Wednesday, July 26, 2017

How to Pick the Right Personal Trainer for YOU

It can be a little daunting/overwhelming to pick a Personal Trainer, especially if you've never hired a trainer, or you've hired a BAD trainer in the past.  Today's blog post is designed to help you pick out the right trainer for YOU.

First, ask yourself this:

1. What do I want to achieve?  Are you looking to lose weight?  Do you want to become a body builder?  Are you looking to gain flexibility, or run a marathon?

What you want to achieve is important when it comes to who you hire.  You don't want to hire an Olympic Lifting coach if your goal is to become a triathlete or marathon runner, for example.

I get a lot of weight loss clients, clients looking to pass a physical fitness test for work (like police officers and fire fighters), as well as those interested in kickboxing and weight lifting.  I get a lot of people who want to train in a functional way as well.  Those interested in Olympic Lifting and Body Building, I send to my body building and olympic lifting friends... the ones I know are experts in their niche.

But how do you know if your potential trainer is an expert?

Here are my top 5 ways of vetting a Personal Trainer before you hire:

1. What are their qualifications?  Anyone can call themselves a Personal Trainer, charge money and lawfully work as a Personal Trainer in the state of Texas.  What you want is someone who has the qualifications and certifications to back it up.

You want a trainer who is has a Certification as a Personal Trainer through ACSM, ACE, NASM and/or NSCA.  Why?  Because they the certifying bodies that are accredited by the National Commission for Certifying Agencies (NCCA), which is held as the standard for personal training.

You may also want to look at the educational background of the trainer.  Do they have a bachelors degree in Kinesiology?  Do they have a masters degree?  The higher the education, the more they will charge by the hour, however, you will be getting someone with more education, more experience, and more expertise (MOST LIKELY).

2. Book a Consultation.  Your personality might clash with your personal trainer.  You need to know that before you hire them.  Book a consultation with them to sit down and get to know them and their school of thought.  You want to feel comfortable with your trainer, or you'll be even less motivated to get to the gym.  Most trainers offer this consultation free of charge.

3. Be Wary of the Cheap Trainers.  Sure it's tempting to go onto a site like craigslist or thumbtack and find the lowest bid possible for training.  There are backyard trainers out there who will train you for $20 or less per session, but I guarantee you, you're getting what you pay for.  No trainer with the education, skills, and knowledge I believe is necessary to make them worth your money at all will go that low in price.  Good personal trainers are worth the investment.  Trust me, when your body is at stake (and I'm mostly referring to potential injuries you could sustain from a trainer who doesn't know what they're doing), it's worth the money to get a trainer who knows what they're doing.  Here in Austin, a trainer should be charging between $40-$100 per hour.

4. Listen to YOUR body and YOUR intuition.  A good trainer understands body mechanics.  If you have a trainer who is not correcting your form, who isn't adjusting you or at least discussing how you should be holding your body... run.  If you have a trainer who doesn't do a body assessment/postural analysis beforehand, ask them to do it.  And if they don't know how, find someone who does.  If you work out with a trainer and end up with joint pain or an injury, it's time to find a new trainer.  Granted, accidents happen, but if it's because your trainer didn't teach you good form, they are not doing their job and they don't deserve your money.

5. Do look into private trainers who own their own business.  I'm biased here.  I offer personal training at a rate that is affordable and better than most big box gyms charge.  I've been training for 9 years now.  I know what I'm doing.  A lot of the trainers at big gyms are newbies.  They eventually branch off for themselves.  This isn't ALWAYS true.  So if you do decide to go with a big commercial gym, make sure you ask for their most experienced trainers, interview more than one of them, and pick the one who seems the most knowledgeable and who you get along with the best.

Choosing a trainer is an important decision.  You are about to make a big investment into your health.  And just like picking a good doctor, the decision can make your life better or it can make it worse.

Good luck!

Monday, July 24, 2017

"I'm Too Fat To Work Out"

Have you ever felt completely uncomfortable in your own body?  Like every fat roll has a life of it's own, you constantly tug at your clothing trying to hide it from the rest of the world, all the while knowing that it's impossible to hide?

Do you feel terrified by the idea of going into a gym or going running outside?

A lot of people have come into my gym and told me "I'm too fat to work out... people look at me like I don't belong here."  And "I feel really self-conscious when I run... like people who see me wonder why a fat person is running."

These thought patterns have probably come to most of us at some point in our lives.  When I was at my heaviest, I felt incredibly self-conscious at the gym.  I felt like there were all these beautiful people around me with amazing bodies, and I didn't fit in.  But I don't want anyone else to feel that way.  To me, it's all about perspective.

We all start from somewhere.. and what is important, is that you are stepping in the right direction for your own health and well-being.  When I see an obese or overweight person in the gym, I am so happy to see them there!  To me, that tells me they are doing exactly what the rest of us in the gym are doing... they are working hard at their own health and fitness goals.  And when I see ANYONE running along the road, I am excited to know that there are people out there taking care of themselves!

Are there jerks out there who will put others down to feel better about themselves? Sure.  But for the most part, most people are so worried about their own lives and their own problems, they probably don't even notice the people around them.  Most people aren't sitting around waiting to judge you.  

So if you are afraid of the gym because you feel self-conscious, this is my message to you:

Love yourself.  No one else matters.  Nobody else's opinion matters.  What matters is that you love yourself enough to get control of your life.  If you want to stop feeling bad about how you look, do something about it.  Get in the gym.  Take control of your nutrition.  Take control of your life.  And if you feel like those big box gyms are too much of a meat market, join a small gym or hire a trainer to come to your house and change your LIFE!!!

I love you all and I want you all to be happy.  IF you need anything.. help with ANYTHING... call me, text me, email me and I will be here for you.

Monday, July 17, 2017

A Shout Out to my fellow Single Parents

Are you a single parent struggling to find and achieve balance in your life?  Do you sometimes feel incredibly overwhelmed and alone???

Well... you are not alone.  I'm here to tell you that not only do I completely understand what it's like (I've been a single parent now for 2.5 years), but that I can testify that you absolutely can achieve the balance you so desperately need for yourself and for your children.

Being a single mom is both extremely difficult and also incredibly rewarding.  I get a lot of quality time with my little girl, and I've been able to also incorporate a healthy lifestyle that is good for the both of us.  A lot of that is because I'm a personal trainer... so of course I have time to exercise, right?

Actually... when I first became a single mom, I was struggling to find time to work out between work and parenting.  Just because I'm training doesn't mean I'm working out myself.  In fact, it's difficult to do both when you're monitoring your client, making sure they're using proper form and technique, and keeping up a good pace.  And because I wasn't working out, my life suffered a lot in the beginning.  My brain was foggier, my energy levels were poor, and my weight was going all over the place.  I was miserable for so many reasons.

If that sounds familiar to you, I have good news... I can help you :)

Exercise has so many benefits and so few downsides.  The downside is, you might have to find a spare hour to do it.  The upside is, you can absolutely find that time... and it doesn't have to take away from your sleep nor from your child.

What can exercise and good nutrition do to help you out as a single parent?

- increased energy levels
- better sleep
- improved mood
- improved circulation
- increased brain functioning/ it makes you smarter
- improved physical appearance


Not only can exercise and good nutrition drastically improve the way you feel, it can also improve how you look.  All of us who have had to go back into the world of dating can appreciate that, now can't we?

So how can you get in a workout without sacrificing sleep and/or time with your child... while also working to keep that child fed and a roof over your heads?

There are several ways you can do this.  Not to say you won't have to do some sacrificing or maneuvering, but it is totally doable.

1. You could work out WITH your child.  - I offer a boot camp (as do several other trainers) at 7pm for working parents.  We do the boot camp in my extremely large and fenced in back yard.  Many moms bring their kids.  The kids have other kids to play with, and the moms get to work out while their kids play.  It's a win/win.  Some kids also enjoy working out next to mom.

2. You could space out your workouts - If you don't have enough time during your lunch break or before or after work, you could get in 15 minute bursts of exercise.  Do 15-30 minutes before work, 15minutes during your lunch break, and then 15-30 minutes after work of exercise.. whether it's weights or body weight or cardio exercises... something is better than nothing.

3. You could try to go to bed earlier, wake up early and go see a trainer... or go after work.  A lot of my clients are able to come see me before or after work, and I have no problem with them bringing their child to the session as long as the child is well behaved enough to stay off of the weights (for safety reasons) and machines.

In my case, I work out with one of my seasoned and capable clients who I know has the form down to do things safely without super close supervision.  On days that I am home with my daughter, we work out together, or I work out with my boot campers.  I eat healthy food and share it with my daughter to keep both of us happy and healthy.  Doing this has improved my life so much.  I feel happier, more capable, and I look a lot better than I did when I wasn't taking care of myself.

Being a single parent can be incredibly hard.  Staying healthy is vital to our survival both at home and at work.  Don't forget that you have to take care of yourself in order to take good care of your children.  So eat right and exercise... take care of yourself.

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Supplement Recommendations

I am not the type of trainer who believes in using unsafe, unregulated supplements to achieve results in the gym.  

I do, however, feel that there are very specific nutrients and SAFE supplements that everyone who works out regularly SHOULD be taking.

The following are my top 5 supplements that I not only recommend, but also take.

1. CollagenSpecifically, I take Super Collagen 1&3 supplements that also contain Vitamin C and Hyaluronic Acid.

Why?  My esthetician actually recommended these to me.  Not only do they help my hair and nails grow strong and healthy, they make my skin look amazing (and younger in my opinion).  It's noticeable how much faster your hair and nails grow.  I like to buy these chews because they're delicious and justifiable.

2. Magnesium (and Potassium) - If you can find a supplement with both, awesome.   Otherwise, just magnesium is fine.

​Why?  Because when you are working out like I do, your muscles are under a lot of stress.  Especially if you are eating lower amounts of carbs (like me), your glycogen stores are lower and you're more prone to muscle cramps.  Magnesium helps prevent muscle cramps.  I usually take about 1 500 mg capsule 1-3 nights per week before bed.  Supposedly they also help you sleep.

3. Creatine - Creatine Monohydrate is the most researched and most often recommended of the different variations of creatine you can take.  

Why?  A lot of men are not afraid to take creatine, but women are afraid to take it because it bulks your muscles.  It's true that creatine monohydrate does create swelling in the muscles, it's actually water, but there are other forms of creatine that don't have that side effect nearly as bad, and I think they do help with strength gains.  Personally, I use Kre-Alkalyn by EFX sports.  I don't take this as regularly as I should, but when I did, I found myself getting a lot more out of my workouts.

4. Choline - You can buy this in bulk powder form, or purchase in capsules.  I like Jarrow Forumulas Citicoline CDP Choline supplement.  

Why?  Choline is an essential nutrient and is important for brain health and neurotransmission.  Many people who suffer from ADD (like me) do well on this nutrient.  It also helps your brain health, and is found in egg yolks and other natural foods.  Having a healthy neurological system is vital for fitness and health.  I take about 250 mg per day.  

5. 5-HTP - I ONLY recommend this if you suffer from ADD, or low serotonin levels.  I always recommend seeing a doctor or nutritionist before trying a new supplement like this.. but it has helped me so I'm talking about MY personal experience.

Why?  I was told by a nutritionist that due to my heritage and also my personality and gastrointestinal symptoms, I was probably low on serotonin.  He recommended me taking about 100 mg in the morning and 100 mg at night.  I only take 100 mg once per day and it's done WONDERS for me.  Who know that most of our serotonin receptors were in our gut?  I didn't.. before I saw this doctor.  Since taking 5-HTP my mood is more stable (an unexpected but awesome side effect) and my intestinal problems have gotten SIGNIFICANTLY better.  I was once diagnosed with IBS-C.  If you know what that's like, its miserable.  I was in constant pain, bloated all the time, and uncomfortable.  I rarely have any issues with it anymore.  Even my monthly menstrual cycles regulated out on 5-HTP.  It's been a miracle supplement for me.  

I want to emphasize that while these supplements are amazing and work really well for me, we are all different and before you ever take anything, you should ask a doctor and/or consult a nutritionist.