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Sales Would be the Easiest Job in the World if Everyone Said “Yes”

Guest post by Suzanne Rich: Suzanne Rich is a fitness sales consultant and veteran health and fitness professional for 20 years.  Suzanne owned a fitness center for 10 years and holds a Bachelor’s degree from Rhode Island College.  Currently she is pursuing a Master’s degree with Rowan University in Wellness & Lifestyle Management.  Suzanne also holds various personal training certifications, group fitness certifications (including Les Mills’s programs) as well as other advanced credentials in the industry.

Sales would be the easiest job in the world, if everyone said “yes.”

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10 Tips for Setting Weight Loss Goals that Really Work

Despite the push for body positivity to combat body shaming, men and women of every age and persuasion are still in quest of the Holy Grail for weight loss and a lean physique, and weight loss continues to be a prime driver for personal training. But as we all know, helping our clients lose weight is one of the biggest challenges we face as fitness professionals. 

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Special Populations: What they are and why you need them

Most personal trainers enter the fitness industry to build a career they love, and to help others realize their potential to lead a fit and healthy lifestyle. Yet many get stuck in the mire of low-paying gym or studio jobs that just don’t cut it in terms of financial rewards and sustainable growth. Oftentimes, the pool of available clients is split among multiple trainers, and new clients are assigned on an “ups” system so that everyone gets a fair shot.

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Trends in Training: Blood Flow Restriction Training for Strength and Hypertrophy

Resistance training for strength and size is a long-established cornerstone of the fitness industry, harkening back centuries. Physical culture and bodybuilding laid the foundation for fitness as we know it today, and many of the same principles apply. However, science trumps tradition where sports and fitness are concerned, and major advances over the past few decades in our knowledge about human physiology have enabled athletes and fitness enthusiasts to grow bigger, faster, stronger and less prone to injury.

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The “Hidden” Benefits of Physical Activity in Youth

Guest Post by Dave Johnson, MS

In 2010, a study published in the International Journal of Obesity sent shockwaves through the public health community. According to the authors of the study, researchers found that 20% of people born between 1966 and 1985 were obese in their 20s, an obesity prevalence milestone not reached by their parents until their 30s or by their grandparents until their 40s or 50s[1].

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Top 5 Myths — and Facts — About Fitness Training for Older Adults

The over-50 age group is the largest growing demographic in the fitness market, and the demand for personal training among older adults is high. Most older adults have the time and money to hire a trainer, and want the reassurance of safe and effective exercise to achieve and maintain optimal health. Yet many personal  trainers are reluctant to take on older clients, especially those in their 70s and beyond.

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5 Key Steps to Launching Your Personal Training Career

If you love to work out and admit to being a bit of a gym rat, you may have considered pursuing a career as a personal trainer. The idea of wearing comfy clothes to work, hanging out in the gym and talking to people all day while listening to upbeat music has enormous appeal. Not to mention the gratification of helping people improve their quality of life on a personal level.

Become a Personal Trainer

Every year, thousands of aspiring trainers become certified, with intentions of switching from a boring desk job or soul crushing sales position to the high energy world of fitness. Yet for many, launching a fitness career can be a daunting task. Where to begin? How to find clients? Will I be able to pay my bills?

Getting Off to a Successful Start

It goes without saying that completing your Personal Trainer Certification is an important first step to building you career and establishing yourself as a fitness professional. But once the ink dries on your certificate and it is framed and hanging on your ego wall, it will take a lot more effort on your part to get your business up and running.

Here are five important steps you should take to get your career as a personal trainer off to a successful start: 

  1. Define your goals: Certified personal trainers can be found in a broad range of venues, including fitness clubs, physical therapy clinics, schools, retirement communities, small studios, and as independent contractors working from home. Do you want the security of working for someone else in a gym or studio, or do you plan to start your own business? Will personal training be your full-time career, or just a side gig? Will you open your own studio, or take it on the road with in-home personal training? Clearly defined short-term and long-term goals are key to laying a successful foundation for your fitness career.
  1. Create a budget: Starting a new business or career can have short-term financial consequences. If you are accustomed to the steady paycheck provided by your 9-to-5 along with other perks like health care and a retirement account, launching a business or working for a company with fewer benefits is a tough decision. Begin with the minimum monthly income you need to make ends meet and work backward. How much will you need to charge per session, and how many sessions per week will you need to stay afloat? Be realistic, and don’t forget to deduct expenses.
  1. Identify your niche: Personal training clients are as diverse as the population at large, and some are easier to train than others. Defining your niche and becoming an expert in serving that population will help you market yourself and build a solid reputation. Your niche may be as general as women, men, or teens, or as narrow as older adults, bodybuilders or people with disabilities. You may choose to work with bariatric patients, or pregnant and postpartum moms. Specializing makes you special, and it is a great way to build your client base.
  1. Start strong: You chose a fitness career for a reason, and even if you have never trained a client before, your W.I.T.S. Personal Trainer Certification has equipped you with all the knowledge you need to help your first client reach their goals. One of the best ways to get the word out about your business and build your client base is to transform someone’s life through fitness and lifestyle changes. Word of mouth from a satisfied client is a powerful form of marketing and advertising that money cannot buy.
  1. Learn, learn, learn! Fitness is a rapidly evolving field, with volumes of new research emerging daily. Keep on top of the latest trends, stay informed about new studies and most of all, pursue continuing education on a consistent basis. Consider boosting your credentials with a second certification in your niche, like older adult or youth fitness. Learn to market yourself on social media, and add to your business toolbox with courses geared specifically to the fitness industry, like those offered through the W.I.T.S. Online Business Management Success Series.

Let W.I.T.S. Help Launch Your Fitness Career

If you are switching from another career field, W.I.T.S. gives you a leg up with our unique internship program. Work with real clients, make valuable industry connections, and gain important credentials and experience to flesh out your fitness resume. Many of our interns even get hired by the hosting internship site, making an easy transition from student to Certified Personal Trainer.

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Fitness Professional’s Toolbox: Intermittent Exercise by Joe Giandonato, MBA, MS, CSCS

When it comes to the design, prescription, and delivery of a comprehensive fitness program, the overarching edicts of safety, efficiency, and effectiveness should always be upheld. However, when life happens and clients’ discretionary spending capacity and available time both dry up, novice personal trainers are apt to throw in the towel.

By far and large, working professionals are not professional athletes and therefore should not be held to the same standards. Working professionals log 40 hours or more per week in their respective industries, whereas professional athletes have a plethora of resources at their disposal, which include state of the art facilities that are staffed by teams of sports medicine, strength and conditioning, and nutrition professionals. These gifted individuals have all they need to exercise and ascribe to a healthy diet, since their priority is achieving and maintaining a body that is healthy and capable of high performance.

 

Working professionals often have a family to support and an assortment of bills to juggle impacting their ability to meet with you regularly and frequently.

 

As such, they may not be able to adhere to a textbook exercise program — which is ironic, since no textbooks prepare you to support your clients when life interferes with exercise programming.

 

Say your client needs to pare down their sessions from three times per week to once per week.

 

Do you write them off? Do you chalk it up to laziness? Do you attribute it to a lack of dedication?

 

If you answered “yes” to any of those, you may want to re-evaluate your career choice.

 

Instead, take a deeper dive into their everyday life. If things are growing hectic on the work- or home- fronts, or if their wallet is getting thinner, consider hybridizing their program.

 

If they can only meet with you once per week, cover the basics in each session: introduce, coach, and perfect fundamental movement patterns. If time and their current level of fitness permit, push them through anaerobic capacity work in the form of traditional strength training, metabolic conditioning, or functional training with a 1:1 work to rest ratio.

 

If they are only meeting with you once per week and have weight loss or general health goals and are unable to dedicate hours in the gym each week, consider complimenting their session(s) or gym visits with intermittent exercise.

 

Research has shown that the inclusion of three short bouts of 10 minutes of physical activity via walking was capable of improving cardiorespiratory fitness over two and six week spans (1).

 

Encourage your client to park to engage in active commuting. Active commuting involves augmenting or completing typically achieved with traditional forms of transportation, such as motor vehicles and trains, with walking or bicycling. And an added bonus is that it’s eco-friendly!

 

Also, you can encourage your client to take “movement breaks” when allotted a 15 minute break at their workplace as mandated by labor regulations. These movement breaks can consist of walking around the workplace, climbing stairwells, or taking a stroll outside while others mull over unhealthy options at the breakroom vending machine or commiserate with others over tobacco coffin nails.

 

Additionally, for clients dealing with musculoskeletal pain and begetting muscular imbalances, the workstation can serve as the new “workplace gym”.

 

In 2016, a Midwestern corporation did just that. Pursuant to having numerous health insurance claims for work-related musculoskeletal disorders, the corporation devised, developed, availed, and promoted an 8-minute stretching program that was based off of the Mayo Clinic’s office stretching program. Over a 60-day period, significant reductions in injuries and missed days of work were noted as was a cost savings in aggregate healthcare spend (2). And though no flexibility measurements were recorded, based off the data, one can easily infer that study participants felt better and likely began moving better during and following their workday.

 

A sample desk-based program can be found below:

 

Lengthen and Strengthen

 

Phase One: Lengthen

 

Seated Upper Trapezius / Neck Extensor Stretch (1 set x 10 full breaths each side)

 

– With open palm, gently grasp crown of head and draw elbow downward

– Hold for prescribed number of breaths and alternate sides

 

Interlocking Hands Pectoralis Minor Stretch (1 set x 10 full breaths)

 

– Place hands behind head and interlace fingers

– Gently cup crown of head with interlocked hands

– Gingerly tilt head back and drive elbows back

– Think external cue of “getting big chest and driving breastbone (sternum) away from chest”

– Hold for prescribed number of breaths

 

Reaching Latissimus Dorsi Stretch (1 set x 10 full breaths)

 

– From seated position, lean forward and grasp edge of desk

– “Pull” torso away from desk and try to achieve a “long spine” (or flat back)

– Hold for prescribed number of breaths

 

Cross Body Shoulder Stretch (1 set x 10 full breaths)

 

– Clench one arm within another and draw it across your body

– Maintain erect torso and “big chest”

– Hold for prescribed number of breaths

 

Torso Supported Calf Stretch (1 set x 10 full breaths)

 

– Stand up and lean forward onto desk, wall, or other stationary object

– Place one foot near the object and other foot behind you, maintaining flat feet

– Keep a “long spine” and extended hips

– Hold for prescribed number of breaths

 

Half Kneeling Hip Flexor Stretch (1 set x 10 full breaths)

 

– Assume half kneeling position, keep shin of front leg and thigh of back leg upright

– Achieve a long spine by keeping core tight and shoulders open and loose

– “Dig” toes of foot of back leg into floor

– Hold for prescribed number of breaths

 

Deep Squat with Belly Breathing (1 set x 10 full breaths)

 

Grasp desk, door frame, cubicle divider or other stationary object

– Descend into deep squat position, with feet at shoulder to hip width and fully on floor

– Drive knees outwardly and keep spine long via tight and activated core

– Hold for prescribed number of breaths

 

Phase Two: Strengthen:

 

Chin Tuck with Deep Cervical Flexor Activation (1 set x 10 repetitions)

 

– Position crown of head against wall

– Keep neck straight and neutral

– Drive chin rearward into throat and try to make a “double chin”

– Hold briefly and return to starting position

– Repeat for prescribed number of repetitions

 

Bent Prone Trap Raise (1 set x 10 repetitions)

 

– Assume prone position with bodyweight supported via one arm on desk or another stationary object

– Dangle other arm down to the floor

– Pull shoulder blade of free arm back and down, and raise arm with thumb side up

– Raises with left hand will be performed with arm at “10 o’clock” angle and right hand will be performed with arm at “2 o’clock” angle a

– Please do not “shrug” shoulders when performing exercise

– Repeat for prescribed number of repetitions

 

Desktop Sliding Shoulder Retraction (1 set x 10 repetitions)

 

– Sitting upright in desk chair, place hands and forearms at shoulder width atop surface of desk

– Keep thumb side up

– Initiate movement by drawing shoulder blades back and down and slide forearms back to torso to complete movement

– Repeat for prescribed number of repetitions

 

Sit to Stand with Overhead Reach (1 set x 10 repetitions)

 

– Secure an immovable chair or object that is roughly knee to mid-thigh height and is capable of supporting entire body weight

– Descend into seated position

– Place your hands across your chest

– Rise from seated position, by driving off your heels, extending your hips and rocking onto forefoot (front of foot)

– Raise your arms with your hands overhead and reach for the ceiling

– Put your arms down and slowly descend into seated position

– Repeat for prescribed number of repetitions

 

References

 

  1. Murphy, M., Nevill, A., Neville, C., Biddle, S. & Hardman, A. (2002). Accumulating brisk walking

for fitness, cardiovascular, and psychological health. Medicine and Science in Sports and

Exercise, 34, 1468-1474.

 

  1. Aje, O.O., Smith-Campbell, B., & Bett, C. (2018). Preventing musculoskeletal disorders in factory workers: evaluating a new eight minute stretching program. Workplace Health & Safety, 66, 343-347.
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Top 5 Secrets to Weight Loss Success in 2019

A decade or so ago, we all believed that most of our calories should come from whole grains and other carbs, and that eggs and other saturated fats gave us heart disease. We were also sure that longer bouts of cardio would yield greater reductions in body fat. But times have changed, and the jury is in. New research shoots holes in just about everything we thought to be true about successful healthy weight loss. 

Here are five weight loss secrets, backed by clinical evidence, to help you succeed in 2019:

  1. Close the window: We once believed that eating small meals and snacks several times throughout the day was a great way to stabilize blood sugar and silence hunger pangs, thereby facilitating weight loss. Not surprisingly, few people who followed that advice actually lost weight. Giving your body a steady supply of energy negates the need to tap into fat stores. Instead of eating around the clock, practice intermittent fasting by eating all your calories within a six to eight hour window, and stop eating at least three hours before bedtime. Watch your energy soar as your fat melts away. Study
  1. Burst out of your plateau: Long bouts of moderate-intensity cardio lasting 60 to 90 minutes will help you burn fat, but it is a huge time commitment that most people cannot sustain. Burst training, aka interval training, speeds up fat loss while giving your metabolism a boost that lasts for hours. To begin, try walking for two minutes, then running all out for 30 seconds; repeat that cycle for a total of 20 minutes, three to five times per week, and watch your body shed its fat layer. You can adjust the walking to running ratio as your fitness level improves, spending more time in sprint mode. Study
  1. Lift heavy objects: There is no doubt about it, resistance training is one of the fastest ways to whip your body into shape and shed unwanted pounds. Use good form, and push yourself beyond your comfort zone. You will be amazed at the transformative results. Study
  1. Manage stress and sleep: Sleep deprivation and stress make a double-edged sword that elevates cortisol levels, encouraging your body to hang onto fat. Your body needs sleep to maintain a healthy immune system and refresh your brain. Chronic stress leads to metabolic disease and weight gain. It is nearly impossible to lose weight when you are always stressed and sleep deprived. Study
  1. Fatten up your diet: A diet low in carbs and processed foods, with moderate amounts of protein and high in healthy fats encourages your body to use fat for fuel, all day long. Avocados, coconut oil, nuts, eggs, salmon, sardines, olives, cheese and other foods high in fat will cut your hunger pangs and give you plenty of energy for your workouts. Study

Losing excess body weight can be a positive step toward better health. However, the scale should not be your only tool for measuring your progress. A well designed fitness program will help you reduce your body fat percentage, lose inches, and increase your overall strength and endurance. Obsessing about the numbers on the scale can undermine your progress and kill your motivation. Instead of zeroing in on a specific body weight, think about your energy level and how well your clothes fit. Looking and feeling your best spells success!

Resources

W.I.T.S. has all the tools you need to keep pace with the fitness industry and stay informed about the latest research. Increase your value and tap into a growing market with an Older Adult Fitness Certification. Help your clients manage stress and lose weight with Lifestyle Fitness Coaching. Hone your business skills with our Online Business Management continuing education courses. Stay on top of the latest industry trends and watch your business grow with W.I.T.S.!

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Setup for Success: Top 10 Business Secrets of Super-Successful Personal Trainers

The market for personal fitness services has gradually been shifting in the 21st Century, as technology has introduced multiple options for access to training, and traditional activities like cardio, Group X and weight training have had to make room for a broader spectrum of exercise options like yoga, CrossFit and Functional Training. Yet one-on-one training is still the best way for clients to get in shape and reach their goals, and smart personal trainers can capitalize on PT’s successful track record by adhering to a few simple rules.

Top 10 Secrets to Success

  1. The Proof is in the Pudding. If your clients succeed, you succeed. All the advertising and marketing in the world cannot come close to the word-of-mouth of satisfied and successful clients. Go for the goals, and let your success speak for itself.
  1. Never Judge a Prospective Client: It is easy to make assumptions based on appearances, but they can be deceiving. Don’t put people on a budget based on what you assume they can afford. Make your sales pitch about results, and let your client  worry about the money.
  1. Your Fees Reflect Your Value. Offering below-market bargain rates may attract a certain client demographic, but not the kind that keeps coming back for more. Meanwhile, you will have a hard time making ends meet if you undercharge. If you value yourself and your services, charge what you are worth.
  1. Compliance Equals Success for both you and your client. Showing up consistently is key to achieving goals. Charge your clients for missed sessions and don’t let them make excuses, or you will both fail.
  1. Stay out of the friend zone. All that personal one-on-one time inevitably leads to closer relationships, but you need to draw a line between business and friendship if you want to succeed as a professional. 
  1. It’s not about you. Every minute of every session should be focused on helping your client succeed. Venting or oversharing about your personal life will quickly erode any professional boundaries, and make it harder to manage your client lineup.
  1. Clients Cheat and Lie About It. The sin of omission is common in personal training. If your client has plateaued, go back to their behavior contract and make sure they are fulfilling their end of the agreement.
  1. Go for the long game. Fitness is a process, and there are no short cuts. Sell long-term packages and set realistic goals. 
  1. Be an Innovator. Individualized programming is key to putting the “personal” in personal training. Be creative, and don’t be afraid to think outside the box to help your clients succeed.
  1. If you fake it, you’ll never make it. Education is ongoing, especially in a rapidly evolving field like fitness. Stay up to date on the latest trends and research. Keep your certs current, and get as much continuing education as you can, or you will choke on your competitors’ dust. 

W.I.T.S. has all the tools you need to keep pace with the fitness industry. Increase your value and tap into a growing market with an Older Adult Fitness Certification. Hone your business skills with our Online Business Management continuing education courses. Up your business game this year, and see how far you can go as a fitness pro!