Advice from Strangers: Good Intentions, Bad Results

16 Nov

  It’s like taking driving lessons from someone who’s never driven.

Take Advice from Qualified Professionals

Have you ever been working out in the gym and started chatting with a random stranger? Then you find yourself showing this person how do do an exercise, “Oh, this is what I do.” You tell them. While I appreciate the intention is to help someone out, you really are putting yourself at risk. You really don’t know this persons’ medical background or fitness level. Suggesting an exercise to a stranger is taking a chance. If this person has a herniated disk and you recommned deadlifts… lets just say it doesn’t end well.

I hear this far too often and I’m quicker to intervene. Someone who offers you exercise advice has good intentions, but isn’t qualified or expert in movement. It frustrates me when people who have no experience feel the need to share their information with others. This can be quite damaging.

          If you give out advice to someone and they get hurt… its your fault. 

     If you have no experience or background working in the exercise profession then you don’t have the right to give people the wrong information. This is a human body. You cannot diagnose someone within two minutes of talking to them. Designing an exercise program takes more than jotting down reps and sets. If you have no experience designing programs or haven’t worked with any clients, then you have no experience. Don’t just assume what you say is going to be right for this particular person. If you’re wrong, you risk their safety.

I say this because it’s my job to look after my clients. Someone who’s giving advice can get in big trouble if they give the wrong advice. Someone who’s taking advice can get hurt if they take the wrong advice. So if you are a Personal Trainer and notice this amongst your members, I encourage you to speak to both parties. Apprise them of the fact that they are liable if they give advice and someone gets hurt. Most people don’t know that. Encourage these people to seek out your assistance if they have questions about an exercise. Then the onus is on you and not on them. You are the professional.

I don’t want anyone getting hurt. I don’t want anyone getting sued. I appreciate people just want to help.  It’s like taking driving lessons from someone who’s never driven. I don’t want you to crash!




A Step Too Far: Why too Much Exercise is Bad for the Body.

18 Oct

Why Too Much Exercise is Bad for the Body.

    I don’t encourage people to dive into exercise full force, especically if they’re just starting out. Even if you’re a seasoned exerciser, I woudn’t recommend making your whole life about exercise. I love moving and it makes me feel good. There’s a point when you’re doing too much and it becomes dangerous. When exercise stops feeling good, then you could be doing too much.

Take it from someone who has worked with people for the past seventeen years as an exercise professional. Too much exercise is a bad thing. I’ve gone through this experience as well. I’ve done way too much and it came back to bite me. You end up feeling lethargic, tired and grumpy. Exercise should feed your positive energy and not drain it out of you. If you’re in the gym seven days a week for hours on end, then I encourage you to really think.

Am I doing way too much and not resting?” People forget that it’s in the rest and recovery time that you get stronger. When you do not take sufficient rest between work outs, then you don’t have an opportunity to recover. If anything, I’ve seen this only increase the chance of injury. Rest is when your muscles grow. There’s no sense working out seven days a week especially if it’s leaving you drained. That’s what I’m referring to. When you work out SO much and there’s no opportunity for rest, it’s counter productive to building strength. Rest is JUST AS important as the work out.

Exercise is about consistency. The more consistent you are then you will develop strength. I say that rest is also about consistency. The more consistent you are with rest, then you will develop strength. So what is the appropriate amout of time to spend exercising? I encourage people to at least average three days a week to start. Between home, work and personal, my clients are spread thin as it is. Three days a week, at least for one hour sessions equate to three hours a week. For most, this is pretty reasonable.

As you develop strength and endurance then adding an extra day per week is reasonable. If you’re in the gym four days a week, then you have three days to rest. In my opinion, this is a happy balance for most people I work with. That’s what exercise should be! A happy balance in order for you to feel energized outside of the gym.

Just remember if your routine is causing fatigue, weakness and lethargy then it’s probably a good idea to cut back a bit. It could mean you’re doing too much. As well, it could mean your nutritional needs are not being met with the amount of energy you put out. If you’re putting out way too much energy and not putting it back in, then you will feel like crap.

Exercise shouldn’t take away from your life or your energy. It should motivate, support and energize you in daily life. It should help you feel better!

Change is Good!

16 Oct

If you’re stuck doing the same old exercise routine, it’s time to change it up! 

      That’s the thing about the human body, it’s highly adaptive. When you learn to do something new, you become more efficient at doing it. It’s no different with exercise. If you’re not changing your routine every few months then you’re probably not going to make any progress. This is why change is good!

     One the biggest mistakes people make is not changing their routine. I know people who’ve done the same things for YEARS on end. They stop seeing results. I’m not surprised by this. They’ve become so good at doing the same old thing. Time for something new! Like I said, your body is highly adaptive. When you present it with a new challenge, it has no choice but to get better. Whether this means changing your exercise routine or taking on a new hobby. The more frequently you change, the better you become. The better you become, the harder you have to work. It’s a double edged sword for sure, but it’s worth the effort.

Being stuck in a stagnant exercise routine won’t get you far. Try something different and you may just see results. I tried kickboxing for example. It was lots of fun! It also taught me speed and agility. Something I’d otherwise not included in my exercise routine. Don’t be afraid to shake it up a bit. It’ll only benefit your body and mind.


Here’s to your health!

Strength isn’t About Size

06 Oct

250LBS on Lat Pulldown. Struggling to pull the weight, he throws himself back. I’m cringing. Just waiting for the cable to snap…

He does it all wrong so why does he keep doing it?

One of THE biggest issues I see in the gym is people using WAY too much weight. They aren’t even doing the exercise properly! There’s no sense in doing an exercise poorly with a lot of weight. You’re not impressiong anyone. You’re just increasing your chance of getting injured.

Using a lot of weight doesn’t make you strong. Especially if youy aren’t moving it correctly. You’re just repeating a bad habit. After a while you’re going to get really good at doing things wrong. Don’t mistake using a lot of weight for strength. If you’re not doing it right, that strength is for nothing.

It’s like learning how to play a sport. Weight training is no different. You need to be able to do it well in order to get the best results. Why do we keep doing it wrong?

No one likes admitting they are wrong! People who have no experience should learn from someone who does. I don’t mean an internet personal trainer. Someone in the flesh who has at least ten years experience. If you don’t know who you’re handing your health over to, then you’ll get hurt. Educate yourself on the basics of exercise. If only for your personal safety.

Quality over quantity. Do an exercise with proper form with a weight you can handle. You’re more impressive when you can actually do things right. Breaking your back in the process is not part of the plan. Lifting heavy doesn’t make you strong. Strength comes from developing good exercise habits. When you continue to do something well, you’ll keep it doing it well as you increase the load.

Keep that in mind.





Fitness Is More than Physical

04 Oct

     We confuse fitness and wellness with being physically strong. What about the rest of you?

Many people come across as physically fit, yet are emotionally and mentally unwell. Physical fitness is the outcome of being mentally and emotionally well. There are aspects of your life that may be out of whack, so to speak. Perhaps you have an emotional problem stemming from poor relationships. Maybe you don’t have a good relationship with yourself. Emotional disturbances have a distinct impact on physical well being. You can run ten miles every day and think you’re in good shape. If you’re running away from yourself than you may find yourself emotionally & physically spent. You may burn out.

We’re often too hell bent on acheiving physical wellness that we forget to take care of everything else. Stress is a major factor that impacts emotional health. Exercise is an added stress. We add stress on top of more stress, then you’re a big ball of stress. Again, you can be in good physical shape but are you really? You can ignore the emotional and mental stress so long before it manifests itself physically. Are you sleeping at night? Are you able to focus at work? Is your digestive system out of balance? All these symptoms can be underlying emotional problems. Your body is literally in a fight or flight state. This impacts the nervous system and in turn your organ function.

Think of your body as a chain. There are links in that chain to help keep the connection strong. Physical, mental, emotional and spiritual are all links in that chain. If one of those links is broken, then as they say, “You are only as strong as your weakest link.” What’s the disruption and how can we address it? You will never reach your peak of physical wellness unless all the other links in the chain are strong. Don’t ignore what’s going on inside. Whether it’s emotional or mental stress, how you manage it can make a great impact on your physical fitness.

Fitness is more than physical.


The Science of Maybe: Why Diets “should” or “could” work “sometimes”

24 Sep

Here are some real time headlines:

“This Popular Diet Could Sabotage Your Health, According to a Nutritionist.”

“8 Healthy Vegetables That Can Sometimes Harm You”

“10 Affordable Superfoods You Should Be Eating Everyday”

       You notice a trend here? The following titles were from articles posted on the internet. Yet, they all “maybe” have advice that “could” work.

     Keto, Micro, Macro, High Carb, Low Carb… I can’t even keep track of the number of so called “diets” that “may” work to help you lose weight. They all have different information that often contradict each other. I call it the “Science of Maybe”. It’d probably take me forever to research all the thousands of diets that claim to be the answer for weight loss. If you had a thousand different solutions to one problem, you’d have a hard time picking the right answer. No wonder people are confused!

     I do not advocate one specific way eating. If it works for you and you are happy, healthy and energetic then stick with it. If it doesn’t work for you and you’re tired, miserable and unhealthy then maybe you need to consider an alternative. Changing your eating pattern requires time, energy and persistence. You’re not going to get it right the first time. Take yourself off diets and put yourself on to common sense. I always say, just because it’s trendy that doesn’t make it true!

Proper eating habits take more than just investing in a quick fix. It’s like homework. You have to do the work in order to get the grade. If you do the work poorly then you’ll get poor results. If you put consistent time and energy in to getting it right, then you’ll get good results. Remember, this is a life time of homework on your part.

Eating well and exercise are life long habits that require tinkering to get right. Once you do get it right, then you’ll feel great. If you have to deprive yourself or starve yourself to lose weight, then I encourage you stop. If you go on and off diets consistently then it’s time to get off the diet train. Success only happens when you put the time and energy in to it. This requires long term effort and a dedication to getting it right.

   Take yourself off the diet train and get back to common sense.

Exercise and balanced eating WILL work.

Invest in what works for you instead of what “could” “maybe” “sometimes” work for you.

Top Ten Things You Don’t Know You’re Doing Wrong in the Gym.

22 Sep

Top Ten Things You Don’t

Know You’re Doing Wrong in the Gym.

1) Not Cleaning Up After YourselfThis is a big one! It’s bad etiquette if you sweat all over the equipment and don’t make an attempt to clean it up. No one wants to sit in a pool of your sweat. Use a towel and spray to clean off where your hands touch. If you have a tendency of sweating a lot then bring your own towel. There’s nothing worse than leaving a trail for people to follow. As well when you leave your weights all over the floor it creates a tripping hazard. Put them away!

2) Making too Much Noise: When you are done using the free weights, don’t slam them on the floor! It takes just as much control to put a weight down than it does to lift it. Exert some control and return the weights safely to the ground. If the weight is too heavy then get someone to spot you. An annoying habit is to grunt and groan while you’re lifting weight. It either sounds like you’re trying take a poop or give birth. No one wants to hear you grunting, groaning or moaning. P.s. You may need to learn how to breathe properly while exercising. Proper breathing mechanics aid in lifting heavy weight.

3) Using WAYYYY too much weight Normally the reason why you’re grunting and groaning so much is probably because you’re trying to lift too heavy. Lift what is appropriate for you. Practice doing the exercise with proper form before adding too much weight. Then as you get stronger and lift heavier, you’ll do the exercise properly.

4) Exercising Poorly–  #3 and #4 Go hand in hand. If you’re using way too much weight and doing it incorrectly, you’re going to hurt yourself. Even if you’re doing much less weight and executing the exercise improperly, you can hurt yourself. Always ask a professional if you need help!

5) Talking Way Too Loud on a Cell Phone-  Is the gym really the place to conduct a private conversation? Not really! I’ve seen people walk up and down the gym floor talking on the phone. You can’t get anything done this way. Not only that, it’s bloody annoying especially when you’re holding up a piece of equipment. Take the conversation to an appropriate location or call them back later.

6) Occupying A Machine Too Long– I think most people are pretty polite about waiting. If you’re occupying a machine for an extended period of time, then you’re probably holding someone up. Keep it reasonable. If you notice someone is waiting then consider sharing the machine so you’re both able to use it.

7) Giving Out Advice If you give someone advice and they hurt themselves, YOU ARE RESPONSIBLE. Don’t offer unsolicited advice. Often people have a medical history and/or injuries that you don’t know about. My suggestion if someone approaches you and asks what you’re doing, my recommendation is to encourage them to talk to a professional. It’s for your safety and theirs too.

8) Stinking Up the Gym– Please make sure you wear clean clothes to the gym. Put deodorant on! Refrain from dousing yourself in cologne before or after a work out. You’re just covering body odor with cologne and it often smells worse. It’s really a nuisance for those exercising around you. Please make an effort to have proper personal hygiene.

9) Missing the Toilet  I can’t tell you how many times a day I have to clean the floor under the urinal. It’s not fun and it’s not pretty. I think it’s inconsiderate to leave bodily fluids on the seat of a toilet or on the floor. It’s disgusting for the next person as well.

10) Interrupting Someone’s Appointment to ask a Question-  I don’t think people have ill intentions. Quite frankly when a trainer is working with someone else and you feel the need to ask a question, it’s very rude. A trainer is hired to give time and attention to paying clients. If you want the same time and attention then you’ll have to pay for it. Don’t approach a trainer when he/she is working with someone else. Hold your question for later or find another staff member who can help you.


Why A Fad is Bad

19 Sep

We often participate in what we think is good for us because a lot of other people are doing it. Just because it’s trendy, doesn’t make it true.

What does “Fad” mean?

I looked at the Merriam Webster Dictionary online.

Noun (1)

FASHIONSTYLEMODEVOGUEFADRAGECRAZE mean the usage accepted by those who want to be up-to-date. FASHION is the most general term and applies to any way of dressing, behaving, writing, or performing that is favored at any one time or place.  the current fashion  STYLE often implies a distinctive fashion adopted by people of taste.

    You’ve probably heard the same old story. “My wife goes on these diets and loses a ton of weight then she gains it all back.” Typical story of a “Yo-Yo” dieter or what I call “Fad Follower Syndrome.” All of a sudden a certain way of being, doing or acting suddenly becomes popular amongst the masses. There’s a danger in following what is popular vs. reality. The reality is fad diets don’t work because they aren’t designed to work long term. They aren’t supposed to be sustainable because people want to lose weight fast.

I’m not a “diet” person nor do I encourage a certain way of eating. One way of eating doesn’t work for all.

I was inspired by this article:

I am not a Jillian Michaels follower. I agree on this particular article. “Keto” diet is very popular right now. People ask me about it. My suggestion is before investing time and energy in to any diet plan, DO YOUR HOMEWORK! I do not believe in diets. The word “diet” has a negative connotation. I look at eating as a long term wellness plan. It must, must, must be paired with exercise. Especially if you want long term success.

A “FAD” is simply another word for “money making scheme” for someone who has a vague idea about exercise. Don’t be suckered in to it just because it sounds AMAZING! I have seen this over and over again. Don’t be a “Fad Follower”. Instead invest time and energy in to long term success. Health is more than just a passing craze.

What would I recommend the next time you come across the latest “Fad Diet.” Don’t buy into it. Unless you really like spending all your money on things that don’t work, then I highly recommend it.

Instead of being a follower, be your own leader.

Wellness is a practice. It doesn’t happen overnight.


28 Aug

My Top 5:
The Biggest Mistakes in Exercise

Over the course of my twenty years of experience, I’ve learned some valuable lessons. I want to share with you my top five lessons about what people do wrong in the gym. Hopefully through these lessons, you can learn how to be successful in the gym.

1) Poor Training Programs
The BIGGEST mistake I see people make is over using machine training and body building techniques. Strength means nothing if you can’t use it. Stability training means training the muscles that keep your joints in place. This means challenging your body in an unstable environment. The better your stability is, the better your strength.

2) Quantity over Quality
When you compromise form in order to lift more, it’s a false sense of strength. “If you can’t lift it, don’t lift it.” Lifting more weight poorly doesn’t make you strong. Doing an exercise poorly simply creates poor muscle recruitment. Therefore you are hindering your own strength development.

3) Following False Fitness Trends
Just because it’s trendy, doesn’t make it true! There is no such thing as one abdominal exercise that will flatten your stomach. There is no such thing as a “cure all”. It takes consistent effort over time to see results. Don’t believe what you see! Wellness is a lifestyle, not something you can buy on a shelf.

4) There’s No Quick Fix
The time and effort it takes to be unhealthy is the same time and effort it takes to get healthy.

5) Don’t Be Hung Up on Looks
People want to change their physical appearance thinking it’ll make them happier. That’s not the case. If you are not well on the inside, you will not be well on the outside.

I’ll do it my way… Even if its wrong!

23 Aug

I’ve told this guy a hundred times and he still does it wrong!

He admits he does it incorrectly and tells other people not to do what he does.

   If you’re approached by gym staff and told that what you’re doing is unsafe, would you listen?

You’d think anyone with common sense would like to avoid injury. Yet I’ve seen it so many times I can’t even count it. You’ve been told and even shown how to execute an exercise properly, and you’re still doing it incorrectly. My question is, do you enjoy getting hurt?

Most people who are lifting weights incorrectly are usually lifting too much weight. Unfortunately their pride won’t allow them to adjust to a lower weight. I’ve told the same person multiple times that he’s doing an exercise wrong. Why doesn’t this person listen? I’m not paid to give this person unsolicited advice. My logic is if I’m watching you exercise and it hurts me to watch you, I’m going to say something. Whether or not you choose to listen is your call.

If you’re a gym goer, you’ve probably seen it too. The same person doing the same exercise wrong all the time. He’s been told and told again. Should you intervene? As a gym member you have to remember that you are not qualified to offer advice. If you give someone advice anyway and they get hurt, you’re responsible. Tell a qualified professional and let them intervene. I know your intentions are good. If you are not a certified professional, you’re gonna be in big trouble.

The point in all this is that sometimes people do have to learn the hard way. I’m responsible as a manager to tell the person. If they choose not to heed my advice then I am no longer responsible. It’s not personal that a staff member wants to help. If anything, we want to make sure you are safe. We want you to remain uninjured so you can continue coming to the gym.

You may have a hard head and choose not to listen. You know you’re doing it wrong and choose to exercise improperly. That’s your choice. No one will be impressed when you throw your back out tying your shoes…

Just a word to the wise… Quality over quantity. Execute an exercise properly and you’ll develop the strength properly.

In the words of Paul Chek

“If you can’t lift it, don’t lift it!”