Serial Trainer

{September 16, 2012}   Afraid of Commitment?

No, not really. But having done this for awhile I think I got caught up, as most of us do, in the bustle of life. And you know what? It caught up to me. Having always really been healthy and battling weight management for years when I got sick, then getting back on track, only to get sick again. This time, though it was something I never really could’ve seen coming.

Most of us are aware of dangers out there; Diabetes, heart disease, cancer, etc. So I always wanted to avoid that. I already have so many things that are hereditary, I didn’t want to face those things down without a battle as I got older.

Now, though, I am facing something else. Migraines. And not just regular migraines. Complex compound migraines that happen nearly every week. I mean, what the hell right? I realized that they were coming more and more frequently and I thought it was out of control. Went to my Dr. and he thought maybe sinusitis. We weren’t sure. (Maybe he thought I was a hypochondriac? lol)  So with no relief in sight I went to a headache specialist. The MRI confirmed that not only did I have these Monster Migraines which were causing vertigo, memory loss and other nasty things — I had three additional triggers that would spurn them on with a fury.

The anger I felt at the betrayal of my body was/is ridiculous. I worked out, I ate well — what more does it want??  Somewhere down the line I ended up acquiring a cyst in my nasal cavity, and c-1 through c-8 compression/herniated discs? I have NO idea how/when that happened. (Of course I’ll lie at the campfire and say I lived a rockstar life ..hey..I need some compensation!)

So here I am. Depressed (again). Immobile (again). And creeping up in my weight. I had just gotten on track with the Insanity workout and was loving it (still recommend it by the way..go kick your ass with it). Now I am staring at my clothes wondering how I let myself get to this point (again).

You see? Trainers aren’t all perfect. There are some Terminators out there, but honestly, we’re mostly human. I can no more change what happened to me then I could stop the orbit of the earth. If I didn’t have the compressions, I’d still have the cyst in my nasal cavity, the sinusitis, and the migraines.

But I’m not going down without a fight. I licked my wounds long enough. 4 weeks of them telling me “No” to anything strenuous and I’m done. I can’t do it anymore. So WITH my Dr’s approval, I’m getting my life back. I have medicine to help me deal with the migraines and I will not wither away. This is your call out. Whatever is getting you down, deal with it. No, not “deal with it” in a snotty, negative, careless way. DEAL WITH IT in an empowered, take-your-life-back way. Find out what your Dr’s plans are for you and make the most of it. Take advantage of it. Research your ailment and then dust yourself off and get back in the saddle.

I’ve got nothing but time, now. So it’s you and me (again), baby.


{January 3, 2011}   For Women Only!

So my most popular post is “Happy National Chest Day” and I thought I’d expand on this one because there are so many people interested in it, but I don’t think there’s enough information out there for women that want to tone up and have no real guidance. The common scenario I get is: “I’ve just been doing my boyfriend/husband/brother’s routine” and I ask, “How’s that going for you?” and they say, “I don’t know, I don’t like it too much” to which I respond, “So are your goals to look like your husband/boyfriend/brother?”

I get the oddest looks to that question. But it makes sense, doesn’t it? Anyone that doesn’t ask what your goals are before designing or suggesting a workout regimen for you needs to NOT be designing your workout regimen.

Most women want a lean, sexy look so that they can fit into their tops and feel confident. They don’t want “big guns” and a “chiseled chest” in most cases. So why on earth are they doing chest presses at max weight for 5-10 reps? It doesn’t even take the stand six weeks to see that you’re looking more bulky and your scale numbers are going up.

One thing I like to recommend to my female clients is Pilates. Integrating Pilates moves into your workouts helps strengthen your core muscles and improve your posture. I also suggest some Yoga moves or classes. Stretching the muscles and improving your balance is also very important. If you mix up your routine to include a little of those two types of exercises, you’ll find that your body will take on some very nice results.

Now, let’s hone in on key problem areas for women and address them!

“The Bra Stuff” — The floppy skin that hangs over your bra. Oh c’mon let’s keep it real! How many times have you gone to put on your bra and a form fitting shirt only to see what didn’t fit, muffin out a little?

How to fix it: Cardio. 30-45 mins and lat pull. A good way to find your right weight is to do a few reps. The last five should be the hardest ones and give you just a little struggle. It’s best to have a trainer (if you belong to a gym) do an orientation with you so we can watch your posture and form. In most cases this is a free service offered by your health club. The purpose of the orientation is to tell us if you’re using the right muscle groups, if you’re compensating with another and most importantly, it helps us protect you from pulling muscles or injuring yourself.

If you don’t have a trainer it’s best to invest in a mirror. Watch your form and be sure that you do your research into exactly how that exercise should be done.

“Soft Fluffy Shoulders” — If your neck slopes down in an hourglass form into your shoulders, this is you.
Some people naturally carry their weight differently than others. That’s just the way it is. Nothing to be ashamed of. How your shaped is your own special look and you cannot change your body shape, only how it looks. If you’re curvaceous, that’s ok! If you’ve got narrow hips, that’s OK too! You can accent different areas of your body to draw attention to where you want it. In this case the “Fluffy Shoulders” is frustrating to females that feel like their built like a football player…gear and all.

How to fix it: Cardio. (some of you are starting to get the hint that there’s a pattern to this by now) In order to accentuate the beautiful line of the neck and sexy shoulders. There are a few exercises that can enhance the look but the key is to be careful that you do them correctly or else you’ll end up with an even bulkier look.

Shoulder Raises: Stand with your feet shoulder width apart. You should have two light dumbbells in your hands with palms facing down. Take a deep breath and exhale slowly as you raise your arms in front of you to chest level, inhale again as you bring them down and then repeat but bring your arms out to either side (again, to shoulder level). A good hint is to do this exercise slowly..count 1-1000, 2-2000, 3-3000 etc..up to 5-5000. Do a set of 12-15, rest and repeat 2 more times. Be careful not to use your neck!

“Gravity” — Does this need further explanation? In order to give you a lifted look, doing chest presses in a slightly angled position works the chest to give you your own “wonder bra” effect. You can do this on a bench or on a fitness ball. If you this is your first time, start on a bench because the fitness ball will throw off your balance. You can use your dumbbells, bands or barbell. I usually prefer to train female (and male) clients with bands because there is equal resistance throughout the motion and it’s harder to cheat.

Start with your hands at chest level, take a deep breath and exhale as you push upward. Your arms should make a large arc, hugging motion as you bring them upward, then meet in the middle above your chest. Give an extra squeeze and then release to repeat. If you’re trying to tone the muscles and not bulk up, do the same repetitions/sets as the previous exercise.

“Got Cleavage?”Who doesn’t want a nice cleavage when wearing V-Neck shirts or the cute babydoll tops that are all the fashion?

How to fix it: Push-ups!..and Cardio. (did you think you were getting away with it??)

Push ups can be done several ways. Arms wide for more chest isolation and arms closer to work them triceps! Try changing it up and do three sets, working up to 20. Once you get more advanced, try doing them at an incline by raising your feet on a chair or bench, you can also do them with your hands on a dynadisk or fitness ball (be careful!). I also throw in a change here and there by having clients keep one hand on an elevated surface (like a book or small ball) then alternate each rep from side to side. Get creative and challenge yourself. Push-ups work more than your chest and triceps, so you’ll start seeing the difference in your posture as well.

There’s a lot more I can put in here but I’ve decided to break it up. Stay tuned for part 2 and give me some feedback or questions!

J: Your torture methods are effective. If I stay still the pain sets in. If I keep moving it’s bearable but moving hurts. You should work for Black Ops or something.

Me: rofl!!!!!!!

J: I need a butt donut. oi.

I love you girlfriend! LOL

{November 22, 2010}   Monday Challenge

Most people start off their Monday’s doing the “Chest Workout”. If you look on my site, it’s probably the most popular post I have on this blog. My challenge today is to break out of the routine. Our bodies are amazing and can adapt to nearly any condition, routine, workout that you give it. Variety is the key to breaking boundaries. Whether it be to get over a plateau or to just bust out of the monotony.

Who’s up for the challenge? Post here and let me know what you did today to boycott National Chest Day!

{November 18, 2010}   FREE STUFF

I’ve decided that I’m going to get this blog going again with a bang!

So what does that mean for you? FREE STUFF.

Random posters/commentors/questioners will get something free from me. It could be something as small as a water bottle or something bigger like free supplements. Maybe a T-Shirt. You get the idea. So post away!

If there are any sponsors that would like to get in on this, please contact me at

{November 17, 2010}   Put away the Winter Bulk!

Here I am again! This year has gone by so quickly but it’s been full of events. In addition to my years as a trainer, I’ve expanded my resume a bit and tried a new line of work. Why am I telling you this? Because I think it’s important that you relate to your trainer, even if they are online. How many of you have looked at your trainer, or overheard them talk about how they’ve never been overweight?

Even though that is not always the case, it’s frustrating to those of us that have jobs that don’t allow us to move around all day or have free gym memberships. It’s increasingly frustrated, if on top of that, we’ve always struggled with a weight problem.

Some of our weight problems can be due to illness but it’s up to us to take responsibility where it’s due.’s because we want to eat a Big Mac instead of a salad with grilled chicken. Sometimes, it’s because we want a chocolate milk shake from Burger King instead of a protein meal replacement shake.

Without dragging it out further, I’m going to give you insight to my year in hopes that it will inspire you and encourage you to never give up your goals.

As I previously mentioned, I changed my line of work. I started June of 2009 as a Leasing Consultant. I love this job. However, it does have it’s challenges. It can be very stressful and there’s not a lot of “labor” involved other than walking. Thank goodness for that because if I had to sit at a desk like some of you are forced to do, I don’t know what I’d do with myself. I really feel for anyone that has to be chained in their seat and I can see how that puts more challenge into your weight loss/fitness plans.

In addition to that, I’ve been doing promoting and bookings in my area. So I work 9-6, get off work, go to my Martial Arts class, go to my “night job” come home, spend a few minutes with the spawnlings, then collapse into bed. I feel like a Gerbil in a Ball on some days. My sleeping had become sporatic and I was looking as tired as I felt.

On top of the job change, I also ran into some health issues. Normally, I wouldn’t be so personal but that’s what this blog is all about; Making me a real person to you.

I found out that I had severe endometriosis..again. On top of that, I had what they call a “frozen pelvis”. Scary name huh? I thought so. I was in a great deal of pain and I wasn’t sure what was going on, so I continued to go to my gynecologist for these arcane, medieval type tests and was getting nowhere with them. I decided to get a second opinion and was advised that maybe it was time to just tie my tubes or explore what was going on through a laparoscopy. Thank goodness I opted for that. Upon starting the procedure, my doctor told me he couldn’t even get in there! He told me that if there was anything wrong, I may have to have a complete hysterectomy before the surgery, so it was something I was prepared for. I’m 37 and have four boys..I’m not opposed to the idea of being unable to have anymore!

To make a long story short, my doctor told me that it was the worst thing he’s seen in 20 years of practice and that he was surprised I could even function. I had the hysterectomy done with the mental preparation that I may in fact gain weight..weight that took me so long to lose. The first time that I had the endometriosis, I climed the scale to 180lbs. I’m 5’3 so I looked about twice that weight.

I’m happy to say that through the stress of my job (we had 1/2 the staff we normally have so I was working double hours with double work) and the surgery, I’m very happy with the results. I’m happier. I’m more active. I’m no longer in pain. And I feel like a million dollars.

I’m down to about 130-132 lbs. Still some work to go, but it’s been much easier since my surgery. Being bed-ridden for 6 weeks was the hardest thing I’ve had to do. I’ve never been sedentary to that degree. Gaining the stamina back was rough but my body remembered soon enough.

The point in all this is that you have to stand back up every time you fall off the horse. Everytime. Do not let it get you down. Learn why you fell, fix it, forgive yourself and move on. It’s okay to stumble, but if you stay down, it’s called defeat. You have to fight for what you want. It sounds cheesy and cliche but it’s the truth. Cue the Rocky Music and get your butt motivated.

In other good news: I’ve started training live people again! 😀 Hopefully, they will let me post some before and after pics as well as results. I will be sure to post them if I get their permission! Keep your eyes peeled and remember that all it takes is an email to get some help from me, online…or post your comments/questions to the blog! Chances are..if you have a question, someone else has been wondering the same thing!

{August 3, 2008}   Weekend Challenge

The weekend challenge is simple: To get out of your comfort zone! Do something spontaneous today. If you’re a runner, find a new trail. If you’re a gym rat, find a new routine for your muscle group today. Taking yourself out of your comfort zone allows you to do several things. You will use muscle groups that you don’t normally use and in turn burn more calories. You may even feel sore the next day!

Taking yourself out of that comfort zone is also a good way to meet new people and stimulate your brain for a more exciting workout. Sometimes we get into a rut and you may even experience hitting plateaus because your body is so used to doing the same thing over and over. There are too many benefits in changing it up for you to pass on it.

Taking a new class at your gym may even humble you. If you think you’re in the elite row of a kick boxing class, switch it up and hit a Pilates class. EVERLAST has a new Shadow Boxing class they have implemented into the health club scene. I took one and was (happily) brought to a humbled, zombie stumble by the time I left.

The idea is simple. Challenge yourself. If you are constantly challenging yourself, you can only get better. Progression is the key to becoming healthier, happier and more fit. And if you take the challenge, don’t forget to let us know!


{August 1, 2008}   The Poor Man’s Gym

So you don’t have enough money to buy any home gym equipment. You don’t have enough money, or don’t want to spend money, on a gym membership. What do you do?

You make a homemade gym, of course!

In the spirit of denouncing excuses (I know you just love me for it) I have come up with the basic necessities for a “Poor Man’s Home Gym”. You will need the following items: Canned Food, small step stool or sturdy coffee table, couch or chair, small ball, broom handle. If you have small children, that’s a bonus.

Things you can do with this stuff? Unlimited. Canned foods are now your new dumbbells. Depending on the size of the can of soup, you can go up increments as needed! A small step stool and you can do jumps, step ups and even triceps! With the broom handle you can get a great core workout. And on the weekend, you can jack up that calorie burn by cleaning the house, the yard and washing your car. Never tell a mom of four that you have nothing to do, that’s rule number one.

Below are some pictures for the aforementioned exercises and a small routine I put together for the Home Gym Workout. Enjoy your weekend!

Tricep Dip:
Pull your stool next to the coffee table. If the stool and coffee table are not close in height, use a chair or couch so that your hips are aligned with your heels. For more of a challenge your hands can be a little lower than your heels. Keep your arms slightly further than shoulder width apart but as close as you can to your body. Lower yourself down, inhaling on the way, until your elbows are at a 90 degree angle. Pause and hold for 2 seconds, then exhale and push yourself back into starting position. Be careful not to full extend your arms or lock your elbows as this can cause damage to the joints.

Standing Torso Twists: Works the obliques. Standing with your feet about shoulder width apart, place a broomstick or light bar across the back of your shoulders, holding it in place with a wide grip. Keeping your legs straight, bend forward from the waist to about a 60-75 degree angle. Keeping your head and pelvis stationary, rotate your upper body in one direction as far as you can. Hold at the stopping position for a short time then begin to go the other direction, and do the same thing for the opposite side. Avoid swinging while doing this exercise.

If your broom handle is strong enough, you can also position two chairs side by side and set the broom stick across them, with arms wide, exhale as you pull yourself up, touching your chin to the broom handle and then lowering down again. This is an awesome back and arm workout.

To perform the Hover Step-up, stand sideways so that you’re facing the long dimension of the step or on top of a sturdy wide step or box r and dangle one leg off the side of the step. Bend your knee and slowly lower your body until the unweighted foot is just above the floor. Pause for a second before you push back up to a standing position. Make sure to leave your knees soft and do not lock them when you stand back up. Keep your weight over your heel, and if you feel any discomfort in the knee, lower the step height to make the movement smaller. Press your hips back behind you so the knee does not travel past the front toe of the forward foot.

Step up to Balance: This link will show you how to do a step up to balance exercise. Please make sure your chair is sturdy! This exercise will give you a great cardio workout as well as test/improve your balance.

This version of the crunch is sure to give even veterans a run for their money.

Start: Lie on your back, knees at a 90 degree angle. For beginners, you can put your heels against a flat surface. Hold the stick over your knees, draw in your core by pulling the navel against your spine. Take a deep breath and then push the stick toward your toes, keeping it just over your shins, breathing out on the exertion. Pause and hold for two seconds, then lower your body again without letting your shoulders touch the floor. Repeat!

Other exercises to include:

Bicep Curl
Tricep Extensions
Medicine Ball Push Up
Jump Rope

If all this isn’t enough, stay tuned. I’m sure I can make it harder.

{July 31, 2008}   Exercise for Overweight Women

This comes from Medscape, a site that I visit because I’ll be attending Med School and I want to keep up on what’s new in the Medical Field. I take no credit for this article.

July 30, 2008 — In addition to limiting energy intake, overweight and obese women may need to exercise 55 minutes a day, 5 days per week, to sustain a weight loss of 10% during 2 years, according to the results of a study reported in the July 28 issue of the Archives of Internal Medicine.

“The importance of physical activity may be heightened in the maintenance of clinically significant weight loss,” write John M. Jakicic, PhD, from the University of Pittsburgh in Pennsylvania, and colleagues. “The consensus on recommendations for physical activity is a minimum of 30 minutes of moderate intensity activity on most days of the week, or 150 min/week. There is growing consensus that more exercise may be necessary to enhance long-term weight loss.”

Between December 1, 1999, and January 31, 2003, a total of 201 overweight and obese women with no contraindications to weight loss or physical activity were recruited from a hospital-based weight loss research center and randomly assigned to 1 of 4 behavioral weight loss intervention groups according to physical activity energy expenditure (1000 vs 2000 kcal/week) and intensity (moderate vs vigorous).

With a combination of in-person conversations and telephone calls during the 24-month study period, participants were also encouraged to reduce intake to 1200 to 1500 kcal/day. At baseline, body mass index was 27 to 40 kg/m2, and age range was 21 to 45 years.

The intervention groups did not differ significantly in weight loss at 6 months (8% – 10% of initial body weight) or 24 months (5% of initial body weight). Compared with individuals sustaining a weight loss of less than 10% of initial body weight, those sustaining a loss of 10% or more of initial body weight at 24 months reported performing more physical activity (1835 kcal/week or 275 minutes/week; P < .001), based on post hoc analysis.

“The addition of 275 minutes/week of physical activity, in combination with a reduction in energy intake, is important in allowing overweight women to sustain a weight loss of more than 10%,” the study authors write. “Interventions to facilitate this level of physical activity are needed.”

Limitations of this study include the amount of physical activity based on self-report and inability to examine the additive effect of different doses of physical activity above what could be achieved with diet alone.

In an accompanying commentary, Warren G. Thompson, MD, and James A. Levine, MD, PhD, from Mayo Clinic College of Medicine in Rochester, Minnesota, note that dieting is modestly effective for the short-term effect of obesity but that the long-term benefit is still unproven.

“Jakicic et al beautifully demonstrate that sustained weight loss requires the continued achievement of 2000 kcal/wk of physical activity,” Drs. Thompson and Levine write. “We believe that 2000 kcal/wk of physical activity can be achieved through a combination of strategies, including increased formal exercise, a modified work and school environment that allows for movement while working and learning, and a modified home environment with less television and more movement. Further research in sustainability of activity is urgently needed if we are to solve the obesity epidemic.”

The National Institutes of Health and the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute supported this study. Dr Jakicic is on the Scientific Advisory Board for BodyMedia, Inc, and the Calorie Control Council. Three of the study authors have obtained funding.

Dr. Levine, designer of the Walkstation, earns a royalty from Steelcase, Inc.

Arch Intern Med. 2008;168:1550-1559, 1559-1560.

{July 31, 2008}   health club etiquette

This will probably be the first post in a long line of posts. Not only as a professional, do I write this, but as a fellow gym rat.

Today’s Lesson: The Importance of a Towel 101

Have you ever gone to the gym and picked out the perfect treadmill? It’s in the best spot in front of the monitor with your favorite TV show already to begin. It’s got the perfect amount of air circulation and there’s not too many people around it. You stalk it for a few moments with predatory glare, marking it for yourself and warding off any would-be, wayword, treadmill trekkies from making their claim on what is clearly..your treadmill. Only to stand, feet on either side of the tread that it’s filthy!?

I mean, who was on this thing? An entire track team of sweating, frothing, rabid gazelle?? Now, mind you I’m already a germaphobe. I carry wipes in my purse. I’m borderline OCD about it. Maybe a little more than I let on so people don’t think I’m a freak. But staring down at this treadmill makes me ill just looking at it and I certainly don’t want to touch it.

It takes but a minute. That’s it. Just one, measly minute to grab a paper towel and wipe down your treadmill. Even less than that to wipe your face and neck when you’re jogging/walking to avoid a Splashtown Park-fest on the treadmill. As a trainer, I even taught my clients to wipe up the equipment after they were done with the exercise before we moved onto the next one.

You may think that it’s the club’s job and if you do, let me take a moment to collect my spiraling skull cap from the next room.

This is a health, hygiene and respect issue. First of all, your club dues are for the facilities and the equipment to be there. It’s a courtesy that it’s clean. It’s what draws in more people. But if you treat your club like the slums, what does that say about you? It’s the proverbial finger to the next member whom also pays their dues. Not to mention, who do you think you are? Would you urinate on the treadmill and expect someone making 8 bucks an hour to clean up that human waste? What do you think sweat is?

I know, I know. This sounds harsh. But folks, this is how things like Hepatitis and other nasty little things are spread. My own four boys aren’t this dirty. And boys can be really dirty! At the very least, mop up your own puddle.

And if you’re sweating gallons, wipe yourself down before sitting/laying down on padded equipment and then kindly wipe it down when you’re done. It’s nothing more than asking you to make the gym your home away from home and keeping it clean for other guests. Surely you wouldn’t tinkle on your toilet seat and smile before offering the throne to a female (or male!) guest would you? At least, I hope not (gag).

It says something about YOU, the member if you can leave such a mess behind. We call you the Health Club Wannabe Divas. You’re too good to clean up after yourself and you expect someone else to do it for you. To be honest, you should be ashamed of yourself. It makes me want to call all your mothers and watch them drag you by the ear to clean it up.

Have some pride in yourself and your club. Carry a towel with you. Carry a few paper towels with you if you need to, to mop up any puddles of sweat you leave. Most clubs leave even the sanitary spray right next to them.

And most of all, enjoy your workout.

et cetera