Fitness, Health, and Business Blog

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Strength Training Tips For Young Athletes

By Mark S. Cassidy, MS

If you are involved for any length of time in the Health & Fitness Industry, the topic of strength training children is going to come up.  What age can they start? How often can they perform a routine?  What type of routine is best suited for them?  How long until they start to see results?  … are all part of the list of questions that will arise…  But there’s nothing wrong with these questions or a youngster trying to increase their strength or improve their body style.  They just need to do it properly.

Over the years there has been a misconception that kids shouldn’t lift weights until they were at least 16 or 17 years old.  If they attempted to perform weight lifting exercises at an age any younger, they could seriously damage themselves and potentially could stunt their growth. However the times have changed.  There are Health & Fitness Experts, Certified Athletic Coaches and Medical Doctors who can agree that children can start working with weights, as early as grade school.  But there has to be specific rules and guidelines followed to not only ensure the youth’s fitness success but help minimize any chance of injury.

PHYSICAL & PSYCHOLOGICAL BENEFITS

There is both a physical and psychological component / benefit for children who strength train.

  • Increase muscle strength
  • Increase muscle endurance
  • Increase in bone density
  • Increase in joint mobility & stability
  • Decrease in potential injuries
  • Improved performance in youth sports activities
  • Better social acceptance from piers
  • Improved self-image
  • More self confidence

Along with building muscle, when done correctly and using a full range of motion, it can also improve bone structure and density and help develop a youngster’s flexibility, exposing another old myth—that lifting weights makes a child stiff and ‘muscle bound’.

AGE & SKILL CONSIDERATIONS

Professionals in this field advocate a more functional approach to strength training for kids.  Introduce them first to basic exercises that have little or no weight.  The emphasis must be on using proper technique.  As they get older, the weights can gradually get heavier and the number or variety activities can increase.

PROGRAM DESIGN SUGGESTIONS

It is recommended that kids do at most 3 sets of 8 to 12 repetitions for each exercise. They shouldn’t lift more than 3 times per week, and they should never sacrifice technique for additional reps or weight.  For safety reasons, you should also discourage youngster’s from lifting any weights over their heads or faces or any other lifting that unnecessarily strains their spines (for example bench press, shoulder press, or back squats).

According to Dr. Cedric Bryant, the vice president of educational services at the American Council on Exercise, kids ages 11-13 can begin doing some of the traditional strength training exercises keeping the resistance light.  However, the instruction for these kids needs to be based on proven physical, phycological and biomechanical principles.  In addition to being coached by trained-certified health and fitness professionals.

And what can parents tell the skinny teenager who weight trains all summer but is disappointed in the fall when they don’t look like a “Superman”?

Just because you don’t always see results immediately, doesn’t mean the time and effort you are putting in, is not having a benefit.  Hormones and metabolism may not be fully activated yet to make those muscles develop.  A child’s height and limb-length may still be developing.  And dietary requirements and adaptability may be coming into play.  There are always mental and structural gains taking place with exercise movements – even if it’s not visually noticeable.  Keep working hard and putting in the time.  The Superhero will eventually arrive.

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Vitamins to Support Your Body’s Immune System

By:  Mark S. Cassidy, MS

COVID-19 is now causing major health concerns throughout the United States along with the world. Close to 150 nations are being affected by this virus and (as of March 2020) there is no vaccine currently on the market.  However, that doesn’t mean that people can’t take proactive measures to help slow the spread of the virus.

The Center for Disease Control (CDC) has made the following daily recommendations:

  • Limit social gatherings and keep approximately 6 feet of distance (Social Separation)
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick
  • Stay at home if you are sick (Self Quarantine)
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth as much as possible
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash
  • Clean objects and surfaces using a household cleaning spray or disinfected wipe
  • Frequently wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds

All of these recommendations by the CDC are important.  But we can all do more.

Viruses negative effects on the body are influenced by one’s own immune system.  The stronger and healthier your immune system is, the more efficient you are to fighting back against bacteria and viruses.  It is very important for us to maintain a healthy immune system.  Therefore, a proper diet that is filled with the necessary vitamins is needed, to help against harmful germs.

The vitamins that should be taken to help maintain a healthy immune system are as follows:

VITAMIN C

Vitamins C takes aggressive action towards germs causing damage to your immune system.  Vitamin C strengthens the cells that help in killing the germs, hence providing a boost to the immune system.  In the body, Vitamin C acts as an antioxidant, working to protect cells from the damage caused by free radicals.  (Antioxidant – is a substance that inhibits oxidation, deterioration or reactions promoted by oxygen, peroxides, or free radicals).  Vitamin C helps the body make collagen and helps improve the absorption of iron from plant-based foods.

Citrus fruits and green vegetables are all great sources of vitamin C.

VITAMIN A

Vitamin A is often associated with vision, but it also has a positive role in a strong immune system.  Vitamin A is considered to be a defensive line for the immune system because it helps keep the germs and the viruses from entering the body.  Vitamin A helps in keeping the mucous membrane moist and soft (which can be found in the nose, throat and mouth).  The mucous membrane needs to be kept moist and soft because this helps it in trapping the germs and stopping them from infiltration into the body.  Vitamin A also creates the enzymes that boost the immune system, along with playing a role in the maintenance of body linings and skin reproduction.

Vitamin A can be found in vegetables like broccoli, lettuce, carrots and squash, along with breakfast cereals, dairy products and some types of fish.

VITAMIN B6

Vitamin B6 (chemically know as pyridoxine) is a critically important nutrient with a wide range of functions.  Vitamin B6 is involved with more than a hundred enzyme reactions, within the body, involved in metabolism.  (Metabolism – is the chemical processes that occur within a living organism in order to maintain life).  Vitamin B6 plays a big role in protein metabolism, making hemoglobin (that is needed in blood – oxygen transportation) and boosts to proper immune function.

Vitamin B6 comes from a variety of foods such as chicken, fish, potatoes, starchy vegetables and non-citrus fruits.

VITAMIN E

Vitamin E is good in boosting the immune system to protect cells from damage caused by free radicals.   Vitamin E helps in the production of the protein, interleukin-2, which is a protein that kills bacteria, viruses and germs when the body is infected.  The protein (interleukin-2) that is produced by vitamin E is also used in the treatment of certain cancers.

Vegetable oils, nuts, seeds and green, leafy vegetables are all good sources of Vitamin E.

VITAMIN D

Vitamin D supports the immune system and is necessary for building and maintaining healthy bones.  The reason for this is calcium, which is the primary component of bone, can only be absorbed by your body when adequate amounts of vitamin D are present.  Your body is able to make vitamin D when direct sunlight converts a chemical in your skin into an active form of vitamin D (called calciferol).

Vitamin D isn’t found in many foods naturally, but you can get it from fortified milk, fortified cereal, and fatty fish such as salmon, mackerel and sardines.

Each of these vitamins can be obtained through food, eaten during a balanced diet.  However, you could also choose to take any (or all) of these vitamins through supplementation.  A multi-vitamin or a combination of vitamin tablets (once a day) will be sufficient to help your body’s immune system remain strong and healthy during these tough times.

Being proactive with your health, is a benefit to you and the people around you.

Stay safe.

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Epidemic Survival Strategies for Fitness Enthusiasts and Professionals

by Joseph Giandonato, MBA, MS, CSCS

Disclaimer: The content disseminated in this article shall not be constituted as medical advice, nor should any of the suppositions set forth supersede the time-sensitive directives enacted by government organizations and public health agencies which are both empirically driven and continually evolving.

Joe GiandonatoEvery aspect of our lives has been seized by ambiguity, uncertainty, and downright worry. Seemingly no societal stone has been left unturned as countless industries have been disrupted resulting in the cancellations of tens of thousands of commercial flights, countless commencement ceremonies, dozens of competitive seasons and respective postseason tournaments, prominently including March Madness, the NBA Finals, and NHL Stanley Cup, while shattering global tourism.

The coronavirus has begun to make its indelible footprint on life as we know it. However, through full adherence to evolving public health measures as a means to “flatten the curve” of growing cases while adopting a resolve of acceptance and adapting under a new set of circumstances, our society can surmount what mainstream media leads everyone to believe as an existential threat to civilization.

According to multiple media sources, this coronavirus strain, also known as COVID-19, initially emerged from the Wuhan region of the Hubei province located in southeastern China. Though conflicting reports prevail precisely from where and how this virus originated.

Coronaviruses are members of the subfamily Coronavirinae in the Coronviridae family under the order of Nidovirales and comprise four genera, or types of viruses, which have been shown to cause gastrointestinal and/or respiratory infections within mammals and birds. They have demonstrated the ability to transfect multiple species, jumping from one host to another through close contact. Additionally, they possess mutative abilities, meaning they can intensify into more virulent iterations of the virus, such as Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) in 2002 and 2003 and Middle East Respiratory Syndrome in 2012 and 2013.

Though persons with the coronavirus exhibit symptoms similar to the flu, both viruses differ in their genomic and virion structures, with the coronavirus bearing doubly greater rates of infection and transmissibility than the flu. The case fatality rate of coronavirus, or the percentage of cases resulting in mortality range from 1.0-3.4% versus 0.1% for the seasonal flu.

Concerningly, no vaccines exist, however, scores of pharmaceutical companies spanning the globe are scrambling to develop one. Within weeks of its emergence in southeastern China, the virus’ genome, or unique strand of genetic information, was culled from an infected subject, helping fast track vaccine development. As of Monday, March 16th, human trials are underway with a vaccine prototype in the Seattle area.

Globally, our access to healthcare and advancements in science are in stark contrast to 1917 when the first wave of the great influenza pandemic hit. A century ago, physicians and scientists only read about viruses and since the electron microscope didn’t make its way to laboratory benches until the early 1940s, there was no way to identify the culprit that claimed the lives of 50 million people.

Further, sanitary practices weren’t as stringent in healthcare settings as they are present day. Poor sanitation, in conjunction with suboptimal personal hygiene and lack of intensive care units and sterile isolation areas, lent themselves to secondary bacteria infections which many theorize, ultimately choked the final breaths from flu-stricken victims.

Chances are, history won’t be repeating itself. Though municipalities that enacted travel constraints and preventive quarantine measures, fared better than cities with lax or non-existent standards during the pandemic, so we can expect continued restrictions to reduce the likelihood of infection.

  1. Pump down the volume and turn down the intensity.

If one has access to equipment during this time, it is recommended that restraint be employed pertaining to exercise intensity and volume as both have been implicated in temporarily suppressing immune system function as marked by increases in immune cell phenotypes, cortisol, and oxidative stress. Based on the review of the literature, acute singular bouts of exercise at or above lactate threshold (55% of VO2max among untrained individuals; 85% of VO2max among trained individuals) for periods of up to, or more than one hour, contributed to temporary immunosuppression. Regular exercise among individuals has shown to yield immunoprotective benefits. The takeaway here should be, exercise during this time should be regarded as a tool to reinvigorate and recover, not bury and deliberately fatigue. Sparingly perform sets to failure and limit volume at or beyond lactate threshold. Do what is necessary to maintain muscular fitness, such as endurance or hypertrophy, but do not try to force adaptation through grueling training modalities as temporary inflammation and metabolic and oxidative stress may leave you more vulnerable to infection, if exposed to the virus. Alternatively, one can train to improve maximal, or limit strength, since development of this fitness quality is dependent upon neural, not metabolic pathways that elicit heightened metabolic and oxidative stress that can impede immune system functioning. Also, one may engage in submaximal lower intensity steady state cardiovascular exercise without much metabolic or oxidative stress inducing consequences.

  1. Prioritize lagging fitness qualities or movement capacity.

This time can be better invested focusing on deficient fitness qualities, such as limit strength, if equipment avails, aerobic fitness, or soft tissue quality, muscular extensibility, flexibility, and stability and motor control, which in concert, can improve movement capacity. Aerobic fitness and movement capacity can be improved simultaneously through hybridized circuits such as the one outlined below:

Repeat 5 times with 1:30 rest between each sequence

  • Banded Pull Apart x 15 repetitions
  • Glute Bridge x 15 repetitions
  • Alternating Groiner with Thoracic Rotation x 6 repetitions (each side)
  • Alternating High Knee Hug to Forward Lunge x 6 repetitions (each side)
  • Yoga Push Up (High Plank to Downward Dog) x 6 repetitions
  • Squat to Overhead Reach x 15 repetitions
  • Burpee x 3 repetitions
  1. Catch up on vitamin “S”…sleep!

Slow wave, or deep sleep, has shown to bolster immune system functioning (1), whereas, deprivation, even for as little as a week, impedes phagocytosis (2), the body’s process of engulfing, internalizing, and processing foreign particles, or antigens, such as viruses and bacteria. Many athletes, fitness enthusiasts, and fitness professionals are sleep deprived. Now is the chance to catch up and get a solid seven to eight per night.

  1. Contemplate shifting to virtual mediums

With much of the country under lockdown and some jurisdictions, such as the state of California, restricting person over the 65 from leaving their homes, fitness professionals, especially those who are self-employed, should consider temporarily transitioning to virtual sessions conducted via Skype, Hangout, Blue Jeans, or FaceTime. Many of these applications are free and the majority of modern-day iPhones have FaceTime capabilities. If virtual training arrangements are not possible, fitness professionals should regularly check in with their clients to ensure they are staying on track, helping ease the transition when they will inevitably be meeting with you again.

  1. Invest some time in professional development.

Investor magnate Warren Buffet has a reputation as a voracious reader, consuming newspapers, novels, and journals in upwards of five hours per day. He attributes much of his success as an investor to possessing a wide breadth of knowledge on a number of subjects and industries. Many fitness professionals fail to reach five hours of reading, or more broadly, professional development per week, let alone per month. Use this time to devour a subject or domain on which you know very little or an area that will help you better service your clients.

Joseph Giandonato, MBA, MS, CSCS presently serves as a Fitness Specialist at the Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine, where he assists with the oversight of recreational and college-wide wellness programming. Giandonato also serves as a part-time faculty member at Eastern University and Chestnut Hill College, where he teaches exercise science electives. Previously, Giandonato served as the Manager of Health Promotion and Wellness at Drexel University where he initiated and implemented the award winning A HEALTHIER U campus wellness initiative. Additionally, Giandonato serves as an instructor for the World Instructor Training Schools, through which he’s helped certify hundreds of personal trainers since 2010.

References

  1. Besedovsky, L., Lange, T., & Born, J. (2012). Sleep and immune function. Pflugers Archive European Journal of Physiology, 463 (1), 121-137.
  2. Said, E.A., Al-Abri, M.A., Al-Saidi, I., Al-Balushi, M.S., Al-Busaidi, J.Z., Al-Reesi, I., Koh, C.Y., Idris, M.A., Al-Jabri, A.A., & Habbal, O. (2019). Sleep deprivation alters neutrophil functions and levels of Th1-related chemokines and CD4⁺ T cells in the blood. Sleep and Breathing, 23 (4), 1331-1339.
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Mastering Your Financial Future as a Fitness Professional

You set a goal to be a Certified Personal Trainer.  You wanted to attend the best fitness school on the market to make a difference in lives. You worked hard memorizing the human anatomy, programming for cardio and resistance training and injury prevention, to name a few categories. You spent hours interning how to interact with clients, professional etiquette and program progression. Now it’s time to get out there and get your future started!

You’ve landed a personal training job with the company you have admired for years. You are dressed in the fancy attire, you have all of your new client paperwork organized and a smile on your face. You are ready to train but, now what?

You need to find clients! Where do you find them? How do you approach them? Once you get their attention, how do you convince them they need to hire you?

If you find yourself asking these questions, you are not alone. There are various ways to approach the final result of obtaining a new client. Mastering Your Financial Future as a Fitness Professional is an excellent course that will help you learn these skills and start your journey as a certified personal trainer on the right foot.

Here are some quick insightful sources.

As a sample of what is included in this 2 CEC course, let’s take a look at a list of common mistakes that trainers make which can often lead to retention issues!

  1. Giving cookie cutter workouts: Don’t make the mistake of thinking your clients don’t know when you’re slacking. They can go online if they want a workout available to the public. Know your client and design their journey!
  2. Not obtaining a medical history: During the assessment, you will find out a little about their medical history but not all of it. Know who you are working with so you can provide the most appropriate modifications.
  3. Poor record keeping: This is one important way to keep your client motivated and hold them accountable. They may physically see and feel changes in their body and mind but showing them their accomplishments on paper can be eye opening. The other side to this is your backup if they are not achieving results. This is proof that you are doing everything on your end. The accountability falls on them to do what they need to do when you are not around.
  4. Pushing a client too far too fast: Again, now your clients. Some may look like they can perform difficult movements from the start, but for one reason or another are unable to. You need to know what they are capable of and introduce movements at the appropriate times.
  5. Poor communication: This goes without saying. Most problems in life are due to a lack of communication. Results happen when you and your client can focus 100% on the goal at hand.
  6. Not giving 100% attention to your client: When you are with a client, you should be with them and them only! Not chatting with other members, clients or co-workers, not on your phone and certainly not focusing on your own workouts! They are paying for your time and deserve every second of it.
  7. Going beyond your scope of practice: Stick to what you know. You wouldn’t want someone giving you the wrong information, so don’t do it to your clients. If you don’t know the solution, inform them you will figure it out. You can also refer your client to a more appropriate contact. Keep a list of what you don’t know and make it a point to learn something new every day.
  8. Specializing too early: Give yourself some time to find your niche. Don’t choose an area to focus on just because it’s popular this month. Make it a point to be familiar with new trends, but don’t become the expert on all of them. You will find your niche naturally.

Overall, knowing your strengths and weaknesses, staying inside your scope of practice and listening to what the client wants are some important keys to success. It’s your job as a trainer to figure out what the client needs, and this will come with time. The road to becoming a successful personal trainer can be a long one and it’s essential to have the best tools and tips to help you along the way. Mastering Your Financial Future as a Fitness Professional is the perfect course to get that journey started.

Register during the month of March and, as a special offer just for you, receive 20% off of your CEC courses!

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COVID-19 and Fitness: How Should We Proceed?

Written by
Dave Johnson, W.I.T.S. Curriculum Director

As many of you are aware, the world is currently battling a new pandemic, the novel coronavirus (COVID-19). As of the publication of this post, there are over 100,000 confirmed cases across the globe and over 500 cases in the United States. Most public health experts anticipate continued spread throughout our communities and many people are choosing to stay home rather than continue their normal routines – which includes visiting their fitness facilities.

We’ve put together some tips to help navigate these difficult times. If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to reach out – we are here to help you!

  1. Increase hygienic protocols
    Your facility should already be wiping down equipment at the end of each business day (at a minimum) but now is the time to bump that frequency up to at least three times per day. Consider investing in hospital-grade disinfectant and increase the number of times you clean equipment. Alcohol solutions with at least 70 percent alcohol should be effective against the coronavirus, according to the CDC and here’s a comprehensive list of viable disinfectants from the EPA.Also, make sure your locker rooms and restrooms are fully stock with hand soap and paper towels.
  2. Be mindful of high-touch areas
    Take a walk around your facility and note how many areas are likely to be contacted by your clients’ hands. COVID-19 cannot be spread through sweat but it can be left on surfaces or objects that come in contact with hands. It is currently unknown how long the virus is viable on surfaces.Doorknobs, dumbbells, barbells, and handles are all prime examples of items that receive high touch-traffic throughout the day. If you are running a group fitness class, wipe down everything after each class.
  3. Encourage client participation
    Increase the availability of both hand sanitizer and disinfectant in your facility. Your job becomes much easier if your clients buy in to the sanitization process.Post additional signs encouraging people to wipe down their equipment after each use and be sure to mention hand-contact areas. Some facilities are allowing clients to bring their own wipes, as well.
  4. Decrease hands-on activities
    Do you love shaking hands with your clients or do you offer a hands-on training style? Do you currently offer classes that are high in the potential for skin-to-skin contact? Consider cancelling them for the time being. Any skin-to-skin contact increases the likelihood of transmission. 
  5. Increase your client communication
    Be proactive and reach out to your clients now. Send out an email blast and/or post on social media the steps your facility is taking to combat the spread of COVID-19. Assure your clients that their safety and well-being is your number one concern and you’re taking all the appropriate steps to maintain a safe training space.This message should also remind your clients that, if they are feeling ill, they should stay home and rest.

     

  6. Get staff on board
    If you currently manage a staff, make sure they are on board with your sanitization procedures. If you’re able to, consider dedicating at least one staff member per hour to be visible in the facility cleaning the equipment. Not only does it keep your facility clean but it also provides peace of mind to your clients who physically see your efforts.
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Personal Training Makes the Top 5 Fitness Trends for 2020

The American College of Sports Medicine is recognized globally as an authoritative body for establishing research-based guidelines and standards for sports, fitness and personal training. Beginning in 2006, the ACSM began to circulate an intensive survey to  thousands of professionals worldwide, to keep abreast of health and fitness trends for the coming year. They have continued to do so annually, and the results of the latest survey for 2020 were recently published. 

The survey’s authors were careful to distinguish between “fad” and “trend,” a fad being a brief and temporary surge of popularity, while a trend is an ongoing and long-term behavioral change. The distinction was made to help guide survey participants in formatting their responses, so that the resulting data would be useful for long-term planning and goal setting for health and fitness providers. 

Personal Training Trends Upward

Since the survey’s inception in 2006, personal training has always made the top 20. But personal training has been steadily trending upward over the course of time, rising from number 9 in 2017 to number 8 in 2018 and 2019. In the newly published 2020 survey, personal training holds a solid 5th place.

Why does it matter?

If personal training continues to be an important fitness trend in the years to come, then the demand for qualified personal trainers will continue to be on the rise. In fact, according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, career opportunities for personal trainers is expected to surge by 13 percent over the coming decade, growing at an above-average pace compared to other occupations. Considering its high ranking, the personal trainer job outlook is very promising for the coming decade. 

Personal Trainer Qualifications

In its Occupational Outlook Handbook, the Bureau of Labor Statistics erroneously lists a high school diploma or equivalent as the educational requirement for personal trainers, with short-term on-the-job training. While that was true 20 years ago, it is no longer accurate. 

To succeed as a personal trainer in the 2020s, you will need a solid certification that includes core science and hands-on skills training. In most cases, employers require an NCCA accredited certification before they will even consider you for a job. There are dozens of bogus certification programs on the market that will issue you a certificate, but if they fail to teach you the fundamentals, you will quickly be found out.

Here are just a handful of important personal trainer skills that require hands-on learning:

  • Record keeping and business management: Personal trainers need to keep track of a lot of information: client health records, progress charts, workouts, account history and much more! Most certification programs fail to touch on this.
  • Conducting and interpreting each client’s health history: Personal training clients come to us with a plethora of health conditions and a broad range of medications. It is essential that you are able to ask the right questions and know how to interpret and use this information to protect your client and yourself. 
  • Measuring and monitoring vital statistics: It is impossible to accurately measure heart rate and blood pressure without hands-on experience, with a variety of different subjects. Online certification programs that do not offer hands-on skills training cannot help you with this.
  • Conducting standardized fitness assessments: Standardized fitness assessments for strength, endurance, flexibility and cardiovascular fitness give us a baseline against which we can measure our clients’ progress. This is another skill that requires hands-on practice and experience, which you cannot get online. 
  • Personalized goal-specific client programming: The secret to becoming a successful personal trainer is being able to help your clients reach and exceed their goals. Learning the basics of goal-oriented programming is an essential skill that requires hands-on practice.
  • Teaching proper exercise form and execution: Safety and injury prevention are fundamental to any fitness training program. As trainers, we need to cue our clients on correct alignment and perfect execution, to prevent injury and attain desired results. 
  • Injury prevention and management:  Any type of physical activity comes with inherent risks. As a trainer, it is your job to teach your clients to exercise safely, and to provide guidance and support throughout each session. These are hands-on skills that cannot be learned from a textbook or video. 
  • Lifestyle counseling: Every client brings their own uniqued lifestyle history to the table. As trainers, we work with our clients to identify negative lifestyle behaviors and help them make better choices. Role playing gives you essential skills for communicating with your clients, in ways that help them evolve, without making them feel judged.

In addition to skills training, you need a solid foundation in anatomy, physiology and biomechanics. If you do not understand the basic science underlying fitness, and possess the hands-on skills necessary to apply your knowledge, it will be difficult to attract and retain well-paying clients. 

At the end of the day, your success depends on your clients getting the results they paid for. Without a quality fitness education and hands-on training, you will find it difficult to compete with more qualified and experienced trainers.

The Best Personal Training Certification for Skills and Knowledge

With personal training ranking high on ACSM’s list of health and fitness trends for 2020, there has never been a better time to get your personal trainer certification. 

If you are serious about building a successful and sustainable fitness career, don’t cut corners on your certification. Get the support, knowledge and hands-on experience you need to succeed with a fitness certification from W.I.T.S.

Advantages of a W.I.T.S. certification include: 

  • Fully NCCA accredited
  • Recognized by employers nation-wide
  • Available in colleges, universities and online
  • Taught by qualified and experienced industry professionals
  • Internship program available to cement your skills
  • Friendly customer service and support
  • Online continuing education at your fingertips

Join the W.I.T.S. family of industry leaders, and build your fitness career on a solid foundation.

Resource

Thompson, Walter R. “Worldwide survey of fitness trends for 2020.” ACSM’s Health & Fitness Journal 23.6 (2019): 10-18.

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Four Healthy Exercises To Lower Blood Pressure

First of all, let’s look at some high blood pressure facts from the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM):

  • High blood pressure (also referred to as Hypertension) is defined as a chronically elevated blood pressure greater than 140/90 mmHg. Also stated as “one forty over ninety”.
  • Elevation in blood pressure increases chances of a heart attack or stroke
  • More than 75 million Americans have high blood pressure
  • Three out of every four people over age 60 has high blood pressure
  • Many men and women don’t even know they have high blood pressure
  • High blood pressure can be controlled
  • Death rates from heart attacks and strokes in the United States have decreased by 40-60 percent over the last 30 years

That’s good news. And those who are physically active tend to live longer, healthier lives. But let’s explore how you can lower your blood pressure with some simple exercise.

In 2011, the ACSM recommended for healthy adults at least 30 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity (working hard enough to break a sweat, but still able to carry on a conversation) five days per week. Or 20 minutes of more vigorous activity three days per week. Combinations of moderate and vigorous intensity activity can be performed to meet this recommendation.

The ACSM also states that a well-rounded physical activity program includes Aerobic Exercise and strength training exercise, but not necessarily in the same session. Let’s focus on Aerobic Exercise:

According to the American Heart Association (AMA), with an average weight of either 150lbs or 200lbs, adults can expect to burn the following calories with the following exercises:

Walking at 3mph: 320 – 416 calories/hour

Running at 5.5mph: 660 – 962 calories/hour

Cycling at 12mph: 410 – 534 calories/hour

Swimming at 25yds/min: 275 – 358 calories/hour

Most of us find it difficult to add exercise to our already busy day — even if it will improve our health. However, the physical activity required to lower blood pressure can be added without making major lifestyle changes. The ACSM suggests these simple measures to increase activity as a part of your existing daily activity:

  • Park your car further away so you can add some walk time to and from work
  • Take the stairs, instead of the elevator
  • Take a 10-15 minute walk during your lunch break
  • Choose a restaurant with low-fat, low-cholesterol options and walk to it for lunch
  • Take your children or grandchildren to the park
  • Take a 30-minute window-shopping walk around the mall when weather is bad
  • Wake up 30 minutes earlier in the morning to start your day with exercise (Most people find they look forward to their exercise time!)

You can vary all of these activities to make exercise interesting!

Before You Exercise

The ACSM recommends that, prior to beginning any exercise program, you should see your doctor and ask for an medical evaluation. It’s important for your doctor to clear you for strenuous activity. This keeps them in the loop as to your daily life and goals, but also allows them to provide critical, personal advice on how to go about your activities.

The ACSM warns, “Not all exercise programs are suitable for everyone, and some programs may result in injury. Activities should be carried out at a pace that is comfortable for the user. Users should discontinue participation in any exercise activity that causes pain or discomfort. In such event, medical consultation should be immediately obtained.”

Blog article courtesy of: American College of Sports Medicine

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You Finally Got Your Personal Trainer Certification: Now What?

Getting your personal trainer certification is a big step toward a bright future as a fitness professional. Studying for and passing your exam and getting CPR certified demand a lot of time and effort, but certification is just the beginning. To make the most of your personal trainer certification and turn it into a sustainable career, you need to take some additional steps toward professionalism. 

Lifestyle Fitness Coaching Certification Professional holding a clipboard

5 Steps Toward Becoming a Successful Certified Fitness Professional

The following five steps will get you started on the right path toward a successful career as a Certified Personal Trainer:

  1. Get hands-on experience: Some newly certified trainers already have a background in fitness. Some have academic degrees in exercise science and related fields, and others have backgrounds in athletics or bodybuilding. Whether you have a background in fitness or not, working with clients requires additional skills. Consider enrolling in the W.I.T.S. internship program. As an intern, you gain experience working one-on-one with clients, and you get a glimpse of the fitness business from the other side of the front desk. 
  1. Purchase Liability Insurance: Physical activities of any type come with inherent risks for injury. While the benefits of fitness activities outweigh the risks, there is always the chance that something can go wrong. Even if you work in a gym or studio that provides coverage for its employees, it is wise to protect yourself with additional insurance. The good news is that liability insurance for personal trainers is remarkably inexpensive. After all, an important part of your job is to protect your clients from injury, so the risk is relatively low. Follow this link to find affordable liability insurance.
  1. Form an LLC: A legal liability corporation (LLC) is a legal entity that protects business owners and their families from lawsuits, creditors and other business liabilities that may arise. Unlike a sole proprietorship, with an LLC, only the assets of your business are at risk — your personal assets and those of your family are protected, should your business fail or fall on hard times. An LLC is easy to form and inexpensive to register. There are many online resources to help you form an LLC. 
  1. Define your niche: There is nothing wrong with taking on a broad range of clients, but narrowing your niche can help you establish a solid reputation as a fitness expert. Certain clients may be outside your scope of expertise, while focusing on a specific population can enable you to grow professionally while having a positive impact on the lives of your clients. Youth, older adults, pregnant and postpartum women, body builders and figure competitors — the list goes on and on. Choose your niche and grow a robust clientele to promote your business. 
  1. Establish your brand: Once you establish yourself as a certified fitness professional,  expand your client base and cement your expertise by branding yourself online. Professional posts on social media, a professional website and Facebook page and maybe even a YouTube channel are great ways to reach an ever-growing audience and expand your business. Use your imagination to create a solid brand image that reaches the masses. 

Find Your Niche and Build Your Fitness Career

Build your skills and knowledge and become a top personal trainer. Choose from any of our professional fitness courses for skills training and certification:

Join the W.I.T.S. family of industry leaders today, and build your career as a fitness professional on a solid foundation.

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Changing the Face of Breast Cancer – One Patient at a Time

By: Andrea Leonard, Founder and President
Cancer Exercise Training Institute

Most of us know that every October symbolizes Breast Cancer Awareness Month around the globe. I witnessed my mother battling breast cancer three times since 1981. She is currently fighting the battle with widespread-metastatic breast cancer. Today she is winning!

According to Breastcancer.org:

Face of Breast Cancer

  • About 1 in 8 U.S. women (about 12%) will develop invasive breast cancer over the course of her lifetime.
  • In 2019, an estimated 268,600 new cases of invasive breast cancer are expected to be diagnosed in women in the U.S., along with 62,930 new cases of non-invasive (in situ) breast cancer.
  • About 2,670 new cases of invasive breast cancer are expected to be diagnosed in men in 2019. A man’s lifetime risk of breast cancer is about 1 in 883.
  • Breast cancer incidence rates in the U.S. began decreasing in the year 2000, after increasing for the previous two decades. They dropped by 7% from 2002 to 2003 alone. One theory is that this decrease was partially due to the reduced use of hormone replacement therapy (HRT) by women after the results of a large study called the Women’s Health Initiative were published in 2002. These results suggested a connection between HRT and increased breast cancer risk.
  • About 41,760 women in the U.S. are expected to die in 2019 from breast cancer, though death rates have been decreasing since 1989. Women under 50 have experienced larger decreases. These decreases are thought to be the result of treatment advances, earlier detection through screening, and increased awareness.
  • For women in the U.S., breast cancer death rates are higher than those for any other cancer, besides lung cancer.
  • Besides skin cancer, breast cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer among American women. In 2019, it’s estimated that about 30% of newly diagnosed cancers in women will be breast cancers.
  • In women under 45, breast cancer is more common in African-American women than white women. Overall, African-American women are more likely to die of breast cancer. For Asian, Hispanic, and Native-American women, the risk of developing and dying from breast cancer is lower.
  • As of January 2019, there are more than 3.1 million women with a history of breast cancer in the U.S. This includes women currently being treated and women who have finished treatment.
  • A woman’s risk of breast cancer nearly doubles if she has a first-degree relative (mother, sister, daughter) who has been diagnosed with breast cancer. Less than 15% of women who get breast cancer have a family member diagnosed with it.
  • About 5-10% of breast cancers can be linked to gene mutations inherited from one’s mother or father. Mutations in the BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes are the most common. On average, women with a BRCA1 mutation have up to a 72% lifetime risk of developing breast cancer. For women with a BRCA2 mutation, the risk is 69%. Breast cancer that is positive for the BRCA1 or BRCA2 mutations tends to develop more often in younger women. An increased ovarian cancer risk is also associated with these genetic mutations. In men, BRCA2 mutations are associated with a lifetime breast cancer risk of about 6.8%; BRCA1 mutations are a less frequent cause of breast cancer in men.
  • About 85% of breast cancers occur in women who have no family history of breast cancer. These occur due to genetic mutations that happen as a result of the aging process and life in general, rather than inherited mutations.
  • The most significant risk factors for breast cancer are gender (being a woman) and age (growing older).
In 1995 my mother’s breast surgeon, Katherine Alley, was a personal training client of mine. After my mom’s second diagnosis she begged me to help her in her recovery to avoid all of the pain and debilitation she encountered the first time. I remember the day that I asked Dr. Alley what she thought of writing  a book on exercises for breast cancer patients to help them in their recovery. Without hesitation she said “YES!” We solicited the help of the Chiefs of breast surgery at Georgetown George Washington, and Johns’ Hopkins University Hospitals, along with PT’s, OT’s, Patient Navigators, and exercise physiologists. In 2000, “Essential Exercises for Breast Cancer Survivors” was published by Harvard Common Press.

So began my journey into changing the lives of cancer patients worldwide. Since that time I have trained roughly 10,000 health and fitness professionals in 27 countries to become Cancer Exercise Specialists. It’s the most incredible feeling to know that each of these professionals is probably helping many cancer patients and survivors to fend off the debilitating side-effects of treatment as well as regain their pre-cancer level of strength and fitness, or better!

With a physician’s clearance, during cancer treatment, a Cancer Exercise Specialist can help patients determine the proper frequency, intensity, and duration or exercise to help minimize fatigue, increase stamina, improve sleep, decrease pain, prevent lymphedema, and manage stress and potentially counter-depression. During recovery a Cancer Exercise Specialist is trained to identify muscle imbalances and range of motion limitations and how they can be corrected through the proper combination of stretching and strengthening. This is of critical importance following mastectomy, radiation, and reconstruction which may all result in painful and functionally limiting scar tissue and adhesions. They also assess one’s core and balance and can help to manage the difficulties that arise with neuropathy while helping to prevent osteoporosis. Long-term side-effects of treatment may include damage to the heart and lungs, future cancers, diabetes, lymphedema, and osteoporosis; all of which can be minimized or prevented with the proper exercise “prescription.’
“So many people are needlessly suffering in the aftermath of cancer surgery and treatment. I want them to know that there is help! They do not have to accept this as their fate.” – Andrea Leonard
To find a Cancer Exercise Specialist near you, please visit the Cancer Exercise Specialist International Directory.
If you are a health or fitness professional that wants to make a difference in the lives of cancer survivors and are ready to begin your training as a Cancer Exercise Specialist, or Breast Cancer Recovery BOSU(R) Specialist, we want to help you. Throughout October you can save 30% off of either of the aforementioned courses and be on your way to helping those in need!
Register at: ceti.teachable.com
Consider getting started with the course Introduction to Cancer Exercise: Essentials of Cancer Exercise.