Monthly Archives: February 2016

Counters and Coaches

Trainers can almost be broadly classified into two categories; Counters and Coaches.

Education,certifications,tenure, online presence and financial success do not segregate them. There are counters with all manners of letters after their name making decent money and coaches that are unknown outside of a small circle.

What segregates them is how they do what they do.

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Counters: Generally regarded as a personal trainer that has mastered the ability to count, historically for three sets of ten repetitions. (1)

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Some counters have managed to forego that need by having the client perform their own counting and use moves done for time,so only a clock needs to be watched. (2)

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Further, some will concoct “exercises” that defy logic and typically cannot be performed with any mechanical consistency and use the clock as the standard of measure.

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Coach: Actually lives up to the title by actively teaching a given technique or pattern. Many will explain why certain things are being done while others do not.

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They can confidently provide a logical answer to the question “Why is this exercise being chosen?” in any of their programs or practice sessions.

The signs of a potential counter:
– Your workouts change drastically every session with CrossFit being something of an exception. One week its high volume machine training, the next its kettlebells, the next its  circuit training and so on.
– No skill seems to be developed or progressed. You never do anything long enough to get somewhat good at it before jumping on to something else.
– Unless theres a medical condition, break times between sets vary greatly. Sometimes it’s 30 seconds, other times it’s several minutes. Its never consistent even on weekly basis. (3)
– No assessment of any sort was performed.

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The signs of a coach
– There’s consistency in work being performed. Variations or complete changes occur on a prescribed, or possibly as needed basis.
– Emphasis is placed on the basics and quality movement before quantity of movement.
– Exercises sequences might change due to equipment availability or may need to be modified but there is a level of familiarity. Learning stacks atop previous learned material.
– Progression or regression occurs as needed. Intensity is adjusted based on the athlete)
– Progress,competence and confidence is sought.
– Break times are monitored,but may be flexed if needed.
– An assessment occurred before ANY work was performed.

Notes: Being fair there are things that both counters and coaches do.  The “it depends” answer applies and the similarities are largely superficial. The coach can explain “why” something is the way it is whereas the counter cannot.

(1) Counters are also known by a slightly less favorable, but equally accurate description as “pin setters” (as in all they do is set the pin in the machine) Do some coaches use machines and adjust pin settings? Yes.  But they also coach the mechanics, tempo and movement even in a single joint, fixed pattern exercise.

(2) Doing work for a prescribed time is not always a bad thing. It comes hand to build conditioning and for fat loss type workouts.

(3) Break variability is not uncommon and is tied to the level of intensity and desired outcome. For strength adaptations I break not less than 2 minutes, however I personally (my own training) have taken breaks as long as 10 minutes. For a healthy beginner athlete 3 minutes is a fairly good start point and can be dialed up/down as required.

Page 123 of the CPT Book

I am a certified personal trainer through NASM. I have been one for some years in addition to holding a number of non-NASM specializations. I consistently spend time reading and studying my craft and complete two courses annually. My personal library grows on a monthly basis, while my methods of training others seem to simplify more and more.

This blog post in no way,shape or form is meant to minimize or discredit any CPT agency. It is simply a humorous observation about myself as a strength coach and fitness educator and I harbor no animosity towards the licensing agencies named below. In fact, I gladly recommend any of them as suitable agencies to obtain a CPT credential.

A sizable percentage of my athletes are other trainers. This presents an usual challenge but one I enjoy. On three separate occasions by trainers of vastly different backgrounds and training years I’ve been told I’m nothing like the previous trainers they’ve worked with. I am of the opinion that no two trainers are the same, but the comment happened with too much frequency for me to simply dismiss.

I hold the opinion that I don’t fit in with the majority of other trainers and there are things that separate me from the pack, but nothing entirely unique to me other than personality.
– My training sessions are training based, not a collection of random exercises.
– A typical session might have as few as three movements.
– I do nothing without forethought, everything in my session or program has been sanity checked with my favorite programming word. “Why?” I also have the ability to apply the Weider principle of instinctive training if needed. That is an advantage of working in pencil and paper.
– I’m less married to equipment than I formerly was as I now selectively employ machines into training programs if the desired adaptation warrants the use.
– There is “no fluff” in my sessions. We don’t things just to do them. There are enough trainers doing such and I have no desire to add to their numbers.

I easily have 20 or more colleagues that fit that description.

I’ve made jokes that the things I teach are not found on page 123 of the certified trainer books. It turns out I may have been right and didn’t know it. In an N=1 BroScience study I consulted my library and looked at page 123 of my big books on training.

NSCA Essentials of Personal Training 2nd Ed.is a half page of references on nutrition.

NSCA Essentials of Strength Training and Conditioning 3rd Ed (the CSCS text) covers heart rate and oxygen uptake.

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NASM Essentials of Personal Fitness Training 4th Ed covers posture and movement assessments. (Note: I consider everything as a postural and movement assessment and am rather strict on form within the clients defined range of movement.)

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ACE Personal Trainer Manual 3rd Ed (long since updated) covers estimated daily calorie needs and vegetarians. It has been awhile since I’ve had a vegetarian/vegan athlete.

ACSM Resources for the Personal Trainer 3rd Ed is a half-page of references on applied biomechanics. This was the overall closest it came to me with the alphabet organizations, and I’m not even ACSM certified, although I haven’t ruled it out as something to pursue in the future.

Without a doubt this is all important stuff to know and in my opinion are the minimum levels of trainer competency…yet I don’t look like those page 123’s.

Then there are the page 123’s of my non-CPT books…
Becoming a Supple Leopard covers back rounding and tension hunting fault as applied to the deadlift. I spend a lot of time and repetition covering the set-up to the Deadlift and hinge pattern. There are a number of key details going into the deadlift set-up before the bar even breaks the floor that make or break the lift and the lifter.

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Training for Warriors demonstrates pull-up variations. Pull Ups and Deadlifts in my opinion are particularly great at making changes to body composition and are confidence builders.

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Starting Strength 3rd edition is a diagram of pulling mechanics in the Deadlift.

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Enter the Kettlebell covers the snatch technique. The Tsar of Hardstyle Kettlebell techniques. Before you snatch you need to know the deadlift,swing, clean and press.

Metroflex Powerbuilding covers SMR and De-loading.

Jim Stoppani’s Encyclopedia of muscle and strength covers band integration.

The non-CPT book list boils down to Barbell,Kettlebell,Bodyweight and recovery exercises. Going a bit deeper, it covers strength and power development, recovery,compound movements,applied bio-mechanics, fast and slow lifts, bi-lateral and uni-lateral movements.

I look,sound,train and educate exactly like these page 123’s.

Voices of the Fitness Professionals

For this weeks blog I tapped members of my trainers network asking two questions; Where were you in life before becoming a fitness professional? and What does being a fitness professional mean to you?

Responses came in from across the globe. These coaches range between those in their first year as trainers to those with multiple decades of experience and subject matter expertise.   A defining trait common in all is their passion and dedication to this profession and to those that they educate and lead.  I am as fortunate to know them as you are to have them as your coach.

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Russ Moon (black shirt and shorts, center) presenting a Breathe! session at the Fountain of Goodness in Seenigama, Sri Lanka Sept.2015.  Attendees to this event included numerous national level athletes and even through interpreters the positive and immediate effects of Breathe! were felt and experienced.

Injuries have shaped me and my training.  A broken ankle (service connected parachuting injury), learning to deal with compensations working on a continuous basis to “undo” tightness in the opposite leg and instability on the injured side.  A torn meniscus, which I was told in 1985 “by the time you are 30 you will have debilitating arthritis in this knee”, so I developed my leg musculature to absorb much of the shock.  I like leg extensions because they protect my knee, not for vanity and that is why I continue to do them.  A shoulder bone spur, went from incline pressing 315×10 to being unable to lift my arm above waist high and having a frozen shoulder.

Enter the Kettlebell, it was a desperation rehab tool and it worked.  Came back a couple of years later to press the Beast Kettlebell (48kg/108lbs) seven times consecutively with that shoulder and six more with the other as a masters class (50+ yo) athlete.  During the course of my shoulder rehab I was taking treatments in neuromuscular stabilization and they helped a great deal, to the point my coach was nothing my very rapid progress.  That started evolved over the last 8 years to what is now Breathe!

I worked in a sports medicine clinic developing my own mix of all the therapies I had been exposed to and testing them on more than 2,500 students and patients, then after writing the first Breathe! book another 4000 students.  Two more years of refinement and Breathe! II was published in December 2015.  I was so relieved as a patient that I found something that helped my body mend and become stronger again that I wanted to share that with other people.

Being a coach has allowed me to share the learnings from a lot of challenging times and help people get back on their feet or take their fitness to another level. It has made me empathic to those who are not superhuman, as I have never been that and I know what its like to struggle.  I enjoy sharing what I have learned to help people understand that no matter how dark things may look at the time, there is a way out if they follow proven methods, with a coach and do the work.  You can do it yourself, but it takes a lot longer and there is no real guarantee you will ever find your way out of the maze.  For myself, I like having someone who can guide me when needed, which is more often than I care to admit and I don’t think most people are all that different. Using Breathe! II right now to help my body come back from injuries sustained in a car accident in September 2015, my therapist has noticed the difference….but that is another story for later at a workshop.

Russ Moon,Richmond,VA.  (Jacksonville,FL April 2016) Health and Performance Coach, Author of Breathe! II – Health and Performance Performance Edition http://www.newbreathe.com

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Naomi “Coach Ninja” Recania teaching rope climbing skills to the next generation of athletes.

In 2009, I left my career in the music industry to transfer into a field where I could make a positive impact directly on others lives and society as a whole. My initial plan was to become an elementary school teacher, but after finding CrossFit I realized that it was not in the classroom that I wanted to teach in but rather the gym.  I enjoy connecting with people of all ages and working with them in an active setting – getting them to move their bodies and challenging them so that they can see their potential.  Healthier people make for a healthier and more positive society.  To quote my favorite movie lawyer “…Exercise gives you endorphins endorphins make you happy, happy people just don’t shoot their husbands, they just don’t” (Legally Blonde 2001)

I was a competitive gymnast for 12 years until the age of 18 and did not participate in any regular exercise or sport after that time until I started CrossFit in January 2010 at the age of 33.  That is when my fitness career began.  My experience as a gymnast has provided a strong foundation for proper movement, which translated into properly instructing clients and knowing what to look for in clients of all abilities and sizes.  As a coach and trainer, it is important to understand how to reach each client to ensure their success and fulfillment.  What works for one client may not always work for another.

It is my goal to encourage people to challenge themselves mentally and physically through fitness and to use what they discover about themselves during our sessions and apply it to their everyday lives.  My philosophy on being a coach, or in any leadership position is : “To be a coach is to be humble.  There is no place for your ego as it is not about you.  It is not about how great your think you are, but about how great your client/athlete/student can and will be.  Always train someone to be better than you.”

Naomi “Coach Ninja” Recania Santa Barbara, CA. CrossFit CF-L1 Trainer, CF Kids Trainer and CF Mobility Trainer, USAW Sports Coach,NASM CPT and Youth Exercise Specialist. http://www.coachninja.com

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Jay Lopez bridges the gaps between Allied Health care and Strength and Conditioning in his clinic/gym.

I started getting into strength training at a young age for a myriad of reasons. I was a skinny kid who needed more self confidence and at the same time, I needed an outlet to help me deal with my personal issues during my teenage life. So I took martial arts and strength training to help discipline me and also help with self confidence. Because of this many positive changes happened,self confidence,strength self discipline. I am really happy that I undertook this during my teen years.

I entered the world of coaching people as an undergraduate student in Occupational Therapy.  I realized early on that I wanted to teach and I wanted to help people be better versions of themselves. In Occupational Therapy, the main goal of the profession is to help individuals reach optimal functional independence. I knew early on that this was what I wanted to do as well.

It was in my junior year of OT where,after being exposed to clinical work that I realized if people trained consistently and with proper instruction, they could avoid illness and injury for the most part. Add that to the fact that sports rehabilitation and strength and conditioning were beginning to be very interesting given that I had so many medical subjects that helped me understand the human body even more. This is where my journey began.

I was contemplating on continuing to medical school but certain circumstances prevented me from doing so. Still, I wanted to do my best to heal people in a way that I could.  Upon graduating, I worked as both a trainer and an Occupational Therapist , I started in a string of commercial gyms before I became a freelance trainer and now I run my own facility and am opening another.

5 years of being an allied medical practitioner and a strength coach has made me a better person in so many ways. I work from the rehabilitation/clinical setting all the way to the athletic performance level.  I learned so much in theory and practice and I also learned about relationships and about people.  In both the rehabilitative/medical and fitness/athletic settings, no day is ever the same.  I am constantly working on being better so I can do better for my students and patients. My learning never stops.

Being Jesuit educated, the virtue of MAGIC (meaning doing more than what is expected) and being a man for others was instilled in us at a young age. Being an allied health practitioner ad strength coach allows me the opportunity to practice these virtues everyday, and I learn from the people I treat everyday.

Doing what I do has made me stronger physically, emotionally, mentally and spiritually.  To say that I am better as a person now would be an understatement.

Justo Maria “Jay” Lopez III,  Manila Philippines, OT,Msc, CPT,CES,PES, CKTP,CKTI, Occupational Therapist/Strength Coach, Owner Rx Strength Training Systems.

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Izabella “Izzy” Jamrocha and her fitness journey from 2011-2015 resulted in her losing nearly half her bodyweight.  Izzy is currently the most in-demand personal trainer at her Illinois facility and is developing her own brand of fitness training.

Fitness saved my life; from addiction to alcoholism, from negative body images to obesity. Fitness changed me and made me realize I am not a product of my circumstances. It made me realize that I am in complete and utter control of my life, and that life is worth fighting and changing for.

You can read more about Izzy’s amazing story here: http://www.shapefit.com/success/success-stories-weight-loss-izabella.html

Izabella “Izzy” Jamrocha, Tinley Park, IL, NASM CPT

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Mark Limbaga drilling the half-windmill position of the Turkish Get Up. Mark is presently the only StrongFirst certified coach in the Philippines and places the same dedication and patience into his students as he does his craft.

I was always the skinny kid as far as I can remember.  One of my martial art teachers once commented that “if your push ups are weak, your punch is weak” that was the first moment that lit a fire under my belly and I embarked on a new fitness journey.

I was initially a market research analyst but still believed I wanted to train people as my main source of income.  I got a chance when the gym I was a member opened apprenticeship slots.  I quickly volunteered and apprenticed for at least a year before I landed my first personal training client,after which, my client base slowly grew. It always pays to put dedication and patience into your craft.

Before signing up for my first kettle bell certification (RKC) I used to believe that only superhuman could do the certification. After meeting my first kettlebell mentor Ryan Sayco, I saw that the dream can be a reality but it required a ton of practice,patience and persistence.  I prepared about 9 1/2 months for my level 1. It always pays if you seek help and ask nicely.  I have been stuck in a training plateau or had a nagging injury several times but by reaching out ,several people have helped me and took me under their  wing for a period of time.  Jay Lopez, Ric Garcia,Artemis Scantalides,Gary and Reneta Music, Tim Anderson, Scot Iardell,Pat Flynn,Piers Kwan and Geoff Neupert to name a few have been generous with their knowledge to take my training to a higher level.

“You must always look at yourself the personification of the organization you represent and always set the bar high” is one of the most important lessons Dr. Mark Cheng imparted on my on being the consummate professional.

Mark Limbaga, Mandaluyong City,Philippines, SFG II,SFB, Ecplise Gym 24/7, Association of Boxing Alliances of the Philippines.  Facebook: Coach Mark Lumbago SEAL Kettlebells.

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Elizabeth Coronado is a youth fitness and tennis strength and conditioning trainer that found her calling in life after losing more than 100lbs.  I have had the pleasure of personally working with Lis over the past year and watched her grow as a professional.

Fitness and health became a way of life for me after having horrible experiences with panic attacks and anxiety.  I was never really athletic or health conscious however I knew I never wanted to feel powerless ever again and without hesitation I started eating healthier and going to the gym.  Once a place of intimidation, the gym became my Dojo and where I found peace and to acquire strength.  The panic attacks went away and so did 100lbs of me.  I was working as a Secondary Education teacher and had 5 years teaching experience when I considered changing career paths to become a trainer.  I don’t regret my decision at all.

Being a fitness and health professional has given me the opportunity to teach and help others gain awareness over their own bodies through training and healthy eating habits. The quote “if you love what you do, you will never work a day in your life” holds true.  I am passionate and on fire about being able to work with others so they can be the best versions of themselves.

Elizabeth Coronado-Ledenich, Las Vegas,NV, NASM/NFPT CPT. wwwLiztrainerlife.wordpress.com

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Daniel Lee Han Yuan instructs his students in a multitude of training methods. Pictured here he is competing in Girevoy Sport (Kettlebell Sport) competition.

Being a Personal Trainer and Strength Coach to me has been a fun and wonderful journey.  I dare say a calling as it was really not my first choice as I stated off as a designer after graduating from college. I changed my career choices from a designer, to an auxiliary police in Singapore and finally as a personal trainer.  During the change many of my friends and colleagues convinced me that I should be in the fitness field because when I teach/coach and train I really do it with heart.

This is my sixth year as a Personal trainer and second as a Strength coach and I can honestly say that being a coach means to being able to inspire your students, to love everything you do, to be humble and willing to learn from new and old schools of thought.

Daniel Lee Han Yuan, Kuala Lumpur,Malaysia, ADAPT Certified Parkour Instructor Lv 1, StrongFirst SFG, Team Ascend and Pahlawan Girya Parkour and Kettlebell Teams.

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Stacey Coleman, owner of My Fit 24 Gym and Strength and Conditioning Coach for the University of Southern Maine.

My goal in life is to empower as many people as I can, to live the the life they want to.  I believe that nay fitness pro can know the science and write you a fitness and nutrition program that in theory, will work.  What I offer is more and I believe that no one can change until they decide to change.  You cannot change on the outside until you heal the inside.  I have been helping clients successfully reach their goals and maintain a healthy lifestyle through inner healing for almost 15 years.

While I have my physical accomplishments including marathon and obstacle course racing and collegiate athletics, not one of these things were ever easy.  What I’ve noticed over the years of pursuing these challenges myself, and helping others do the same  is that there are patters that emerge from the process of living fit. What’s truly remarkable is that no matter what the physical goal is, and no matter what shape someone is in when they begin the patterns are universal. This is a continuous process and nobody is exempt from it.

In early 2015 I began to feel that I wasn’t living life to the fullest. I had done lots of cool stuff, but nothing that truly scared me. How was I helping people truly face fear I was not doing it myself?  I had many items on my bucket list and I wasn’t getting any younger, and in a person demonstration to prove my process, I took this big step right into some of my biggest fears.  I had to do something WAY over the the top to show that I can put my money where my mouth is.

To make a very long story short…I was a rookie on a semi-pro football team, a first time (like ever,ever) beauty pageant contestant and entered my first bodybuilding contest ALL in ONE MONTH.

Why? Because I wanted to be a role model for you.  I wanted to scare myself to death to prove that YOU can change your life. I wanted to challenge myself beyond my limits, to not only talk the talk, but to walk the walk.  I needed to do something so far fetched that it got your attention.

It worked.  Putting myself through something so difficult and outside my normal comfort zone gave me the opportunity to connect with so many people that I hadn’t before. Sharing my struggles through that process helped others to see how normal it is when things aren’t easy. Do you know what else happened? I improved my own life too. I became stronger, healthier and happier. All because I faced my fears. I want to help you do the same.

Stacey Coleman, Gorham,Maine, BS Health and Fitness,NASM CPT, Strength and Conditioning Coach, University of Southern Maine. Author and Produces of My-Fit-Life.com

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USA Triathalon Coach and Military Veteran Jeff Carstensen getting in the miles during  a road race event.  I’ve been collaborating with Jeff for the last few months on strength training.

Being a fitness professional is a huge motivation for me to show people what is possible. In May of 2013 I was 27 years old and had a very serious motorcycle accident which shattered my humorous and collarbone as was a leading to a small fracture to one of my knees. Armed with my knowledge of the human body I was able to recover quicker than expected.  I’ve had my share of setbacks in my journey like many others with nagging injuries and, but with the knowledge I have as a fitness professional I have been able to find ways back through the set backs.

I learned with dealing with my own nagging injuries that I can easily relate to clients who say “I can’t do that as I have a bad shoulder” “I can’t lift heavy”, “I can’t do XYZ as I don’t want to re-injure myself”  In some cases this is certainly true, but there is always another technique, exercise or method to get the desired result or reach a goal.

This is what being a fitness professional means to me, to be able to provide and be knowledgeable in those techniques, exercise and methods to help a client reach their individual goal. There is nothing more rewarding than when a client accomplished the goal and reached the results they love, or returning to the sports they love after injury, especially after having doubts if they would ever be able to do so again.

Jeff Carstensen, Las Vegas NV, USA Triathalon Coach Lv1, Owner, Multimovin Fitness, http://www.multimovinfitness.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Meal Prep 101 (Special Guest Blog)

Today I have the pleasure of posting a special guest blog courtesy of my friend and professional colleague Tosha Bailey.  Tosha is the owner and health transformation specialist at the Mix EduKitchen & Fitness in Atlanta,Georgia USA. Tosha is a graduate of the University of Florida and her professional credentials include NASM Certified Personal Trainer, TRX level 1,New Leaf Metabolic Specialist), SCW Lifestyle and Behavior Coaching and NESTA Certified Personal Fitness Chef.

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Tosha can be contacted via her business Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/MixKitchenFitness/info/

Many of us have overly busy lives and often turn to eating meals out or eating quick processed foods instead of planning and cooking them. By taking the time to focus on planning and creating healthy nutrition habits, you will not only get and stay fit, but you will also improve your long-term health, save money and even prevent future disease. Here are a few tips for good meal planning to keep up with our busy lives.

Plan Your Meals for the Week
On Saturday or Sunday, make a list of the meals you would like to eat for the coming week. Take a look at your upcoming week to see if you have any dinner events and/or long days/evenings ahead. If you have a dinner event, no need to prep for that day, and if you have a long day on Wednesday, make extra from another meal so that you don’t have to worry about cooking, nor do you have the temptation to order out.

Next, consider foods that you’re craving and look up recipes for healthier versions of those meals. This way, you will make meals that you are excited about. If all else fails, log on to Pinterest, type in “healthy meals” and let your eyes do the picking. Humans are visual creatures when it comes to food. Find something that looks amazing, takes less than 40min to cook and put it on your meal plan for the week.

For easy lunch options, make an extra dinner portion and take the additional for lunch the next day.

For breakfast, many choose to eat the same meals because it’s quick and easy. Fast breakfast options include: Green protein smoothies, from scratch egg muffins, oatmeal, Greek yogurt with berries and egg and spinach breakfast burrito.

Remember to choose balanced meals, meaning a balance of lean protein sources, mostly single ingredient carbohydrates, fruits, vegetables, good fats and fiber.
From there, create a grocery list of the items you will need. Planning this one grocery trip to get enough to last you a week or even two weeks, can save you time and money.

Dedicate a Few Hours for Preparation and Cooking Time 
Now that you have all your ingredients and recipes planned out, you can start cooking or at least prepping so that all you have to do is quickly put the meal together and cook it in10min or less. This type of prepping includes chopping vegetables, roasting vegetables, baking and wrapping potatoes in foil, as well as making and marinating meats (freeze meats in marinade if you won’t cook meats within 2 days).

If you are not a big fan of daily cooking and/or want to save time throughout the week, set aside a couple hours one or two days a week to cook several meals at once. On these two days, cook enough for lunch and dinner for the following few days. Be sure to undercook the meats slightly so that they don’t try out and get tough with reheating.

It’s Not Glamorous…But It’s Necessary 
I realize this is not glamorous (and probably not your idea of fun), but it is so crucial to eating for your goals throughout the workweek. Just trust me that every hour you spend preparing healthy, nutritious meals in advance, will eliminate four (or more) hours of additional exercise you would otherwise have to do to counteract the negative impact of eating “convenience” foods that don’t serve you or your goals.

Pack in Tupperware
After you have prepared enough meals to last you a couple of days, separate the servings into individual sized Tupperware containers.  Put a couple in the refrigerator (3 days worth) and the rest in the freezer. This way you can easily grab one on your way out the door to work to have for lunch. These do not have to be the same meals, mix and match them. You can also do this with salads and pack the dressing separately. Also, look into packing your salads in Mason jars to help with freshness and maintaining crispy greens.

Use Meal Replacement Bars and Shakes for Meals on the Go
Both bars and shakes are excellent way to get in calories on the go. Two of my favorite “go to” bars/cookies that are delicious and have good nutrition are Quest Bars and Lenny & Larry’s Cookies. There are a lot of different flavors and bound to be one that you enjoy! While some Quest Bar flavors have sucralose, the good definitely outweighs the bad. Another brand that I like is Larabar. They are wholesome with few ingredients, but they don’t have a lot of protein. So, this is more of a snack bar vs meal bar. 
For shakes, there are so many brands and flavors. Some of my favorite brands: IronTek (whey/casein), Bodylogix (whey), Vega (vegan), Raw Meal (vegan), Orgains (vegan).

Paper Waivers (AKA Chris on Intellectual Bullies)

I’ve seen ugliness from trainers on both sides of the fence. From the side of the “Bro’s” and from the highly degreed types and those with a lengthy string of letters after their name.

As someone that’s been on both sides, I think I can offer fair view of things from the perspective of an educated Bro.

I’m not out to mock those who purse college or any form of education. College represents the opportunity for a person to begin exploring the world and figuring out who they are in it. Not everyone is afforded this opportunity in life.

Training is not jut about the diploma, certification or credential you attained but what you took away from the experience and how well you can apply what you’ve learned.

Too many times I’ve seen “Certified Trainers” and Exericise Physiology or Exercise Science graduates without a clue of what they should be doing.

Yet those same people are quick to look down on those they consider to be “lesser” trainers ( those that earned CPT from other groups, the uncertified trainers or the certified non-degree holders.)

I am the last person to mock or talk down someone that is working hard to bettering themselves. That said, If you’re using that diploma or certification to mock other people, then I have big issues with your behavior.

To the intellectual bullies I say the following; NOBODY has a monopoly on training,exercise or nutrition science and your insights, while not entirely without value, are not as unique as you might think.

Be kind to those that come to you for help, appreciate the fact they asked in the first place. The world is big and I can assure you that if you can’t enlighten people without being an absolute pompous ass there are numerous others who can, and do a better job of it.

There are gyms across the planet that border on dungeon like conditions filled with members passionate about their iron sports and train to be the best the version of themselves.

That demands a degree of respect and an admiration to live with that intense level of purpose and drive.

The fun and light beach Bootcamp you run with all the bodyweight circuits won’t survive here.

Its likely you wouldn’t either.

Can your MS/BS/CPT help a person improve the lap set up and transition into the log press, add to her long cycle or fix issues in the bench presses mid range two weeks before competition? How about knowing when chains and bands should be brought in, when a de-load or hypertrophy phase is required or how to train using unconventional methods and equipment?

Do you even know how perform any these lifts?

It’s my opinion that whether or not you’re degreed/certified does not mean you are necessarily qualified.

Further, don’t ONLY be degreed/certified, but rather DO what requires getting done in order to qualify as a trainer to others,as opposed to only possessing knowledge.

Honestly, if it boiled down to hiring a trainer who was either well-read and book smart only, or the guy with no formal education with decades of experience and a history of client success I’m going with the latter 100% of the time.

I happen to be certified with multiple credentials along with a degree and have been a trainer pre-dating the formation of one of my certifying bodies. I was an international level athlete and have nearly three decades of experience and perhaps of greatest value learned from making tons mistakes not covered in college or featured on page 123 of the CPT books.

I knock no one whose heart and intentions are sincere,that walk the walk,talk the talk and chalk the chalk.

The difference between the great trainers and merely passable comes down not to some piece of paper but to a single muscle.

That muscle is the Heart.