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training

Weight Training Rep Range

I would like to briefly explain my thought process behind a desired repetition range of an exercise/workout program.  If you are relatively new to weight training, you may find this helpful.

In your workout routine, for a specific exercise, the program calls for 4 sets of 8 to 10 repetitions.  Before you even select a weight, think about what weights you have used for said exercise in the past.  Now, in a perfect comfortable world, you should be able to complete 4 sets of 10 repetitions with this weight.  But the idea here is to push yourself outside of your comfort zone.  The only way to grow is getting to that uncomfortable, challenging place, where you are going to struggle, grit your teeth, bite your tongue, possibly yell out loud and might need help.

My approach is as such… select a weight that starts to get difficult for you around the 6th rep, is very difficult at the 7th rep, and the remaining reps might not even be completed without a spot.  Of course you want to complete the number of sets listed in the workout, but you should be challenging yourself, which is what resistance training is all about, right?

If you are a beginner, you might want to hire a trainer to help you understand this concept and to push you accordingly, until you get accustomed to doing it on your own.

Try this mental approach the next time you’re in the gym.  Push yourself just a little further than you feel comfortable with… I bet you can complete the task at hand… DO IT!

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training

Client DOs & DON’Ts in Personal Training

I recently wrote a short piece about things your Trainer SHOULD be doing… Now I put together a quick DOs & DON’Ts for all you fabulous people who work with a Personal Trainer.

DOs

  • Be prepared to workout
  • Have on proper footwear
  • Bring a bottle of water
  • Leave your phone in the locker
  • Ask questions if you are unsure of an exercise or expectation
  • Be honest with your trainer – if the exercise or the weight selected was too easy, tell your trainer.
  • Be patient if your trainer is new and gathering data, getting familiar with you.

DON’Ts

  • Do not start off a relationship with your new trainer by listing off various things you will not do… Please note I said “WILL NOT” not “CANNOT” do.  Big difference here.
  • Do not cancel your session last-minute and expect the trainer not to charge you.  Most trainers/gyms have a 24-hour cancellation policy.
  • Do not complain the entire session.
  • Do not constantly compare your new trainer to an old trainer or compare your current abilities to when you were in your prime (30 years ago).
  • Do not show up to your sessions with the pungent odor of alcohol oozing from your pores or the smell of greasy fast food on your breath.  NOT CUTE.
  • Do not even think about wearing  flip-flops or Crocs to train.
  • Do not wear ear buds with your phone or mp3 player during your session.  You need to hear your trainer’s cues at all times.
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training

3 Things Your Trainer Should Do

Without knocking anyone out there and keeping things positive… here is a short list of things your Personal Trainer should do during your sessions:

3. Be able to give you a “WHY?”

It is ok to ask your trainer why you are doing a certain exercise.  He or she should be able to provide a brief explanation if you are mid-workout, linking the reason back to your established goals (which hopefully were established upon your initial consult or at some earlier point in time).  Of course, your trainer wants to keep you moving, so if the answer requires more than 30-60 seconds, he or she may say, “I’ll go into details later, but I would like you to do this now and then you’ll understand once I explain.”  This is an acceptable response and if the details are later discussed, great.  If you get some skirting-around then perhaps there is no rhyme or reason to your programming, and that definitely requires further examination.  If you have established goals and have a plan of action, then there may or may not be a need for much talking; however, it is not a bad thing to keep your goals clear.

2. Provide balance

A good trainer must be able to balance challenging you with paying attention to any limitations, injuries or conditions you may have.  A trainer has to know when to push and when to pull back.  Sometimes your trainer is going to push you to complete a few more reps even after you say, “I can’t do this,” and yet, you actually do complete the task at hand once your trainer says, “Come on. You got this.  I am spotting you, ” … HMM, in this case, the Trainer was right and coached you through it.

1. Show you undivided attention

This one should be a no-brainer, but I am amazed at how often clients tell me how much they appreciate having my undivided attention for the entire session.  At no point in time, should a trainer be using a cell phone during your workout.  No calls, no emails, no texting, no social media.  Absolutely not.  This is unacceptable and should be brought up if it occurs on your dime.  You are paying the trainer for the session and that time belongs to you.  Emergencies should be the only exception here.

Of course, the list of criteria that a Trainer should possess is much longer; these are just the bare minimum, but most critical.

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training

Cardio… What’s Your Flavor?

What type of cardiovascular exercise do you enjoy doing?

Living in the Northeast, we have a short season of a few months where we can perform exercise outside (without having to bundle up and face harsh elements)…

I love hitting up trails, hiking some nearby mountains, rollerblading, etc… but when it comes to indoor cardio… I have a two staples in my routine.

1. The Stepmill… yes, that dreaded gauntlet of revolving stairs that causes my heart to thump fast and hard and creates a pool of sweat around me.  This is my favorite piece of equipment to use and lucky for me, the gym where I work (and also do my own training at) has several  of these torture devices.  There is almost always 2 or 3 available at any point in the day to hop on and commence the abuse.

2. Jumping Rope… I aim for 1 or 2 minutes of jumping at a steady pace, followed by 1 minute rest… repeat that several times.  This can be brutal if I have taken a hiatus from jumping rope for a while… it takes me a bit to get back into my groove… I need to consider what I’m wearing from head to do in order for this to be successful.  From the type of sports bra, to the tights to the sneakers.  one wrong choice and the whole jumping episode will be halted quick.  We have to hold everything down and make sure the footwear is light….

Now, I’m not saying other forms of cardio are not effective, these are just my two top choices.  I had a treadmill in my apartment for about 3 years, which was very beneficial when I was in prep for competitions and had to do two-a-days…. I recently gave my treadmill to a friend that was preparing for some races and had a hard time getting her training in at the gym due to her work schedule….

If you would like more details about what type of cardio training and my thoughts on fasted vs. non-fasted… please email me: fitbytiana@gmail.com

Thank You… and Happy Sweating!

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training

what do i do?

Feeling  a little down in the dumps the past few days… What do I need to do?…. HIT THE GYM!

Everyone has their own outlets…. for me, it’s the gym.

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training

Team

I train every Thursday night with a group of people from all walks of life, various ages, different ethnic backgrounds, and all sorts of experiences, battle scars, injuries, and stories that could leave one speechless.  When we join together at the gym, this shift happens, and we are all there to help each other, push each other, and keep improving.  All we see are lifters helping lifters, working hard to get better.

Check out this video to get a taste of what Adrenalin Powerlifting is all about.  I’ve been with the team for 13 weeks and what I have done in that short time is outstanding.  I have surprised myself many times over… Thanks to Steve Adams for creating this video.

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training

Power… Powerlifting

13 weeks ago, I decided to do something new.  A challenge… one I felt I needed in order to get over a huge mental, emotional and physical hump.

After the last Figure competition I did in November, my body was shot.  Adrenal fatigue settled in over the weeks leading up to the holidays.  It started with slight weight gain, insomnia, then exhaustion during the day, then loss of appetite, followed by slurred speech, stuttering, short-term memory loss, extremely dry skin, and severe water retention around my joints.  I was a walking mass of miserable-ness, working at a new gym, trying to build my business, all the while, I could barely piece sentences together because my brain had checked out.  It was like watching a movie.  I knew what was happening, yet, I couldn’t stop it.  Training became near impossible…. For starters, there was no way I was going to be able to lift anything considerable because I was falling asleep standing up… I also had no desire.  All I wanted to do for weeks at a time was lay down and sleep.  Not fun.

In April, I decided that the only way I was going to get myself out of this slump was by pushing myself.  I started going to a different gym, surrounded myself with new people, started training a different way… and after a few days (literally), I decided to take on this new challenge.  So I committed to training for this Powerlifting meet.  Having 17 years of weight training under my belt, the strength foundation I have is solid.  It’s all been a matter of learning technique, not backing down from heavy weight, and pushing myself beyond mental limits.

I’ve been criticized by many people, including some that were outright rude to my face or on my social media posts, telling me things like, “Oh, I guess you don’t want to try to lose weight anymore”… or “Stick with what you’re good at, you don’t want to be manly”… or “You’re gonna get a thick neck and waist and start looking like a man”… Nice supporters, huh?  Little do they know the private battle I deal with day in and day out… How every single day when it is time to  leave my house, getting dressed is a huge ordeal because I have no clue what clothes fit and what doesn’t.  How even now, since I’ve lost over 10 pounds during this prep, I still have moments when I see my reflection and it stings.

Figure competitors typically fluctuate in weight at least 10 pounds… some 15 and some even more than that (which I personally thing is not healthy)… but it is common.  I know what my personal goals are and quite frankly, it’s no one’s business!

What is great about these past 13 weeks for me is that I have shut a lot of people up.  The weights I throw around speak for themselves.  The incredible progress I have made in such a short time is outstanding and I am very proud of myself.  No, I’m not ripped up with striations in my shoulders or lower abs…. Guess what? I really don’t care…. Most women my age and size can’t touch me when it comes to strength and that is something that is not going away anytime soon.

I did this all while treating my body, working with a doctor, a nutritionist, my chiropractor and several friends to get myself back on track… For the first 45 days of this prep, I was on a detox and could not have anything with caffeine or stimulants in it. I also was on a restricted diet, eliminating foods that cause inflammation… and yet still, throwing around weights with the boys that had jaws on the floor.  The interesting part is, I don’t want to go back where I once was… been there, done that… I’m ready for new places, new discoveries, and a new comfortable happy place.

Powerlifting may not be the end all, be all for me, but it certainly will remain my training style for a long time to come.  I have incredible support behind me NOW and for the first time, I’m not too concerned about my abs showing or the tiny bit of fat on the back of my legs showing…. What a world of difference from Figure Shows!

As the meet draws closer, it’s in 3 days, I am remaining calm and focused on what I need to do.  It is so exciting to do something for the very first time.  I know this entry is rather long, but I’ve got a lot to say! Thanks for your time and I will be posting a Post-Meet Blog reflecting on the experience.

Thank You so much for your support!

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training

Teach & Learn

Often in life, the best way to test your own knowledge of a particular subject is to teach to someone. I have had the pleasure of training clients and helping people in the gym for years. I recently had the opportunity to help two lovely young women prepare for Competitions and it was fantastic.

The first show was in New York City. The client competing in that show had experience and was a veteran. Some things were a no brainer for her and she really just needed me on show day for support and finishing touches.

The second show was this past weekend in Westchester County and the client competing in that show was a newbie. This was her first competition ever and she had been through a lot over the past couple of years to get to this point.

Both young women competed in the Figure Division of the Bodybuilding shows. Figure is near and dear to my heart because that is the division I have competed in for the last 10 years or so. Figure women typically have overall muscularity that is comparable to a gymnast. Broad, rounded shoulders, a wide back with a nice V-shape taper into a small waist, which then leads to a full, round gluteus, thick muscular legs and shapely calves. Basically, a muscular hourglass shape. I love the majority of the physiques because they have to be earned through hard work, yet the ladies still look feminine and curvaceous. This is not to take away from the other divisions, I just happen to be somewhat partial to this one.

It was incredible to be present at these events, backstage with rubber gloves and tanning lotion splattering on me at some points, and body glaze sprinkled all over my clothes by the end of the night. I had an endless number of competitors asking me “Excuse me, does my tan look ok?… Which way should I hit my pose?… Do you like these earrings?…” And so on and so forth. I made it. Yes, I am now a veteran. I am now a Coach, which is still not a word I use lightly. I am now leading people and guiding them through the process. Amazing.

While it is somewhat bittersweet because in some ways I wish I was up on a Pro stage somewhere, I am grateful for the opportunity to help others. I want to warn people of the bad practices that can lead to long term adverse affects. I also like to help people understand the ins and outs of this lifestyle. It certainly is not for everyone.

My clients have recognized that I’m different than many other “Coaches” out there. I hope I have made a lasting impression and that I continue to build my legacy one client at a time.

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training

Where should I start?

“Where should I start?” is the most common question I hear, especially from people that see a picture in a magazine or an advertisement on TV and get inspired.  My advice would be to first think about what your goals are and write them down.  I would suggest first just getting all of your goals down in a list.  Once you do that, you can prioritize them.  Establishing milestones or checkpoints to monitor your progress can also be helpful, but sometimes, you may get caught up in that or need assistance.  Don’t waste too much time with that though.  Sometimes we are on a path towards a goal, and we may change course, or discover something new as we are on our journey, but won’t know until we start taking action.

The next step would be to think about what it is you enjoy doing the most.  What type of physical activity makes you happy? For some people, it’s swimming, or dancing, maybe hiking outdoors, taking a spin class, or getting pushed by a coach or trainer.  Now, explore your options.  Look into local health clubs, dance studios, karate schools, leagues such as baseball, basketball, soccer, etc in your area.  I can guarantee there is something out there for you that will bring you joy, even if you are not necessarily a “gym person”.

If you have been exercising regularly for years, maybe it’s time to switch things up a bit.  Hire a trainer, take up a new group activity, like boxing for example, or Cross Fit.  There is an endless number of options out there, you just have to figure out through trial and error what works best for you.

So what are you waiting for?  Grab that pen and paper… or open up the Notes app on your phone and start writing down your goals. Let’s Work It Out!

If you need help, send me an email: fitbytiana@gmail.com