Archive for January, 2011

As a floor trainer, I see amazing things happen everyday.  When I say “amazing” I mean this in two ways.  First, I’ve seen people nail exercises they could not even think of only a few weeks earlier.  I’ve had people come up to me and tell me that I’ve helped them become stronger, faster and pain free.  I’ve heard about a grandmother reducing her high blood pressure to a normal range.

With that, let’s talk about the other side of amazing.  I often see people shadow a training session. This is an amazingly bad idea. First, let me just say I can understand WHY people are doing this.  They can’t afford or don’t want to pay for personal training. And, I’m not saying here that you should pay for personal training.  That’s completely up to you. If personal training is not for you right now, but you would still like some ideas or guidance, you can still ask us for help.  The good trainers will be happy that you are interested in learning and will help. I am THRILLED when people approach me.  While it’s our business and unfortunately we can’t afford to do free sessions, most are always happy to at least give you some direction.  Are there some trainers that will flat out refuse to help at all?  Yes. But, hey, there are not nice people in every profession 🙂 That said – you should still never shadow sessions. Let me try to convince you why.  What if you have a bad shoulder and the trainer’s workout is designed to really push their client with some hardcore shoulder intensive exercises?  What if you are trying reduce the size of your glutes and the session was designed to INCREASE the size of your glutes?  That would suck, wouldn’t it?  Here I’m reminded of the Will & Grace episode where Grace shadows a trainer with his client for several sessions.  Eventually, the trainer confronts Grace and calls her out and tells her to stop.  Grace wittingly says something like, “Fine.  You’re not a good trainer  anyway.  I’ve been following you for weeks and the only thing that’s happened is my ass got bigger and my boobs got smaller.”  The trainer responds well that’s because this workout is designed to help my client’s butt grow and bra size shrink.  Grace looked silly.  Believe it or not, this HAPPENS all the time.  Remember, we call it personal training for a reason.  Personal trainers design workouts specifically for each client.  So, what’s a great workout for their client might not be appropriate for you. I don’t want you to wind up like Grace.

Here’s an even more dangerous scenario then mimicking a session.  Asking a member for help or listening to a more in-shape member who approaches you to help.  What’s wrong with this you might think?  Sometimes – nothing.  There are some really GREAT members at my gym who know what they are doing.  On the other hand, sometimes other members will only help you to get injured.  Here’s an example.  There was this one member who didn’t know how to do a push up.  While I was busy, I noticed her trying but couldn’t get over there quite yet.  Before I could get there, another member came over and told her that she could learn how to do push ups by doing plyo push ups. Folks, plyo push ups are NOT easy.  I struggle with them.  Here’s an example of one kind of plyo push up which I want you to see (NOT FOR INSTRUCTION – don’t do it like this guy) just so you get an idea of what one look like:

So, my point is if you CAN’T do a push up, you REALLY should not be doing these at all. In that above situation, I interrupted and helped the member who was struggling. But, this happens all the time.  I see members teaching others how to do exercises and they are just really wrong.  I don’t mean slightly off.  I mean REALLY off.  For that matter, there are also trainers who just aren’t any good. It truly is dangerous.

What’s the take away here?  Does everyone need a trainer?  How do you know if your trainer is any good?  What resources should you use?  To answer these questions let’s go back to the title of this post:  The gym is no place for “Simon Says”.  I named this post that because when I think of “Simon Says” I think of game where people, somewhat blindly, follow “Simon”.  Look, you only get ONE body.  The answer in every case is: Take the time to educate yourself.  Don’t simply shadow sessions.  Don’t listen to people who, though may be well intentioned, can get you injured.  Just don’t do ANYTHING fitness related blindly.  Even if you do work with a trainer, ask questions.  If something doesn’t feel right, let your trainer know.   I say it all the time – educate yourself.  Protect your health – it’s your greatest asset.  Remember, if you don’t take care of your body, where will you live?



Be true to yourself

Posted: January 21, 2011 in GENERAL

With all the gadgets, DVDs, machines and next big things out there, many people dive right into fitness routines without even considering whether it is appropriate for them.  I think those anxious to buy everything in the market are awesome people.  It shows  a commitment to fitness and that they take themselves and their health seriously.  However, that dedication, while well intentioned and amazing, may be misplaced.  When watching those infomercials and you see one of those amazingly in shape fitness professionals jumping around, it’s natural to think hey I want to look like that or I want to see if I can move like him/her.  That’s great!  On this blog, I put up workouts to give you guys ideas of things you may want to do or workouts you may want to try. However, I do that because on a blog it’s really obviously not possible for me to design a personal workout.

Hey, I’m a trainer now so I’m all about enthusiasm.  Actually, that was true even before I was a trainer, but I digress…So here’s the thing, when viewing these awesome infomercials, ads for next greatest gadget and even my blog I always want you to have this question in mind – IS THIS RIGHT FOR ME?  Though the best person to help answer that question is a professional, you do have a sense of your own body and know your own limitations.  Here’s an example – let’s say you have knee problems because of an injury you are aware of.  So, Friday night you are a woman sitting on your couch and sure enough here comes this super hot guy advertising this amazing workout that is designed to help you shape up.  He looks amazing.  The people in the video look amazing and you reach to pick up that phone and place your order.  Now, let’s say that this amazing workout  consists of ALL jumping routines.  Hmmm…. let’s think about this for a second.  You have a bad knee.  You know that it hurts when you jump on it.  Even though this video looks amazing, what do you think?  Does it make SENSE for you to be doing workouts where you will be aggravating your injury?  Probably not, right?  So then, why did you order it?  Here’s another example.  Let’s say you HATE to dance.  Cool, no problem.  Do you think then that you should buy the latest Zumba workout?  No, probably not.

I’m writing this not to insult or to discourage you.  I’m writing this because I want the message to get out there that not all workouts are for everyone.  That’s what personal trainers are for – at least the good ones.  Don’t forget it’s called PERSONAL training and not just training for a reason.  The workouts I would design for an 80-year-old retired school teacher are not going to be the same as that which I would design for a 20-year-old basketball player.  Am I saying that the only way to get fit is to a hire a personal trainer?  No, of course not.  What I am saying is to BE SELECTIVE.  Don’t do just a workout because it looks hot.  Please I beg you to listen to this.  There are LOTS of great workouts out there.  And, I promise you that you can get in shape even in you don’t buy the next big thing. Let someone else do the booty shaking to the fast pace beats if that’s not your thing. The truth is that some of the most effective techniques are actually relatively simple. So, I promise you there is the perfect workout for YOU.  You just have to find it 🙂

So bottom line – Keep it real.  You know who you are, what you can do, what you can’t do, and what you plain don’t want to do. That said – make sure the workouts you do reflect YOUR personal needs.  You do have to work but you also have to be true to you. Exercise should be challenging but also somewhat fun.  At the very least, it should feel worth it.  THOSE are the workouts that will prevent injuries, keep you excited and help you stay motivated.


There is so much to think about in trying to stay fit.  Diets, workouts, resolutions, mantras, competitions, nutrition, personal goals, and the list can go on and on.  When done properly, fitness is not just something you do a few times a week, it’s a process and a lifestyle.  Said differently, it’s a commitment that you make to eat right and stay in shape.  But sometimes it can get boring or worse – you can feel beat up by the process and just need a break.  So what do you do?  Well, I know what I do.  You may be surprised to hear this because I love fitness but I too have moments when I just can’t bring myself to do yet another HIIT workout. Hey, I’m human!

So, what do I do?  I remind myself of the moment when I first fell in love with it and it helps so much.  I have a playlist that I used when I started working out four years ago.  I throw that on and I put myself through the workouts I used to do when I started training.  Because I’ve come far since then, I fly through them.  The process helps me to remember how hard it was when I started and I see the gains I’ve made.  I also have one of the first “diet” meals I’ve ever made.  I repeat the process for about a week and it helps me reset.

The next time you feel yourself getting frustrated – take your own journey backwards.  I promise it will help.




Hi all.  Happy New Year!!!  I hope everyone had a great night and are ready to work.  Bit of advice – Leave 2010 in 2010.  Start fresh.  It’s a New Year and a perfect time to work on the new you!  Some of you have asked for new bodyweight workouts and I thought today would be a perfect time.  Here is an explosive workout that you can do right at home.  It’s a bit on the intermediate to advanced side so remember to modify as needed.  Most of all – have fun with it.  As always, if you have any questions, hit me up here or on Twitter @Brooklyn_1012.  Let’s get it!

Let’s start with a dynamic warm up.  The words in red are links to demonstrations.  Click on them if you need help.  We are going to go through this once without stopping:

Jog in place (45 seconds)

20 jumping jacks

20 walking lunges

5 inchworms

20 Reverse Lunges with Twist

15 squats

40 mountain climbers

20 hip swings on each side

20 Glute Bridges

I hope you are warm by now.  If not, go through that one more time.

When you are ready, let’s go with set 1:

45 second high knee run in place (knee over hip) – LAND SOFTLY!!

15 push ups (go to your knees or do wall push up if these are too hard for you)

20 squat kicks

30 bicycles

Repeat Set 1 three times with no rest in between exercises and 60 seconds of rest between sets.  When you have done all three sets, rest 90 seconds and then move on to Set 2:

Jump rope 45 seconds (If you don’t have a jump rope, that’s fine.  You can mimic the movement)

12 Walking push ups

60 Mountain Climbers

24 side lunges (12 on each side)

1 minute plank (If you can’t hold 1 min, just hold it as long as you can)

Repeat Set 2 three times with no rest in between exercises and 60 seconds of rest between sets.  When you have done all three sets, rest 90 seconds and then move on to Set 3:

1 minute Wall Squat

15 squat holds (Perform squat and hold at bottom for 15 seconds)

12 bird dog holds

Repeat Set 3 three times with no rest in between exercises and 60 seconds of rest between sets.  Then, take a two minute rest because the last thing you are going to do is what I call a burn out set.  Burn out sets are really challenging but they are designed to keep your body burning fat for hours after your work is done.  If you are already wiped, stop here.  But if you want more, here we go:

15 burpees

20 jump squats

60 mountain climbers

20 jump lunges

Repeat the burnout set up to three times.  NO rest until you are done with all three sets!  I told you it was hard.

And that’s it!!  You’re done.  Good work folks.