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!




Personal Trainers are People Too

15 Nov

There’s often a misconception about personal trainers…

We’re not here to cheat you out of money and provide services you don’t need. Some of us are. I am not. We don’t all take sales classes and taught how to coherse people in to buying services. That’s what people really thing we’re out to do. I am not refined in the art of negotiation. It took making a lot of mistakes in order to learn how to talk to people. That’s all this job is… it’s really learning how to talk to people and helping them with what they need.

Yes, I have to pay bills too. So if you walk up to me and ask me a question, I’m not trying to be rude. We dedicate our time to everyone as much as possible. There are those that require specialized training such as rehab for hip/knee replacements, stroke rehab, cardiac rehab. These are paid clients that invest their money in our services. It is our job to provide more specialized programs for specialized needs. We cannot give out free advice because then we can’t pay our bills. It’s no different from you being paid in your job. You would expected to be compensated for your time and effort. We are in the same boat.

We don’t always have the luxury of steady pay. We count on steady clients to invest their money. If one client drops off, that can mean a big difference. That is money we aren’t getting paid. If you think we’re rolling in wads of money and buying fancy clothes, you’d be incorrect. Often trainers have to take on a second job because a lack of steady pay in their desired profession. It’s a reality that I’ve faced plenty of times.

Our profession does get a bad name because of bad trainers. Those who are out to earn money fast often do a poor job. Then those who do a great job don’t get paid enough. We are not doctors, but we do save peoples lives. I believe that our services are necessary for a good quality of life. I’ve worked with cancer patients, stroke patients, dementia patients and parkinsons patients. It’s taken time, energy and money to learn what I know. The human body is the greatest puzzle you could ever solve. To think that somehow my job is about reps and sets is ignorant quite frankly.

My job is to educate and help others learn how to move. I’ve spent my whole life learning how to do that. Be careful the next time you insist a Personal Trainer isn’t worth the investment. It makes me happy to help people. There’s a difference between someone like me vs. someone who’s trying to sell you a product. I help people. I believe I can help anyone. I say that not to be cocky, but because I’d be willing to try anyway. I will do anything to help anyone if they need it.

Yes, personal trainers are people too. We have thoughts, feelings and emotions. We have families, friends and bills to pay. Sometimes we struggle to make ends meet as well. Don’t be so quick to paint us all with the same brush.

On that note… back to work I go.

Your Body Shape Isn’t Your Body Image

02 Nov



I was never really afforded the “ideal” body shape. Whatever that means! Are any of us really afforded the “ideal” body shape? I spend my time exercising. I spend my life teaching others to exercise. I can work out for hours a day and I still have the typical roll of body fat on my stomach. Got a bit of cellulite in the usual places, but again…. what woman doesn’t? I’ve met plenty of women with the “ideal” shape and they have body fat like you and I. They have self confidence issues just like you and I. My logic is, “Even the most beautiful women have cellulite.” So why are we trying so hard?

I don’t necessarily equate my body fat with how I feel about myself. I’ve always loved the person I am as more than just my appearance. Let’s face it, I’m not a model. I don’t have to be nor do I wish to be. If you’re blessed with beauty then I admire that. My thought is that even underneath that beauty lay something far more important. The way you see yourself on the outside doesn’t always match what you see on the inside.

EVERY woman has something to offer. I decided long ago that I’ll never have the perfect “bikini body” and yet I wore a bikini anyway! I’m not saying you have to go and wear a bikini to feel confident. I guess what I’m saying is you need to wear your self confidence no matter what clothes you have on. That’s not necessarily dictated by how many tummy rolls you’re blessed with. I say, OWN THEM AND LOVE THEM! This is the only body we’ll ever have so why not enjoy it?

If you’re not feeling healthy in the body you’re in, then you have the power to change that. That requires eating well and exercising. It’s hard to do but well within your ability to change. The focus is on being healthy mentally, emotionally and physically. At the end of the day, I do not care what you look like. The goal should always be about health. Let’s work towards that.

Love yourself always!

Walking Tall to Avoid a Fall: Part 2

26 Oct

            Last month we looked at “The Senior Foot Shuffle”. We learned factors that cause impaired gait.

The first major cause was emotional trauma or a fear of falling. We also learned that underlying medical conditions can affect the way you walk. The most important finding was that shuffling your feet increases your chance of falling. This month we’re looking at ways to improve strength, balance and confidence so you can walk tall to avoid a fall.


            A big cause of injury in the elderly is hip fractures. A lack of muscle strength and bone density means your mobility will be impaired. This means engaging in weight bearing exercise that builds muscle. Strong muscles protect your joints. Having strong joints means less injury. Strength training is a great way to build muscle and protect your joints from wear and tear.           


            When you increase your muscular strength, it’s important to improve your balance as well. This means once again challenging your balance in a controlled setting. I teach people how to go up the stairs and navigate uneven surroundings using specific props. This not only engages the body, but the mind as well. You’re teaching your brain to be prepared. This gives you the confidence to navigate the world around you.


Improved confidence occurs when I help someone improve their strength and balance. When your strength improves, you stand a little bit taller. When your balance is improved, you feel more secure. You feel better about your situation. That’s the most important thing to remember. You can do something to help yourself feel better.

Improving your gait requires taking an active approach. The good news is that you can help yourself! If you want to improve your strength, balance and confidence you’ve got to take the first step.


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!