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Have you thought of hiring a personal trainer to help with your fitness goals?  For some of us, the thought of groaning, sweating, grimacing and turning red in the face, up close and personal with a trainer is not appealing.  At least it seemed so to me.  So instead, for a couple years I did all of those contorted facial expressions and sweating on my own at home to workout DVD’s.  My favorite were the Billy Blanks series of Tae Bo, especially the faster-paced original set.  I got great results for two years.  Then something happened.  It seems I reached a plateau though it felt more like hitting a wall a wall. No matter that I was doing the same things, eating the same and working out the same, I was no longer getting results and in fact, things were changing and not for the better.  Sound familiar?

So, I joined a gym.  Going to the gym is one thing.  Knowing what to do there to be the most effective and efficient in the time you have, is another.  Can you relate?  So, I hired a personal trainer.

How to Find a Good Personal Trainer:
As with any profession, not all PT’s are the same, varying in style, approach, knowledge, attitude and professionalism.  So how will you know a good one?

Of course the best way is referrals from fit friends using trainers they’re satisfied with.  In lieu of that, notice the fit people in the gym who are working with trainers; that’s a good sign, right?  Ask them how they like it and how long they’ve worked with their trainer.  Observe the trainer with clients, off-radar.  Do they look the part?  Are they focused on the client during the session or are they looking all around, maybe leaning on the equipment, cracking gum or jokes?  Is there a lot of chatting going on or do they seemed focused and efficient, moving through the workout smoothly and energetically?   You want a PT who is adaptable but has a plan, who is friendly but professional.  The best ones are those who are knowledgable and engaged in keeping up with the cutting edge of their industry and who live fit.  Chatting is fun, but better to chat when you’re not paying them for it, right?  You want to get the most for your time and money and to hire a PT who has your goals in mind and a clear idea of how to help you achieve them.

Tips for interviewing your prospective PT:

* They must look the part

* Ask for client referrals

* Ask their training philosophy to ascertain their knowledge level

* Ask them their ideas of a plan for you

* Avoid those who criticize other trainers or fitness programs

* Objectively knowledgable about the pros and cons of different exercise approaches

* They should encourage you to take before photos and/or measurements and assist you with this to establish a goal.

You will be able to intuit from their responses how comfortable and familiar they are in their profession and whether you resonate to their style and personality.  Avoid those who imply there is only one best way–and of course they know that way–for while certainly there are systems and approaches that work better than others, it really depends on what you’re looking for, what you need and importantly, what you will stick with.  So whatever gets you to your workout and motivated is best for you for now.

My Gym Trainer: as good as a personal trainer?
People sometimes ask us if we’re saying that My Gym Trainer and My Trainer Fitness workouts are as good as a personal trainer.  That’s a great question, and in short, the answer is “no”, BUT, it depends.  IF you don’t have the time or money for a personal trainer, then the next best thing, in our experience is My Gym Trainer and My Trainer Fitness workouts.  Having worked out with the best personal trainers I could find, we then collaborated to bring their expertise to anyone through the MGT workouts.  Having worked out with a great PT and then working out with My Gym Trainer’s, the only difference is there’s no one to bring me the weights, rack them up, cheer me on or challenge me to push harder.  But, with MGT’s I’ve learned to do that for myself and while it’s never easy…it’s always worth it!

Meanwhile, for the BEST Personal Trainers in the Winston-Salem, NC area, we can HIGHLY recommend the Metabolic Effect Physique Training team and studio at 111D Reynolda Village, run by Jade Teta and Jill Coleman, co-author of the My Gym Trainer series.  Working out with Jill (or one of their trainers) is the best, but if you can’t do that, try My Gym Trainer 1, 2 or 3.  I do My Gym Trainer 3 every day, and it’s the same PT protocols and just as effective.

For My Trainer Fitness products visit:  www.MyTrainerFitness.com

~ by Desiree Walker

Ever wonder why most gymnasts have 6-packs? … because they hang around bars! Well, I’m talking 6-pack abs of course, and as corny as it may sound, you can always find some truth in humor.

I was a gymnast for 12 years. My teammates and myself included – grew up with nice, lean defined, abdominal muscles, and in the world of high level gymnastics this is more the norm than the exception. It was not because we were all genetic freaks, or did thousands of crunches. In fact, we did NO standard crunches at all! But what we did do, strengthened our core and worked our bodies in such a way I believe contributed greatly to that to sculpted, quilted abdominal look.

Well, the great news is that you do not have to start gymnastics classes to get visible abs. But I do think every fitness athlete or enthusiast can learn something from their training and put to use a variety of these principles. So how does gymnastics core training differ from the standard crunch? The 3 major components that differ are:

1) full extension of abdominal muscle
2) isometric contractions
3) working the muscle in various planes of movement

Full Extension
– Muscles stretched with resistance through their entire intended range of motion (ROM), receive the most overload. I can remember way back to my gymnastics training days, where my coach would start and end every practice with 3 to 4 sets of hanging leg raises or leg lifts as we gymnasts called them. For these leg raises, we would hang from the high bar, with our body fully extended and lift our legs to meet our hands. Our coach was a stickler for form and – none of the reps would be counted if we used momentum and did not begin from a “dead” hang – with full extension. As young gymnasts, we knew it was harder to start from the “dead hang” fully extended position, but we certainly didn’t know “why” – but we did it anyway. You can incorporate the same movement into your own workouts – either grabbing onto a chin up bar or abdominal chair (Captain’s Chair), lifting legs (straight or bent). These devices can be found in just about every gym. The key is starting from that “dead” hang position – getting a full stretch in the abdominal muscles.

Isometric Contractionsof the abdominal muscle.  Isometric contractions are where tension is created in the muscle with no visible change (movement) in the joint angle. The muscle(s) is contracting without moving through a ROM. For this principle, the goal of course is not to achieve a full extension of the abdominal muscle but to hold and contract it in one position. So much of gymnastics is isometric in and of itself (balancing in a handstands, upside down or right side up positions with leg up/ leg down – you name it – we were probably required to do it)- so many of the drills we did to learn new skills isometric of isometric nature.

Planes of Motion is the third component vital to core training. In gymnastics, we flipped and twisted in all different directions. Even on the uneven bars, we had requirements in our routine for elements that contained a direction change. I remember really disliking this, because once you got going in one direction – you had to switch and go the other way – and have enough momentum, technique, and CORE strength to do so. Hanging windmills was one way we trained for this. It was an advanced version of the hanging leg raise, but instead of just going in one plane of motion- lifting your legs up to the bar and back down again, you lifted your legs in a circle in one direction, then switched directions the other way. It targets the oblique muscles, part of the abdominal core, responsible for rotation.

These powerfully effective “core training principles” will definitely produce results, however remember that nothing can magically transform your belly to a sculpted 6-pack – unless you are also lean enough for the abs to show, but that is another topic unto itself.  But hopefully it will give you some insight and ideas on building a better you. It was the American architect, Lois Sullivan who coined the phrase, “form follows function.” I am a wholehearted believer that quote is applicable to physique and athletic endeavors as well.  Just take a look at competitive gymnasts. We can learn a lot from them!

Desiree Walker is an IFBB pro fitness competitor and general dentist
practicing in Lumberton, NC. She shares her love for health and
wellness with her husband Ash and 2 crazy cats.
References: Abel, Scott. The Abel Approach. 2007

Business travelers often feel challenged to keep to their fitness routine and cleaner eating while on the road. But a few simple tips from www.MyTrainerFitness.com can help you create travel routines that keep you feeling and looking good and less travel-weary.

1. Commit to Yourself
Do not leave your health and fitness to chance or whim. Decide it’s a part of your life and not optional, and fulfill your promise to workout. You would not think of missing a meeting with an important principle, so treat yourself with that same respect.

2. Plan Your Workouts
You schedule your important appointments and you don’t miss them. So, schedule your workout time into each day, then keep the appointment. Part of planning means surveying WHERE you can workout in addition to when. So check out the gym at your hotel or the area outside if you’re going running, then plan the what, when and where.

3. Pack Accordingly
Be sure to pack workout clothes, sneakers and of course your workout plan, such as http://www.mytrainerfitness.com books or 6-Pack cards. This keeps you focused, efficient and effective. Frequent travelers keep a bag packed by laundering and re-packing their travel bag so it’s ready to go.

4. Eat Clean
Clean eats to support your fitness lifestyle will help you to make the right choices while you are away. For snacks, pack some raw nuts or nutmix, or travel-friendly fruit, such as apples, and a few low sugar/carb protein bars to keep from indulging in junk-food. You can also find all of these at most airports and gas stops these days. For meals, decline the bread basket, (ask them to not leave it at the table so you won’t be temped to fill up on these carbs). Seek out salad bars, but avoiding the pre-mixed varieties with lots of fatty mayonnaise and dressings, and order the heart-healthy or “Lighter Fare” and lean items entrees generally found everywhere these days, including most fast-food places. Chances are it will be delicious, and you’ll feel better afterward.

5. Make Up Your Mind
If you follow the first tip and commit and have made up your mind to stay fit and healthy during travel, it gets progressively easier. There’s no energy wasted equivocating on what you think you might want to have or how you may feel too tired to work out. Similarly, when you make up your mind to eat clean you realize that to indulge because it’s there, is not a good enough reason to break the contract with yourself.

If you try this on your next trip, whether business or vacation, we’re betting that at the end of it, you’ll be very glad you did. Let us know, and please share your travel tips.

So, you thought you would wear that little black dress from last year to your anniversary dinner tonight. However, after looking in the mirror it doesn’t seem to fit quite as nicely as it used to. 😦   Off to the mall…. again.

Of course a woman needs a new and fresh outfit now and then, but I’m speaking to those times when we try on an outfit we already own for a special occasion, only to end up disappointed that it doesn’t look or feel good. So we feel bad, panic, then rush out to spend hours looking for something new that often ends up in the back of the closet. Consider how much time and money we spent in this pursuit!

Try this: instead of going shopping, go to the gym or plug in your favorite workout DVD or My Trainer Fitness workout card and give yourself a solid and intense workout, drinking lots of water. Eat light and healthy today, high protein, low carbs, and ample vegetables–lightly cooked; salads, with little to no dressing, and low-sugar, high-fiber fruits for snack. Do NOT starve and skip meals, just eat light, lean, clean and healthy.

If you try this simple approach, I’m betting you’ll be a pound lighter tomorrow and already feel better in your skin and in that outfit. You will feel better about yourself; more confident and back in control of your life.

Prescription: Repeat the next day, and the next…

The power is in your hands. You are in charge, you can affect the change you’re seeking, and, it’s only a workout away!!!

To Your Victory!

Note: My Trainer Fitness workout cards place the power of the professional in your palm. Or, if you prefer a DVD at home, we recommend, Metabolic Effect’s DVD for the best results in the least amount of time.

We have gotten a few queries from MGT users whose gym does not have a Smith Machine, or they are unable to perform some of the movements because their machine does not reach the low height needed for certain exercises.

In our video, LeAura demonstrates 2 of our favorite Smith Machine exercises, the Donkey Kick and the Hamstring Pull-back, both featured in the MGT 3 (Advanced) book. She also demos an alternative to these movements if you need them, by doing a Hip Thrust with a plate. Other alternatives include using the Hamstring Curl Machine or the Hamstring Ball Pull-in using a large Swiss ball. Check it out and let us know if you have come across a movement that your gym does not support and we will offer alternatives. Besides, My Gym Trainer was designed to be a DIY Fitness Program, so we want to make it as easy as possible for you! Contact us! info@MyTrainerFitness.com

Every gym will have some version of a cable machine with removable
attachments, each one looking a little different than the next. If you have trouble
finding one, just ask a trainer to send you in the right direction.
Once you get there, there are innumerable different exercises using various
attachments to work the arms, chest, back and even glutes. In this week’s
tutorial, we show you a few of MGT’s favorite exercises using the cable machine.
Some of the most common attachments include the V-bar and the Rope, both
great for doing triceps press-downs to target the back of the arm. The Rope and
Straight Bar can also be used to do biceps curls.

Check out our video on how to change out the attachments using the carabiners,
and which exercises work which muscle groups. Come on ladies! Let’s tighten
up the flab on the back of that arm!

Navigating a gym can be a daunting task for many, and that is precisely why Jill & LeAura created the My Gym Trainer series of books, to help everyone get a great workout and feel like a gym pro! In this new series, we are going to be offering up short tutorials for MGT users to learn about new machines or exercises at their gym.

In this tutorial, Jill shows you how to recognize and use the Smith Machine, which is a gym staple. It is different from the squat rack in that it has a bar that stays on its axis, instead of a free-standing bar. Bars can weight between 2 lbs up to 45 lbs depending on the brand so be sure to check the machine before adding additional weights.

The Smith Machine can be a great tool for increasing isolation of a muscle group, because there is less stabilization needed, when compared to a free squat or lunge. Some MGT movements that use the Smith Machine include:

  • Squats In-place
  • Lunges
  • Deadlifts
  • Up-right Rows
  • Glute Kick-backs
  • Hamstring Pull-backs
  • Single-leg Lunges
  • Plie Squats

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