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