Longer workouts? Not necessarily.

By Tony Marino

Short, Focused workouts

Many individuals have a mindset that more is better when it comes to fitness. As a general rule, good results can be obtained by relatively short and focused workouts. See the link on supersets in the next paragraph. Your ability and goals should determine the intensity and duration of a workout. By this I mean your strength, coordination, endurance, and present physical condition should guide you on the intensity of a training session.
I, personally, tend to keep my strength training workouts under an hour. I split my routines into lower-body and upper-body sessions (total of four sessions per week). My lower-body session includes a thorough warm-up with core work (abs, legs, glutes, and lower back). These major muscle groups are what I work on this routine. My lower-body routine takes a little longer than the upper-body routine (about 45-60 minutes). I work at a fast pace. That means supersets with little rest in between. Fast pace means moving quickly from one exercise to another, not doing fast repetitions. I generally rest about one minute after doing two or more exercises in a superset.

Lower Body workout

An example of my lower-body workout is as follows: dumbbell squats, Romanian deadlifts, wood choppers (dumbbell or kettlebell), glute bridge on a bench. After completing the four movements, I rest one minute. I do three sets. The next superset consists of reverse lunge (dumbbell or kettlebell), seated hamstring curl on a machine, and calf raise. Two sets are done on this sequence. So you get the idea. Including the core and warm-up work, this workout is completed in about 50 minutes.

Upper Body workout

I do my upper-body routine in the same fashion. Note that it’s a good idea to employ opposing muscle groups with the exercises chosen. A push-up or chest press, then a lat pull or row is a good example.

Ideal for Fat burning and Conditioning

Over a period of many years, using this type of routine has produced excellent results for me and my clients. This workout strategy is ideal for fat burning and aerobic conditioning. Remember that sometimes less is better. It’s the quality of your work, not necessarily the duration that creates optimal conditioning in every way: strength, agility, coordination, endurance, and functionality. What more could you ask for? Try it, and see for yourself. You’ll be amazed and pleased at how fit you will become.

Compound movements, train like an athlete


By Tony Marino

Sometimes individuals will use the excuse “I’m not athletic,” as a way of avoiding exercise. But you don’t have to be an athlete to train like one.

What is a compound movement or exercise? Simply defined, compound exercises are those that involve more than one joint and muscle group. The next question is, why do compound movements? By using more muscle groups, you are gaining the following benefits:

  • More calories are burned (anaerobic effect).
  • Functionality is improved; think of lifting a suitcase or climbing stairs.
  • Coordination and balance are improved.
  • You’ll be able to lift heavier weights by building strength in larger muscle groups.
  • Better joint stability is attained.
  • The risk of injury in sports and fitness activities is decreased.


My own personal experience is a testament to joint stability. My left knee has a partially torn meniscus and, due to the injury, some arthritis. I still function and perform well in life activities, strength training, and yoga. A sports medicine doctor told me that my fitness (especially my legs and glutes) is why I’m not a candidate for surgery at this time. I can squat well, hike hilly terrain (I’ll admit some discomfort on steep downhills), and perform most yoga poses.

Let’s list a few compound exercises, starting with two of my favorites, the squat and the push-up. The squat employs the largest muscles in the body: the quadriceps, hamstrings, and gluteus maximus. Performing squats affects more than one joint: the ankle, knee, and hip. I don’t know who said it, but this is one of my favorite quotes: “Your legs are your best friend. They take you everywhere.” Use caution and care with squats.

Another favorite compound movement of mine is the push-up. The push-up is a total body exercise that builds both upper-body and core strength. Done properly, it is a compound exercise that uses muscles in the chest, shoulders, triceps, back, abs, and legs.

There are many other compound exercises, e.g., presses, rows, pull-ups, lunges, and swings (with a dumbbell or kettlebell). You can even combine compound exercises; for example, you can perform a squat/press combination. If you are not experienced, make sure you use a trainer or coach, in order to ensure safety and proper form.

Finally, as with most exercises, compound movements can be modified to accommodate individuals according to their ability and experience. Work hard, work smart, and you will find that are a pretty good athlete. Good luck.

Over fifty, over the hill, think again!

Enjoy this new post from Tony Marino.  Tony will be a contributing author to Overfifityfit.com.


Tony Marino 1


There are many excuses for why people don’t exercise. One of them is, “I’m too old.” Let’s put that one to rest right now. Age itself does not prevent someone from living a healthy lifestyle. There are two categories of age, chronological and physical. We have no control over our age in years. The only alternative is dying. The physical process, with few exceptions, is completely within our power to affect. So the first step for starting your health and fitness regimen is to change your mind set.

Age is a state of mind. We’ve all the heard the slogan “You are only as old as you feel.” Much of the feeling is due to our thinking. It’s not a good idea to fill your head with negative thoughts. It’s amazing the powerful effect your thoughts have on how you feel. Henry Ford said, “If you think you can, or you think you can’t, you are right.” The importance of clearing out the mental clutter and self-limiting beliefs is crucial to a healthy lifestyle. Don’t worry about how long you’re going to live: concern yourself with how well you’re living.

We’re never too old to start working out. Obviously, if you’ve been physically active all your life, it’s easier to achieve optimal health, but age isn’t an excuse to forego getting back into shape. The human body is a fantastic machine. It will adapt and respond to new health habits, including exercise. Improving your nutrition, developing good sleep habits, exercising, and managing stress will change your life beyond imagination.

Don’t hold yourself back. Get rid of any self-limiting beliefs and negative thoughts. Visualize how you want to feel, how you want to look, and what activities you want to do. Set reasonable goals, and be sure to list reasons for those goals. If you have enough good reasons, you will achieve success. Start your fitness program moderately. It’s about progressive adaptation. Your journey may not be easy, but the rewards will be awesome. Good luck!



Gliding Gracefully through Menopause

Please enjoy this guest post from Health and Wellness Coach and good friend Diane Catrambone

Menopause is a time filled with physical and spiritual change. It’s hardly the time for strict dieting and being over critical of yourself. Don’t you have enough going on already? It’s enough to deal with the emotional changes (sometimes every hour on the hour) without having to think about adhering to a strict diet and exercise plan. Having said that, it is extremely helpful to keep excellent eating and exercise habits because that will help you eliminate many of the problems you will experience during menopause. You will also form the foundation for a healthy future when you are finally free of menopausal symptoms.

Exercise and Menopause

Exercise does more than boost your mood and energy level. It also has a long lasting calming effect. You don’t have to have a lot of fancy equipment to exercise. What you do need is an accountability system. Exercising for a little as 30 minutes per day will make you feel calmer and more in control of your life. Thinking about exercising each day, and then blowing it off, will make you feel even more fuzzy and moody than you already are. Do not blow exercise off. It may save your life. It will certainly make those who live with you much happier! Be accountable for your efforts, and if you can’t do that for yourself, hire a personal trainer or a health coach to get your through this phase of your life.

While you are going through the menopause phase, you might as well experiment with what types of exercise really jazz your particular biomechanical makeup. Strength training is of the utmost importance for so many reasons, but you don’t have to hit the weights like some juiced up body builder. You are most likely experiencing some laxity in your joints and also some joint and ligament discomfort. Determine the correct course of action for your particular body type by enlisting the help of a qualified personal trainer. The last thing you need now is more pain and discomfort. Your strength training program should be written to ensure steady gains in muscle strength while protecting the joints and minimizing muscle onset soreness. As I said, you have enough to deal with every day, and every day is a mystery!

Aerobics are also a key component in your menopausal exercise regime. However, don’t engage in more than 30 minutes per day unless your particular form of aerobic activity is also giving you stress management benefits. Utilize aerobic activity to keep your heart strong and your blood pressure in check, 20 minutes 3 to 4 times per week of pretty intense aerobic activity should do it for you.

Stress Management

Lastly, get yourself involved in some type of stress management activity. Try Yoga, Tai Chi, or Chi Gung. Your moods are swinging all over the place. Your mind can’t stay on one subject for more than 30 seconds. You re most likely enjoying short term memory loss and fuzzy thinking. Being involved in this type of activity will feed your mind and soul and help your spirit to return to a place of balance and serenity, even if it’s only for 1 hour! Take whatever you can get!

Here’s the thing. Whatever you do, do it well and be free of guilt that you should be doing more. A program that is consistently and persistently leading you to make better life choices will guarantee that you exit this phase in your life strong, healthy and ready to take on the world!

Celebrate Your Life…..One Day At a Time!

Diane Catrambone, Health/Wellness Coach

100 Day weight Loss Challenge recap

Last week I finished the first of four 100 day challenges that lead up to my 60th birthday. The first challenge was to reduce my weight from 182 pounds to 172 pounds and decrease my bodyfat to under 20 percent. The challenge was to be done without following a diet, but by changing how I exercised and developing new habits which would aid in losing weight and maintaining the new weight once the challenge ended. Lifestyle changes are more important to me than a short term weight loss. I want to maintain my new weight and live an even healthier lifestyle.
On day 99 of the 100 day challenge, I reached my goal weight of 172 pounds. During the three plus months, I learned a few things, overcame a few challenges and developed some new habits.




The three biggest challenges during the 100 days were how to handle travel, how to keep on track while enjoying my vacation and dealing with an unexpected bout of low back pain.



The easiest of these challenges was a three day business trip to Colorado. On travel days, I cut back on what I eat and try to avoid the beverages and snacks given out on the plane. At the airport, I buy food for the flight. Since my flight was in the late afternoon, I chose a turkey sandwich and ice tea. I also packed some In-Kind bars for snacks. After arriving in Denver, I rented a car at drove 60 miles to my destination, Fort Collins.

I ate half of my sandwich on the plane and the rest while driving to Fort Collins. After arriving at my hotel at around 10 pm., I snacked on an In-kind bar and treated myself to a soda. During the trip, I limit my meals and calories as much as possible.


Fort Collins lies at the foothills of the Rocky Mountains in Northern Colorado. I was fortunate to have a free half-day on the last full day of my trip and spent a few hours hiking in Rocky Mountain National Park. The time in the park enables me to get in some unplanned exercise. The park was magnificent as the aspens were in full autumn color. At Lake Estes, just outside the park I had a close encounter with a herd of Elk.


Estes Lake Co 5


RMNP Aspens 6
Keeping my total calories low and getting in a few hours of hiking help me keep my weight goal on target.


Vacation presents many challenges for healthy eating and exercise. Our family vacation this year was a week in Sea Isle City New Jersey. We vacationed with my son, daughter-in-law, two grandchildren, two of my brothers and their family, my sister and her family and my parents. We rented two side-by-side houses close to the beach. Each night one family prepares dinner. The kids even took a turn and made a “breakfast for dinner” feast on their night to cook.

My strategy for the week was to join a local fitness center and either workout or walk every day to burn extra calories and limit my daytime calories. This way I could enjoy dinner without worrying about the calories. My goal was to not gain any weight during the week. The dinners each night were wonderful and the kids “breakfast for dinner” was a big hit.




Low back Pain


About a month before the end of the challenge, I was doing a high intensity interval workout and feeling great. I had completed four strong rounds of the circuit and was doing a set of heavy cleans when I lost my focus and relaxed on the final rep of the set and immediately felt a sharp pain in my low back. The pain subsided quickly, but the damage was done. Fortunately, my entire back did not go into spasm, but for the next few weeks, the amount of exercise, especially lower body exercise became very limited.

Since my calorie expenditure was lower than normal, I had to dial in the nutrition even more than usual. Relying on a good routine each day helped keep my nutrition and weight loss on track. The first routine was to drink a sixteen ounce glass of water each morning. Next, was riding the stationary bike for twenty-two minutes to twenty- five minutes. My back felt better after riding the bike but would tighten up again during the day.

I continued drinking a glass of water before eating every meal. The routines of drinking water and riding the bike every morning helped keep me continue to lose weight.

What I Learned


Losing the weight and meeting my goal on this challenge felt good, but even better, I was surprised to learn a few things about myself and my lifestyle that will help me keep the weight of and stay healthy.


The biggest lesson for me was realizing that I ate for many reasons other than hunger. Boredom, stress and late night snacking triggered me to eat even when I was not hungry. Learning to recognize hunger was a big lesson for me during the 100 day challenge. I learned to wait about fifteen minutes from the time I think that I am hungry before eating. If I still felt hungry after fifteen minutes, then the hunger was probably real and I would eat. Eating only when I am hungry was a good lesson and a habit that I will continue to develop.


A second lesson learned was that there will always be small glitches and problems along the way. Learning to work through issues is a great lesson that can be used in all areas of my life. Dealing with vacations, travel, low back problems and giving in to the occasional urge to devour a mint chocolate-chip Rita’s Water Ice Gelato are all part of life.


Ed Catmull, the founder of Pixar films in his book “Creativity” states that “trouble is inevitable” and worries when a Pixar film does not experience some challenge or trouble during the production of one of his films. Following this philosophy, Pixar has produced 14 number one box office animated films in a row.

Some lessons in life are learned over and over again. My training partner, Brian Jones, often reminds me of the mistakes we tend to repeat and relearn. Brian and I have trained together at different times for the past 30 years. We have over-trained, stuck to a program too long and made many of the same form mistakes at different times during our training sessions together. Each time, we remind ourselves that we have learned the same lesson again and vow not to repeat it again in the future.

During this challenge, two lessons that I have learned in the past, I re-learned during the 100 day challenge. The challenge helped to remind me of these lessons and to reinforce their value. The two lessons are that consistency trumps everything and mistakes will be made.

Consistency is the greatest factor in achieving success in weight lost, sports, work and life. Showing up every day and putting in the work necessary to succeed will move you closer to your goals than any sporadic effort to reach a goal. Focus on habits that you are able to sustain every day and you will be successful.


Mistakes were made!

During the 100 day challenge, I made many mistakes related to my nutrition. I ate cake at my wife and grandson’s birthday party, (they share the same birthday). I ate snacks late at night and occasionally ate junk food and pizza. The lesson was that I will not be perfect. I will make mistakes, but can overcome these mistakes by not looking at them as failures but as learning experiences or bumps in the road and keep moving toward my goal.

A mistake does not dictate failure. Move past the mistake and continue toward your goal. In the movie, “Remember the Titans” the team is losing at halftime of the state football championship game. Coach Boone starts his half-time speech to the squad with,

“It’s all right. We’re in a fight. You boys are doing all that you can do. Anybody can see that. Win or lose… We gonna walk out of this stadium tonight with our heads held high. Do your best. That’s all anybody can ask for”.


Julius Campbell, the captain of the team then interrupts the coach and delivers these words of wisdom.

“No, it ain’t Coach. With all due respect, uh, you demanded more of us. You demanded perfection. Now, I ain’t saying that I’m perfect, ’cause I’m not. And I ain’t gonna never be. None of us are. But we have won every single game we have played till now. So this team is perfect. We stepped out on that field that way tonight. And, uh, if it’s all the same to you, Coach Boone, that’s how we want to leave it”.


We do not need to be perfect to achieve our goals. A perfect outcome, reaching your goal, can be attained even though we make mistakes and are not perfect through the entire process. Setbacks and challenges are part of the experience. Work through the challenges. Stay consistent and learn from mistakes.


New Habits

The 100 day challenge helped me to acquire three healthy habits which will support maintaining my new weight. The habits that are now part of my daily routine are drinking more water every day, increasing my total daily activity by riding the stationary bike or walking in the morning before I start my day’s work and eating more vegetables with meals.

During the challenge my water intake increased from an average of nine ounces of water during the first three weeks to an average of thirty ounces of water per day during the final three weeks of the challenge. This did not include any water from beverages such as tea.


Habits can be fragile and are often triggered by the environment. I will still need to be vigilant when I travel or am away from home to keep these new habits strong.


Where to go from here?

My goal now is to continue to lose bodyfat and to reduce my weight to under 170 pounds. I will monitor my weight and set a “take-action” weight. The “take-action” weight is a strategy from “The State of Slim” a diet book from experts at the Anschutz Wellness and Fitness Center in Colorado. My “take-action” weight will be 175 pounds. If I weigh myself and reach 175 pounds, I will take action and monitor my nutrition and increase my activity to get back to my goal weight. This will keep me from returning to the slow steady weight gain that most adults experience.


Weight Loss Lessons Learned from the “State of Slim”

If you type in diet books on the Amazon.com website, you receive 90,256 results. No wonder people are confused when it comes to eating right and losing weight. The “State of Slim; Fix your Metabolism and Drop 20 pounds in 8 Weeks on the Colorado Diet by James O. Hill, PhD, and Holly R. Wyatt, MD with Christie Aschwanden is one of the newest diet books to hit the market.
The “State of Slim” is based on research from the National Weight Control Registry and data from weight loss clients at the Anschutz Health and Wellness Center in Colorado.
The National Weight Control Registry (NWCR) is a scientific database of more than 10,000 people from across the country who have lost at least 30 pounds and maintained the loss for a minimum of one year.


The authors maintain that while overweight people burn calories at a normal rate, their metabolisms are stuck in a fat-storing mode. The Colorado Diet plan has three phases. Phase one helps to reignite your fat burners to lose weight quickly. People in this phase typically lose 8-10pounds. Phase two helps you build good habits to rebuild your metabolism. Phase three reinforces your metabolism by finding a pattern of physical activity to keep your metabolism high while fueled by a healthy and satisfying diet.


To attain and maintain a healthy weight, the authors use the analogy of a clogged bathtub filled with water. First you must turn the faucet down to lower the amount of water in the tub. Turning the faucet down is an analogy for reducing your calories to lose weight. Phase one restricts calories, especially those from fat to lose weight quickly, similar to the quick start programs used in Weight Watchers or Jenny Craig.

Once the water level is lowered, (weight lost), the next step is to unclog and increase the diameter of the drain so water flows more freely. In this phase, you work on establishing good habits that will help to rebuild your metabolism. In the final phase, you match the faucet to the capacity of the drain and keep the drain clear. Your food intake matches your metabolism and activity level while eating healthy to keep the drain clear.

Six Key Factors drive the Colorado Diet

These include daily activity, eating real food that is fresh, high in quality, and minimally processed, creating a healthy environment, staying true to your purpose of losing weight and keeping it off, believing you can succeed, and making healthy living fun.


The Colorado diet emphasizes eating less to lose weight and increasing physical activity. Data from the National Weight Control Registry shows that physical activity is the best predictor of success in maintaining weight loss.

Each phase of the Colorado Diet relies on five basic rules.

1. Eat six times a day
2. Have breakfast within an hour of waking up.
3. Don’t count calories, instead measure portions.
4. Have the right carb and protein mix at every meal.
5. Eat a healthy fat twice a day.


What separates “The State of Slim” from other weight loss books is the emphasis on establishing positive habits to promote and maintain a healthy weight. The key to this approach is to make healthy decisions automatic. Habits, routines and rituals help us make healthy decisions without thinking or counting on willpower. Relying on willpower will only take you so far.


Our habits are triggered by our environment. Snacking while watching television is a habit. The environment of watching television triggers our snacking habit. Routines are the things we do as a regular course of action to accomplish a goal such as brushing your teeth right after you wake up each morning. Rituals are routines that have a deeper meaning. Rituals connect to our deeper purpose.


Habits, routines and rituals help us conserve willpower. The more we can engage in behaviors that are automatic, the less we have to rely on willpower and losing weight and maintaining a healthy lifestyle becomes easier.

Habit, Routine and Ritual Tips

Do a kitchen audit. Make a list of all the food that you keep including snacks. Look at the list and change your kitchen environment to support your new healthy eating habit. Remove all junk, sugar and high-fat items. Add spices to your list that can add flavor to your meals.

Start a food and exercise journal. Look for patterns that trigger both healthy and unhealthy eating.
Develop special – occasion routines and rituals. Develop a restaurant routine like always sending the bread basket back or sharing your meal.

Develop a ritual to handle travel, holidays and special occasions. Pack a healthy snack and water to take on a long trip instead of stopping for fast food on the highway.

Activity and Nutrition Guidelines

The “State of Slim”, offers two choices for meeting your physical activity, a structured and an unstructured plan. The plan calls for 70 minutes of activity on six days each week. You can choose to performed a structured activity or complete your 70 minutes using a pedometer to calculate your total daily activity. Your ultimate goal is to get 7000 steps a day, and you’ll supplement that with 35 min. of planned activity.


Weight loss can be achieved by restricting the amount of calories you take in each day. A better way is to increase physical activity and tweak your diet so you burn more fat. National Weight Control Registry participants tend to eat diets high in protein and the right kinds of carbohydrates limiting fats and calories from beverages while watching portion size.


The Colorado Diet plan advises you eat six meals a day to provide steady energy for daily activities. The authors recommend eating plenty of protein to preserve lean body mass.

Maintaining a Healthy Weight

For many people, weight loss slows over time and may even stop. Think of losing weight in stages of 20 to 40 pounds at a time. Allow your body to get used to the weight you have lost before trying to lose more.

Set a take – action weight. This may be the most important tip in the book for avoiding regaining weight. Use the scale to your benefit. Determine a weight that when the scale reads 3-5 pounds over your ideal maintenance weight, you will re-examine your eating and activity habits. Return to your weight loss plan immediately. Take action right away to keep a few pounds from turning into a large weight gain.

The State of Slim
Fix your Metabolism and Drop 20 pounds in 8 Weeks on the Colorado Diet
James O. Hill, PhD, and Holly R. Wyatt, MD with Christie Aschwanden
Rodale Press, 2013


How to Pick a Personal Trainer

Success in any venture depends on the actions we take to reach our goals. Fitness and health are no exception. The actions you take on a daily basis will determine your results. If you miss workouts, do the same workout over and over, use poor exercise form, get injured from your exercise program or have exercised for months or years but have not seen progress, you may need a personal trainer.
My three year old granddaughter loves to use the GPS system when we are driving together in my car. She knows how to turn on the device, and will tell me which way to turn as the digital female voice calls out directions. If I follow her directions, I would often get lost since she plays with the buttons and changes our destination.
You workouts may be similar to riding with my granddaughter. You may be working hard in your exercise program but not getting the results you want. You have the right tools to achieve your goals, but may be using them incorrectly.

How do I know if I need a Personal Trainer?

1. Are you completely new to exercise?
2. Do you have a hard time sticking with an exercise program?
3. Do you get hurt when exercising?
4. Do you have a plan to achieve your health, fitness or performance goals?
5. Do you measure your progress?
6. Do you have any special conditions or health issues like diabetes, arthritis or heart problems?
7. Do you experience back or joint pain on occasion?
8. Do you have a hard time motivating yourself to exercise?
9. Do you constantly repeat the same workout?
10. Are you intimidated by exercise?
11. Are you uncertain about how to exercise properly?
12. Are you comfortable using different types of exercise equipment?
13. Do you want to learn more about health, fitness and how to exercise properly?
14. Do you need social support or someone to hold you accountable in your workouts?
15. Are you training for a sport or have a specific goal you want to achieve?
If you answered yes to any of the above questions a good personal trainer can help. As you can see, there are many reasons to hire a personal trainer.

Benefits of hiring a personal trainer

1. Helps you reach your health, fitness or performance goals
2. Teaches about strength training, cardio, mobility exercise, basic nutrition and how to live a healthy life
3. Holds you accountable
4. Shows how to track your progress
5. Help you achieve better results
6. Designs safe programs to prevent injuries
7. Maximizes your time with efficient workouts
8. Provides motivation
9. Makes workouts fun by using a variety of exercises
10. Helps you achieve very specific training goals
11. Adjusts your program based on your progress and feedback
Now that you know why hiring a personal trainer will help you reach your goals safely and effectively, how do you choose the best trainer for you?
Before you commit to a personal trainer, do your homework. The experience, effectiveness, personality, professionalism, knowledge and style of personal trainers vary widely. Like buying a car, you want to kick the tires, check the car fax and take a test ride before buying. You do not want to get stuck with a trainer who does not meet your needs. Remember, there is no lemon law for hiring a personal trainer.

Questions to ask a Personal Trainer

1. What is your education, certification and experience in Personal Training?

Personal trainers come in all shapes, ages and sizes and their training and experience can be as varied as the number of reality shows on television. In the United States alone there are over 200,000 personal trainers and the number is growing daily. Many trainers have formal education in exercise science, kinesiology, exercise physiology or kinesiotherapy. These are typically four year college bachelor or master’s degree programs.

Certification can range from a weekend online course, to an in-house fitness club training program to coursework and testing ranging from 3 months to a year. Look for a certification that has been approved by the NCCA, (National Commission for Certifying Agencies), http://www.credentialingexcellence.org/p/cm/ld/fid=121.

In addition to basic personal training certifications, many trainers acquire specialty certifications to become better trainers or to specialize in training certain populations. Specialty certifications include certifications based on age group, (youth, seniors), equipment, (kettlebells, TRX), disease management, (cancer, arthritis, weight management), type of class, (Spinning, Pilates, small group), or performance, (sports specific).

Look for a trainer with a minimum of a reputable certification and experience. Do not pick a trainer by how well they are built. Just as the best athletes don’t always make the best coaches, the best built people in the gym are not always the best trainers. The best trainers have a passion for fitness, helping others, keep up on the most recent research and trends in fitness and practice fitness themselves.

Personal trainers should also carry professional liability insurance either through the fitness center that employs them or on their own if they are an independent contractor.

2. What kind of training programs do you offer?
Many trainers offer packages or sessions. These packages are usually offers in groups of one, three five, ten or more sessions. Buying a package give you access to the trainer for a prepaid number of sessions. The cost of a session may vary according to the number of sessions purchased. Package session may or may not expire.
A recent trend in personal training is to offer programs instead of packages. A program may include goal review, assessment, program design, education, coaching, and oversight of workouts. Programs run for a specified period of time.
Personal training programs can take place in a fitness center, personal training studio, in your home or online. Choose a trainer whose programs and fees fit your needs.

3. What are your cancellation and refund policies?
Most trainers ask that you cancel a session 24 hours before your session is scheduled. This allows the trainer time to schedule other clients in your place for that session. You may be charged for the session if you fail to give the required notice to the trainer.
Trainers who work at fitness centers may be employees or independent contractors. Refund policies may vary. Make sure to ask if you can change trainers and what is the club’s policy concerning refunds if a trainer stops training at the club.

4. Do you offer small group training?
Partner, (2 person), and small group training, (3-5 people), involves two or more people training at the same time with one trainer. Small group training usually costs less per person. Small group training provides additional benefits of peer accountability and social support

5. Can the trainer accommodate your schedule?
Make sure the trainer is available when you can train. If the training times are not convenient for you, there is a greater chance that you will not be consistent with your training. Consistency is the greatest factor in determining your success.

6. How will you work with me to measure my progress and meet my goals?
The best personal trainers will perform assessments like body fat testing, movement screens, strength, flexibility and endurance tests before designing your program. The purpose of these assessments is to determine your starting point. Periodic assessments help trainers design safe, effective exercise programs and track your progress.
Check out the blogs of trainers you are considering to get a sense of their training style, philosophy, programs and fees.

7. Can I speak to other clients you have worked with who have similar goals to mine?
Speaking to clients can give you a sense of how the trainer works with clients. Ask about the personality and style of the trainer to make sure they fit your needs.

8. How will I be billed?
Billing typically falls into two categories; pay as you go and recurring billing. Pay as you go usually means paying for your next package of sessions at or around the time of your last paid session. Recurring billing means that you pay at a predetermined point for your next group of sessions or program. Recurring billing usually occurs on a monthly basis or after a set period of time passes, such as every four weeks.

9. Do I need to be a member of the Fitness Center to participate in Personal Training?

Most fitness centers will not require you to be a member to participate in Personal training. Fees for non-members tend to be higher than for members. Weigh the advantages of membership when you are evaluating personal training fees.

10. Does the trainer meet your needs, goals and budget?

Your trainer should understand your goals and help you design the best program to meet those goals. Many trainers will include basic nutrition and lifestyle coaching in their program. Personal trainers should only provide general nutrition guidelines unless they have a specialty certification or degree in Nutrition. Beware of trainers who push supplements or special diet plans.

Look for total value of the personal training program. Body Elite Personal Training Studio in Allentown, PA includes a newsletter, assessments, training, education, seminars and group classes in their programs.

Some Additional Tips

Will my trainer push me to the brink of my limits?
If you watch some of the popular fitness television shows like The Biggest Loser, you may think that all personal trainers are former marine drill sergeants bent on breaking down their clients through excruciating workouts and verbal abuse. Most personal trainers are compassionate people who understand that clients often struggle with adopting the fitness lifestyle. The best trainers meet you where you are in your fitness journey and help you become the best you possible through realistic well-designed workouts and incorporating small changes over a long period of time for lasting results.
What can I expect to pay for Personal Training?
A big misconception about personal training is that it is expensive. Personal training can be very affordable. One-on-one training the most expensive and can range from about $50 per hour to more than $100 per hour. Small group training fees, 30 minute sessions and programs typically cost less per hour. How often you train with a trainer will also determine the total cost of training. Sessions can vary from one to three times a week to as little as once a month or more to assess your progress and adjust your program.
Online training is the newest form of personal training. Clients receive programs and feedback from trainers through their computer. Fees are typically lower than in person training. Online training can range from access to fitness videos to Skyped training sessions.
Investing in a personal trainer is investing in your health and fitness. What is the value of your time in reaching your goals?

Warning signs of a bad trainer

• Does not listen to your questions.
• Pushes you too hard in your workouts. If you cannot complete your workout or consistently experience extreme soreness, look for a new trainer
• Pushes supplements or herbs. Check with a doctor before taking any supplements especially if you are on medication.
• Doesn’t return phone calls or emails within a reasonable time
• Constantly looks in mirror admiring their physique
• Gives all clients the same program
• Does not progress or regress exercises appropriately
• Uses slogans such as – no gain, no pain
• Touches inappropriately
• Uses foul or inappropriate language
• Belittles your motivation and efforts
We hope you have enjoyed this guide to choosing a personal trainer and wish you the best in your journey to fitness.

Jim Gallagher MS, CSCS is a 30 year veteran of the fitness industry. Jim holds Master’s degrees in Exercise Physiology. Jim has been a cardiac rehab specialist, exercise specialist, personal trainer, fitness director, wellness coordinator, director and COO in his career in both the medical fitness and commercial fitness industries. He currently helps Boomer age men and women live a fit and healthy lifestyle through his website www.overfiftyfit.com

www.Overfiftyfit.com is dedicated to helping people over the age of fifty years old attain and maintain a healthy lifestyle through exercise and healthy habits.

Paul F. Thomas is a Fitness Consultant and Personal Trainer in the suburban Philadelphia, Pennsylvania area. Since 1981, Paul has helped many people achieve their fitness and weight loss goals while working in some of the finest exercise facilities in the Philadelphia area and through his own fitness consulting company, Fitpro Inc., www.fitprotrainers.com.

In addition to working with his private training clients, Paul also authors a fitness blog www.homeworkoutguy.com, offering helpful workout and nutrition advice to people everywhere. Paul holds a masters degree in exercise physiology from Temple University and is certified by the National Strength and Conditioning Association as a Strength and Conditioning Specialist.


Brian Lange, MA, CSCS. He holds a Master’s Degree in Physical Education/Sports Psychology, a Bachelor in Fitness Management and is Nationally Certified as a Strength and Conditioning Specialist. He has over 30 years of experience and education in personal training, strength and conditioning and sports performance.
Brian is a former Strength and Conditioning Coach of the Philadelphia 76ers, and has also worked with NFL and Olympic athletes. He has trained multiple National Champions and All-Americans in track and field as well as being a consultant for a variety of high school and collegiate sports. Brian has lectured at camps, clubs, clinics, and colleges on personal fitness and athletic performance. Brian puts an emphasis on both the physical and spiritual aspects of health and wellness.

He is a two time All-American; collegiate track and filed/cross country coach/lecturer and a contributing writer for Football Stories magazines.
He can be reached at fit4battle@juno.com


Day 11 – Conditioning Workout

My workout today was a conditioning workout with the goal of improving my body composition. There are many names for this kind of workout; circuit training, metabolic training, HIIT, (High Intensity Interval Training). This type of workout consists of moving from one exercise to another with little rest. Each exercise is performed for a certain number of repetitions or time, followed by a short rest period before performing each exercise a second time.
To warm up and burn a few calories, I started with a 20 minute ride on the stationary bike. Six of the 20 minutes are in the standing position with increased resistance on the flywheel. After the bike, I perform a few movements of the circuit exercises to groove the movement patterns. The circuits(s) have two to five exercises that are performed one after the other with a short rest between each round.

Here is my workout for today:

Circuit 1 – 5 rounds

5 reps hang cleans
10 reps hyperextensions
5 reps Kettlebell Double Presses
30 seconds of Jump rope.

Circuit 2 – 3 rounds

3 reps hang cleans
15 pushups
30 seconds on bike in standing position

Circuit 3 – 3 rounds

3-5 reps barbell snatch
8 rear DB Flyes

Circuit training is great for burning calories and combining cardio and strength training. Circuit training works well if you do not have a lot of time for training.

If you are new to this type of training, start slow, limit the number of exercises and rounds of exercise and just use bodyweight. A sample circuit might include bodyweight squats, pushups and jump rope or step ups. Try two or three rounds and see how you recover before increasing the rounds, repetitions or adding weights. Stick with the basic movement patterns of squat, lunge, push, pull, and twist. Finish each round with a cardio exercise like stationary bike, jump rope or step ups. Exercises can be done for repetitions or time.

A sample beginner program might look like this:

Warmup – 5 minutes of bike or walking
10 front leg swings
10 side leg swings
10 front arms swings
10 side arm swings

Circuit 1

5 reps or 30 seconds of squats or wall squats
5 reps or 30 seconds of wall pushups
5 reps or 15 seconds of stationary lunges on each leg
30 seconds of step ups


Intentions – 100 Day Challenge

Day 7, Monday, June 23, 2014

There are many goals that I have the intention of achieve in my life. In January and July of each year, I review my goal notebook to see how far along I am on my goals. Yet, even with the best intentions, little or no progress has been made on many of these goals.
I now understand that no change occurs without the intention to change, but intentions alone are often not enough to achieve our goals.
Our intentions can help us change our behavior. An intention is an idea that you plan to act upon. Our intentions, what we decide to change or act upon, are often the best predictors of our future behavior.

Intentions are especially helpful in changing established habits that are weak or performed infrequently. The stronger our habits and the more routine, the less chance that our intentions will impact our behavior. We may have good intentions to change but will need more tools than just wanting to change to be successful. The stronger our habits, the less mindful we are when performing them. Think of putting on your seatbelt or driving to work. If we fasten our seatbelt every time, we get into the car and drive the same way to work each day, we pay little attention to these habits. Our mind does them automatically with very little thought. Strong habits like these are hard to change, because we have put them on autopilot.
Fastening our seat belts is a good habit. Habits that are well established or habits that are performed frequently are less influenced by our intentions. Just wanting to change is not enough. Intentions work best on habits that are weak or not well established. But what about those habits that we would like to change but are on automatic. Even though we are intent on changing, when our habits are strong, change is relatively low unless we can employ other strategies.

The best way to help us act successfully on our desires, wishes and intentions are to become mindful of what we do. To increase the effectiveness of intentions, we must take ourselves off autopilot and pay attention to what we want to change.

Two other powerful ways to break strong habits is to monitor them vigilantly or use distraction. Tracking what we do makes us more mindful of the situation we want to change and helps us focus on the change. Changing the environment can distract us enough to think about what we are doing and give us the opportunity to reinforce the changes we want to make.
If we want to watch less television, we could change the environment by putting the remote control in another room where there is no TV. The simple distraction of having to walk to find the remote can take our mind off automatically turning on the TV and give us time to remember our intention to watch less television.


Fruit and Yogurt, Probiotics and Incidental Exercise

June 21, 2014 – Day 5 – Saturday
To increase the amount of activity I do each day, I am adding in incidental activity. One way to add this into my day is to do some manual yard work. For example today, I dug out a stump from my front yard. The stump was from a hedge that I chopped down about a week ago. To remove the stump, I needed to use a shovel, pick and axe. The entire job took about an hour, and provided a great core and whole body workout. An added benefit is that my yard looks better.
Another way to add activity is to add mini-workouts or incremental activity to your day. Mini-workout are short bursts of activity that fit into your regular daily activities. Every time I enter my kitchen, I do ten front and ten side leg swings with each leg. This mini- workout helps my hip mobility and burns a few calories. Over the course of a year, these calories add up to a pound or more of bodyweight.

My newest garden

My newest garden

June 22, 2014 – Day 6 – Sunday

One of my favorite ways to start off my day is to have a breakfast of fruit, Greek yogurt and a probiotic. The entire meal takes about a minute to prepare and yields 13 grams of protein, 1.5 servings of fruit,5 grams of fiber and healthy bacteria for my digestive system all for less than 300 calories.
Right now I use Chobani Vanilla Greek yogurt and a four berry blend of frozen fruit and Dannon Strawberry probiotic.



Backyard Butterfly Garden

Backyard Butterfly Garden