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Showing posts with label Personal Trainers. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Personal Trainers. Show all posts

What is the difference between Amateur Athletes and Professionals?

What is the difference between Amateur Athletes and Professional Athletes?

Well, for starters lets talk about Food and Nutrition.

One of the things that has annoyed me in the past is when someone contacts me asking for training in a specific competitive sport because they want to become a professional athlete and I start asking them questions about their diet and nutrition - which are extremely important questions when it comes professional sports because of how competitive it is.

And the response, quite often, is that they don't think their nutrition is an important factor in their sports career. Not their exact words, but basically they downplay how important nutrition is. Which I take to be a clue that their level of nutrition isn't very good and they don't want to admit it.

To use a racing car analogy, poor nutrition would be like putting sub-standard fuel into a race car that runs on high performance octane (usually 94 or higher). You don't really expect the car using sub-standard gasoline to win if you know everyone else in the race is using high performance octane, do you?

So to me, the question of the differences between amateur athletes and professional athletes is a case of food. Food equals fuel. And if you want your body to be a high performance machine then it needs to be using high performance fuel.

Amateur athletes often totally ignore the quality of their nutrition.

Professional athletes take their nutrition very seriously.

I have a book on my shelf, one of my favourites, called "High Performance Sports Conditioning", edited by Bill Foran. It was published in 2001, but not much has changed in the world of sports conditioning during the last 15 years. I highly recommend finding a copy of if your goal is to be participating in professional sports. During chapter one it discussed 'Establishing a Solid Fitness Base' and talks about athletes building a Team of Support Staff including:
  • Athletic Trainer or Coach (that is my job)
  • Sport Nutritionist (to advise on nutritional issues)
  • Sport Physical Therapist (for treatment of injuries)
  • Physician (in case of serious injuries)

Acquiring one of each of these is basically a necessity for any professional athlete. The names of the individuals may change over time as an athlete's competitive career changes. They might start with their family doctor as their physician and later gain a Team Physician if they end up on a team of athletes that train together.

Having these people found in advance is an advantage because what if a situation arises and you, for example, break your leg, and you don't even have a family doctor. Instead you are going to walk-in clinics where you get random doctors who are barely out of medical school and have no experience with sports injuries.

Find these people in advance, and then begin training.

Amateur athletes won't think that will need a team of support staff, and thus won't bother to get them. That means no coaching, no nutritional advice, they might have a family doctor but not necessarily a doctor familiar with sports injuries, and they definitely won't have a physical therapist who specializes in sports injuries.

Coaching obviously is going to be a big factor as well. Coaching doesn't necessarily happen every day however. It might be once per week or even once every two weeks. Coaches are usually also available via phone or email to answer questions the athlete might have.

As athletic trainers go coaches fulfill three important roles:

#1. Knowledge Base - to provide the athlete with a plethora of knowledge in their chosen sport with respect to learning how to best achieve results during competition, how to train towards specific goals, what exercises to be doing, any cross-training to be doing, how to create a training schedule, etc.

#2. Motivational Guidance - the coach is there to keep the athlete motivated, to keep trying harder in order to succeed.

#3. Mental Game - some athletes develop problems mentally and lose focus on what they are supposed to be doing. In archery for example professional archers will sometimes develop problems like "Target Panic" which is an anxiety that causes them to become anxious and then shoot too soon when they are not ready yet, or also "Gold Shy" is when an archer starts deliberately missing unconsciously or subconsciously. It is the coaches job to be part psychologist and cure the athlete of any mental problems they might be facing.

Note - My solutions to both of the above two problems is to either take a break from normal shooting and practice doing something different for fun (like shooting at moving targets), or to deliberately make the challenge harder so that the archer is forced to concentrate more.

Lastly, professional athletes Practice and Train 3 to 5 days per week, depending on their sport, and use their off days to rest and recuperate. This process of Training, Resting, Training, Resting, Training, Resting, Training, etc is continuous and allows for peak muscle growth and helps prevent sports injuries like repetitive strain.

People often think that professional athletes Train, Train, Train or Practice, Practice, Practice - however that is a bit of a misunderstanding. It is more of a Train, Rest, Practice, Rest process.

An amateur who doesn't know what they are doing might simply practice every day until they exhausted or hurt themselves. That might make logical sense to them at the time, but once they learn the horrors of the first serious sports injury they will either quit the sport or rethink how they are training.

This means the professional athlete makes a Training Schedule.

Lets say for example you are a competitive compound archer. Using the above order of training, what should your 4 week training schedule be?

Week 1
Sunday Training at Gym, Monday Rest, Tuesday Practice at Archery Range, Wednesday Rest, Thursday Training at Gym, Friday Rest, Saturday Practice at Archery Range.

Week 2
Sunday Rest, Monday Training at Gym, Tuesday Rest, Wednesday Practice at Archery Range, Thursday Rest, Friday Training at Gym, Saturday Rest.

Week 3
Sunday Practice at Archery Range, Monday Rest, Tuesday Training at Gym, Wednesday Rest, Thursday Practice at Archery Range, Friday Rest, Saturday Training at Gym.

Week 4
Sunday Rest, Monday Practice at Archery Range, Tuesday Rest, Wednesday Training at Gym, Thursday Rest, Friday Practice at Archery Range, Saturday Rest.

Week 5 = Start over at 1.

Now the above training schedule is just an example of one way a person could create a training schedule. There are literally thousands of different training schedules for hundreds of different sports online available for free.

Often a training schedule will also have dates set aside for specific events, such as competitions. In the example marathon training schedule below there are dates set aside for specific marathons and events like the "National 1/2 Marathon", or the "Cherry Blossom 10 Mile", or the "Flying Pig Marathon".


Professional Equipment

Depending on the sport it is a good idea to be training with the best equipment you can find. This often means equipment that is more expensive, more durable, less likely to have problems, more adaptable, easier to use, etc.

Having the most expensive / "best" equipment isn't always a necessity however. In the world of competitive weightlifting for example it doesn't matter whether your weights are homemade or made of solid gold, 50 lbs is still 50 lbs regardless of what it is made of.

Thus for people on a budget they should be thinking in terms of the necessities. eg. A marathon runner will want a good pair of shoes and a source of water at intervals during practice runs. (Tip, if you plan your jogging route along Starbucks they give out free water. All you have to do is ask for it.) Nobody cares what the marathon runner is wearing, so any old pair of pants or shorts and a t-shirt will do. Wearing skin tight breathable fashion is not a necessity and if anything you will look silly wearing that when you are not in an actual marathon.

Conclusions

This is just a brief overview of the differences between professional athletes and amateur athletes. The following are just a few of the fundamental differences between those athletes who take seriously what they are doing and those who simply don't care, and thus are really just amateurs. That perhaps is the most fundamental difference of all. Professional athletes take everything seriously. Amateurs do not.
  • Food and Nutrition
  • Team of Support Staff, including Coaching
  • Train, Rest and Practice + Training Schedule
  • Professional Equipment

There is one last thing unfortunately... Money. You may have noticed that buying nutritional food is more expensive than buying sugary and fatty foods. Coaching is likewise expensive, as is having support staff even if you only talk to them once per month. Having all that training time might mean you don't have time for a normal 9 to 5 job either, so having money saved up so you can have time off to train is a necessity too. And of course money for equipment. Some sports are very expensive. Others less so. You might need to buy gym memberships, club memberships, etc to get access to equipment that is too expensive to buy normally, or you might decide you absolutely need that equipment so you can use it all the time - in which case it might be very expensive.

Also please note that most professional athletes (with the exclusion of team sports like baseball, hockey, football, soccer, tennis, golf, cycling, etc) don't actually make a lot of money in their chosen field. Some do because they are well paid members of a team, but most sports don't have a lot of big sponsors and thus the prize money is a lot smaller.

Thus if you manage to win some prize money that money will probably go right back into your budget for food, coaching, equipment, etc. Don't expect to be making a living off the sport.

Note - This is probably why gambling is such a problem in many professional sports. An athlete who deliberately loses can sometimes make more money losing than they can by winning. eg. Boxers taking a dive. Even big name events like the Olympics are rife with gambling, although it isn't often talked about.

Thus if you are getting into a competitive sport you really should be doing it for the right reasons. To try and attain that goal. Trying to do it for lesser reasons like greed isn't going to help you. Greed is only going to hold you back from what should be your real goal: Attaining Perfection.

Sportsmanship and Giving Back to the Community

It is my personal opinion that a true athlete should also at least attempt to be a good sportsman, to be generous and kind to their fellow athletes, and to give back to the sports community by donating their time and effort towards causes that helps the sport.

They should also admonish activities that give the sport a bad reputation, like fighting on the ice in hockey, or dentist bowhunters who poach lions for kicks, or cyclists who resort to using steroids in order to win the Tour de France. Such behaviour needs to be admonished and discouraged so that younger generations of athletes know and understand that the sport should not be defined by a few bad eggs who are violent, immoral and cheat.

Sometimes one of the best things a famed athlete can do is to simply show up, sign autographs and shake the hands of a younger generation.



If you want to read more articles like this please subscribe to CardioTrek.ca or bookmark this page and come back for more. The above post is Part One of a new series of posts about Training for Professional Athletes.

Gym Personal Trainers and Why I Don't Like Them

Many years ago, long before I became a personal trainer myself, I signed up for a gym membership here in Toronto and got a complimentary session with one of the gym's personal trainers. (This happened twice on separate occasions when I signed up for different gym memberships, revealing to me that gym personal trainers have a lot of flaws.)

Former Mayor Rob Ford with Personal Trainer.
Sometimes trainers are hired for their physique, not their skills.
Now I want to point a few things out before I get into this...

Gym Personal Trainers are low paid, often un-certified, and seem to just make it up as they go along. Having spoken to multiple gym personal trainers I have determined a number of things.

They are often paid as little as $17 to $19 per hour (minus taxes/etc), but the gym charges $60 to $120 per hour for their services. This is compared to normal personal trainers which often charge between $30 to $120 per hour - but they make that full amount, minus taxes/etc.

Take into account that personal trainers at the gym are often un-certified and give shoddy advice, and you would probably wonder if you are overpaying for their services.

From my experience with gym personal trainers, they do the following:

#1. They don't really write much down.

A complimentary session is more of a sales pitch and not a very good one. They ask you your weight, your height, calculate your BMI, and they use a machine or some other method to give you an estimate of your Body Fat Percentage (BFP). This process is basically designed for them to waste time as they try to make it look like they know what they are doing. They may also ask if you want to lose weight and if so, how much. Often at this point they will get out a calculator because they lack the mental skills to perform the simple task of subtracting one number from another. Beyond your BMI, BFP and finding out how much weight you want to lose, they don't write anything else down because their primary goal during a complimentary session is to get you to sign up for more sessions.

A real personal trainer should have a notebook, tablet or similar device - and be recording goals, setting a timeline / schedule, taking note of what types of exercise to focus on, etc. Details matter and unless you have an eidetic memory like I do, then you need to write those details down. (Note - I write these things down anyway, more as a matter of record keeping for the client than as personal notes for myself. I like keeping records of everything.)

#2. They barely even mentioned food.

I found this to be bizarre. 90% of weight loss is eating habits, and it is a big factor to weightlifters / bodybuilders as well, because if they are not getting their protein and veggies, then they cannot bulk up as quickly as they could be. People who are not eating properly are really just delaying their goals or preventing their goals from happening at all. (Especially if the gym visitor goes out for a cheeseburger after their workout every time.)

A real personal trainer has to be part coach and part nutritionist. If they are not advising you on food matters, at least offering to give you advice (regardless of whether you accept it), then they are really only doing half of their job.

#3. 20 Minutes on the Treadmill.

Both times that I had complimentary sessions years ago the gym personal trainers stuck me on a treadmill and left me there for 20 minutes while they went to read email, play on their cellphone, and basically do nothing for 20 minutes. The one trainer actually did this THRICE during the same session. 20 minutes on the treadmill followed by 15 minutes on the rowing machine, followed by another 10 minutes on an elliptical. He basically wasted 45 minutes of the 1 hour session goofing off on his cellphone while I did all the work.

A real personal trainer shouldn't be wasting your time watching you do 10, 15 or 20 minutes of the same activity while they do little or no work. If you are paying $60 per hour for example, and you just spent 45 minutes on a treadmill/etc, then you just spent $45 on having the trainer stand there and play on their cellphone. The other 15 minutes of your personal training session better have some pretty valuable advice otherwise you just got ripped off.

#4. Not Correcting Your Technique.

If you watch gym personal trainers you will notice their clients struggling to perform an exercise (a Burpee for example) and the trainer does nothing to help the client correct their technique. Nothing. Zip.

A real personal trainer should be helping you use correct form so you don't hurt yourself / develop a sports injury. Serious sports injuries are even grounds for a lawsuit if it causes permanent damage.

#5. Bosu Balls and other Fads.

I hate Bosu Balls. I just plain refuse to use them. That doesn't mean people cannot use them, but having been on the receiving end I will tell you that some gym personal trainers have a tendency to overuse these devices. The purpose of a Bosu Ball is to build balance muscles, mostly in the legs and core. However they are mostly useless for the vast majority of people's goals of losing weight or gaining muscle. Unless you are dancer, a gymnast or someone wanting to increase your balance, then there is no reason for you to be using a Bosu Ball. In my experience Bosu Balls are the result of a fad that really took off and some gym personal trainers are "one trick wonder gadgeteers" who are obsessed with one gadget and have all of their clients use the same gadget, regardless of what the client's goals are.

A real personal trainer custom tailors their sessions to the client's needs and goals, and uses whatever tools available that suit those goals. They don't force ridiculous gadgets on clients because it is the latest fad.

#6. Exhausted and Demotivated.

Anyone can make you exhausted. Trying playing tag with a five year old and you will get a pretty good cardio. A personal trainer who sticks you on an elliptical for 20 minutes, weights for 20 minutes and a bosu ball for 20 minutes will have tired you out. Will you have learned anything? Nope. Will you be motivated to do that over again next time? Nope. You don't really need a personal trainer to make yourself exhausted and demotivated, you can do that pretty well by yourself.

A real personal trainer gauges your exhaustion levels and schedules breaks into your training session and uses that time to feed you advice about proper form, attaining better results, nutrition, etc. They should also be using their time to say things that are encouraging so you feel like you've accomplished something when you are done and feel motivated to do it again.

Conclusions

Having bore witness to the kind of amateur nonsense that gym personal trainers do, I have to conclude that they are really just there to make money and have very little interest in helping clients achieve their goals. They waste your time and your money and give a bad rep to personal trainers.

Often gym personal trainers are simply people who are in good shape who needed a "job". It isn't a career to them. Just another job that they will quit when they find something better.

Happy Exercising!

The Pet Project, Part One - Our Cat is Fat

A little over a month ago my girlfriend and I got a cat. Her name is Victoria.

We got her via Pet Smart and the Toronto Humane Society. She is a rescue cat, meaning her previous owner was either unfit to take care of her, she was abandoned on the streets, etc. It is unclear the origins of our cat.

What we do know is that she is between 2 and 2.5 years old, has spent a good chunk of time locked in cage and unable to run, jump and climb through much of her time at the Toronto Humane Society. My understanding is that they do let the pets out once per day to get some exercise, but a half hour or hour per day is clearly not enough exercise for a cat.

Thus, soon after getting her home we started to realize that our precious cat, Victoria, was fat and out of shape. She was certainly well fed, but she clearly lacked exercise. As cats go she doesn't always land on her feet, and she isn't particularly graceful.

Sometimes when playing and she fails to execute a jump properly she looks all embarrassed and takes a break to rest.

As a personal trainer I am accustomed to helping humans to lose weight, gain muscle, build endurance, etc. However I have never tried to apply those ideas to helping a fat cat lose weight and become more graceful. Thus it got me thinking. If our cat has a regimented diet which we can easily control, all she really needs is more exercise.

Now I should note we do play with the cat every day. Usually several times in the morning, several times in the afternoon, and once or twice in the evening. Mostly because our cat demands a lot of attention. eg. If we don't feed her at 6:30 AM she starts eating the cord for the lamp next to the bed until we finally feed her. One time I was awoken around 6 AM because she was licking my forehead. So not only does she demand attention, she knows how to demand food.

Before embarking on this "Pet Project" of personal training for our cat, I decided to weigh our cat... This actually took me several days to do... Our cat doesn't like to sit still for very long when she knows she has our attention.

In order to weigh her I first weighed a basket, then using a feather cat toy I managed to coax her into the basket, let her have the toy so she will lay down. Check the weight on the scales, subtract the weight of the basket, and voila, our cat weighs 14.1 lbs.

Now I am not a firm believer in BMI charts, because frankly they can be skewed by anyone with a higher than average muscle mass or bone density. Some of us, myself included, have more than our fair share of muscle and bone density. This is due to exercising a lot. Thus BMI is completely useless for anyone who is athletic and muscular.

Believe it or not however there is a whole field out there of people who specialize in animal health - they're called "veterinarians", which in theory should be complete with BMI charts designed for cats. Like the chart below which uses length of the cat vs the rib cage circumference... As if my cat would sit still long enough and not attack the tape measure while I am trying to measure her length and rib cage circumference.


I also found this "BFI Chart", measuring the cat by Body Fat Index. I would estimate based on this visual comparison that our cat is in the 30 to 40 range. So she isn't super over weight, but she is certainly not sleek, graceful and ready to pounce. Whether you do a detailed visual examination or just guess what category your cat looks like, it seems to amount to roughly the same thing: A vague estimate.


 Doing a rudimentary check of whether you can even feel your cats rib cage is one way to determine if your cat is overweight. If you can easily feel their ribs, your cat is likely a good weight and is low risk for health problems. If you have difficulty finding their ribs your cat is likely overweight. If you can't feel your cats ribs at all, they are probably obese. The same technique is also recommended by vets for checking if your dog is over weight.

Sadly I could not find a proper cat BMI chart. So I have very little to compare it to when considering that our cat weighs 14.1 lbs. Nobody it seems has invested any time or effort in researching weight vs length of cats. You would think there be at least one veterinarian out there who has decided to create a BMI chart for cats... but alas, none of them has.

And perhaps rightly so, since BMI is widely considered to be inaccurate due to muscle weight skewing the results.

However I do know this. The so-called "normal" weight for a cat is 8 to 12 lbs, with males weighing typically 2 to 4 lbs more than females. So our female cat is likely 2+ lbs over weight.

During my research I did find a form to fill out if you think your cat or dog is overweight. It is at http://www.petmd.com/healthyweight, however the form refuses to work if you don't input an acceptable breed of cat. Our cat is a mix of Persian, Russian Blue and Calico - and their form wouldn't accept any of those breeds, and their website server crashed and gave a message that their server was being reset. Once it did reset, I tried the breed names over again, and again it refused to accept Persian, Russian Blue or Calico as breeds.

So what I learned from this is that PetMD's website both doesn't accept Persian Russian Blue or Calico to be breeds of cats, but apparently their website crashes easily. Not impressed.

Anyway, now that I know our cat is 14.1 lbs I can use that as a starting point. Once per week, for the duration of this "Pet Project", I am going to write another post about our cat's health, what exercises I have her doing, and any changes in her health, weight, gracefulness and ability to jump through the air and catch feather cat toys.




If you want to read a past project I did you may consider reading "30 Days as a Vegetarian". Which I determined does promote weight loss, but some of that weight loss apparently was a loss of muscle mass. I also determined that I really missed bacon, that being vegetarian is really hard to do and that it is not very practical in a world where many foods has meat in it. In the future I might do another 30 days on a specific diet, like maybe "30 Days on a Paleo Diet" or something like that.

Training Montages - What they get right and get wrong

"There is a saying, a very old saying: When the pupil is ready the master will appear."
- Zorro, played by Anthony Hopkins, in The Mask of Zorro

Movies in my experience are the worst ways to learn anything. They trivialize the act of training for months or years down to a training montage that lasts less than 4 minutes. Like in the montages below for The Mask of Zorro, Rocky Balboa and Captain America.

The Mask of Zorro Training Montage


Rocky Balboa Training Montage


Captain America Training Montage


Now how many things in the above 3 montage videos did they actually get right?

#1. Attacking in anger is apparently something not to do, and a bit of a trope.
#2. Lots of physically challenging stuff.
#3. Stay aware of your surroundings.
#4. Use brains over brawn - the flagpole exercise in Captain America is actually supposed to be a team building exercise, wherein they form a human ladder to get the flag.
#5. The videos work as motivation inspiration for people who want to exercise / train for a specific sport or activity.

Watching the videos won't make a person a better swordsman, a professional boxer or a super soldier - that much is clear. Most of what you see in the videos are just there for entertainment purposes - designed to look good, funny, impressive, all the while ignoring the long training process it actually took to get there. After all - they can't bore the audience with 3 months worth of footage. They have to boil it down, which is why training montages typically last 3 minutes, the amount of time that a typical audience can watch something without getting bored.

In contrast some TV shows actually get more real exercises into their shows, mostly because of two things: 1. They are not crippled by a 120 minutes of normal film run time and instead have perhaps twenty 44 minute long episodes to work with. 880 minutes means they can get a fair amount of training time in, a little bit in each episode. Take for example the compilation video below from the TV show "Arrow", in which they often mix training scenes with dramatic dialogue in order to convey the idea that the hero is continuously training, and they save time regularly by mixing the training scenes with dialogue. Bonus - Many of the training things, like handstand pushups for example, are actually doable by people looking for a challenge.

Compilation of Workout Scenes from the TV show "Arrow"


There is one issue that many training montages either skip over or pay only lip service to:

The need for an instructor.

Some training montages skip having an instructor entirely, some manage to have one but take more of a "wax on, wax off" approach (as per The Karate Kid franchise), and then wanders off while the student trains alone.

In The Mask of Zorro, we have Don Diego De La Vega, who takes a more hands on approach - but apparently also spends half the time drinking wine and smoking cigars.

In Rocky Balboa he has multiple people helping him train, but they're not really teaching him anything new that he doesn't already know.

In Captain America the instructor is replaced by an army drill sergeant who really spends more time yelling at and insulting his troops rather than teaching them anything.

In Arrow, the hero has multiple different instructors - who all inevitably seem to end up dead, and then he ends up training others.

The "dead instructor" is even a bit of a trope in films, as they often train the hero of the story and often ends up dead either after training the hero, turns out to be the villain and then dies, dies halfway through the story, etc. In films meant for children the instructor is often injured or kidnapped instead of dying, as death is considered to be too much of a downer for kids.

Examples:

Obi Wan in Star Wars, dies after he only partially trains Luke Skywalker.

Yoda in Star Wars, dies after he finishes training Luke Skywalker.

Splinter of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles franchise, is kidnapped during the first film.

It is basically classic storytelling: The master / instructor / teacher is kidnapped / injured / killed and then the hero(es) must go and rescue / avenge their fallen master.

Now in real life, if you get a trainer / instructor, they don't normally die unless it is of old age*. (In which case, if they are that old, why haven't they retired yet?)

They train you, often once per week or maybe several times per week, and the only negative part of this relationship is that they send you a bill for their services once per month roughly.

In conclusion training montages are really only good for motivating yourself to go exercise, train, perhaps even have fun while training - but you aren't going to learn anything truly valuable from them.

Most of the value and wisdom you gain will be from having an instructor, a personal trainer, your own personal Jedi master essentially. So regardless of whether you are hoping to lose weight, train in a sport, or become a superhero - having an instructor certainly helps.



* The example I am thinking of is the case of Awa Kenzo, who kept training people in Kyudo despite becoming old and sick. He probably should have retired, but he kept training his students anyway. There is a story told by his students of how he went for a walk one wintry day with several of his students and they noticed he was dripping blood in the snow. He responded by saying:

"This too, is training."

Specialized Personal Training - Catering to the Needs of the Client

On several occasions I have been contacted by men who are into MMA (so-called "Mixed Martial Arts") who are looking for a trainer who trains MMA fighters.

Every time someone contacts me for this particular specialized kind of sports training I laugh. Not so much because it is funny, but for several reasons.

#1. I actively make fun of the "sport" of "Mixed Martial Arts". I don't consider it to be a real sport compared to boxing, for example. It is not a "Martial Art" either. Visually speaking, it is an activity wherein one man jumps on the other man, they wrestle and then the one on the top start punching (if you can call those punches) the one on the bottom. There is almost no fighting skill required either, as MMA has the same level of technique utilized by chimps or gorillas fighting each other - or little kids fighting in a schoolyard. No noticeable skill. Just brute force. It is a sport for gorillas and like minded individuals.

Boxing on the other hand is a sport for gentlemen (in a broad sense of the term). Boxing has rules (no punching below the belt, no kidney punches, etc) and your goal in a boxing match is to score more points (hits) than your opponent. The sport of professional boxing therefore has seen many upsets over the years as savvy boxers will focus on scoring more points than their opponent, and win the match through points. Winning a match via KO (Knock Out) doesn't actually mean the opponent was knocked out cold. It simply means they didn't get back on their feet before the count of 10. There is also a TKO (Technical Knock Out), which is when the ring physician declares that one or more fighters are not healthy enough to continue.

Thus someone contacting me asking for MMA training is a bit like contacting a vegan and asking for tips on how to fry bacon. You are asking the wrong person!

#2. Why is the person contacting me not contacting someone who specializes in training MMA fighters? Wouldn't it make more sense to hire a professional MMA coach or perhaps a former MMA champion who has retired and might be tempted to start coaching?

This is what I mean by Specialized Personal Training. You contact someone who is a Specialist in the field you are seeking to learn about, because they are an expert in that field and you will learn far more from them than you would from someone who is not an expert in that field.

It would be like contacting a piano teacher and asking them to teach you how to play the bagpipes. It just doesn't make any sense. I laugh because again, for a separate reason, you are asking the wrong person!

#3. Several of the people who contacted me asking for MMA training were clearly amateurs trying to get into MMA fighting - and clearly had no clue what they were doing. Thus the visual image of a complete amateur getting beat up on the floor gorilla-style was inherently funny to me.

#4. The phenomenon of MMA in North America is pretty much limited to the type of gorilla-minded individuals who think what they are seeing is entertainment. You get the same level of entertainment watching actual gorillas fight. It is always the same thing too. The two gorillas attack each other. One gorilla realizes he is outmatched and tries to keep his distance. Eventually their struggle back and forth meets a climax when the two gorillas roll on the ground and one gorilla pounds the other. Don't believe me? Search for "gorillas fighting" on YouTube and then compare what you see to MMA videos. Any time people mention MMA I laugh, either aloud or in my head. MMA is basically a joke.

If you want to be entertained more, try watching the recent Planet of the Apes movies. The fight scene between Cesar and Koba will suffice.

Specialized Personal Training

There are many kinds of personal trainers - and no two trainers are completely alike. For example:

Weight Loss Personal Trainers (sole focus on cardio exercises).

Weight Loss Personal Trainers / Nutritionists (similar, but heavier focus on diet).

Sports Trainers / Coaches for Specific Sports (eg. boxing trainer, Olympic skiing coach, figure skating coach, marathon coach, football coach, etc).

Muscle Gain Personal Trainer (sole focus on weight lifting).

Body Building Personal Trainer (sole focus on weight lifting, with an eye for competitive bodybuilding).

Powerlifting Personal Trainer (sole focus on competitive weight lifting).

Examples of Specialized Personal Trainers in Toronto

In Alphabetical Order

Briar Munro - Holistic fitness for women.

Charles Moffat - Archery instructor and general fitness personal trainer.

Dena Ryde - Pre and post-natal personal trainer for soon-to-be moms and new moms.


Gary Roberts - Former pro-hockey player turned personal trainer. Only trains young hockey players.

Greg Hetherington - Former pro-football player turned personal trainer. If your goal is football or rugby, he is your guy.

Joanna Zdrojewska - Olympic weight lifting trainer.

Joel N.M. Kerr, Dr. - Rehab personal trainer.

Kathleen Trotter - Weight loss and general fitness personal trainer.

Lyzabeth Lopez - Gymnastics, aerobics and body shaping.

Melissa Wessel - Strength training for women.

Nick Vernelli - Olympic weight lifting trainer.

Sarah Davis - General fitness personal trainer.

Steve Ashalou - Sports therapist / massage therapist and weight loss personal trainer.

Toronto has many other personal trainers, but you have to realize that each one has their specialties. Don't waste your time with a personal trainer who is doing something other than what you actually want to be doing.

So for example if you are looking for a MMA coach, contact a MMA coach. If you are looking for an archery instructor or general fitness, contact me. I also teach boxing, swimming and ice skating depending on the season.

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Cardio Trek limited time offer!

For a limited time sign up for 50 hours of personal training sessions for $1400 (regularly priced at $1500).

Or save $250 by signing up for 100 hours of personal training sessions for $2500 (regularly priced at $2750).

Offer expires on March 31st 2014 and is valid only to residents of Downtown Toronto / Uptown Toronto. (If you are not sure if you live within the area, email cardiotrek@gmail.com and ask.)

In other news Arnold Schwarzenegger recently went "undercover" at Gold's Gym in California to raise awareness about fitness / health and an after school fitness program.



Self Discipline Vs Hiring a Personal Trainer

When it comes to both exercising and dieting one of the biggest obstacles for many people is simply to self discipline themselves and find motivations to stick with their exercise / diet regime.

It is very easier to start an exercise or diet regime, but much harder to stick with it when it starts to become a challenge.

Over time people start making exceptions and excuses and it is important to make a distinction between the two.

An exception is when you have no other choice in the circumstances. eg. You get invited to Christmas Dinner at your parents' home and your mother insists you try the new recipe she made using brown sugar, milk chocolate, caramel, maple syrup and other very sugary things. Yes, in theory you could refuse. But it is your mother! You are obligated to try it due to the special circumstances.

An excuse is when you say "I won't exercise today because it is raining."

So let us stop and discuss some Techniques to Strengthen Self-Discipline

#1. Know your goal, know it well and work towards it.

If you want it bad enough, there's no reason why you cannot achieve it! Sure, you may have to wake up early to exercise, or exercise after work when you are already tired. Maybe you even have to give up something for a while (like a favourite TV show you can always watch later) to get it done, but if it's important, you must harden up and face the fact that you won't reach your goal by wishing for it. You have to WORK for it.

This is a good time to practice visualization. Imagine crossing the finish line, buying clothes a couple of sizes smaller, going swimming without feeling embarrassed. Understand your goal and what you have to do to obtain the result. You can even make a before photo and imagine your after photo that you will take when you succeed.

#2. Remember how it feels when you succeed at things.

Think back to other achievements in your life. How did they make you feel? No matter how much you hate exercising, everybody agrees that the feeling afterward is worth the effort. Feeling good for the rest of the day, having more energy, and enjoying the accomplishment is something to remember when you are not feeling motivated. Thinking to yourself "this does feel good to know I am making progress and I'll feel great when it's over," will help to get you started and keep you going.

#3. Some effort is required.

When the going gets tough you need to be even tougher on yourself to make sure you do it.

If you are already working out, you should do a good job. Even if you don't feel 100% full of energy at least try to go a little farther than your mind wants to go. Obviously this does not apply to exercising over injuries or over training - but if you aren't injured then don't be afraid to push yourself further.

People can have trouble pushing themselves on their own, and it causes the workout to become sloppy, and not very effective. If you're already out there, and you're taking the time and energy, make it worth something!

#4. Hire a personal trainer to give you an extra push.

Need help? Time to hire a personal trainer once per month, once per week, once every two weeks. Whatever you need to accomplish your goal. You could hire me if you live in Downtown / Uptown Toronto, but ideally you should hire a personal trainer you feel comfortable with and they work hard to keep you motivated and on track.

If you are looking for a personal trainer in Leaside (where I now live) let me know and I can help you out. I am here to help!

True, hiring a personal trainer is more expensive than self-disciplining yourself, but it also pushes you further and helps to keep you on track for working towards your goals.

What to Look for in a Personal Trainer in Toronto

Anyone who is looking to hire their own personal trainer needs to understand what needs to be found in a personal trainer so you can get the biggest "bang for your buck", but also needs to understand that not every trainer is suitable for them on a personality level. Some people need a personal trainer who is more bossy (like a drill sergeant), while many others need a personal trainer who is more like a mentor who can teach them and motivate them in a friendly manner.

Knowing what you are looking for - and what to look for in a personal trainer will make your experience working with a trainer safe, effective, and more fun. If you are looking for a personal trainer it is important that they have all qualities listed below so you have the best resource in helping you reach your health and fitness goals.

Below are some of the qualities you should be looking for in a personal trainer:

Education - Make sure that your trainer has at minimum a certification from reputable organizations such as Elite Trainers, CanFitPro or similar organization. (Note: There is no legal requirement that personal trainers have a certification, but it is nice to know they have been trained and passed the appropriate tests.)

Experience - You need to know how much practical experience your trainer has and how successful they have been with their past clients. Ask the trainer about their past trainees, how much they workout themselves, have they worked for any gyms, have they worked with any other trainers to better understand this profession to provide you with the best experience.

Compassionate / Goal Oriented - A good trainer should be like a mentor / sidekick during your health and fitness journey, but a great and caring trainer will be with you beyond that and should always be your resource for health and fitness exercises even after you stop going to them regularly.

Excellent Communication Skills - The trainer must be able to communicate his/her knowledge about health and fitness with their clients for them to understand and implement into their daily life. If the trainer has a website read what things they have written and see how easy it is to understand them. Even better if they have demonstration videos. Also the trainer must allow the client to feel comfortable and confident to speak about his/her goals or what the client is feeling before, during and after the sessions.

Understanding the Clients Limitations - A great trainer knows and understands their clients limitations while exercising and the trainer should be able to respect his/her clients limitations. eg. To prevent possible exercise injuries a good trainer should also know when NOT to push the trainee so hard.

Appearances and Practicing What They Preach - Your personal trainer needs to be putting his/her self through the fitness and nutrition that they put their clients through. The trainer must be passionate about the way they look and feel. It is okay if they break their own rules once in awhile (nobody is perfect), but they should not be a complete couch potato when it comes to their own exercise routine.

Motivation, Encouragement and Enjoyment - A good trainer can make fun, safe and effective exercises - and should encourage the client to try new things. The client should look forward to each workout instead of it being something they dread. A great trainer will find and use motivation to propel their client towards their goal.

Over time you will develop a long term relationship with your trainer, becoming confident that you are getting excellent and insightful fitness advice from your trainer. There are many personal trainers in Toronto and the GTA. Find the one which is right for you!

Scheduling a Personal Trainer

Honestly.

I am so busy sometimes I don't know how I manage to fit in personal training clients half the time. It makes me tempted to raise my rates again.

Case in point. Most of my evenings and weekends are booked pretty solid. If someone wants a training sessions they need to book in advance, sometimes weeks in advance if they want a specific time slot.

The times I am most available are weekday mornings and afternoons - and even those are filling up on specific days.

So if a client asks me for a session on an evening or weekend, I look at my schedule, I look at their location, and I go "Hmm. Yes I can make it." or "Hmm. Nope, can't fit it in." And there is a lot more nopes lately.

But I am not planning to raise my rates any time soon. Maybe in the Spring I will raise my personal training rate to $40 per hour. But for now I will leave it as is.



Five Steps Toward A Beach Perfect Body

If your goal is to lose weight and attain a "Beach Perfect Body" then you need to get your fitness program off to an effective start, or make modifications to your existing exercise regimen and diet, to achieve the body you want with these five steps:

#1. Know Your Goals

The first question you really should ask yourself is, "Do I want to lose weight, or build muscle?"

Because if you don't know the answer to that you won't be able to go after that goal properly. It's best to focus on just one goal at a time because if you try to do both at once you will feel demotivated when you don't see immediate results in terms of weight loss (plus muscle weighs more than fat, so you will actually gain weight as you put on muscle). Muscle gain takes time, but in the beginning you can actually gain muscle faster than the speed you lose fat. So in an one month period you could actually gain 10 lbs - from gaining say 15 lbs of muscle and losing 5 lbs of fat. This speed of muscle gain is mostly due to muscle memory and the fact you are just starting. It will slow down dramatically within the first year. To avoid all the confusing aspects of trying to gain muscle and lose weight simultaneously you are better off focusing on your weight loss goal FIRST, and then adding the muscle later when your body has become a more effective machine. Your ultimate goal will depend on factors such as food consumption, time spent doing cardio exercises, time spent in the gym weightlifting, and your workout intensity will effect how quickly you reach your primary goal. Then once your primary goal is reached then you can focus on secondary goals. It is simply more efficient to focus on one goal at a time.

#2. Don't Focus on Losing a Specific Weight

This goes double for trying to gain "10 lbs of muscle". Stop thinking about measuring things that way. Instead just focus on doing your exercises and the feeling you get during and after the exercise when you know you've had a good workout. Don't worry about lifting a specific weight either or trying to beat your record time for jogging around the block. Muscle fibers are most effectively stimulated for growth at fatigue around 8-10 reps. That means that sprinting for 10 seconds or lifting a single weight 10 times will cause muscle growth. Additional sets of reps is to ensure that you rip extra muscles so you can bulk up a bit faster and jogging further than a 10 second sprint is so you can burn additional calories. Focus on your goals and the positive feelings you get from exercising / having fun, and stop worrying about how quickly you can bulk up or how quickly you can lose weight.

#3. Exercise according to your Schedule

Don't go on a program that requires five days in the gym, if you know you're only good for two days per week. It's great to be ambitious but without being realistic your dreams are just a fantasy. If you're short on time plan for an intense 30 or 45 minute workout - even if it is at home. If you only have a pair of dumbbells, plan to use exercises that only focus on what you have available to you and explore different ways to use those dumbbells to get better results and use different muscles.

#4. Remember that Good Nutrition is over 70% of Results

The attitude that "I can eat whatever I want because I work out!" isn't helping you. Sure, it will help you maintain your current weight - but if your goal is weight loss you are really shooting yourself in the foot by binging on junk food after you workout. Eat healthy, eat smart and you will see much faster results. You won't just see physical changes like more toned muscles and shiny hair but you will also notice mental results such as more energy, feeling more clear headed, and being happier.


#5. Hire a Personal Trainer in Toronto

What do athletes do when they train for a competition? They hire a coach. If you know you are making mistakes with your exercise routine and need to correct your bad habits, your form, etc then you really need a coach who can tell you what to do, how to do it properly, and stay motivated so you keep doing it.

With safe and efficiently organized workouts, accountability and privacy, a personal trainer is the way to go for fast, long lasting results. If you live in Toronto hire me as your personal trainer. I offer custom exercise programs for every client based on their individual needs.

The Exercise Regimen of a Personal Trainer in Toronto

Q

"Hello!

I am looking to make my own exercise regimen. I am curious as to what you do for your own physical regimen?

Curious,
Lisa P."

A

Hello Lisa!

Honestly, I exercise as often as I have time and energy to do so. Which is a lot since I am often exercising with clients.

However there are days when I am not meeting clients and I do have a regimen that I do at home that mixes cardio with weightlifting, stretching and yoga.

My Personal Exercise Regimen

Music - While exercising I turn my special exercising playlist so I can exercise while listening to music. My musical tastes for exercising is a mix of the 70s, 80s and 90s... and includes songs like "Eye of the Tiger" and "Gonna Fly Now", two songs from the Rocky films. I deliberately choose songs that make me feel energetic.

#1. Stretches and yoga - Varies between 1 minute to 10 minutes, depending on what I feel like doing that day. Sometimes I skip the yoga entirely.

#2. Pushups. 100 of them. Typically I divide them up into 20 pushups at a time, 5 sets of 20. If I am feeling particularly energetic I may do more than that, but always in sets of 20.

#3. Jumping Jacks. I used to do 100 jumping jacks at a time, and aimed to do 5 sets of 100. But these days I am often doing 150 to 200 jumping jacks instead - and 4 or 5 sets of them. My endurance for jumping jacks has grown over time.

#4. Headstand Pushups. I do this upside down with my feet against the wall. Typically I do 20 at a time. They're very difficult and not for beginners. Sometimes I will do 2 or 3 sets of 20.

#5. Bicep Curls - How much weight I use varies. My lightest dumbbell is 15 lbs and the heaviest is 30. If I am lifting the 15s I will sometime do 50 reps or more. If I am using the 20s / 25s then I might do 30 reps. With the 30 lb dumbbells it is 20 to 25 reps. How many sets of reps also varies, depending on how tired I am, how energetic I feel. But usually I will aim to do at least 2 reps of each different type of dumbbell.

#6. Shoulder Lifts - Using the 15 lb dumbbells I lift up my arms sideways to a 90 degree angle and hold. Then I lower my arms slowly. I do this 20 times for 5 sets.

#7. Situps - I used to do a lot of situps but these days I have grown bored of them. When I do do situps it is 100 situps at a time, usually once in the morning and once in the evening before 8 PM.

#8. Tricep Lifts - Using the heavier dumbbells I start with my arms in a raised L position and then lift both dumbbells above my head and hold for a second. Lower them down slowly back to the L position and then repeat. 30 times, both arms at once. I aim to do this for 5 sets.

#9. Behind Head Tricep Holds - Using 1 dumbbell and holding the weights at both ends I lift it over my head and then lower it behind my head. When doing this you should feel the muscles in the backs of your arms (the triceps) straining. Repeat 10 to 15 times. Do 2 to 5 sets of this, or until you feel you've strained those muscles enough.

#10. Football Twists - Holding a football between both hands I twist left and then right 100 times (50 each side), twisting as far as my obliques will let me. This is more of a cardio / stretching exercise for the obliques, but I find it also increases muscle tone.

During the Winter I often increase how often I do my exercise routine because I know I don't go outside as often in the Winter. The intensity of my workout likewise goes up in the Winter.

After I complete all of the sets and reps I usually take a multi-vitamin and chase it down with a whey protein shake.

Now I should also note that during the day I also do a lot of other random things for exercise. Some of these random things include:

  • Fixing bicycles (restoring old bicycles is my hobby).
  • Woodworking and Sculpture (another hobby)
  • Boxing
  • Cycling
  • Rollerblading (in the Summer)
  • Swimming and Snorkeling (in the Summer)
  • Ice Skating (in the Winter)
  • Archery (Spring to Autumn)
  • Rock Climbing (Spring to Autumn)

I hope all of this has been helpful!

Sincerely,
Charles Moffat
Toronto Personal Trainer

The Free Gym Business Model + Investment Opportunity

This is somewhat off topic.

I have an idea for a Free Gym Business Model that I think has merit. Let me explain how it came about.

Yesterday while I was shopping in Canadian Tire I overheard this woman talking to customers from a display table where she was showing off a new product that got investment from the good folks on Dragons Den.

Meanwhile I have been playing with idea for years of a place similar to a gym called "The Workshop" where people could go to use power tools, welding equipment, etc - things that are too big to fit in their apartment or condo because they live in Downtown Toronto. For all intents and purposes it would be a workshop for people who like woodworking, sculpture, carpentry, welding, etc. It would follow the same basic business model as a gym - technicians instead of personal trainers, welding and carpentry classes instead of yoga and pilates, and people would pay a monthly fee to use the facilities just like you would at a gym.

Listening to the woman at Canadian Tire (who kept mentioning Dragons Den every so often, to the point it was annoying) I continued my shopping... meanwhile my brain was starting to work overtime as I thought of ways people could expand on the investment model. I must admit my thoughts were influenced by the recent Rob Ford Crackstarter campaign.

Amongst my ideas I came up with the concept of what I call "The Gym" - but unlike The Workshop idea, the focus of "The Gym" would be to make a workout place that is FREE to use.

Let me explain this concept.

#1. Don't hire any personal trainers. If personal trainers want to work there, fine. They are free to use the facilities just like they are free to use public parks.

#2. Use crowdfunding / crowdsourcing websites like Indiegogo and Kickstarter to raise the needed money to buy the building location, renovate it and buy all the exercise equipment.

#3. Part of the location is a protein bar - with 1 staff person who mixes protein shakes and sells them during peak hours of the day. The profits from the protein shake bar go towards buying new equipment, repairs, etc.

#4. Lots of natural lighting from skylights and windows. Cuts down on energy costs for lights.

#5. Equipment is designed to be durable and is basically bolted / welded to the ground so they cannot be stolen.

#6. Donation supported.

#7. Minimal janitorial staff.

#8. Energy drink machines. Powerade, Gatorade, etc.

#9. Showers and lockers are all coin operated.

#10. Buy stationary bicycle equipment and other resistance based exercise equipment that uses generators which feeds into a battery supply for the lights and air conditioning (which is set on low so it uses less energy).

Essentially you follow the premise of "less is more" to create a gym that is essentially free to use, but is donation supported and offers extra services like lockers, showers, protein shake bar, etc for a fee. Similar to how some libraries now have cafes in them so people can read a book while drinking a cappuccino.

When you think about that many gyms out there are charging people $70 to $100 per month (roughly $2.33 to $3.33 per day) and have hundreds of customers who are basically getting ripped off because gyms are overcharging for their services (and stealing from customer bank accounts / credit cards even when you cancel your membership) then the concept of a free gym starts to become a lot more appealing.

Even the YMCA in Toronto has a minimum fee of $47 per month depending on the location and the type of membership.

I should note that some recreation centres do have gyms already - but their hours are weird and not very convenient. And they do charge a fee for using their facilities. See http://www.toronto.ca/parks/fitness/membership.htm for more details.

Now you might think "Hey, you said this was a business model?!"

Yes, I did call it that. The reason why is because I think a so-called free gym still has the potential to turn a profit. Especially if you are the personal trainer who gets the ball rolling, starts a Kickstarter campaign, buys the building, gets all the equipment, etc... and then the gym is just there. And you are the personal trainer who is there all the time, offering your services.

If worse comes to worse you start charging a $2 daily fee for people to use the building - It would still be better than the gyms who are overcharging people and making millions in profits because then people are only paying for the days they actually use the facilities.

Speaking for myself I am busy expanding my personal training business right now, so I am not going to be opening a free gym any time soon. But I wanted to write this idea down for the future in the case I ever want to open my "dojo". (I don't want to open a normal gym for the general public. I want a private dojo for personal training sessions where I can also teach archery, boxing, etc. The reason is because some clients feel more comfortable working out in a setting where other people cannot watch them exercising.)

INVESTMENT OPPORTUNITY

Earlier today I created a new page on CardioTrek.ca asking for investors in my personal training business. You can read about the details of how I am intending to do it, as I am using an unusual crowdfunding approach to getting investors. If you are familiar with Indiegogo or Kickstarter you might think this idea has merit.

You can read about my crowdfunding or "crowd shares" approach to investments by clicking investment opportunity. Feel free to post comments on the idea.

So far I already have three friends who have agreed to become my first investors. My goal is to reach $50,000 so I can expand my business.

Are personal trainers worth the expense?

Do I need a personal trainer? Are personal trainers worth the expense?

These are two commonly asked questions by people contemplating whether they should get a personal trainer - and whether it is worth the cost.

Well, ask yourself the following questions...

#1. Am I making definite progress at a speed I find satisfactory?

#2. Am I struggling to find the motivation to stick with my exercise and dietary goals?

#3. Do I need an external push to make more of an effort?

When in doubt talk to some people who have previously hired a personal trainer to help them make accelerated progress and ask about their impressions, whether they felt it was worth it, etc.

Why is first hand references better? Well, first of all they cannot be faked, whereas client testimonials on a website could be faked and misleading. You are asking someone you already know to give their honest opinion - and they will either say it was a waste of time and/or money, or they will talk about how awesome it was having a personal trainer.

And to be fair, some people don't need a personal trainer. So there is always going to be some people who say personal training is a waste of time and money - because for them, it is.

But for the people who difficulty finding the right rhythm with their exercise routine, are not challenging themselves enough, don't feel motivated, and need an extra push then hiring a personal trainer is totally worth the expense.

Thus even if you don't hire me as your personal trainer in Toronto, I still fully endorse hiring someone else if you are the type of person who needs to be challenged and motivated to try harder.

Keep trying as hard as you can. Every little bit helps!

Lawyer suing NY personal trainer

A lawyer in Manhattan New York is suing a celebrity personal trainer in NYC.

What is interesting is WHY he is suing the personal trainer.

Manhattan attorney Neil Squillante signed up for some personal training sessions 3 years ago, the workouts were too intense for him and he is still in pain 3 years later.

Why? Because the workouts were so intense it ripped ligaments in his joints. The scrawny lawyer was apparently so skinny and underweight that his ligaments weren't used to the intensity of the muscle strain he underwent during the workouts that it ripped the ligaments.

Now I should note that for weightlifting, ripping muscle tissue is normal (“no pain, no gain”) and even desired because it builds new muscles tissue in-between the ripped tissue. However, ripping ligaments is not something you want to happen, because the damage is much more severe, painful, and crippling.

People who get into professional weightlifting and power-lifting are warned about the dangers of ripping ligaments. You have to know your limits and not take risks. Like muscle tissue, ligaments need time to grow and become stronger.

What the personal trainer in New York did was take a workout that they normally do with celebrity's like Beyoncé (Beyoncé is one of their former clients) and then give the same workout to a skinny lawyer who has been sitting at a desk almost every day for the last 10 years.

So I agree with the lawyer. The personal trainer who was training him should have known better to force such an intense workout on someone who's body wasn't ready for it.

What he needed was a more gradual workout program designed to toughen him up first, emphasizing endurance first and strength secondary. Smaller weights, less intensity, longer time period. That is what the personal trainer SHOULD have done.

Instead here is what happened...

#1. Prior to signing up for sessions Neil Squillante “lived a sedentary life with minimal physical activity, lacked physical strength and fitness . . . and had no experience with vigorous physical exercise or strength training.” As such the trainer should have known that in order to prevent injuries that this person would have to be introduced to intense workouts and weightlifting gradually.

#2. In April 2010 Neil Squillante signed up for personal training sessions with a Chelsea personal trainer, who is the Focus co-founder Gabriel Valencia, whose clients include the singer Beyoncé.

#3. He should have been started off gradually with mild workouts, small weights, low intensity and a focus on endurance first. Instead the workouts ended up being a series of intense sessions of squats and thrusts with a heavy medicine ball in what Squillante describes as "a torture session".

“Within a few days after his first physical training session, Squillante told Valencia by telephone that his arms were so sore from the workout that he could not lift them,” the lawsuit says. “Valencia chuckled and said that Squillante’s soreness was normal and nothing to worry about.”

Soreness in the arms, okay. But soreness in the joints so that he can't even lift his arms? That is a warning sign of damage to the ligaments. The personal trainer Gabriel Valencia SHOULD have halted the sessions immediately and counseled that he seek the attention of a doctor who specializes in sports injuries.

Instead Squillante went to two more sessions and ripped his ligaments even more. He ended up having severe damage to his knee, hip and pelvis due to multiple torn ligaments.

#4. Three years after several Neil Squillante still suffers “pain and weakness when he stands,” has trouble sitting “for reasonable periods,” and is in constant pain even when he is not standing or sitting. He rarely travels, has few work meetings, is unable to recruit staff (he runs a legal information service company), and has a diminished social life. He is basically a cripple.

#5. Neil Squillante filed a lawsuit on May 15th 2013 against the personal trainer Gabriel Valencia, his boss and the company.

I believe Neil Squillante absolutely deserves to win his lawsuit because that was gross incompetence on the part of the personal trainer who evidently wasn't used to training people who were that thin / unused to exercise and furthermore ignored the warning signs of a serious sports injury.

How to Hire an In Home Personal Trainer

Its Spring. April. The time of year when many young people want to start losing weight so they can get that "Beach Perfect Body" for the summer.

Chances are likely you spent the winter hibernating indoors (because lets face it, even Toronto gets cold in the winter despite being one of the warmer places in Canada). You might still even have some extra weight from Christmas, which is no big deal.

And if you are like me, you probably just ate a chocolate bunny or multiple chocolate eggs during Easter long weekend. Unlike me, you might not be so active that you burn off the extra sugar from the chocolate bunny so quickly.

So in an effort to stay on top of your personal fitness regimen, or get started on a program, since you've never really taken exercise seriously before, you start thinking about hiring a personal trainer. A personal trainer who will not only design a custom program to address your individual goals, strengths and limitations, but will also provide accountability, consistency and constant motivation to help achieve your goals more quickly, and in a healthy manner.


Now when it comes to in-home training services all you really need to do is find a personal trainer you like. Some people prefer more of a drill sergeant routine and some people prefer a personal trainer who is more like their best friend / coach. I am the latter, I am extremely talkative. Once you do find a trainer who suits your needs then you just need to workout a schedule, a location, a payment plan... and that is it! You're done.

The personal trainer comes to your house or condo or local park (some people prefer to train outdoors when the weather is nice) and you do your workout with privacy and without silly onlookers gawking at the person doing jumping jacks, punching a boxing pad, etc. Or maybe you are more confident and just don't care that people gawk at you.
 
The convenience of completing workouts in the comfort of your own home or condo gym helps make sure you stick to workouts because its part of a schedule and people crave regular schedules. Having a personal trainer who is punctual, extremely reliable, and results driven also means that you keep coming back for more (although maybe not until next year, when its that time to get ready for summer again).

The best part is once you get into the rhythm of regular exercise it becomes a lifestyle change and begin to feel younger, stronger, faster, fitter and more confident about yourself.


Don't just get in shape for Summer. Get in shape for LIFE!

St Patricks Sale - 43% Off

Get 10 1-Hour Sessions with a Personal Trainer in Toronto for $200 - Offer valid until St Patricks Day (March 17th 2013).

Regular rate is $350 for 10 sessions.


How to Save Money on Personal Trainers

Want to save money when hiring a personal trainer?

Here is some tips:

#1. Sign up for multiple months and pay in advance

You can sign up for auto-debit via PayPal or your bank, or pay the whole amount at once (for a bigger discount). The regular sessions with a Personal Trainer will keep you motivated to keep exercising and will teach you new things along the way.

Why? Because personal trainers (including myself) will give you a discount if you sign up for bulk lessons in advance.

eg. Paying in advance.
Sign up for 6 sessions over a 6-month period, get a 10% discount. ($35 x 6 x 0.9 = $189.00)
Sign up for 12 sessions over a 6-month period, get a 15% discount. ($35 x 12 x 0.85 = $357.00)
Sign up for 12 sessions over at a 12-month period, get a 15% discount. ($35 x 12 x 0.85 = $357.00)
Sign up for 24 session over at a 12-month period, get a 20% discount. ($35 x 24 x 0.8 = $672.00)

#2. Group Training Costs Less

Sign up for yourself and a friend (or a group of friends) and you can pay a group rate instead.

Lets say for example the Personal Trainer charges $35 per hour. But if you sign up for a 2-person rate of $50 per hour then you and your friend are only paying $25 each. Assuming both of you have similar exercise goals (eg. to lose weight, tone those abs, etc) then it will work out really well for you.

Organizing larger groups can be trickier, but it can be done if everyone has matching schedules and are willing to make the commitment. Plus its more fun / competitive with larger groups, and you save more money.

eg. A group of 5 people for $100 per hour is very reasonable. Its only $20 per person. The key therefore is to try and negotiate a better rate for you and your group, while still offering the personal trainer the opportunity to make more $$$ per hour.

#3. Try booking 90 Minute Sessions

Typically personal trainers do 1 hour sessions, but you can get more bang for your buck if you think you have the endurance to do 90 minute sessions. The trainer will give you a better discount and you get a heavier workout as a result. Plus you won't feel rushed.

To schedule a workout email me at charlesmoffat@charlesmoffat.com.

Now Certified by ELITE Trainers

I am now Certified as a Level One Personal Trainer by ELITE Trainers. The ELITE test is really freaking hard. It took me 4 days just to finish the test.

I am not kidding. It has 100 essay questions and you're expected to write a lot on each question. Its like running a marathon, except they're testing your knowledge of various exercises, body types, cardio, weightlifting, stretching, vitamins, supplements, how to make small talk, how to motivate clients, everything... it is a freaking grueling test.

But at least now I am "certified". That is the really stupid thing about the whole certification nonsense. There is no legal requirement to be a certified personal trainer. Its purely a social protocol. Anyone can become a personal trainer, but being certified really helps when it comes to advertising and getting new clients.

I am also thinking of getting my certification to become a Nutritional Consultant - which again, there is no requirement to do that, it is just handy to have because it looks good when trying to attract new clients. Which means I would have to write another test... another 100 essay questions on nutrition. And then the waiting to see if I failed.

That is the really tricky part with ELITE Trainers. You have to score 86 to 100% to pass the test. If you score 85% then you failed. They set their standards really high. I scored 88% on the Personal Trainer test, so I managed to pass, but I am not sure if I want to repeat that process because it was so incredibly difficult.

ELITE uses a ranking system whereby you can become a Level Two, Level Three, etc in various fields including Nutritional Consultant, Personal Trainer, Sports Instructor, Weightlifting / Bodybuilding Instructor, Yoga Teacher. The ranking system goes all the way up to Level Ten and you can only take the next level if you wait 6 months. So in six months I may go back and take the Level Two Test... but for now I shall just wait and see.

I might also get the Sports Instructor certification, seeing as I currently teach archery, boxing, ice skating and swimming, but its kind of unnecessary. I shall think about it. I am not certain I need another certification just for attracting clients.

The Path of Most Resistance

Do you dread going to the gym or exercising?

Do you have more negative memories about exercising than positive?

Do you treat your body poorly?

Do you talk about how miserable exercising makes you because you feel you aren't accomplishing anything?

Do you exercise less and less on a monthly basis?

Do you have fewer positive experiences with exercise every year?

If you answered yes to most of the questions above then you need to change the way you think about exercise and becoming a fitter, healthier, stronger, faster, more youthful you.

First of all consider the following formula:

TALENT X INVESTMENT = SUCCESS.

Talent is your natural talent to do something. If we were to rank your Strength for example on a scale of 1 to 20, with 10 being the average, how well would you rank? High? Low? And how high would you want that number to be? 14? 16? 18? 20 evidently would be amongst the strongest people on the planet and very rare. But a 14 isn't anything to sneeze at either.

Investment is the amount of time and effort you want to spend on a task. In this case the task might be losing weight, building strength, improving flexibility, or even just feeling better about your health.

Now lets pretend for a moment you are below average in your Strength. A mere 7. The local wimp who wants to be the next Charles Atlas (bodybuilder from the 1920s to 1970s). Is the young Mr Wimp going to accomplish anything special if he is only working on it 5 minutes per day? No, he won't, not when you consider there is 1,440 minutes in a day.

Now lets pretend for a moment young Mr Wimp decides he wants to really practice hard and aims higher, perhaps going for 1 hour per day. Well its better. But is 7 hours per week really enough to turn Mr Wimp into Charles Atlas? No, probably not. It will improve some of his muscle tone, but its not going to be anything spectacular. It might boost him up to an 8 or a couple more points higher given time.

No, what Mr Wimp really needs is a CHALLENGE. And its going to become a huge time commitment.

Think 3 hours per day, 5 days per week. Approx. 15 hours per week. If his goal is to be building muscle then he needs to lifting weights during those hours. He will be tired and sore afterwards, but if he has the mental fortitude to keep doing it then he will start to see results. Over time he will continue to challenge himself and build up his strength. If his final goal is a 16 Strength then it will take him years to accomplish, but it can be done if he invests the time.

He isn't going to accomplish this goal by being lazy and taking the path of least resistance. No. He has to take the Path of Most Resistance if he is going to accomplish this goal.

Now I am not suggesting you go out and buy Charles Atlas' book. Certainly not. You can do so if you really want to, but its really like any other bodybuilding book you might find. (According to Arnold Schwarzenegger, Charles Atlas is the reason Arnold became a bodybuilder in the first place.)

That and the whole "15 minutes per day" slogan from Charles Atlas just isn't enough time investment to be truly effective.

What I trying to convey here is that it is really more a matter of will power if you want to succeed in a particular goal.

Yes, natural talent is good. But it will only take you so far if you don't have the will power to spend the investment of time in attaining your goal.

You can learn to self-motivate, you can hire a personal trainer, you can get yourself an exercise buddy... but the end result is you need to find the will power and the motivation to make that investment of time in taking the Path of Most Resistance towards getting your goal.

Because doing nothing or almost nothing will get you this far: Nowhere.

Lets pretend you are Mr Average with a 10 Strength. You only exercise 10 minutes per day. About an hour per week. Using our formula from further above how far will that get Mr Average?

10 Strength X 1 Hour per Week = "10 Strength-Hours" (sorta of like measuring Torque in "foot-pounds").

In contrast Mr Wimp's new exercise routine is...

7 Strength X 15 Hours per Week = "105 Strength-Hours".

Now who do you think will be growing muscle mass faster? Someone doing 10 Strength-Hours or 105 Strength-Hours? The answer is obvious. Before you know it Mr Wimp will have a 10 Strength or higher. He may eventually reach a point where he decides to change his name to "Mr Strong" (kudos to the children's book).

So how do you know where you rank on the Strength Scale of 1 to 20?

Well, there are several ways to try and figure that out for yourself. You could use the previous post I made titled "How to Test your Muscle Tone", but that won't give you a detailed result because its only 2 exercises.

What you really need is a comprehensive test for a variety of different exercises and a ranking / points system for each of the exercises. In theory you could ask your personal trainer (if you have one) to come with some kind of system for testing you and then giving you a ranking. Or if you live in Toronto you could hire me as your personal trainer and I could do it for you.

You could try and come up with a system yourself, but it will be tricky to judge since you're not the most unbiased person when it comes to your own fitness. What you really need is an objective judge.

Then once you know where you are you can say where you'd like to be. Go after that goal. Invest the time and every month do the test again to see how close to your goal you are. If you are start off at 9 Strength and your goal is 14 and you're up to 10 after only a month then in theory you only have 4 more months to go before you reach your desired level of fitness.

And there is nothing more motivating than knowing you're making progress and succeeding at your goals.
Looking to sign up for archery lessons, boxing lessons, swimming lessons, ice skating lessons or personal training sessions? Start by emailing cardiotrek@gmail.com and lets talk fitness!

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