Written by: Mary Ellen Coffey
As a fitness professional it's my job to educate clients as well as train them. And I take that job seriously. But, as we all know there are many different personalities among us, and we certainly can't help those who won't help themselves. Sometimes it makes more sense for some people to participate in group fitness classes instead of hiring a personal trainer.
Personal training is not for everybody. First off, it's expensive, and requires a commitment to keep that appointment with your trainer two or three times per week. You and your trainer are a team, and your exercise routine needs to be a reasonable priority in order for you to succeed.
Those who are willing to learn, are excited about getting fit, and are open to experience all that functional strength training has to offer will not only benefit the most from personal training, but will begin to enjoy a life long journey of healthy living.
I trained a new client recently who was negative, not enthusiastic about exercising, and didn't want to do some basic body weight exercises that were appropriate for her. She insisted I needed to do "other things" with her first, so she "could build strength before doing these exercises." She had a puss on her face throughout the entire training session, and acted as if I was bothering her. Any trainer reading this knows exactly what I'm talking about because we've all experienced it.
The body weight exercises included the stationary lunge (holding on for balance with modified range of motion), a hip hinge pattern, and a box squat. The hip hinge pattern could be a little too technical, but I modified it, and she was doing fine until she abruptly decided she didn't want to do it anymore.
She wasn't happy about doing box squats because, she said "my legs are big enough, and I don't want them any bigger." I try to educate her by saying squats will help firm up your leg muscles, and therefore lean them out instead of making them bigger. She gives me a weird look, clearly she's not convinced...
I'm at a point in my career where I can pick and choose who I train. I need to be a good fit for the client just as the client needs to be a good fit for me in order to succeed. I've had many personalities to deal with in the past which has helped me to narrow down my clientele. I'm very passionate about what I do, and can help those willing to learn, so I work with clients who are committed, serious, and will benefit most from what I have to offer. I'm not a gentle trainer meaning I won't coddle, indulge, or help you find excuses.
I'm also not a physical therapist, chiropractor, massage therapist, counselor, psychiatrist, medical doctor, cheerleader, babysitter, nutritionist, dietitian, or yes man. And I can't diagnose. I'm a personal trainer, a fitness professional, and I help those willing to help themselves through reasonable and safe strength training movements.
Most people hire a trainer for their expertise, to help guide them toward their goals, and to help them make a commitment to exercise. I can teach you how to exercise properly, help you build muscle, burn body fat, lean out, get stronger, move better, and improve your cardio respiratory function. My responsibility as a trainer is to teach you how to exercise safely, help you to develop an exercise habit, and then prepare you to go out on your own with the confidence, and ability to stay committed to your exercise routine.
When you acknowledge the importance of a consistent exercise routine, and take control of your own health and wellness, whether that's working with a trainer, taking group fitness classes, or exercising on your own then that's when I know I've done a good job.
Certified Personal Trainer
Rowing Fit Tip
by Mary Ellen Coffey
There are endless safe and effective ways to get a great workout on the rowing machine. When you go to the gym however, nine times out of ten you'll see people rowing incorrectly. There is a technique to it, and unlike the treadmill, elliptical, or stationary bike you can't just jump on the rower and row. Well you can, but you won't get the most from your workout.
Efficiency matters, so don't waste your time.
What it is: rowing is a drive, or push with your legs, a hip hinge back slightly with your torso (11 o'clock position), and a pull with your arms. The drive movement order is legs, body, arms.
Reverse it on the recovery, by letting your arms straighten, hip hinge forward slightly with your torso (1 o'clock position) then bend the knees until your shins are vertical. The recovery movement order is arms, body, legs.
On the recovery your knees do not bend until the handle passes over them, and your back stays straight on both the drive and recovery with your lats engaged. Let this become one continuous movement, legs, body, arms, and arms, body, legs.
Workout tip: Interval your workout by rowing for 5 minutes then get off the rower and complete a body weight movement.
Row 5 minutes
10R 10L reverse lunges
Repeat 6 times for a total of 30 minutes on the rower and 60 reverse lunges.
Useful practical information and a workout or two...