How To Get Your Employees Motivated To Be Healthier At The Office

How To Get Employees Involved In Their Health

Having time for fitness is one of the largest complaints from clients. We hear often, “I can not fit it in around my work schedule.” By listening to client's reasons for why they can not get healthier we can help design programs around these needs. Below are a couple ways to help inspire employees to get and stay healthy.

If you have a gym in your office building offer on site personal training

Having a gym in your office building is an excellent benefit, but it only does any good for employees if they use it! Inspiring employees to become more active can sometimes be a challenge as many people spend hours a week in a car going to work, travel, work early mornings or late nights, have outside commitments and many other time restraints. By offering employees options of fitness within their place of work it is great because it saves them time and extra effort to commute to another location. Many personal trainers, yoga instructors and Pilate's instructors offer on site group classes or one-on-one training. They can utilize the gym equipment or when in need they can bring equipment to you. We've seen trainers working with groups as small as 2 or 3 employees to working with 180+ employees. For employees who do not want a trainer to guide them on their sessions week to week they may rather have the trainer design a plan that they can keep up with on their own and have the trainer check back in on their results at a later date. Helping set up a game plan for long term weight loss and health is half the battle and the other half is being held accountable.

If you have outdoor space offer outdoor boot camp in warm weather

Over the last several years boot camp programs have become more popular in communities and workplace environments. It is a great way for employees to build camaraderie and laugh together while getting fit. There are many styles of boot camp programs many of which can be customized to each companies specific fitness needs. You can determine the best times for your staff, what types of intensity level, duration and equipment used.

Have a dietitian come on site to council employees on eating habits

Local dietitians and nutritionists offer group counseling and individual counseling. You can choose to have it at their office but we have found companies who host it on their campus have greater success and increased attendance due to the convenience. You can choose the topic that you wish for them to discuss or you can ask them to come in for a question and answer session. Many employees take advantage of this type of service since diet and exercise go hand in hand. The amount of people who work out regularly but are still overweight is overwhelming. People have begun to realize that without the diet component the weight will not come off and they are willing to start making healthy choices but do not know where to start.

Stock your office kitchen with healthy options for employees

Starting with cleaning out all the unhealthy options at the office and replacing them with nutritious alternatives seems like a no brainer but is many times overlooked. Remove sodas and sugary trees and replace them with fruit and water. Save employees hundreds of calories a day by performing this simple swap out. Make sure to not just stop there! If your company does weekly donut runs or pizza nights when employees stay late, opt out and switch to salads and wraps to clean up their diet without them having to feel stripped.

Have a weight loss contest with an incentive

Whether it is monetary incentive, a pair of running sneakers, a day off, or a lunch out, you are sure to get a wide range of fitness participants. Healthy competition is a great motivator and you'll be amazed at how much employees will cheer each other on keep keep going with their goals. You can make the challenge individual or a group challenge. You can have each individual pledge the amount of weight that they will lose in a 3 month period. Or you can offer overall company incentive to lose a certain amount of weight as a whole such as 100 pounds in 3 months. Whichever you choose make sure you outline the guidelines and offer check in points so employees do not fall off the wagon. You can also have local personal trainers come in and take body fat, weights and before photos so they can compare their results at the end of the contest.

Pedometer club to encourage walking at breaks and lunch

Offering employees the option to walk at lunch and eat at their desk after helps increase blood flow which in turn helps the brain increase productivity, aids circulation and “wakes” people up mid day. Walk with a friend or hand out inspiring playlists for their iPods to keep them motivated when their walking. The best way to keep track of progress is to log their weekly miles from a pedometer since they should be aiming to take 10,000 steps a day. Reward the winner with a non-food related incentive such as an iTunes gift card or new pair of sneakers.

Have a health fair with local wellness professionals

Partner with local wellness experts such as a chef, nutritionist, doctor, chiropractor, gym, running clubs, personal trainers and nurse. Ask professionals to bring incentives or discounts for services. Offer employees blood pressure testing, spinal exams, spinal adjustments, body fat testing, weigh ins, health handouts and skin cancer screening. Use this to help them ignite the fire to be inspired when they are outside of the office. Make sure to offer this program at a time when the most employees are at work such as at lunch time or right after work to have the best turnout.

Organize a running team that trains for a road race to benefit a charity

Start a couch to 5k program or join a local running club as a group. Employees can also use apps on their phone to keep them motivated when they are not running with the office group to stay on track. The app will talk to them through their ear phones to guide them when to walk and when to run. Employees are less likely to let down a good cause for charity then their own fitness goals.

Water challenge

Encourage employees to drink 64 ounces of water a day. Provide company logo water bottles or a large water dispenser at the office. Drinking water helps hydrate, avoid hunger pains and flush out fat.

No matter what program you choose for you office this is just a sampling of ideas that can help you get started making your workplace healthy. The more people you enlist to be fit at work the better your odds are at keeps with your own weight loss and fitness goals. There is nothing worse than trying to get healthy only to be surrounded by pizza and donuts at work. Make healthy choices one step at a time and they'll start to accumulate.

We love hearing feedback and ideas to help inspire others, as always please feel free to pass on the wellness.

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Make Fitness Affordable 11 Discounts To Ask Your Fitness Professional If They Offer

Making sure that fitness fits in your budget is an important part of finding the right candidate. View multiple specials, sales, discounts and unique offers for each fitness professional underneath their in depth profile. If you do not see it listed make sure to ask! Many personal trainers, yoga instructors and Pilates instructors offer their own exclusive deals in addition to many of these listed below.

1. Split The Cost With A Friend
If you are interested in training with a friend or two, this option may be of the largest price savings to you. Many personal trainers, yoga instructors and Pilates instructors offer to split the cost with a friend thus reducing the initial cost by 50%. If they do not offer this make sure to ask if they offer reduced pricing to add a friend to your sessions. It may not be 50% savings but every little bit counts! Whether you choose this option to make it more affordable and be able to train more frequently or if you choose to have an additional support system for fitness, either way you win!

2. Group Rates
If you are looking to hold a group fitness class at your home, office or park this is the deal for you! Recruit a group of friends, employees or office mates to get fitter and discuss with your prospect fitness candidates what your group is looking to do. Whether it is to have yoga classes outdoors, utilize your on site work gym or have a fitness boot camp at your home, fitness professionals are able to cater to your groups specific needs. Sessions for groups usually range anywhere from $ 5- $ 50 / per person per class depending on the size of the group.

3. Military Rates
Your service is appreciated! Ask about discounts for Marines, Army, Navy, National Guard or Air Force. Provide your military id when you sign up and tell your fitness professional up front that you will be able to provide it as proof of military activity.

4. Senior Discount
For some it is as easy as providing your driver's license or senior card card in order to get this discount. Being a senior has its benefits! Fitness professionals also travel to assisted living facilities, senior centers, independent living facilities and offer supplemental fitness to physical therapy sessions.

5. College Discount
Provide your school id and receive special discounts since personal trainers, yoga instructors and Pilate's instructors understand that school is expensive and your health is important! Make sure to tell your fitness professional about where you would like to workout, if it is on campus or off campus and if you have access to a fitness facility that you would like to utilize.

6. Corporate Discounts
Are you a busy corporate employee? Do you have limited time but have a gym in your office building? Try personal training, yoga lessons, or Pilates sessions at your office, whether it is in a gym, in your office or outside. Since all trainers travel to you, you never have to be without a fitness routine, no matter how busy you are! Ask your human resources department if anyone else is interested in joining a fitness program with you and get additional discounts.

7. Annual Membership
If you have a fitness goal deadline that is a year away or more ask about annual membership. Many memberships also offer classes as well as one one on one training. If you know that you would like to lose a large amount of weight, make a drastic lifestyle change, train for a sport specific race or just develop healthy habits over the course of the year an annual membership can save you money. Make sure to discuss with your fitness professional if it has to be paid up front in order for the discount to apply or if it can be spread out into payments.

8. Family Discount
If you are considering getting fit as a family affair, consider asking about family discounts. Fitness instructors understand that families are on tight budgets. If you would like to set up fitness lessons with siblings, young kids, spouses or the entire family during the same session discuss if this is an option. Usually when training within the same family, during the same hour, some discount will apply. Some trainers have a flat rate for the hour while others charge per individual.

9. Free Initial Consult or Trial Session
Are you worried that you will pick the wrong fitness professional and then be married to them for many lessons? Avoid this by asking for a trial session. All trainers offer trial sessions at either a small fee or for a free consultation. This allows you to meet with your chosen fitness professional and have a face to face session before you commit to any lesson packages.

10. Large Package Discount
Every trainer has a different idea of ​​a large package. The average trainer considers sessions bought in bulk usually 10 or more a large package. Make sure to ask how many sessions qualify for a large package and if they have to be paid up front or if you can spread out payments over time. You will also want to ask if there is an expiration date and if they have to be scheduled in advance. If you plan on training for several months and several times a week this may come out to several hundred if not thousands of dollars in savings.

11. Insurance Discount
Make sure to check with your work if your health insurance or your company offers discounts, reimbursements, or incentives to get healthy. Most health insurances offer anywhere from $ 100- $ 500 reimbursements for fitness classes, group fitness lessons or one on one personal training.

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The Difference Between a Personal Trainer and a Nutritionist

Have you always wondered, “What exactly is the difference between a personal trainer and a nutritionist?” Egypt “How much do you need to know about nutrition to be a trainer?” First off, a personal trainer is not a nutritionist or a dietitian, that is a different degree or certification (you can become certified for that and greatly increase your marketability and income). Although trainers are not nutritionists and should not prescribe diets, we still need to be educated on publicized recommendations.

Looking up nutritionist in the encyclopedia, you find: “Nutritionists are individuals who have studied the science of nutrition. health. ” On the other hand the entry for a personal trainer is: “A personal trainer is a fitness professional involved in exercise prescription and instruction. Notice there was not a mention of nutrition. That being said we still have an obligation to our clients to be educated on the subject.

When it comes to the line between nutritionists and personal trainers the aerobic and fitness association of America (AFAA) has this to say, “… personal trainers have the responsibility to provide educational information about the fundamentals of specific diets. dietary needs and problems … must be referred to a registered dietitian or similar professional (trainers must not “prescribe a diet”). Otherwise, information that is educational in nature and in the public domain, such as that from the US Department of Agriculture Food Guide Pyramid, can and should be shared with clients. ”

During your personal trainer course you will have to learn and understand the main nutrition requirements and the ins and outs of macro-nutrients and their background. The program will help walk you through this and teach you everything you need to know. The program you choose will walk you through the basics on the calorie content and nutritional value of protein, carbohydrates, fats, vitamins, minerals … etc. Your certifying program will also cover the basic Government regulations and the philosophy that certain organization teachings. All-in-all the basic nutritional information taught by your certifying organization will roughly be the same!

Occasionally, if you want, you can become a certified nutritionist or dietitian later on and that can greatly add value to your resume. This could greatly increase your basic starting salary. When it comes to nutrition, you should be educated enough to answer any nutrition questions that your clients may have or can able to point them in the right direction. Remember that we are here to help.

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What You Should Expect From Your First Fitness Session With A Fitness Trainer

1. Arrival Promptness
Your first meeting will set the tone for the rest of your sessions. Have you heard the saying, “early is on time, being on time is late and if you're late do not bother”? This should be your motto when you meet your trainer for the first time. Part of the reason that most clients hire personal trainers, yoga teachers and Pilate's teachers is so that it helps them stay on track. If the person who is supposed to be keeping you on track shows up late, what does that say about how the rest of your experience will go? Fitness professionals should be 5-10 minutes early and prepared to begin on time as scheduled. This saves you time and money. There is nothing worse than a client showing up before the trainer and the client using part of their paid session while the trainer gets ready to begin. Make sure to address how important your time is and how you expect promptness for your sessions. If you live in a region where you can expect weather restrictions at certain times of the year or traffic issues at certain times of the day, make sure to discuss back up plans for if these issues should arise. Such as if there is a snow storm, hurricane, extensive backed up traffic at rush hour etc. Make sure you have exchanged contact information so that you or the trainer can contact each other to let the other know that you may run a couple minutes behind schedule due to extensive circumstances.

2. Responsiveness to Emails / Calls
We recommend that trainers respond to client inquiries, questions, issues, concerns and scheduling ASAP. Meaning we recommend as little time as immediately to no more than 24 hours. Trainers should respond to emails, calls, texts etc. within a 24 hour period at max. Your time is IMPORTANT! Trainers should fully understand that clients have busy lives which are typically why they hire a trainer in the first place. Do not be afraid to speak up if your trainer is taking longer than 24 hours to respond to your requests as you are paying for their service and your time is valuable.

3. Social media
Ask your fitness professional if they utilize social media to stay connected and get important information out. This is a great method to stay up to date with the latest fitness plans, programs and workouts as well as notified of weather cancellations etc. Many trainers use this to deliver helpful information to clients to help them stay motivated such as workout videos, daily fitness motivation and more. Make sure to ask if they have twitter, pinterest, Facebook, wordpress, blog or instagram and connect with them before you begin services.
You can also use this to vet for the quality of service that they offer by looking at their comments, feed, friends, followers and posts. For example, if you go to their Facebook page and you see them smoking and eating a cheeseburger you can imagine this does not really say “motivate me”. They should take their profession seriously as this will mean that they take your time, money, results, their job and your well being seriously.

4. Communication
Remember that all great relationships are built on communication and trust. This should be your marker for great service. You should be able to discuss with your fitness professional if you do not like a specific exercise, feel uncomfortable, have physical limitations, medical limitations, scheduling needs, an issue with your service, customer service issue, lack of results or any additional concern. Personal trainers, yoga teachers and Pilates teachers understand that it is a “personal” business that they need to deliver quality service in order for customers to be happy and they should place great significance on your opinions. Many will even ask your feedback, offer surveys, questions and your opinion to make sure they are delivering the best service and meet your needs.

5. Schedule
Trainers who offer little flexibility in their schedule should be a no go! As you would think wow this trainer has so many clients that they are booked solid this should be a red flag. You will want to make sure that trainers have availability for multiple time slots that should schedule your change in the future. Ask if they work nights, weekends, early mornings, holidays etc. Make sure you check in advance before signing up as life does happen and there is nothing worse than having signed up and not being able to book a session with your chosen trainer. Most trainers understand that clients typically are hiring them because they have limited time and a tight schedule so they are flexible to work around you as your schedule should change.

6. Equipment
Ask what equipment will be used during your sessions. Some gym trainers focus on machines which others free weights, some boot camp instructors offer body weight exercises and others bring small apparatus to mix it up. Ask what equipment is to be used as well as ask for demonstrations and to try it out during your first session. You want to make sure you enjoy the style of the trainer and use of their selected equipment before you chose a program. Each session should be catered to each individual clients specific needs and not a predetermined generic program.

7. Personality
The most common question we get about trainers is “How do I know if I will like them?” Do you have an idea of ​​what type of personality motivates you? Do not be afraid to speak your mind. If you know you want a trainer to yell at you, or if you want a workout buddy, or if you like a compassionate personality, or if you need lots of positive encouragement there are many personalities to suit any training need. The trick is to have an idea of ​​who is best suited to motivate you. Take a look at who your friends and co-workers are and reflect on what will be the best fit to make sure you will be motivated. Every client has unique needs for those motivates them and that is okay since no two people are the same. We want to make sure clients get the most out of their services and enjoy their sessions since your time and money is valuable. We are here to help you design the best fitness program for your goals.

8. Client Testimonials, Reviews and References
Get real time feedback from current and old clients about their experience with your chosen fitness professional. Ask for phone numbers, written reviews or testimonials and online reviews so that you have all the information you need for making a decision. Do not be afraid to ask their customers questions about their experience, their success, any issues that may have arisen, if they are currently training, how often they train, and how long they have been with a specific instructor. Remember these are opinions so you can always make your own decision about the professional but it is usually a good guide for any major red flags.

9. Fun
Remember your first session with your fitness professional should be a measured on the same scale that you would judge a meeting with a coworker or business contact. You should feel that you are able to vocalize your opinions, be able to express yourself and get the most out of your meeting. Do not forget one of the most important factors is that you should HAVE FUN! Fitness does not have to be stagnant and neither should your workout! You should be able to develop a professional relationship and have fun while you get results.

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Deciding on a Personal Trainer Certification Organization

Being a personal trainer myself, I know that one of the hardest aspects of becoming certified is choosing which program or organization is right for you! This can be completely confusing because there are so many organizations to choose from; even colleges and universities offer personal trainer programs. Where do you even begin? One way to decide which program to get certified through is to keep several questions in mind.

First, it's important to ask yourself, “Which organization's program fits into my budget?” This is paramount because quite frankly, if you can not afford it you might as well look at a different program. Not to fear though, there are a ton of programs with a wide variety of price ranges to choose from. Organizations offer a variety of programs and study material options that can cost anywhere from $ 300- $ 400, all the way up to $ 2,000. Many times you can get all the study materials you need and an exam voucher for $ 400-500.

Second, you need to ask yourself, “How much time to do I have / want to take to get certified?” This is very important to remember because programs offer a number of different options for getting certified. These options range from a 3-4 day workshop to a self-paced study course in which you can get a year long exam voucher. It all depends on your time frame!

Third, ask yourself, “Do I want to take a live workshop or do a self-paced study?” There are many benefits to both. For one, a live workshop is great because it allows you to get all of the information in a couple of days and get the course and exam over with. You also get the chance to discuss and review the exam with an instructor face-to-face. The downside is that you have to travel (which could cost you money) and a large amount of information is dumped on you rather quickly. On the other hand, self-paces courses or physical studying materials can be quite handy as well. Self paced courses allow you to work at your own pace and usually offer the ability to call or email staff with any questions. The downside of self-paced courses is procrastination and not being able to discuss and review the exam face-to-face with a professional.

Fourth, you need to ask yourself, “If I want to do a workshop, which programs are offered close-by?” Doing a live workshop is great but only if it is relatively close-by. Find out which organization you want to go through that offers live workshops and check when the upcoming ones are and where they are. Workshops are offered at many different locations, so time it to where you can sign-up, have time to study beforehand, and be ready for a workshop. This will save you traveling time!

Fifth, it is always good to be mindful of and ask yourself, “How long until I have to get re-certified?” If re-certification is of concern to you, check to see how long each organization gives you until you need to be re-certified. This is normally around 2 years but can be anywhere from 6 months to 4 years.

Sixth, and most importantly ask yourself, “Is it an accredited program accepted by gyms everywhere?” Although you can be a personal trainer without getting a certification or you can get certified through an organization that is not accredited by a governing body, getting a job is at the discretion of the gym and perspective clients. Getting certified through an accredited organization greatly improves your chances of landing a job quickly!

Keeping these questions in mind can make choosing which program to get certified through much easier. Having a game plan when deciding on an organization can take a lot of the confusion out of becoming a certified personal trainer!

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What Does It Mean to Set SMART Goals?

Have you ever achieved a goal that you set for yourself? Do you remember the feeling you had when you realized it?

After playing softball in college I started to gain weight because I was eating like an athlete but I had stopped training like an athlete. I had earned 15 pounds in what felt like a week and I knew I had to do something. I set a goal for myself, but my goal read like this: “Lose weight.” That's it no timeline, not how I am going to do it, just “Lose weight.” Needless to say this was not a very good goal and it was not until I set a SMART goal did I succeed. My SMART goal was: “Lose 15 pounds by eating healthy and working out three times a week. I will lose 15 pounds by October 1st (which was three months away).” This cave me specific objectives and a timeline that held me accountable to reach my goal. By October 1st I had lost 17 pounds and felt great!

Success in any area depends on setting SMART goals. By developing a clear picture of exactly what you hope to accomplish and determining what specific actions you need to accomplish it, you can more easily tell when you've succeeded in reaching your goal.

What does it mean to set SMART Goals?

SMART Goals are specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and timely. Here is a quick breakdown explaining each aspect:

• SPECIFIC: When we set vague goals such as my goal to “Lose weight,” it's nearly impossible to judge whether we hit them or not. Set a specific goal by answering these questions: What do I want to accomplish? When do I want to accomplish it by? Why do I want to do it? How am I going to do it?

• MEASURABLE: Goals need to be measurable which usually means attaching a number to it. When I shifted my goal from simply losing weight to losing 15 pounds I was able to track my progress and know when I had reached my goal.

• ATTAINABLE: Goals need to be reasonable and achievable. Nearly everyone has tried to drop a few pounds at one time or another. Often our success or failure depends on setting practical goals. Losing 15 pounds in 30 days is unrealistic but losing 15 pounds in three months is definitely achievable. Do not set yourself up for failure by setting goals that are out of reach.

• REALISTIC: A realistic goal should be something that you are both willing and able to work towards. If I was not willing or able to workout three days a week then my goal would have been an unrealistic goal.

• TIMELY: Goals need to have a timeline to provide accounting and motivation to continue working toward that goal. Without an end date there is no sense of urgency, no reason to take any action today.

Once you have set your SMART goals check in yourself regularly to make sure you are on track to reach your goals in the timeframe you have set. The first step to success is knowing what you want. The second step is having a plan to get there. Remember that you can do anything you put your mind to!

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The How to Guide to Picking a Personal Trainer

Are you looking to hire a trainer and start an exercise program? No matter the reason why, it's often difficult to start this process or even know where or how to find the right trainer. Your health, safety and money are very important, so you want to make the best decision possible. So where do you start? The simplest rule of thumb, whether you use the phone book, commercials, or referral … do not just talk to the trainer, interview them! Here are some key questions to ask along with the answers that can determine whether or not the trainer is a good fit for you and your health / fitness goals:

• What education, certifications or qualifications does the trainer have?

A background in fitness and nutrition is an important foundation to a trainer's ability to provide you with effective and safe means to accomplishing your goals. A basic certification from NASM or ACE, for example, is a good start. Does the trainer have a background in kinetics, exercise science or demonstrating an understanding of how the body works? Another essential piece of education is a current CPR / first aid certification.

• Does the trainer require a consultation or a health assessment prior to beginning a fitness program?

A competent trainer will set up an initial consultation or a health assessment prior to your first session. The initial consultation should contain a fitness assessment covering your health history, cardiovascular risk assessment and exercise history. These are essential to ensure the safe development of an exercise program. An experienced trainer will also provide an exercise assessment to seek out weaknesses and inequality in your body's alignment and performance.

• What is the trainer's exercise and wellness philosophy?

Seek out a trainer that embodies a lifestyle that matches their expressed philosophy and training guidelines. While everyone has to provide for themselves and their family performing some kind of vocation, a focused trainer enters the training profession to help others. Many trainers choose their profession because of their own personal experiences, which usually are very similar to their clients' present issues. Always ask the trainer why they chose this profession and learn how that experience is incorporated in their training philosophy.

• Is the trainer adaptable and willing to create a program that is really well suited for you?

During your assessment, the trainer should take time to discuss your goals and expectations of the training sessions. Ask the trainer how they go about creating programs for clients. Be wary of a trainer that relations solely on magazines and periodicals created for the public. These publications do not provide the science or safety education required to successfully execute the program. A good trainer will utilize professional periodicals as well as text and reference books created for the fitness industry. Be sure to ask if they take continuing education workshops / seminars as the industry is continuously changing and providing the newest, most up to date techniques and information for trainers to utilize in their profession and for programming.

Be thorough in your questions and listen carefully to their answers. A professional trainer will be happy to take the time necessary to answer your questions and eager to instill an open, honest, and trustworthy client / trainer relationship. Your health and fitness is very important to you and the trainer who understands this and wants to assist you in making the changes needed to succeed is the trainer you want to hire!

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The New Personal Trainer Online

So you've made the decision to seek out an online personal trainer. And why not? Communication has been made just that much easier these days.

The question now is, “what am I getting with my new online personal training program?”

This is a fair question to ask for any product or service. Unfortunately, just like any product or service, there are faulty ones, and poor quality. This is always going to be left up to the consumer to decide what they are absolutely going to settle for.

The great thing about the online personal trainer, is that outside of the communication aspect, the market is relatively still small but growing. Why is this a good thing? It just means you do not have to look too far to find the good ones and the bad ones.

Now how about what should you look for? Well, we have already covered communication, and honestly, that is going to be one of the largest aspects of your program. Another thing you want to be aware of, is making sure you are really getting what you are paying for. going back to quality of service, there are plenty of poor personal trainers out there who are content with offering you the same personalized fitness program that they offer to most of their other clients. The idea of ​​personalized fitness and training goes right out the door at that point. People want a personal trainer to get fitness programs specific to their needs. Getting a general plan is going to show results, but they will not be the best results for you.

So how do you find out if you are not getting your money's worth out of your program? In the online world, that can be difficult, but not impossible.

  1. Many services of this nature are referral based, so ask the person who referred you what their fitness program looks like and whether they are satisfied with it.
  2. If you signed up for it and received your program off a referral, sometimes compare fitness programs.
  3. Go bold and simply ask the trainer about their methods. Chances are you will not get a straight forward answer, but it does not hurt to ask. At the very least it will help you with your jurisdiction process.
  4. Online personal training should come hand in hand with a questionnaire process. This is a good indicator, however it may just be a legitimizing effort on the part of the online personal trainer.
  5. Depending on how in depth the communication is, one of the most important features to look for in an online personal training program is the ability to interact with your personal trainer to make changes to your program.

Whatever you choose in the end, hopefully you will be happy. However one of the main and most important factors that needs to be considered is motivation. Motivation and accountability are the foundation of any goal. Personal trainers online can only do so much, but the good ones will do everything they can. Good trainers will hold their clients accountable. A physical presence is not required to maintain a basic level of accountability. So before you look for an online personal training program, make sure you are ready to take on the challenge.

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Weight Management and the Comfort Zone – How the Subconscious Mind Can Keep Us Fat

There are many theories around these days as to why people generally find it difficult to lose weight and in turn keep the weight off. Many of these theories are correct and some of them questionable.

There is the idea of ​​sticking to low carbohydrates, one which I find works for me. Eating lowfat foods has been around for thirty or forty years but it is questionable as to whether that works. Many people work out in the gym or go running and find that keeps them on the straight and narrow.

But for many people nothing seems to work.

They lose the weight and just put it back on and in many cases more besides. There are many ideas why this happens and people are done in what author John Briffa calls “The Diet Trap”. His ideas are becoming very popular and he is joined by other authors such as Zoe Harcombe and Gary Taubes.

This week however, I came across another thought that resonated with me, from a chap called Bob Proctor, who is an international expert in Personal Development. His idea is that a lot of people can not lose weight or keep it down because they are in their comfort zone.

His theory makes a lot of sense to me. It runs along the idea that as infants and children we learn so much about what life is all about, that we “soak” it up and it remains in our subconscious mind for the rest of our lives. There are many things that we grow up believing because we do not know any better. We do not have the ability to know any different. Because of this, we live our lives according to what we learnt and are used to.

This idea is in action in other areas of our lives such as relationships, careers and money. But for now I want to concentrate on the weight issue.

Recently on television there was a program about mothers instilling into their daughters the need to be thin at a very early age. There were children at the tender age of eight on slimming diets. I fear for these girls growing up to believe that a little bit of fat, no matter how natural and necessary it is to the body, is not acceptable.

What Bob Proctor suggests is that if you have been fat or overweight all your life you have subconsciously adapted to being just that. Consequently, no matter how often you lose weight, you will put it back on again if you do not change your thinking.

That is the secret for so many people and it certainly resonated for me. On the one hand we have the little girls growing up to see fat as the sworn enemy: there is a strong chance that they will grow up with eating disorders. On the other hand we have many people who have been fat or overweight for most of their lives, and they are comfortable with that. It's as if the subconscious is saying “Leave me be, I like being this weight because it's easy and comfortable.”

A good example would be Dawn French, a celebrity in the UK who two years ago lost over 7 stone. She looked fantastic, but a few months after reaching goal she immediately started putting on weight again. In an interview with WOMAN Magazine in 2012 after losing over 7 stone, she admitted that she was happy in her own skin before her weight loss.

Dawn is an extreme example of what the comfort zone is all about. I believe that for many of us, this is something to think about in our battle with weight. Is our subconscious mind more comfortable with being heavier than our conscious mind is telling us that we should be?

The secret here is that we CAN change our thinking.

Sometimes, when you are aware that this is what is going on for you, in future you will stop before you eat something that you know is not going to help – and ask yourself if your subconscious is in control here.

Just simply being aware can help you to change your thinking. But you need to be aware that the comfort zone is a very strong force and it will not be easy.

But, this can be a powerful tool for you to use in your fight with weight management.

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Weekend Damage: Putting the Brakes on Blow-Outs

There's something quite unique about a Friday night. For most of us it signifies the official start of the weekend and it can be really tempting to pour yourself a big ol 'glass of the red stuff (or whatever's your particular poison) kick back and welcome large amounts of cake, cookies, chips and cheese into your life …

A lot of people see a big blow-out as their reward for a difficult week. Perhaps you've been doing overtime at work, or you've completed a big project this week which has involved tons of research, several late nights and endless meetings with difficult people. Maybe you pitched for a job and it's been awarded to your company. (Hey, well done you if that is the case …)

That Friday Feeling

Or maybe you've been incredibly strict this week with your eating. You've religious counties calories, you've ensured that you made your diet as low-fat or low-carb (whatever eating plan it is that you favor) as you can. You have turned down every offer of cake, you have gone to bed with a rumbling stomach and you have woken up on Friday morning feeling virtuous, flat-stomached and perhaps a little light-headed.

Let's add to this an awful amount of exercise. Wow, well done you oh super dieter and exerciser. No wonder you arrived at Friday feeling as if you deserve a huge reward and you see your reward as a whole load of grog and every single item of food you have denied yourself over the course of the week.

The Weekend Indulgences

• Chips? By the bucketful …
• Lollies? Stick 'em right here by my right hand
• Pastries? I'll have five please
• Oh, and while you're on your feet, my glass needs a top up.

Can I stop you right there? I'm not here as the voice of doom, ladies. I get that you feel you really need that reward, but I want to suggest ways of mitigating the damage a weekend blow-out can do. There are certain sections of the population who stick religiously to a diet and exercise plan during the week and then go mad at the weekend.

In fact, a recent study by the diet company Forza Supplements showed that there are women out there eating 10,000 calories over the course of a weekend. Given that the recommended calorie intake for women is roughly 2,000 calories a day (for weight maintenance, it will vary depending on your height, body frame, level of activity etc), then 10,000 is roughly five days' worth of food.

How to do Damage-free Weekends

Here's what I recommend for damage-free weekends, which do not leave you feeling stripped.

Firstly, schedule in non-food or drinks-based rewards. A massage, beauty treatment or catch-up with friends at the park offer long-lasting enjoyment and relaxation benefits.

Secondly, do treat yourself to something special. That's what I advise my clients as sticking to a strict eating plan all the time can encourage feelings of deprivation, so I urge people to make themselves a nice, indulgent meal once a week. The crucible thing here is that it is only one or two meals.

Thirdly, most of us have foods we know we have little control over. For me, it's Sea Salt Kettle Chips, so I do not stock them in the house. Human beings are programmed to over-eat (and then starve) as that is how we lived for hundreds of thousands of years. It is only in the last 50 or 60 years that we in the western world have lived with so much food, so over-eating is a natural thing to do, but we do not get the under-eating which was meant to accompany that .

If you do not keep cakes, for example, in your home, you are less likely to end up eating them as having to leave the house to buy the cake is much more hassle than just doing without.

Be careful with the grog. I love red wine, but I know that alcohol tends to dissolve will power. Two or three glasses in, and I'm much more likely to reach for that jumbo-size bag of potato chips. Half-an-hour later and the bag has mysteriously disappeared. And a hangover the day after often leaves me more likely to reach for unhealthy foods or not feel like doing a work-out.

Call to action – I want you to enjoy your weekend, but work out a strategy in advance for coping with overeating and drinking.

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The Level 2 Fitness Instructor Course and Strength Training Exercises

When you get involved in the field of personal training for fitness instructors you must complete some courses that will teach you the foundations of the body and exercise. Once you finish these courses you can begin working and teaching fitness immediately at a local fitness center or major fitness chain. There are different course formats available to meet all manner of time constraints, personal circumstances, and preferred style of learning. The Level 2 fitness instructor course you take will last anywhere between two weeks and eight weeks depending on the type of class you take. You may only have weekends free in which case you can take a series of Saturday courses. You may instead have a few weeks free in which you can complete an intensive course. You can take residential training or a combination of home and online study. When you take a Level 2 fitness instructor course, you will be assessed through a number of worksheets, practical evaluations, and theory exams that are often multiple choice. Upon completing these you will earn your certificate.

Once you finish you can begin teaching immediately at a local fitness center. When you start teaching you can focus on group activities or help individuals with their particular type of training. Many people start out with group teaching and conduct things such as team exercises or outdoor boot camps. If you are looking to do some strength training at home after you finish your Level 2 fitness instructor course, then you will need to buy a set of dumbbells first. Choose some that are reasonably light, but be aware that as your strength increases, you will need to replace these. Training with ones that are too light will not have the effect you are looking for. These are some ideas for simple exercises that you can do at home, whenever you have a few minutes available.

The first exercise you can use after finishing your Level 2 fitness instructor course is the chest press. Ideally, you should be lying on a bench for this, with your feet flat on the floor. However, if you do not have a suitable bench, you can simply lie on the floor instead, knees bent and feet flat. Hold a weight in each hand, level with your chest. Reach upwards with both arms, extending them toward the ceiling until they are straight, then lower back down. Do ten reps, then rest and repeat.

The next exercise you can incorporated after you finish your Level 2 fitness instructor course is step ups. Stand facing a bench or step (the first step on a flight of stairs will be absolutely fine for this), one weight in each hand, raised to shoulder height. Put one foot on the step and push your body up. This will cause your other leg to lift off the floor. Hold for a count of three, then lower back down and repeat with the other leg. Do between ten and fifteen reps on each leg.

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Isometric Strength Training: Training for Real Strength

Man has made the best in technology and invention when it comes to making things convenient. In the process, things have only gotten more complicated. For instance, when it comes to your fitness, a simple calisthenics routine with regular jogging or simpler aerobics are enough. But we still want to go to fancy gyms with scientifically designed machines which require special skill and safety measures to execute. Do not get me wrong, I love the iron sport and find hoisting weights to be a very accomplishing task. However, that is not really what I need to develop my fitness for or for enhancing my physical fitness.

The best part is – you do not need to spend too much money and time going to the gym and you do not need extra focus to ensure your personal safety. Better yet, you can save a lot of physical energy getting to and coming back from the gym. You can utilize that time to complete a workout at home with an old school training form used by the legendary strongmen and wrestlers thatave them incredible strength, strength that most gym buffs of today can not boast about.

The form of training that I am speaking about is known as Isometric Exercise. It is an obscure form of physical training and is almost lost to the masses. Isometrics training involves contraction of muscles not brought about by successfulive concentric and eccentric movements (known as isotonic movements). Instead the muscle length stays fixed while it is trying to either move an immovable load or hold a heavy load in a particular position. You will find this used mostly by athletes and also by patients rehabilitating an injury. However, this method is very effective even for a regular trainee and with appropriate use, can deliver results beyond your wildest imagination.

History of Isometric Exercises

Do not believe me; let's, for example, look at the greatest Strongmen in history and who could be a better example than Alexander Zass. A former weight training enthusiast, Zass, built his physique and decent strength, during his early years by employing strength training methods using weights. However, during the world war, he was detained and imprisoned by the Russians. Imprisoned in shackles and solitary confinement in an Austrian prison camp, Zass found his hard earned physique deteriorating, like anyone's would if they stop working out. Frustration stripped him to begin pulling at the shackles and pushing the prison bars. The result was the rapid development of strength. Pretty soon he developed enough strength to rip out the prison bars, bend it to form a hook in order to scale the prison wall and escape. After his escape, his new training training technique became a staple method and he modified it to suit his needs outside the prison. He even developed it enough to sell it as a training discipline to interested patrons and serious trainees. Apart from Alexander Zass, there were other famous strength athletes who used Isometric Exercises to develop their bodies and strength like Joseph Greenstein, Tromp Van Digglen and the renounced martial artist – Bruce Lee.

Types of Isometric Exercises

The beauty of this training method is that you really do not need to use prison bars and shackles or any fancy equipment to get a good workout. Simply applying opposing force using your own limbs can deliver phenomenal results. The idea is to apply force on an immovable object and trying to move it. This is called as Overcoming isometrics. Here you're trying to make an immovable object move by consistently increasing the effort.

The other method is when you try to hold an object and keep it from moving. A heavy barbell during a bench press for example, if you're simply holding the load halfway across the movement and resisting it the entire time, then this is called, Yielding Isometrics.

Now, when you are pushing at a dumbbell or a barbell in an eccentric and concentric manner, your body is only utilizing a small percentage of its muscles to bring about a movement. As a result, you need to work multiple sets in order to ensure maximum muscular stress and that muscular strength and growth. With isometric contraction, the body is trying hard to move the object and as it realizes that it is not able to do so, the body enrolls more muscle fibers into the effort. The result is the body's increased capacity to activate muscles when needed at the first instance. The most important aspect about this training method is its direct impact on tendons. The tendons respond very well to isometric contraction and strengthen up. On the contradiction, with the conventional form of training with weights and machines, the muscles respond rapidly and the tendons respond to a much slower degree. As a result, your body becomes subject to potential injuries as you begin to train with heavier loads.

My own personal experience with Isometrics was of the yielding type. I used an equipment called the bull worker and found the gains to be pretty good. However, back then I was training with only a chart with the routine printed on it and nobody to guide me along the way. Not knowing how far I could go with Isometric Exercises alone and having limited knowledge about the discipline, I moved on to weight training as that was the method approved by famous and successful champions like Arnold Schwarzeneger and Lou Ferrigno. Any years later, I came across an article about Alexander Zass and read about his legendary feats of strength and about how he gained this strength by practicing isometric exercises. This pushed my focus back on isometrics. I did not fully take it up until late 2012. It has a profound impact on my body and I began feeling a muscular stress similar to lifting heavy weights with just a few seconds of each exercise. This training principle is also to a decent extent mimicked by the gymnasts in their static holds and conditioning exercises. This explains why so many of them who've never lifted weight ever before are able to lift mind blowing amounts of weights within a very short time of starting weight training.

Isometric Exercises are incredibly powerful and very efficient when it comes to building muscular strength and burning fat. You can develop a total body workout routine with nothing more than your body weight and do so without the need of any expensive equipment.

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Why You Need to Keep a Fitness Journal

Whether you are beginning a new fitness routine or vamping up your existing routine, there are many tools you can use to track your progress. Accountability is critical in keeping goals.

Accountability to others

When you are beginning your path to a healthier lifestyle, you can enlist the help of a walking or exercise buddy. Let's face it, there are few activities that are not more enjoyable with a partner. Having someone to walk with can help you in many ways. On the most base level, there is something to say about having a commitment to another to go walk with. Depending on where you live, this could make a huge difference in whether you have brave cold winter temperatures. When you have a solid support system to help you stick to your fitness or diet goals, a gentle reminder and offer of strength is extremely helpful in times of temptation, frustration or weakness.

Accountability to yourself

While having a supportive network of people to help you can be a real help, the basic truth is that at the end of the day, the buck stops with you. You are in charge of determining what you will be doing and how you will set, work towards and meet your goals. Keeping a log of your goals and progress can help you see the progress that you are making when the progress sees to plateau.

What should you track?

In a nutshell, you should track everything that will help you achieve your goals and your progress in achieving them. If you track your daily eating habits and your daily activities, you can look for trends in your habits. Getting an idea of ​​how you are doing will give you ideas of what works for you and what does not, how, when and what tempts you to slack off and how you are doing in meeting your goals.

How should you track your progress?

You can track your progress towards meeting your fitness goals with something as high-tech as a special app to load into your phone or tablet or something as simple as a spiral notebook. You can also use an online fitness journal to track your progress. Occidentally, web support networks for fitness provide the accountability and support needed as well as a variety of tools to track your progress.

No matter your method of finding the right balance of accountability and fitness tracking, your chances of successfully meeting your goals are greatly improved if you have these tools in place to help you.

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How to Jump Rope: Workout Like A Kid Again

Awwhile back I came across some challenge workout programs by Shawna Kaminsky. One of them was a jumping rope challenge. It'd been 30 years since I'd last jumped rope, and I was as bad then as I was when I was a kid. Being a four time stroke survivor and having Dystonia, I did not want to buy the program without testing myself out first.

The problem was, where to begin. There are so many new jump routes on the market that I did not know which one to buy. I did not know what size. So, I hit the net and learned everything I needed to know. I know I'm not the only looking for answers, so I thought I'd share what I learned, and hopefully save you time so you can grab your rope and start working out like a kid again.

WHAT YOU NEED

1. Obviously – a jump rope. Cotton? Plastic? Leather? Vinyl? Cotton is slow. Leather, plastic and vinyl are faster. I bought vinyl and love it. I've had leather in the past and they really hurt. So do the vinyl, but I think the leather hurts worse.

Weighted or un-weighted? I've used both, but I really prefer the weighted ones. You've been surprised at what a difference just adding one extra pound in the palm of your hands can make on those swings – you really do feel it in the arms. Also, the weighted ones allow you to vary the weight from half-pound to pound, and you can leave out them altogether.

2. What size should you get?

4'10 and under – 7 'rope
4'11 – 5'3 – 8 'rope
5'4 – 5 '10 – 9' rope
5'11 – 6'6 – 10 'rope
over 6'6 – 11 'rope

3. Tip: You can not always find the 7 'routes, so look for one that's adjustable. Either measure off the rope, or cut so the handles meet your armpits.

4. A wood floor, piece of plywood, or mat to jump on. Never jump on concrete or asphalt without you want to kill your knees and feet.

5. Good pair of sneakers.

6. OPT: music!

INSTRUCTIONS

1. First off, practice the bounce to get a feel for what you're about to do – and refresh your memory.

2. Next, pretend you've got your rope in hand and start spinning your invisible rope.

3. Now that your practice session is behind you, grab the real rope, and let's go! Rope behind you. Hands out to your sides, waist level.

4. Bend your knees.

5. Jump to it. Make sure the rope barely touches the floor as you spin it.

6. Do not jump higher than an inch off the ground.
See how many jumps you can do either in a specific amount of time, or try to jump past your age! My big thrill was jumping 57 times in a row – 4 jumps over!

Try setting a timer for 20 seconds. Count how many jumps. Do not worry about messing up. Just keep on trying and see how many you can do. If you can go longer – awesome!

TIPS

1. Always breathe through your nose.

2. No matter how often you mess up – do not give up. Occasionally, you'll get coordinated.

3. If it feels too hard, do not worry about it. Go back to steps 1 and 2 above. Faking helps you build up to where you can actually jump the rope itself.

4. To add variety, try alternating feet. Your knees come up higher for this one, so it's a tougher workout.

WORKOUT IDEAS

1. Jump 20 seconds, 30 second break. Keep repeating until you've gotten in a good 10 – 15 minute workout. Lengthen the jump time and shorten the break for a great workout.

2. Jump rope for 20 seconds. Drop and do several burpees. Grab the rope and go again. 3 rounds equal 1 set. If you're just starting out, take a 30 – 60 second break after the burpees. Work up to doing this for 10 – 15 minutes.

Happy jumping!

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Push Your Teacher! Make Sure They Are Worth Your Time

When looking for a martial arts school to join or even re-assessing if the current school you belong to suites your needs and wants it's important to evaluate two (2) primary aspects, the teacher and his or her relationship with his or her students. As a student there are three (3) non-replaceable things you give when you commit yourself to a style, system, school or instructor. Those three non-replaceable things are your attention, time and trust. Of course you should already have sorted out what your main purpose for training in a particular martial art is. If your purpose is only recreation with little care of progress then these paragraphs may not be suited for you but, on the other hand, if you're looking for training that will change, challenge and enhance your life, health and self-preservation then what I'm going to be saying will need serious reflection.

The first evaluation is about your teacher's ambition to the perfection of his or her own craft. Is this individual self-driven, motivated and inspired by the system itself to continue their own education by any means.

The teacher should be active in his or her classes. They should be teaching, training and validating the material in each class. A proper teacher will never give an excuse as to why they can not train; they will not shy away from their students or outside observers watching them train with their students or with their own teachers and seniors. You can clearly see their motivation to perfect there craft and lead as a true professional.

A teacher should not only be able to explain to his or her students how to train on their own but, also demonstrate these solo training methods fairly and perfectly at all speeds and levels of progress. A high class teacher has a formula or ritual to their own solo training and never lacks in there movement. Each movement is strictly executed with authority and professionalism.

In class, you should always see the teacher actively participating in the forms, drills and sparring, making his or her rounds with each student and displaying the proper level of training, teaching and coaching with each individual. A true teacher works with his student to achieve their student's success. This means a teacher is willing to put themselves in controlled risk and vulnerable positions to pull out the best performance in their student. You should clearly be able to see that during this process the teacher has the complete control of the drill or sparring and at the same time lets the student venture into the game. The teacher should be displaying mastery of both range and timing putting themselves in vulnerable positions trying to encourage their student to identify and capitalize on these opportunities while maintaining the safety of them and the student.

After observing carefully the teacher's behavior of both authority and professionalismism it's time to glance over and evaluate the students. The students will display the teacher's personality, ability and leadership towards training. Watch how the students and teacher interact with each other as well as how the students interact with other students. Also, pay attention to how the teacher and students when not with a partner are acting. Are they observing others, off on their own taking notes and working on a skill or are they just sitting around with no intention to better themselves in some way.

With a professional instructor no student gets left behind, even the ones who may have a harder time grasping the information or applying the lessons physically. There will be a display of patients in the teacher even when the student is frustrated. A high class teacher understands this frustration, they've experienced it before, there should know exactly how to guide that student out of their current rut. A good teacher knows how to slow themselves down and think of the right way to explain and display lessons to each of his students properly so they can all understand the information presented. Especially when the teacher gets frustrated. If the student does not ever grasp the material it is the teacher's failure and not the student's.

The teacher does not ignore any individual. A proper teacher always accepts his student's questions and needs to train, drill and spar with them. Be sure you never witness a teacher giving a student any excuse not to get in the rounds and physically train and move with them. A proper and professional teacher has no excuses when it comes to his or her students or their own training, ever!

The teacher's skills are displayed in his or her students. Over a period of time you should identify each individual student's progress in training as well as seeing growth in the teacher's physical skills and ability to present the material. You should see the higher level students' taking on the same self-demand the teacher has for himself. Watch how the students interact with each other, train with each other with no ill-competition, helping and teaching each other to progress and grow. You should see the students supporting and encouraging each other's success. Witness a room of no excuses and a pure drive to succeed in lessons and over all skill for them and their classmates. Basically, you will see the exact same behavior in student to student as you will see in teacher to student.

Lastly, a teacher should never hide the ability of his advance students from others observing the classes or advance student to instructor flow rounds. You should witness the advance students really pushing out there best, especially when they are flowing and sparring with the teacher. You should never see a demonstration type of agreed play between them in flow rounds. You should be witnessing the advance student actually attacking and doing their best to strike the teacher. Sometimes the student even gets a good shot in and when this happens you should see the teacher's eyes and face expression light up with complete joy for their student's success. You should witness the advance students pushing the instructor's physical craftsmanship.

If you are to walk into the middle of a class during a flow or sparring session, it should be somewhat difficult to spot the instructor. You should see everyone participating in the training, exciting ideas and validations. You should be witnessing a sense of community between each individual.

Teachers, who lecture without proper display, sit down during classes, do not work hard and sweat at each class and seem to have excuses not to move around, train, workout and lead by extreme example in my mind are not true and professional, high class instructors. It is not a piece of paper, ability to talk or how they make them appear that defines one's ability to perform, it is there attitude, character and drive to physical and intellectual mastery.

I leave you with this, question everything and always push those above you. Make any teacher have to earn your respect by provoking their authority, professionalism and of course physical skill.

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