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“How are you doing?” “I’m SO Stressed” April: National Stress Awareness Month

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I find that if you ask most people how they are doing, the common response is “I’m so busy” or “I’m so stressed.” It’s so common, in fact, that we can often become desensitized to how dangerous chronic stress can be to our physical and emotional health, our relationships, and our careers.

We all know some of the physiological signs and consequences of stress: Chronic headaches, Neck and back pains, Muscle tension, High blood pressure, Elevated heart rate, Sleep deprivation, Fatigue, Can’t get pregnant, Losing or gaining weight, Dizziness and Nausea. These symptoms and conditions are very real, and over time, can be extremely dangerous.

We are also aware of many of the stressors in our lives: family, health, finances, jobs, relationships, caregiving, aging, and having too much to do and not enough time to do it!

What is interesting and creates challenges for health and fitness professionals working with “stressed out” clients, is that it isn’t necessarily the “stressor” that creates the “stress” and the physical and emotional symptoms and outcomes—but it’s our PERCEPTION of the stressor that has the greater impact. You can have two different individuals who are confronted with the same stressors—but their reaction and the impact on their health can be completely different.

By helping clients maintain an active lifestyle and regularly engage in safe, effective exercise–we are directly addressing many of the physiological effects and causes of stress. Exercise alone can be extremely beneficial in managing stress and minimizing the negative impact stress can have on our health. But what is less clear and direct is how we can help them change their PERCEPTION of stress and their confidence in their ability to manage stress and be resilient.

Lifestyle and Fitness Coaching is a growing field and many fitness professionals incorporate coaching strategies into their Personal Training sessions. W.I.T.S. new Lifestyle Fitness Coaching Certification provides Personal Trainers with the tools needed to help clients in adopting healthy behaviors including stress management.

What are your experiences with “stressed out” clients? Are you noticing an increase or change in the prevalence of stress? What are some of the tools and strategies you use to help your clients with managing and minimizing stress in their lives?

I’m looking forward to hearing from you!


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Should Personal Trainers Give Diet Advice?

Most clients come to us with the same goal: To Lose Weight! In pursuit of that goal, we try to help them make healthy lifestyle choices and make physical activity and exercise a part of their daily lives. But how can we help them meet their goals without talking about Nutrition? And how can we talk about diet and nutrition without exceeding our scope of practice?

March is National Nutrition Month so I thought it would be a good time to discuss these controversial issues.

In our Nutritional Concepts, Personal Training Certification, and Lifestyle Fitness Coaching classes, we clearly communicate that prescribing diets for our clients is beyond our scope of practice. Unless a personal trainer is also a Registered Dietician, a Registered Dietician Nutritionist, or hold a valid credential, they should not be prescribing a special diet for a client. But what about providing advice, guidance, and education? Would you be neglecting your responsibilities and duties to your client if you didn’t try to steer them in the right direction.

When I look around at the people closest to me, I see one person who makes all of the wrong (unhealthy) food choices; another who has gone strictly vegan (their version of vegan) and admittedly includes no healthy protein choices in their diet; another who skips meals regularly and ends her day tired and famished. Others watch and limit sugars only—another only eats “organic” and another had recently decided to eliminate carbs–but ingests high fat meats.

None of this seems healthy to me— What do you think?

As a personal trainer, what do you believe appropriate for you to address when it comes to your client’s nutritional habits? Where do you believe the “scope of practice” line should be drawn?

And another question, how good are YOUR eating habits? Take this quick quiz!


I look forward to hearing your thoughts!




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American Heart Month! Group Exercise—Is It Safe?

February is American Heart Month and it’s almost impossible to think about heart health without thinking about exercise. No one can question the role of exercise in preventing many heart conditions and improving heart health. The American Heart Association states that “the simplest, positive change you can make to effectively improve your heart health is to start walking.” While genetics play a role, there are so many factors and conditions that can be controlled.

A recent conversation with a newly retired friend prompted me to think less about the role of exercise in preventing heart disease, but more about the role of exercise in improving health and slowing the progression, once a person has been diagnosed.

After a few health scares, my friend has decided to make some lifestyle choices. He is obese, sedentary, has high blood pressure, high cholesterol and at high risk for heart attack and stroke. He has a family history of heart disease and has already been diagnosed with COPD.

He hired a personal trainer at a local club and has begun a routine of resistance training three times a week. The exercise prescription he shared seemed sound and sensible and based on extensive assessments. What I was more concerned about was that to incorporate cardiovascular exercise, the trainer recommended my friend take 2 group exercise classes per week. He didn’t get any guidance as to which classes would be safest and most appropriate, but was told to “find something he enjoyed.”

My friend seemed to select classes that had great instructors who monitored the participants and their intensity. So far, so good, and he’s having a blast. I started thinking about how challenging it must be to monitor an entire class, keeping everyone safe, in a group exercise environment.

I’d love to hear from all of you— what are your thoughts about such a “high risk” person attending group exercise classes? What are some tips and tricks group exercise instructors can do to keep everyone safe—especially in a large class. I’ve attended classes that I found to be potentially dangerous and needed to monitor my own intensity and modify moves. But how does a beginning exerciser know how to do this?

I look forward to hearing your thoughts.


And FYI—W.I.T.S. is running a fabulous special this month on our online group exercise continuing education courses. Call and ask about the February promotions and special discounts! Great membership discounts as well! 888-330-9487


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How To Get Started: Selecting a Personal Trainer

In a recent conversation with my sister, I learned that she was one of the many whose New Year’s Resolution involved losing weight and going to the gym. To help her keep this resolution, she decided to hire a personal trainer. She made her selection based on two criteria: 1) she saw this person in the gym regularly and 2) he looked like he was in good shape.

When I asked her about his training and certification, she had no idea. Her response to me was, “How am I supposed to know? I assume the gym wouldn’t allow him to train there if he wasn’t qualified!”

I think my sisters assumptions and response are all too common. How does the average consumer know what makes a “qualified”, “competent” trainer? Even if they are “certified”, in a self-regulated industry, are all certifications equal? Is certification enough to distinguish someone as qualified and competent?

So I sent my sister back to ask her trainer the following questions:

1. Is he certified? If so, what did his certification require? What other education and training does he have? Is his certification current and what type of continuing education has he taken to maintain his certification?

2. How long has he been training clients? (AND CHECK REFERENCES FOR CURRENT AND PREVIOUS CLIENTS)

3. What is his experience working with clients that may have her specific health conditions (i.e. 49 year old female, high blood pressure and cholesterol, family history of heart disease, relatively sedentary lifestyle.)

4. What is his training plan and approach for HER? What are their goals for her progress? How does he use assessments to track her fitness?

5. Is he certified in CPR and AED?

So, I’m still waiting for the responses, but now I’m wondering if this is enough information to gather to help her make a decision.

What other criteria should she check to make sure this individual is qualified to provide safe and effective personal training?

How would you feel if a client or a potential client asked for this information?

If it were your sister, mother, spouse, child— what questions would you ask?

I really look forward to your input! If we, as fitness professionals, can’t distinguish a “qualified and competent” personal trainer from the rest, how can we expect consumers to do so?

I look forward to hearing from you!

To learn about W.I.T.S. fitness certifications and special offers for continuing education and our online Fitness Business Institute, please visit




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Happy New Year! Helping Clients Keep Those Resolutions!

I hope all of you enjoyed a happy and healthy holiday season and are enjoying the start of 2014. As we know, this is the busiest time of year for fitness professionals! New and returning clients come to us with their New Year’s Resolutions and need our help more than ever!

A recent article in the Journal of Clinical Psychology reported some interesting statistics regarding New Year’s Resolutions!

  • The #1 Resolution for 2014 was to lose weight.
  • The #4 Resolution for 2014 was to live life to it’s fullest.
  • The #5 Resolution for 2014 was to stay fit and healthy.
  • The # 7 Resolution for 2014 was to quit smoking.

So, 4 of the top 10 most common resolutions are directly related to what we do as fitness professionals. However, as we know, making resolutions is not the same as successfully achieving our goals. In fact, the same article reports the following:


How frustrating, but what a great opportunity for Personal Trainers and Lifestyle Fitness Coaches who can help individuals make the desired changes to achieve those goals. In my opinion, an understanding of psychology, motivation and behavior changes is what separates the “good” PTs from the FABULOUSLY SUCCESSFUL ones.

So, at this important time of year, as we are refocusing, setting our own goals for the year and helping others make positive behavior change to meet their goals, lets share some of our BEST Ideas for working with clients. What are some of your most successful strategies for helping clients who are struggling to adopt and maintain a healthy, active lifestyle?

If you are interested in expanding your Personal Training business to include Lifestyle Fitness Coaching, consider taking our NEW online certification course. It is self-paced and accessible 24 /7. You will receive mentoring from our most successful faculty members and fitness professionals. Earn this prestigious certification AND 11 CECs for your PT certification renewal!

Learn more about the Lifestyle Fitness Coaching Certification course by watching this short video: LFC 00 PROMO.wvx


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Personal Training and Clients with Diabetes

We are in the middle of Diabetes Month and I thought I’d continue with the theme and reach out to you for input. Many of you responded to the last post about Diabetes and suggested that you work with clients who struggle with this disease. I hope you’ll share your expertise with us so we can better support our students and new professionals.

The following case study is based on a real client and comes from our Exercise Program Design for Special Populations online course. How would you respond to this scenario?

Jane is 50 years old and was diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes 5 years ago. Jane is 5’2” and weighs 180 lbs. She is currently taking an oral medication (troglitazone) for her diabetes and an antihypertensive medication (beta blocker) for her stage 1 high blood pressure, and does not monitor her blood glucose. Jane reports that her health is OK. She does not suffer from complications, but gets easily fatigued doing housework and cleaning. Furthermore, she reports that taking a stroll with her husband at the local mall makes her knees and hips uncomfortable after about 15 to 25 minutes. She has not seen her doctor in over a year; however, her diabetes educator has encouraged her to participate in regular physical activity. She has asked you to assist in the development of an activity regime. Her goals are to improve her endurance and lose about 45 lbs.

We will gather your responses to share with our students. Help us help our students! I look forward to hearing from you!


If you want to learn more about exercise program design for individuals with diabetes, please check out our online course, Exercise Program Design for Special Populations. We have a section completely dedicated to Diabetes. Also, our Personal Trainer Certification and Older Adult Exercise Specialist Certification touch on the importance of safe and effective exercise to prevent and slow down this disease.

For more information about Diabetes and American Diabetes Month, please visit

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Who Should I Hire To Train My Mom?

Almost two years ago, my mom suffered a massive heart attack after undergoing major back surgery. This was followed by 9 months in hospitals and rehab, followed by heart surgery, and more rehab. Months later, she suffered a minor stroke. I’m happy to report that mom is doing well, back at home, living independently, and enjoying her life. She now is trying to improve her health and fitness, joined a gym and hired a Personal Trainer.

After her first session, mom was in so much pain and discouraged. She now thinks exercise is “not for her.” I asked about her personal trainer’s credentials. She had no idea, other than the fact that he “looked good and had lots of muscles.” I called the gym and learned that he had been certified for one year. The certification included a home study book and a written exam. That was it! No hands-on training or testing! No advanced degree!

I’m sure this frustrates you as much as it did me. Given her age, health history, risk factors and medical concerns—I can’t believe that the trainer did not require medical clearance, consult with her cardiologist and/or other physician. My mom could have been severely injured and is now afraid to exercise.

This personal experience is unfortunately all too common in our industry. There are so many certifications— all resulting in the same credential, but requiring very different education, training, and demonstration of competence. We need to come together to change this if we want to elevate the creditability of our profession and to have “fitness” considered part of the health care continuum. It is imperative for our industry AND more importantly, for the health and well-being of our family, friends, and communities.

Please share your thoughts on these issues and what you believe we can and should do to improve professionalism and standards in our industry. Also, If you are going to be in Chicago for Club Industry, please attend the 3rd Annual Personal Trainer Summit, where we will continue our previous years’ discussions on industry standards.

A change is needed. My mom’s health—and your mom’s health—depend on it!

Thank you for letting me share my personal story. Please share yours.

SPECIAL FOR BLOG READERS! Join us at the Club Industry Business Conference this October 23-25th. Get CEC’s for W.I.T.S. too. As a blog reader and follower, you can use this PROMO CODE: “SAVE25” for $125 OFF the registration! Here is the link so see you in 6 weeks.




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Social Media Maze! Where Do I Start?


What a week! Lots of travel, met great people at the IDEA Conference, and now, my body is tired but my head is spinning and my brain is full!

Of all the ideas exchanged at the convention, I found myself engaged in more conversations about social media! Specifically, how to use social media for marketing a personal training or fitness business! What great timing considering this month’s theme! So, I thought I’d share some of the main points!

  • Social media should be an essential component of our marketing plan. You can reach your targeted audience, build relationships, and increase your visibility at NO or low cost. Did you know there are more than 900 MILLION users on Facebook? WOW!!
  • Be strategic with your social media plan. Don’t try to be EVERYWHERE! Facebook, Linkedin, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, and the list goes on! Identify who you want to reach, find out what social media they use, and customize your message to connect with those people.
  • Blogs are one of the most effective communication tools in internet marketing. Your blog should be the “home base” for all of your other social media messages. You can control your blog. You can customize your messages. You can demonstrate your expertise and express your personality. And, as I’m learning, they are a lot of fun to write!

This is a small sampling of the gazillion ideas shared at the conference. Many of which I also learned in our new internet marketing classes.

If you want to enter the world of internet marketing but aren’t sure where to start, I recommend taking our new course, “Use Internet Marketing to Find Personal Training Clients & Build A Business.” This class taught me the basics on internet marketing, how to use social media effectively, AND how to measure the impact my social media efforts are having on the bottom line! Basically, it taught me to work smart and not hard!

So, what are your tips for social media and internet marketing? Please share your ideas with us!

I look forward to hearing from you!


Check out our new Fitness Business Institute! We have a new catalog of sales and marketing classes designed specifically for YOU!

Call our customer service department and find out how you can earn your CECs, learn from top Fortune 500 faculty, AND save lots of money. Call (888)330-9487.

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7 out of 10 Personal Trainers Go Broke—WHY?


7 out of 10 Personal Trainers go broke and leave the profession they love. WHY?

1. Because they are afraid to ask for business.

2. Because they take “NO” for an answer!

In the last blog we discussed #1 and shared tips for getting new business and generating leads. Today, let’s talk about #2. How to turn a “NO” into a “YES.”

Here’s a typical conversation:

Trainer: Hello, Mr. Smith. I’m calling to offer you a free personal training session at XYZ gym. Are you interested in personal training?

Prospect: No, thank you.

Trainer: OK, thank you for your time.

Such a lost opportunity! Here are some tips from new classes, How and Where to Find Prospective Clients and Practical Sales Techniques for Personal Trainers.

1. Ask “YES” questions. Instead of “Are you interested in Personal Training?” ask “Would you like to exercise efficiently, save time and meet your goals?”

2. Find out the client’s fitness goals and then emphasize how YOU can help them achieve those goals. Personalize the approach!

3. If they do say “NO,” don’t just accept that! Remind them of their goals and why they joined the gym! They joined for a reason. They have reasons and motivations. Tap into that and make a connection.

4. If they do say “NO,” don’t consider it a “done deal.” Let them know you will contact them again in 30 days and see how they are doing. At that time, you can review their goals with them and if they are not making the progress they hoped—you can help them!

So, how do you turn a “NO” into a “YES?” Please share YOUR tips and ideas!

I look forward to hearing from you!


Check out our new Fitness Business Institute! We have a new catalog of sales and marketing classes designed specifically for YOU!

Is your certification getting ready to expire? Do you need your CECs for your renewal? Email us at to find out about our new online courses and FREE course promotion.


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Successful Sales Strategies! Share Your Secrets!

Each year, W.I.T.S. conducts surveys with all of our alumni and in particular, students who have completed our Personal Trainer Certification. It’s great to find out how they are doing in their career and to see so many being successful. However, we started to notice that some were leaving the profession. When we investigated further, we found that some of the most dedicated fitness professionals had to leave the industry because they were unable to earn a living. More specifically, they were uncomfortable with “sales” and asking clients for money, contracts, and business.

So, for July, we are going to focus on Successful Sales Strategies. After reviewing our Introduction to Sales Fundamentals, Lead Generation and Prospecting Strategies, and Managing the Buying Cycle courses from our Sales Institute, I came up with key themes and tips that are essential to successful sales.

Strategy #1: Sales requires follow-up and follow through! One isolated conversation, phone call, or email is not going to get you clients. Regardless of whether a prospect shows interest in the first conversation, it is important to keep in touch, check-in, and stay on their radar. Who knows when they may change their mind? Perhaps you can help them do so!

Strategy #2: Ask the right questions and LISTEN to the answers! Too often we are so eager to tell prospective clients about ourselves and what we do, that we fail to find out about them and their needs! Ask questions—listen to the answers—and then show how you can help them achieve their goals.

Strategy #3: Show EMPATHY! When a prospect expresses interest in your services, they have some sort of need or concern and need your help. Lifestyle change and behavior change are difficult. Health issues can be challenging. The fitness club may be comfortable for you, but others may be intimidated, scared, or uncomfortable. Demonstrating empathy for your prospective client will help build a relationship and show that you genuinely care about them!

Sales are really about relationships and most of us pursued a career in fitness because we value relationships and genuinely want to help people! But, like anything else, there’s a right way and a wrong way to “sell.”

So, what successful sales strategies do you follow? Please share YOUR tips and ideas!

I look forward to hearing from you!


Is your certification getting ready to expire? Do you need your CECs for your renewal? Email us at to find out about our new online courses and FREE course promotion.