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

Shoot for a 500 calorie deficit per day

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I cannot tell you how many times I have heard someone say “…muscle weighs more than fat so that is probably why you are not losing weight.” Baloney! Let’s clarify this.

Muscle does NOT weigh more than fat, any more than rocks weigh more than feathers. A pound is a pound is a pound. Where the confusion comes in is that muscle is much more dense than fat, so that, by volume, it seems to weigh more.

That is, a pound of muscle occupies less space than a pound of fat. This is why taking your body measurements is so crucial! You may find yourself frustrated as you work out and see an increase in body mass (muscle, bone, blood volume) and a decrease in body fat. In other words, even if the scale doesn’t change much, you will probably see a difference in how your clothes fit and your body measurements!

The Run Down on Food Labels!

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Start here and read the text to understand what you are looking for in a food label! Click on image to enlarge!

Tips for getting as much health information as possible from the Nutrition Facts label:

  • Remember that the information shown in these panels is based on 2,000 calories a day. You may need to consume less or more than 2,000 calories depending upon your age, gender, activity level, and whether you’re trying to lose, gain or maintain your weight. Find out your personal daily limits on My Fats Translator.
  • In general, as you think about the amount of calories in a food per serving, remember that for a 2,000-calorie diet:
    • 40 calories per serving is considered low;
    • 100 calories per serving is considered moderate (why do you think they put everything into 100 calorie packs…?!); and
    • 400 calories or more per serving is considered high.
  • There is no % DV shown for trans fat on the panel because the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) does not have enough scientific information to set this value. Eat less than 20 calories or (less than two grams of trans fat) a day – that’s less than 1 percent of your total daily calories (for a 2,000-calorie-a-day diet).
  • When the Nutrition Facts panel says the food contains “0 g” of trans fat, it means the food contains less than 0.5 grams of trans fat per serving.
  • When the Nutrition Facts label says a food contains “0 g” of trans fat, but includes “partially hydrogenated oil” in the ingredient list, it means the food contains trans fat, but less than 0.5 grams of trans fat per serving. So, if you eat more than one serving, you could quickly reach your daily limit of trans fat.

In addition to the Nutrition Facts label, a lot of foods today also come with nutrient content claims provided by the manufacturer. These claims are typically featured in ads for the foods or in the promotional copy on the food packages themselves. They are strictly defined by the FDA. The chart below provides some of the most commonly used nutrient content claims, along with a detailed description of what the claim means.

If a food claims to be… It means that one serving of the product contains…
Calorie free Less than 5 calories
Sugar free Less than 0.5 grams of sugar
Fat
Fat free Less than 0.5 grams of fat
Low fat 3 grams of fat or less
Reduced fat or less fat At least 25 percent less fat than the regular product
Low in saturated fat 1 gram of saturated fat or less, with not more than 15 percent of the calories coming from saturated fat
Lean Less than 10 grams of fat, 4.5 grams of saturated fat and 95 milligrams of cholesterol
Extra lean Less than 5 grams of fat, 2 grams of saturated fat and 95 milligrams of cholesterol
Light (lite) At least one-third fewer calories or no more than half the fat of the regular product, or no more than half the sodium of the regular product
Cholesterol
Cholesterol free Less than 2 milligrams of cholesterol and 2 grams (or less) of saturated fat
Low cholesterol 20 or fewer milligrams of cholesterol and 2 grams or less of saturated fat
Reduced cholesterol At least 25 percent less cholesterol than the regular product and 2 grams or less of saturated fat
Sodium
Sodium free or no sodium Less than 5 milligrams of sodium and no sodium chloride in ingredients
Very low sodium 35 milligrams or less of sodium
Low sodium 140 milligrams or less of sodium
Reduced or less sodium At least 25 percent less sodium than the regular product
Fiber
High fiber 5 grams or more of fiber
Good source of fiber 2.5 to 4.9 grams of fiber

If you can’t remember the definitions of all of the terms, don’t worry. You can use these general guidelines instead:

  • “Free” means a food has the least possible amount of the specified nutrient.
  • “Very Low” and “Low” means the food has a little more than foods labeled “Free.”
  • “Reduced” or “Less” mean the food has 25 percent less of a specific nutrient than the regular version of the food.

Stumbling is Not Falling! AKA Sh*t Happens.

Okay so I’ll admit it… I am not always the perfect example of health and disciplined eating.  No matter how hard I try and how strict I am about my eating and exercising habits- slip-ups happen. I skipped two workouts last week and ate and drank my way into a caloric coma  with my very best girlfriend. Whoops- but it was completely worth it and we had a great time!

What I DID NOT next do was go off the deep end and eat everything in sight!  I got my butt back in the gym and scheduled an extra Saturday workout for myself and my boot camp participants.  However, this experience got me thinking about the minor setbacks and mistakes that we all make in our “fitness” habits.  We can learn a lot about ourselves from the manner in which we choose to learn from our errors and move forward.  A bad choice is not the end of the world.  Just “grrrl up” and track that piece of cake and glass of wine and move on…

Here are some tips from an article about what to do when you fall off the diet wagon by Connie Bennett as published in the Huffington Post.

“Stumbling is not falling.” ~Portuguese Proverb  

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1. Be sweetly accepting.

If you ate those no-no foods and ignored your good intentions, now is not the time to beat up on yourself. Instead, use your “falling down” to shower yourself with warmth, sympathy and compassion. Yes, you turned to junk food. Now, graciously accept that reality and get ready to move on.

2. Embrace your humanity.

People who are addicted to sugar or junk food or who often overeat tend to expect themselves to be perfect. Of course, that’s simply not possible. In fact, planning for perfection instead paves the way for a big letdown. So, now that you’ve “fallen,” use this as an opportunity to accept and welcome the fact that you’re human. That means you’ll make “mistakes” or slip from time to time. So what? Admitting your humanity can be quite freeing.

3. Give thanks for your “failure.”

This tip may seem counter intuitive, but I invite you to try to be grateful for your slip. Be thankful that you ate junk foods or fell off the healthy-food wagon. Be appreciative that you behaved in an unloving manner to yourself. Now turn your “failure” into something positive. In other words, take your slip and turn it into a transformational teaching moment.

4. Commit to grow.

Now that you realize the value of your “failure” and how it can become an amazing learning experience, accept that this may be the impetus you needed to finally pick healthy foods on a regular basis or to finally lick your bad habit (what I call a babit™). Now, search inside and commit to do whatever it takes so you can grow to reach your goal.

5. Get going with gusto.

It’s now time to slip on those sneakers (metaphorically and in reality) so you can begin again. After all, don’t you get more excited, impassioned and committed when you begin a project?

6. Watch the horrible outcome of your slip.

At this point, I invite you to study how bad you feel because of your sugar or carb spree or other counter-productive pursuits. For at least four days, keep a diary in which you write down the results of your binge, whether your reactions are emotional, physical or spiritual. Admit how your unhealthy habit is leading to horrible headaches, excessive exhaustion, embarrassing irritability, blowing up at co-workers or annoying “brain fog.” When you dispassionately study yourself in this manner, you’ll easily call to mind these horrible outcomes the next time you’re tempted to veer off the track. In fact, remembering how bad you felt can help you to stay on course next time and conquer your sugar temptation or other bad habit.

7. Dwell on what you really, really, really want.

Now that you’ve accepted your humanity, thanked your failure and observed how your sugar slip harmed you, think about what you want. As fitness instructor Patricia Moreno likes to say likes to recommend, think about what you really want in the depths of your being. (Patricia talks about this concept in her s exciting new book, The IntenSati Method: The Seven Secret Principles to Thinner Peace.) In other words, do you really, really, really want to be sugar-free, full of energy, slim, trim, toned, sexy, happier and more enticing to yourself and others? Kicking sugar and eating real food — the kind that grows on trees, pops out of the ground or swims in the ocean — can give you all of that and more. So zero in on the many physical, emotional and spiritual benefits that eating healthy will give you.

8. Create a vision board.

Now that you’ve decided you really, really, really want to go sugar-free or eat healthier foods because of the many benefits, I invite you to actually illustrate your goal. By this, I mean, create a vision board where you paste on photos, words and images that capture what your new, healthier life will look like. You can learn how to do this by reading The Vision Board: The Secret to an Extraordinary Life by Joyce Schwarz. Look at your vision board every day and make sure when you look at it that you also relish the glorious feelings that your new, healthier life would give you. Even better, do powerful “feelingizations,” as Arielle Ford, author of The Soulmate Secret: Manifest the Love of Your Life With the Law of Attraction, puts it. (Ford coined this appropriate word to convey that when you visualize, you really feel them.)

9. Proclaim your freedom.

Now that you’re getting back on track, create one powerful affirmation or mantra and repeat it over and over all day long. You can clean your house or work out while you repeat your affirmation. (Of course, the power and effectiveness of affirmations are discussed in the bestselling film and book,The Secret by Rhonda Byrne.)

10. Make a pleasing plan.

When starting a healthy diet or new way of eating, it’s always wise to figure out in advance what, when and where you’ll eat. It’s a good idea to choose ample, modest amounts of protein, healthy fats and high-fiber carbs such as vegetables and low-sugar fruits at every snack or meal. So I encourage you now to decide what, when and where you’ll dine or snack tomorrow. Put it in writing. As you begin anew, remind yourself why you’re doing this. You may want to lose weight. You may want to get more energy. You want to have better relationships with your loved ones. You may want to be sexy and svelte. Or you may want to be more productive.

Always remember, by giving up sugar or junk food, choosing healthier foods and/or dumping other bad habits, you will instead live a happier, healthier, more meaningful life.