ACE Fitness

Posted: April 9, 2012 in GENERAL

I often get asked about an online resource that would provide workouts of many different types.  I understand that many of us don’t have a lot of time or a gym membership.  Others, don’t have a clue on where to get started.  Here is a website I always recommend: ACE Fitness.

You will see that it offers a number of different workouts designed to meet different goals and work within constraints.  I’ve used this both personally and with my clients.  I thought it would be good to post it here as a resource for all you perhaps looking to get started. I also personally trust ACE as they are a well known organization that certifies personal trainers.

I hope nobody over did it with all the holidays goodies today.  However, if you did, remember lots of water and gym tomorrow.  No excuses!



Posted: August 15, 2011 in GENERAL

This post is going to detract a bit from the norm of my blog so that I could clear the air in terms of what is been bugging me lately.  I’ve been in the fitness industry for a short time and there is one thing that really saddens me.  Now, before I reveal what this is, I should say this post doesn’t apply to everyone.  It is my hope that those to whom it applies know who they are and will hopefully read this with an open mind.  So, to those who this doesn’t apply, please ignore this post or better yet pass it on to someone who might need it.

Ok here it goes.  Sadly, I’ve noticed that there is an extreme lack of respect for personal trainers and their time.  I think the majority of people don’t realize who we are, what we do, and the amount of education most of us have.  For instance, I think that there is a big part of the population who things that everyone and anyone can do what we do.  Really?  I’d love to see it.  To prepare for our sessions, we really do invest time in preparing the perfect program.  We have to study several fields in order to do a good job.  Most people THINK they know what they are doing but have never even opened a book and know NOTHING about anatomy.  That amazes me!  How can you pretend to know what you are doing if you have no idea how the body works?  We study human anatomy, exercise physiology, nutrition, kinesiology and need to be able to adapt to a huge range of personalities.  In addition, most of us work odd and long hours which can include days that start at 5:00 AM and end at 10:00 PM.  Also, what we get paid for IS our program designs and supervision of your exercise plans.  So, while we are always happy to answer a question or two or even three, is it really fair to ask us to design entire programs for free?  I don’t think that is appropriate at all.  After all, people wouldn’t like it if we walked into their jobs and asked for free merchandise.

Here’s another thing.  If you have an appointment, BE ON TIME.  Although you think five minutes may not be a big deal, it can throw off our whole day.  Sometimes we have appointments back to back and at others we can really use the break to take care of a few things like a quick bathroom break.  So, please realize that if you are five minutes late there are consequences.  It’s NOT just five minutes.  Be considerate of our time and the time of our other clients.  And, yes, I AM so serious.

We spend a lot of time worrying about you and hoping that you are happy and meeting your goals.  Most of us are NOT in this for the money at all.  I know I am certainly not.  We love what we do and are for the most part are happy people. But, there is that handful of people who just make things needlessly difficult.  To those people, I dedicate this post.

I guess all I am asking is for a little respect.  If you don’t value what we do, that’s totally fine. Personal training isn’t for everyone.  In that case, don’t use our services.  Please just don’t be part of the problem.  There is never a need to be rude or make any remarks that disregards or devalues the services we provide.  We wouldn’t come to your job and do that to you.  Just be polite.  We’ll do the same.

Thank you!

Work that Core!

Posted: July 8, 2011 in GENERAL, WORKOUTS & CHALLENGES

Today I thought I would do two things for my readers.  I’m going to give you an at home core routine that you can use to supplement your existing workout.   But, before I give you this gem, I want to first talk a bit about the core.  Nothing irritates me more than people who think that the core consists of just your abdominal muscles. Everyone thinks that because everyone and their mother is trying to promote and sell core workouts as the next big thing without REALLY ever explaining what the heck it is.  I don’t want to bore you with lots of science but I do want to try to clear up a misconception here.  The core includes your abdominal muscles but is NOT limited to your abdominal muscles.  The term core refers to the lumbo-pelvic-hip complex and there are actually 29 muscles attached to the complex that act to stabilize the connection between the hip, pelvis and back.  So, while you see people in the gym doing five thousand crunches and sit ups thinking they are going to get a strong core, what they are really working there are just the rectus abdominis and possibly the obliques.  Great for a six pack BUT not great for protecting your back.  The problem is those exercises don’t do much in terms of spinal stabilization.  Indeed, crunches and sit ups put a tremendous amount of pressure on the spine and that’s why physical therapists, chiropractors and the like often recommend NOT doing them.  So, I have my clients work on stabilization exercises first which focus on the transverse abdominis, deep spinal muscles and the glutes. The transverse abdominis is the deepest of all the abdominal muscles and it the first muscle to fire for all human movement. It attaches directly to your spine and is responsible for protecting your back.  Kind of important, right?  Well, I like to think so.  That’s why I train my clients to build these muscles before I will even discuss doing flexion exercises, like crunches and sit ups.  Side note: At one fitness seminar I attended, the speaker said that crunches put 30% more strain on your spine than OSHA safety standards allow for workers! Hmmmm… if that’s true, it’s certainly a POWERFUL statement and something to think about.  All that said, here is a core stabilization routine for you.  It’s safe, effective and I’ve seen GREAT results for both myself and my clients with it.

Start with a 5 minute warm-up to get the blood flowing.

Set one: Go through entire set one time

3 Plank (15 second increments working up to 1 minute)

3 Side Plank on each side (15 second increments working up to 1 minute)

Set two: Go through entire set twice

15 prone cobra

15 bird dogs

Set three:  Go through entire set three times

15 Dirty Dog on each side & One 15 second hold at the top after last rep on each side

15 Donkey Kicks on each side & One 15 second hold at the top after last rep on each side

15 Glute Bridges & One 15 second hold at the top after last rep

Most of these exercises are demonstrated online if you are not familiar with them and I’m always available for questions.  Check out exercise library.  Most of the exercises are on there.  I hope you’ve learned something today.  Now, get moving!

Who do you answer to?

Posted: June 4, 2011 in ATTITUDE, GENERAL

The journey to lose weight can be long, challenging and lonely.  Those who have a great support system are very fortunate.  However, for oh so many individuals trying to get get in shape, the other people in their lives are part of the problem.  They create temptations, excuses and feed negative thoughts and actions.  Not cool.  Why do people do this?  They aren’t bad people.  They just don’t know better.

So, what do you do if you find yourself in this situation?  Make yourself accountable to someone who will encourage your journey and put you in check when needed.  Tell that person what your diet is and what your exercise plan is and make sure they make you stick to it.  With my clients, I am always asking about their diets and checking to make sure they are getting their cardio workouts in on days when they are not working with me.  They know that if I hear that they did not show up to do their cardio, then we are going to have issues.  I actually check to see that my clients have checked in on the days that I’m not there and ask that other trainers keep an eye on them.  That gives them a sense of accountability.  They know they have to do it because they have to answer to me.  It helps – trust me!  I hear all the time:  I didn’t want to come but I knew you would be disappointed and I didn’t feel like dealing with you.  I always laugh and say good.  Because, you know what? That’s fine.  They can be annoyed if they want to.  I really don’t care if they are annoyed.  I care that they get healthy!

So, who do you answer to?  If you don’t have someone, find someone.  Do it today!  If you have someone who is encouraging you to stray from your mission, relieve them of their duties and choose someone else.  If you don’t have anyone at all, you are lying because if you are reading this you have me.  I’ll be happy to help you.  Let me know on here or follow me on Twitter.

Remember, weight loss is a lifelong process.  There is no finish line.  Each day you put in the work.  Each day you get that much better.  Keep at it and you will be forever stronger.  If you need me, I’m right here.

Getting It In

Posted: May 29, 2011 in GENERAL

I thought I’d share a little trick that I tell all of my clients to get them to the gym when they are just not feeling it.  This secret applies whether you are having a bad day, frustrated at someone, or just plain not in the mood to work out.  Go to the gym and tell yourself you are only going to work out for 20 minutes.  See how you feel at the end of the 20 minutes.  If you still aren’t feeling it, fine go home.  You got in what I call a BTN workout.  That’s trainer talk for a workout that’s “better than nothing”.  Haha.  However, here’s the thing.  By the time you’ve done 20 minutes, endorphins are already flowing and your mood will likely have changed.  You will notice that you are happier and in the moment.  At the very least, you may realize hey I’m already here so as I might as well finish what I started.  In the 6 years that I’ve been telling people this, almost no one has ever wanted to leave after the 20 minutes.  Try it next time you aren’t feeling it.  Let me know what happened.

Many are hesitant to work with a personal trainer because they feel like “they are not in good enough shape” for that yet. Indeed,  I’ve heard this comment from clients, friends and even family members.  I can see where the misconception comes from.  Trainers are known to push their clients and people see those clients doing exercises which they think could never do in a million years.  I just thought I’d spread the word that this is not a good reason to not train.  In fact, the less of a fitness background you have the BETTER off you are getting a trainer from day one.  I hope that this will clear up some misconceptions flying around out there.

Here’s the thing.  You need not worry about those fancy moves you see trainers doing with their clients.  If you are a beginner, don’t be intimidated by these superstar exercises.  If you aren’t ready for them, a good personal trainer would never ever ever dream of having you even attempt them.  We don’t expect you to do the exercises we can or that some of our advanced clients can.  In fact, speaking for myself, I prefer to work with beginners.  I love the thought of taking someone from the very beginning and watching them progress.  One of my favorite clients is in their 40s and has barely been off the couch.  I really enjoy watching them getting better and better and the weeks go by.

Also, many think that they should take some time and learn the basics on their own so as to not “waste” their time on doing the “easy” stuff with a trainer. I love the enthusiasm of that idea.  It’s great when people want to take charge.  However, the problem is it takes about 300 repetitions to learn an exercise and about 5,000 to unlearn an exercise that a person has been doing incorrectly.  Why not make sure you are doing it the right way from step one?  You don’t want to have to work backwards.

I hope this makes sense.  As always, I’m here for questions and comments.

See you in the gym!

Ready to get moving?  This is a more advanced workout and not intended for beginners.  However, you newbies may find a move or two that you like.  It is a great mix of toning exercises combined with burst of cardio to keep that heart rate pumping. The only thing you need is a set of dumbbells and you will be good to go.  As always, before doing this or any other fitness program, you should consult with your doctor before starting.

Dynamic Warm up – Perform each of these moves for 30 seconds

Frankenstein walk

Jump Jack

Seal Jack

Butt Kicks

High Knee Runs


Set One – Perform each exercise for the prescribed number of reps. Repeat the entire set three times.

Dirty Dog – 12

Single Leg Glute Bridge – 12 each leg

Frog Squats

Set Two – Perform each exercise for the prescribed number of reps or time. Repeat the entire set three times.

Jumping Jacks – 1 minute

Push up – As many as you can

Mountain Climbers – 30 reps

Set Three – Perform each exercise for the prescribed number of reps or time. Repeat the entire set three times.

Sumo Squat

Dumbbell Hamstring Curl

Side Standing Crunch (add a dumbbell here 5-8 pounds)  – 30 seconds each side

Set Four – Perform each exercise for the prescribed time. Repeat the entire set three times.

Speed Skaters – 30 seconds

High Knee Runs – 45 seconds

Butt Kicks – 30 seconds

Set FivePerform each exercise for the prescribed number of reps. Repeat the entire set three times. The first two exercises are very challenging.  I suggest you start with lightweight.

Twisting Lateral Shoulder Raise
12 reps

Cheerleader – 12 reps

Alternating Bicep Curls  – 20 reps

Set Six – Perform each exercise for the prescribed number of reps. Repeat the entire set three times

Alternating T-stand Push Ups – As many as you can

Supermans – 12 reps

Frog crunches – 12 reps(explained in this article which I think is useful by itself)

Mountain Climbers – 30 reps

And, that’s it.  Remember to stretch!!! I hope you enjoy this.  If you have any questions, let me know.