“Always Better”

I have had over a dozen e-mails and
telephone calls about the excellent article, “Siempre Mejor,” that appeared in
the March issue of IDEA Fitness
(Icons & Innovators column, p. 92). It proves that
your magazine is very successful. I wanted not only to thank you but also to
let you know how well read your magazine is.

Deborah Szekely

Founder, Rancho La
Puerta Spa

San Diego,

Pilates and Breast Cancer

I was very excited to see an article on
Pilates and breast cancer (April issue, pp. 82–84). Pilates is a great
introduction or reintroduction to exercise for survivors. However, I must add
some precautions to working with this population. Lymphe­dema is a very real
concern. Although the Pilates emphasis upon deep breathing helps lymphatic
fluid to return, women who have had any type of lymph node removal
and/or radiation are at risk for the rest of their lives. It is wise
to proceed very cautiously, especially when using weights, and compression
sleeves should be worn when weight training.

In addition, as author PJ O’Clair mentioned, these women are at
osteoporosis risk. Therefore, many of the Pilates exercises that emphasize neck
and thoracic flexion (such as the hundred or neck pulls), and
lateral trunk flexion (such as the mermaid), may need to be modified.
Complications such as axillary web syndrome (AWS), pain and shoulder
im­pingements should be referred to medical professionals who can then
recommend occupational or physical therapy. Thus, one should know when
to refer out if the client is expressing concerns
beyond an instructor’s scope of practice.

Naomi Aaronson, MA

Bayside, New York

author responds:

Thank you for your feedback; your comments are all valid. The
phase one exercises detailed in this program do follow all the necessary
guidelines. I believe it’s very important that fitness professionals are
educated in postrehabilitation of breast cancer patients before working with
this population, as there are many factors to consider. We are not dealing with
an injury, but a disease.

PJ O’Clair

Compliance Jump-Start

Creating a 6-week, soul-searching program
in a group setting has been the key to having our clients put themselves first
and stay committed to their health and fitness journey. Our program includes
group lectures, a workbook and weekly homework, cardiovascular programming,
strength training, stretching, yoga postures and meditative breathing. We bring
in a [nutrition expert] and a [psychology and counseling expert] to get to the
core of bad eating issues and to set clients on course by introducing family
health and nutrition guidelines. Additionally, clients have a private [space]
to discuss goal setting and follow-up, weekly weigh-ins, biweekly measuring,
and individual and group online support. We also created an ongoing group
workout program that has flexibility as needed. Results have been amazing:
we’ve seen cholesterol reduction without medication, weight loss, muscle
building, flexibility and balance. The accountability in the group has been

Ann Rockeman

Integration Fitness,

for L.I.F.E. Training

San Diego,

Wake Up, Personal Trainers!

The media are portraying what we do as a
form of ethical and physical mayhem!

Yes, I am an older trainer; I have been in this business since
1978. Maybe I am not cool or hip enough. I recently saw for the first time the
television show on Bravo called Workout. It
takes place in a gym in Los Angeles and portrays trainers who spend more time
touching and flirting with each other than personal training! I am sure they
train, but that isn’t the focus of the program.

The last straw came for me while watching the season finale of
the The Biggest Loser.
It came down to three finalists—one of whom was Kelly. Kelly had lost a
lot of weight and should be commended for her amazing efforts. How­ever, the
final segment of the show featured footage of Kelly going to an orthopedist and
being diagnosed with a herniated disk in her spine. Shortly after this segment,
they showed previous clips of Kelly doing plyometrics. Certainly,
plyometrics can be appropriate for the very fit and for many of our athletes.
How­ever, it’s hard to watch someone who is over 250 pounds
repeatedly jumping in the air and off a platform, especially if that person is
relatively new to fitness! We then see Kelly’s trainer screaming at her as she
slows down in other physical activities. Finally, we see Kelly doing high
kicks. Again, not an exercise to give someone at her level of fitness.

We have seen the headlines about trainers giving athletes
steroids, and some even becoming sexually involved with their clients. We all
need to speak out; we need to let the media know that these shows do not
represent what the majority of personal trainers are actually doing. I want to
be recognized as an integral part of the growing integrative healthcare field,
not as Hollywood’s interpretation of a fitness trainer. We want to give our
clients safe workouts; not regimes that will damage their joints and general
well-being. I realize that I am probably preaching to the choir. The vast
majority of trainers I have met are certified, qualified and conscientious;
however, we need to let the public know that what they see on these television
shows is not what we do!

Diane Buchta

Del Mar, California

Becoming a Great Instructor

I just read Fred Hoffman’s article “How
to Be a Great Instructor” (April issue, pp. 68–70). I think it was the best
article I have ever read about teaching fitness. I try to teach like that in
all my fitness classes, no matter who attends, and I know it
works. Congratulations on a super article!

Tom Petro


Personal Training Business Mantra

I just finished reading the article
“Professionalizing In-Home Personal Trainers” (March 2008, pp. 30–31). While
Kay Cross’s article was informative, I found myself disagreeing with some of
the points she wrote about “upgrading your business practices.” I have been in
the fitness business industry for over 26 years wearing many hats (trainer,
educator, gym owner and private in-home trainer) on both the East and West
Coasts. I am presently living and training on the West Side of Los Angeles in a
very competitive market. While [physical location] in the country can determine
what will matter most in terms of your service, what tops the list for me is
giving clients 100% of my undivided attention during every single session.

While I certainly agree that it is more professional to run a
business like a business rather than as a hobby, what will gain a trainer the
utmost respect is how she connects with her clients in the delivery of training
services. As a personal trainer, if you are passionate about what you do, and
[if you] have the knowledge, experience, creativity and safety education that
enable your clients to feel comfortable knowing your training service will help
them achieve their goal, then—believe me—they will not care if you have on yoga
pants and a T-shirt (a nice one) or what kind of car you drive. First, you give
respect to others, and that’s how you get respect in return. “You get what you
give” is a colleague’s mantra, and it’s worked for me for over 26 years.

Laura Gideon MS, CPT

Co-owner, Bamboo
Balance Fitness

& Aquatics Training

Los Angeles,

Getting Inspired by Older Clients

Please give our older adults a special
“thank-you!” from me. I’ve been an instructor and personal trainer for over 20
years. I’m sure that many of us “old schoolers” in the business have asked
ourselves from time to time, “What drives me ahead?” How about enthusiastic,
supportive, affirmative clients and group exercise class participants? These
individuals make us think [about all facets of what we’re doing]. I’m able to
come up with fresh new ideas because I know their faces will light up in
amazement when they see/hear the changes I’ve made for my next class. Thank
goodness! I have been working in a 55+ age community. Never in my life have I
felt so inspired. I want to say a special thank-you to all whom I have
encountered and who have kept me true to myself.

Z. Rox Ztarr/Kakas

& Wellness

Henderson, Nevada

SIDEBAR: We Want to Hear From You!

Send your letters and opinions
to Ryan Halvorson,
IDEA Fitness Journal Fitness Forum, 10455 Pacific
Center Ct., San Diego, CA 92121-4339; fax them to him at (858) 535-8234; or
e-mail them to [email protected] You may also leave a voice mail letter
in the editorial voice mail box at (858) 535-8979, ext. 239. (For general
membership questions or information, however, please e-mail member ser­vices at
[email protected]) We reserve the right to edit letters for length or