Jan 212016

Your Personal Fitness Trainer Check List

Exercise like the pros! Did you ever wonder why stars and celebrities seem to get optimal fitness results when they exercise? Of course they use knowledgeable, qualified trainers and do appropriate workout routines. But it is also the trainer’s attention to detail and the use of aspects of fitness that are often overlooked or thought of as not important that can make all the difference! Don’t have a trainer – no worries – use my “Fitness Trainer Check List” in your next workout and you will get the results you deserve.

1. Always warm up before beginning any exercise program
Your warm up should last for at least 8 to 10 minutes. It is defined as an activity that raises the total body temperature, as well as the temperature of the muscles in order to prepare the body for exercise. Warm up activities include but are not limited to: walking, jogging, treadmill, exercise bike, step climbing, cycling, jump rope.

2. Perfect your posture during each exercise

  • Standing Exercises – Feet distance apart, knees soft, abdominals tight, chest lifted, shoulders down & head is in a neutral position
  • Seated Exercises – Feet flat on the floor, hips distance apart, abdominals tight, back flat against seat, chest lifted, shoulders down & head is in a neutral position
  • Lying Exercises – Feet flat on the floor, glutes, low back, shoulders & head in contact with the exercise bench or floor

3. Breathe
Holding your breath can send your blood pressure up & lead to strained muscles.  Also, when you’re holding your breath you’re not keeping your abs contracted.  Remember to exhale on the hard part of each exercise or when you are going against gravity!

4. Contract your abs
This helps stabilize your torso so you can do all the moves with precision and control.  It also strengthens the deep muscles around the spine that give you better posture and develops core strength!

5. Stay hydrated
Water actually gives you energy when your are exercises a good rule of thumb is to drink 1 cup of water for every 15 minutes of exercise.

6. Stretch at the end of each exercise session
Probably one of the most neglected components of an exercise program is stretching.  Stretching increases flexibility, helps you relax, improves posture, gives you greater range of motion & may reduce your risk of injury.  Always take time to stretch after any type of physical activity; cardio, strength training or sports.  Use the below tips to get started and remember you can stretch any time!

  • Always stretch after your muscles are warmed up, never stretch a cold muscle
  • Remember to stretch slowly, exhale as you gently stretch a muscle
  • Hold each stretch for 10 to 30 seconds
  • Always ease into a stretch and never bounce
  • When pain starts ease up – never push a stretch until it hurts
  • Remember to breath

7. Cool Down at the end of each exercise session for at least 8 to 10 minutes
A cool down is defined as a slow moderate paced activity at the end of a workout that allows your heart rate and blood pressure to recover toward resting level. Cool Down activities include but are not limited to: walking, cycling, and easy jogging.

8. Know what muscle or muscle group you are working and focus on it:  For example; when doing a biceps curl, picture your biceps muscles doing all the work to lift the weights.

So, whether you are new to exercise or a seasoned vet, use my ‘Fitness Trainer Check List’ the next time you exercise and you’ll be on your way to optimal fitness!

Be Fit, Be Healthy, Be Happy!

May 232013

working outAre you on track with your workouts but no matter how much you exercise you still feel like you are getting nowhere?  It is unfortunate, but all too common. You can be training with weights, exercising daily or just working out a day or two a week; you are doing a lot of the right things trying to get fit and be healthy; but still not seeing the success and the results you expect. You have taken care of the big picture; you set your fitness goals, they are realistic and attainable, you are exercising consistently, you have made changes to your eating habits and you are working really hard … but you seem to be stuck. Keep up the hard work but start to focus on the small details of exercise and you will be amazed at the improvement in your workouts!

Details can be frustrating, especially in exercise; and may seem trivial, but they can actually keep you safe from injury and provide the maximum benefit possible for each exercise you perform!

1.  Start by focusing on the muscles you are working; be sure to know exactly what muscle(s) you are using during each exercise. That way you can use your mind to help focus on the muscle actually moving the weight.  Make sure the movement is slow, deliberate and controlled and performed without the assistance of momentum or gravity.  Finally during the extension keep your elbows and knees soft.

2.  Breathing is so important. During most exercises inhale when you are lifting and exhale when you are lowering.  An easy way to remember this is to exhale on the hard part or when you are moving against gravity and inhale on the easy part or when you are moving with gravity.

3.  Keep your abdominals contracted. This is important for 2 reasons; first by keeping your abdominal muscles contacted you are protecting your lower back and secondly you are working your abdominal muscles with an isometric exercise.

4.  Watch your grip, keep it loose!  One of my favorite tips is to lift your first finger, that takes the pressure off your forearms and allows you to focus more on the muscle your are working.

5.  The last exercise detail I want to discuss is posture and keeping a neutral position during exercise.  The following are general guidelines for proper postures when performing exercises standing, lying down and seated.  I always encourage my clients to do a quick body check, from their feet to their head, before they start an exercise.

Standing Exercises:
Feet hips distance apart
Soft Knees
Abs tight
Chest lifted
Shoulders down
Head neutral

Lying Exercises:
Both feet flat on the floor
Abs tight
Low back, shoulders & head on the bench

Seated Exercises:
Both feet flat on the floor
Back flat
Abs tight
Chest lifted
Shoulders Down
Head neutral

Whether you are strength training, just working out to stay in shape or weight loss is your goal, the “devil,” as they say, is in the details. I’m confident that the little extra time it takes to focus on the minutiae of your exercise routine, no matter what you are working to achieve, will pay off, and pay off big.

Be Fit, Be Healthy, Be Happy!  ~ Tanya