What type of exercise do you do? Has this changed since you've been a personal trainer?

Apr 22, 2010

Tricks of the Trade

Nothing has changed my exercise routine more than having kids. The days of playing on three softball teams, going on 2-hour training runs, working out 6 days a week and racing twice a month have been replaced with family bike rides at the Jersey shore, leisure hikes along the Palisades and chasing a toddler around the playground.

The reality of what kids meant to my fitness program hit me after our second child was born, and I gained 10 pounds in his first 4 months. That’s when I realized that it might be awhile before I would have the time again to commit to a strict exercise regimen. I needed to change my attitude quickly. Now I bike to work, do a set of push-ups and pull-ups whenever the opportunity arises, go for long walks pushing a stroller—and, for the first time, I’ve broken down and used a treadmill!

Having been on weight maintenance and occasionally even a weight-gain diet most of my life, I now needed to lose a little weight, watch my diet and keep an eye on my cholesterol and blood pressure. This shift required some significant attitude adjusting. These changes have profoundly helped me be more understanding and sensitive to the other moms and dads I work with who have similar struggles.

In the past, I snickered to myself when the U.S. Surgeon General, the American Heart Association and ACSM all endorsed the recommendation to exercise for 10 minutes in the morning, 10 in the afternoon and 10 in the evening to help achieve fitness. Well, now that speaks to me. Being a father has been life’s greatest gift, even with a curtailed and unstructured fitness routine.

Phillip Bazzini
CourtSense Tennis School 
Tenafly, New Jersey 

I exercise most days of the week. Like many of my colleagues, I have always enjoyed being physically active and have a natural interest in how the body functions during (and as a result of) exercise. Transitioning this passion into a profession was a natural move for me. While the amount of exercise I engage in has remained consistent over the years, my activities and philosophies have certainly evolved along with the fitness industry.

I am constantly searching out the latest research discoveries, training techniques and industry trends. When I first began working in fitness, a typical workout included 60 minutes of steady-state cardio activity, usually on a StairMaster®. Next, I worked out on the weight machines, systematically running through a checklist of muscle groups. Today, I am excited about metabolic training and exercises that challenge the entire body in multiple planes and directions. Gone are the days of training individual body parts. Now I am working my body as a series of interconnected muscles that all function together. My workouts involve balance training, agility training and total-body exercises. I can get an amazing functional workout and have a lot more fun by incorporating weights, BOSU® balls and cardio intervals into my training. I also take flexibility training much more seriously now than I did in the past. I spend more time stretching, and I complement static stretching with foam rolling.

I began personal training 17 years ago, so naturally my beliefs have changed as I’ve matured. Among these changes is my attitude toward exercise. My old mantra used to be “once a workout is missed, it is gone forever.” While this mantra still motivates me to exercise after a long day at work, when all I want to do is go home, I now have a new mantra. Focusing on “life is an endurance activity; I am in it for the long haul” is a bit more forgiving. Fitness has definitely evolved from an all-or-nothing proposition to a lifetime endeavor that is part of (and helps to create) a balanced life. Accordingly, allowing myself to take a day off without guilt is important to being the best that I can be in all aspects of my life.

Dana Schlossberg Weatherspoon, MS
Custom Health Concepts
Arlington, Virginia

In the past, I always trained for football. I was focused on gaining size, speed, strength and power. I was in the weight room about 2 hours, 4–5 days per week, mainly doing Olympic lifting, with maximum weight and lots of plyometric training.  

Now I am 37 years old and have been a personal trainer for 12 years. I have learned lots of things through my training career that I wish I had known back when I was a young football athlete. I now work out 5–6 days per week for about 1 hour. Some days I still do Olympic lifting along with tire flips and sledgehammer and kettlebell training work. Those days are my intense-training workouts, and the weights are about one-third of what they used to be. I can get only about 2 days per week of this type of training in, or my body starts to break down! The next day I do a body weight–training day with boxing and the TRX® Suspension Trainer. The third day is mainly running, spinning and/or swimming, with lots of foam roller and fascia release work to get the aches and pains of hard training out of my body, so I can repeat the first 2 days with less intensity and weight! I also like to exercise outside at least 1–2 days per week with some type of boot camp–style workout!

Since I have become a personal trainer, I have learned to experiment with all different types of training to create what I like and what keeps me fit and feeling good!

Jake Glaze
Glaze Fitness and San Diego
Adventure Boot Camp
El Cajon, California

When I was twentysomething, I started my first exercise program to lose weight and look better. I went out running fast no matter how “bad” it felt, in order to burn as many calories as possible. Because I was sore and could not see the results in the mirror within the first 2 weeks, I did what many people do—I quit! This started an almost 20-year cycle of exercising and quitting when I did not get the fast results I thought I should. It was not until I was almost 40 years old that my epiphany came, and I had my best idea ever: “inside out fitness.”

About 6 months before my 40th birthday, I decided to throw my scale away and not care about what I weighed. I made up my mind to start moving my body in more comfortable ways and make better food choices. It was not long before I was able to run a mile, then 2–3 miles without being sore. Eventually, I was running consistently 15–20 miles a week. Soon I added in some weight training, using light weights at first. However, as things became easier, I just naturally increased the amount of weight I was lifting. I did not know at the time that I was actually following guidelines for correctly starting an exercise program. A year later, I achieved my best body ever. More important, I felt healthy and well. My concept of “inside out fitness” was born! I became so convinced that this was the way to create lasting results that I went back to school and got a degree in exercise science so that I could start teaching other people the secret to my success.

“Inside out fitness” simply means approaching exercise as a worthwhile pursuit in and of itself—not as a means to an end. It is about living in the moment and using how I feel to allow me to move in ways I love. In the beginning, this meant running 6 days a week and weightlifting on 3 alternating days. I loved this program, but a knee injury forced me to stop running for a while and I needed to change my routine. As I learned more about anatomy and physiology, my exercise routine evolved to keep up.

Today, my exercise routine is not just running and lifting weights, but using a variety of exercises to keep things interesting. I exercise 4–6 times a week, doing cardio for at least 30 minutes each time, and doing total-body resistance training 2–3 times per week. I follow up with a stretching routine after each exercise session. Sometimes I will take a brisk walk, and other days I will run. Sometimes I like to crank up the music and just randomly dance. I invent new exercise routines as I go, and I have used these with clients. Right now, I enjoy intervals, or my version of intervals: super-setting a resistance exercise with a 30- to 45-second burst of cardio. (The cardio could be anything from salsa dance steps to jumping jacks!) This program is great when I have only 30 minutes to exercise. I use every possible safe combination of resistance training I can think of, from compound to core sets, so that I am never doing the exact same program two times in a row. Three things I always do are resistance train every major muscle group each time I strength train (on nonconsecutive days, of course), stretch really well after each exercise session and, most important, be in the moment I’m in.

“Inside out fitness” keeps me exercising for the long haul and, 11 years after I embraced this concept, not only am I still exercising and enjoying it, but I am a very successful trainer. I motivate many clients to change their lives using my “inside out fitness” techniques.

Mary Miriani
Reality Fitness Inc.
Naperville, Illinois

© 2010 by IDEA Health & Fitness Inc. All rights reserved. Reproduction without permission is strictly prohibited.


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IDEA Fitness Journal, Volume 7, Issue 5

© 2010 by IDEA Health & Fitness Inc. All rights reserved. Reproduction without permission is strictly prohibited.