The Death of 1-on-1 Personal Training

1-on-1 personal training has been around since the beginning of time.  It’s taken on many shapes and many forms, but it has always been a part of coaching and fitness.  It is still quite popular in the fitness industry to this day as it is one of the best avenues you can choose to get results.  But, what if there was a better method available to you?  A superior method that still delivered the custom-designed program, offered better results, was more cost effective, and boosted your sense of belonging.  If there was such a method out there, why wouldn’t you choose it?

Maybe you didn’t choose it because you didn’t know it existed until this reading.  Maybe you won’t choose it because you want that training session time all to yourself, with all the attention and service to you and only you.  Maybe you can’t choose it because your current coach or trainer doesn’t offer it because he/she believes that 1-on-1 is still the best way to get results for you.

Regardless of your decision, I respect it, but I am also here to tell you that after nearly 9 years in the business, I’ve done every delivery method system out there.  From 1-on-1, to small and large group classes, to virtual classes, outdoor training, and this method we call semi-private training.  I’m here to tell you why 1-on-1 personal training is dead and why semi-private training should be the avenue you take to get better results.  Period.

There’s a couple tidbits of information you should know before I dive into why semi-private training is going to be your best bet to get results through health and fitness.  The first is why 1-on-1 training is still around and the second is how I stumbled upon semi-private training by accident, only to discover there was already and entire industry designed around semi-private training.

You have to understand that the only reason we as trainers/coaches ever recommended 1-on-1 training to you as the best method to get results because that is the ONLY thing we KNEW at that time and it’s what we were taught.  1-on-1 personal training was the cream of the crop coming out of the 80’s and lasting through the 90’s, but in the early 2000’s.  So, what else would we offer?  We thought that training more than one person at a time would be too hard and demanding because of all the reps and rest we would have to keep track of…

And there’s your sign.

1-on-1 personal training is pretty much just that: a person keeping track of reps, rest, and everything else you do while still delivering a training session somewhere in between all that.  In fact, too much of a 1-on-1 session is spent as downtime with the coach counting reps for you, or timing or rest, or asking about your current show you watch at night.

Photo Cred: Lep FItness

You’re paying for the session, but you’re also paying for the trainer to count those reps – which you could easily do all on your own!

You probably should be counting your reps or timing your plank anyway because we all know trainers can’t count correctly…ammiright?!

Aside from the wasted downtime issue, 1-on-1 personal training can be extremely expensive.  You have to remember that you are investing in yourself through a coach/trainer, but you are also buying that individual hour of time from that trainer.  The attention should be on you (it would be relevant for the trainer to remember this too) and that can jack up the price pretty quick, especially during peak hours where there are multiple people fighting over it.

The average price for a 1-on-1 personal training here in La Crosse is about $50 (for the sake of this context, I am not including a monthly gym membership fee in this equation, but the average gym membership in our area is about $60/month, so keep that in mind at the end of all this).  These sessions are typically bought in packages, like a 5 or 10 or +20 pack.  So, a 10-pack of sessions would cost you $500 and after they’re used up you’ll renew if you’d like to continue.  And if you’re eager to get results (why wouldn’t you be?) then meeting with your trainer at least 2x/week has that 10-pack lasting about 5 weeks.

You can get some serious results in 5 weeks, but you and I both know that the real results will take a bit longer than that (remember this scenario when I bring in semi-private training).  You can see how quickly this can add up.  Keep in mind that you are making an INVESTMENT in you and your health, which is the BEST investment you can make for yourself.   If we took this scenario and put an experienced trainer’s option for it, those 1-on-1 sessions would go up.  Before I founded Unity Fitness, my 1-on-1 prices were $72/hour – that’s the most a 1-on-1 session had ever been at that time in the history of that gym.

Today, my 1-on-1 session is over $100/hour and that is because you will get 100% of my time, my expertise, and my service, but you’re also taking that hour away from others.

Which brings me to the introduction of semi-private training, and to think it all happened by accident.  The truth is this method of training existed prior to me accidentally scheduling two ladies at the same time, but I had no idea it was out there.  I was waiting at my desk, saw two of my clients come into the gym, say hi to each other, warm up with each other, then have a little giggle as they headed back to me.  They asked which one I was going to be training, and after they had both told the other they would leave and come back in an hour, I had said, “Nonsense, I’ll train both of you on your programs right now.  And I’m sorry about the mistake, so today’s session is on me.”

The session was fantastic, and not just for me, but the ladies loved it as well.  They loved it so much that they asked if I could “accidentally schedule them together again”.  So we did.  Then one of my other ladies saw them training together and wanted to know how they got to train together like that.  She then asked if she could join them.  I told her that was their session, so she would have to ask the other two ladies if it was OK.  They both agreed, and now I was training three of my 1-on-1 clients, all of whom were coming in to see me 3x/week during separate hours, down to seeing me 3x/week during the same hour.

I still wrote great programs and I still delivered expert coaching, buy now I was so darn busy with three people on the floor I couldn’t count reps or time certain exercises.  Trust me, I tried, but that was quickly turned into a client saying, “Uh, yeah, but no thank you.  I know how good your counting is.”

Here was the big benefit for the clients: I offered them a reduced price for their training session so now their hard-earned money went further into their investment.  We slashed prices of a training session to around 40%.  Essentially the sessions became about $25-30/hour compared to $50 or more.  These ladies that first jumped into semi-private training with me had been some of the longest-tenured clients this gym, so their rates were grandfathered for showing their loyalty and trust to me and the business.

So, now we have three of the most tenured clients all training in a semi-private setting and LOVING it.  I immediately went and started asking for all of my clients to give this a try, and if they didn’t like it, then after 30 days we could go back to 1-on-1.

Nearly ALL of them changed.  About 90% of my 36 clients changed over which allowed me to take on 7 new clients who were on the “waitlist” for my availability.

This evolution in training ultimately led me to open my own facility under this model.  Then, come to find out, there are a few other gyms in the world that were operating like we were as well.  There are several major benefits that come from semi-private training.  I already discussed the slashed prices, making this method much more valuable than 1-on-1 training, but what I didn’t expect were the faster results and the energy/community-feel this style of training spawned.  Dare I say, semi-private training made fitness FUN?

Of course, the ONLY way semi-private training will work is if there is a great program in place.  Without a program to reach your goals, then what are you actually training for?  A program is like our roadmap to get you from Point A to Point Z.  The coach designs your program and then we get to work!  If there is no program in place, then we are left to take our own roads and detours, which probably doesn’t bode well.  These random turns along the trip will lead you to random places, like random workouts give you random results.

When you invest in semi-private training, or even 1-on-1 training for that matter, you invest in the PROGRAM, in the expertise, of the coach or trainer.  The trainer then choose how he/she will deliver that program.  The proof is in the pudding that semi-private training is superior to 1-on-1 in terms of cost and effectiveness, but here are a few other reasons why it is elite:

  • The trainer becomes the coach. Semi-private sessions require the trainer to become a coach and…well…COACH!  That means you’ll get more dial-in feedback and expertise as well!  This is why we call ourselves fitness coaches at Unity Fitness and NOT personal trainers.  We are here to coach you in movement and fitness so you can become the best version of yourself.
  • Results come faster. Results come at a premium in semi-private sessions because you’re not only getting better coaching, but you’re also getting more accountability and building off the energy of the other members that are showing up to that session.  There’s something special that brews in a semi-private session that you simply can’t create in a 1-on-1 session.  It’s more effective and efficient on nearly every category measured.
  • You take ownership over your own journey. You have to form more ownership over your session and your journey.  1-on-1 training can sometimes feel like you’re getting your hand held from time to time.  Semi-private requires you to be in control, in that driver seat, and the coach is your guide with you behind the wheel, like a GPS.  More ownership over your own journey is an incredible ingredient to your lifelong success.
  • The energy is unmatched. The energy and social aspect of a tight-knit, like-minded community might be the best thing about semi-private training.  When you go to “battle” with others who share similar goals as you, it brings the most out of the group (there’s that energy thing again).  You also develop relationships, which is key to success in any goal (and your overall well-being).  You could be a lone wolf, but you’ll stay as a lone wolf with your trainer.  Don’t you want someone to celebrate your success with?  Maybe someone else who has gone through something similar and can help you get through it?  That happens in semi-private training.
  • It is a better investment. If we take the same example from earlier at $50/hour for a session, the cost would be at least $500 over the course of 5 weeks at a frequency of 2x/week.  5 weeks isn’t much, so you would most like renew for more sessions.  Now you’ll add that $1K and a monthly gym membership and you’ve got yourself almost $1,200 in investments through the first couple months alone.  Semi-private training’s investment can cut that down substantially, basically putting your monthly investment at $300 or less per month ($25/session x 20 sessions + 2 months’ worth of a “gym membership” at $60/mo) for more training in an environment that breeds better results.

As long as the program is designed for success, there are several methods in which you can deliver results in the fitness industry.  Large group classes can also get results and bring boatloads of more energy, but you don’t get the custom-designed programs or individual coaching that is needed to take you to the next level.  Remote/Virtual coaching works, but there’s something about the presence of another human being that elevates you to another level.  Small group training can work to feed off of energy and a well-designed program that can be modified to each person, but this can’t get quite as specific as personal training can, plus, like a large group class, you could be limited by the equipment being used.

So, assuming the program is in place, the only reason 1-on-1 training trumps semi-private training is if you want that personal attention.  Maybe you’re a little selfish and that’s the only time slot each day that you get all eyes on you – and that’s OK!  It is your PRIVATE TIME, and I love that!  Maybe the coach believes he/she is doing something so special with you behind that he/she feels the rest of the world isn’t ready to see the stuff you’re doing.  I like to think that’s more of the reason for the athletes out there.

Or, maybe the coach believes this is the way to go (most likely because he/she doesn’t want to work any harder), which is OK too.  There is no doubt that semi-private is tougher to coach!  We’ve had to let go more coaches than we’ve hired because semi-private training is a beast in a league of its own and it brings out the best or worst in the coaches.  They have to adapt and evolve quickly for it to work like it’s supposed to.

I’ve heard the argument before that people prefer 1-on-1 because they don’t want to be around other people when they train because they don’t want anyone watching.  I’ll assure if, each member is so darn busy focusing on what he/she should be doing, that you would only be so lucky if they sat and watched you workout while they were supposed to be working out 😉.

The point is that there aren’t strong arguments for 1-on-1 training be better, but they are fair arguments, nonetheless.  Through nearly 9 years in the industry, I’ve seen and done it all.  I’ve researched and learned from the BEST in the world and semi-private training is the superior method.  For the value in the coaching you receive, the results you get, the ownership you take, the community and friends you make, the energy you create, and the price you pay rhyme (OK, I’m down rhyming), it beats 1-on-1 training rather quickly.

Keep in mind, I still offer 1-on-1 training at Unity Fitness.  Again, I know not everyone is suited for the semi-private system.  Like I mentioned, 1-on-1 training is meant to have 100% of a coach’s expertise, service, and time, so you’ll invest through that.  Semi-private offers 100% of a coach’s expertise, service, and a portion of his/her time.  1-on-1 training will take up an entire offered through our semi-private membership, and that’s why the investment is actually higher: because you’re getting 100% of our time.

If you’re a 1-on-1 client and looking to change things up or would maybe like to come experience the difference of semi-private training, I’m going to offer you the same thing as I offered by clients at the old gym: I’ll give you 30 days to test drive it.  We meet every guideline through the COVID-19 protocols, including socially distancing our members and boosting our deep cleaning procedures to make our facility operate safely.

If you want to come experience better, simply click on this link and book your free consult.

Managing Mixed Emotions

As a chronic overthinker, I tend to wonder and worry… a lot. Before the official Stay-at-Home order, I worried about what would happen if we remained open. I worried about what would happen if I contracted COVID-19 and unknowingly passed it along to members, co-workers, friends, and family. I worried about what might happen if I was forced to self-quarantine, work remotely, and rely on other people to take care of me.

Well, the Universe had some plans; we received work-from-home and stay-at-home orders, the gym moved “online,” much like the rest of our lives for the time being. It wasn’t long before new worries started to spring up.

What if I couldn’t stay motivated to work out in my living room? What if I could no longer access my fresh produce and quality protein sources? What if I gained weight and my clothes got a little tighter while at home?  What if all my progress was lost?

I’m certain that I am not the only one who’s had these thoughts. No matter how many times that others reassured me, or I tried to tell myself, that “everything will be okay,” I was still afraid. Afraid of the unknowns, afraid of the “what ifs,” and afraid of the uncontrollable change around me.

As I made the transition to my new stay-at-home life, I began to hear so many messages and feel a whirlwind of emotions, many of them conflicting. This put my already overanalytical mind in even more of a tizzy.

On one hand, I was hearing messages that “self-qauarantine = self-improvement” and if we weren’t coming out of isolation with building a new skill, completing a renovation project, or fitting into the skinny jeans we found while we Marie-Kondo’d our homes, then we didn’t use this time to our advantage. “Better or BUST!”

On the other hand, I was hearing messages that “self-quarantine = self-preservation” and that it was okay to try to just make it through the day. Whatever it takes to get by, whether that’s wearing the same yoga pants three days in a row, ordering more takeout than ever, stocking up on booze, or just plopping kids in front of cartoons, that’s what we should be using this time for. “Just SURVIVE.”

This dichotomy of one extreme and the other left me feeling pulled in different directions.

I like this whole stay-at-home thing, but I feel guilty for enjoying it at the same time. What are my goals? I really don’t care that I never finished that book. What’s a sourdough starter?! I wish *I* had a six-pack. What do I actually DO for fun? There are people dying, and here I am wanting coffee from a coffee-shop instead of my kitchen. Ooooh, pizza specials!

And down the spiral-slide my mind went. The messages, the pictures, the Instagram quotes that I saw directing me this, that, and every which way made certainly weren’t helping me focus on a tangible solution to refocusing my mental and emotional energy so I could feel better being on such a rollercoaster of emotions. I recognize I need to clean up and limit my media intake, but I digress.

So, where’s the middle? To quote a wise old king, Mufasa (may he rest in peace), “Everything you see exists together in a delicate balance.” While Mufasa was talking to Simba about nature and the “way of life,” the same can be said for our health and fitness journeys. This journey is rarely black and white; it’s ups and downs, it’s wins and losses learnings, it’s max-out-effort and rest. It’s balance, it’s progress. At Unity, we’re coached about this perspective from day one and reminded constantly.

 

Both in our wellness journeys and in life, we are constantly being pulled in different directions by so many messages. At the end of each and every day, we have to not only create our own messages to ourselves, but also be okay with that message. We must take responsibility for our choices and for our actions – whether or not those aligned with our goals. Hopefully we make more choices that are aligned with our goals, as that consistency is what leads us to success. But, if we don’t, we should focus on what learned about ourselves in that decision, instead of beating ourselves up over it.

Have I enjoyed ice cream and wine lately? Probably more in the past three months than I had in the previous six prior to quarantine. Have I tried new nutrient-rich recipes? Some, but not as many as I’d like. Am I still keeping up with my workouts? Absolutely, and I’ve added more activities to my day as well. Do I still prepare a weekly menu and batch cook? You bet. There are some days that are harder than others to feel like I’m keeping up with my goals, and there are other days in which I’m crushing it. No matter what kind of day it is, what kind of messages I hear and tell myself, or what kind of choices I am making, it’s really up to me to strike the balance needed to both thrive and survive.

I have done new things before. I have done hard things before. I have been successful managing change that I could not control before, and I am able to control me. All of my previous experiences, while not related at all to a coronavirus outbreak, helped me develop the skills and abilities I need to do and feel my best, generate positivity, and foresight and confidence to know that “everything will be okay,” not only in my workouts and nutrition, but in life.

Written by Coach Kasie CPT, Pn1, and Lifestyle Transformation Coach

Unity Fitness’ Five Principles of Fat Loss

Hola!

This has been a big week for us as we re-open Unity’s doors for the first time in over 10 weeks due to COVID-19!  So, it’s especially exciting for us!

If you’re in the La Crosse area and looking for expert guidance in all things exercise, nutrition, mindset, and recovery – please send a message to unityfitnesslacrosse@gmail.com and let’s get chatting about getting you set up with a custom program!

Now on to the actual subject of this post: Unity’s Five Principles for Fat Loss.

This is going out because of the “Quarantine 15”, or the “COVID 19”, people are putting on – as in they’ve gained +15 lbs over the course of the quarantine (similar to the “freshman 15” a lot of freshman go through when they start college).

Stay with me here as I go over each principle in detail to help you understand them better, and also be reminded of this quote that I think I heard from my personal coach and fat loss strength coach guru, Alwyn Cosgrove, since the first day I met him:

Methods are many, principles are few.  Methods can change, principles never do.

​At Unity, we don’t mess around with fads or the latest “methods” when coaching people.  There are thousands of them out there, from diets to supplements to special instructions on how to live your life.  Honestly, 99% of them are BS, but there’s a reason why they sell since the “Diet Industry” in the U.S of A alone is estimated at $72 billion last year (and that’s with a drop in overall dieter numbers, most likely because of the positive body and size acceptance movement).

And being the research nerds we are, here’s what WE KNOW works for fat loss aka the PRINCIPLES OF FAT LOSS:

1) Create a caloric deficit.

​The calories (energy) you are consuming have to be LESS than what you’re burning off for energy that day.  A deficit of 300-500 calories is what you need to succeed over time, not 1,000 calories below.  Your body doesn’t function off of that and will actually store fat.  But you NEED to be in a deficit!  It doesn’t matter which type of plan (“diet”) you choose, whether it’s low-carb, high-carb, plant-based, animal-sourced, etc – as long as you’re in a deficit, you can lose fat.  Remember, the BEST diet is the one you can reasonably and consistently do right now.  Also, what you eat MATTERS!  Speaking of which…

2) Eat more whole, minimally-processed foods.

You consuming 6 Oreos is equivalent to you eating 2 apples with 1 tbsp of nut butter.  You consuming a large soda is equivalent to 4 apples.   Those calories are MOST DEFINITELY not created (and absorbed) equally, which results in different metabolic effects in your body.  You’ll absorb more nutrients from real food, stay full longer (while also decreasing cravings), and have better functionality.  Your body will thank you for this in many ways!

3) Maintain a positive nitrogen balance.

A positive nitrogen balance means we preserve (and possibly build) our lean muscle tissue and burn fat.  If we’re in a negative nitrogen balance, we can burn muscle as fuel (while continuing to store fat) which is BAD NEWS.  When we decrease calories for our deficit, we want protein to be our constant.  In other words, we don’t want our calories cut from protein, and often times a majority of people will actually get better results from INCREASING their protein.  We recommend to at least get 1g of protein per 1 lb of body weight, with the minimal amount being 1g = 1 lb of their lean mass.  So, if someone weighs 150 lbs and wants to focus on fat loss, we’ll recommend 150g of protein consumed each day.  This is where shakes come into play because hitting that high of protein can be HARD for most people.

4) Create “metabolic disturbances” for better “anabolic signaling” (notice how this is the FIRST exercise one on here – the first 3 are on nutrition).

You have to be doing an activity that signals to the body to maintain your muscle mass.  Creating metabolic disturbances come from specific types of training that involve strength training with specific superset designs of upper and lower body movements, they come from interval training, from progressive overload, and from metabolic resistance training.  Those are all things we do at Unity, so members of ours don’t have to worry one bit about it.  Traditional cardio doesn’t offer this benefit after about 2 weeks.  Neither do several other activities.  They can certainly help burn some fat as fuel, but over time they add up to as much unless you continue with adaptation through the S.A.I.D. principle (Specific Adaptation to Imposed Demands), which again is taken care of in our programming – so make sure you are doing it too!  The same thing can work, until it doesn’t!

5) Sleep more efficiently.

This is when most of your fat loss will happen, because sleep happens to be a very metabolic activity! Sleep offers us an opportunity to hit the “reset” button every day.  We like to think it’s a mini “update” you can do for your software each day.  People often count the hours of sleep that they are lying down in bed, but there’s more efficient ways to track sleep through R.E.M., S.W.S. (deep sleep), HRV (heart-rate variability), RHR (resting heart-rate), and much more.  More hours of sleep usually help with these variables and help with efficiency, but with the research being done on sleep, we know these variables matter!  Sleep also helps our body RECOVERY and DE-STRESS.  We don’t get better from training, we get better by RECOVERING from training.  Make sure you’re giving your body every opportunity it can to get better sleep.  7-9 hours/night is recommended, and stay consistent on when you go to bed and when you wake up!

Aaaaaand there you have it!  Unity’s Five Principles of Fat Loss.

Take a quick moment to notice how there are ZERO supplements mentioned within these principles as well.  The best part, this principles are all things YOU CAN CONTROL.

There’s obviously strategies we can implement for each principle, but I would start with the principle that you find easiest for you to focus on right now, and then break that down into tasks/habits to help you achieve success.

Let me know if you need any help on this!

Improving the way fitness is done,

Jordan, Founder of Unity Fitness

Written by Coach Jordan Rudolph,  CFSC, Pn2, TPI F2, SFG1, and Lead Lifestyle Transformation Coach

Navigating Our Return to the Gym: Turn a Dial, Don’t Flip a Switch.

Gosh, I cannot wait to get back in the gym with a barbell on my back.

I’ve had the thought many times and day-dreamed about that first workout back with barbells and plates and all the heavy kettlebells I can hope to lift.

However, I’ve also had to check my thinking and stop it in its tracks. Though I wish I could lift every weight in the gym, pick up my new phase as if I were never gone, and squat heavy weight immediately, the coach in me knows that’s not smart.

I think there’s a misconception that we can pick up right where we left off, as if we didn’t take time away from the gym. Flip the switch. Get back in the gym. Lift the exact weight that is written in our progressions on our program. But that line of thinking is short-sighted.

It’s not that the home workouts were ineffective. It’s not that we lost all of our gains and progress. Seriously, even if you took time almost entirely off, you didn’t lose as much as you probably think. But we were exposed to a different stimulus for an extended period of time. We advanced and progressed in a different way. Not better, nor worse, but different.

When we step back in the gym, it will feel as if we’ve lost progress. Weights that we could move with ease pre-shut down will feel heavy, especially if we haven’t had access to them. And that’s totally okay. It’s the natural progression of exposure to different training.

Have you ever done a goblet squat with a kettlebell, and then you use a front-loaded Ultimate Sandbag in your next phase? Chances are, it felt different. Moving from our at-home training programs to those in the gym is similar. We’re progressing into a new phase of training.

In this phase, we have to approach it with a beginner-like mindset. The gym, and the equipment within it, is a “new-to-you” stimulus. The problem is, though, we don’t feel like beginners in this situation. Instead of someone who is just joining the gym, we’re coming back to things we’ve done before. This small discrepancy is where the difficulty lies.

We’ve done it before; we can do it again. That’s how it works, right? Not exactly. We’re going to feel sore from a “small” amount of work done simply because the stimulus is different than what we’ve been doing at home. And, while soreness isn’t fun, it’s not the biggest problem we have to worry about.

Our biggest problem is injury.

You don’t get better from training. You get better from recovering from training.

When we flip the switch, turn it back to 100% of where we were pre-Safer at Home, it’s highly unlikely that we will be able to adequately recover from that training. The workload, intensity, and volume will likely be massive in comparison to our current at-home training. This is the perfect recipe for injury. Sure, it might not happen in that first session or perhaps not even in the first week.

But we don’t train to see where we are in a week; we train to see what we’re able to do for years.

Getting back into the gym, we have to play the long game and think for the future. Cutting down workload will seem awful. We have access to this equipment, why not do as much as possible with it? Simply put, we have to prioritize our future selves over our immediate desires. We have to check our ego at the door. Spending time easing back into your gym program and acclimating your body to the new stimulus, allows you to build up to a manageable training for you.

What might this “turning the dial” approach look like in practice? There are a few factors we have to consider:

What are you doing right now, at home? What weights have you had access to? How many days have you been training?

This is a big consideration when you’re planning your return to the gym. If you’ve been doing bodyweight only training, 2-3 times per week, you absolutely cannot hop back into 4-5 days, full equipment training on the first week. Heck, perhaps not even in the first month! You will have to gradually add days, as well as weight, to your training programs. If you’re in that situation, perhaps start with lighter weight, fewer sets, and only 2-3 days for at least the first week or two. Then, gradually build up over the course of 4-5 weeks. Tentatively plan, for a full volume training session at the very least one month after the return to the gym. Of course, this can vary wildly, and I highly recommend working with a coach to navigate this transition seamlessly.

How is your recovery? Are you incorporating regeneration days? How is your nutrition now and what changes, if any, do you have to make to support greater workloads in the gym?

During this initial transition, it’s important that we monitor recovery closely. Like I said earlier, it’s the recovery that makes us better, not the training. As you increase your training, make sure that you increase sleep, hydration, quality nutrition, regeneration sessions, etc. These are all vital to ensuring a seamless turn of that dial. When you turn the dial up on the training, all of these dials must get turned up as well.

What is your long-term goal? What are your short-term goals?

Having a goal during this time is important. It gives direction and a greater purpose to your training and allows your coach to help you get there in a way that is gradual. Instead of planning to use every single piece of equipment that you haven’t had access to for a couple months”, I hope you can see how taking it a bit easier now can benefit you in the long-term. It won’t feel like a waste of time when a lighter few weeks will allows you to truly ramp up your training when it really counts, or avoid injury that will hold you back from doing things outside of the gym – golfing, running, walking, gardening, hiking, racing, participating in events, etc.

At the end of the day, we have to stop comparing our pre-COVID-19 gym experience to that of the return to the gym, at least for the first couple of weeks. It’s likely going to look very different as we regain a sense of normalcy. Once again, we must strive to embrace the new normal. This time it’s post-Safer at Home orders. One thing can make this easier: preparation and managing our expectations.

I encourage everyone to start thinking about this now. Take time to think about what you want your return to the gym to realistically look like. Spoiler: it should not be an all-out, max effort workout on the first day in the doors. Think about your goals. Identify what you want long-term and how approaching the gym slowly will support that goal. Identify how you will turn the dial and leave “flipping the switch” to TikTok.

Written by Emily O’Connor, NSCA-CPT, Pn1, SFG1, XPS, and Lead Lifestyle Transformation Coach

Snacking at Night?

So, you stuck to a perfect meal plan all day. You feel wonderful, body feels great, and you are proud of yourself for keeping your choices on track all day. However, all of a sudden you begin to get cravings right before bedtime…

“Just one” cookie or chip has all of a sudden turned into 500+ calories that your body doesn’t need to go to sleep with. I think we have all been in this situation from time to time.

I know how frustrating the aftermath can be when you realize what you have done to your perfect day. It’s easy to push it aside and blame it on your self-control, but there may be underlying issues causing this.

This could be caused by a variety of different things. Here’s a few common ones:

  • Deficiencies in key minerals
  • Lacking proper sleep
  • Dehydrated
  • Hormonal imbalance
  • Sensory stimulation / availability
  • Stress
  • Or very commonly, you have just always had a snack before going to bed and it has turned into a

Cravings can be tempting at night. Maybe you feel like you deserve it. I mean, it’s usually the first time you get to relax after a long day, and tiredness or emotion make it harder to say no to temptations.

Don’t get me wrong, it isn’t BAD to have snack before bed. However, it easily can be detrimental to your health and fitness goals if they aren’t thought out, healthy, and nutritional options.

When choosing your bed time snack, opt for whole foods that are nutrient dense and contain protein so that your body can use that to build and/or preserve muscle mass during sleep. Sleep is when our bodies are recovering broken down muscles and recovering from a hard workout or long day at work. This is why it’s so important to give yourself healthy options for your body to work with while sleeping.

If you often find yourself struggling with bad choices at night, try these:

  • Push your dinner time back even just 30 min to 1 hour to see if that helps.
  • Plan your healthy evening snacks early in the week so that there are no surprises when it comes time and you are in more control.
  • Throw away tempting unhealthy options so that they aren’t even an option.
  • Set a specific time that you will brush your teeth at night so there will be no more eating
  • Drink a large glass of water. Sometimes our bodies mistake thirst for hunger.
  • Buddy up – find someone to keep you accountable! Maybe it’s your living partner, co-worker, or family/friend. No matter who it is, let them know what you need from them. We are much more likely to reach our goals and stay disciplined in our actions when we have support from others to keep us on track.

Bed time snacks can either set you up for success or failure. Keep in mind what will keep you on track and pushing towards the goals you are striving for!

Not one of us is perfect, but we’re all in this together and here to keep each other accountable towards a healthier lifestyle!

Written by Coach Ali – Lifestyle Transformation Coach, Usaw1