Author Archives: Julia

Why Should I Bother Getting a Personal Trainer?

Whether you’re a regular gym bunny who’d rather gouge out your own eyeballs with a blunt knife than miss a session or have forgotten what the inside of a health club looks like, there are many benefits to signing up with a personal trainer.

You’d be in good company
According to the International Health, Racquet & Sportsclub Association (IHRSA), around 12 percent of the estimated 51.4 million health club users in America use the services of a personal trainer. Although the majority of users are between the ages of 18 and 44, there really is no lower or upper age limit for enlisting the help of a personal trainer.

You actually can teach an old dog new tricks
Everyone can figure out how to use those machines, right? Actually, no. If you’re just starting out with exercising, the last thing you want to do is “teach” yourself how to use the equipment – wrongly. Even if you hit the gym with alarming regularity, a personal trainer can help you tweak your routine to maximum effect.

You’re more likely to stick to your exercise schedule
It’s a miserable day and the thought of dragging yourself to the gym is hardly appealing. It’s all too easy to think “I’ll do it tomorrow.” It’s still raining the next day and the next. Before you know it a whole fortnight has gone by and you haven’t so much as touched your toes. That situation is likely to be entirely different if you have booked sessions with a personal trainer. You won’t want to just not turn up and you won’t want to waste your money either.

They’ll push you to new levels of fitness
Having a personal trainer is ideal for those who are inclined to give up too easy. Whether it’s five more reps or holding a position for just one more minute, when you think you can’t do another thing, it’s the job of a good personal trainer to get you to do just a bit more. Your reward will be a stronger, fitter you.

Plateau, what plateau?
When you work out regularly, you’ll see results week after week. That is, of course, until you reach that dreaded plateau stage. It happens to most people – however hard you work or how many pieces of lettuce you eat – your results level off. Personal trainers will be able to recognise this stage for the normal occurrence that it is and motivate you to work through it. They’ll also have no end of tips and tricks to add variation to your workout and kickstart those results once again.

But, but, but ……

“I can’t afford a personal trainer.”

Really?

Most health clubs offer free introductory sessions with their in-house personal trainers. Take advantage of the freebie and use the time to try to negotiate a better deal. While the group option might not be dangled in front of your face, it’s likely that there is one. Try negotiating half price sessions for you and two of your friends. You’ll be able to cheer each other along, and make significant savings as you do so.

Author Bio

Linda Forshaw is a Business Information Systems graduate from Lancaster University in the UK. The leading contributor to Degree Jungle, a college research site, Linda is a full time writer and blogger specializing in education, social media, and entrepreneurship. Contact her on Twitter @seelindaplay

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Personal Training: What Can I Expect to Make?

We’re excited to publish a guest post this week by Eli Galayda of the website How To Become a Certified Personal Trainer.

So you’ve decided that you want to be a personal trainer.  Congrats! Yours will be an exciting and active life centered on helping people achieve their personal fitness goals and witnessing clients improve their quality of life.  What’s more, you’ll be able to do that while maintaining the ability to be your own boss and set your own schedule.  It’s a win, win. You’ll have the freedom to choose your clients, the autonomy to set the routines, and the satisfaction of watching the transformation of your clients. That said, there is still the all important bottom line: What Kind of Salary Can I Expect to Make?  And more importantly, What Can I do to Maximize It?

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According to the U.S. Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics the median annual salary in 2008 for personal trainers was $29,210 (Currently, 2008 is the last year of available data). It is important to remember though that this is only a rough estimate… a toss at the dartboard.  There are a myriad of factors that can go into what you make; such as: do you work with a gym… If so, what is your cut? Are you certified? How busy do you keep your schedule, do you work weekends? Where do you train? Personal trainers in NYC can charge a higher rate than one in Buckner, Illinois.

Regardless of those factors though, there are some simple steps to help ensure you’re maximizing your bottom line.  Below are 5 key factors that affect what kind of salary you can expect to make.

  1. EXPERIENCE.  You’ll need it… The more, the better.  Although, there are other ways to get experience.   Become an expert in a new type of exercise program.  Take for example Tae Bo, Kettle Bells, or even Cross-Fit.  The trainers who mastered these disciplines at the onset were able to go to gyms with a unique set of qualifications that their peers didn’t have which made them valuable and highly sought after.  Right now some think that exercise programs geared toward the ageing “baby boomer” population are set to explode.
  2. SALESMAN.  Learn to be one. Hopefully one day your client base will do this work for you, but until then, it’s all on you.  You will need to learn how to not only sell your services, but yourself as well.  You’re going to be working face-to-face with your clients for an extended period of time.  They will probably see you more than they see their own parents.  For that reason it is important that they not only respect what you can bring to the table in terms of fitness… but like/respect you as well.
  3. EDUCATION. It helps. Perception is reality.  If a potential clients looks at your resume and see’s that you have a B.A. in Kinesiology or Exercise Science it will most likely serve as an indication that you are qualified for the job.  If you are lacking in those areas it behooves you to go through a personal trainer certification program.
  4. NEGOTIATE. Doesn’t hurt to try.  If you start at a gym they will expect a cut from your training sessions.  In most cases these commissions are negotiable… even if they say right off the bat that they aren’t.  If you’re bringing new people into the gym, use it as leverage for a higher commission.
  5. DIVERSIFY. aka, get a side job.  Especially in the start it may be hard to build up a client-base that can sustain your cost of living.  Until you get to that point there is no shame in having a side job waitering, bartending, etc.  Hey, Brad Pitt worked at a taco stand while he was getting his acting career off the ground.  Do what you have to do.

Learn more about How to Become a Certified Personal Trainer.

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Defeating DOMS: Tips for Alleviating Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness

There’s no mistaking it, that soreness that creeps in after a punishing workout and proceeds to plague your movements for the next few days. According to WebMD, delayed onset muscle soreness or DOMS, is in fact, “tiny injuries called microdamage in the muscle fibers and connective tissue.” It generally happens after you step up your workout, try a new strenuous activity, or use eccentric muscle contractions (increasing tension on a muscle when it is lengthening, like when running downhill or doing pushups).

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© Maridav – Fotolia.com

DOMS usually peaks at around 48 hours after your workout, and those few days can certainly be a challenge. Here are some ideas from around the web on ways to defeat DOMS:

  1. Rest. Have you ever heard the phrase, “if it hurts, don’t do it”? Allow your body to recover by giving it a break (usually 3-7 days).
  2. Apply Heat. Use heat via heating pad or warm bath to increase blood flow to the area and alleviate soreness.
  3. Stretch. There is serious debate about whether or not stretching actually helps DOMS, but there’s no denying that it’s at least satisfying to stretch when you’re sore. Some experts maintain that it helps ease muscle tension, and can prevent muscles from tensing up and the pain getting worse.
  4. Light Exercise or “Active Recovery.” Think taking a walk or going for a light swim, getting your blood flowing and your muscles warm. However, be sure you don’t over do it–if you pile another hard workout on top of the first, you might just make your soreness worse.
  5. Anti-Inflammatories and Supplements. There are the standard anti-inflammatories like aspirin, ibuprofen or naproxen sodium, which can help with pain, but don’t help with actual recovery. There are also options like the regular intake of probiotics, lemon verbena supplements, or Omega-3 fatty acid supplements, that have all been said to help with soreness and recovery after a workout.

While there is no one easy solution for beating post killer-workout soreness, there are plenty of choices. Do some personalized real-time research on delayed onset muscle soreness, and see what works best for you.

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What You Should Know About Yoga: The Good, the Bad, and the Bendy

Yoga has, in many ways, become synonymous with a healthy way of life. Indeed, the term “yoga,” a Sanskrit word, means, “to ‘yoke’ or unite the mind, body and spirit.” With the promise of total alignment and harmony of your entire self, who wouldn’t want to try yoga as a means to a better life?

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The benefits of yoga are plenty. Tangible results include increased flexibility, muscle strength and tone, better posture, balance, and range of motion. In addition, yoga also provides less material, but still very real results like getting rid of stress, improving your concentration and focus, and even lowering blood pressure and slowing your heart rate. In short, it’s hard to argue with yoga’s results.

Still, there are some risks to yoga, and their seriousness may surprise you. Whitney Fetterhoff’s recent review of The Science of Yoga reminds us that yoga isn’t all about gentle poses and focused breathing. There is a real danger for injuries like, “dislocations, dead nerves and ruptured lungs,” according to the author of The Science of Yoga, William J. Broad. Other problems Broad cites include possible weight gain from a lowered metabolic rate, risk of stroke, joint instability or even brain damage. These issues sound more like warnings for a contact team sport than calm, peaceful, yoga.

Be that as it may, no one is saying you should hang up your yoga pants or exchange your mat for a pair of running shoes– far from it, in fact. However, it is important to know that there are risks with yoga, and like any workout regime or sport, beginners should start slow, learn through proper instruction, listen to their bodies, and increase the level of difficulty at their own pace.

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4 Ways to Keep Your New Year’s Resolutions Going Strong

Maintaining a healthier lifestyle and losing weight are popular New Year’s resolutions. In fact, on the list of top New Year’s resolutions on the USA.gov website, five of the 13 most popular goals have to do with better fitness and health. What’s more, according to a study mentioned on WebMD, around 30% of resolutions involve weight loss and 15% cite wanting to start working out. If you have set a health-related goal for the new year, here are some easy tips to help you see it through to completion.

1. Set Specific Short Term and Long Term Goals

Losing weight and eating healthier are worthy resolutions, but if that’s as specific as you made them, chances are you’re having trouble seeing them through. Make your goals specific, like a particular weight, a certain time for running a mile, or a set number of reps for your strength training. Then, set several benchmarks between the day you start and your end date so you can track your progress.

2. Start Small

You don’t have to change your entire routine overnight. There’s nothing like a complete shock to your system to make you lose motivation fast. Start small like taking the stairs instead of the elevator, or a walk at lunch instead of sitting at your desk for the entire time. Replace one of your salty snacks with something healthier or start packing your own lunch. Build towards your first benchmark and increase your workout tasks or dietary changes as you get more comfortable with your new fitness program.

3. Mistakes are OK

Just because you skip a workout or splurge on dessert does not mean that your resolution has gone out the window. If you’re maintaining a healthy routine and have stuck to the benchmarks you set for yourself, chances are you’re still progressing towards your goal. Allow for a few setbacks along the way and don’t use them as an excuse to throw in the towel.

4. Keep Yourself Accountable

The easiest way to let your resolution slip by is to keep it to yourself so no one will know if you started or stuck to it. Tell your friends and family your goals. Chances are, you’ll find others with similar resolutions. What’s more, like-minded people make a strong support system to help keep your determination and perseverance going strong.

Whether you’ve already started towards your 2012 goals, or are still working on getting going, we hope these tips help you see your resolutions through.

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7 Things You Should Know About Cold Weather Running

Despite the chilly temperatures and adverse weather conditions, running outdoors in the winter is still a great option for staying fit. However, it’s important to remember that running in cold weather is different from warm weather cardio. Here are some useful tips for cold weather running to keep you healthy and safe.

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1. Wear thin, portable layers. Long sleeves and pants are generally a must for cold weather running, but be sure not to overdress. Running in the cold still generates a lot of body heat and you don’t want to be caught with a thick puffy coat when a thin, sweat-wicking long sleeve would suffice.

2. Consider a hat and gloves. Keep your head and hands warm, but stick to what’s comfortable. There are several choices for head coverings like beanies, ear-warmers or hoods, but if you start to overheat, don’t feel you have to wear it for the entire run.

3. Focus on your breathing. Don’t let the snap of cold deter you from your workout. The burning sensation in your nose or lungs will go away given time. Take this opportunity to breath more deeply and try to control the urge to shorten your breaths.

4. Run in the early afternoon. The morning and evening are the colder times of day, so schedule your run for the heat of the day– early afternoon.

5. Protect your exposed skin. Cold air can wreak havoc on your skin. Remember to wear sunblock if the sun is out, and use moisturizer to avoid wind-chapping.

6. Hydration is still important. Drinking water is vital to a strong cold weather run. Be sure to hydrate before and after you exercise.

7. Don’t run on ice.  Ice is slippery and increases the chance of injury. Given the choice, opt for snow, as it has better traction.

And remember, it always depends on the conditions of the day. Use your best judgement to gauge your environment before setting out.

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Trainer Spotlight: Jennifer Cepeda, Zumba Instructor

The national Zumba craze might have been slow to reach the Pacific Northwest, but it is alive and thriving in places like Seattle. Zumba started in 2001 and is described on its official website as an “exhilarating, effective, easy-to-follow Latin-inspired, calorie-burning dance fitness-party.” Zumba uses the entire body and is a great alternative for people who are tired of everyday cardio and generic gym workouts.

If you want to know what makes Zumba so special, just ask West Seattle Zumba Instructor Jennifer Cepeda.

source: Jennifer Cepeda

“It’s fun to see people react, people are shocked when they first attend,” says Cepeda, a former performing hip-hop dancer. She’s referring to the emotional factor unique to Zumba.  She touts it as a “workout for your mind and body.”

But a Zumba workout isn’t just an hour of fun. Cepeda gauges her classes as a fairly intense workout with choreography at an easy to  medium level of difficulty. And the best part?  It saps pounds from her students. Regular members of her class have reported going down a dress size or two, and one in particular used Zumba (coupled with a healthy diet) to lose roughly half her bodyweight over a period of several months.

Cepeda completed the required Zumba one day certification, and is part of the Zumba Instuctor Network (ZIN) that helps keep her current with the latest music and choreography for her classes. She also enjoys creating her own choreography and keeping her classes fresh with popular music. She currently teaches three times a week at All Star Fitness in West Seattle, and has recently added three new classes at Youngstown Cultural Arts Center, also in West Seattle. For additional information on her classes and perspective on Zumba, check out her website hellosparkfit.com.

Cepeda encourages everyone to give Zumba a try. No prior dance experience or coordination is required to enjoy or excel at a Zumba workout.

For those who are interested in becoming a certified Zumba instructor, Cepeda’s recommendations are to study your favorite classes, and put your own spin on what you learn. Find a mentor in the Zumba community, and always continue your education to push for the highest quality both for yourself, and to pass along to your students.

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