Incorporate 10-15 lbs. dumbbells/kettlebells  with these movements for a functional workout!

Primal Movement Patterns


1. Squat examples: goblet, back squat, or front squat


2. Lunge examples: forward, backwards, or walking

a couple helping each other out in the gym

3. Pushing examples: horizontal (push ups), vertical (shoulder press)

Woman during workout at the gym

4. Pulling examples: horizontal (dumbbell row), vertical (pull up)


5. Twist examples: cable twist, russian twist, wood chops


6. Hip Hinge examples: deadlifts, kettlebell swings, cleans

A shot of a male athlete running outdoor

7. Gait examples: walking, jogging, sprinting

Source: Perry, Marc. “7 Primal Movement Patterns For Full Body Strength – BuiltLean.” BuiltLeancom 7 Primal Movement Patterns For Full Body Strength Comments. N.p., 24 Apr. 2013. Web. 28 Apr. 2015.

Thinner Thighs FOREVER! Really?

by Kara Glasco, MS, RCEP, HFS


What do apples, pears, spoons, triangles, hourglasses, and pencils have in common? These are all adjectives to describe human anatomy with apples and pears being the most scientific. Most men store their weight in their midsection hence the apple reference. Most women store their weight in their thighs and buttocks therefore looking like pears. Genetics, diet and activity level will play a major role in how pear-like your shape is and how pencil-like you hope it to become. Women are genetically designed to bear children and need an excess of body fat to help us bear children. Much to our dismay, our bodies store this fat weight in our thighs keeping it out of the way of a growing baby. You may find on your fitness journey that you can lose weight everywhere else except those DARN THIGHS!!!! You are not alone my friends! Some of the skinniest women I know have “child bearing” hips and cellulite to boot. Follow my simple guidelines below for how to truly thin your thighs and sculpt the legs you’ve always dreamed of.

Thigh toning routines just don’t work
Magazine, infomercial, and online thigh training exercises are pretty much all the same. Each routine has some sort of dance like move, balance specific exercise, and uses the weeniest hand weights. I guess they assume women are afraid of using heavier dumbbells. You survived childbirth so grab that 15 pound dumbbell already! I guarantee that dumbells under 10 pounds will be a total waste of most people’s time. Plus you will never see the results these routines claim by using 3 pound hand weights. As I mentioned before, the average woman will never get bulky using an appropriate strength training routine. The shear amount of food you would eat and work you would have to do in order to get bulky would be astronomical. So go ahead, grab the big girl weights!

As I mentioned in the Six-Pack ab article ( look at the fitness models and personal trainers doing these supposed miracle exercises. Some exercises I am not even sure I have the balance or coordination to do let alone the desire to stand on my head while slimming my thighs. Some supposed thigh-toning exercises such as scissor jacks, jump squats, ski jumps and speed skaters are mostly cardio. These exercises will definitely increase your heart rate, burn calories and make you sweat. Cardio-type leg exercises will in NO WAY tone your thighs.

Other exercises that I find totally pointless are bodyweight exercises such as plie squats, side-step squats, wall sits, and standing kickbacks just to name a few. These exercises may or may not increase your range of motion and flexibility. These bodyweight exercises will not burn enough calories for slimming or strengthen the muscles for toning. Lastly, most thigh-toning programs include risky exercises that are mostly unsuitable for the average exercisers. Sure the magazine trainers and fitness models make it look so easy, but is that exercise really safe for you? I frequently see pistol squats or single-leg squats included in thigh training routines. Yes, this exercise will tone and strengthen your legs, but 90% of people cannot do them correctly or safely. Single leg exercises can put large amounts of stress on your joints, require extreme balance, and demand a lot of muscular control to pull off. Make sure to select exercises that are appropriate for your fitness level and when in doubt consult a fitness expert.

If you ask any personal trainer or fitness professional what word clients most frequently use, it would have to be “toned” or “toning.” Personally, I find this word to be highly obnoxious only because most people have no idea how much work it takes to achieve this little word. In order to be “toned” you must have a low to moderate amount of body fat and an adequate amount of muscle mass. In addition, you better have a pretty darn perfect diet and a legit exercise routine to achieve this physical attribute.

Thigh toning routines do not address the nutritional aspect of reducing body fat in order to see shapely legs. You can have beautiful, strong, and sculpted legs that will never be obvious with a layer of body fat on top. The only way to achieve this toned look is to eat right and lift weights, real, “I am woman hear me roar,” weights!

In order to achieve the sleek, toned and muscular thighs you desire your exercise routine should include a few basic things. Every exercise you do should relate to the basics of human movement. Your exercise program should improve your ability to do physically active things in your everyday life. Last time I checked, I didn’t curtsey or plie while picking a heavy box off the floor. IT JUST DOESN’T MAKE SENSE!

Make sure each exercise doesn’t put you in an increased risk for injury, mimics normal human movement and is strength not cardio based. The primal man movement is hotter than ever and definitely here to stay. This model encourages eating like a caveman and exercising using the seven basic movement patterns. The paleo diet and crossfit workouts support both of these philosophies. Click on “workouts” above  to see the the primal movement patterns.

For strong and sculpted thighs, include at least one squat, lunge, and hip hinge exercise into your lower body routine. Also select an appropriate amount of weight in order to increase muscle definition and muscular strength. Consuming a healthy primal diet of natural, unprocessed, and fresh foods will also allow you to decrease body fat and see the tone you are looking for. Lastly, please by all means stay away from the silly magazine thigh routines. The 80’s are long gone so lets leave those pointless exercises in the past.

Photo Source:

Quick Kettlebell Circuit


Young Woman Doing Kettlebell Swings With Personal Trainer

If you’ve got 20 minutes, grab a 10 pound kettlebell and get a total body workout. Do this workout 3 times a week for 30 days and tell Fiteeza about your results. We’d love to hear from you!

Perform each exercise in sequence working up to three circuits:

Warm up: Stair running, Jumping Jacks or Jump Rope for 1 minute

#1 Halo’s – Place feet in lunge position, grab the kettlebell and raise arms above your head. Sink into the lunge and circle the kettlebell above your head in a clockwise direction, keeping your abs contracted. Switch lead legs in the lunge and repeat circling the kettlebell in a counter-clockwise direction. 10-15 reps. ea. side

#2 Lateral Lunge with Bicep Curl – Stand with feet wide apart, kettlebell in right hand, elbow tucked in toward ribs. Bend right knee to 90 degrees as you lower the kettlebell toward the ground. Then, press back up to standing as you curl kettlebell up to chest. Repeat 10 times and switch to the left for 10 more reps on that side.

#3 Single Leg, Romanian Deadlift with a Row – Get into a lunge stance with the Left foot in front, kettlebell in left hand. Hinge forward and either leave right foot on the ground or raise right leg behind you, extend kettlebell to floor and keeping elbow near the ribs, raise and lower 10-15 times. Repeat on right.

#4 Squat with Overhead Press – Hold kettlebell in right hand, elbow bent, with the weight resting on wrist, feet are a little wider than hip distance apart. Squat weight into heels and as you rise back to standing, raise kettlebell overhead. Repeat 10-12 times each leg

#5 Sumo Squat Curls – Place feet wide apart and hold kettlebell with both hands at chest level. Squat down, moving tailbone straight down to the floor and lower kettlebell toward floor. As you come back up to standing raise kettlebell back to chest. Repeat 10 times and then hold sumo squat position while you raise and lower kettlebell 10 more times.

#6 Kettlebell swing – Stand with feet a little wider than hip distance gripping kettlebell with both hands. Bend at the hips allowing kettlebell to lower between legs then straighten to standing by thrusting at the hips and swing kettlebell to shoulder height. Repeat 20-30 times.

#7 Tricep Press – Standing in a lunge position, left foot in front, hold kettlebell above head with handle pointed to floor, elbows by your ears. Sink into standing lunge and hold while raising/lowering kettlebell 10 times, keep elbows by your ears. Repeat on right side.

1 minute Stair Running, Jumping Jacks or Jump Rope
Repeat the circuit two more times. As a cool down, stretch for 2-3 minutes. Great job!

Get the AB-BLAST 1000!

Kara Glasco, MS, RCEP, HFS
Registered Clinical Exercise Physiologist
Health Fitness Specialist


Don’t spend hours in the gym working on your abs when you can use the fabulous AB-BLAST 1000! This machine is 100% guaranteed to melt away stubborn belly fat, slim your love handles and give you rock hard abs in only 3 minutes per day. Yes folks, that’s a mere 3 minutes of your day! Buy yours today for 4 easy installments of $39.99 plus shipping and handling.

(Must follow a strict 1,000 calorie diet, be genetically gifted, under the age of 25, and not be human.)

If you have fallen for an infomercial selling some new and revolutionary ab machine, you are not alone. Millions of Americans buy some sort of gloried piece of crap hoping to melt away belly fat in only minutes every day. If every fitness product delivered what they claimed, I would be out of job. Last time I checked, the personal training business is booming! Most reputable commercial fitness centers don’t even have things like the Ab-blast 1000 because they simply don’t work. I will highlight below all the reasons why ab machines will never give you the results they claim.

Rome Wasn’t Built In A Day
Think about how long it took you to lose 20 pounds, run three miles, or reduce your blood press 10 points. It takes time to see results and your abdominal muscles are no different. So how could it even be possible to see results in less than 10 minutes? It takes weeks or even months to fully strengthen and define a muscle group. It takes even more work and effort to reduce body fat. Another thing to think about is who is pictured in those infomercial ads; I highly doubt they are regular people. Most ads feature professional body builders, fitness models or athletes that exercise for a living. These models not only do a serious core workout, but they also dedicate hours to cardio, strength, and mobility training as well as eat a PERFECT diet.

Flex, Extend, and Rotate
The human body moves in multidimensional planes and the core muscles support the body as it extends, flexes and rotates. Most infomercials only sell products that flex the torso training one of the abdominal muscles, the rectus abdominus. Common flexion exercises include sit-ups, crunches and every other variation in which the upper body nears the lower body. So, what about the other extending and rotating muscles?

Most “core” routines contain an abundance of crunch variations, which can wreak havoc on your lower back. All 500 crunches will get you is the same amount of body fat and potentially serious vertebral disc problems. According to Dr. Stuart McGill, we need to realize that the spine discs only have so many numbers of bends before they damage (1). Keep the bends for essential tasks such as tying shoes rather than using them up in abdominal training (1). An effective core routine should move the body through every range of motion and include flexion, extension and rotation. Also, include isometric/bracing exercises and have lower back specific exercises. A rudimentary example would include the following: cable twist (rotation), mountain climbers (flexion), swimmers (extension) and plank (isometric).

Nutrition is Essential
We all know that the abdominal body fat is the most stubborn and hardest area for us to shrink. Our bodies do this to us for a reason, think prehistoric man. The greater omentum resembles a giant apron and covers our abdominal region. It is one of the largest storage areas for body fat. This fatty area is designed to store fat for times of famine, cushion internal organs and is vital for the immune system. With food so readily available, storing fat for starvation is no longer an issue. Our greater omentum is simply doing what it is genetically designed to do, sorry six-pack abs.

For most women, abdominal muscles are only visible when body fat is around 12%. Most men will see their outlined abs when their body fat is less than 10% percent. As if that wasn’t low enough, most “magazine men” have a body fat between 4-8% percent. Everyone is different when it comes to the amount of body fat needed for visible abs. I’ve known some freak of nature colleagues that have a rocking six-pack without even trying. That my friend is the almighty power of genetics.

For the rest of us it takes an unbelievable amount of effort to even see an outline of the infamous six-pack. This is where the work/reward ratio comes into play. What are you willing to give up in order to reach your goal of a six-pack. No processed foods, no more eating out, NO SUGAR, very little carbs and lastly, no adult beverages. Now, I can give up 90% of sugary and carbohydrate foods, but I draw the line at a Friday night glass of wine. I gave up on my six-pack abs a long time ago; the effort to reach that goal was just too much for even me.

When it comes down to it, not all of us is destined for six-pack abs. If your goal is rock hard abs, please be aware of the extreme commitment and dedication it takes to achieve it. You must have a well-designed core workout and perform daily strength or cardio training. Lastly, your diet must be perfect without a sugar in site. I hope this article enlightens you and does not deter you from the effort it takes to reach six-pack abs. Any fitness goal can be reached with a proper diet and a balanced workout plan.

1. McGill, S., “Designing Back Exercise: from Rehabilitation to Enhancing Performance.” Accessed April 17, 2015.

More Client Retention Tips from Kara

Kara Glasco, MS, RCEP, HFS

Every trainer dreams of having so many loyal clients that advertising is no longer needed. There is nothing better than a consistent clockwork training schedule with training appointments set for weeks in a row. Now if we could all be that lucky! In order to have such a cushy training schedule you must retain your clients and keep them satisfied. Long-term clients are your best way to build your training business and market your services. Word of mouth from happy clients is not only free but an invaluable source when it comes time to recruit new clients. Asking your current clients to help you recruit is a way for them to feel valued since you trust them to bring new clients in. Don’t forget to put your most loyal clients first even when trying to recruit new clients. All it takes is one dissatisfied client to wash your reputation down the drain.

Build a Friendship
One of the best ways to retain training clients is to build a friendship and find common interest. This seems like a no brainer, but time to chit-chat can be scare during some training sessions. I generally save bonding time for stretching and warm-up sessions. Not only will your clients feel cared about, but you will learn extra information that might be useful for training purposes.

Finding common interest will keep clients interested in you and hopefully build loyalty. You will also be able to tailor their training to meet their needs better. I always like to ask about a client’s family life, hobbies, upcoming vacations and outdoor interest. If a client has young children I always incorporate activities that resemble home activities. Loaded carries can definitely help for toting kids around and deadlifts help when picking up children. I also like to ask about a client’s hobbies and outdoor activities. I have a few standard programs for my tennis players, golfers and cyclist. Your clients will appreciate your dedication to their needs and really thank you when their performance improves!

Also, find a way to relate a client’s non-fitness interest relate to your training services. Avid gardeners and farmers need a strong back, core, and hips for all the lifting and twisting they do. Sell your training skills as the way to make outdoor work easier and you will have an extremely motivated client. This will also help you sell your specialized skills, target a niche population, and gain your more clients in the future.

Be Selective
During your client consult session remember that you are interviewing your client just as much as they are interviewing you. Don’t be afraid to be selective and choose clients that will be compatible with your personality and training style. If you prefer to work with young athletes then why would you accept a 65 year old client with arthritis? Having a hodgepodge of clients will mentally wear you out, spread your skills thinner and muddle your marketing strategies.

Consider that your image and reputation as a trainer can be based on the clientele you keep. Accepting clients that are unwilling to work hard may negatively impact your reputation. I consider myself a walking billboard for my services and I expect the same for my clients. This doesn’t mean that I give a client the ax if they aren’t performing up to the group’s level. I will definitely spend extra time getting lagging clients back on the band wagon. If my clients are successful that makes me and my business successful. Accept only hardworking and dedicated clients that can achieve results and your business will prosper.

Keep in Contact
When working on building your client base make sure to keep constant contact with all of your clients. It is especially important to keep tabs on clients that you don’t see regularly. I always like to touch base with all clients post-holiday or vacation when their motivation may be at their lowest since they may have gone haywire during the time off. This is your opportunity to get them back on track as a dedicated long term client.

Don’t let a single client slip through the cracks! The last thing you need is a negative review such as “I never heard back from my trainer so I stopped going.” If you feel you are having trouble keeping in touch with all your clients it may be time to trim a few off the top. We always preach QUALITY not QUANTITY and that should be applied to your training business as well. Create multiple ways to keep clients informed and use a variety of a ways to communicate with them. Develop a website, blog, use email addresses, or separate phone line just for training clients. OR, Use your Personalized Fiteeza page to highlight client success, advertise promotional offers, and market your services. Click the link to get started now

Client Rewards

The rewards system has always been effective for keeping clients motivated and excited about your training. Let’s face it, some people will do just about anything for a free t-shirt! I like to offer a variety of rewards to my clients and I generally have a few promotions or give-a-ways per year.

Offering your training sessions in packages can be a great way to build in a reward. For example, purchase 10 training sessions and get the 11th session free. I also advertise a “refer a friend” discount to clients that sign up new trainees. If the new client buys a training package then the reference earns the veteran client a free training session.

During slower times of the year such as the spring and fall, I advertise training discounts to liven up my business. Even a 10% discount can motivate my clientele to purchase more sessions than they normally would. When trying to retain your current client base, it is imperative that you build lasting friendships, choose your clients carefully, always be in contact and reward your client for their hard work. This concludes my retaining clientele segment and I hope all my tips will help you maximize the cornerstone of every training business, the long term client.

Client Retention Tips

98 people quote

By: Kara Glasco, MS, RCEP, HFS

Client retention can be one of the most difficult parts of building your personal training or nutrition consulting business.  Every professional aims to have a solid, long-term client base with a few rotating clients.  It is much easier to keep your current clients happy than to advertise and market for new clients.  Even with long-term clients, it can be challenging to keep them consistent, which is essential for a steady income.  I have already highlighted a few strategies for keeping clients consistent in my “dealing with difficult clients” series.  Below, I will be outlining a few strategies for retaining current clients and ways to make your client satisfaction rate 100%.

Create the Atmosphere

One of the best ways to ensure a happy client is to create a positive and exciting training environment.  Make your training sessions the highlight of their day!  Clients will keep coming back for years and years if they experience a physical AND mental benefit.  I suggest assessing the client’s mood and mental attitude at the beginning of each session.  Do your best to figure out when the client needs a confidence boost, and build them up with motivation and inspiration.  Some clients may need a shoulder to cry on, person to bounce ideas off, or outlet for stress and frustration.  When it comes to stressed out clients, I always like to have them burn it off when some high intensity exercises.  Medicine ball or rope slams can do wonders for a client’s mental health!  Another great tactic is to help clients visualize their future healthy selves rather than focusing on their current bodies.  Talking about their future will keep them motivated and on the path to success.

Ask for Feedback

Client feedback is one of the most essential parts of your training business, and successful trainings are always seeking feedback and opinions.  Asking for feedback and opinions will make your clients feel important, valued, and cared for.  Are your training intensities too low or too high?  Are they getting bored with the workouts?  Do they love or hate a certain exercise?  What kind of training style do they like, TOUGH or easy going?  If you aren’t serving their needs 100% then change it!  Without asking the important questions you won’t have the needed answers.  Your client may not know how to ask for help or be too afraid to request something different.  They may also be embarrassed tell you they don’t like something you are doing.  Client feedback will help you adapt and evolve as a trainer as well as keep your clients satisfied.  Make your client feel like a million bucks, and they will keep coming back for years.

Tried, True, and Researched

Only recommend tried and true personal training techniques, and make sure to stay within your scope of practice.  Even if you have worked with clients post-rehab, by no means are you qualified to prescribe therapy exercises.  If you are not a certified nutritionist or dietician then do not give out eating plans.  This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t include joint strengthening exercises or counsel on healthy eating.  I also advise only using exercises and programming that you have tried repeatedly on yourself.  The last thing you need is a client to fail at something because you didn’t do your due diligence.  Research ANYTHING and EVERYTHING your clients may have questions on.  If your client has brings up a particular diet or exercise, research and get back to them with your feedback.  Your clients will appreciate your expert opinion and see your efforts as going the extra mile.  I always try to make each of my clients feel like they are my most important client.  Another tip I suggest is researching each client’s specific medications and health conditions.  It is essential to make sure medication side effects will not affect your exercise prescription.  If a medication causes joint pain then I use lighter training intensities and monitor delayed onset muscle soreness.  If a medication causes dizziness or double vision then I definitely do not include balance dependent exercises that may increase fall risk.  Having clients complete health and exercise questionnaires are easiest ways to make sure you are prescribing safe and reasonable exercises.

As the quote says above, most people don’t go the extra mile.  Putting in the extra effort will show your clients how much you value them.  It will also ensure a long-term, happy, and financially consistent client.  Going the extra mile doesn’t necessarily mean doing things above and beyond the call of duty.  Opening the gym door, picking up coffee for early morning workouts, and remembering your client’s birthday mean the world to them.  A handwritten birthday card mailed to their home is a loving way to show you appreciate them.  Another great way to retain clients is to reward them for loyalty and fitness success.  Put your logo on fitness paraphernalia and reward clients when they achieve a specific milestone such as 1 year of training.  A simple logoed T-Shirt is an economical gift will make clients feel special and motivate them to keep attending your sessions.  One of my favorite client rewards is a healthy cook book.  A cook book is a great way to bond with your clients while helping them towards their health and wellness goals.  Another way to go the extra mile is to conduct a healthy cooking class or demo.  This can be done in your own home and will teach your clients how simple it is to make the healthy meals you are always suggesting.  I also like meeting up with clients at the grocery store, and teach them how to navigate through all the supermarket health traps.  I educate them on the importance of reading food labels, shopping the perimeter of the store, and how to put together a heathy meal.  Doing a few extra things outside your training sessions will help you retain clients and show them how appreciated they are.  Creating a positive atmosphere, asking for feedback, using proven training methods, and going the extra mile will help you retain clients for years to come.

Continuing Education Glasco, MS, RCEP, HFS

Any certified exercise professional is familiar with continuing education credits and the need to annually accumulate them. Most certifying bodies require C.E.Cs (continuing education credits); however, credits don’t always transfer between different organizations. It is very important to determine if your continuing education opportunity will be recognized by your certifying organization before spending your time and money. Here are some of my simple tips to determining what CECs are right for you and local credits opportunities I recommend.

The first thing I do when searching for continuing education credits is to determine the cost per point or credit hour. Every organization requires a different number of points and certain points may be less economical than others. Common ways to accumulate points include webinars, conferences, online self-test, certification exams, college courses, and much more. When deciding on a conference, I often break down the cost into travel expenses, meal cost, lodging cost, and conference admittance fees. Conferences within driving distance and one day courses will dramatically cut down on your cost per point. When you break it all down, conferences can cost you $50.00–$100.00 per point and that might not be economical for you.

For this very reason, I generally do not attend conferences. Long conference hours can also make for a mind-numbing experience. I generally accumulate my points through online self-test, which tend to be the most cost effective. ACSM offers 4.0 credit hours for around $25.00 per test. With that being said, $6.00 and change per point is manageable for most trainers or fitness professionals. Another great thing about online tests is that they don’t have to be done in one sitting. Reading articles and journals can take a considerable amount of time, but you can go through the materials at your leisure. Online webinars and self-test also have no travel expenses and no meal cost. They can be done at any hour of the day and in any location making it easy to fit credits into a busy client schedule.

I also recommend determining how relevant the re-certification materials are to your current career. There is no point in taking credits that won’t enhance your skill set or progress your career path. Good questions to ask before accumulating CECs are: Will I get financial compensation from taking this course? Will you be more desirable to current and future employers with this new skill set? Will you accumulate more clients after accumulating these credits? If you can accumulate more clients and diversify your skills with recertification points then spending more money per credit may be worth it. Also, taking additional certification exams can be very financially savvy. Certification exams generally receive a large number of points (15-25 points) and you may also be compensated by employers. College courses can also be a great opportunity to accumulate credits, but one must consider the time needed for these types of points.

I also recommend selecting credits that may provide you an alternative point of view or training skill set. One of my favorite sports medicine conferences is designed for physical therapist, strength and condition coaches, exercise physiologist, and personal trainers. The multi-disciplinary learning environment provides a step-by-step guide on how to treat the patient/client at each level of care. I have used many different physical therapy exercises to enhance client mobility after these conferences. I have also shown physical therapist different ways to modify or progress common gym exercises.
Recertification points can seem daunting and time consuming not to mention extremely expensive! Make sure you thoroughly research a wide assortment of credit options from a variety of sources. Also, discuss with your employer(s) which certification points will make you a more desirable employee. I encourage you to seek out C.E.Cs that are cost effective, educational, career enhancing, and inspirational.

Credit Opportunities I recommend:

The Aerobics and Fitness Association of America (AFAA) APEX Event
Can be done online or at local cites
Most courses are $99 per day or per workshop
Offers a variety of certifications such as personal training, group exercise, kickboxing, yoga, and spinning

American Council on Exercise (ACE) Value Bundles
All online so no added travel expenses
Most courses are accepted by a variety of organizations (ACE, ACSM, AAMA, NASM, and NFPT)
Most courses cost around $20.00 per credit hour

American College of Sports Medicine
Online, self-paced, and credits are immediately received
Very economical with most costing $20.00 for 4 credit hours
Variety of educational topics such as nutrition, sports performance, and clinical health conditions

Find local approved providers
Courses offered by approved providers will automatically be accepted
Search local provider websites for upcoming opportunities and educational classes
Ask accepted providers if you can be added to their mailing list for up to date information on credit opportunities.

Working out with the Fur Girls










Exercise, as you might imagine, is a daily ritual for me and most at my house, including the dog and the cat. It seems that merely lacing up my shoes can ellicit tail waggin’ excitement from Isabelle, my 80-pound Lab. She know the word “walk” and of course, “squirrel.” I often incorporate her exercise into my workout and it turns out, she is a great workout partner.

Typically, we start our day with a 10 to 20 minute walk for her to sniff around the neighborhood. I plan for this time to be her workout and not mine, but it does often serve as a warm up for me. On days when it is raining, we will often play a game of “hide and seek,” or “find the treat,” obviously her favorite.

“Hide and seek,” is played by throwing her favorite toy and then while she is off “retrieving,” I hide. She has to find me and then it becomes a game of “I have my toy and you chase me!” Hiding treats inside is fun too because while she is sleeping, I will hide the treats and then call her to the room where I hide them. All I have to do is say the word, “cookie” and that sniffer goes into action. It is another fun and interactive way to get us both moving. Just don’t over-do the treats (good advice for canines and humans alike).

I have also trained her to walk between my legs as I do walking lunges across the floor. A great warm up for me and excellent agility training for her. All it takes is a few treats in my pocket and she is a drooling, enthusiastic and obedient workout buddy. Sometimes, while I am stretching on the floor we also play, “slobber-knot.” A game she invented as a puppy where she brings me this disgusting, cotton-knotted rope and either wants me to tug on it or throw it. It’s always wet from her chewing it, but she loves it and especially the part about me being on the floor. I am careful not to tug too hard, though she does not extend the same courtesy.

Not to be left out, the cat is also a great workout buddy. When I am practicing yoga or foam rolling (again, on the floor, Lucy) loves to show me how she is so much more flexible than me. There are videos on where you can see Lucy meandering through my arms and legs while I am in Downward Dog.

The moment I am on the floor, yoga mat spread out, Lucy appears and typically places herself on it, perfectly centered. I often end up starting my practice seated so I can administer belly rubs more effectively. This is where I learned that dogs are not the only pets who drool.

A few words of caution, be sure to check with your veterinarian to make sure the activity you engage in with your pets is appropriate. Remember, to start slowly and pay attention to your pet’s level of exertion and signals of fatigue. If you run with your dog, be sure to check their paws for injury and abrasions to the pads. Hydration should also be as much a concern for your dog as it is for yourself.

Have fun and enjoy your pets by safely incorporating them into your active lifestyle. You may find, like me, that even on days when you don’t feel like working out your furry friends can be great motivators.

Dealing with Challenging Clients, part 3

no excuses

Kara Glasco, MS, RCEP, HFS
Registered Clinical Exercise Physiologist

Afraid to work hard

In this article I highlight my last type of difficult client, those that are afraid to work hard. These clients can tend to be the most aggravating type of client especially when you can see the hidden potential. Clients that are afraid to work hard come in all shapes, sizes, genders, ages, and fitness levels. I have trained some of the whiniest athletes and male clients that were the biggest babies! The trick to dealing with this type of clients is to set boundaries. Determine what you are willing to tolerate and what behaviors are inexcusable. Like most trainers and coaches, I do not allow the words “I can’t.” If you hear “I can’t” more often than you’d like, evaluate your training plan. If your client feels they can’t do something then there may be a workout progression problem. Clients that are afraid to work hard need a slower progression to build confidence and reduce exercise fears.

I will also highlight the importance of developing a training lingo with your clients. This may sound foreign, but when dealing with difficult clients, most trainers will try just about anything! I’ve done my fair share of sneaky training tactics but all for the overall good of my clients. Follow my tips below for training for clients that are afraid of working hard in the gym.
Hypochondriacs obsesses about every little ache and pain often questioning if they have a much more serious health issue. I experience more elderly hypochondriacs, but that doesn’t always hold true. Most hypochondriacs take pride in telling you about every malady. They also like to refer their current health conditions back to when they played sports. I can see it now, you are rolling your eyes, and I’m right there with you. We’ve all had that client that can’t do JACK because they played football 30 years ago. Former colligate and professional athletes, I am leaving you out of this category.

I would bet money that most of their aches and pains are due to a sedentary lifestyle versus decades old sports injuries. It can be almost impossible to train this type of client. Your training sessions feel like a game of battleship or dodge the injury. Every basic exercise seems to flare-up or hurt a different body part. This is where the lingo component of your training comes in. I find that hypochondriacs often classify pain and strain as the same thing. I tend to describe pain as a sharp and stabbing type of pain. A strain generally feels like tightness, tiredness, or stiffness. If the client feels muscular strain then you are doing your job right. If they have a stabbing pain especially in a joint then immediately stop and re-evaluate. Pain is NEVER ok, and clients should not be coached to push through it. Try a different but comparable exercise to determine other range of motion limits and physical inabilities. If you are unable to train them pain-free, refer your client to a certified specialist to diagnose underlying musculoskeletal issues.

Whiners and Complainers
I would warrant that at least half of your training clients are whiners and Debbie downers. Most want to see immediate results but are unwilling or afraid to put in the real sweat equity required. The first thing I do is assess why the client is “out of shape.” Are they unmotivated? Are they unaware of what a REAL workout is? Do they want to be comfortable not challenged? See if this example sounds familiar.
Your client can do 10 pound kettlebell swings for hours, but if you give them a 20 pound kettlebell “IT’S TOO HEAVY!” This is where the master negotiator and sneaky trainer come into play. A lot of trainers may argue that you should never negotiate exercises with a client. When you are desperate to get your client to do something, ANYTHING, go ahead and negotiate. Some trainers may just drop a whiney client, but I tend to find the glimmer of hope in every person. So here’s what I would do, give your client two options, Option 1: 10 pound KB swings for 30 seconds repeating 10 times. Or, Option 2: 20 pound KB swings for 30 seconds repeating 5 times. Most often they will pick the short and perceived easier option.
Another example, let’s say your client doesn’t like walking lunges. I will negotiate walking lunges for leg press singles, single leg dead lifts, standing split squats, or Bulgarian split squats. You are getting a single leg hip-dominant exercise out of them without them actually doing lunges. If they still whine and complain then enact my favorite policy of all, the push-up policy. Every whining outburst incurs a 10 push-up penalty and no girlie pushups either! I will not continue the training session until the penalty is paid. Whine and you get more work.

Debbie Downers
The next type of difficult client is the Debbie downer, or the “I’ll never be able to do that” client. We never intend to set our clients up for failure, but we’ve all overestimated our client’s capabilities at least once or twice. I’d rather have you and your client be pleasantly surprised by their achievements than depressed about their failures. Be wary of ego because most men overestimate and most women underestimate. Debbie downers also tend to talk negatively about themselves and have low self-esteem. One of the most important aspects of our job as trainers is to not only motivate but to empower. I never allow my clients to talk about themselves negatively, and I try to encourage an atmosphere of fun and positivity. Redirect your client’s negative thoughts and highlight all their achievements and accomplishments. If your client is feeling negative about their workout, find things that they are positive about. A little negotiation never hurts here either.
For example, if your client feels like they are a terrible runner, then select an elliptical and crank the resistance up. You will get more out of your client, less whining, and they will feel confident too. This brings me to another sneaky trainer point. I can’t count; I never have, and probably never will. This can be either an asset or a hindrance when it comes to personal training. I tend to get caught up in watching form and technique and then forget what number I’m on. I’d rather my client do it RIGHT then do it the right amount of times. So when it comes to that client that “can’t do that many” or “go that long” I forget to count on purpose or distract them from the numerical value. You’d be surprised how well this works! It always makes me laugh when they get caught up in conversation and end up doing 20 extra minutes or an extra mile.
Every trainer will experience difficult clients that challenge their training style. It can be frustrating when clients are hypochondriacs, excessive whiners, or have no self-confidence. Remember it is your job to push them to new levels and instill exercise confidence. Health and wellness has its physical component but it also has a major mental component. Some trainers may not agree, but don’t be cautious about negotiating with difficult clients. When motivating difficult clients, don’t be afraid to play brain games and employ sneaky tactics to get the most out of them. I’d rather my clients enjoy their training, work harder than they thought possible and see amazing success in the gym.