Thursday, November 1, 2012


Finding a good fitness trainer can be a difficult task, especially if you are not knowledged in how to go about finding one. Usually people will hire a trainer from the health club that they are a member or thru word of mouth. Just because a friend or family member likes their trainer does not make that trainer a right fit for you. Health clubs sometimes give a free consultation or workout with a trainer when you join. Ask if you can observe some of the trainers, to get a feel for their training approach. Beware of trainers (whom I like to call pin changers) who take you from machine to machine doing the same workout session after session. Initially, this type of workout program may work, but if the workout is not changed up you will hit a plateau quickly. Often times, clients in larger health clubs become a file, and the personal relationship and individual goals of the client often become compromised. There are key things to look for as well as questions to ask the trainer in your initial meeting. First and foremost ask them how long have they been involved in the fitness industry, you want someone who has had experience working with a broad spectrum of clientele. Having a degree in kinasthesiology or holding a current fitness certification from a nationally accredited fitness certification is imperative. ACSM, NASM, ACE, ISSA are some good examples of nationally accredited certification courses. Make sure that they are current on their certifications. Trainers will often get certified once and not renew their certifications. Every national certification requires trainers to have continuing education for credits to renew their certification every two to three years as well as being current on their CPR and AED certifications The fitness professional should be passionate about his or her profession. Watch to see if the instructor is a good listener and you feel that you are both on the same page with your fitness plans and goals. In the initial appointment, the fitness professional should ask you extensively about your health background, occupation and physical limitations. Some of the questions that should be asked are: what activities you like to do? what are some of your hobbies? what goals are you trying to achieve with working out? and what has prevented you from setting out to achieve these goals in the past? Health and fitness professionals should look and act the part. You want a fitness professional to be friendly, motivating and empathetic. Remember, embarking on a workout program with a fitness professional is a group effort and you must make sure to do your part as well, to achieve your goals! Hiring a personal trainer is by far one of the best investments that you can make. By hiring an experienced, well rounded trainer you will have the knowledge on how to live a healthier better life!


Squats are one of the single best exercises that you can do for you entire body. But be aware that doing squats incorrectly can be one of the worst exercises for your body, causing injury to your spine and lower back and putting undue stress on your knees. Squats are a compound exercise that primarily work your hips, buttocks ,thighs and hamstrings as well as your core. The average person who works out usually steers away from what they perceive to be such a difficult exercise. They usually opt. to do leg extensions, hamstring curls or the leg press machine. Even worse, they attempt to do a squat on a smith machine which puts your body in poor alignment. Make sure that you have proper postural alignment, which will allow for optimum neuromuscular efficiency, basically meaning that you want all muscle groups to work together in perfect order, much like an orchestra. The first step in doing a squat correctly is making sure that you are wearing the proper shoe, a perfect example would be a running shoe which provides a strong heal support. Stand slightly wider than hips width distance with toes pointing straight ahead, the ankle and foot should be in a neutral position. Now sit back as if you were going to sit on a chair that is positioned behind you, pulling your belly button in, working your transverse abs. As you begin to sit back, pull your hips back simultaneously as you are bending at the knee. Squat down to the height of a chair and return to the starting position pushing back up thru your heals and not coming up on the ball of your foot. Coming up on the ball of your foot puts stress on your knees. Keep your chest up, making sure not to bend at your waist. Repetitions should be slow and controlled in both executions of the exercise. Repeat this movement 10-15 times. There are many variations to performing a squat, here are some examples that I like using with my clients: Body weight squat- performed with no weight, using your own body weight. Great for warming up or beginners. Back squat- bar is held across your neck on the back of your body Front squat-bar is held across the front of your body across deltoids (shoulders) and clavicles,usually with much lighter weight than on a back squat. Plie squat or sumo squat- This variation also incorporates your inner thigh. Hold a dumbbell between your legs standing in a slightly wider than shoulder width stance, keeping your knees and feet in alignment pointing outward. Bend the knees and lower into a squat keeping knees in line with toes. Split squat-an assisted one-legged squat where the non-lifting leg is rested on the ground a few steps behind the lifter, as if it were a static lunge. making sure when you descend both knees bend and making sure that back knee does not touch the ground. Push up from the heal of your front foot and ball of your toe on the back foot. Squats increase overall strength for your whole body as well as releasing natural growth hormones. If performed correctly, I advocate squats as one of the best overall exercises that you can do. Jimmy Johnson

Sunday, March 25, 2012


Take your workouts outside of the gym for a change of pace. There are many effective training environments outside of the gym. Parks, beaches, hotel rooms, garages, stairs and playgrounds are excellent examples of places to get a great workout. By taking your workouts outside the gym, it lets you be creative and use your imagination. You can change up your workouts and turn it into a new adventure which will keep you motivated and less likely to grow tired of the same old workout routine. Working out outside is free and does not require a gym membership. You can alleviate a trip to and from the gym which will save you time and the excuse of not having enough time to get to the gym to workout. Exercising outside is perfect for people who find gym environments intimidating and overwhelming. Working out should be fun and by bringing the workouts outdoors, you are bringing an element of playfulness into the workout, reminiscent of when we were kids playing outside. Doing pull-ups on monkey bars, jumping rope in a garage, running up and down stairs, doing pushups in a hotel room or running on a beach are great examples of some of the workouts you can do outside of the gym.


Couples are always looking for ways to spend more time together, but with most couples working full time jobs, time together is severely limited. Exercising together is the perfect way to spend more time together. Making a fitness plan and sticking to it is much easier as a couple. People are more apt to keep consistent in their exercise regimen if they are working out with a partner. Think of it as a healthy date night, so to speak. Instead of a movie, go on a hike or run, this will improve communication between the two of you. Exercise is not only about self gratification but also giving to your partner. Exercising together is about giving to each other both physically and emotionally. The problem with today’s society is that everybody is so busy being caught up in their own lives, that we barley have any quality time with our partners. Try scheduling a day or two during the week to work out at home in the evening, or go for a brisk walk or jog in the morning before work or maybe meet at the gym on your lunch hour for a quick workout. Making time to work out together is a great way to get closer and communicate. In the end , I think you will find that working out together keeps the both of you inspired as well as taking the relationship to another level.


Exercising and healthy eating habits should not be a New Year’s Resolution... Rather a part of your daily activities just like brushing your teeth. People who set out with strict fitness plans as well as stringent dieting as their goal for the New Year often set themselves up for failure. Often they will start out on their regime extremely disciplined and really strict, falling off of the fitness wagon in the first few weeks. Usually every January you will see health clubs as well as Yoga classes and tracks filled with ambitious people ready to set out on their new fitness program, By February, half as many people are still at it. This is because people will set unrealistic goals for themselves , going to the gym every day and overtraining, starting on a crash diet and stopping drinking. You should first start off by setting realistic goals for yourself. an example of this would be to eat clean during the week and give yourself a cheat day on the weekend or cutting your drinking out during the week and having a glass of wine on the weekend. Maybe start out going to the gym 3 times a week and making time to go on an hour walk each day. By starting of slow and not with an all or nothing mind set, you will be more likely to keep up with your workouts and healthy eating plan. A good way to start out on your fitness endeavor is with "Possibility thinking", which allows you to live into the body that you want. Examples of this would be putting up a picture of yourself when you were in good shape or a picture of someone's body who you would like to look like on your bathroom mirror. You can also make a scrapbook or "vision board" of things you would like to try such as snowboarding, kayaking or some yoga poses. Another example would be writing down all of the goals that you want to achieve with exercising, maybe running a 5k or doing a set of 20 pushups or going on a 6 mile hike. Each day you should try and incorporate a workout of some sort into your schedule, whether it is just doing 20 minutes of weights or going on a half hour walk at a fast pace at lunch, you will be more likely not to fall off course of your fitness goals and less likely to put off your workouts because of time constraints. This goes for your healthy eating habits as well, try and eat 4-5 smaller meals thru out the day or have a healthy breakfast and lunch if you know you are going out to a party or a dinner. In conclusion start out slow, be realistic with your fitness goals and healthy eating habits and don't set yourself up for failure.


Being mentally present in your workouts allows you to attain the greatest amount of results that you can achieve. Enjoy the opportunity to spend time with yourself. The time that you set aside to workout is quality time spent with oneself, which is becoming a harder task to accomplish considering all of the distractions that we have in our everyday lives. Instead of beginning each workout thinking about the end result, why not take in the beautiful scenery on your run, focusing in on the targeted muscle that you are working with weights, or feeling the way your body glides thru the water when you swim. Change the paradigm, shifting from dreading the workouts to enjoying them. It's the way that you relate to the workout, the same workout can be viewed two different ways positive or negative, the environment is the same, the room temp is the same and the workout is the same, it’s how you choose what state of mind to be in. Give yourself positive re-enforcement with self talk. Try giving yourself goal oriented marks, for example rewarding yourself for a week of working out, by buying a new workout shirt or a new yoga mat. Heighten the level of rewards by treating yourself to a massage or a spa day for being consistent for a month. Always remember to try and be present to your accomplishment in the workout and not to the clock. Keeping in mind that you are doing something good for your mind and body and allowing yourself quality time alone!