Holidays Approaching, Look for a Trainer

So you’ve decided that you’re going to fight the fall and winter “heavy holidays” in advance with a few new fitness DVDs and a personal trainer. Shopping for the videos may be the easy part, but shopping for a trainer may  leave you making a list and checking it twice.

As a personal trainer, I know that trainers’ styles and training regiments vary. And, it’s crucial to find one who is qualified and meshes with your personality.

Here are some tips to find the perfect personal trainer:

  • Ask for proof of their certification and how long they have been. Most common certification bodies accepted by gyms are AFAA, ACE and NASM. The trainer should have a current certification (that requires extra classes, educational training and credits each year) and a current CPR certification. Also, besides toning and cardio, you may want a trainer who can also do boxing and yoga with you. Not all are qualified to do so.
  • Decide if you want to go with a trainer at your gym, or if you’ll try an independent trainer. Just because a trainer works at a gym doesn’t mean they’re better. Often, the best trainers go outside the gym so they can keep more of the profit and have a bigger following.
  • Once you find a qualified candidate, ask for free first-trial session. Many gyms and independent trainers offer a free-trial session. Independent trainers can charge less if they don’t need to pay a gym and can train you at your home or outside. At a gym you need to pay for the membership and the trainer, but research which option is better for you.
  • Ask your friends or family members about their personal trainers. Inquire about the trainer’s techniques, training regiment and price.
  • Observe the trainers at your gym with their clients. Do they do the types of exercises you’d like to do? For example, do you crave creative moves or need to start with machines? If haven’t worked out in years, or have any sort of medical issues, you should start with machines that isolate. After a few weeks you can do upper body, then lower, then abs/back one part at a time. As you get stronger, cardio intervals and multitasking toning moves can be added. I focus on these types of workouts in my fitness DVDs, and you can see demos of these moves on my website.
  • Talk with the trainer, the personal training manager, or a sales person at the gym about your physical goals, limitations, and current fitness level. Let them suggest the right trainer for your needs and budget, or let the trainer refer you to someone else if they’re not the perfect fit for your fitness or price range.
  • Emotionally, do you need a quiet supporter, a cheerleader, or a drill sergeant to motivate you? Which one will you need to get you looking forward to session and push you the hardest, not make you want to give up.
  • Has your trainer ever been interviewed in a fitness magazine? Written his/her own fitness-related articles? Does they have a blog where you can learn about their philosophy and style? Google them or check Yelp reviews to see if their clients are happy with them.
  • Ask for referral phone numbers and e-mail addresses so you can talk to some of their other clients, especially for independent trainers.
  • Know their cancellation policies. For example, do you pay up front, for how many sessions in advance, and will you lose your session if you have to cancel within 24 hours? Many times that is the policy so that they don’t save a slot for you and show up, only to lose the money when they could have been training another client or stayed in bed.

Print this list and use it interview trainers. Hopefully, it will help you find the person to challenge your muscles before the Halloween candy, Thanksgiving turkey and December treats try to challenge your willpower.

If all else fails, or you can’t afford a trainer, I will be your trainer through the New Year through my DVDs and weekly motivational newsletters, all for a quarter of the price of one session.

10 Motivational Marriage Fitness Tips

The honeymoon is over. You trained for your wedding and looked amazing, and as a reward, you indulged on your honeymoon so that it was more like a butter/cream/sugar-moon instead. Don’t worry if you’ve put on all the weight you lost for the wedding. I’ve got 10 tips to help you get back in shape and stay that way for many anniversaries to come.

1. Partner up with your spouse and motivate each other. As the adage says, “You are the average of the five people you hang out with the most.” So plan your entertainment, meals, and workouts as a couple and motivate each other when you’re having a tough or lazy day.

2. Set specific, realistic goals and have a set time period. Then identify and eliminate your barriers to exercise and eating well. With an easy-to-accomplish plan, you’ll even be able to exceed your goals.

3. Get on the scale. Studies show that if you weigh yourself each day, you’ll keep your fitness and nutrition goals in mind. Skipping the scale for weeks at a time may lead to unconscious weight-gain. A weigh-in a day keeps those pounds away.

4. Try something new. Never took a spin or Pilates class? Never gone cross-country skiing or hiking? What are you waiting for? Surprise your body and learn something new together to keep things fun and your fitness on track.

5. Cut workout time in half. Don’t waste time standing still and doing biceps curls! Multitask instead by combing arm, leg, and abdominal exercises, like a curl, lunge, and twist. Then add a cardio interval. Multitasking workouts cut time while boosting metabolism, heart rate, and perspiration. Check out for sample cardio moves and four challenging multitasking workout DVDs that take only 30 minutes to complete.

6. Eat more. Think of food as a fuel, not as a gift, which means passing on food that’s high in fat and sugar, and taking just half of the portion you’d normally heap on your plate. Also, keep the tank half-full at all times with several small, healthy meals. If you never get famished, you’ll make wise choices with your head, not your belly.

7. Put one sneaker in front of the other. Many of us waste too much time saying we need to work out, dreading the process all the while. Trick yourselves by just getting dressed for it, putting on your favorite workout music, and not really thinking about what you’re about to do. If you take it one step at a time, before you know it, you’ll finish the cool-down and feel amazing.

8. Too cold to go outside? The chilly weather and lack of daylight make this time of year tough on fitness resolutions. Heat yourselves up with a healthy slow-cooked meal and break a sweat inside with a new fitness DVD or a fitness channel on TV.

9. Reward yourself. When you stick to these resolutions  reward yourself with something free or inexpensive that makes you happy and inspires you to look and feel good. Maybe it’s a combined personal training session for you and your sweetie or a mini fitness vacation together.

10. Subscribe to motivational fitness sites or magazines. Whether it’s a new and healthy dish you can make, news about a recent medical study, interesting moves to try at home, or another person’s story about how they reached their goals, an inspiration will help you keep fitting in your fitness.


Vacation Hangover? Working Out Helps at Work!

You have a vacation hangover.

I can see the signs. The Bob Marley music playing from your computer, the non-stop coffee breaks, the computer screen wandering to travel websites… It’s hard to focus on getting back to the grind while daydreaming of summer bike rides and beaches! You want to avoid anything that could bring you back to the computer slouching, blackberry -addicted, stress case you were a few months ago.

By playing, I mean taking that morning bike ride, jogging in the park at lunch, going to pilates or cardio-sculpt class after work and taking active vacations on your weekends like hiking or yoga retreat.

Staying in shape and eating right makes you work more efficiently and productively. You won’t eat yourself into a carb coma at lunch if you are having a healthy salad and lean protein that your body craves when you are in a fitness regimen.

In addition, mental stress is the most common energy sucker at work, but it melts away if you hop on the Stairmaster. Fitness improves oxygen delivery to organs, heightens circulation, and cuts back on doctor visits and sick days.

Regular exercise and proper diet can improve your performance at work in many ways, from the very start of your day, or any time you can fit it in:

6am: Have to prepare the kids for their day and then do errands and chores all morning? Instead of being sluggish and holding onto your coffee cup for dear life, working out can leave you looking forward to crossing off your list and excited about how many calories you’ll burn running around.

7am: Depending on where you live, you could be racing through the subway late for a meeting, sitting in traffic, rushing in from the parking lot, or organizing the kids early in the morning to get out the door. If you are deconditioned, you’ll probably be sweaty, stressed, and or too winded to say hello to the people you are doing that business lunch with. If you are in shape, you will be energized!

9am: Early morning presentation? If you are used to that 6am spin class, this speech will be a breeze to get through, with less hills to climb!

Noon: People who walk around the town or park during lunch feel less ragged and overworked from this mental and physical mini-vacation each day and can turn if back on full throttle when they are at their desk. Some of the best work ideas have come to me while running around the reservoir track in Central Park, and you’ll be happier with the endorphins, thus completing your day with a smile.

3pm: Big meeting at the end of the day but feeling the 3pm slump? If you are not fit, coffee may be the only thing that gets you through the day, still half in a fog. But instead of dehydrating on caffeine, a lunchtime walk has you more focused and gives you time to think quietly and plan your talking points. If you are a stay-at-home mom or day, you won’t feel sluggish and wish for a 3pm nap lust if you are used to pumping iron at 5pm.

6pm: At the end of the day your back muscles may be tight with stress and your head pounding with all the work you still have on your desk, taking a class at the gym will have you saying “What work?”

11pm: Up at night trying to sleep but thinking about what you need to accomplish in the office or at home tomorrow? If you jogged during the day, you’ll be sleepy with a clear mind, and better rested when you awake to tackle your tasks. More exercise = better sleep = better work day.

And let’s face it, the better the work day is, the more likely we are to get promoted and can negotiate more vacation days!