The Absolute Minimum

Life, it happens. Work and family demands often interrupt our personal time for health and exercise. When this compounds from a single training session to multiple days or heaven forbid weeks, you have a problem. Time stops for nothing. Thus, the prioritization of self is truly not a choice. It’s a habit. Learning to say “no” is a skill that needs to be trained. When you respect yourself, others, in turn, show you more respect and understand your value.

Here are some tips to make things happen when you’re forced to modify.

  1. Have a list of “go-to” exercises you can quickly engage with. Ideally, these create a large oxygen demand, lending themselves to higher repetition training, via one continuous set, or multiple sets linked with short rest.
    1. Kettlebell Swings
    2. DB Cleans
    3. Squat Thrusts or Burpees
    4. Walking or Standing Reverse Lunges
    5. Step-Ups: weighted or unweighted
    6. Plank Mobility Complexes
  2. Short cardio bouts are good to implement as well.
    1. Warm-up for 5 minutes easy.
    2. Intervals: 10 x (:15 hard / :45 easy) or (:30 hard / :30 easy)
    3. Cooldown with 5 minutes easy.

Remind yourself to ask the question “how can I,” instead of stating “I can’t.” You can do it. Send me an email, give me a call, I’m here to help you implement, strategize and succeed.

Onward and Upward!

Being Emotionally Ready to Change

Being emotionally ready for the steep climb that lies ahead on your ascent towards (personal) excellence is crucial. Human potential is unlimited, but there is no shortcut to the end. Despising the process, while desiring the outcome, leaves us on a undesirable journey.

When a potential new client contacts me (the trainer) I approach this from the perspective described below:

You’ve recognized a problem, or found yourself in a situation that you want to change. You’re now thinking about changing and contemplating how to do so, as well as what this change will look like.

After we have our initial contact, or consultation we’ve now entered the preparation phase. This crucial phase is the “planning for success” step. The client (you) now has direction and direct, guided assistance from the trainer (me). Your team is coming together. Here we must get ourselves emotionally ready. Making lists of both goals, and desires is very helpful. Creating an emotional connection to your health is powerful. You are planning to take action for and in the name of your health. Your connection to this planet comes in the form of your physical being. The trainer (me) is here to guide you, and join your on your personal journey.

Our first training session initiates the action phase. We’ve shocked your system and altered your day. This new activity becomes a focus of your day, not merely another thing to check off your list. Along with the actually taking of action, we need to recognize the greater emotional importance of what these potential changes bring to your life.

Once our meeting times and schedules are well established we are now in the maintenance phase. This is often a difficult period as the “newness” has worn off and we are simply immersed in the actual “doing” of the program. It may help to refer to this as our “movement mastery” sessions. Laying the foundation that will provide stabilization and structure to expand off. Accepting the mundanity of this phase is crucial. The first three (3) months the client (you) need to remember that the workout has a greater significance than mere entertainment. Engaging with your weekly calendar is an essential, not an option, as we form positive associations and habits with our health.

Finally, we arrive at the termination phase. This is where we transition our programming from building our foundation to adding layers of skill. To the client (you) the changes will seem subtle. We use this approach to keep from being overwhelmed, and to ensure initial success and positive experience with these changes to your programming.

Enjoy the journey. Buy the ticket, take the ride. Repeat.

Checking In: Connecting Trainer with Client

“If you are prepared, have confidence and persevere, you will always have the edge.” Howard Ferguson

As a personal trainer, I find the most difficulty and dissatisfaction in those days in between my training sessions with my clients. On the way to meet the trainee I’m pondering how their week went. Did they workout? Eat well? How are they sleeping and recovering? Days always turn into weeks, turn into months, and eventually years. Time is always of the essence, so for me, finding a program that allows me to be connected and locked in with my clients in the virtual world is essential, but until now, it wasn’t a reality.

Trainerize, an online personal training software has changed the game for me. My plan is to fully integrate all clients into it’s usage moving forward. The ability to see how each week is structured, and how those week’s lead and build into a 4-6 week block of training, is a game changer for clients. It shows them where the process is going. As much as it is about the daily workout, the focus is more on the long-game. Are you building or are you dabbling? Are you hoping it gets easier, or are you planning to get stronger?

I won’t wax philosophical too much, but I will challenge your involvement with the success process. It’s as simple as checking-in. Once that becomes automatic, a connection is established that gets strengthened on a daily basis. For the client, knowing that I’m not judging what they did or didn’t do is crucial as well. I want to know and understand they “why” so we can implement some strategies and find other paths to success. It’s there, but we need engagement in the process in order to unlock your/our potential.

Check in. Utilize. Implement. Engage. Discover. Succeed.

Onward and Upward,

Jake

PS- I’ll leave you to ponder all of the crucial moments of your life where you were required to check in. Listed below are just a few examples.

  • Your first days of college. Checking in at the dorm, registering for classes, exploring options of engagement with the university and your peers.
  • Medical/dental/legal appointments.
  • Sports practices.
  • Job interviews and admissions interviews.
  • etc

The list can flow on and on. Give the process a certain importance and your actions will follow.

Body Fat Training

BODY FAT TRAINING

Tackling the challenge of changing body composition is an exciting journey. When you are ready to begin, both mentally and physically, that motivation and energy needs to be immediately harnessed to a plan of action. In the next few paragraphs I’m going to address some of the key tenets of body fat training. This is indeed a general overview, but my intention is for you to walk away with a greater understanding of how I approach these situations with my clients and create programming that gets results.

The presence of an excess amount of body fat is a clear and quantifiable sign that you are lacking balance. I’m not a big fan of “BMI”, but in most cases (non-athletes) it does the job.

Formula: weight (lb) / [height (in)]2 x 703

BMI

Weight Status

Below 18.5

Underweight

18.5 – 24.9

Normal

25.0 – 29.9

Overweight

30.0 and Above

Obese

Height

Weight Range

BMI

Weight Status

5′ 9″

124 lbs or less

Below 18.5

Underweight

125 lbs to 168 lbs

18.5 to 24.9

Normal

169 lbs to 202 lbs

25.0 to 29.9

Overweight

203 lbs or more

30 or higher

Obese

The first box is your status given your BMI. Very simple, and straight, forward information. The second box is giving the weight ranges based off of a height of 5’9”.

Working with a weight loss client, my initial assessment always incudes weight, body fat, and BMI measurements. These give a solid baseline to work off of moving forward. Nutrition is the next topic of conversation. Here I utilize a food journal. The client is assigned the task of writing down everything they eat and drink for a week. This only works if 100% honesty is given. From this I can establish patterns and ask poignant questions (the “why”). Body image is a process. We begin by working backwards, creating a roadmap that got you to where you are now. We then work forwards with new planning, techniques, and strategies to cement new habits into your lifestyle.

My expertise and main area of interest is in prescribing and planning effective training sessions based on goal and desired outcome. We first must establish what type of movement you enjoy, or have enjoyed in the past. If you’ve lost weight before, what worked? How long did it work for? Why did you stop doing it? Answers to these questions help us in your program design. Your complete physical activity history is crucial in this process. If you liked playing co-ed volleyball in college, there is a good chance you might enjoy group exercise, and a more social setting for your fitness. If you enjoyed distance running, there is a good chance you may enjoy cardiovascular fitness training. These are just two examples, but hopefully you see what I’m getting at.

There are two schools of thought when it comes to fitness training for weight loss. The first is the idea that long, low-mild intensity cardiovascular workouts are the best way to go. The theory here is that it takes 30 minutes for your body to begin burning stored fat; so a more patient, persistent approach to exercise is needed. These workouts are 60-70 minutes. The second school of thought is that it is best to utilize high-intensity interval training to attack fat loss. These workouts include maximal effort intervals, followed by periods of rest and generally last about 30 minutes total length. The catch with high-intensity intervals is that they increase EPOC (excess post-exercise oxygen consumption). This causes an increased metabolic effect, burning calories throughout the day, giving you a larger total caloric expenditure.

Both of these methods work. Not everyone will have an equal preference for one over the other. My opinion is that you should utilize both methods in your weight-loss training plan. The more discipline we can place in your physical and nutritional life, the more effective and efficient we will be in achieving success. The confidence that will come from knowing you can, and have done, both methods is not to be taken lightly.

The next piece of the programming puzzle is strength training. Here our goal is to increase your lean body mass, build your confidence in your body, and make you more efficient. Strength training is the bind that ties. You are building a new you, laying a solid and broad foundation for the future. Specific, personal, and customized planning is employed to ensure you get the biggest bang for your investment (time). These sessions are generally 30-45 minutes of full body circuit training. Our focus is on movement, not simply resistance, weight, and repetition.

When we train to decrease body fat and improve our body image we are essentially changing our lifestyle. We are instilling healthy habits that are repeated throughout each and every day for the rest of our lives. This creates permanent, lasting change.

Last, but certainly not least. It’s not easy! Arm yourself with a strong supporting cast, and an eagerness to stay the course. Invest your time and resources in knowledge and guidance. Never stop learning and experimenting with your own life.