Monthly Archives: January 2014

So a Powerlifter hugged me….

Had a great workout the other morning at a local CrossFit box.  I was having a little post-WOD chit-chat with a husband-wife pair I sometimes train with and was just about ready to call it a morning.  Then I heard it…..

“Hey…Hey man…can you spot me ?”

I wanted to be a smart-a$$ and point at him saying “Ok…there you are ” but wisely chose otherwise.

The question came from a gentleman I’ve seen come into the box a few times to take advantage of the Olympic Weights.  In this particular case, the gentleman is around 6ft 5in and has to be around 330 lbs.

The spotting required was for a massive amount of weights on the barbell.  Although my math is not always at its savviest, I can state without a doubt the weight on just one end of the barbell was waayyy over my 172 lb bodyweight.

The conversation went something along these lines. (Slightly Edited)

“Sure” I say to the big man…”Are you doing reps (multiple lifts) or for PR (Personal Record)”

“PR.”

“How you feeling this morning?”

“I don’t know.”

“You better get that crap out of your head!..What did you come in here for?..You came in to pick big crap up.”

Amazed silence

Image

My initial thoughts were “It’s a deadlift..if he can’t get this up the bar will just stay there.”

My new powerlifting friend approached the bar in the manner of a person that has deadlifted literally 10 thousand times, his movements and positioning were as fine as I have ever seen.

Although all technical points were spot on, something still didn’t look right.

He began the mighty heave…..and lifted the plates roughly 1/4 in off the floor before dropping the bar.  He turned around to me and honestly looked like a 330lb flushed face massive 10 year old.

Time for some MyTrainerChris love.

Image

This is how I felt inside, on the outside I was my usual good looking self.

“You got 4 minutes to recover…then you’re picking that crap up for real.  Don’t tell me you’re going to walk out the door today leaving that crap sitting there….oh hell no!.

4 minutes later we’re back at the bar with fresh chalk applied.  In a moment of either sheer stupidity, or absolute faith in my ability to impart confidence, I actually squatted down IN FRONT of this massive person and the barbell to issue motivation and fragmented coaching cues.

I would love to say this unorthodox approach would motivate the powerlifter towards a successful lift, as I’m sure he certainly wouldn’t want to drop a barbell on a person half his size…then again I can be a demanding pain in a$$ sometimes.

Image

This very well could have been the outcome had I pushed the Powerlifter a bit too far.

A mean mug, some highly directive and rather explicit instructions and BAM!… He takes the lift fully and in superb fashion.

“Wham!” drops the barbell and I swore it caused me to bounce on the platform as well.

According to eyewitness testimony, I was last spotted grinning and clapping loudly like I do when things are going well.   The next thing seen was 330 lbs of sweaty power lifter (aka 330 lbs of Meat and Cheese) engulf me in a Bro hug.  The only parts of me that were visible were one of my hands and a single red Reebok Nano sneaker which appeared to be “twitching.”

Image

Every Bro Hug 101 rule was broken…but so was a Deadlift PR.

Having my face pressed between another large mans sweaty pectorals is one thing, having his dirty man beard wipe across my face and over my bald head was quite another.  I swear I heard the muffled laughs of the wife from the husband&wife pair.  After HE decided to let go of his Bro Hug of doom (as if  I had a choice in the matter) I congratulated him on his PR and slapped a MyTrainerChris business card in his hand.

Image

A strikingly accurate artists rendition of me post bro-hug.

“Dude…hehehe…look at you! You smell like him hehehe” says the husband.  It’s true, I had chalk dust and man sweat not of my own origin all over my front,back and head and been called “dude.”

Image

“Your face and head were all in his beard!” says the wife.   Showing her my teeth..”Do I have any beard pubes in my mouth?”

Image

 I’ve been looking for an excuse to buy a multi-head shower system.  Now I have one.

When I got home I took two showers, I didn’t think the first one took.

Yep…it was a great day at the box.

Advertisements

Client Assessments and Prescription Medications

Image

In my own parlance…”Maintenance is always cheaper than repair, and far better than accident recovery.”

(Yes, a guy under 60 and from the United States just used the word parlance in a sentence.)

I cannot overstate the value of the initial client meeting and assessment.  As with anything in life, you will not get a second chance to make a first impression and in the world of business, the client has already made many decisions about you within the first sixty seconds of meeting you.

ImageImageImage

Although these books are not the sort I would call “riveting edge of your seat reads”, they are constantly referenced and come in great hand when I start suffering from bouts of insomnia.

I have continually refined my initial assessments to be more far more encompassing than what my employer requires.  This often takes upwards of an hour or more in the initial consultation, and typically 1-2 hours of off the clock research. I place great care and detail into what is covered and depending on the customers needs will require researching several books and websites.

 Image

I do loves my Amazon Prime Membership and subsequent Tax Deductions.

I have actually ordered books or equipment simply to support the needs of a few clients.  I reckon I will run into the same situation sooner or later, or perhaps a fellow trainer may need to tap me as a resource. (P.S. I’m talking to those Personal Trainers that follow the MyTrainerChris website when you ask me some pretty cool questions)

Over the course of refining my assessments I have become increasingly attentive to prescription medications and the potential negative side effects that can be induced via exercise. This in turn provides the warning signs I should aware of and for developing a proper first aid response.  I make this point clear to the client during the initial consultation.

Derek 3

I too wrestle with this question.

Being seen as a person with a plan, and the ability to execute said plan effectively has a good feel to it.   Almost as good of a feeling as being seen as a really really ridiculously good looking person with a plan and the ability to execute said plan effectively feels. 

Image

As a Personal Trainer, it is not…under any circumstances…within your scope of practice to alter or take clients off of prescription medications.

You CAN however ask what medications they are presently taking or if any of them are emergency type medications that you as their trainer might need to help administer,or inform emergency response personnel about. As a trainer, many people retain our services in order to help with weight loss.  There are certain commonly prescribed medications that  have side effects that include weight gain, hinder weight loss or cause exercise intolerance.

1. Paroxetine (Paxil) and other anti-depressants.  Many Anti-depressants can hinder fat loss.

2. Metoprolol and other beta blocker blood pressure medications.  Often prescribed for high blood pressure, angina or post heart attacks.  Can cause weight gain, fatigue and exercise intolerance.

3. Depo shot (medroxyprogesterone acetate- aka “Birth Control Shot”)  Women can see an additional 5-10 pound weight gain when using the depo shot over other forms of birth control.

4. Cetirizine (Zyrtec) or Fexofenadine (Allegra) Allergy Medications.  Can cause weight gain/hinder weight loss.  VERY common and OTC available in the United States. May go unnoticed as a fat loss barrier.

5. Asthma Inhalers.  Necessary for those with uncontrolled asthma. They can cause weight gain.

6. Statins (Lipitor)  Statins can cause muscle pains and aches beyond what might be deemed “normal DOMS.”

7. Fluoroquinolones (Cipro or Ciprofloxacin, Levaquin or levofloxacin) Antibiotics prescribed for common urinary tract infections.  Can temporarily weaken tendons. Generally taken short-term.

8. Sulfonylureas (Glyburide, Glipizide, Glimepiride) / Insulin.  Both can cause weight gain & hypoglycemia. It’s important to know if your client is on one of these because you will want to be aware of the risks of hypoglycemia,  warning signs and of course the weight gain.

9. NSAIDs (Motrin, Advil)   When used chronically can cause GI bleeding, high blood pressure, and kidney injuries. They’re also implicated in a higher risk of heart attacks.  Generally safe in normal doses, but some people pop these things like candy.

10. Depakote (Valproic Acid).  Prescribed as a mood stabilizer for bipolar disorder and as an anti-convulsant (anti-seizure). This drug will cause significant weight gain.

Motivated and Serious

Image

It was actually a pretty dead Thursday, Friday and Saturday at the gym.  The common theory is that all the New Years resolution’ers were too sore from working out non-stop since 1 January and HAD to take days off.  It’s crazy enough to be true.

While making a little small talk with fellow trainers prior to our monthly meeting, I was informed that one of the staff trainers is presently “only taking motivated and serious clients.” 

Image

It sounded pretty serious to me.

 In this case “Motivated and Serious” meant no fatties, no old fogies, no weaklings and without a doubt definitely no “broke” people (I.E. people with joint problems, mobility issues or health concerns.)

Image

Looks like I found his ideal clients….not sure about the bald guy in the back, he might be chubby.

 Basically he’s only accepting fit/near fit people with better than average body fat readings, health profiles and physical abilities…preferably on the lower end of the age scale.

 Translation: He refuses to work with people that could present a possible challenge.  He wants to work with people that are comparatively easier to train.

 Ok.

Really, I’m actually okay with that…on multiple levels actually. 

Image

 Optimist Trainer Chris thinks…

The trainer may not be equipped with the skills needed to train these populations, or at least lacks the confidence needed for such. In this case, he avoids any potential issues.  (Those are some awfully THICK Rose colored glasses being worn…think Hubble Telescope level optics and you’ll be close.) 

Image

 

  Realist Trainer Chris thinks…

The trainer gets paid the same session rate regardless of client complexity, why should one work harder than one should have to?  ( I didn’t say it was a good line of thinking, but it is realistic.)

 

Image

Yep.

Pessimist Trainer Chris thinks…

The trainer strikes me as a lazya$$ with limited skills. (Perhaps this should have been filed under Realist Trainer Chris)

Personal take on the situation

The actions of others have little, if any impact on me.  The trainers’ position, and opinion is their own and does not reflect on all trainers. Last I checked neither the words “motivated” or “serious” are attributes solely reserved for the young, fit, attractive and healthy. 

Image

In my (and Websters) understanding of the English language,lazy and flakey are the antonyms of motivated and serious. 

Image

“It’s a little wooden box….how bad tough could it be?”   Heh heh heh…yeah, go on thinking that.

In full disclosure, I too only want to work with the Motivated and Serious.  I consider myself Motivated and Serious and have a firm belief that Steel sharpens Steel.  I’ve found that the opposites, Lazy and Flakey, tend to out themselves rather quickly and don’t last long with me.  A good coach/trainer brings out the best in an athlete, regardless of the athletes skill level. 

 Taking a stand that I’m sure CrossFitters following MyTrainerChris can get behind, I advise the non-motivated to not apply for membership at their local CrossFit box.  It’s not that I’m trying to take money away from a box, I’m simply offering a public service announcement.  You’ll not only waste your hard earned money, you will become known as the morale and energy vacuum for the athletes actually working on becoming better.  

Image

In the commercial gyms, the unmotivated and unconcerned should stick to the weight machines, thereby freeing up access to the barbells and dumbbells for those of us in the gym with an actual purpose other than converting oxygen.

                                                 Tough Love on Motivation and Seriousness

                                                           Motivate and get serious, or don’t.

                                                         Step Up, or Step Aside…your choice.

                                       You don’t want 300 lb Power Lifters making the choice for you.

Image

                                   “He looks done to me…What do you think, he done?”   “Oh yeah he done alright.”

MyTrainerChris: Behind the Barbells and Burpees.

A client recently asked me a lot of questions about my life before becoming a personal trainer and the events that brought me into this field. I never thought anyone would be that interested.  After receiving my Readers Digest version she asked if I would consider blogging my story…either she thinks I may have held out on a few juicy details or she likes the funny photos more than she admits.

Warning: This blog jumps around a little more than I like….unlike some well executed burpees.

Image

A Navy Aircraft Carrier Battle Group.  For our country and our allies it is a beautiful sight.  For the bad guys out there, you’re about to have a very very bad day.

GENESIS.  Previous to my life as a Personal Trainer I had the honor of serving in my countries military for 24 years.  Over the course of my career it was expected that my operational, tactical and technical skills would diversify and grow as I promoted through the ranks.

 This is what marks a professional.  

Along with expectations of subject matter expertise, I was further charged with leading, mentoring and developing younger less experienced personnel into trained professionals.

Over my years as a military leader I had to make more than a few tough phone calls to mothers and fathers.

I had to speak on behalf of wayward Sailors in front of commanding officers.

I had to see a few be sent home early for disciplinary reasons.

Image

I had to say far too many final prayers for the fallen and say goodbye to too many friends.

Image

A brother in arms has been accepted as a Chief Petty Officer.  I think the photo alone says more than a thousand words.

….but I also got to see many service members excel and rise up through the ranks, including a few that would go on to become commissioned officers, senior enlisted leaders or commit selfless acts of bravery and integrity.

Then it was time to retire and put away my weapons. It was a fun ride, I don’t regret a thing a thing.

Image

CROSSROADS OF THE KNOWN AND UNKNOWN. I was now barely over the tender age of 40 years old and had to decide on continuing government employment or pursuing personal interests. 

Image

“Yeah Bro, I’m in a bulk phase.”

One thing for sure, I knew I wasn’t going to sit around all day and watch myself get fat. 

Given my background, becoming a personal trainer seemed like an easy decision. I believed that my motivational skills, leadership ability, education and dashing good looks would surely lead to clientele success.

It didn’t…at least not quite as well as I thought it would…………at first.

Fact is, in the military I nearly always out-ranked the people I trained and even when I didn’t I held what is termed “positional authority.”   That authority only held weight as long as the other person was holding weights. 

Additionally, the average service member has a better health profile than most same age civilians, which in turn made them (comparatively) easier to train.  My combination of command level respect, rank, vocal demeanor and a honorary Masters degree in Bastardology kept whining to an auditory minimum. 

Image

 

Response to Whining 101: If I have to come down there, I HAVE TO COME DOWN THERE.  It won’t be pretty.

I never had to deal with 58 year old women with Fibromyalgia, 72 year old lung cancer survivors, Artificial Hip recipients or a 327lb 20 year old wanting to lose 100 lbs…and I certainly lacked the ability to cope with whining. My former whining coping mechanisms involved continuing  to issue beatings until morale improved.  Although I believe I have (externally) improved my coping skills, I’m still not good with clients that whine and I think I might have stopped needing to evolve. My ability to handle a diverse set of clients needs however continues to develop and I believe I made a pretty good transition.

Image

Great White Sharks haven’t had to evolve very much…..pray that they don’t.

Image

Oh crap…..

Save for whining issues,I had to re-invent myself…sort of…just not a total self-Mulligan.  It was a matter of putting things into a perspective that I could work with.

The ultimate goal of a training program is to bring the (blank) up to their full potential.  In my opinion, this is the true mark of success.
(Blank) formerly meant service members, (Blank) now means athletes.

Image

As stated below, I’m not a Medical Professional….but I am a Medical Amateur, something here doesn’t look right …and why the heck is that slacker in the background allowed to be in the gym working out in regular street clothes? 

I’ve decided to start referring to people who hire me as their trainer as athletes instead of clients, even though client is a perfectly acceptable social term.  I positively refuse to call them “dudes” or worse “patients.”  

Image

“Where da ladies at?”

I am at least 1 year removed from calling anyone dude, unless of course I’m hanging out poolside with a large adult-oriented beverage and wearing a sombrero. Since I lack of a degree or license in any of the approved courses of study, I cannot be your Psychologist, Physical Therapist. Marriage Counselor or Dietitian…therefore you are not my patient.

 I do however consider myself something of an Oprah for Athletes. 

Athletes train and build themselves with a purpose and desired outcome in mind.  Since I train Athletes,I design the programming per athlete to produce the desired outcome and provide an external source of drive when needed.  

Image

One win right after another.

It is quite possible to exercise without focus, direction or a goal.  It is also possible to exercise with intended purpose, general direction and a goal, but use ineffective training methods. Don’t believe me? It’s January, take a good look around your local gym and see how many people clearly have no idea what the heck they are doing.  

Essentially, If your heart rate is rising, if you’re breathing a little faster and your muscles are contracting then by definition you are exercising.

Image

I’m sure he exercised….if exercise is defined as using the hip adductor/abductor machine.

Warriors don’t exercise for War, they train for it.  Athletes don’t exercise, they train.

I don’t exercise clients,I train and build athletes.

My 80/20 on training athletes of all ages and abilities.
80% of my programming is designed to produce progression by a measurable means.This can be gained from periodization, programming, lift progression, exercise selection, time trials, strength tests, scale weight, circumference/skin fold measurements, goniometrics or any other number of tests that produce concrete evidence of efficacy.

 Strength

Mobility

Flexibility                                 

Body Composition

Nutrition

Power                                      

Stamina

Endurance

Performance

Balance

Of all the fitness domains, I value strength over all.  My supporting belief in this matter is simple: Imagine a weak person with good morale, sound intellect and living a spiritually rewarding life.  Now imagine how much better that person would feel, think and be if I simply made them stronger?  Imagine how much longer they could go on doing their good works?  Not only is such a person (happy, intelligent and caring) a good person to have around, I just added years and quality to their life and the ability to experience the unbridled joy of picking up bigger barbells and knocking out faster burpees. 

20% of my programming is designed to produce progression by less directly measurable means.  This comes from the feedback I get from my athletes when I ask them how they’re feeling, especially if they were living with daily bouts of pain.

Daily Quality of Life (Morale, Ease of Movement, Energy et al)
Reduction of Pain (Directly corresponds to quality of life.)

Sometimes the 80/20 is completely reversed or re-proportioned; it all depends on the needs of the athlete.

Eyes on the future.  As I get older, I get a little wiser.  I will personally never state I’m the smartest guy in the room, but everyday someone proves I’m not the dumbest guy either. Since my entry into personal training I’ve certified in, and continue to educate myself in corrective exercise, rehabilitatation methodologies and kinesiology.  I’ve committed myself into making this a career and consider myself a lifelong student.

I have taken up both Yoga and CrossFit to broaden my knowledge and deepen my skill sets. Stuff is a blast!

What I’ve come to re-realize is that this isn’t about me being the best trainer in town; it’s about me giving the best of myself to others, and building an actual legacy by developing one awesome athlete after another.

Glute Program

It’s 10:30 on a Wednesday morning and outside is a lovely 50F, with a highs supposed to hit in the low 60’ish F’s.  Such is my life choosing to live in a warm weather state (it was either here or Hawaii….and now Singapore is now starting to look like a pretty nice re-re-retirement option.)

My friends in the Eastern, Mid-Western and Pacific Northwestern portions of the United States are not so lucky right now as it is pretty darn cold out there.   “How cold is it you ask?”  

Image 

Always the optimist.

What does my weather report have to do with a Glute Workout you ask?  I don’t know.. but Las Vegas (along with Hawaii and Singapore heh heh heh) all have long Bikini seasons and I am already getting requests from my athletes to build their glute muscles to get ready for it.  Below is your MyTrainerChris Home Glute Workout.

 

TARGET MUSCLES: Glute Maximus, Medius and Minimus

TRAINING FREQUENCY:  Every other day

ACTIVATION: Rest 30 secs in between sets

Image

1. Hip Thrust                            3 sets  – 30 reps

Image

Perform the first set with the leg straight up and down, then place the leg at an angle to perform the second half and lift straight up.

2. 2-Way Leg Lift                     3 sets  – 15 reps each leg + direction      

Image

Standard Hip Clams can be done indoors. Park Clams are for warm weather places only. 

3. Laying Clam                          3 sets  – 30 reps each side

Image

4. Laying Hip Adduction           3 sets  – 15 reps each side

Image

5. Pointers                                3 sets  – 30 reps alternating sides

 

THE MAIN EXERCISES

Rest 60 secs in between sets

Image

 

One of my favorite squat photos.

Image

Just because Trainer Chris isn’t around doesn’t you’re not going squat.

1. Air Squats                            3 sets  – 20 reps – Squeeze glutes at top

Image

Note the position of the heels on the far right portion of the image.  I used to make jokes about this exercise until I lit myself on fire doing high reps of it.

2. Plie’ Squats w/Heel Lift Love 3 sets  – 20 reps – Squeeze glutes at top

Image

As you step up, keep your chest high and contract your ab muscles. Exhale on the knee raise, try to get your knee parallel like the model in the above photo.

3. High Step Up                         3 sets  – 20 reps – Squeeze same side glute at top

 

THE STRETCHES: Hold Stretches 30-60 secs per leg

Image

 

Part 1: Push down on the knee until you feel a stretch in your hip.

Part 2: Push your knee against your hand until you feel an activation in the hip and glute.

 

1. 2- Part Piriformis Stretch

Image

The stretch looks like a long lunge.  Push your hips forward until you feel the stretch in the “front pocket” area of the extended leg.

2.Hip Flexor Stretch

A final note on stretching…..

Image

Am I the only one that thinks Mr. Fantastic and Mitt Romney look alike?

 

What happens when you drink a soda.

Image

A little over 100 years ago, a world-famous red and white colored brand of soda used to contain amounts of cocaine. How much cocaine exactly is perhaps lost in history…or is held within a high-tech vault somewhere.  The bigger question is “Why was it removed?”  

Answer: It was a redundant ingredient.

Image

In the first 10 minutes your body is hit with 40+grams (10 teaspoons, or 100% of RDA) of sugar.  This of course presupposes you had a can of soda, not a bottle.  The reason you didn’t vomit right away is because the phosphoric acid cuts down on the sweetness.

Image

I would like to thank one of the members from the Blue Man Group for providing this photo of his liver.

 

Around the 20 minute mark, your blood sugar has spiked, which caused a rise in your insulin levels. Your liver reacts by turning any sugar it into fat. 

 

Image

40 minutes after ingestion,: Caffeine absorption is complete, Pupils nicely dilated; Blood Pressure Risen.  Our pal the Liver  decides now is a great time to dump more sugar into the bloodstream. The brains adenosine receptors are blocked thus making you feel awake.

Image

I’m thinking getting an Adrenaline tattoo to decorate my right python.

In roughly 45 minutes, your Dopamine production is on full-steam and tickles the pleasure centers of your brain. Physically, this is the the same way heroin works.

Image

That Magic Moment…..

After about 60 minutes the sodas phosphoric acid binds calcium, magnesium, and zinc in your lower intestine.

Image

 

 

Your “I gotta pee” valve activates and you start urinating detectable levels of calcium, magnesium, and zinc that was supposed to be headed to your bones as well as sodium, electrolytes, and water.

Image

The little dog is cute.  You however will probably look like a sorry a$$.

60 minutes: As the soda party starts to wind down, you begin the sugar crash. You have now pee’d out all the water that was in the soda, along with nutrients your body could have used for things like hydrating you,building strong bones and teeth.

61.25 minutes you start looking in the fridge for another soda……

MyTrainerChris Best of 2013 and message for 2014

Happy New Year Everyone,

Welcome to the MyTrainerChris website.  I’m looking forward to a great 2014 and getting to meet awesome people from around the world.

In early February of 2013 I was in the enviable position of having two different gyms offering me a job.  The crazy part was that I never put in an application or submitted my resume’ to either gym.  This meant having to decide between my current employer, or heading over to one of the other gyms. My current gym could not offer the same session rate as the other gyms, but did offer to transfer me to their busiest gym where I could increase my earning potential.  98% of my existing clients transferred with me and in a short time I became one of the more in-demand trainers on staff. I decided that a website would provide an information source to my clients that could add to their overall customer satisfaction.  

I never would have guessed so many other personal trainers from around the world would e-mail me, invited me to their gyms in places as far away as SIngapore, Canada and the Philippines for a guest spot or have chosen to follow the MyTrainerChris website.

I would have also never guessed that a client of mine would have suggested that I write a book.  Who knows right?

Life is cool like that. 

MyTrainerChris Most Visited Blogs of 2013 

“I’m losing inches but not pounds”

https://mytrainerchris.wordpress.com/2013/05/19/im-losing-inches-but-not-pounds/

and the counterpart blog

“I’m losing weight but not size”

https://mytrainerchris.wordpress.com/2013/06/28/im-losing-weight-but-not-size/

My Relationship with CrossFit

https://mytrainerchris.wordpress.com/2013/11/12/my-relationship-with-crossfit/

I love being your Personal Trainer!

https://mytrainerchris.wordpress.com/2013/05/04/i-love-being-your-personal-trainer/

Getting Rid of Belly fat.

https://mytrainerchris.wordpress.com/2013/08/14/getting-rid-of-that-belly-fat-part-1-of-5/

The Inner Skinny Person

https://mytrainerchris.wordpress.com/2013/03/30/the-inner-skinny-person/

50 Shades of Trainers – Part 3

https://mytrainerchris.wordpress.com/2013/04/19/50-shades-of-trainers-part-3/

For those of you starting (or continuing) on the road towards health and fitness I congratulate you and wish you the best.  The path has many curves, detours, hills and a few potholes along the way but the destination is worth it and the perks are immediate. Focus on where you want to be, literally see yourself as having already won.  There is no shame in asking for roadside help, we all need it from time to time….but I’m not qualified to check your oil, you need to see a specialist for that.

People will tell you you’re Dreaming.  Just Dream Bigger.

People will take shots.  Yet THEY never seem to pull the trigger.

Dreams and Goals are tangible things.

Do Common things Uncommonly Well.

Never Give Up  Never Let Go  Never Give In

Image

2014 Welcomes the New You!