen, a physiotherapist and personal trainer at Physiotherapy Phnom Penh, provides details on how OPT training can help you achieve your fitness goals.


1. What’s the difference between working out with a trainer at a gym and working out with an OPT trainer? What benefits does the latter offer?


The difference between training with an ordinary trainer and an OPT trainer is in the way that we guide the trainee through the process. OPT training is based on scientific insights, so the entire process is built on scientific evidence, which ensures that the training is effective. It uses practical knowledge and scientific knowledge, so there is no guessing. So we measure someone, and scientifically proven methods are used to help them get to their goal.


2. Does that mean they have to come into your center to receive the training?


It depends on their needs. I do training here at the clinic, but also sometimes at the gym, or, as requested, at the client’s home. So it depends on what the client wants.


3. What activities does OPT training include? How do they help trainees?


If we are talking about being fit, we don’t just want to be strong. We want to be strong but also to have speed, agility and coordination. We’d like to put all of these in the program so they have a complete picture of fitness. Activities such as weight lifting, cardio training for endurance, some jump training, some speed drills, depending on the client. So we tailor our program according to their needs and their goals.


If they want to be more flexible, no need to lift a lot of weights. Sometimes people just want to have a good body composition, so maybe less fat; in that case, we will use more weight training.


4. How long does it take to see results? 


That depends on how much of a difference needs to be made. For example, if someone just wants to feel fitter, that’s a fairly easy goal to attain. If you really do need to lose 30kg, it will take some time because it probably took you some time to gain that weight as well. So, how long it takes depends on how big your goal is.


5. Is it necessary for those who have been working out at a regular gym for a while to go through the first stage of OPT, Stability Endurance, as if they were beginners?


I always recommend that people do it, because the Stability Endurance phase has a lot of corrective exercises in there. Most people have an inefficient way of moving. Teaching people how to move, to have stability and good endurance of the body, creates a good foundation for people to go further.

This phase is done to see if there is any possible risk of injury. For example, is the knee moving in? Is the ankle weak? We then filter that out, making sure the knee is strong, the ankle is strong, the hip is strong, before we get into more difficult exercises.


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