Merry Christmas From Your Personal Trainer

Merry ChristmasWishing you all a very Merry Christmas and a fantastic New Year and I really do hope that 2009 is your best year ever. A big thank you to my personal training clients and any of those I send out emails to, I hope you are all doing your workouts while I am on holiday! If any of you are travelling stay safe and look forward to catching up with you on your return.

For those of you are serial setters of a new years resolution, just make sure if you do set one it is something you think you can do, not just because it's that time of year. Think back to your last one and just check to see if you made any progress on it through the year. It's actually a great idea to write them down and even let others know about it so you have more reason to stick to it, so grab someone you know and trust and even make one together...

Hope Santa spoils you all!

A Personal Trainers Workout

Just finished a workout and thought why not post my own personal workouts here so you can see what sort of training a personal trainer does.

I am from a bodybuilding background and I love it, but I have changed my workouts a lot lately to incorporate more body weight training, interval training and focusing on eating more whole foods and it has made a huge difference to my body, in terms of shape and overall energy levels. And yes, I would be the first to say that personal trainers don't know everything. In fact we are learning more and more about what works with our bodies all the time, or at least I try to do that so I know what does and doesn't work for my personal training clients.

I still focus on training body parts around once per week but for anyone that doesn't train regularly, my experience tells me an all over approach is a much better option, ie. training the whole body each session.

Here is the workout I did today:

1. Step Ups (using a big step or flat bench) 15 Reps each leg
- set 1 no weight, set 2 12.5 kg dumbbells, set 3 15 kg, and stretch in between sets

The next 3 exercises are done as a tri-set or small circuit with no rest in between. Rest approx. 60 seconds and repeat for 3 sets in total
2. Split Squats (or jumping alternate squats, no weight) 15 Reps each leg
3. Stiff Legged Deadlifts 15 Reps with 15 kg dumbbells
4. Fitball Calf Raises (ball against the wall, 15 kg dumbbells) 20 Reps

5. X-Trainer (choose a reasonably high level) 30 secs easy, 30 secs fast and hard for 10 minutes in total

6. Abs/Core Routine and all these are done for 1 minute as a giant set with no rest for 1 set only (trust me, 1 set is plenty!)
a. Pushup Bridge 1 Minute
b. Prone Hold/Plank 1 Minute
c. Oblique Hold on each side for 1 Minute
d. Straight Arm Oblique Hold on each side for 1 Minute

Stretch and cool down. This should take around 45 minutes at the most. A good way to improve your workouts, and the above is a good example, is to try and improve the over all time it takes to complete, bettering each attempt.

Check out YouTube for any of the techniques or exercises mentioned. I will get to posting them myself so no explanations are required and you can see the full exercise completed safely.

Throw this into your current workout schedule if you like and as always, leave me some feedback and/or comments on how you go.

Personal Training Secret Weapon For Increasing Strength

I learned this really effective way of increasing strength for any body part from Charles Staley's fantastic website just recently which is based on Escalated Density Training or EDT for short. He is pretty much the originator of this concept, one I have been using a lot of in my own training.

EDT could be explained as "doing more in less time", something I am extremely interested in as are my personal training clients. I would guess that most of us are busy people and who doesn't want to get more done in less time?

You could adapt this for any body part or exercise but I will use the example of chin ups or pull ups with an underhand or reverse grip (ie. palms facing you). To be honest chin ups/pull ups have always been a weak point for me but not anymore after using this quick and very effective program.

So here we go, let me show you how simple this is and a routine you can use yourself or if you are a personal trainer, with your own personal training clients.

The Routine
1. Do 3 chin ups (use an assisted chin up machine if you have access to one)
2. Rest for 20 seconds
3. Repeat until failure, ie. you cannot complete 3 repetitions with good technique

That's it! So to give you an example, say you did this the first time for a total of 2 minutes roughly which is a great start, and this obviously depends on the level you are coming in at. The next time you do it see if you can go for a bit longer. When you get to 5 minutes, start reducing your rest time to 15 seconds. This is where EDT comes in, "doing more in less time". When you have finally built that up to 5 minutes reduce your rest period to 10 seconds. Then start adding more repetitions, ie. do 4 or 5 reps and then repeat the whole process again. You can tweak this program in so many ways to suit you and expand as your strength increases.

I would recommend doing this once per week to start with, maybe on the day you do back training (be sure to start with this first though or you will quickly fatigue) or just simply do it at the start of any session.

I will add some more information on EDT in another post and I truly believe it is one of the best concepts in training today. More work in less time sounds pretty good no matter how you look at it!

Give this program a go and I would love to hear your comments on how you did with it.

Workout For Personal Training Clients On Holidays

Ok, so this is another version and follows on from my previous 10-15 Minute Workout Post that is for my personal training clients if they are holidays or can't make it to the gym and while I am away on a well earned break. Tassie, here i come!

1. Forward/Backward Lunges (On same leg do 1 in front, 1 to the back) 10 Reps in total each leg
2. Pushups (vary hand positions from wide, normal, hands almost touching) 10-15 Reps
3. Oblique Hold 20-30 seconds on each side
4. Single Leg Supine Hip Raises 10-12 Reps each leg
5. Bridge Hold (pushup start position) 30 seconds

Repeat as per initial post, or you can modify slightly by repeating this circuit, resting for 1 minute and then keep repeating for 10-15 minutes or as long as you have available. 10 minutes of this will give you a short and sharp workout that you can do anywhere!

Also, have a look at a previous post I made on How To Train Your Abs for more information and workout tips on ab training.

More workouts coming soon. Please feel free to send me any requests and/or leave comments.

Getting An "Elite Body" For Personal Trainers

The Elite BodyJim Katsoulis' EliteBody.com is a personal trainers dream resource when you need the best information available from some of the most well known fitness guru's alive. His regular interviews provide great information on the best training tips, nutrition, psychology, motivation and covers the whole spectrum any personal trainer needs to have in their arsenal if they want to be considered a great trainer, and more importantly help their clients achieve their goals.

You need to register to listen but anyone that does will benefit whether you are a personal trainer, someone that goes to a gym, trains outdoors, someone wanting to get into shape but isn't sure where to start, ie. anyone!

Download PDFClick on the Adobe image to the right to download a short ebook in pdf format that comes from a recent guest on his site. The content should give you an idea of the quality of information that is available. Tom Venuto was a guest on his last round of interviews and I among many others consider him to be THE guru when it comes to getting lean and doing it the right way.

Enjoy and feel free to leave me a comment.

A Personal Trainers Practical Festive Season Tips

Someone asked me yesterday for some tips on how to manage all the seemingly unavoidable food and drinks coming up over the festive season and how to avoid ending up looking even remotely like this poor dude below (click on the image to see a larger version), so here we go...

A Beer Belly Not To Be Proud Of!Firstly, I just want to say that I really do hope this image has been "digitally enhanced" as that is one mighty fine beer gut depending on how you look at it. I am not sure whether to be amazed or appalled!

Here are a few things I am not going to tell you:
1. To not drink over the festive season
2. To watch every single thing you eat or drink (although some caution would make a little sense regardless of the time of year)
3. That now is a good time to try some radical new diet or swear off alcohol forever so you can beat the oncoming deluge of Christmas events, etc.

I wonder if that guy is still alive?

Some practical tips then and the plan I follow:
  • If you know you are in for a big session of food and alcohol, and this applies to any such event, try eating a little lighter during the day and do a longer workout, or even a couple of workouts that day, ie. morning and a couple of hours before you head out time permitting of course (don't punish yourself so much that you fall asleep at your partner's Christmas dinner though!)
  • Pace yourself... I am sure you have heard something similar to this in that it takes around 20 minutes for the brain to tell you that's it for now thanks. That seems like a long time but well worth listening to. If you overfill your car's petrol tank, where does the fuel go? It's wasted but worse for us it doesn't just spill onto the floor, our body knows how cheap petrol is right now and it stores it away for us (ie. body fat) for a rainy day.
  • It makes sense for a dozen reasons to drink to water throughout the day/night where possible. This won't just save your week of hard work in the gym, it might even save you a few bucks, a potentially embarrassing moment you can't recall, and at worst your license...
  • Even if you don't feel like it the next day, try and eat the healthiest meal you can possibly think of (think again!) rather than opting for the "God I need something greasy..." scenario. You will be amazed at how much better this will make you feel. Trust me.
  • Enjoy yourself with friends and family and have a great time, the gym will be there tomorrow (as will your personal trainer saying give me 10 ten more!), but we only have so many Christmas's to celebrate...
I hope this is some useful information that you can use and please let me know if I can provide anything further. For those savvy calorie counters out there I would be more than happy to give you some numbers on certain foods/drinks/wine, etc. that you are bound to cross paths with in the not too distant future.

Weight Loss Tips From A Personal Trainer

There is simply too much information floating around on the subject of nutrition... I just Googled "nutrition" and there are 148,000,000 pages listed on this topic, on "diet" 184,000,000. Scary.

I would hazard a guess to say that a huge proportion of this information is incorrect and/or repetitive. This might be a little harsh but unfortunately some of it comes from within the fitness industry, even from personal trainers, who I have no doubt just want to help their clients but we often give you information that to us sounds wicked, but to you it's another language. I heard a story of someone a while ago telling potential clients to eat no more than 8-10 almonds as a snack. Seriously...

Throw in your job (would be great wouldn't it!), a few kids, and a busy schedule into the mix and let's see even the most determined fitness seeker maintain a strict nutrition plan for longer than a week or so. I fall off the wagon every now and it's my job so to speak to be good at it!

I don't proclaim to have all the answers but here are some really simple tips that I use personally and give to clients (and my Dad!). I suppose I should make some disclaimer about this being general advice just in case there are any sensitive folks out there reading this.

Ok, in no particular order here they are:
  • Remove as many processed foods/drinks from your diet where possible. Some fruit juices from the supermarket are just loaded with sugar. To help with this, start thinking "how far removed from it's original state is this food?", eg. What are the ingredients of an avocado? Hmmm... I will let you figure that out. (Note: avocados are very cool). Basically, the fewer ingredients the better!
  • Artificial sweeteners (even though they have no calories, the chemicals can cause the metabolism to go haywire)
  • Soft drink (especially diet soft drinks! Again, artificial sweeteners)
  • Reduce alcohol (noooo!) to a couple of times per week instead of every night if that is your current intake or just reduce in general (Yes, Christmas season is upon us so do the best you can)
  • Junk food in general is rubbish hence it's name and we all know it
  • If it comes in a box and is wrapped in plastic chances are you don't need it, yes there are a few exceptions but not many
  • Many white breads and boxed cereals from the supermarket are also loaded with sugar and no real help to the body or fat loss if that's your target
  • Remember, "Breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince and dinner like a pauper!" Generally speaking, you need most of your energy to begin the day not end it. And don’t forget your mid-morning and mid-afternoon snacks... 8-10 almonds! (I should say here that maybe a better way of saying that would be to eat a handful of almonds, the delivery of nutritional advice is sometimes the main problem. My sincerest apologies in advance if I have committed the same offence in this post - comments welcome.)
  • Be good most of the time... if you stuff up, dust yourself off and start again the next day. The worst thing you can do is overly criticise what happened. Just move on, but be careful this doesn't happen all the time.
A Lamborghini Gallardo Needs Serious FuelOne a lighter note... I like Lamborghini’s, Gallardo's in particluar (pictured) and if you had one, what type of fuel would you put into it? Premium unleaded ONLY, there is no way you’d be filling it up with empty, sub-nutritious fuel (junk food, soft drink, etc.) ie. “unleaded”. Even if you are a Datsun 180B right now, you could soon be a Lambo with the right fuel/food!

I realise that I could go on forever here and have merely scratched the surface but I hope this is a start. Maybe I will do a part two of this soon and if you have anything in particular you want clarified just let me know.

Personal Training Rule #267

Personal Training Rules For ClientsSomeone sent me this yesterday which I thought was quite funny and appropriate for this blog (apologies if you have seen it before).

There is a rule that personal trainers are taught for client safety reasons, that goes something like this and was the title of the email:

Government Health Warning - Do Not Swallow Chewing Gum!

It is a little more effective in an email where you scroll down but I think you still get it!

10-15 Minute Bodyweight Program You Can Do Anywhere (My Personal Training Clients Use This Program)

This is a great program you can do pretty much anywhere, you don't need any equipment and it's perfect if you are away and want to do something but aren't sure what or maybe even how.

But 10-15 Minutes? Is that enough? Try this and then let me know... I do these in my own training with various exercises and by the last set I really am counting down the seconds.

Try the following circuit, no rest in between each exercise but rest after completing 1-5 and repeat as specified below :

Circuit
1. Alternating Lunges (10 Reps each leg)
2. Pushups (from knees of full body for 10-15 Reps)
3. Body weight Squats (10-15 Reps)
4. Prone Hold/Plank (30 Secs-1 Minute)
5. Supine Hip Raises (10-15 Reps)

Repeat and Rest Periods
Complete 1-5 then rest for 60 seconds
Complete 1-5 then rest for 45 seconds
Complete 1-5 then rest for 30 seconds
Complete 1-5 then rest for 15 seconds (last set is OPTIONAL to start with)

The repetition ranges (Reps) are there for you to progress as you get fitter and stronger. For example, start with the low range ie. 10 Reps, 30 Secs and see how you feel once all sets are completed. Depending on your level of fitness the final set is optional and trust me when I say it does get pretty tough, but go at your own pace and progress appropriately.

You can substitute other exercises if you prefer or make up your own as this format can be expanded to suit any style or body part.

Try YouTube if you need help with technique on any of these and even for similar workouts as there are plenty to choose from. I use it constantly for ideas and my own training.

Any questions, fire them our way and will be interested to hear any feedback/comments when you get around to trying it out.

Exercise, Stretching and Flexibility Resource For Personal Trainers

ExRx.net (Exercise Prescription on the Net) is a free site and resource which I found recently that contains some of the best stretching information that I have seen anywhere. It covers strength training, balance, flexibility and too many topics to fit on this post. This is an excellent resource for personal trainers, personal training clients, gym members, etc.

If you have a particular area where you need more flexibility then simply go to the Exercise and Muscle Directory, select the body part either on the left or right and then view the stretches for the desired muscle or body part (stretches are displayed on the right).

There is also some basic but excellent information on their Stretching and Flexibility page. As a general rule hold each stretch for 20-30 seconds repeating 2-3 times, on each side if applicable, making sure not to "bounce" in and out of the movement.

This is an example of the format:

Straight Arm Chest StretchStraight Arm Chest Stretch

Instructions

Preparation
With arm extended, position hand on fixed structure shoulder height.

Execution
Turn body away from positioned arm. Hold stretch. Repeat with opposite arm.

Comments
Upper chest becomes more stretched with elbow lower. Lower chest and pectoralis minor become more stretched with elbow higher.

Muscles
Target
* Pectoralis Major, Sternal

Other
* Pectoralis Major, Clavicular
* Pectoralis Minor

If you have any questions, or need help with execution make sure you ask your trainer. Chances are good that there are some stretches or techniques we are not familiar with, but what we don't know we'll find out, test it ourselves and make sure it's appropriate for you.

Please feel free to send this link around to your friends, but most importantly use it yourself to improve your own flexibility.

The Truth On How To Train Your Abs From A Personal Trainer

The Truth About How To Get 6 Pack Abs"Six Pack Abs Revealed" is a straight forward guide from life time natural bodybuilder and highly respected author and trainer Tom Venuto.

"How do I get great abs" or "how to train abs" is still one of the most commonly asked questions in the gym today, and while you may not wish to achieve the level that Tom maintains year round, his information is without doubt some of the best and most truthful you will find anywhere.

His site Burn The Fat, Feed The Muscle is one of the most popular fitness sites on the web as well as his blog, which we constantly refer to and use for our own training and with personal training clients.

As a personal trainer I hear people asking this question all the time, not just to me directly but to others in the gym and more often than not the advice is incorrect. If you really want to know the truth about abs and how to get a 6 pack then this short guide will get you started in the right direction or help to fix some of the incorrect techniques you may have been using in the past.

It is my experience of many years of training that too many people are doing either too much ab training or doing the wrong exercises to get that highly sought after 6 pack we all want. The abs should be trained just like any other muscle but this can also depend on what you are trying to achieve, which is where most people fail because they are not sure if they want to simply tone and strengthen the core area or really build up the muscle. This is why it's so important to get good advice and you will be hard pressed to find many people out there who really tell it like it is.

This guide is only a short read and you can download it by clicking here. Enjoy and feel free to pass this onto your friends who may also need some similar advice.

I wish you well on your quest for 6 pack abs!