Category Archives for "personal training"

February 15, 2017

Becoming a certified personal trainer

There are multiple paths to becoming a certified personal trainer. I began my journey as a personal trainer because I wanted to get fit, but I didn’t have the time and availability to work with a trainer or get to the gym. In an effort to learn the skills and apply them to my own life, I chose to take part in the comprehensive certification program offered by the National Academy of Sports Medicine, or NASM. After six months of studying and learning, I was able to sit for the certification exam.

My daughter is also a personal trainer, but her path was a bit different. During college, she took kinesiology courses and acquired her L1 base level certification for CrossFit instructors. She is now studying to attain her certified strength conditioning coach certification.

Though the path to becoming a certified personal trainer can be quite varied, note that not all certifications are equal.

Is one type of certification better than the other? No; it simply comes down to the individual’s preference.

As a personal trainer, it’s more about working with your clients and being an overall good trainer. Here are a few tips in doing so:

  1. Aim to teach the client everything you know so that he can move onto something bigger and better. A good trainer should not be striving to be a client’s trainer for life.
  1. Focus on what the client wants. It may take time to get the client’s mindset to ease through a progression of what they should achieve.
  1. It’s all about the relationship. The trainer and client must get along and communicate well. The relationship is based upon the client’s personal development.

When becoming a certified personal trainer, be choosy about the path that works best for you. A good personal trainer stands out not only because of his education but also because of his soft skills.

Here is the guide on selecting a personal trainer.  You can use this to assess your needs as you work toward this goal.

8 Things to Look for in a Personal Trainer

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Here is another episode you may enjoy

When to fire your personal trainer

December 14, 2016

Making fitness a lifelong habit with Kathleen Trotter

Kathleen Trotter is a personal trainer and the author of Finding Your Fit, a great new book that encourages people to find their own unique recipe to sustain long-term success with health and fitness.

Kathleen explains that becoming fit is an active, lifelong process. She details seven strategies that will help set you up for success:

  1. Stop aiming for perfection – Something is always better than nothing. Forget the all or nothing approach to health.
  2. Convenience and consistency is key – Find ways to make your workouts convenient, which will contribute to long-term consistency and success.
  3. Find your exercise bliss – Adopt fitness activities that you enjoy and will want to do consistently.
  4. Find your why – Tie a deeper meaning to why you are committing to your fitness lifestyle.
  5. Find your inner athlete – This helps in working toward your long-term goal.
  6. Flip your negative thoughts – Moving is a privilege. Think positively and be grateful for the ability to move.
  7. Mindfulness and preparation equals success –Determine your priorities and plan for the week ahead.

Kathleen also speaks about the concept of goals versus wishes. Your goals may not be connected to your life and reality. To adjust this, follow these six steps:

  1. Stop using a “too busy” excuse – Pair your fitness activities with other non-negotiable activities.
  2. Gradual progression – Don’t try to tackle everything at one time. Try adding one good habit and removing one bad habit per week.
  3. Establish a WWWH plan – Be realistic about what you’ll do, where you’ll do it, when and how.
  4. Respecting your genetics and the realities of your life – Be the best version of you possible.
  5. Form goals that are relevant and important to you – This may include engaging in activities with family members.
  6. Learn from yourself and others – Determine what was successful/unsuccessful and learn from that.

To connect with Kathleen Trotter or learn more about Finding Your Fit, find her on Twitter at @ktrotterfitness or visit her website at http://www.kathleentrotter.com/.

Another episode you may want to check out.

Walking for weight loss with Lucy Wyndham-Read

August 22, 2016

Susan’s Success Story

Susan, a Forever Fitness client, comes to the 40+ Fitness Podcast to share her success story.

Susan reflects on her decision to work on her health and fitness when she turned 43.  She started by walking during her daughter's practiced volleyball.  She progressed from that to a group class after a friend won a free boot camp program and gave it to her.  She discovered that being in a community made doing the exercise much easier.

When she began focusing on weight lifting, she noticed how seeing others working hard gave her motivation to push herself.  She joined Forever Fitness Personal Training when she was looking to accelerate her progress.  She didn't always like the recommendations but she saw the results. Having a coach motivated her to push on.

Having a thyroid issue has always made it easy for her to gain weight.  Through managing her food and exercise, she managed to lose 40 lbs.  Her doctor was very impressed.  Her blood work looks much better and her need for thyroid meds has reduced.


April 8, 2016

When to fire your personal trainer

Part of finding a good personal trainer is knowing when you need to fire a bad personal trainer. Though you may find a passionate trainer, he or she may not be the one for you. There are several reasons why you may want to fire your personal trainer.

The first reason to fire your trainer is if he or she is not listening to you. The trainer should be asking you specific questions so they are able to design a plan that will work for your unique situation. Did the trainer ask about your goals or concerns? These are conversations that need to take place early in the process so that the responses can be part of the solution. If they don’t know the real you, then they’re not the right fit for you.

The second reason to fire your trainer is if they are not talking to you. The trainer should be teaching you technique, not just counting reps, and then giving you verbal cues to help you progress faster. The trainer should also encourage you so that you should feel supported. Often times, the trainer may not be listening or talking to you. If so, it’s time to move on.

Sometimes trainers will ask for referrals before you’re seeing results. This is another area of concern. Though trainers need to continue to grow their client base, they should be focused on the results of their current clients first and asking for referrals later.

Eventually, all trainees should outgrow their trainers, as they have mastered their technique and the coaching is no longer necessary. At this point, the trainer can be fired, but only because the trainer has successfully done their job.

No matter the circumstances, when you know it’s time to fire your personal trainer, don’t be afraid to speak up. Request a new trainer or ask for a refund if you haven’t received an appropriate level of service. Remember, you are the client. It’s your body, your money, and your life. You deserve only the best personal trainer available, so don’t settle for anything less.

I've created a guide to help you evaluate a potential personal trainer.

LeAnn gets a personal trainer

March 18, 2016

LeAnn gets a personal trainer

In this episode, we meet LeAnn and discuss her journey to health and fitness with a personal trainer.

LeAnn spent most of her adult life being obese. Her weight gain started with her first child.  Over time, the weight issue compounded and by the time she was 48, she was diagnosed with diabetes, high cholesterol, and high blood pressure. She took medication for all of these.

She was offered an eight-week program held in the backyard of her daughter’s friend. This Bootcamp program was interval training twice a week in the evenings. She did sprints, jumping jacks, and other body weight exercises.

According to LeAnn, when you start with fitness training, you only need your body weight. She said, “You don’t want to shoot yourself in the foot by doing too much.”  She saw improvement during the program. She felt better and she slept better. She often felt like quitting during the workouts, but she felt so good afterward she continued.

LeAnn also had a 12-week fit challenge with her coworkers. It included gym workouts, education, and eating healthy food. A financial reward was given to the person who won the challenge, which really motivated her.

She continues to work with a trainer and has lost a total of 91 pounds. She goes to the gym for 45 minutes to an hour. She eats 6 small meals a day.

LeAnn also advises people to measure their progress when doing workouts with a personal trainer and eating healthy. Get the important body measurements by using the Health Measures That Matter PDF.

When to fire your personal trainer

Music: Ben Sound Royalty Free Music

March 11, 2016

John success and lessons learned

John has reached the end of his 10-week program, however there is no end in sight to his massive lifestyle change. He’s sharing a bit about his success and a few lessons learned over the past 10 weeks.

First, John recognizes that this was not a program or diet, but a re-education of the healthy lifestyle he should be leading. During this process, John has seen much success. He is now able to enjoy food that does not contain sugar. He now understands why the sugar would affect him and chooses to find healthier food options. He has more willpower than he ever imagined. The biggest lesson he learned is that he is fully in control. He was tired of making excuses for himself. Once he made the decision to change his life and realized he was in control of his path, he was able to make large gains.

Measuring himself became a reality check as to where he started versus where he now stands. His stomach has gone from 47” to 41 1/2”. He has lost almost three inches in his chest, two inches in his waist, three inches in his hips, and three inches in each upper thigh. John feels more empowered than ever before.

However, these successes did not occur without challenges. He had to learn to moderate his drinking, after realizing that beer and alcohol contain sugar that was impacting his results. While he doesn’t want to stop going out socially, he now has the tools to compensate for a drink here or there by adjusting his intake prior to or after having an alcoholic beverage.

John has lost 38 pounds overall. He’s seen his A1C levels drop significantly and plans to be off his medication by October. He’s sharing his lessons learned with others in his life and encourages them to take control of their own health. Once John realized he was in control, success was easily in his future.


Stepping it up

Tammy success and lessons learned

Music: Ben Sound Royalty Free Music

March 8, 2016

Tammy success and lessons learned

Tammy is closing out her 10-week program and sharing her success story and lessons learned. At the beginning of her program, she made a commitment. That commitment remains strong today, as she is dedicated to moving forward in her health and fitness journey.

During these 10 weeks, Tammy experienced some challenges. She continued to work through health issues that came up. She has had issues with her back and is committed to working through these issues with a doctor, as this is really part of her overall wellness and an important foundation of her physical health. Though sometimes her issues caused her to be unable to work out, she knew that she couldn’t let that keep her down.

Tammy learned that it is one’s diet, and not necessarily exercise, that is the real key to the equation. She acquired the patience to stick with a solid eating plan over time and really began to focus on the type of food she was eating and making healthier choices.

As a result, Tammy is now fitting back into clothes haven’t fit her for quite some time. She has lost about 25 pounds and reduced her stomach and waist measurement significantly. She’s been a great partner along this journey with her husband, John. Tammy has even shared her experience with co-workers, who are now starting to make some changes in their own health as well.

Tammy now says “no” to so many foods that she never thought she could go without. After this experience, she looks at sweets and knows she doesn’t need them. The lessons that Tammy has learned over the past 10 weeks will continue to pay dividends as she continues this new healthier lifestyle in the future. Tammy knows success is in her future.



Stepping it up

John success and lessons learned

Music: Ben Sound Royalty Free Music

March 1, 2016

Stepping it up

In this episode, we are stepping it up with John and Tammy.

John discusses his exercise program, which includes walking about 15,000 steps per day.   He has been working on his squats and is making improvements to his form.

We introduce the concept of Tabata to his workouts. The premise of a Tabata is a series of rounds where you move as hard as you can with an exercise for 20 seconds, in this case squats, jump squats or even push-ups.  Then you take 10 seconds of rest.   The cycle is repeated for a total of 4 minutes.    If you really want to step it up, you can walk a lap or two when the first cycle is finished, then repeat another cycle with a different exercise.

There are apps that you can find that are Tabata timers or interval timers which work well with this concept and guide you through the on and off cycles.   It provides a fantastic workout in a short period of time, while increasing your cardiovascular endurance.

Stepping up your exercise routine with Tabata or interval training will give you a good metabolic kick. We will continue to follow John and Tammy as they continue their health and fitness journey.


Do you have patience, persistence, and progression

Tammy success and lessons learned


Music: Ben Sound Royalty Free Music

February 23, 2016

Do you have patience, persistence, and progression

It’s time to check in with clients, John and Tammy. Their journey has been one of patience, persistence, and progression, and they’re not done yet.

Tammy mentioned that while she was on the treadmill, she was watching her heart rate. She can actually gauge the intensity of her workout based on her heart rate. The maximum heart rate to achieve during a workout is calculated by subtracting one’s age from 220. Of course, there are varying levels that can be achieved depending on where one’s heart rate falls. In an aerobic state, the body is getting plenty of oxygen and burning fat. In a more intense anaerobic state, the body burns sugar and not so much fat. In either case, the body is burning some fat. While Tammy was on the treadmill, she noted that her heart rate did not exceed 110. This may indicate that she should add intensity to her workout to give her a greater challenge. This will allow her body to respond by burning more fat. However, any physical activity is burning calories and improving her cardiovascular health.

Tammy explained that she was unable to do squats like John, but that she used dumbbells and did the leg press. In doing the leg press, it is important to be cognizant of form. She will want to ensure she has a solid base and keeps her knees from extending beyond her toes. Doing this exercise will help to build her strength.

Finally, Tammy wondered about the inside of her thighs, which have begun to droop since losing some weight. Fortunately, skin is very elastic and may retract over time. Though some areas of loose skin may not go away completely, this can be aided through using moisturizer and building muscle in these areas. If those alternatives do not fix the issue, skin removal surgery is always an option in extreme cases.

John and Tammy are getting stronger and building endurance every day. As they continue along their fitness journey, their success is evident in the patience, persistence, and progression they have displayed thus far.


You are in the gym, now what?

Stepping it up


Music: Ben Sound Royalty Free Music

February 16, 2016

You are in the gym, now what?

Today we'll meet up with John and Tammy and discuss their recent gym sessions. They share their workout and relate some great experiences as they work to improve their health and fitness.

John discusses his efforts to make going to the gym a new routine.  John says he's a little embarrassed to be working with just the bar during squats, but recognizes he has to improve his form before he begins adding weight. This is really important because, as Allan says, safety first.Another important thing is to limit complex carbs, especially the “white foods” (“Don’t eat anything white”, as sweet potatoes, bread, pasta, rice and privileging another kind of grains, as quinoa or such.

On the food side of things, Allan recommends that in addition to cutting sugar, it is good to reduce simple carbs. Staying away from “white foods” such as potatoes, rice, bread, and pasta will help accelerate fat loss.  If you want a grain, you're better off with those that are more complex and nutrient dense like quinoa.Tammy’s turn. Allan is interested in her bike workout. Tammy has some problems with her back, but as we know, the body tends to heal itself, especially with muscles, so it is very important to not stress it out with workout over the limits. Tammy had a surgery too, so for her, it is mandatory to work always safely and carefully.

During Tammy’s turn, they discuss her workout, which involved riding the stationary bike. Tammy is suffering from back pain and isn't ready to begin a resistance program.  Her health and fitness goals are more about the food, but after she heals, she should consider working on strength and muscle mass.

Ready to Rumble

Do you have patience, persistence, and progression


Music: Ben Sound Royalty Free Music

February 9, 2016

Ready to Rumble

This week, John and Tammy are ready to rumble. To this point, they’ve been persistent and shown patience, but now it’s time for progression. They’re charged with stretching what they’re capable of doing and experimenting with pushing those boundaries. They’ve built a good foundation, but now it’s time to build the house upon that foundation.

John’s approach will be to rebuild his athleticism. He will want to mix focus and play with added intensity. Both John and Tammy will reconnect with that competitive spirit, only this time they are competing against the John and Tammy of yesterday.

Last week was a busy week for Tammy and she did not have as much opportunity to practice focus and play. However in the afternoons, she had some down time and was able to do some squats and other physical activity. She even encouraged some of her coworkers to participate. Tammy used to be a dancer, so one approach that might work for her is to adopt some sort of dance in her workout routine—perhaps Zumba or watching dance routines from YouTube videos.

The changes that John and Tammy have been making are clear, as people are starting to notice a change in their physical appearance. This has helped to encourage Tammy’s sister to begin her own fitness program soon. Though John’s physical results appear to be more obvious than Tammy’s, she is not letting herself get discouraged. After all, they are both making progress and each person’s success is a success for them both as a couple.

John and Tammy are ready to rumble, as they are now focused on their progression. This week, they will find ways to add intensity to their workouts, while finding their inner beast.

Discussions about sleep

You are in the gym, now what?

Music used for the podcast Intro and Outro: http://www.bensound.com/royalty-free-music

February 2, 2016

Discussions about sleep

In this client episode, we discuss getting good sleep with John and Tammy.

John described his normal sleep pattern, noting he used to sleep six hours a night. Per Allan's recommendation, he added an hour to his nightly sleep over the past week.  With that extra hour, he does not need a nap when he gets home from work.  The sleep he is getting now has him feeling more rested. 

A nap can be a useful tool as well. John said he is not avoiding the nap, rather he does not feel the need for it.  So, he thinks his adding an extra hour of sleep is something he will continue doing. Because he sees real benefit.

If someone gets a good sleep pattern going and gets comfortable with it, his or her body performs better. This will help balance your  hormones, improving brain chemistry and memory. 

John says the setup in their room is completely perfect for sleep. They did not have to make any changes in the sleeping environment. That means they already had some good sleeping habits. 

Tammy tends to sleep more than John. But there are some nights when  wakes up sometimes after 2 – 3 hours.  She finds it very frustrating that when she cannot fall back asleep.  Using good sleep hygiene should keep these restless nights at a minimum.

Start a good sleep practice to ensure you get good nights sleep every night.

Progression for results


Music used for the podcast Intro and Outro: http://www.bensound.com/royalty-free-music

January 26, 2016

Progression for results

Clients John and Tammy are seeing real success in the program. They’re checking in once again and have taken another round of measurements. Both are down ½-inch across the board.

John even has shorts that don’t fit anymore. He recently got his A1C blood test done to review his blood sugar levels. In the four months since his last test, he dropped 2.1 marks. His doctor was so impressed that he feels John will be off his medication in three to six months and under 200 pounds in six months. John now has a goal to reach 180 pounds. He can see what’s possible and what he is capable of achieving. He’s setting slightly bigger goals and placing milestones along the way. He understands what is coming next in the natural progression of his health and fitness journey.

Tammy has seen a shift as well. She has noticed her mindset changing as she is building new habits around healthy eating. She is no longer looking for the quickest meal, but finding the healthier option. She knows she has a choice to make and is using her willpower to make the right choice. She can even consider planning ahead and packing a lunch. She is encouraged by the fact that her measurements went down as well. Her hip measurements went down by almost three inches!

John and Tammy are true examples of patience, perseverance, and progression. They know the weight usually comes off faster in the beginning, but are prepared to stay the course. They are truly seeing their progression and know that they can accomplish anything with the help of patience and perseverance.


Tweaking to fit

Discussions about sleep


Music used for the podcast Intro and Outro: http://www.bensound.com/royalty-free-music

January 19, 2016

Tweaking to fit

In this client episode, John and Tammy evaluate their progress thus far and consider tweaking their program just a bit. They’re making progressions and improving their form, but they realize that alcohol consumption is also part of the equation. After all, alcohol calories are sugar. In the future, they will need to look at their volume and manage it against what other sugars they are consuming. Another important factor to consider is water consumption. They will want to keep drinking water to counteract the dehydrating effect with alcohol.

When evaluating their diet, John and Tammy recognize they are eating a lot of basic carbs—essentially eating a basic American diet. This will be one of the areas to tweak. They will reduce their carb intake, and once they start lifting weights, shift more to protein consumption than the carbohydrates.

Regarding their exercise plan, John is noticing his knees are more flexible and he’s having less pain at work. He’s doing push-ups, but would like to do more upper body work. Another tweak will involve starting push-ups in the standard position, not on his knees, and then dropping to his knees when he begins to struggle with his form.

Tammy mentioned she was having a bit of trouble with squats. While she is holding onto a chair to keep her balance, she will now try using the chair as part of her squat. She will adjust her positioning so that when she squats, her bottom will touch the edge of the chair, which will help take some of the pressure off her legs.

The key is to build the basic foundation and continue tweaking along the way. In the beginning stages, it will seem like progress is limited when you can only complete a small set. However, as progression grows, John and Tammy will be able to take on more reps and see a real improvement.


John and Tammy commit to health and fitness

Progression for results

January 12, 2016

John and Tammy commit to health and fitness

In this episode, we meet Forever Fitness clients John and Tammy and talk about committing to health and fitness.

The commitment to health and fitness is the same as committing to your spouse. But committing to your health and fitness is something that you should not do for your spouse. You need to have self-love and do it for yourself.
Allan believes that making a verbal commitment is important. One needs to make vows to oneself about his or her commitment to be fit. One needs to write his or her vows, read it and feel it from heart.

Tammy admits she's uncomfortable  expressing that she wants to look better. Allan notes that when you take care of yourself and your body is good and healthy from inside, you should look better. There is no reason to feel ashamed of saying that because being healthy and looking better is effectively the same thing. One can’t look better unless he or she is healthy. Tammy finally clearly and confidently says she does want to be healthy and proud. And it’s important for every individual to say and feel his or her commitment to health and fitness.

Tammy finally clearly and confidently says she does want to be healthy and proud. And it’s important for every individual to say and feel his or her commitment to health and fitness.
John indicates he is inspired to push hard to reach his health and fitness goals. He is ready to make this commitment. John wants to have a long healthy life. That’s why he needs to make a vow to himself about his commitment to health and fitness.
John makes his vow saying “I John, commit to training my body for a happy, healthy future”.


Meet my clients John and Tammy

Tweaking to fit