Night and Day Results: Part One

I have many, many clients that get great results and that stems from a lot of different scenarios. Some of my clients get great results because they never stop doing physical activity (physically demanding job, cuts lawns on the side, and then comes into the gym) and these are the ideal clients. Unfortunately most clients do not get above and beyond a solid amount of physical activity in before they even step foot in the gym. In fact, as trainers we are going to need to find unique and innovative ways to get these clients into the gym and on the right path to success.

Many of our clients come to us because they may have motivation problems, they may have tried and failed in the past, or they have a very hectic lifestyle and they can really use us to show them ways to get active despite their challenges. I’ve left out the “because they don’t seem to know what they’re doing” reason out for good reason: a lot of gym goers don’t necessarily know what it takes to reach their goals and the only way they seek us out is when they lose that motivation, have failed once, or have gotten so caught up in life they simply disappeared from the gym. But there are a lot of prospective clients (mainly gym members) who are going to tell a trainer ‘no’ the first time when asked if they want to invest in their lifestyle. This is actually okay, because as trainers we should still keep these prospects that we talk to around by contacting them once a month and checking up on their progress. I have been around the training industry for nearly three years (I’m only 24) and have been around the gym itself for nearly ten years so I have seen this play out constantly. A prospect will tell a trainer that they may have their own thing going on, or that they simply don’t want or feel they don’t need the help. But of course, when the time comes to put rotors and brakes on a vehicle, who do they go to? That’s right, an expert, usually a mechanic, who they pay to put the rotors and brakes on for them. So why not pay for training? It’s going to really save you money these days because by investing in a healthy lifestyle now is going to save money in future and possibly unnecessary doctor visits and hospital stays down the road because one didn’t take their lifestyle seriously enough when they were younger and in all honesty, some negative health events that result from an unhealthy lifestyle can be catastrophic and yes, I have seen that play out too and not only does the individual suffer but so do friends and family. It’s not worth it, invest in fitness.

The funny thing is that fitness is way more than only a simple investment, it has to be a way of life. Sure, one can pay a trainer a couple hundred per month or a little bit less if the training and counseling is online, but nonetheless the trainer can only well, tell you what to do and how to do it. Ultimately, you have to be the one doing everything else in order to get results. I love it when my clients routinely text me and tell me when they are facing temptations at work or parties or simply lacking motivation to come into the gym and train. Remember that some of your clients want your services for motivation itself. So do them a favor and make sure you are doing your job but they need to remember that they have to be the one pulling their vehicle into the gym’s parking lot and getting their workout in to the best of their ability. As trainers, we can do the talking, tell them to eat this, not that, tell them to be in the gym and not at the bar with a group of friends who may be a bad influence. We will tell them this because even when the gym is empty on a Friday night in the middle of July, a great fitness professional will still uphold the fitness lifestyle and get that Friday workout in after a hard days work of training others. Heck, a few weeks ago I did go out with a few friends, I did not drink or even eat the food from the bar, and I ended up heading to the gym at 12:30am, that’s right, AM, to get a workout in afterwards. There are NO excuses, but this is one of the perks of training at a twenty-four hour gym such as Anytime Fitness.

Clients who do the texting are probably motivated, but they just need you to tell them to come in. Hey, if you are paying me to tell you to be in the gym at a certain time, even if we don’t have a session scheduled that day, then I will tell you when to be in and I’ll even send you a workout to do while in the gym. I may even introduce you to another client and boom, now these two clients are workout buddies when they are not training with me. It makes my life easier, the life of my clients easier, and it brings results.

There are clients who need to be told what to do and may lack motivation. These are the clients that probably won’t text or contact you and you need to reach out to them. Even if you try to get into contact with them for two weeks and they don’t answer you don’t give up. They are still paying you to be their trainer and as fitness professionals, it is our job to make sure our clients are getting in. These clients just lack motivation and they are likely to only come into the gym when they have a scheduled training session. Unfortunately not everyone can pay someone the amount of money it requires to receive four to five days of training per week so this may be a problem. Basically, as mentioned earlier, simply contact them. If they don’t get back to you, contact them again, and again, and again. Sooner or later, they will pick up. They will get the message.

That brings us to the title: Night and Day Results. If we put the effort into our clients and if that effort is mutual, then these clients will get fabulous results. If we lack the motivation to change our clients, then their results will be poor and you may be looking at another career path in a few. This post is a two part post, so stay tuned for the second half.

An Individualized Approach

The best trainers out there will take the time and energy to train their clients to the best of their ability. There are a lot of fitness professionals out there that love to make money off of other people and they like to run wild in this industry. The most ethical trainers out there do not do this. Sure, I do have clients who may be in the same phase of training, so their workouts may have similar movement patterns and rep ranges, but by no means am I taking any of my one on one clients through the same workout!

I do also train clients in small groups, they do go through similar workouts, however, their fitness levels must be identical and their goals must be similar in nature in order for this to work. If a fitness professional trains a small group of one beginner, one intermediate, and one advanced client, chaos erupts. You can take one workout and modify it each and every way you’d like but it’s going to be chaos, and this is why: people don’t like doing lower level movements when there are more advanced individuals around. This is a psychological thing and it really plays on the minds of others. So why would I even think of putting someone with my level of fitness into a workout with someone who just signed up for training yesterday? It makes no sense and any educated fitness professional will tell you this.

The sad thing is that there are gyms that are built around this business model and there are actual companies that distribute this model! This degrades not only the credibility of the field of fitness as a whole but it is going to compromise the progress of clients, the philosophy of the fitness professional, and at times the well being of clients. This just isn’t ethical because it is going to create nothing but confusion and mis-communication.

What needs to be done is an individualized approach for all clients, and even those who train in small groups, because what if they are only with you twice per week? What about the other five days where they are not with you? They need their own individual homework to do on their own. People are all different. They all have different goals, needs, necessities, and desires. So we, as trainers need to treat them as individuals and not as a group. This should go for trainers who teach fitness boot camps as well or large group classes. Yes, it is OK to teach large groups of people a few times per week but they still need their own individual nutrition plans, they still need their own individual exercise programs to do on their off days when they are not with you.

I love teaching my large group classes and I even like to lead the workouts by actually doing the workouts, but one thing I do know is that every soul who attends my class have all come to the gym because they have a goal, and one client’s goal may not match the goal of another client. Why would I not take the time after the class to instruct them to do something on their off days when they are not with me on their own that will benefit them? The are paying us to tell them what to do when it comes to their lifestyle. They have invested in us, and this is something that I will never stress enough.

I like to treat all of my clients, one on one, small group, and large group clients as individuals. They are all on different levels, they all have different goals, and they all have different challenges that they may face outside the gym. So, in that regard, it is my job to treat them as individuals and give them their own individual programs to follow so they may better themselves when they are not with me.

Some fitness professionals work as team members in a gym that are overseen by a director of training and in these environments, the director of training is often hyped as being the personal trainer of each and every client and the trainers (team members) are just implementing the program. This is not a good model and here’s why:

  1. It is the team members that take the clients through the workouts.
  2. It is the team members that establish the relationships with the clients, because they are around the clients nearly one hundred percent of the time.
  3. It is the team members that have the ability to determine when their clients can move up a level in their training because they are around the clients all the time.

This model will hype two things and two things only:

  1. The gym where the clients train.
  2. The director of training, who is taking credit for designing all of the programs that are only implemented by his/her training staff.

No, these people are the trainer’s clients. That team member who is “implementing” a program, supposedly designed by a higher up is the real trainer to these clients, not a director who sells the training. In this setting, there is often one “master workout template” that all trainers must follow and must take all clients through. This is not an individualized approach to training, it is an approach that will take credit from those who deserve the credit. It takes away from the hard work of the trainer who may have gone out of their way for these clients, ensuring they get the best training experience possible each and every time.

Never follow training templates and never make one “master” template for clients. They are all different and they need to be treated as such. If you are a team member at a gym and a director of training sells the training, always make sure that it is going to be you and only you calling the shots for these clients. The reason for this is because:

  1. You are a certified trainer and you are educated in your field in order to provide a top notch training experience for your new client.
  2. You are going to be the one who establishes a relationship with this client better than anyone in that gym in terms of fitness.
  3. You are going to be the one who sees the progress that this client makes week in and week out and at times, if the client hits that infamous training plateau, you will be the one making adjustments to that client’s program.

It is our responsibility to ensure that each and every client is treated like an individual and not as another number in the training client column. In order to do this, we need to treat each and every client as a unique individual with their own unique goals. The best trainers will do this all the time and they will more than go out of their way for their clients.

Setting Apart From the Rest

I’m in the fitness industry and I love every second of it, so much that there are times where I will go over a client’s scheduled time with me if I have some time before another client shows up. Training is a fun profession and part of the job description is to have fun while you train your clients. Think about it, many of our clients have rough work schedules, personal lives, busy lives, and a little bit of each. So, it is our job as trainers to really be the best part of our client’s days, because in essence, we control the flow of the workout, and if we’re in a good mood, then our clients are in a good mood too. This is one of many things that can really set us apart from the rest of the fitness industry.

Okay, so what do many of our typical trainers do? We all love to workout and eat our meals on schedule, correct? Okay, so a typical 9 to 5 job or a job where we may need to go long stretches without eating or a job that requires so much travel preparing and packing food can become a second job are just out of the question. So, many of us turn to a career in fitness, be it on the fitness training side or the business side of fitness affairs, we do whatever we can to land ourselves in this field. This allows us to make our own schedules for the most part, set our own work hours, and even spend day after day wearing gym clothes. That last one is the best thing about this job! But, when it comes down to it, we still have a real job and we still have tasks that must be completed just like any other job has. We still need to make our living and we still need to do a good job in order to continue to keep our dreams and ambitions alive. I have seen a lot of trainers take these benefits for granted and it shouldn’t be so. Why, when we have been given what we wanted (and I got this at a very young age) take something like this for granted just to see it blow up in our faces a little while down the road? It’s pointless, because we have an opportunity to make something out of ourselves doing what we wanted to do for a very long time! Set yourself apart from the rest.

I like to do this, and that’s why I’m not a fan of calling myself a “personal trainer.” I don’t really see myself as one even if that’s my job title. I offer online training, one on one training, small group training, and even training in a “team” environment, so why on Earth would I call myself a personal trainer? Also, I’m an ISSA Certified Specialist in Fitness Nutrition all the while being on my way to achieving a degree in Wellness and Fitness from California University of Pennsylvania. I am much, much, much more than a personal trainer and if you are in this boat as well, I got some good news for you: you are much more than just a personal trainer too.

In order to truly be successful in this field we not only need to be the best part of our client’s days and get as much education as possible, we need to be able to set ourselves apart from the rest of the industry. We have to allow our clients to choose us based on our actions, not only our skills or abilities. We need to not only tell our clients why investing in training is going to do wonders for them but we need to show them why investing in training is going to do wonders for them. We need to show them that we do much, much more than just hand out workouts and maybe some nutritional guidelines and send them on their way for the most part and checking up on them on a weekly basis. We really need to ensure that they can achieve anything they set out to do in the world of fitness.

There is a large array of things that you, as their trainer can do for them in order for them to be the best that they can be fitness-wise. First, we aren’t in this just to hand out workouts and nutritional strategies, we are in this to change lifestyles. The most hectic lifestyle can succeed in fitness if the individual is shown how this is possible. We can make our own lifestyles as hectic as possible and we can still get our workouts in, eat the right foods at the right times, and be able to keep this tempo up on a more than consistent basis. If we can do it then we need to relay this to the people who pay us to show them what to do. As fitness professionals, we need to show them how we do this, because they are paying us for our advice. Of course, we need to write them up workout plans, we need to write them up nutritional plans, but we also need to show them how to accomplish what we want them to accomplish with these plans that we write up for them. We need to tell them that these plans are based around their lifestyles and that although these plans do require some changes in lifestyle habits, they are very achievable and we are going to show you how.

This brings me to another point that will set us apart from the rest: we have to assess every single individual that is interested in our services. Most trainers will simply ask the client if they have been in a gym in a while and whatever answer the client gives, the trainer will make up a workout program that fits their fitness level. Great, so that does give the client an idea on what to do, but the fact of the matter is this client could have physical limitations and exercise contradictions that need to be assessed before any plan is given out and a lot of trainers tend to forget to assess their client base. Almost every single certification organization out there will give us these forms used for assessing clients so if your organization does this, use them! They give us these forms for a reason and that reason is to allow us as trainers to design the best possible exercise and nutrition program for our clients.

Measuring progress will also set us apart from the rest. What are your client’s goals? Is it weight loss? Muscle gain? Strength training? Cardio training? A mixture of all of these perhaps? Look, whatever your client’s goals are you need to be able to measure these and measure them often, at least every two weeks. This will allow the client to see the progress that they made and not only that, they will also recognize the value of what they are paying for. They are paying for someone to make them better in the fitness realm and it is us that they are paying and we need to, at the best of our abilities, ensure that they reach their goals above and beyond. I cannot stress that point enough.

In conclusion, we are fitness professionals who change lifestyles. Lifestyle change is what many of our clients want and they need guidance from us to achieve that change. Without lifestyle change, everything is back to square one, so we could always hand them a workout with no periodization, no changes, no anything or we can train them hard, to the best of our ability and tell them what to do when they are not with us. They can always contact us, especially when facing a rough situation such as having to choose between that junk food meal or that healthy meal, or choose between spending Friday night with friends at a bar or spending Friday night with a friend or two in the gym, getting a rough workout in but knowing it’s going to make them feel better in the end.

Sacrifices and Social Support

The fitness lifestyle involves all sorts of sacrifices, and no, I am not talking about sacrificing time, family, or anything that we hold dear to ourselves. The fitness lifestyle involves all sorts of good sacrifices, and these sacrifices are going to only make us better and move us forward. It is one thing to exercise regularly and eat the right foods but if you are still clinging to those things that you were before tweaking the lifestyle a bit into a lifestyle that you believe is going to make yourself better, then you are only going to burn two sides of one candle and that is not good for anyone.

We all have peers that may attempt to sway us into going to bars, drinking, smoking, eating junk food when eating out, and living a lifestyle that may still be detrimental to our fitness goals. This totally defeats the purpose. Why on Earth am I going to put in all of that work, time, and effort and then turn around and do the things that will only hold me back from achieving my goals? There is no reason for these kinds of things and there are much, much better ways to spend your weekends.

Now, I am not saying that you can’t go out and enjoy a night on the town or a night in the city but you still need to exercise a bit of self control. Even over the holidays I still attend family gatherings but I don’t go hog wild when the cookies and pies are in sight. In all honesty I don’t even eat at all unless the gathering is happening at my place and I still pass on the junk food. My goals are still in mind. If you want a more current event I went out last Saturday with friends to a comedy show and then next week I’m going to watch a band play downtown. Did I drink or will I be drinking? Nope. Am I going to skip a good meal and eat a bunch of fried food just because it’s the only option out there? Nope. Am I going to miss a workout because of this? Again, the answer is no. No I am not because I invest a lot of money into my fitness and I have goals that I want to accomplish within the next month and I am not going to engage in any activity that deters me from reaching those goals.

This takes a lot of self control and discipline, but honestly, this is only going to help you reach your goals. You have to have that power to tell others no when they want you to do what they are doing when out and about. Your friends have to respect your lifestyle and your decisions and if they don’t then they aren’t friends at all, they only like you for who you were before you found a new lifestyle and decided to better yourself.

This lack of social support is really a main reason why many don’t reach their fitness goals in the amount of time that they should reach them. This lack of social support can cause many who are new or relatively new to the fitness lifestyle to drop out of the lifestyle completely because they will honestly feel like it’s them against the world when it comes to fitness and they get this idea that the fitness lifestyle isn’t for them. Newsflash, this lifestyle is for everyone and those who may stand alone in their family or social network need to realize that and they were wise enough to pursue this lifestyle.

As trainers, it is our job to be that social support because there are a lot of individuals out there who may be struggling with their fitness goals due to lack of social support. Anyone and everyone can and will succeed with the right support but if clients aren’t getting this at home then they need someone to turn to when things get tough because for many, things are going to get very tough. We need to be there for our clients when they have no one else to turn to. Our clients need to have access to our cell and email because we need to be there for them immediately if they feel they are not getting the support that they need because this is what makes people quit sometimes. And all they need is that one person standing by them, standing behind them, and telling them that yes, they can do it and not to listen to anyone else who is trying to hold them back and bring them back down to their level. Our clients are better than that.

I have mentioned before and I will reiterate that there are a lot of people out there who don’t succeed because they lack the drive, willpower, and work ethic to do so. So, in an effort to make them feel better about themselves, they will consistently use their negative outlook to bring people back down to their level who are either trying to succeed, are succeeding, and in some cases, have succeeded. These kinds of people hate success and they will be detrimental to your client’s goals and lifestyle if these are the people that are clients choose to be friends with. Here are just a few options that I like to tell my clients who may be struggling with a lack of social support:

  • Find new friends: This is really a lot easier than it looks because if your client happens to be working out at a gym then they have an endless pool of people who they can become friends with. I love introducing my clients to each other and on days that they are not with me they can be workout partners. All of the sudden, these clients have now become part of each others support network.
  • Talk to me: That’s right, the trainer’s hotline is always open, twenty-four hours per day, seven days per week. I am always there to direct my clients in the right direction even if I get a text at 2:00am. I am still there to sort out the problem my client might be having. Remember, our clients are investing hundreds and sometimes thousands of dollars in us and it is our job to make sure that they make this a complete lifestyle change.
  • Spend more time in the gym: If your client is spending four days per week inside the gym maybe they should come in for a fifth day. Maybe it’s Friday night and they know that if they don’t do something beneficial they may fall victim once again to a weekend cheat meal. Maybe this week, and in the weeks that follow, start going to the gym and getting in another workout on Friday night or Saturday night. Again, maybe a client will find more support from this late night crowd. Twenty-four hour gyms are ideal and really come in handy here.

All in all, as trainers, we have to do more than just hand out exercise and nutrition plans. Yeah, many trainers might do this but by standing apart from the rest of the group you and only you will make yourself a much more marketable and attractive option to both potential and existing clients. It is up to us to ensure lifestyle change and to better our client’s future for the better. This is what we do for a living and this is more than just a forty hour per week, nine to five job. This is our lifestyle and we have others who are going to invest time, money, and energy into us so they can live the same lifestyle that we live and for some, this is the lifestyle they have always wanted and they see us as their opportunity to live that lifestyle. We need to hold up our end of the deal and do what we do best. Best of luck and stay Matthews Fit!

Todd Matthews, ISSA Certified Personal Trainer, California University of Pennsylvania, Wellness and Fitness, Class of 2016.

Health Investments

It’s true, we all want to be able to be in good shape, we all want to be healthy, and we all want to be able to do the things that we used to when we were younger. Unfortunately for most of the American population, this is just not an option, or a later option. Life gets in the way and the American lifestyle is on the go, on the go, on the go. We are always doing something at any given time, at least those of us who seek to make something of ourselves. Take myself, for instance. I am writing this post, but this isn’t the only thing I’ve done today. I’ve been awake since 6:30 this morning, and I have been training clients, working out, taking an online test, and then after this I plan on going back to the gym for a second workout. And yes, it is Saturday, but it is a light day for me. I don’t like stopping and taking breaks very often.

Here is what is amazing about the American lifestyle. All of the things that we do throughout each and every day we really prioritize high on our list. Work, kids, hobbies, hanging out with friends, working some more, etc, whatever it is we hold dear to ourselves we are doing on any given day. These things are important to us. Why is our health a lower priority than some of what I just listed? Honestly, I could have named about fifty more things, but the fact of the matter is that health should be rated above those other fifty things so why would I even bother to list them? Okay, so family and work are going to be our number one and number two and that’s that. The funny thing here is that health should be next, if not even equal to these first two priorities. So why is that? Well, it’s because with solid health, you are going to make the work priority and the kid priority that much stronger. Okay, with poor health, work is affected, family is affected, so why not make health a priority? Why not use some of that hard earned money and make an investment in yourself?

Now that we understand why we need to make an investment in our health now’s the time to really make that commitment to health, and that is tough for some people to muster. It’s one thing to say you are going to do it. It’s another thing to obtain a gym membership with these goals in mind, but the toughest part is yet to come. We already realized why we need to invest in our own personal health and we took those first steps in doing so but now it’s time to make the entire thing worth it. In other words, you need to make the most of this investment and this commitment, because you are going to do this for yourself and as a result of your commitment, those around you will even better. Your work life will be easier because now you will have more energy throughout the day and you are able to get more accomplished. You will work better. When it comes to family, you can now keep up with your kids if they want to play, and you can even introduce them to your new lifestyle. You are literally going to pay this forward to the next generation and America’s next generation needs this! Get them off of the video games, the computer, the television and get them doing something that is going to only help them in years to come.

You need to invest time and effort into this new lifestyle. The best aspect of the fitness lifestyle is that you will get out of it exactly what you put into it. This means that you are going to need to invest at least five hours of moderate to vigorous physical activity per week. This means that you are going to change your eating pattern by buying unprocessed whole foods instead of processed foods found in store aisles. You are going to be making a lifestyle change that few are willing to do on their own.

Hiring someone to really show you how to do this is going to be very beneficial to your new lifestyle, your health, and your longevity. You are making an investment now so you don’t have to invest thousands into healthcare premiums in the future.This is what us trainers live for. We are the experts in the field who do hold those secrets in showing others how to do this. We know how to change lifestyles because chances are we changed our own lifestyle and that is exactly what has motivated us to get into the field of showing others how to do so. Training is more than just working out on a consistent basis. Working with a trainer can and will be a life changing experience, it will be a life altering experience because you will never live the same way again. You will have become a better, healthier, fitter version of you that you once perhaps never thought possible. This is what we can do for you.

What good trainers do is hold their clients accountable. They are going to make sure that you see your lifestyle change at each and every intersection, at each and every checkpoint, they are going to be there. This is what we do. Not only do we direct others the right way in lifestyle change, but we can show others lifestyle change because we do live this lifestyle each and every day, twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week, and three hundred and sixty-five days a year. We lead by example, so we not only direct clients but we show clients, and that is a luxury within itself.

You are going to take what you learn and share it with others and that’s human nature. Sharing this with kids is extremely important because kids will mimic their parents. This country is facing an obesity epidemic at staggering proportions and this is something that the world has never seen. What we trainers are responsible for is showing and directing others this lifestyle change. You can share this lifestyle change with others, motivating them to jump on board in the process to become a healthier version of themselves.

This epidemic is something that needs to be turned around and turned around quickly. Everywhere you look, there are electronics, fast food, the take it easy lifestyle that many like to live. These are poisons if used in excess. These have no positive effect on your health when used in excess. This is your time to make a change for yourself. This is your opportunity to take a stand, to regain control of your health. You can’t wait this out any longer, the thinking of, the pondering of, the maybe tomorrow or maybe on Monday way of thinking is over. This year is halfway over and if you haven’t fulfilled that resolution you made in January and are waiting to try again in 2016, you need to look deep inside yourself, because this time next year, if you don’t regain control right now and cut the excuses and cut the procrastination, you will be exactly the same next year as you are this year. This is your opportunity to change and if you have taken a lot of time to think about it, the thinking is over. If you have been waiting for everything to come together, the waiting is over. It’s time to change right now. Get MatthewsFit today!

Todd Matthews,

ISSA Certified Personal Trainer, California University of Pennsylvania, Wellness and Fitness, Class of 2016.

Good Trainers Versus Bad Trainers

If one has been around a fitness center long enough, they have probably seen trainers training their clients. What they observe may just make or break the trainer. What this means is that if the trainer is giving off good vibes and an onlooker notices them training their clients well each and every time, then that trainer just earned themselves a new potential client. In fact, that trainer may have earned a few clients, as word of mouth travels quickly. If, however, that trainer is giving off bad vibes, such as taking each client through the same workout, allowing the client to go through the motions, or just hold a civil conversation with that client, then that trainer not only may have lost out on one client, but word of mouth will spread quickly.

What is it that makes a good trainer? Good trainers have several qualities that make them stand out from the rest of the pack. It’s true, anyone can claim to be a trainer. Hey, all one needs is to get certified by an accredited organization and they can call themselves a trainer. They can even refer to themselves as a fitness professional. But when it comes down to it, does that trainer know anything about the general population? Does this trainer know what program design is? Do they know what periodization is? Do they know the different body types, fitness levels, potential limitations clients may have, or how to even assess clients for that matter to figure out where this client is capable of starting?

It’s true, some trainers are just in this business for one reason: to take the money of people who pay to hire them to design a program, hold them accountable, and even set fitness goals for them. Some just want to have a so-called “easy” way to make money. These trainers also cannot hold onto clients long term, they have to have a relentless flow of unsuspecting individuals in which to literally steal money from. These trainers aren’t real trainers and they will almost always burn out. Beware, because it goes beyond just trainers, there are franchises that invest in template programs for every single client, and they expect even their best trainers to take their clients through these workouts that supposedly give results. This is a danger, because since every single individual on this planet is different, no two programs should be alike. Ever. And that’s the bottom line. Before hiring a trainer, or training at a franchise, always check and make sure that these gyms are not offering programs that are identical for every single client. These franchises are in the fitness industry for one reason, to take money. And they are not worth buying into.

So, what makes a good trainer? Let’s start up front. Do they have experience? Do they have testimonials and reviews, positive ones for that matter, to back up their claims? If they do then they have passed the first test. Onto the second test, do they have experience working with someone at your level of fitness? Some trainers specialize in the general population while others specialize training only athletes. Make sure you are in their targeted audience, because if you are, then they are going to design a program for you and not only that, make sure that you stick to it by consistently holding you accountable. This is another sign of a good trainer. Good trainers also understand that everyone is different, and that they will go out of their way to design a unique program for you and only you. This means that if your buddy wants to change their physique for the better, they need a program that fits them, because your program is only going to fit you. Everyone is different.

Good trainers need to have more than just experience, they need to have experience in changing the lives of others for the better. This means that if someone has been sedentary for the last thirty years and is fifty pounds overweight, and then signs up for a trainer for twelve months, and has seen results that exceeded even their own wildest expectations, then that trainer is going to have experience in transforming not only them, but probably dozens of others. Good trainers have positive qualities and characteristics that define them. These trainers are honest, they have integrity, a positive attitude on life, a positive work ethic, and they lead by example. In other words, they are honest with the way they conduct business, can always see the good things in life, as well as cherish and appreciate the good things in life, and finally, they live the fitness lifestyle, practicing what they preach. These are all qualities that make up a good trainer. They will always do whatever it takes to better those around them as well as themselves.

Choosing who to train with is going to take research. Never go for glamor. Never go with what the status-quo is, and never talk to salespeople trying to get you to invest your time, money, and health into what I call a “socialized” program that supposedly works for everyone because they had been “tested” on thousands of clients before that. Look for the good, honest individuals who will work hard for you. You are investing your time and your money on your health that will save you thousands, literally thousands in healthcare premiums down the road if you invest in some cases, less than one-thousand dollars per year, on a trainer who is dedicated to their trade and willing to change your life for the better. These are the trainers you want to choose. These are the trainers you want to get into contact with.

So, let’s reiterate what makes a good trainer:

  • Honesty- they are going to practice what they preach and they are going to work hard for you. Honest trainers will always have reviews and testimonials about them.
  • Integrity- they are going to work when no one else is looking. They are going to be looking for ways to improve your program design each and every week.
  • Work ethic- they are going to work for you. You are paying them potentially a paycheck that you earned with your hard earned money per year. Training is a luxury, and trainers who possess that positive work ethic know this and honor this.
  • Dedication- they are dedicated to the fitness lifestyle. They are always going to try to better themselves while bettering their clients. They live this lifestyle through and through.
  • Individualization- they are going to create a program just for you. There will be no fads, there will be no organization handing them workout templates to use for their clients that all contain the same workouts. This is going to be an individualized program built only for you and you only.

Remember, you are spending your money on your health. Many individuals need to be doing this because many won’t hold themselves accountable in the fitness realm. And if they hire somebody to hold them accountable, they are doing themselves a favor. They are investing in their health. They are investing in themselves, and they are going to save themselves possibly tens of thousands in the future because their health will be maximized from the investments that they made when they were younger. But when making an investment in health, be smart, be vigilant, and choose the right fitness professional that cares about you and is going to make you a top priority. Thanks for reading my blog!

Todd Matthews

ISSA Certified Personal Trainer. College student at California University of Pennsylvania, Wellness and Fitness track. Get Matthewsfit today!

Benefits and Barriers: Why the Benefits Outweigh the Barriers

It’s July, which means statistically speaking only about 8% of our 2015 New Years Resolution crew remain at our gym. This is indeed a small number because adopting a fitness lifestyle is the number one resolution that the American population decide to take on in the 21st century. Unfortunately, that minute number I just mentioned of those that remain in our gyms across America is the sad truth.

Let’s face it, most of the American population fail at fitness. Why? There are many, many reasons. Here are just a few I’d like to point out:

  • I work long hours
  • I have no social support
  • My kids and/or spouse won’t adopt the lifestyle with me (an extension of the above excuse)
  • I have no time to workout
  • Life got in the way
  • I don’t have time to cook the right foods, so exercise only defeats the purpose
  • This lifestyle is too expensive
  • I lack motivation

I’m going to break these bullets down into a couple of simple categories. The first category: Time. The second category: Lack of Support. The third category: Expenses

1) Time

I know, I know, I know, that unless you tend to work at a gym, live at a gym or live near a gym that this lifestyle is just simply too time consuming. Okay, really? For starters, joining a gym does give anyone a wide variety of equipment to work with. Another inconvenient truth, however, is that the average American who joins a gym uses their membership two to three times per week tops as well as chooses movements and resistance that they fall into a comfort zone with. How does this relate to time? If one DOES have the time to get into a gym and they use the same equipment over and over again, then why join in the first place? Seriously, if you own a couple of dumbbells your entire house just turned into a gym and you would see better results than those who do the same things in the gym day in and day out. What I am saying is that you can’t use the time excuse for joining a gym when you already have what you need in your basement. Of course, if you are looking to really enhance your physique then the gym is a must but if you want to be in good shape it is not a necessity. All you need is time to walk down your stairs.

Now that we debunked the time myth as it relates to physical activity lets now focus on the nutrition myth. Is it really more time consuming to eat healthy? Not really. Cook multiple meals and store them as leftovers. If you don’t like leftovers, then there are many cans and packages of tuna for sale at the grocery store. If you don’t like tuna then I’m sure you like Greek yogurt, assorted nuts, raw vegetables, etc. In other words, there are healthy ready to eat options that taste good! It is prudent to stay away from protein bars since many of these bars are practically candy bars that have been fortified with protein. Quest Bars, however, are much, much healthier and nutrient dense. They also come in a wide variety of flavors.

In conclusion, there really is time to do anything no matter how hectic the lifestyle is. There are 168 hours in a week, and if you work 40, then you are making excuses. If you work 60, you are making excuses because you still have 4 and 1/3 days left in the week with a 60 hour work week. If you have kids and tend to haul them everywhere after school then why not visit a nearby gym and get a workout in while they are doing their activities. Again, no access to the gym doesn’t hurt you. Is there a park nearby? Get after it. Are you living in Minnesota and it’s “too cold” to go outside? Maybe take a drive home and get a workout in there. It’s only for a few months. There is time. You just need to buckle down and make the most of it.

2) Lack of Support

So, you are the dark horse of the family. That’s funny, because many who take up a fitness lifestyle are. You are no different than the rest of us. In fact, if we can do this why can’t you? Let’s see, it’s summertime and you go to a cookout only to find that nothing is being served except junk, so you have to eat it right? Not right. Either bring your own food and politely ask your host to prepare it for you and if that’s out of the question then you can always eat before going out. Better yet, take one of those healthy snacks that were mentioned in the ‘Time’ category. You can eat that when everyone else is eating.

Another excuse that many will say is that their family and friends will ridicule them for adopting a different lifestyle. Here’s yet another inconvenient truth: your family and friends can’t handle the fact that you decided to take the right step in bettering yourself. What’s even more is that they are unwilling to better themselves and they do not want you to get a cut above them. This is the negativity that we see too much in American society today. We see people hating on others because they have that desire to succeed. That’s all it is, and it’s as simple as that. Those who don’t (or won’t) succeed because it may be the “status quo” of their environment will continuously bring down others who are succeeding or are on the way to success so they can feel better about themselves. If this describes your family and friend network then I suggest you find a group of friends who do share the same goals that you do. You can relate to them better. Get to know them. Again, if you have no gym access, use social networking, maybe talk to a co-worker who may know a few people who do live the same lifestyle. People in this industry will support you. We are your social support when there is no one else to turn to. There is always someone to turn to.

3) Expenses

This one is my favorite. The gym is too expensive, the healthier food is too expensive, hiring a trainer is too expensive. It’s all just too far out of my budget. Okay, so there is probably a very small percentage of people who may have a point. But here’s the score: Is this lifestyle too expensive or are you just unwilling to give up what’s going to ultimately keep you from succeeding in this lifestyle. Let’s clear a few things up:

  1. Do you routinely go out during select weekdays and on weekends? If yes, then you want to cut that down. Most people make the wrong choices when going out and it costs a lot of money. Alcohol costs a lot more money when going out. Restaurant food costs more than store bought food. Worse yet, restaurant food is almost always not as healthy. This isn’t because there aren’t any healthy options out there. This is because people see a food on a menu and they want it now. They want instant gratification that almost always leaves them feeling guilty the next day and they say “no more”, only to go out and do the same thing again. And the cycle continues.
  2. Do you go to the store and impulse buy? Let’s make one thing very clear: stores will purposely set up so that one does impulse buy. Heck, local Wal-Marts these days are actually putting freshly baked pizza right near the cash registers now. What’s worse is that it’s only five dollars! Wal-Mart is going to see a lot of pizza. Ever wonder why candy is right there at the cash register? So people can grab their favorite candy bars without thinking. Why are stores set up this way? For the same reason, so people can buy without thinking. Do an experiment, the next time you go to the grocery store, do what you always do, just one final time. When you go home, take note of what you bought. You will be shocked to find out that you bought way more food than you thought. Worse yet, the food you bought probably wasn’t even necessary to buy. The next time you shop, eat a nice, healthy meal right before making the trip. You will be surprised to see how much less you impulse buy. Not only that, but you have a lot more room in those cabinets now.
  3. A gym membership and a trainer are too expensive: Really? We trainers admit that we do charge others in order for them to learn about fitness. It’s what we do. It’s not greed. If you hire a music teacher to teach music and art to your kids are you going to pay them? If you hire a baseball coach to work with your kid, are you going to pay them? I would hope so, people need to make a living. However, it’s funny because a gym membership plus a trainer to fall back on when things get tough is really, well, not very expensive in the slightest. Relate what is being said to the Q&A above this third excuse. You are spending money on something that is going to hinder yourself into becoming the best you can be not only in fitness, but in life. If you can make a change for the better, you are going to maximize yourself. If you do have a spouse, kids, or other family members that are close to you, even if that social support is dwindling, your chances of maximizing the potential in others is going to skyrocket. Hey, some of those former doubters and haters may suddenly turn around and say “If they can do it then so can I.” And they will be asking you how you achieved your goals. Yes, it takes discipline, and yes, it’s going to require sacrifices, but it’s going to for the better, and that’s why you are going to succeed. Taking on a New Year’s Resolution is a challenges that few see through to the end, but with a little bit of knowledge, you can be in the 8%. In fact, that number has potential, a lot of potential, to grow. It takes knowledge, it takes discipline, and it takes sacrifice. Always keep those goals in mind. When you do that, you will succeed.

Even if you don’t have access to the gym, you can still hire a trainer. There are trainers out there, everywhere, looking to change lifestyles. It’s very, very cost-effective to hire somebody to design a scientifically backed program for you. It’s very affordable to hire somebody to tell you to eat this and not that, and for good reason. In other words, it’s very cost-effective to hire somebody to help you change your lifestyle, maximize your results, and help thrust you forward. Trainers help clients break down would-be barriers every single day. Trainers serve as social support for their clients when no one else will. Trainers will help keep this investment affordable when we hold clients accountable for saying no to going out and wasting money each week, or paying for other things that hinder the healthy lifestyle. And best yet, hiring a trainer will help clients save potentially thousands in medical bills down the road, and that money saved can go to better investments, such as paying off a house or a vehicle early, or even putting a kid through school. It all starts with investing in your lifestyle today.

By: Todd Matthews

ISSA Certified Fitness Trainer

Determination, Motivation, Inspiration, Action.