Tag: Personal Training

Every year on January 1st, many individuals attempt to start going to the gym to either improve their health, physical appearance or just to take on a new challenge. New gym members can look at the more experienced lifters and say to themselves “they make it look so easy”. The reality is that is wasn’t always that way. Most of us had to force this habit through constant repetitions for it to become a lifestyle. Anytime you try to do something for the first time it will be tough but if you have the right mindset and continue to educate yourself with credible information, what was once tough before, will become easy for you as well.

Before you even think of stepping foot in the gym have a game plan. With fitness being at an all time high, its easy to find exercises or training programs to follow to get the ball rolling. Use this to your advantage! As an untrained individual, there’s only so much work load your body can handle and going to the gym, performing every exercise/machine for legs as an example may not be the best approach. Instead write out 4-5 exercises to start out with each day and progress through those movements. I like to think of going to the gym the same as going grocery shopping. Typically if we go grocery shopping without a shopping list, we tend to purchase things we don’t necessarily need. Same goes with the gym! If we step foot in the gym without a plan of attack, you will soon find yourself performing all the exercises you see other members doing. More doesn’t always mean better! Start small, progress slowly and you’ll prevent yourself from feeling exhausted from the stimulus of strength training.

The internet exist therefore research fitness professionals who have uploaded tutorials on how to perform certain exercises. If you’re going to begin your journey performing the compound exercises such as Bench, Squats & Deadlifts, I would highly suggest to study on how these are performed due to the high risk of injury if not perform correctly. Some of my favorite YouTubers who provide great content for their viewers are Jeff Nippard, Chris Jones from Pumpchasers, Terron Beckham, OmarIsuf and the list goes on. Use these videos to educate yourself on the proper way to remain safe in gym while still making progress throughout your journey. Its 2019 now so there’s no excuse to not know how to do something!

If your goal is weight loss, patience is key. You didn’t gain the unwanted weight overnight. Its something that accumulated through your past bad habits so don’t expect change immediately. Instead trust the process and monitor your progress on a weekly basis. At my heaviest weight at around 300 lbs, it took about a year and a half to lose the weight through trial & error and finding new ways to stick to my diet to remain consistent with my new fitness lifestyle. While their are some foods you should absolutely stay away from, there are so many foods you can enjoy that will only help you reach the progress you desire. Focus on those foods and cook them to your liking. The most common mistake most people make is focusing on the things we can’t do which creates a huge limitation on our lives because of our old habits. I suggest you make a list of foods you can eat and pick and choose from there. That way you have several options to choose from, you continue to change your eating habits and your body and/or health will start to improving. It’s a marathon not a sprint so take your time and make the necessary adjustment as needed.

Building muscle is a slow process especially for natural lifters. It takes time, effort and patience to develop the physique you envisioned for yourself. I’ve made mistakes during my own journey and helped identify mistakes from clients I’ve trained and/or coached. Building muscle isn’t an easy task but by avoiding the mistakes below, you’ll increase your chances of  developing that physique you desire. 

Practice Proper Form: If you aren’t performing movements correctly, you could be wasting your time and/or putting yourself at risk for injury. Performing an exercise in a Full ROM(Range of Motion) will give you better results than a partial ROM also known as “cheat reps” especially on those big compound lifts.  I suggest everyone make a list of the exercises you perform in the gym that you’re not quite comfortable with. Then spend some time looking up tutorials or demonstrations online of how to perform them correctly. Always be a student. Always be willing to learn. That’s the recipe to become better.

Use Progressive Overload: In order for your body to change, you must continue to challenge it. Doing the same exercises with the same weight, number of sets and reps will definitely cause your muscle building progress to stall. Progressive overload simply means in order for your muscles to grow, strength to be gained or improve performance, your body must be forced to adapt to a stimulus that is greater than what it has previously experienced.  Please refer to the “Progressive Overload Is The Key To Continuous Progress In The Gym” on how you can incorporate progressive overload into your current training.

Too Much Cardio: Even though cardio is a great tool to keep additional body fat off as well as getting blood flow to muscles to improve recovery, doing too much cardio can add to muscle loss instead of muscle gain. Obviously muscle isn’t being built while performing cardio on the treadmill, stair master or elliptical therefore performing more that is needed is only adding or creating a deficit to your calories. In simple terms muscles need calories to grow. Burning too many calories doing cardio will only take away from the calories your muscle could have used for recovery. 

Track Calories: Most people typically track their calories when they are trying to lose weights but fail to do it when they are trying to gain weight. The same way a weight loss plateau can occur, so can a weight gain plateau. This is where you’ll need to increase calories to continue to gain weight at a healthy pace. If you don’t know exactly what you’ve been doing before, how can you know for sure what adjustments need to be made in the future? Easy fix just track your calories and you thank yourself later!

Drink Enough Water: The blood that runs through our bodies is primarily made up of water. Aside from delivering oxygen to muscle and organs, our bloods other function is to deliver nutrients to our cells and transport waste out of the body. This is where water consumption is very important for muscle building. Even though you can build muscle while being in a small calorie deficit, most individuals are in a surplus of calories. So the more food you eat, the more water you should drink. This allows those nutrients from our diet get to our muscles to recovery. Drinking enough water has other benefits such as preventing muscle cramps and improving muscle contractions. If you want to guarantee great training sessions, drink enough water throughout the day.

Prioritize Rest: Rest is the most important piece to the puzzle. After an intense training session, rest allows the muscles you have broken down to heal and recover. Most people have the theory that the muscle growth occurs during a training session. That is so far from the truth. In fact during training all that is taking place is breaking down muscle tissues but through proper nutrition and rest, muscle grow bigger, better & stronger.

Beginning a weight loss journey can be quite challenging. Learning about healthy food options, training routines, counting calories, etc. but once you get the ball rolling, you notice the scale moving almost immediately. Reason being is that if you’ve been eating junk for some time, your body is holding on to water due to high amounts of sodium and lack of water intake. Also lack of micro nutrients such as fiber that aids in digestion. This is very common for individuals to lose up to 5 lbs weight loss in the first week after cleaning up their diet. After a few weeks or even months of committing to your new lifestyle, you may notice the weight loss slowing down or stop all together. You may be asking yourself, “what do I do now?”.

There are several things you can do to overcome a weight loss plateau. Lets cover what you can do on the nutrition side of things. Every individual requires a certain amount of calories to maintain their current body weight. As your weight goes down, so does the amount of calories you need to maintain your new body weight. So what does this mean for you? I always suggest others to track their calories especially when weight loss is the goal. Tracking your calories gives you a baseline of what you’ve been doing in the past in order to adjust for the future. The reason for the plateau is that the calories that you’ve started out with can very be your new maintenance calories for after dropping some pounds. In order to create a new deficit, you will have to decrease your calories again to make sure your body is burning more calories than you’re consuming. Easy yet simple just make sure you don’t drop the calories too low. Refer to “Losing Weight Too Quickly? A Bad Thing” article.

For those of you who have been dieting for while and you’re calories are pretty low already, you may not want to eat less. In this case the amount of cardio that you do each week is the next thing you can adjust. As an online coach, I give my clients weekly amounts of cardio that they need to complete. Cardio adds to the deficit that you are already getting from the diet. When the plateaus come about, either adding another session of cardio or increasing the amount for the current cardio session(s), will create a larger deficit. Low steady state cardio is perfect for those who want to burn some extra calories without the feeling on being fatigue or it affecting recovery. Cardio is your friend when it comes to weight loss. Use it as a tool to complement your current diet.

Not all of us have the time to spend more time in the gym. You may be eating low calories and work a job that is highly demanding of your time and adding 15-20 minutes extra for cardio just won’t work for you. If time is not on your side throughout your journey, your training routine can be manipulated. Let’s say your current training routine has you performing one exercise at a time and resting roughly 45-60 seconds. Pairing exercises in a “super-set” will keep your heart rate up longer which will help you burn more calories. “Super-set” simply means you perform one exercise for a certain amount of reps or rep range then immediately perform another exercise and then you rest. Implementing tools such as “super-sets” increases your training intensity which can help overcome a plateau as well as get you in and out of the gym that much sooner.

These are all things you can apply to overcome your current or future weight loss plateaus. Even though they all can help continue further weight loss, I don’t recommend adjusting everything all at once. Troubleshoot the weight loss stall one aspect at a time. This will ensure that you are not losing weight too quickly and instead just creating a small enough of a deficit to continue losing a healthy amount of weight which is 1-2 lbs per week. If it isn’t broken don’t fix it. But if it is in fact broken, look for the one thing that you can adjust but is still sustainable throughout the duration of your weight loss journey.

Personal training is a field that is constantly growing. The amount of institutes that exist now makes its extremely convenient for anyone to become of trainer. But beware not all personal trainers are created equal. Let’s be honest back in 2014 I quit my 9 to 5 job, decided to pursue my passion as a trainer, bought a certification package from NCCPT and pass it with flying colors. Yes that easy I become a trainer. But I’ve dedicated years in learning how the human body works, how muscles contract, what diets are best, understanding macros and the listed goes on. If you’re a new trainer or thinking about it, just like any other job that’s providing you an income, take it seriously and honor your craft.

I’ve trained at so many gyms in my lifetime and as a personal trainer myself, seeing trainer who don’t take their craft seriously really upset me for several reasons. One this is a very rewarding professional that give you the opportunity to help someone reveal the best version of themselves. Two the people you train, your clients are paying good money for your service. Commercial, private or online, it isn’t a cheap expense. And three, I’m someone who’s always thinking of ways to provide a better service for my clients and I wish more trainer had a similar mentality.

Knowledge is power. I’m sure everyone has heard that saying at least once in their lifetime but knowledge isn’t much if you don’t apply it. Therefore to me “applied knowledge is power”. More trainers need to understand that the fitness industry is always changing therefore us as trainer need to adapt. Adapt to new training strategies, diets, macros and scientific studies in order to provide accurate information for our clients to help them reach their goals. Every time a trainer ask me for advice on how to become a great trainer my response 10 out of 10 times is always the same, “never stop learning”. The more versatile you are as a trainer, the more lives you can change with your service. This goes beyond money. You can have all the money in the world then suddenly die and no one will ever miss you. If you have hundreds, thousands or even millions of lives that you’ve touched, you’ll never been forgotten.

Gyms have always been male dominant. I’ve trained at gyms where the amount of women that were in the gym(not include the gym staff) you could count on one hand. So I get how easy it can be to get a new client who’s a female, good looking and may want more than training sessions with you. Please try to avoid this at all cost because it can ruin your entire reputation as a fitness professional. Business and pleasure never mix well similar to water and oil. Treat all your clients equally. If you wouldn’t sleep with the client who is slightly overweight, don’t try it with the one who isn’t. Great rule to live by for any professional in any industry.

Honor your craft! We live in a time period where we use social media multiple times throughout the day. I’m guilty of this myself. But I’ve never trained a client while being on my phone texting, checking my Instagram, sending Snapchats, etc. because my eyes always need to be on my client(s). The beauty of being a personal trainer is that you can identify problem areas that yous client had no idea about. How will you be able to catch these things if you eyes are glued to your phone? The honest truth is that you can’t because your focus is elsewhere and not on your client(s).  The last you want is your client to get hurt during a training session. Next time your training a client follow these simple steps:

  1. Set your timer for the length of the session
  2. Put your phone on vibrate/silent
  3. Put your phone in your pocket
  4. Only pull out your phone to check how much time you have remaining then immediately put away
  5. Put all your focus on your client(s)
  6. Simplify how you would like them to adjust their form if needed
  7. Pull your phone out when the time goes off

This behavior of how you conduct yourself as a trainer will not only bring you more clients for your business. you’ll be viewed as the trainer that honors their craft. The people who constantly watch others in the gym will have no choice but to respect your work ethic and there’s no better feeling than that. Trust me when I say this. THERE IS NO BETTER FEELING!