Fitness, Health, and Business Blog

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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 http://www.witseducation.com/w8-certifications.html

 

 

 

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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:

  • ONLY 8% of PEOPLE WHO MAKE NEW YEAR’S RESOLUTIONS ARE SUCCESSFUL!

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!http://www.witseducation.com/certifications/fitnesscoaching.htm

Learn more about the Lifestyle Fitness Coaching Certification course by watching this short video:  http://easylink.playstream.com/wits/WITS LFC 00 PROMO.wvx

 

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Use Your Social Media Time and Resources Wisely!

Last blog post we shared some tips on using social media to market your business in a more effective and efficient way.

Using Hoot Suite to plan and schedule your posts was one of the most popular ideas!  What an amazing time saver!  I have found that with Hoot Suite (which is free and really easy to use), I can set aside an hour or two every other sunday and schedule everything that will be posted for the next two weeks!  Of course, if something comes up, I can always add to the posts and schedule!! 

For this post I want to focus a bit more on Facebook and using Facebook for our social media marketing strategy. Most of us are using Facebook for personal reasons–connecting with friends,  But we also know that Facebook is really effective for connecting with customers. Having said that, there are things to keep in mind to make sure you’re engaging your “friends”, increasing “likes”, keeping current, and ultimately, converting Facebook friends and followers to paying customers. 

We put together a short video clip from our Facebook Marketing class to best explain how to use Facebook more effectively for your marketing.  Please watch and let us know what you think!!

http://easylink.playstream.com/wits/Understanding Facebook EdgeRank.wvx

Also, as the year is winding down and you are looking for new continuing education classes, plan to take advantage of our January promotions!

20% off any item in the store for Jan.  promo code WITS20. 

And  $100 off of our new Lifestyle Fitness Coaching Online Certification

 

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Are You Tweeting, Posting, Following, and Friending?

My involvement in social media has snuck up on me!  Sure, I used Facebook to reconnect with old friends and become more connected and involved in the lives of my friends and family.  But in the past year, I’ve found myself using social media for business purposes.  I’m blogging, tweeting, following, friending, tagging, and all sorts of other things that I never expected to be doing!  In the beginning, it felt overwhelming, but I’ve learned a few things that have made it more manageable that I thought I’d share.  I’m hoping that you will share your tips too!

 1.         Be strategic about what you share and where.  It is tempting to want to send everything everywhere.  But it may not be the best approach.  Figure out where your audience “hangs-out” in the social media world and go where they are with the messages that will interest them.

 2.         Separate your personal social media communications from your personal ones.  There’s nothing wrong with letting your business audience get to know you on a personal level, but they don’t need to see pictures of you and your friends celebrating on a Friday night or be privy to your personal information and activities, or your friends’ activities—which you can’t control.

 3.         Work smart and not hard.  There are free, scheduling tools like Hoot Suite that will allow you to schedule all of your twitter and facebook posts ahead of time so you can be more efficient with your time and resources.

 4.         Keep the “end” in mind!  What do you want to accomplish with your social media efforts?  More clients?  More revenue?  Stronger relationships with current clients?  If you don’t know where you are going, you won’t know how to get there—nor will you know when you’ve arrived!  So set goals and monitor progress!

 5.         Educate yourself!  I’ve spent the last few months taking classes, participating in webinars, and following what my competitors are doing with their social media!  There’s a lot to learn—but like anything else— it takes time, study, and practice! 

To learn more about social media and how to use the different approaches more effectively to increase business, check out W.I.T.S. new classes in Facebook Marketing, Twitter, Internet Marketing, and You Tube!  They are all customized for fitness industry professionals and mentored by successful, established professionals in the field! 

 

 

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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 http://www.diabetes.org/diabetes-basics/?loc=GlobalNavDB

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November is American Diabetes Month!

Yesterday was Halloween, and although I don’t want to be a “party pooper” and understand how much fun the holiday can be— I have to say, seeing so many children walking around with bags of candy—who also appear to be moderately or morbidly obese was disheartening.   Ironically, today, the day after Halloween, starts the beginning of American Diabetes Month. So, I’d like to focus today’s blog on diabetes, and more importantly, how we can prevent or slow down the disease with physical activity.

Diabetes complications can be prevented or delayed by properly managing blood glucose, blood pressure and cholesterol levels.  Eating healthy, being physically active and quitting smoking also can help lower the risk of diabetes complications.

Prevalence

  • Nearly 26 million children and adults in the United States have diabetes.
  • Another 79 million Americans have prediabetes and are at risk for developing type 2 diabetes.
  • Recent estimates project that as many as one in three American adults will have diabetes in 2050 unless we take steps to Stop Diabetes.

The Toll on Health

  • Two out of three people with diabetes die from heart disease or stroke.
  • Diabetes is the leading cause of kidney failure and of new cases of blindness among adults.
  • The rate of amputation for people with diabetes is 10 times higher than for people without diabetes.
  • About 60-70 percent of people with diabetes have mild to severe forms of nerve damage that could result in pain in the feet or hands, slowed digestion, sexual dysfunction and other nerve problems.  

How Can Physical Activity Help?

  • Keep blood glucose, blood pressure, HDL cholesterol and triglycerides on target
  • Lowers risk for pre-diabetes, type 2 diabetes, heart disease and stroke
  • Relieves stress, strengthens your heart, muscles and bones
  • Improves your blood circulation and tones your muscles
  • Keeps your body and your joints flexible

 I’m curious to know how many of our Personal Trainers are working with clients who have diabetes or prediabetes?  Please share your experiences and success stories so we can all learn from you.   I think we all have a responsibility to do what we can to reduce the prevalence of this serious disease. Please share! 

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 http://www.diabetes.org/diabetes-basics/?loc=GlobalNavDB

 

 

 

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Don’t Miss Out—Less than a week away!

Are You Attending Club Industry In Chicago this week?  Let me know and we’ll get together!   Following are some great opportunities for you to participate in while attending this event!

We have a special discount code just for W.I.T.S. friends and colleagues! Just follow the link below and when you register, use the promo code SAVE25, which provides a $125 discount on the full conference pass.
Club Industry Convention, McCormick Place, Chicago, IL October 23 -24, 2013CI13_BoxOfficeListing_200x280
While at the event, you’ll want to check out the “Business Program for Personal Trainers.” You’ll learn from the experts the secrets of sales, marketing and social media to insure your success as a business person!
Club Industry, Business Program for Personal Trainers, October 23, 2013
And while you are at the Club Industry Convention, we have a “MUST DO” event for those interested in the future of the fitness industry!
3rd Annual Personal Trainer Summit
Thursday, October 24, 2:00pm
Location: Room E351
Open invitation to all employers, trainers, educators and certification organizations. Why a meeting? We need to solidify and establish an industry wide image and policy to help support and direct our professional services. Much has been written about what “we” have come up with to meet legislative initiatives or to help obese children etc. Now you actually have a voice and a forum to formalize and legitimize our profession.
Let me know if you’ll be there! I’d love to meet you!

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UPCOMING EVENTS AND DISCOUNTS FOR YOU!

I wanted to use this post to let you know about some fabulous events you don’t want to miss—AND provide you with a special discount!
Don’t miss the October Club Industry Convention in Chicago! We have a special discount code just for W.I.T.S. friends and colleagues! Just follow the link below and when you register, use the promo code SAVE25, which provides a $125 discount on the full conference pass.
Club Industry Convention, McCormick Place, Chicago, IL October 23 -24, 2013CI13_BoxOfficeListing_200x280
While at the event, you’ll want to check out the “Business Program for Personal Trainers.” You’ll learn from the experts the secrets of sales, marketing and social media to insure your success as a business person!
Club Industry, Business Program for Personal Trainers, October 23, 2013
And while you are at the Club Industry Convention, we have a “MUST DO” event for those interested in the future of the fitness industry!
3rd Annual Personal Trainer Summit
Thursday, October 24, 2:00pm
Location: Room E351
Open invitation to all employers, trainers, educators and certification organizations. Why a meeting? We need to solidify and establish an industry wide image and policy to help support and direct our professional services. Much has been written about what “we” have come up with to meet legislative initiatives or to help obese children etc. Now you actually have a voice and a forum to formalize and legitimize our profession.
Let me know if you’ll be there! I’d love to meet you!

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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. http://www.clubindustryshow.com/National2013/Public/Content.aspx?ID=1044377