Monthly Archives: December 2013

Favorite Weight Loss Exercises (a.k.a Why Chris loves Burpees and other stuff.)

I know, just seeing the word Burpee in the headline made you turn around already.  You hate Burpees, I get it.  Guess what?


For those that have never heard of Burpees, they originated in military training programs as a means of providing a full-body workout that challenges the muscles, respiratory system and develops mental toughness.  Yes, they offer that much love.


I especially like a good hop at the end.  The CrossFit version has the push-up go all the way to the ground and flatten out the body in order for each burpee push-up to be exactly the same depth. The military version has a standard 90 degree arm bend, and you keep doing it until you get it right…proving that repeated failures do serve a purpose.  In this case, if you’re not smart you better be strong.



Short Course: Roughly a Burpee per calorie.

Chris’s other favorites…


Thrusters (Gym / Home Friendly Dumbbell or Barbell variant)


Manly-Man variant

Thrusters are a full-body exercise that are the result of the unholy union between a deep squat and the overhead press.  The entire lower body, core shoulders, back and arms need to do work. Medicine balls or sandbags can be used in place of dumbbells, barbells or rocks.  To add even more complexity to a thruster you can try it with a slosh pipe.  I haven’t done this yet myself but it sounds evil even by own set of standards.

The Slosh Pipe: A 6-10 foot – 4 inch diameter PVC pipe filled 50-75% with water to provide a constantly shifting variable load. Total cost of a pipe, end caps, PVC primer and sealant should be around 3 fast food meals.

CONDITIONING CIRCUIT 1: 10-10-10-10: As many rounds possible in 20 minutes

10 each: DB Thrusters, Janda Sit Ups, Alternating Lunges, Burpees = 1 Round

Full Body Circuit Training is often associated with sequential use of multiple weight training machines with short rest periods in-between  to achieve a full-body workout in a short time span.  This method is certainly not without its benefits and is in common use by many trainers. 

A downside to this method is often a case of machine availability, especially in busy commercial gyms.  If the circuit program was well thought out, the machines selected would be the ones that offer the greatest return on investment, therefore they would typically be the most popular (and most used) machines in the gym.  Another downside is sequencing, if not well thought out you could wind up having to shuffle from one side of the gym to the other to use machines thus negating the benefits of the shorter rest periods.

An upside is that with a little ingenuity you can put together a decent barbell/dumbbell complex that will challenge the major muscles of the body in short course with little/no traveling distance and the use of only a few weights.  In my case, a single barbell often does the trick.



From the land that brought us Vodka.

Kettlebell lifting (specifically the swing,press and cleans) the off-set weight provides a rhythm and physical challenge that differs from standard weights.  KB lifting requires more than a fair bit of coaching to get the hang of. Not naming names here, but don’t rely on Millian Jichaels as your KB guru.


I KNOW I look like the runner on the bottom.

Walk-Jog-Run-Sprint.  Granted, this presupposes a person has two legs and can walk in a functional manner at a functional rate of speed,  Jogging and Running may be considered hard on the joints and jogging, running and sprinting are certainly not for everyone. But for those who can, I suggest mixing it up.  Try running or walking up hills, going for a hike or changing up which cardio machine you use.

Favorite for weight loss: Uphill Sprints.   

Favorite Gym friendly cardio: 70-85% Vo2 Max  @ 30+ minutes or Tabata Interval on the stationary bike/elliptical.

Easier on the joints: Elliptical, but this method doesn’t translate to the real world very well unless you start walking in little ellipses.

Can jog but can’t run?  A running coach or trainer that happens to be a running enthusiast would be a better source of info than me. I’m far better at sprinting than distance.  My advice would be to imagine being chased:

ImageCould you imagine how annoying all those honking clown shoes would be? 

Chris’s other other methods…

Chew your food more and eat slower (except for nuts)…limited studies have demonstrated that eating slower, by taking smaller bites and chewing on the food more has led to lower calorie consumption, in some cases as great as a 48% decrease.

Eat nuts, chew them less.  Nuts have numerous health benefits including healthy fats, fiber and protein.  Studies have shown that consumption of nuts by themselves does not lead to weight gain.  Interestingly, a study pointed that by chewing nuts less, you absorb less of their fat.

ImageThe 2014 UnderArmor Sleepwear collection as modeled by sleep world champion Tiger “His Royal Snoreness” Beckham. 

Sleep like a champ…I’ve found that not getting a good nights sleep has a decided negative rub-off effect.  My morale is crappy because I’m tired, I look tired because I’m tired, I typically eat worse food and drink way more coffee and might not even feel like issuing burpess during a workout.  On the other hand, a great nights sleep reaps rewards of mind, body and health.










Message to aspiring Personal Trainers

A new year is fast upon us and along with it, an inevitable rush of people will flock to their nearest gym in pursuit of various fitness goals.


I work at the busiest Gold’s Gym in Las Vegas. Personally I’m hoping January 2014 isn’t this bad.


Be glad we don’t have industry yearbooks and you are part of the freshman class.  This is not the dorkiest personal trainer photo….OK…yes, it IS the dorkiest personal trainer photo ever taken…anywhere….by anybody.

The first, and even second year will open your eyes.  Personally, mine still continue to be opened.  There are three things to be certain of in nearly all commercial gyms: (1) People Watch People (2) People Talk and (3) People Judge.  I could also add… (4) Somebody will drop heavy weights around you…thinking that you’re their mom/ the maid and will pick up after them (5) You will people with technique that makes you shudder and Mercedes Benz owning  chiropractors/orthopedic surgeons smile and  (6) fellow trainers do things that make you wonder if maybe MyTrainerChris had the hip abductor/adductor machine all wrong.

Fact: People do things.

LIfe is a Book.

It has been said by many trainers that we learn far more on the gym floor than we ever do from any of our coursework or college classes.  I would personally agree to that opinion…but I’m not giving up my books.

Read good books.

I continually seek out information and take several courses annually to improve my body of knowledge. I would recommend this to any trainer that considers this field a profession and not just a short-term gig.

Find your mentor, or even several mentors.

Find a trainer with methods you like and ask to shadow them for one of their client sessions.  It’s what they do, and how they do it that you are looking to absorb,modify and make your own.

It’s not all in the books.

Little things make big differences in peoples lives.  Telling the client they did great (when they actually did) or telling a fellow trainer that you liked a method or technique they used can open up many positive things.


The owner thought it looked good…that’s on him.

You are your own best advertising. But with that advice comes the following addendum:

Getting someones attention is actually pretty easy, what are you going to do to keep their attention once you’ve gotten it

Looking the part of a bodybuilder helps if you are looking to get clients that are interested in bodybuilding.  This alone will not help you if the clients are looking for a performance coach, strength and conditioning specialist, senior fitness or rehabilitation trainer.  Looking the part gets someones attention, your skill or lack thereof and ability to bring out the best in others will either sustain or lose said attention.


Rika sports some seriously cool socks and custom Nano’s.

Comfortable Socks and Shoes.  You will be spending a large chunk of your day standing, walking around and carrying things. The difference a comfortable pair of shoes and socks can make can be immense.  Side Note: Some gyms prefer you wear a predominantly black shoe, while others don’t care so long as they are clean.  In my case I rotate between three different pairs (soon to be a fourth) with my personal favorites being my Puma Bioweb Elites.


A bit flashy you say?


Mackey is ready for Chest day.

Pack Smartly.  I suggest the following: (1) a good book and (1-2) Healthy snacks and a spare shirt. You never know when a client will no-show/last minute cancel on you and leave you with nothing to do until your next client arrives.


We share the same facial shape and mean mug.

NEVER NEGLECT YOUR OWN FITNESS.  Yes, this happens. Especially when a trainers schedule fills up and they are booked on a consistent basis.  Don’t be a T.G.A.T? (That guy is a trainer?), talk the talk and walk the walk.


Smile, be available to answer questions and generally be helpful to have around. 

 Truth is, you are always marketing yourself.  Your actions and in-actions when you’re NOT training clients is also often noted.

the-avengers-meme Standing out among other trainers can be a dual-edged sword.  In my specific case I happen to be one of the smaller male trainers at my gym, and also have the widest variety of skill sets and client diversity.  One quality is readily apparent, the others only if enough attention is paid.

Would I rather be known for doing one thing really well, several things fairly well, or…be known for having a variety of skills that can be integrated very effectively?

Being a trainer apart from the others.  My advice in the matter is pretty straight-forward.

(1) Be prepared for your clients.  Sooner or later you will get caught by surprise but having a plan in place is always a good thing.

(2) Knowledge is power, wield your power wisely.

(3) Being the smartest person in the room is not always a good thing.

(4) The coolest thing you can do as a trainer is to motivate/coach/teach your client into doing something they thought they could never accomplish on their own.  That is your victory. The actual accomplishment is THEIR victory.

(5)Try puting yourself in the clients position, even if you’ve never been in that position.  You might say this is impossible, but try your best.

(6) Listen to what others have to say, and be willing to entertain others opinions. If aothers viewpoint differs greatly from your own, what is the others reference vs yours? Anecdote vs Established Science? Anecdote vs. Anecdote?

(7) Your client may try to make you into their Physician, Physical Therapist, Dietician, Marriage Counselor, Psychologist, Masseuse or Butler….you are none of those people.

(8) Don’t be afraid of doing things different from other trainers.  Among a current staff of 25+ trainers I am the only trainer using suspension systems, coaching CrossFit WOD’s or using the foam roller. I’m also the only one teaching the deadlift and coaching yoga postures.

Do any of those things sound inherently bad?

Do any of those things interest you? If you can apply and share your knowledge and skills with others then why not run with it?

Knee Strengthening for Females

The following blog features information presented by the National Academy of Sports Medicine (NASM) and from myself.  Information will be credited as MTC for myself and NASM for the re-posted material. – CS



I’ve noted over my years as a personal trainer that I’ve had a disproportionately high number of female clients with knee related issues as compared to their male peers.  Men on the other hand hold a commanding lead in the bad shoulders department. Training clients with knee related problems can present a challenge to a trainer that does not have a corrective, or therapeutic exercise background.  Unsurprisingly, many trainers use the seated leg extension machine in order to strengthen the knee joint and quadriceps muscles while avoiding squats.  While I’ll agree there is some rehabilitation benefit to the seated leg extension and seated leg press, I also believe they should not form the core movements of a knee rehabilitation program.

A look at the knee…


 I’ve had quite a few clients with knee issues. The most common have been ACL (Anterior Cruciate Ligament) and Meniscus related.


I’ve also received guidance from Physical Therapists to engage clients Vastus Medialis Oblique (VMO) and Rectus Femoris muscles.

Trainers: Have any client you intend to take on receive permission from their Doctor/Physical Therapist for physical training if they have current knee issues (along with any other condition that warrants medical clearance.)

Clients: If you have received medical clearance for physical training and have a personal trainer assisting you make sure you communicate when exercises hurt, or don’t hurt.  If your trainer asks you if something causes pain, YES OR NO are really the only acceptable answers.  Being vague tells the trainer nothing.


I’ve had clients give pretty vague descriptions of things going on with their bodies during exercise.  My personal favorites to date were “I think my hair hurts” and “I think your routine is giving me the meat sweats.”


In combat the knee is both a great target and weapon. That said, why is it you never see  guys fighting in business suits?

The math of your knees: Multiply your body weight x 3= How much force is being absorbed by your ankle, knee, hip and low back every time your foot strikes the ground while running (Don’t ask me about walking, I’m not that good at math.)

For every excess pound/kg of weight you are carrying, there is approximately 3-5 lbs/1.3-2.2 kg of pressure put on each knee.


I use the front and high-bar squats in my programming along with a few other squat variations.

All my knee troubled clients perform squats in one version or another.  My personal favorite quote on squats being bad for the knees comes from Mark Rippetoe.  “Yes, if you squat wrong it goofs things up. If you squat correctly, those same goofed-up things will ungoof themselves.” (Edited to keep this a PG rated site)


Did you know females are more susceptible to knee pain and injury than males? (I did!) This is due to a number of reasons including: anatomical differences, hormonal differences, biomechanical differences, and strength imbalance differences (MGH Sports Physical Therapy, n.d.).

The good news for women is that many of these factors can be modified in their own gym or studio. Most muscles of the hip influence the alignment and strength of the knee so focusing on hip strengthening exercises can help to prevent injury.

A recent study showed that women with pain in their knee caps (patellofemoral syndrome) had 43 percent less knee pain when incorporating hip strengthening exercises in comparison to those performing knee strengthening exercises alone; those in the knee strengthening group had only 3 percent less pain at 4 weeks (Deydre, 2011; Dolak, 2011).

In addition to improving knee cap pain, hip strengthening exercises are also used in ACL injury prevention programs. Massachusetts General Hospital recommends incorporating forward lunge progressions, monster walks, bridge progressions, plank progressions, and single leg reaching drills in order to gain stability in the knee (MGH Sports Physical Therapy, n.d.).

Here are some suggested exercises for muscle imbalance correction, or in the presence of general kneecap pain:

9-23-2013 10-16-17 AMHere are some suggested prevention exercises for the more advanced fitness participant or athlete without current knee pain:

9-23-2013 10-17-49 AMMany of the exercises discussed in this post place relatively little stress on the knee joint itself, therefore, incorporating them into your program is likely to have greater benefit and lower risk than a program designed to strengthen the knee directly. However, if you or your client has persistent knee pain, known acute injury, redness, or swelling, be sure to consult with a medical provider before exercising. Knee pain has multiple causes so a proper diagnosis and classification is important in order to create the most effective and specific programs (Wilk, 1998).

Note that this article is not intended to diagnose, treat, or specifically prevent any condition.

NASM References

Deydre, ST, Ed. (2011). Knee pain: strengthen my hips? But it’s my knees that hurt! Journal of Orhtopaedic and Sports Physical Therapy. 41(8): 571.

Dolak, KL, et al. (2011). Hip strengthening prior to functional exercise reduces pain sooner than quadriceps strengthening in females with patellofemoral syndrome: a randomized clinical trial. Journal of Orthopaedic and Sports Physical Therapy. 41(8): 560-700.

Massachusetts General Hospital, Sports Physical Therapy (n.d.). Sports Conditioning for the Female Knee: An Injury Prevention Program. Retrieved from:

Wilk, KE, et al. (1998). Patellofemoral disorders: A classification system and clinical guidelines for nonoperative rehabilitation. 28(5): 307-322.

King for a Day

7:12p.m local time, Las Vegas, NV., USA.

I just woke up from a short nap on my couch.   For me this is a strange thing, I don’t sleep that much.


Somewhere between pushing my two dogs off of me and a fat REM sleep stage, I had a dream that I was in charge of an exceptionally large international group of personal trainers and had to organize and motivate trainers of differing skills and abilities into a cohesive unit and model of teamwork. I was their King.

Yes…I actually had this dream…and it was pretty cool.

Truth Time.  Yes…I have also dreamed of new and exciting ways to flip large tires and of being victorious in hot wing eating battles held at the Playboy Mansion….ahem…anyhow…I had a dream that I was now King of all personal trainers. 


I believe I have found my protege’..or perhaps I have indeed traveled back in time.

As the proclaimed King of personal trainers in Slumber Land, I hereby laydown the following decrees:


“Maxing out reps with dual Shake Weights helps jiggle fat off.”


1. All trainers will be able, at any time, to state what parts of their training methodology have been proven effective either scientifically or medically and provide valid references.  If in the event their training is based on anecdotal evidence then it will be presented as such. 


Awhile back I thought that if I simply read a little per day about fitness related stuff then I would be smarter than I was at the time.    Two Years later I still maintain the same habit and haven’t looked back since.  

2. Your King studies an hour per day, so shall you.  Truthfully, this is an area where I feel many trainers are missing the mark.  We get to a point of comfort in our career, have great reliable clients, get results.  Somewhere along the line we fall off the wagon and stop learning.  The other day a young trainer asked if I had any books he could borrow on fitness…any topic…he didn’t care if they were dry or not, he told he that he just wants to get better at what he does.   I got a little choked up inside.  (P.S. Trainers, you don’t have to sit there for an hour straight, just make it a daily habit…I’m flexible about the whole 60 minute thing but have to sound commanding…so read that last statement in your internal James Earl Jones voice.)


If this is statement is true then CrossFit WOD’s have turned me into an emotional wreck.


3. You will train and educate your clients, not just exercise them.  A little over a year ago a fellow trainer told me that her view of client service was  ” Just get the client sweaty, if they think they worked out then they’re happy.”   That never sat well with me.  ANYBODY can make another person sweat if they push them hard enough.  Bikram Yoga Teachers, CrossFit Coaches and HIIT trainers are off the hook, I expect you guys to make them sweat.



Plan the Dive, Dive the Plan.

4. Have a plan, focus on the goals of the clients, slip your goals in the programming if that’s your gig, but HAVE A PLAN AND DIRECTION.


5. With all respect to #4, you will know when to bend the plan (modify a workout) or break the plan (completely switch gears and still train the client in a positive manner.)  People, like cars, do not break on schedule.


If these words come out of your mouth when a client asks you a question you don’t know then you can probably guess what my response will be…


6. If you don’t know an answer, or the full answer, to a clients question you will tell them you don’t know…then you WILL get back to them with the information they were seeking from a reputable source your King would approve. The sharper among you will seek out several sources of credible information.


MTC News – (Las Vegas)  “Personal Training Special Forces operating under the direction of King Chris assaulted a heavily fortified sugar hill today in the global war on obesity.  According to sources within the Kingdom no trainer casualties were reported.   “Powerlifting and Strongman competition operators were keys to victory in helping throw the Yoga and Spin Cycle instructors to the top of the mounds, by working together they accomplished their mission effectively.”  said King Chris, who went on to praise the trainers efforts  “The heroism and dedication shown by these young men and women brings credit to themselves and was in keeping with the highest goals of trainers worldwide in our efforts to curb obesity.”   

7.  Appreciate the differences and community of trainers.  As trainers, we are largely people persons. We have to be in order to do what we do.  Racism, Sizeism, Sexism, Ageism, Political and Religious differences are not tolerated.  Since we are largely of that character, why is it that we often cannot appreciate what other trainers bring to the table?  Gym Trainers often look down on CrossFit Coaches, CrossFit Coaches vs. Bootcamp Leaders, Functional Trainers vs. Body Builders, Sports Trainers vs. Zumba Teachers, Powerlifters vs everyone else etc etc etc.  I think we have a lot to offer each other and certainly benefit from learning what others have to teach.  As your King, I hereby decree that ALL trainers will experience at least ONE method of training that is not their own for a period not less than six months. Who knows, you might find a mentor that, although not able to offer technical advice, might prove highly valuable in other areas.  Any disputes over method superiority will be settled with a publicly held Dance Off.  


8. Thou shalt not use the client as a lab rat.  If you are DYING to try out a new technique or add a new lift to your repertoire then you will do at least one, if not all three of the following things first. (1) Practice doing it yourself first for at least 1 month, learn it inside and out.  (2) Be a student and learn the technique from a qualified source and pass his/her level of competency first. (3) Try teaching it to another trainer first, with the understanding that the guinea pig trainer is to not help you in any way, either technically or athletically.

ImageTough love has a place in my Kingdom.  Like any love, give it honestly and smartly. 

9. Thou shall know how, and when to motivate different types of people. For some trainers this is a natural talent. For others this is a learned skill.  My beliefs as your King are (1) Every person is capable of motivating themselves, some just don’t know it yet.  (2) Every person has a nugget, a little thing that motivates them, they usually know what that nugget is, you have to figure it out, (3) Every person is 100x more than what THEY think they are, including you. (4) What motivates you is not necessarily the same thing that motivates another person. (4) Belief, or Faith in oneself, and walking in the gym/box/studio, hitting the trail or taking that first step means you are already half-way to your goal.  The hardest part of training in anything is actually getting there in the first place. My beliefs are my own, form your own beliefs and methods that work for you, put your heart into it.


Pick it up…Put it down..1…Pick it up…Put it down…2


10. Thou shall not be a robot. You will have a program for every client, those programs will differ from person to person.  The odds of every client you have being EXACTLY alike are astronomically low even if you specialize in a highly select group of individuals or in training twins…and even then there will undoubtedly be some differences.

Far out there example: Would you train a pair of twin Sumo wrestlers the same if their sport coach told you one requires more hip strengthening (big requirement in Sumo) while the other has plenty strong hips, but could use push-pull strength improvement?

Theoretically you could use the same core routine (press,deadlift,squat,overhead press with goals of increasing absolute strength and power) then add specific exercises for each to address specific areas of concerns per wrestler. 

It took awhile to put this blog together, now I need to get my sorry butt to bed.

A Thursday with my clients.

In case you’ve ever wondered what a typical day is like for a trainer, I thought I would share my Thursday with you.


Yes, the deadlift works that many muscles, plus a bunch of others that are too small to label on the image.

9.00 a.m Taught a 67 year old lady how to deadlift.  Barely used the belt, no straps and she pulled nearly half her weight for reps! Go Bernice!!


That’s the response I usually get when I call for double-unders.

10:00a.m.  Coached CrossFit WOD Single Lil’ Annie (Single unders+Bicycle Crunches.) followed by Tabata Cardio.  Leila hit a new PR and only dropped one audible F-bomb.  Received props from trainer Soonya on my motivational skills.


10:30a.m. Strength and Conditioning with Rob. Deep Squat Thrusters 5×30 followed by push-ups.


Alicia lost a Samsung Galaxy Tablet worth of inches.

11:00a.m.  Knocked 7.5 inches off a Alicia’s overall size since last measurement.


Seems legit to me.

1:00pm.  Led a former spinal stabilization client through a heavy chest workout. Warren: We’re taken measurements Monday and I expect to see a waistline reduction.


I actually used the words Levator Scapulae, Sternocleidomastoid and Trapezius today.

2:00pm Held a consult for a Aussie gentleman with neck problems. Taught him a modification for his neck stretches and worked a little core engagement.  Looking forward to developing a program for him.


“Young trainer Nick, see those people curling in the squat rack? They have given into the dark side of laziness.”

“But Trainer Chris, what of those people half-squatting on BOSU’s?”

“Those guys are idiots, the force of gravity and lack of results will prove such.”

3:15 Held an impromptu mentoring session with a young trainer Nick on suggested paths of study. 


Leave it to me to find ways of making something more demanding.

3:45 Put a smile on trainer Eric’s face after demonstrating some of my more brutal “Man Maker” variations.

Image4:00pm – Found out my client Codi and her friend Stefanie will be participating in Tough Mudder Las Vegas next April.  Celebrated by issuing deep squats and thrusters. ( and Christmas cookies were received, thanks Codi!)


4:30pm. Served as guest trainer for another trainers client. Only did upper body compound lifts since the clients legs were too sore from our last session.


 The Crush Press, one of the cooler sounding techniques.

5:30pm: Covered Crush Press, Barbell Pull-Over and Reverse Grip Bench Press and a unique push up variation with a Lynn.  Based on how well the man presses you would never guess his shoulder formerly troubled him.

Image6:00pm: Fitness Consultation with Kim: Put on point for stretching and dietary guidance for a her daily inclusion.

6:30pm: Off for the night!

I love being a trainer and I have some awesome clients.

What is Functional Training?

Functional Training (aka Functional Fitness, Functional Exercise or perhaps a hundred other ways) in my opinion is one of the most misunderstood terms in fitness.

“Functional” by my definition of the word means that exercise selection and programming needs to be targeted to achieve a specific outcome. In functional training, there needs to be a transfer of skills developed in the gym to the clients daily life.  By my logic, functional training will therefore vary from client to client.  

Also, based on my logic, a functional training program will vary depending on the skills and knowledge of the trainer.

Case Study: A client works in a warehouse where he repeatedly lifts boxes of various manageable weights off the floor and stacks them in shelving units.  Lighter boxes are stacked on higher shelves requiring the use of a ladder and heavier boxes are placed on shelves around knee height.  The client further has been experiencing a low degree of low back pain and has been cleared by his doctor for training with no restrictions and has no documented low back problems (I.E. bulging discs et al.)

Example Programming Possibilities:

Bodybuilding Trainer – Workout 1:  Leg Press machine, Calf Press, Hamstring Curl Machine, Sit Ups, Preacher Curl Rack, Shoulder Press Machine, Seated Row, Lat Pull-down cables and Seated Chest Press.  Sets and reps programmed for high reps/mid weights.


Strength and Performance Trainer – Workout 2:  Squats,Lunges,Deadlift,Standing Barbell Curl, Tricep Press, Standing Military Press/Dumbbell Press, Push Up/Bench Press and Pull/Chin Up. Core lifts (Squat/ Deadlift / Benchpress) are programmed for strength progression in a linear manner. Train abdominal complex in all three planes of movement.


Corrective Exercise Trainer –  Workout 3: Stretching Program with emphasis on hips, hamstrings and lumbar.  Screen for muscle imbalances. Inhibit overactive muscles, Activate underactive muscles, Joint mobility drills for shoulders, hips knees, postural and biomechanical corrections.  Strengthen clients abdominal complex through all planes of movement, hamstrings, glutes, erectors and hip flexors.  Teach client how to lift and move loads safely and efficiently. 

I typically favor workouts 2 and 3, but do use selected exercises from workout 1 as well. For me it depends on the clients needs at the time.  

“Humans have the ability to piggyback information and/or skills concerning posture, strength, flexibility, gross motor skills and proprioceptive acuity to real life movements that are “learned” and “controlled” by the central nervous system” 

Edward Reed PhD – Ecological Psychology -expert in Human action movements



This is how we as trainers fit our programs to our clients, not the clients to our programming.  The standards by which success can be objectively measured include volume (# of reps completed), intensity (lb/kg improvements) speed/duration/distance,range of motion or any other measurable means. Not how cool the client looks balancing on BOSU’s while swinging a kettlebell.


A much bigger kettlebell and two less BOSU’s are clearly called for. 



Somebody call the circus, I’ve found a new feature attraction!  Flat side up on the BOSU with two pink Kettlebells in the bottomside up press position while standing on one foot while wearing a singlet!  




Long Term Client Success

A quality trainer thinks about the lifetime value of their clients.

Fellow trainers let that statement digest for a moment.  

Consider how many trainers you see literally making up routines seemingly on the spot, or use the same program for all clients regardless of the clients goals.  

Below are my guidelines for long term client success.


Further proof one size does not fit all.

1. Fit the programming to your client, do not fit the client to the program.  The clients training needs to be customized to their specific needs, goals and abilities.  For comparisons sake, imagine you owned a clothing store that only sold male/female size large.  Would you tell the extra large customers they must lose weight and the medium-small customers they needed to gain weight?  If you do, you are choosing to work with a small population and will have to compete against others stores that offer a wider variety of suits including your target market.  

2. Know and respect, but don’t focus on client limitations. Focus on what the client can do.  This happens with clients having  medical conditions as well as those that don’t.  If your client has a medical condition, it is your responsibility to educate your self on the condition, its warning signs, exercise limitations and first aid procedures.  The American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) is the gold standard in matters pertaining to training clients with chronic conditions and provides scientifically/medically proven methods to effect positive outcomes.   


Go ahead…tell this guy he is too old and shouldn’t try dumbbell chest presses.

3. Age alone is not a reason to prevent progression.  With control, safety monitoring, proper load selection and most importantly common sense there is little reason why an older client cannot do many of the same exercises (or variants) that their younger peers enjoy.  This is not to say that you should have elderly clients performing powerful plyometric moves or flipping heavy tire, but they certainly can do a number of balance, cardio and strength based exercises.  What is needed, how will it benefit the client and is it suitable are the questions that need answering.  

4. Don’t progress a client before they are ready.  Regress when needed.  Simply put the client must have a foundation to build upon.  If the foundation is poor, then the house becomes wobbly. Some clients will progress faster than others. 


The National Academy of Sports Medicine Optimum Performance Training Model.

5. Provide balance in your training.  This guideline is aimed at trainers that provide service for a wider variety of clients, but has value to those that specialize as well.  Strength,flexibility, balance and cardio capacity are major elements of a fitness program.  While certain elements may take precedence over the others, all contribute to lifelong well being.


6. Instill the basics…no matter what.   The tried and proven basics have remained with us for a reason, they work.  They have evolved, but they are still the basics.  


7. Variety is a good thing, but don’t hop about aimlessly.  Learn about and experience a variety of exercise methods. Find those that click with your style of training and integrate what you feel best works.  


This equation clearly explains how we could live in a world where Elvis, Jimi Hendrix and John Lennon are dead yet Cyrus and Bieber still put out albums….at least that is what I’m told.

8.  Explain things to your client in a simple manner, but be capable of answering with the depth of understanding you would expect in any professional.