Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Becoming A Personal Trainer: What You Need To Know




 You go to the gym, you love it, and you've achieved some excellent results! You're dedicated to your workouts/nutrition, and while you're at work all you think about is your next workout. You enjoy your training ... and work sucks, so it makes sense that you're thinking about that while you're at work. Just then it hits you ... why don't you quit this job you hate and start making a living through fitness! Why don't you become a personal trainer? After all, you're spending most of your time Instagramming your food/training, spending your cash on kick ass workout clothes, and you spend more time in the gym than at home. It just makes sense ... right?

Slam on the breaks right there champ!

 Look, I know you love your workouts. I know you're throwing butter into your coffee and eating clean. I know you're spending your day Googling new HIIT workouts ... BUT, that's simply not enough to warrant getting into the fitness industry.

 Now, before you write me off as total dick or think I'm just trying to discourage others from getting into the fitness industry ... hear me out.

 Being a personal trainer or fitness coach requires a lot more than just enjoying your own workouts. It's way more than being a motivator or glorified cheer leader. It's about more than counting someones reps or adding weight to a bar. The fitness industry is jam packed with too many sub-par personal trainers, fitness "experts", and gurus. The last thing it needs is one more on the list.

 You don't be a sub par, mediocre, run of the mill, track pants wearing, clip board carrying, perma smiling, basic, generic personal trainer! You don't want that, and I don't want that either. BUT, you really have been considering becoming a fitness coach/personal trainer. You actually want to be a good one and not just make some quick cash.  How do you know if you're cut from the right cloth? How do you know if you'll be the kind of fitness coach that your peers will respect or dismiss?

 Fear not my possible future trainer! Let's discuss what the life of a fitness coach actually involves. These are just a few things you may not have considered or thought about.


1.) You'll work very strange hours that are never guaranteed

 If you think you make your own schedule as a personal trainer, you're wrong. Your days will always be run by your clients schedules. This means you'll be setting up training sessions with people with all different work and life schedules, and this gets confusing and random. You'll have clients at 5-6am in the morning, hope you don't like to sleep in too late. Strings of clients linked back to back during the day, no lunch for you! You'll also have clients who book late due to shift work or family life. This means early mornings, late nights, and little time to do much for yourself. It can make travel plans, weekend social outings, family obligations, and general life quite tedious some times. Your life and time is run by your clients. You might be your "own boss" but you sure as hell don't make your own schedule.

 On that note, this is assuming you have a full client schedule. Your hours and clients are never guaranteed. You may be full of clients on month, and down to half of them the next month. This is a reality of this industry! Lack of clients means tight living until that client load boosts up again. If you're the kind of person who needs absolute certainty with their financials, this could be a real problem for you. Especially when you first start training! When you first start, you'll have to build your client base from the ground up and you'll need to be prepared to live a frugal life.

2.) You need to be a great teacher

Enjoying your own workouts and getting yourself results is just not enough to be a great trainer. What you can do doesn't matter as much as what you can do with your clients. You need to be able to reproduce consistent results in your clients or your training isn't worth shit ... period. You need to be able to communicate your points, technique break downs, philosophy, and much more, to all different kinds of people. You'll have busy clients, lazy clients, young clients, old clients, male/female ... and they'll all learn in their own unique way. You're going to need to be able to have the patience and communication skills required help them learn. Most of all, you need to have your clients (student) best interest in mind, you need to put them before you.  I could go on and on about how to be a great teacher, how to find a great teacher, and what makes a great teacher ... which is why I wrote a separate blog post about it. If you're thinking of becoming a fitness coach or any other teacher you need to read that post. DO IT!

3. You need to be an obsessive, open minded, and never ending student of your craft

I spend a minimum of around 2 hours a day (broken up and combined) researching theories, reading books/blogs, studying video, and listening to pod casts all on the subject of fitness/nutrition. That's just the free/cheap stuff! I also spend a lot of money every single year on attending workshops, purchasing online courses, and countless hours of my time putting this knowledge into practice. I mentioned above, when you're training full time you don't have much time for yourself. This means when I do have a break during the day, you'll most likely find me eating in front of my computer while I'm reading, studying, and trying to grow my knowledge base. YOU NEED TO BE OBSESSED with becoming the best damn fitness coach you can be. You need to spend your free time researching constantly. You need to be on top of your game or you're doing your clients a disservice. This process is never ending, you'll always need to do this in order to be the best you can be. If you stop, your information gets stagnant, methods become dated, and you my friend ... become obsolete! The industry is full of way too many personal trainers who got their "Personal Trainer Certification" and stopped there. Don't be that guy/girl.

 BUT WAIT there's more! This doesn't just mean researching the aspects of fitness that you enjoy. You also need to read up on other training methods/aspects of the fitness industry that you may not enjoy or agree with. Yes, I love bodyweight training and I think the paleo method of eating just makes sense for most people, but that DOES NOT mean I spend all my time with my nose buried in those two subjects. I've studied and researched bodybuilding programs, supplements, and nutrition ... I basically grew up with a Musclemag glued to my hand. I love animals ... but their delicious and good for you! However, I've done my fare share of research on vegan and vegetarian diets. I've tried all different kinds of fitness classes and methods regardless of my preconceived notions about them. You know why?

 You'll never be able to form an educated opinion or stance against a subject if you don't know a ton about that subject. How can you tell me you think the paleo diet is stupid if you've only read books on becoming a vegan? How can you tell me you can't build muscle using body weight if you're only researching power lifting. Also, what happens if you're working with a vegetarian client and you've only researched the paleo diet? You need to know enough about it all in order to form your own methods.


4.) Just because you love working out, doesn't mean you like training others

It's just that simple. I've known a lot of people who became trainers only to find out that it just wasn't for them. Being a personal trainer (as I've said above) is not about you and your training, it's all about your clients training. Except for some exceptions you're not working out with your client, you're instructing them, correcting form, and keeping track of their progress. You're a teacher, not a workout buddy! If you're a full time trainer/coach your own workouts come second to your clients. This means you might be so busy with clients that you have to workout late at night, early in the morning, at times you hate, or not at all for that day.  This is a big problem for workout addicts! That along with the random hours, lack of personal time, humble pay, constant research and dealing with different client personalities can be a lot for a person to handle. A lot of new trainers find out pretty quick that being a personal trainer isn't glamorous, fast paced, or all that exciting some times. It's rewarding if you're passionate about being a teacher and enriching your clients lives, but if that's not your core goal ... you might find out that it's just not for you.



This all being said, being a fitness coach is a very rewarding profession. I can't think of anything else I would rather be doing for a living. I would (seriously) do this even if I didn't get paid ... I would much rather get paid obviously! I would still blog, train people, and rant online. I enjoy seeing my clients move with ease, attain a much healthier body weight, gain monster strength, and in general change their lives. When a client isn't improving for some reason, it keeps me up a night. I work endlessly to improve that issue and I'm filled with unexplainable joy when they break through that plateau! The majority of my time is spent trying to learn new ways to improve my clients training, my training, and working towards becoming a better fitness coach. I LOVE THIS SHIT!  It's what gets me hype every single day. But, you have to be a little crazy to do this job. I've had times with little to no money and was still training. I've had times with an overwhelming client load where I trained from sun up to sun down and had maaaaaaybe one afternoon a week to myself. I've faced adversity in many forms, set backs in both my personal and professional lives. I've had success and failures, ups and downs but through it all I continued to improve my training and my clients training. This is my passion, I love teaching, learning, and improving. I'm obsessed with it!  If you want to be a fitness coach or trainer, you should be too.

- Tim

WWW.JUNGLE-FIT.COM


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Friday, October 3, 2014

Hollow Body Progressions


    


  The hollow body is a position found in gymnastics strength training. It's an excellent tool for improving your midline stability, core strength, and abdominal function. It's a great addition to other midline and core work such as planks, side planks, supermans, and table tops etc. It also helps develop the strength and stability required to perform such movements as chin ups/pull ups, front support on rings or bars, levers and handstands ... just to name a few. "Hollowing out" is a must if you're intending on being able to hold a straight handstand!

The clip above shows you a few different progressions of the hollow body position (or Banana Holds as one of my clients has named them!). Try adding them into your workouts by choosing a progression that is challenging to hold for 10-15 seconds, then build up to a 1min hold and move onto the next progression.

 A few tips when performing your hollow body hold are as follows ... 

- Your lower back must, at all times, be pressed firmly into the ground. DO NOT allow your back to lift from the ground. If it does, you're most likely using a progression that's fat too advanced for you at the moment.

- Squeeze your legs together hard, with the exception of the straddle holds. This will help create more tension and stimulate core muscles.

- Point your toes! This creates more tension, it doesn't just look pretty!

- The shoulder blades do not touche the ground, but don't crunch yourself up too much.

- When the legs are extended the knees are locked out.

- The whole body it tight.

- When your arms are over head and extended, be sure to "hug the ears" and fully open the shoulders. DO NOT relax the lower back by arching while trying to open the shoulders. This is a sign of tight shoulders and lack of mobility, allow them to open up as full as possible without allowing your back to lift.


- Tim

WWW.JUNGLE-FIT.COM

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Monday, September 22, 2014

How To Build Grip Strength





Your grip strength is an important link in your "chain" of strength. Whether you're hanging from a pull up bar, picking up a barbell, or throwing around kettlebells, if your grip is weak you'll never reach your full potential. How can you ever get truly strong if you're grip is always failing you? You may feel strong enough to bang out a couple more chin ups, but if your grip is slipping, you'll never know.

 Training your grip also improves your wrist, elbow, and hand health when done correctly. Grip strength training is more than just hand strength! A well balanced grip strength training routine that works on both flexion and extension can strengthen all the muscles and tendons from the tips of the fingers to the elbow joint.  I've often had clients who experience wrist pain during push ups or other pushing/pressing movements, but after training their grip they no longer had any issues with their wrists.

 Regardless of your training method of choice, adding a little bit of grip strength training to your program wouldn't be a bad idea! Lets look a little more into grip training ...


 Benefits Of Grip Strength Training:

You'll be able to lift more: A strong grip can be a contributing factor in your ability to lift bigger weights. This is especially true in pulling movements like pull ups, chin ups, dead lifts etc.

Improved quality of life: Grip strength has actually be linked to improved quality of life in your later years and a longer life span.

Greater strength endurance: You'll be able to perform more reps of an exercises that requires your grip strength endurance. This means movements like the farmers walk, kettlebell swings, or chin ups will all improve with a much stronger grip.


 Different Types Of Grips:

 Pinch Grip - This grip involves the thumb squeezing in opposition of the fingers, you're gripping using only the tip of the thumb and finger tips.

 Crushing Grip - Squeezing an object inward using a full grip. Such as crushing a can or squeezing "grippers".

 Supporting Grip - The supporting grip involves a full closed grip using the thumb and fingers wrapped around an object and the fingers support the majority of the weight. This grip would be used during hanging, chin ups/pull ups, dead lifts etc.


Ways To Improve & Train Your Grip:


Using Fat Bars Or Fat Grips:
 Using a fat bar or by adding "fat grips" during your training is a great way to improve your supporting grip strength. You can use a kettlebells with larger handles, add "fat grips" to your pull up bar or Olympic bar, or try making some soft ball grips for pull ups! Perhaps I'll make a blog post on building your own soft ball grips in the future!
                                 
(Fat Grips)

(Softball Grips)


Towels For Rows Or Chin Ups: You can challenge your grip during rows or chin ups by gripping onto a towel or two. You can set this up easily by throwing a towel or two over the chin up bar and grabbing a hold of the towel as your support during chin ups or rows. This sort of grip is quite challenging and excellent for those in grappling arts.


(Towel Grip Chins)


Pinch Gripping Plates Or Dumbbells:  Gripping onto the fat ends of dumbbells or the sides of weight plates using only your finger tips, you can build up your pinch grip strength. You can grip for time, or grip the plates and walk for distance etc. Up the weight as it becomes easier.


(Pinch Grip With Plates)


Train With "Grippers": Grippers are one of the most common grip strength and forearm training tools. You can pick them up in a variety of tension strengths and you can even find some that are adjustable! Grippers can be used for reps or for static squeezes. They're a great way to improve your crushing strength! 

(Grippers)



Balance Out Your Training To Avoid Tendinitis:

 When you're training your grip on a regular basis it's important to balance your flexion with extension movements. If you're only working on squeezing the fingers inward and not extending them outward, you can run into tendinitis and other pains in wrists and elbows. The simple solution to this ... wrap a basic rubber band around your finger tips, extend the fingers outward by opening them up keeping the fingers straight. Do reps of 30 to 50 for each hand. 


- Tim 


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Wednesday, August 27, 2014

4 Tips To Choose An Excellent Personal Trainer/Fitness Coach



 

  The fitness world is loaded with "trainers" and "experts" all pulling for your attention and business. If you're looking for help with your fitness goals, there's no shortage of options! The problem is, which trainer/coach/teacher do you choose? Bargain shopping isn't the answer, and neither is choosing the most expensive option. You could find a grossly under qualified trainer, teacher, or coach charging the lowest rate or the most expensive rate. Both have their pros and cons, both draw in different types of clients. Regardless of what they're charging, here are some simple guidelines for choosing a quality teacher, coach, or trainer. 

1. Who were their teachers? 

  Who were their teachers? What were their qualifications? What have their teachers done and who have they taught? Ideally, your teacher should have studied under legitimate professionals who have a track record of delivering legitimate information and producing quality teachers. For example, my teachers include world class full contact bare knuckle Karate champion (1967) Shigeru Ishino, who I hold a 1st degree black belt under. I've also worked with and been certified by world renowned kettlebell/movement expert Shawn Mozen and top Yoga expert Mark Laham. These are just a few of the teachers who I have worked with, each one of them with a track record of not only producing great teachers, but they walk the talk and live what they preach. 

2. What have they done, or, what can they do? 

 What has your teacher done? What skills have they acquired? What abilities do they possess? Or, what has your teacher done or accomplished before in the past? How can you expect to learn how to become a world class power lifter when your teacher has never even competed in an event himself/herself? Would you rather learn from someone who has been there and done that, than someone who knows the theory of what it takes? Of course you would! I'm not saying that the trainer from your local gym doesn't know what he/she is talking about, I'm saying that if you're given the choice between teachers, experience is paramount! Choose a trainer who has experience in the area that you're looking to improve upon and make sure they can produce results consistently with their students and not just themselves. Which leads me to my next point ...

3. What can their students/clients do?

 Without a doubt, above all else, this is what you should look for when looking for a trainer, coach, or teacher. Your teacher needs to be able to reproduce results in multiple students consistently. Regardless of their speciality, their methods need to work with people from all different backgrounds and produce results at a very high percentage. If you're teacher doesn't have plenty of testimonials to prove their methods work, or if they can't show you what their students can do ... walk away. 

3. What are they working towards? 

 What are they working towards? What is their idea of fitness? If you want to learn how to move better, reduce pain and inflammation, and learn how to integrate fitness into your daily life ... then why would you higher a trainer who specializes body building or physique competition? The same for the opposite. If you want to become a body building champion, why the hell would you higher a movement specialist or yoga instructor to get you to your goals? Find out, clearly, what your trainer/coach is working towards. Find out what their ideals are and what's their personal take on fitness. Find out how you'll be training, what their approach is, and what kind of training modalities they favour. If it doesn't jive with what you're looking to accomplish ... then move on and look for another one. 

4. Who are they truly serving?

 Who are they serving? Quite simply, are they looking to serve themselves, or are they truly serving the client. A good teacher, always ... F#%KING ALWAYS, has their students best interest in mind at all times. This means, they'll work around your schedule, make up sessions for you, take time to text or call you to set up workout times when you're slacking. They take pride in your accomplishments, tailor ever single program to each individual client and are always learning more in order to better serve their clients. They charge reasonable rates, or they're flexible with payments from students in order to make sure your training stays on track. In short, their clearly not in it for them self or their ego. If you're trainer charges too much, doesn't deliver solid results, won't reschedule, doesn't follow up, doesn't address your needs and problems, doesn't tailor programs specifically for you, forces you through dangerous workouts etc. Then they're simply in it for themselves ... this is all too common in the fitness industry. 


 Regardless of what you're looking to learn, these are 4 basic rules to follow when looking for a quality teacher in any field. Keep them in mind, do your research, and find yourself a quality teacher! 

- Tim 


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Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Paleo Chocolate Chip Cookies



 Here's a wonderful recipe introduced to me by the coaches at http://www.CavemanStrong.com . If you're craving something rich and delicious, but you're not trying to ruin your nutrition programming, then these paleo chocolate chip cookies should do the trick! They turn out soft and chewy, and don't involve any of the junk you'll find in regular chocolate chip cookies. It's best if you only have one or two at a time and not get caught up in eating too much paleo baking. The majority of your diet should come from fresh veggies, fruit, and meat ... but a little treat here and there is ok! Just try not to eat the whole batch in one sitting!

  Here's what you'll need ... 

- 1 cup of coconut flour
- 4 large eggs
- 1/2 cup of coconut oil
- 1/2 cup of real maple syrup
- 2tsp of baking soda
- 1 tsp of vanilla
- 1 large dark chocolate bar (75% or higher)

Here's how to put it together ... 

- Pre heat your oven to 375 degrees
- Chop up your chocolate bar into small pieces/chunks and set it aside
- In a large bowl, mix together your eggs, coconut oil, maple syrup, and vanilla
- Once you've mixed the eggs, coconut oil and maple syrup, add your coconut flour, baking soda, and chocolate chunks into the bowl
- Mix everything together well until it forms a smooth cookie dough
- Roll the dough into small balls and place on greased up cookie sheet, you can use butter or coconut oil to grease the cookie sheet
- Press each ball down lightly with a fork
- Bake in the now heated oven for 10 mins, don't allow the cookies to burn
- Remove them once they've browned and let them cool
- Eat and enjoy!


- Tim

WWW.JUNGLE-FIT.COM

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Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Fitness Essentials: Sifting Through Garbage To Find The Gold


        "It's not the daily increase, but the daily decrease. Hack away the unessential." - Bruce Lee 


  The world of fitness is a vast and confusing place. Every single day we're bombarded by countless new workout fads, "miracle supplements", and new pieces of fitness equipment that keep getting stranger and stranger. Seriously, have you seen those kangaroo boots? WTF?

                                 
                                                              Yep, these exist ... 

  It's not hard to see why so many people end up frustrated with a serious lack of results. After all, you're being hit with wave after wave of misinformation and contradicting points of view on a daily basis. "Trainer X" preaches a program that is in direct contradiction to  "Trainer Y". You read an article on how fats like butter are actually healthy for you, but your doctor is telling you to reduce your fat intake to help lower your cholesterol.How in hell are you ever going to get the results you want when you're not even sure where to start or what information to put into action?!

 My suggestion to those of you struggling with all of the "info" out there today is this ... stick to the basics and strip away the rest.

- Eat a lot of veggies, fruit, nuts, seeds and other plant life

- Eat quality protein with each meal (chicken, beef, steak, pork, fish, eggs, duck, lamb etc.)

- Cook at home so you know what's going into your food

- Eat when you're hungry, stop before you're stuffed

- Avoid processed foods, grains, sugars, and deserts

- Drink lots of water. Avoid soda, fruit drinks, and too much juice.

- Keep alcohol to a moderate amount, avoid beer and stick with spirits mixed with soda water or water

- Always warm up before your workout.

- Stretch often.

- Workout, at least 3 times per week using resistance training. This can be your bodyweight or using weights. If you don't know how to use your bodyweight, check out "The Bodyweight Solution" for ideas and instruction.

- Base your workouts around total body, multi joint movements. It doesn't even need to be complicated. Make sure you're squatting, pulling, and pushing at the very least. There's multiple variations of these exercises you can use, choose a variation or weight that's tough for you. Which brings me to the next point ....

- Master a certain weight, or movement and then move on to a more advanced movement or weight. Try setting up your workout with your three basic movements (squat, pull, push) 3-4 sets, 8-10 reps, 60 seconds of rest between sets. Perform all the sets and reps for one exercise before moving onto the next exercise. Once you can do 3-4 sets of 8-10 reps without too much trouble, it's time to move onto a greater weight or harder bodyweight progression.

- Move quickly at least once a week. This means run sprints, jump rope, or do tabata intervals with burpees or battle ropes etc. Just make it short, and make it intense.

- Get quality sleep, rest, don't over train. Listen to your body, if you're tired or stressed just relax.

- Move often. This means walk places, take the stairs, hang from bars or sit in your squat position. Play sports, play with your kids, or play with your dog. Who cares! Just move.





  It's really that simple. The basics always remain true, and some of these would just seem like common sense ... something that's not always so "common" these days. No one got fat from eating real food, moving more often, challenging their strength, and avoiding shitty food. Keep it simple.

  If you want to get lean, build strength, improve your movement, and be healthier, just follow these basic guide lines. Everything else out there is icing on the cake, it's fluff, it's all adding onto these basics. Stick with your basics, and then develop on them. In time you'll be able to make your program as intricate/complicated or as basic as you like.

- Tim

WWW.JUNGLE-FIT.COM 

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Monday, August 11, 2014

Quick Thoughts: Everything In Moderation



We have a society that enjoys living by the "if a little is good, then more is better" mentality. This is a flawed method of thinking when it comes to most things in life, including your fitness program. We need balance, we need moderation in almost every aspect of our life in order to be truly healthy. For example ...

 Not training at all leads to becoming weak, stiff, over weight, poor posture, lack of mobility, a host of illnesses and inability to efficiently move your body.

 Training too often and obsessing over your program can lead to over training, avoiding social situations, basing your life around your workouts, eating disorders, body dysmorphia, and an unhealthy obsession with training.

 We need night/day, hot/cold, work/rest ... yin/yang. We need balance. Everything has a balance, your training should as well. Think about focusing on making your training about longevity, sustainability, and movement. Make it about balance. Make fitness fit into your life, and not the other way around.

- Tim

WWW.JUNGLE-FIT.COM 

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