When I say that TruFit's biggest core value is to provide a fun, safe and approachable space to exercise and that my own training company's purpose is to help clients feel empowered to take back control of their bodies, it's because I meet so many people (men and women) who, because of bad experiences in the past, feel like exercise isn't for them.
I got to meet with a woman in her mid-50s this week who, after years and years of saying away from it, has decided to give the gym and training a try. The first thing she told me when we sat down was that she was the last kid picked in gym class. I had a visceral reaction as soon as she said that because I, too, was the last kid picked in gym class and WOW is that a feeling that comes right back to you: Hot tingling in your solar plexus like tiny pins poking at it; clammy hands; the unstoppable urge to look down. Those moments when you're so young can have a lasting impact on the health decisions you make as an adult! Legions of us last-kid-picked humans have made uncountable excuses for why working out just isn't for us. (I even failed at the solo sports in gym class!)
So, you know, it's January and YOU might be looking for a new gym or trainer or program to do and I thought it would be a good idea to list out how finding said gym/trainer/program SHOULD go and when to run in the opposite direction.
What to look for:
The woman I met with today told me a story about how, when they played softball in that dreaded gym class, the teacher gave her a ball and said, "Throw it." She did and the kids laughed and made fun of her. They did this because, as she said, no one took 15 minutes to teach her HOW to throw the ball.
We all know WHAT we need to do. Look for the people who will take the time to teach you HOW to do it.
Happy New Year, friends! Please let us know if I can be of any help in 2018! Shoot an email to firstname.lastname@example.org or call 312-497-8999!
This month's Do-It-At-Home exercise is a scorcher! TruFit Evanston trainer Sarah Laspas takes us through this compound plank exercise that you can use as your whole workout OR work into a routine.
Here's what Sarah has to say about this exercise:
"While sit-ups and crunches may get you 'vanity abs', they aren’t particularly effective when it comes to strengthening your entire mid-section, which is the make-or-break step in laying a solid fitness foundation. Since trading in traditional sit-ups and crunches for exercises like the one I demonstrate in the video, my core is the strongest it’s ever been, I no longer dread doing ab work, and I don’t experience lower back pain anymore.
I recommend doing core work throughout your workout rather than saving it all until the end, otherwise it becomes way too tempting to skip it all together. One way that works for me is to do a core-centric exercise in between sets of another exercise that doesn’t work the same muscles. For example, I might do the exercise shown in the video in between sets of squats with hammer curls, but I would not do it in between sets of push-ups or shoulder presses because the plank variations in the exercise require your chest and shoulder muscles to do some work."
Ok, are you ready and intrigued?? Let's watch!
Let's recap the exercise directions:
Now, for an at-home circuit like the one Sarah was suggesting, here's a little something you could do (click on the exercise names for videos):
Exercise 1: Goblet squats 10-15x (if you don't have weights at home, try holding something like laundry detergent or a big book)
Exercise 2: Prone swimmers 15x each side
Exercise 3: Single leg reaches 10-15x each side
Exercise 4: SARAH'S AWESOME EXERCISE!
Do each exercise back to back as a circuit for 20-30 minutes! And you'll be SMOKED and ready to conquer the world!
Try it out, let us know what you think by leaving us a comment!
One year ago, on December 1, 2016, I became the new owner of TruFit Personal Training Studios. And, holy cow, what a year it has been! We’ve added five new trainers, redecorated a bit, held six different charity events, held a ribbon cutting with our alderman… The list goes on (and will be filled with photos below!).
Now, in case you don’t know how TruFit works, let me give you a quick run-down before I dive deep into more highlights of 2017:
TruFit wouldn’t be TruFit if it weren’t for the incredibly smart and talented trainers and their awesome, hard-working clients. Our culture is everything to us and I firmly believe that THIS is why our clients get results: Because we do everything we can to make our little Evanston gym a place where people look forward to coming (both to work and to work out). AND, now I’m tearing up. Sigh…
So, as I look back over these last 12 months, here are the biggest lessons I've learned:
I’ve learned it takes a village... to create a village! There are a lot of gyms out there where clients feel anonymous (and for some that’s perfectly OK) or where they’ve felt completely misunderstood or made to feel stupid. Even way before I took over, TruFit has always been a little bit like Cheers: A place where everyone knows your name and they’re always glad you came. But that’s not something that just *happens*. At TruFit, clients and trainers take the time to get to know each others' names! Clients talk to other clients and some become friends! Trainers aren’t afraid of other trainers stealing clients from them! Taking the time to say hi, to listen to each other and to cultivate a place where everyone’s input is important helps people feel like they have ownership in the place. They become, for lack of a better word, villagers!
I’ve learned turf is really heavy to get up to the second floor of your gym. Thor is really strong.
I’ve learned our clients and trainers are really, really generous. This year we’ve donated clothing to the Evanston School Children’s Clothing Association; we’ve raised close to $2500 for local Evanston organizations such as the Evanston/North Shore YWCA, the Ted Fund and the Center for Independent Futures (blowing our initial $1500 annual goal out fo the water) and we’ve donated food to the Evanston Food Pantry. We’re already getting ready for some awesome charity events for 2018! (Sign up here if you want to be kept in the loop!)
I’ve learned our trainers are super talented outside of being great trainers. For example, Symphony is a podcast starlet; Christina, Gabori and Kathryn are great photographers; Tony is a fantastic writer and happens to also be really good with Photoshop and burning paper (as evidenced in this wanted poster):
I’ve learned white boards are really fun:
I’ve learned that when you ask for your trainers’ expertise on a topic, you’ll be blown away by what they have to say. Primo example: This blog post we put together about how to find the right trainer when you want to get fit after 50.
I’ve learned how to lay down a new floor (and that I truly have great friends and loved ones who helped put it together):
I’ve learned TruFit is a great place to throw a shindig, from client appreciation parties to ribbon cuttings to pop-up shops. It feels really good to show off our space :)
But above all I’ve learned that, in order to have a gym that runs well, where personal trainers can do their best work and clients can get the best results, my biggest duty is to provide a space where everyone can feel confident and competent in their abilities; where trainers feel like they’re part of a community of like-minded people (even if they have different training modalities) and where their authority isn’t being questioned or micro-managed; and where every client is met where they are at any stage in their fitness journey. TruFit as a business and fitness facility are certainly not perfect and I love that because that means is it’s only going to keep getting better.
Holiday season is here and a lot of us will be traveling! And, you know, we all WANT to work out but sometimes we have hurdles: We don't know where to work out, we don't know what to do, we don't have equipment, we don't have time.
We at TruFit Personal Training Studios want to remedy that for you! Below you'll find a workout that you can do almost anywhere, that's spelled out for you, that doesn't really require equimpent and that should just take you 30-45 minutes (after a quick warm up)!
Check it out below (with the sound on)! Do it, share it, love it, share it, leave your comments below, share it... Enjoy!
This month, Mary Cox is going to show us a booty and inner thigh blaster that you can do at the gym and in the comfort of your own home!
Mary explains this exercise SUPER well and here are the biggest points to keep in mind:
If you're looking for sliders to use at home, you can find them here!
To learn more about Mary, click here!
When my mom was looking for a personal trainer out in Pennsylvania after surgery from a disk herniation, I had the good fortune of getting a referral from none other than Lou Schuler (co-author of The New Rules of Lifting For Women) because he lives in the same town. I wanted to make sure she was placed with someone who obviously had the credentials but would also listen to her and her needs, her qualms and would program appropriately for her. I mean, she’s my mom and I only wanted the best! But if you don’t happen to live near Lou, I thought a few of us from TruFit could talk about things to look for when hiring a personal trainer after 50 so you, too, can age like a badass in a safe way. Here goes!
What should clients over 50 look for when hiring a trainer? What questions should they ask us?
Mary Cox: “Have you worked a great deal with individuals in this age group?” “How do you create plans for your clients?” I would be looking for a trainer that doesn't feel intense, who isn’t going to push me off a cliff and out of my comfort zone without getting me there first. Get to know a trainer by asking them why they got into the business and what are the top 3 joys in their job.
Anthony Monley: Ask for the trainer's training philosophy. It's a good general question that can point you to inexperience and/or help you to see if you align on general values. You can never know for sure how you'll gel together but it's a good starting point. In addition to this, I'd ask directly if they have clients in that age range and if they felt comfortable with that clientele.
Kathryn Lehner: They should look for someone who will keep in mind their age, injuries, and potential life restrictions. It depends on the person, but generally focusing on ways to make their everyday life easier is the main focus.
Izzy Libmann: I would want to make sure you feel listened to and taken seriously. If a trainer doesn’t ask if you have any concerns or fears about starting a strength training program and you DO, tell them! And if you get the sense those feelings are being minimized: Run!
As trainers, how might you train someone over 50 differently than their younger counterparts?
Anthony: I think the obvious answer is to account for age/injuries/arthritis/etc, but a big component that gets overlooked is the psychological approach to training this age group. Often they are coming to the gym with long-held fears/issues/insecurities. They can even feel fragile. With younger clients (especially athletes), you can all but point and they do. With older clients, I think it's important to start slowly and push the line firmly but carefully forward, let them know they're improving, point out how far they've come since they started, and keep them from limiting themselves--remove the psychological constraints and preconceived notions of what someone of a certain age can or can't do. Many times the struggle isn't with their aging bodies but with their mindset.
Mary: Many people in their 50s really know what they like and don't like, so I tend to take more direction from them than somebody younger on what they enjoy doing to achieve their goals. I tend to also take it a little slower because many of my clients in this age range have experienced pain or discomfort from imbalances and they are timid. Educating them, too, on how these imbalances might be affecting some pain is important.
Kathryn: I would focus more on balance and stability work over getting the heart rate up as high as it can for as long as it can. Obviously it depends on the person, but typically balance and stability are key features of a training session.
Izzy: I am WAY more aware of the risk to reward ratio. I’ll spend a lot more time on movement prep than I may otherwise. I may know a client is physically ready to do something more challenging than they’ve been doing but will let them decide when they’re ready to do it.
What might be more important for the over 50 crowd to take into consideration training at their age than before? Is there stuff they should be doing more of/less of?
Mary: I think strength training more than 1x a week is very important, whether it is with a trainer, class or at home. I also recommend a yoga class once a week.
Kathryn: Stability work, balance, whole body strength but specifically leg strength to be able to still walk up a flight of stairs effortlessly, or to pick up your feet so you don't shuffle as you walk, or to pick up a grandchild without hurting your back.
Anthony: If it's been a long time since they've been in the gym (or not at all), they need to take the time to ready themselves for workouts (nutrition/water) and stay on top of inflammation/etc after (ice, stretching). You don't have the benefit of a young body that can bounce back without extra and specific care. In general, I stay away from high-impact movements with the ground (tons of jumping, etc). In my experience, the knee problems are almost automatic when I veer too far from this.
Izzy: Identifying where you might have an imbalance or a poor movement pattern is also important (and this would stand for anyone at any age, really, but if those imbalances have never been addressed in 50+ years, it’s even more important to address it now). Daily patterns like breathing, walking, sitting (squatting) and picking things up (deadlifting) are usually pretty ingrained; working on creating a solid foundation before getting to the more “exciting” stuff is more important than working out on top of disfunction.
How can we help our clients manage expectations as their bodies change?
Izzy: I think showing empathy towards however a client might be feeling about the changes their bodies are going through is the most important thing. BUT: Turning 50 or 60 or 70 is also not a sentence that things are just going to start hurting or sagging and that’s that. It stinks that, when an ache or pain or, worse, injury comes up, it might take longer to feel better but it’s also not destiny. It might take work to undo some less-than-helpful habits that have existed for decades (be they lifestyle or movement) but it is possible! It might just take a little longer.
Anthony: Honestly I think it's the opposite of most younger clients, where you have to temper what they believe is possible in a short amount of time. With older clients, I'm often telling them this and that IS possible, and that you can still get real results at any age.
Mary: I think it is always important to find out what the client is willing to commit to to reach their goals. I also like to focus on the increase in strength and often balance and flexibility.
Kathryn: Posture is incredibly important! Focus is on overall stability, mobility and living a pain-free life.
Anthony: In general, you can start to make a change at any time at any age. What I hear most often from older clients is regret that they didn't start the journey earlier. But no matter; put yourself in the best position possible each day.
Getting stuck at the airport (or on a plane, or in a car on a roadtrip, or, hell, at your desk) can do a number on your body. We tend to just sit there, moving very little except for our fingers on our phones or keyboards so I'm here to show you a few simple things you can do to get some blood flowing! (Go ahead! Listen with audio!)
Next time you're traveling (or just sitting around), give some of these a try and let me know how you feel!
We're approaching the 4th of July break so we thought we'd bring you a total-body exercise that works lots of muscles, gets the heart rate up and is easy to make easier or harder, depending on what you're feeling like. Here, Marco, one of Evanston's finest personal trainers, takes us on his variation on a burpee!
Marco explains this really well but here are some points to drive home:
To work with Marco, you can reach him directly at 773-704-4299 or at email@example.com!
This month Sonny, one of the awesome trainers at TruFit Personal Training Studios, is demonstrating an exercise you can do pretty much anywhere as long as you have something as simple as a book!
The Multifidus Lift is an exercise that helps strengthen these deep core muscles to help us move more functionally through life with a lot less lower back pain! So pay attention if you sit a lot during the day or spend a lot of time in the car becasue this one's for you.
First some quick anatomy in case you don't know what the multifidus is.
What you'll need: A yoga block or a book.
The set up:
Give it a try for a few weeks and start paying attention to how your body and your daily movements -- bending, twisting, reaching for things -- feel!
To get in touch with Sonny for a consultation, you can reach him by phone at 630-640-0013 or at firstname.lastname@example.org!
Ah, bird dogs. This looks like such a simple exercise but we trainers see it done incorrectly so often (which is silly because then you don't get the benefits of the exercise!). Here, personal trainer Kathryn Lehner breaks down why she loves the exercise, how to do it and how to make it harder.
Some great cues:
You can do this daily as part of a movement flow, as a warmup before a workout or even between exercises as a reset.
To book a consultation with Kathryn, email her directly at email@example.com or call 847-312-4578!
Move around and feel good, everyone!