What to Look for in a Personal Trainer

Recently, Fitibie had a great article on 5 Things to Look For in A Personal Trainer and then one of my favorite bloggers, StrongFitBeautiful, expanded on the topic even more. Both did a fantastic job capturing all the things to consider when looking for a personal trainer- so I’ve summarized all the tips below!

1. Your personalities click
Trainer tip: Don’t be afraid to shop around
Personality is paramount when it comes to considering working with a trainer. A trainer can have all the qualifications and experience in the world, but if you don’t connect, then it will be difficult to develop a relationship that leads to commitment and success. I always encourage potential clients to interview me during our initial assessment to make sure our personalities match.

2. They put their clients before the program

Trainer tip: The first session will say it all
Going through a workout at the first session can be a sign of a bad trainer. It is impossible to receive personal training until the trainer knows the person behind the program they are creating. Your trainer should become familiar with your goals, history, likes and dislikes, schedule, current movement abilities, and areas of pain.

3. They’re all ears and a lot of heart
Trainer tip: Make sure you do most of the talking
A good trainer has good listening skills, a compassionate disposition, and generally feels like someone with whom you connect personally.

4. They never stop learning
Trainer tip: They are committed to their own ongoing education
Make sure your trainer has a NCCA-accredited personal training certification and also has committed to ongoing learning by attending workshops and conferences. The fitness industry changes at warp-speed, so it’s important for all fitness pros to stay up with the latest trends, knowledge, and practical ways to deliver results.

5. They know why it’s called personal training
Trainer tip: Be sure the workout is about  your specific goals
When you pay top dollar for one-on-one workouts, you deserve more than a canned workout. While every trainer has some favorite moves that they may use for multiple clients, your workout should be very specific to your goals, your shortcomings, and your level. Be sure that your trainer focuses on your individualized needs–and doesn’t just give you the same workout she gives every client.

6. They have references
Trainer Tip: If you know people who are like you who love their trainer- it’s a good bet you might too!
Do a background check. No, I’m not talking do they pay their bills on time – but rather their experience.  Which professional certifications do they hold? How long have they been training? All of these are great questions to ask to make sure you are working with a qualified professional – not just somebody who looks like they work out a lot. You can look up most trainers on IDEAFit or other sites. Here is an example (yep it’s mine) of a trainer profile!

7. It Needs to Be the RIGHT FIT for Both of YOU!
Trainer Tip: You will be spending a lot of time with this person so make sure it works for you both.
Your training should fit your life – and your schedule. If you know you aren’t going to be out of bed and to the gym by 8 a.m. on Saturday morning, find another time (and if necessary, another trainer). Many trainers will still charge your hourly fee if you don’t keep your appointment time – and you aren’t going to make any gains (or losses) if you aren’t committed to putting the work in! Also, be clear about what you want to accomplish in training. A trainer can only help you achieve your goals if he or she is clear on what they are. Are you trying to lose weight? Bulk up? Feel healthier? Different goals require different strategies – and just like people are not one size fits all, neither is training.

Perhaps above all, your trainer should be upbeat, motivational, and committed to helping you become a better version of yourself.what-doesn-t-kill-you-makes-you-stronger-p-source

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You check-in on Facebook- Don’t you think you are worth checking in with too?!

4503668346848746_cceW7Zn0_cSo, you all have been at it for one week!  You are seven days into your New Year’s resolutions and fitness goals!  Since many of you set goals that by their very nature will take a while to achieve, it is important to review your goal progress from time to time to make sure that you really are progressing and not just going around in circles.  It is also  crucial to take a moment and recognize and celebrate your small successes!  Setting mini-goals will help you keep moving forward and give you something to celebrate instead of waiting until you reach the big ultimate goal (then you can REALLY party)!

Your self check-in should include:

Measurement: The method of measurement should be established at the start of the goal setting process, along with the baseline. By determining your current goal  measurement (weight, speed, # of workouts, etc.) and comparing it with your starting point, you will be able to see whether or not you have progressed towards your goal.

Relevance: Goals are established based on your situation at the time of setting them. Has your situation relevant to this changed significantly? If there has been a significant change, is it still necessary or are you still able to achieve this goal?

Resources: Are resources  (money, time, information, support) adequate? Is this holding you back from achieving your goal or do you find that you are really struggling?

THEN…

think about each of the following…

  • Is this goal easier or harder than expected?
  • Can you take on more, or do you need to take smaller steps?
  • Overall, are you happy with your progress? If you are, then great! If not, work out why and fix the problem.
  • What are you doing well towards this goal? …and keep doing it!
  • What do you need to do better to achieve this goal? …and do better!
  • Are you enjoying this goal, or at least excited about the end result? Reward yourself for achieving mini-goals and milestones to keep you on your journey. Remember, the end result needs to be something you really want.
  • Have you been honest and ethical in your progress towards this goal? Your highly moral sub-conscious won’t let you achieve goals if they have unethical components or if you haven’t been honest with yourself. Is this holding you back?
  • Are you afraid of failure?…

I am incredibly impressed and proud of the steps I have seen many of the Northern Grrrls take this past week in achieving their goals!  Keep it up everyone and keep working so hard!  I know you all have it in you!

adapted from http://www.achieve-goal-setting-success.com

Ho! Ho! Ho! Holiday Spin Class

I’ve previously noted in other posts that I LOVE any excuse to have a themed spin class.  I had a ton of fun with our Spooky Halloween Spin Classes in October and have been anxiously awaiting the need for another cheesy holiday themed playlist. Enter… Christmas & Hanukkah!

Even Santa like to cycle!

Even Santa likes to spin! 

I have had the playlist under construction for the past three weeks and I have to say I am thrilled with the final Ho Ho Ho Ho-liday Playlist!  I get to teach this class three times this week!  Thankfully I HEART Christmas music so I won’t want to scratch my eyes out after listening to these songs three times in four days.

Last night was the first of the three classes and I hung Christmas lights around  the room s and took the Mr. Christmas projector temporarily out of our front yard (these are amazing and it makes it look like snowflakes are falling throughout the room). The whole environment was very festive and all the students even came in their own festive attire. My own Santa hat only lasted through the warm-up, but it was fun for those couple of songs!  We had a lot of fun and it really got the class into the holiday spirit!

Piloxing: Do You Love It?!

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I am currently obsessed with Piloxing. If you haven’t yet heard about Piloxing (can that be possible?) it is a fun and intense core based workout that combines Pilates and boxing. The high intensity of the workout and moves have made this a favorite of celebrities like Hillary Duff and Vanessa Hudgens.

I would LOVE to bring these classes to my town and am planning to take their certification class. What I want to know is if YOU love Piloxing as much as I do? Do any of you all attend Piloxing classes at a local gym? Are they well attended?

Winter Workout Tips

Winter

The Northern Grrrls may be used to frigid Wisconsin winter temps, but that doesn’t mean it’s easy to force ourselves out the door into temperatures in the teens to get that workout in! We have started our Runners World #RWRunStreak challenge and it is truly helping push us all to get outside or on the treadmill for that extra workout! See the blog from greatestwealthishealth below for more tips on how to break those winter blues!

Winter Workout Tips.

via Winter Workout Tips.

You Don’t Need Compression Clothing. You Need Heart & Attitude to Meet Fitness Goals.

Are we obsessed with our running gear?

Are we obsessed with our running gear?

“People seldom notice old clothes if you wear a big smile.”  ~Lee Mildon

When I started running and hitting the gym I found myself thinking so many times that I was not good enough, or didn’t  have expensive fancy schmancy enough gear, or I was not as “athletic” looking as I needed to be in order to enter a race or show my face in the weight room. I would look around at the expensive shoes and brightly colored wicking shirts and feel extremely intimidated when I first started to race.  I will never forget the first time I saw an older man in cotton cargo shorts, a pair of old shoes, and what appeared to be his wife’s cotton t-shirt at the start line of a marathon.  I was horrified that he was going to run in such attire, but then I really started to think that it is not about the clothes or the gear or how much you money you spent on your shoes.  Fitness, racing, and workouts are about heart and attitude. Period.  If you haven’t made the investment in your training and mental fortitude… well, it doesn’t matter how much you paid for your new compression shorts.

You need a few basic items to workout:

  • comfortable shorts or pants
  • a decent shirt- cotton will work, but wicking is better if you can afford one
  • ladies- get a good sports bra.  Your ta-tas will appreciate it.  Sports bras should be replaced after 75 washes or if you lose a significant amount of weight
  • running / athletic shoes (some will disagree you need these and that is okay too- barefoot running is huge trending change in the sport)

… now let me say a few things about running shoes…

This article by Runner’s World provides some insight into one of the most commonly made mistakes by new runners – get the glittery fun colorful shoes and pay no attention whatsoever to body mechanics.  I completely understand the draw of fancy shoes.  As a pronator, I require stability running shoes and until recently there was very little to choose from in terms of color and style in a functional motion control shoe.  The neutral runners had greater choice in their footwear, but I was relegated to simple boring shoes.  This is no longer the case, but the danger still exists to go for the sparkly or neon shoes.  Go to a running store.  Get fitted and get shoes that are right for you.  Your knees and hips will thank you.

If you want to read a humorous additional take on the subject of what kind of gear you need to get a good workout in, check out Hamilton Nolan’s article here.

Girl Power! Why is it so contagious?

This past weekend many of my boot camp participants and friends participated in the first annual Chick-uamegon 5K & 10K.  Despite temperatures in the high 30’s and pouring rain and sleet, over 250 women suited up in the obligatory bling required for an all girl race and hit the pavement.

Pre-Race while we all still were dry and warm. Many of our GRRRLS are missing from this photo but we had quite a crew!

This is a huge number of women for a brand new event in rural northern Wisconsin.  I have long understood the appeal of all female races.  I have run the Run Like a Diva half marathons in two different locations and have participated in many Iron Girl events across the Midwest. Women athletes empower each other. They’re more supportive of each other in training and throughout the race course.  There is a sense of female bonding that takes place and that alone is motivation enough for some women to lace up those athletic shoes each day.

The Northern Grrrls took the race preparations one step further with some additional female bonding over the crafy development of our race fluffies (gigantic furry leg warmers) and tutus. Simple online tutorials on making fluffies and tutus walked us through a night of silly craft making.  It was  a great way for us to get our creative energy out while ensuring that my house will never ever be glitter free again.  At least I cannot say that these events don’t bring *sparkle*to my life…

Showing off our fluffies! These looked more like leg dreadlocks after the mud and rain got to them, but they kept us toasty warm!

In short, it would not have mattered how cold and wet it was on Saturday morning… these ladies were NOT going to miss this event. There were so many women and little girls who were excited and dressed up and ready to meet the weather just so they could surround themselves with other strong women and support each other throughout the event.  I think that is what it is really about – that ancient instinct to stand together as women and support and nurture each other.  Maybe Helen Reddy said it best…♪♪♫♫♪♪

I am woman, hear me roar
In numbers too big to ignore
And I know too much to go back an’ pretend
’cause I’ve heard it all before
And I’ve been down there on the floor
No one’s ever gonna keep me down again

With as many challenges as every women has each day I love that racing and fitness can bring us together in a positive way and make each one of us roar just a little bit louder.

Wet and soaked, but still looking fabulous!

Never Too Old

“You don’t have to be great to start, but you have to start to be great”

― Zig Ziglar

I recently spent some time with my mother in Cabo San Lucas on a seven day vacation.  Also along for the ride were my aunt and sister – both age 50+.

I endured constant good natured ribbing from these ladies beginning at 2:30am in the car enroute to the airport (laughing at my choice to drink coconut water to  stay hydrated) and throughout the trip as I made sure to rise before the sun to get in a 5 mile run and trip to the gym.  However by vacation day #4 the ladies were beginning to mention joining me at the gym…

So there I found myself s on vacation day #5… in the gym with my mother and

Momma never missed a morning of water aerobics…

aunt showing them some simple arm exercises that they could do at home to eliminate their “chicken wings”.  Now to be fair my aunt walks 3 miles each day and my mother is a water aerobic devotee, but neither of them are into weight training.  As they watched me rip out 40 push-ups they both stated “I could NEVER do that!” and my response was “That’s what the boot camp girls say all the time and then before you know it- they are moving on from their girl push ups and onto regular push-ups.”  It was at this point that both these ladies attempted a push-up and for their sake i’ll not remark on the outcome. .. but they both promised to keep working on their weight training and workouts.

My point is this… you are never ever too old to start!  There is absolutely no reason to not begin to add strength training and other workouts into your daily routine.  In the case of my mother- she is retired and could easily do some arm workouts while watching the Today Show every morning!  Just start integrating in small changes each day to improve your overall fitness level!

Northern Grrrls are Whistlestop Rockstars

Whistestop ROCKSTARS!

  • Months of Training
  • Missed Sunday night Packer games
  • Rainy, Hot, Cold, Late, Dark Runs
  • Sore Muscles
  • Endless GU packets

IT WAS ALL WORTH IT!

The Northern Grrrl Half Marathon Training Team

Seven Northern Grrls crossed the finish line at the Whistlestop Half-Marathon this past Saturday.  Some had crossed the finish line in previous years and some experienced the exhilaration and thrill of completing a half marathon for the first time.  Every grrrl who crossed the finish line did so within her goal time.  One of our grrrls even shaved 13 minutes from her previous race time.  I could not have been prouder of each of them and their accomplishment.  It was a cold and rainy day and the race route was soft and sandy, but the friendships and memories forged during months of training and supporting each other were enough to warm hearts and minds and create a race day memory unlike any other!

Huge smiles for the Northern Grrrls who completed their first half-marathon!

Boot Camp: Ball Sprint!

I have found that adding games and group activities into Boot Camp makes it a more enjoyable workout! The latest game is adapted from a number of examples I came across on the web. All I needed was a cheap bag of balls and some imagination.

The game goes like this…First take the balls you have and divide them by color. Then randomly mark the ball of each color with one, two, or three dots and an X. You should then have a bunch of balls with various numbers of dots within each color group.

For this game you are going to want a green space about the size of a basketball court. Divide the group into two or four teams depending on how many participants are there that day. If you are using two teams place each team in opposite corners (marked with cones). If you have four teams place each team in a corner. Place about 40 balls (two teams) or 80 balls (fours teams) in the center of the “court” equidistant from each team. Be sure to make certain that corners are equidistant from center where balls are!

Each team lines up in a line behind a corner. One player at time sprints to the center to get a ball, returns to their corner, tags the next teammate and that player runs to retrieve another ball. Play continues until all balls are gone. The more balls you have to pick up, the more they run! Team with most wins.

And the game isn’t over YET! Each color ball has an exercise associated with it. (ie. red = burpees, orange = squat 180 jumps, yellow = pushups). The number of dots on the bottom of the ball will indicate how many reps they must do of each (1 dot =8, 2 dots= 10, 3 dots= 12). As a team, they line up all the balls and must complete the exercises together. (My groups usually choose to start with burpees to get them out of the way 🙂 ). Depending on how much time you have you can have the teams put the balls back into the center and start it all over again with new exercises.

Tips:

(credit to Jess Griffin)

  • Make sure you don’t show exercise list before they get balls or nobody will pick the burpee ball.
  • If you repeat this game change the color exercises so they cannot cherry pick their favorites or avoid their least favorite.

Variation: Instead of sprinting to get balls you can make them shuffle, backwards jog, walking lunge, bear crawl, high knees, etc. I call out various moves as the game is going on and they have to switch instantly. So they might be lunging to center and then have to flip over and crabwalk for the rest of the way. How do they crabwalk and hold the ball? They manage! (and makes it more fun)! If its a rainy day it’s possible to make this work inside! Just shorten the relay and have the grab more balls!

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