You only count the good ones!

If you have worked out with me, you may have noticed something about my counting. We’ll be in the middle of a workout, you’re sweating up a storm, and we are on a roll! We finish a set of lunges, I give you a high five, and we move on to the dumbbell curls.

So you start lifting your weights like the champ you are, and I’m making sure you’re lifting the weights correctly. You might notice that I don’t count one of your lifts. You think maybe I let one slide to try to push you, and you keep going.

Four more lifts later, and  I seem to only have counted three of them.

“What’s the deal?” That’s what one of my clients Len said last week. He could swear that he did his complete set, but I was only counting about 3/4ths of them. Was I trying to push him farther than normal?

Well, yes and no.

Let me clear something up for you: I know how to count. They don’t exactly let you into the Air Force without that prerequisite, and they certainly won’t give you a personal fitness certification if you don’t know how to do basic math. So why do I seem to lose a few of your sets when you’re working your butt off?

When it comes to fitness, you don’t cut corners. You can’t afford to, not when taking half measures can sabotage your fitness goals or even cause real harm to your body. You either go all the way, or you don’t go at all. You either do a full set of an exercise the right way, or you’re not going to make progress.

So how does this tie back in to Len’s workout? Well, as you get tired, your body is going to start trying to cut corners to use less energy. Even the best of gym members can’t help it – your body is simply hardwired to save energy. So when Len starts to get tired, his body is going to try to complete a “set” by whatever means necessary.

This can be a recipe for disaster if left unchecked. Working out incorrectly can do more harm than good. Think about it: If you’re doing deadlifts, you want to lift with the right muscles: Your legs, your, arms, and your core. Taking a half measure and lifting with your back can cause some serious damage. And as your body gets tired, you are going to be more likely to make mistakes like that.

So what was happening with Len and my counting issues? It’s because I only count the good ones. Doing a set incorrectly isn’t making progress; it’s causing more harm than good! So when a client start lifting incorrectly, we do one of two things: We correct the problem, or we stop the exercise and do something else.

Don’t think I’ll let you do more harm than good: Len has been a client of mine for a long time, and he knows when he’s doing a good set or not. I will tell you immediately when I see you doing a set incorrectly because I care about your progress. And I certainly don’t want you to hurt yourself at the gym.

No half measures. No shortcuts. We go all the way, because that’s the only way!

Natural vs Unnatural Sugars

iStock_000012651702XSmallLast Tuesday, I wrote a bit about sugar and the dangers of consuming too much. Many of us are eating sugar without even knowing it, with many condiments and processed foods smuggling sugar into our diets.

There is such a thing as too much sugar, but does that mean you can cut them from your diet altogether? Well, not exactly. Carbohydrates, necessary to keeping your body energized, is a sugar! Give up carbs altogether, and you won’t have any energy to get through the day.

Now, you might be thinking I’m contradicting myself. How can I tell you to cut sugar from you diet, but then tell you that sugars like carbs are a necessity of life? There is a distinction between necessary sugars and excessive sugars, and it’s as simple as looking at the source.

High Fructose Corn Syrup

The biggest culprit in excessive sugar consumption is high fructose corn syrup, or HFCS. HFCS is made primarily of corn, and is created when corn syrup undergoes a conversion process, changing some of its glucose to fructose. Because of the ease of processing, HFCS is used as a supplement in many processed foods for sweetness. You can find it in most sodas, processed desserts like Twinkies, and even in places you wouldn’t expect like energy bars or cereal.

There has recently been a lot of conflicting information regarding HFCS. Many sources will tell you that there are no dangers in HFCS, while others will tell you that its a poisonous bile you should avoid at all costs. As commonplace as it is, it’s hard to escape HFCS. But there are always alternatives to unnatural sources of sugar.

Natural Sugars 

Of course, sugar isn’t an unnatural product altogether. Many healthy foods, like fruits for example, naturally contain sugars. A single red delicious apple will naturally contain approximately 23 grams of sugar, and you will seldom hear a doctor telling you to stop eating fruits.

As I said before, carbohydrate sugars have a very important part in our lives, and it would be unhealthy to block out these energy sources completely. How can we get through our fitness regimen if our body doesn’t have the energy to do it?

I have a quick tip I tell some of my clients who are struggling with this: If you’re considering a food, look at the nutritional information on the back. If sugar comes up in the first few lines, put the box down and find something else to eat. If High Fructose Corn Syrup shows up, find something else to eat. If you see words that you have to sound out in your head, put the box down.

The ingredient sugar is not deadly, but sugar in high quantity is. As we make changes in our lives, especially in our diet, it is important to be aware of what we are fueling ourselves with. Trust me, I know that making the change from processed foods packed full of sugar will be difficult, but I also know it will be worth the change.

Be sure to ask any of the personal trainers at Boomer Fitness about how you can make a healthy change in your diet. And stay up to date on my blog for more details to come!

What Makes a Great Gym? Part II

IMG_4833On Tuesday, I wrote about some of the most important factors that we look for in a gym. I break the factors into two major groups: Time well spent in the gym, and time enjoyed at the gym.

You want to spend some well-earned time at the gym, but you also want to enjoy yourself while you’re there. But sometimes, that’s easier said than done. Enjoying time well spent is something we search for in all aspects of life, like with your job or hobbies.

So how do you find it at a gym?

Many larger corporate gyms will always have the state-of-the-art equipment that is on the cutting edge. And Boomer Fitness isn’t on the low end of the spectrum either. I’m very proud of the equipment we have in-house, and I know it helps us work the entire spectrum of your muscles.

Many larger corporate gyms have multiple locations, which means they can cover a lot more ground than a smaller gym. But like I wrote on Tuesday, many people seem to go out of their way to get to their own particular gym, rather than settling with the one that’s closer to their location.

Boomer Fitness measures up to any gym in either of those regards, but I know that it has something that no other corporate gym can boast at having: a community that cares about your fitness.

A community is more than a group of people you see from time to time. Its a group of people who you know on a first name basis, who asks you how your weekend was, or how your hike up to Mt. Hood went. It’s a group of people who genuinely care about whether you’re making improvements in your life, and who are there to support you when you’re making those improvements.

So how does Boomer Fitness have such a great community? Let me count the ways:

Personal Trainers that Care – There’s a terrible plague I’ve noticed that has taken root in a lot of corporate gyms: many personal trainers simply don’t put their clients fitness as their first priority. Unfortunately, many gyms have started putting their focus in sales quotas, getting as many people signed on with a personal trainer as possible. Trainers don’t have much of a choice in the matter, either. It’s either bring in a certain amount of new clients, or we will have to reexamine your place at this gym.

It’s not like that here at Boomer Fitness. Fitness is always the priority among the personal trainers who choose to work here. I know this is the case because none of the trainers here stop working after you leave the gym. We say hello when you come in for a seminar, or we pat you on the back when you do that extra set of squats, or cheer you from the sidelines when you finish the 5k you trained for the last 6 months. We’re here because we want you here.

Group Sessions – Whether it’s one of our Saturday morning Boot Camps, a class on the dangers of sugar, or just a busy day at the gym, Boomer Fitness always has something going on. Having group sessions is a great way of motivating yourself to push a little farther, do one extra squat, or do one extra push-up. You have to work together as a group to achieve your overall goal, and you go much farther when you’re working with someone rather than on your own. Plus, it’s always more fun to do something when you have others to talk to.

Best of all, some of our group events help contribute to a local charity. Last week, we had the chance to donate 100% of the donations from our Saturday Boot Camp to the Pink Lemonade Project.

It’s Your Gym – This isn’t just any other gym that has the standard music playlist in the background. We don’t tune out the world and just watch SportsCenter while we run on the treadmill.

We talk about how your March Madness Bracket is doing, or how your son Matt is enjoying school. We talk about how we really liked that movie we saw last night, or how you’ve been making some great progress since our last measurement check-in 4 weeks ago. We talk about your dog GiGi, or about the Boot Camp session that’s coming up this next Saturday, and how you’re planning on coming to that, right?

Why do we do this? Because we aren’t just any gym. You can get “any gym” anywhere else. We’re your gym!

To me, the community is the most important thing about any gym. You can’t substitute it with space-age technology, nor can your simulate it with inspirational words written in huge lettering on the wall. It’s something that you have to create and work on. And that’s the difference between an average gym and a Great Gym.

The Traits of a Good Personal Trainer, Part II

10431670_755150081200338_3174578138695952538_nOn Tuesday I wrote about the important qualities you want to look for in a personal trainer. Some are obvious traits you want to keep your eyes open for, but other traits seem to slip under the radar, especially if you’re just entering the world of fitness for the first time.

Boomer Fitness does training a little differently than larger corporate gyms. To me, personal training is not just a side benefit of signing up for a gym membership. Instead, I find personal training to be one of the most important tools you can utilize at the gym. Of course, learning from a trainer is only worthwhile if we, the personal trainers, know what we’re talking about.

Here are four more traits you should look for in a personal trainer, and traits that you will find here at Boomer Fitness:

Multiple Certifications – When done correctly, becoming a Personal Trainer takes a lot of training. It requires hard work, reviews, tests, and experience. And after enduring this work, we get certifications proving that we know our stuff.

But it doesn’t stop there. Just like the physical side of fitness, education is an ongoing experience that requires constant upkeep. Nothing replaces lifelong experience, but multiple certifications go a long way in showing a Trainer has the experience and the knowledge.

Boomer Fitness puts a lot of value in the certifications our Trainers carry with them. To me, Personal Training is the perfect combination of physical and mental knowledge. You cannot have one at the gym without having the other.

Healthy Lifestyle – It might sound vain to say your personal trainer should look good. But if someone can’t walk the walk, why should you listen to them when they talk the talk? Trainers that take their work seriously live and breath personal fitness. It’s an all encompassing goal we want to achieve and help you achieve.

It’s not just about looking good, either. Having a healthy lifestyle goes much deeper, spanning to a healthy diet, healthy habits, and even a healthy outlook on life. These traits can be found here at Boomer Fitness, and we love to share this lifestyle with you!

Different Plans for Different People – Every single person is different. It’s not just a phrase we learn in elementary school, but rather a truth a good Personal Trainer should take to heart. So why do some corporate gyms allow for for simple, generic plans to be used for multiple clients? It’s like they expect a cookie-cutter fitness plan to work for anyone.

A good Personal Trainer will recognize that every fitness plan needs to be tailored to each individual. A plan that is set up for Carol isn’t going to meet the needs of Susan, who might have much different goals in her future. At Boomer Fitness, we recognize different people have different goals. That’s why the trainers here go to lengths to make sure we get a fitness program dedicated to your specific needs.

Personal Connection – Let’s be honest. If you’re going to be working with someone, especially when it comes to something as important to your fitness, you want to make sure you work well with that individual. You don’t want to dread coming into the gym because you don’t like the trainer you’re working with. But you also want someone who can help push you, to help you reach your goals.

You will recognize that the atmosphere at Boomer Fitness is a lot friendlier than anything you’re going to find at a corporate gym. Members of Boomer Fitness recognize each other from past seminars, or from past group training sessions. Trainers reach out to all members of the gym to catch up. We aren’t just any gym; we’re your gym.

Good personal trainers can be hard to come by at times, and I know how lucky I am to have such a great team here at Boomer Fitness. Give me a call today to get yourself a tour of the gym, and we’ll get you started toward fitness today!