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7 Tips On How To Manage A Successful Class

ELEVATE Circuit Class

How to manage a successful class for you and your participants – Part II

To read Part I of this blog on how manage a successful class – click here:

We as group fitness instructors have an amazing job! We get to inspire, coach, teach, motivate, listen, and help people achieve their goals.  We are movers, creators and instructors who love to share our knowledge to help others.  That’s quite special!

Fitness has developed into a class driven market.  It’s motivating, more economical and time efficient for the student and the instructor.   I feel it’s important to share experiences and learn from each other on ways we can always make it better.  Here are a few teaching tips that may help you prosper.

Be open to knowledge: Knowledge is everywhere if you are open to receiving it.  We learn from our students, our peers, and our own experiences.

Never stop learning: Learning is part of life.  It’s what teaches us to find and share our passion.  Seek knowledge so you can share your interests to help others.

Know your abilities: If you stick to what you know best, you will feel more secure in your abilities to perform at your best and have a stronger confidence that shows.

Teach your passion: Simply put, teach what you are passionate about!  There are so many group fitness instructors that teach classes that they really do not like teaching or it’s just not their favorite class style.  For example, I used to teach spinning years ago.  I would teach 5 classes a day, sometimes along with other classes and train clients.  That’s just too much – period.  I would sub classes or teach back-to-back because it made sense at the time, but looking back, not so much.  I taught so many spin classes I literally got ‘spun out’.  Today, I love subbing a class, but I do not want to ever teach it on a regular bases.  Therefore, share what moves you and you enjoy teaching.  It will be a much more pleasant experience for all involved.

Make no judgments: “When you judge another, you do not define them, you define yourself”- Wayne Dyer.   Judging others can foster feelings of negativity or create an incorrect perception towards someone else.  If we compare ourselves to others, we lose site of what’s truly important in our own lives.  Therefore, take time to reflect on what brings peace within your soul and be grateful for what you possess, so you can help others.

Appreciate your skills: Honor and appreciate the skills you possess and it will show in what you teach.  Your student’s will show their admiration for you by their efforts and energy.

Make the most of your capabilities:  Teach your students something special each class.  Educate them while they experience mastering their own skills.

You Are Amazing

It’s a never-ending journey to provide the best exercises, creativity of classes, motivation, music and energy from within you, to make the best experience for all to want more of you!

Incorporating your unique ‘fitness flair’ is created by the special playlists you use, your workout style and the knowledge you share.  The total instructing package occurs as you mold into an experienced instructor.   There are always aspects to improve and situations to learn from to make us better than we were yesterday.

Do what you do best – be yourself and teach your heart out!

Maria Sollon Scally MS, CSCS holds a Masters Degree in Performance Enhancement/ Injury Prevention and Kinesiology. She has obtained numerous certifications in various areas of fitness and is a national conference presenter. Maria specializes in Pilates, Performance Coaching, and Corrective Exercise Techniques and Kettlebells. She is the creator of the Plyo Pilates Method and has developed a series of amazing workout DVDs. She is a Master Trainer for Total Gym, Resist-a-Ball, Body Blade, Peak Pilates, Kettle Bell Concepts and is a free lance writer for Fitness accredited magazines, news letters, and fitness blog sites. Maria demonstrates her knowledge each day and uses her dynamic creativity throughout her specialized line of work. (purchasable workout videos) (workout clips)


4 Top Tips To Be A Successful Personal Trainer

Successful Personal Trainer with Total Gym

Become A More Successful Personal Trainer or Group Instructor And Make More Money

When I was first asked to write about this subject, one near and dear to my own bank account, my head started to split in multiple directions.  How to be a successful personal trainer?  Do I write to the fitness fanatic wanting to make that career change leap?  Or the trainer that did that a year ago and is now finding it hard to make ends meet?  Or the seasoned professional trying to grow their net cash flow while already maxed out time wise?

Hmm… I’m going to try and address all of you.  Sometimes, even simple ideas can get overlooked by the already-too-busy trainers.  And the new and slightly less newbies, some things for you to think about.

Get Certified

Lots of fitness professionals tend to skip this one for a few reasons.  Of course, it’s confusing as there are SO many places offering ‘certification’ now, from online to courses at local colleges.  They are not cheap and you will need to keep paying … for CEC’s, renewals etc.

Go with a nationally accredited organization.  American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM), (American Council on Exercise (ACE), National Academy of Sports Medicine (NASM) and Next College Student Athlete (NCSA) are strong choices.  Even, if you’ve been training uncertified for years, to quote NIKE ‘just do it.’

And newbies? Spend some time, like a year or so working at local gyms, spas and YMCAs.  You will learn a lot.  Be helpful to your managers, take advantage of the benefits (classes especially) and learn.  Lots of times you will find your career path here.  Promotions usually come from within the organization.

Be an Expert Networker

If you did the step above and got certified, then you will get a lot of benefits to expanding your circle. To be a successful personal trainer, you need to take full advantage of everything your certification has to offer. Get to know all the club owners and trainers in your area that you can.  Don’t be an island, be the bench mark of your community.

Bone Up on your Social Media

Okay, I hate social media truth be told, but I must ‘pretend’ to like it.  Especially Facebook.  Make sure you keep your personal page clean (save the politicking for private pages only), limit the selfies to ideally those of you with clients having fun (ask for their permission) and don’t just post about you … or you trying to sell something.

Post things your clients actually want to read about 2/3rds of the time.  Also, post community classes you are offering.  That’s code for free.  Be sure to engage your clients in your page and get them to engage with other Facebook friends.  Yeah Deb, easier said than done.  Which leads me to my next tip.

Have a Business Plan

The biggest mistake is to think you don’t need one!

Know your market, know your competition. And no, trying to just knock off your competitor’s ideas (apart from bad karma) will usually not work.  Find your niche market.  I re-visit my business plan quarterly to see where I’m at and to tweak it.  Have a budget, have attainable goals, monthly, quarterly and yearly.

Be patient if you’re off, it’s a learning process and we are in an ever-changing industry.  But if you put these 4 top tips into practice and adhere to them, your success as a personal trainer will come.  Best of luck!

About the Author

Debbie Beck - Fitness Coach and Personal Trainer.Deborah Beck is a six-time Ironman athlete, coach and personal trainer. For over 25 years she has combined her love of sports and fitness with her passion for travel and adventure. Her early work as a Fitness Director moved her throughout Asia, the Middle East and the UK. She holds multiple certifications and is currently working towards her 500 hour Yoga Medicine. Her training philosophy incorporates Pilates, yoga, Gyrotonic and strength to produce a balanced, unique approach to high endurance training. She is currently launching a global training and lifestyle company and online community. When not traveling, she splits her time between Quogue NY and Telluride Colorado.


Trainer Harley Pasternak Uses ELEVATE Pull-Up



The ELEVATE Pull-Up, designed on an adjustable incline, helps users perform the exercise.

With seven incline levels to select from, the ELEVATE Pull-Up rivals most lat machines. It allows users to lift anywhere from 35 percent to 65 percent of their own bodyweight.  Lifting only a portion of one’s own bodyweight helps a user perform an exercise they could not have previously performed. The adjustability of the unit strengthens the muscles gradually, allowing the user to progress and eventually perform the exercise without assistance.

The incline design of the ELEVATE Pull-Up also allows for plyometric or one-arm pull-ups and engages all the muscles of the upper body to efficiently and effectively enhance muscle definition and improve overall strength.

Harley Pasternak

Harley Pasternak

Toronto born, celebrity trainer and nutritionist Harley Pasternak, has been training his Hollywood clients with the ELEVATE Pull-Up, for some time now.  In an online article by, Harley breaks down the assisted pull-up, while working with actress Jordana Brewster.  Click here to read the article.

Pasternak is a bestselling author whose books have attained worldwide recognition and have been translated into 14 languages in over 25 countries around the globe.  His clients have included Lady Gaga, Rihanna, Halle Berry, Katy Perry, Megan Fox and Robert Downey Jr., to name but a few.   Harley has appeared on numerous TV shows such as,  The Oprah Winfrey Show, Dr. Oz, Access Hollywood and Extra.  He’s also been featured in The Washington Post, Shape, Men’s Health,  Elle,  Seventeen and Marie Claire.

Harley Pasternak holds a Master of Science in Exercise Physiology and Nutritional Sciences from the University of Toronto.   He has an Honors Degree in Kinesiology from University of Western Ontario. He is also certified by The American College of Sports Medicine and The Canadian Society of Exercise Physiology, and served as an exercise and nutrition scientist for Canada’s Department of National Defense.

With all that in mind, we’re thrilled, here at Total Gym, that Harley is training his celebrity clients with the ELEVATE Circuit and that they love his training.

For more information on the ELEVATE Pull-Up or ELEVATE Circuit, call 858 764 0034 or visit


CHEK Institute Brings ELEVATE Row ADJ Into The Mix

Paul Chek has Ben Greenfield demo the new ELEVATE Row ADJ

Paul Chek

Paul Chek

For over three decades, the C.H.E.K Institute in San Diego has been offering fitness and healthcare professionals an integrated approach to holistic well-being.  The C.H.E.K Institute’s founder, Paul Chek, is a Holistic Health Practitioner, Neuromuscular and Sports Message Therapist.  He views the body as a whole, to consider physical, hormonal, mental, emotional and spiritual components all together, within a system of systems.

Chek, a huge fan of Total Gym products has collaborated with Total Gym over the years.  DVD, How to Look and Feel the Way You Want is a total-body transformation from inside to out that features Total Gym workouts.   High Performance Training with Paul Chek helps a trainer determine their client’s level of readiness to exercise, relative to their goals, as well as balance work/rest ration for optimal recovery and performance gains.

In a recent blog written by Paul Chek, he talks about his interview with Ben Greenfield, coach, biohacker, best-selling author, blogger, Iron Man competitor, you-name-it-he’s-done it-kind-of-guy – voted in 2015 as one of the world’s top most influential people in health and fitness.

In the blog, Paul takes Ben on a tour of some key C.H.E.K Institute training programs which includes a demo on the new Total Gym ELEVATE Row ADJ, now with seven levels of resistance for a more challenging workout.

The ELEVATE Row ADJ (Adjustable) is the only rowing machine that works on an incline and has recently been professionally evaluated to improve muscular fitness as well as satisfying both cardiovascular aerobic and strength training requirements simultaneously.

To learn more about the ELEVATE Row ADJ and how it works watch the video below.


Total Gym CEO, Jesse Campanaro shows how tough an ELEVATE Row ADJ workout is.

To read Paul Chek’s blog with Ben and learn about Ben’s reaction to the ELEVATE Row ADJ, click here.

For more information on the ELEVATE Row ADJ, call 858 764 0034.




Which Heart Rate Monitor is Best For Your Clients?

Are You Missing The Opportunity to Improve Your Clients’ Results?

As trainers, how apt are you to use heart rate monitors with your clients?  It’s a tool that takes a lot of guess work out of how well they are responding to your training program.  At two gyms I work out of, I don’t see many trainers using them and they may be missing an opportunity to improve their clients’ results and consequently return as repeat customers.

Heart rate monitors provide objective information regarding cardiac physiology.  They allow trainers to monitor intensity and work to rest ratios. And provide feedback to ensure training targeting specific adaptations are properly administered.

Trainers have the advantage of understanding the importance of determining three types of heart rates for clients to safely get the max results from their workouts. Understanding a client’s maximal, target and recovery heart rates and how to measure and track them using heart rate monitors, allows us to provide superior results.  When we’re working with someone whose physical condition is compromised and should be tracked, i.e. hypertension and heart conditions, this is especially important.

Industry Background

The use of heart rate monitoring devices for exercise and other aspects of life has increased sharply over the past 10 years and will continue to grow.  TechNavio, a tech market research company indicates that the market will grow another 13% over the next three years to almost $3 billion. The growing sophistication of these devices to monitor life activities like floors climbed, steps taken, calories burned and active minutes, and an increased desire by individuals to take control of their health and reduce illness, are prime reasons for growth. Also many of these devices now connect with third party apps like local gyms and MyFitnessPal, making them valuable tools for maintaining a healthy lifestyle.

Chest straps and optical heart rate wrist bands are the two most common types of heart rate monitors available, and they both use similar methods to measure a pulse.  During 2015, the global heart rate monitoring device market was led by the chest strap segment which accounted for more than 51% of the market because they provide more accurate results compared with wristbands.

Along with or because of market growth spurred by individuals wanting to take more control over their exercise performance, the fitness industry is experiencing growth in exercise outlets like Orange Theory, that focus on monitoring heart rates using these devices. Per Fitness Professional Online, these heart rate monitoring outlets allow the trainer and clients to access individual and group heart rate data in real time during a workout and afterwards via access to the data which is recorded and stored on the web.

MyZone MZ3Cost Effective?

Is it cost effective for gyms to invest in a system that can track every client’s heart rate when they step into your facility?  I spoke with Melanie Wilson at FitMetrix, a company that services the gym market. FitMetrix helps gyms utilize data for member retention bringing technology based best practices from outside of the fitness industry.  The startup cost to employ a heart rate monitoring system entails a onetime purchase of a receiver and then a monthly $149.00 maintenance fee.  A receiver that can service a 2000 square feet area costs around $600.00. What’s nice about these systems is that they can be paired with a client’s own heart rate monitor from industry leaders including Fitbit, Polar and Garmin. If you’re looking to outfit your gym to service multiple clients, investigate Myzone, MyPerformance, Polar Club and Heart Zones.

What Are The Advantages Of Using Heart Rate Monitors On Your Clients?

> The trainer can monitor intensity and work to rest ratios, and provide feedback to ensure training targeting specific adaptations are properly administered.

> Monitors provide data or information that could indicate a problem such as atrial fibrillation or heart rates exceeding max heart rate.

> If connected to an app like, the trainer can track client’s workout data outside of gym times which can provide more customized training programs.

> They give personal trainers the ability to teach and educate the client about the rate of perceived exertion (RPE) and understand how hard or easy they are working guide the intensity of sessions.

Trainers should heed the call to incorporate heart rate monitors and other technology into their training tool box.  The fitness industry is growing, but so is its sophistication. The trainer who embraces how technology can improve results is the trainer who will survive.

Top Heart Rate Monitors

Below are current, top, chest strap monitors per Gadgets and Note that they all track heart rate and calorie burn and have built in memory for use without a smart phone.  They all are compatible with proprietary and third party fitness apps through Bluetooth and ANT+ dual ban technology.  Polar H10 boasts that it can monitor heart rates in water.


Wahoo Tickr

Polar H10

MyZone MZ3

Garmin HRM Tri

To receive a discounted price on MyZone MZ3 Click here

About the Author

Benita PerkinsBenita Perkins is a widely acclaimed health and wellness branding expert focusing on the fitness needs of women and the special demands they must overcome to step into a lifetime of healthy living through fun, interactive lifestyle events. Her company, Bennie Girl Health & Wellness Branding & Events, works with businesses and organizations to associate their brands and products with a healthy lifestyle, by identifying opportune events to participate in and activities that will best define and communicate the organization’s mission.


Personal Trainers: 7 Ways To Make More Money

7 Top Tips To Help You Boost Your Business As A Coach Or Personal Trainer

So, you’ve been doing this for a while and you feel like you’re working all the time and still barely covering the bills.  And your much-loved work outs, once healthy diet and 8 hour-a-night sleeps are a thing of the past.  Yikes, I get it!  This problem is common with almost all successful trainers, so kudos to you.  YOU MADE IT!  But seriously let’s address some ideas that will help you achieve better balance and more cash.  Here are some ideas to help:

Better Time Management

Some of us just aren’t that great at it.  We say “yes” too much, we run late, we start late.   We allow others to do that to us. We don’t think about commute time and traffic.  If you say ‘that’s not me’, then keep a diary for at least a week or two, and see if any of the above is happening. Once you are aware, then maybe you can improve.

Financially Dense Schedules

Meaning, find a way to max out the income at your peak times.  Also, think about training in one place and have the clients come to you. Even if you charge more, traveling to a client at peak time usually won’t add up, to banging out a session on the hour.  Investigate renting space, converting a room in your home, or contacting a complimenting business about partnering up in a rental.  If you need help with a business plan, many commercial fitness brands like GRAVITY and other organizations can help you.  Check out  Even better join them, support your industry.

Semi Privates

Consider moving towards semi privates, which bring in more money per hour for you and prevent you from turning clients away, especially for prime time spots.

Partner Up

If your prime time spots are now sold out, never turn away business. Find a like-minded trainer that you can shift a few clients to.  See how you work together and get feedback from your clients. Try subbing some clients out with the new person and see how it goes.  Maybe, when you’re taking a much needed vacation, set up the new trainer to succeed.  Newer trainers are very happy to get a good client.  Fill in the time with group training or a specialty class that commands more money, like Pilates or GRAVITY.  Your old clients can join in.

Big Picture

Think about the big picture for your clients. I’m liking the idea of doing 1-6 month programs with my clients. They get a lot more bang for their buck, and I get a lot more bucks for my time.  It can be working with a group to prepare for an event: first time or athletes’ or a general health and fitness.  Most of the research shows that people get better results as a group, and when they make a measurable commitment. This also allows you to combine online sessions with live sessions and create a community within your business … which is highly valuable … with bigger brand building.

Specialty Training

Specialty training, as previously mentioned, is a great way to increase income and add uniqueness to your brand. Companies like Total Gym design the program for you and promote YOU with their brand.  Once again, this requires an initial business plan and financial investment but it will pay off pretty quickly.

Get An Accountant

Get an accountant that understands your business. They are extremely unique, they understand the tax codes and think about what you can and can’t write off for both major expenditures and the small stuff.  Don’t just wing it, I have friends who got audited and it was a horrible mess, not ending in their favor.

We are so lucky to be able to do what we love, preparation and good fiscal habits are a part of any business, including ours.  It’s the good nutrition component to a training plan.  I’ve only touched on a few points that for me have been key.   Please feel free to add your own personal experiences, what works and doesn’t work and lessons you’ve learned for both good and not so much …

About The Author

Debbie Beck - Fitness Coach and Personal Trainer.Deborah Beck is a six time Ironman athlete, coach and personal trainer. For over 25 years she has combined her love of sports and fitness with her passion for travel and adventure. Her early work as a Fitness Director moved her throughout Asia, the Middle East and the UK. She holds multiple certifications and is currently working towards her 500 hour Yoga Medicine. Her training philosophy incorporates Pilates, yoga, Gyrotonic and strength to produce a balanced, unique approach to high endurance training. This fall she is launching a global training and lifestyle company and online community. When not traveling, she splits her time between Quogue NY and Telluride Colorado.


6 Exercises For Stand-up Paddle Boarders

Core Exercises on Total Gym GTS

How To Train Your Stand-up Paddle Boarding Enthusiasts With Total Gym Exercises

From oceans to rivers, lakes and ponds, Stand-up Paddle Boarding (SUP) is a fast-growing recreational pastime. SUP requires a unique combination of core strength, dynamic balance and cardio-respiratory efficiency, making it a fun and challenging way to get a great workout. As this activity has exploded in popularity, I’ve noticed more and more health club members and clients expressing an interest in improving their strength and fitness levels, so they can enjoy their time ‘walking on the water.’

Whether it be running, rock climbing or SUP, whenever I work with a client who is into a particular recreational activity, I always ask this question: “Do you do your favorite activity to get in shape, or do you want to get in shape to maximize enjoyment from that favorite activity?”  It’s always interesting to see how people respond. Most will say they do a particular activity because they feel it’s a great form of exercise. My response is to point out that adding some activity-specific conditioning to their workout routine, can help improve their overall fitness. They will have more strength and stamina to enjoy their favorite pastime. Nowhere is this more important than for Stand-up Paddle Boarding.

The body of water where an individual will be doing most of his or her SUP should also play a factor in the conditioning program.  An ocean will require more focus on dynamic balance to accommodate the constantly changing surface. A lake or pond may require more core and rotational strength to provide the propulsive force to keep moving. To help one of my clients improve his fitness for SUP in Mission Bay (located in San Diego) I created the following workout for him.

Squats and Unilateral Squats

Place feet toward the top of the squat stand positioned shoulder-width apart.  Lie back slowly making sure the head is on the glideboard.  Begin to squat slowly.  Repeat 20 times.  Then lift one leg and with the other, slowly squat.  Going slowly keeps the muscles under resistance for longer and so builds strength and muscle definition faster.  Repeat 12 single leg squats on each leg or 30-45 secs.

Unilateral Chest Press

This position provides training and conditioning of the anterior shoulders, chest and arms.  Trunk stabilization is integrated into the exercise, as the upper body is upright and unsupported.  One arm presses help improve core strength by integrating all of the muscles that control thoracic rotation; helpful for the rotational forces generated while paddling. Do the same number of reps or amount of time on each side. 12-15 reps each arm or 30-45 secs.

Kneeling 2-Hand Press

Combine hip and core strength; squeeze thighs and gluts, press hips forward and keep spine tall while doing this exercise. Do the same number of reps or amount of time on each side. 12-15 reps on each side or 30-45 secs.

Kneeling Shoulder Extension

With an upright posture, press the handles back and down past the hips, in an arc motion.  Maintain a stable trunk as the hands return with control, back to the starting position.  This exercise will enhance strength of the upper back and arm muscles (triceps) used for paddling. Keep your spine long and hinge from the hips while pressing arms straight back. 12-15 reps or 30-45 secs.

Kneeling Bicep Curl

Strong arms and grip are a requirement for successfully moving the paddle through the water; doing curls on your Total Gym not only blasts your biceps but also involves many of the muscles responsible for core stability. 12-15 reps or 30-45 secs.

For a good pump – keep one elbow in a flexed (bent) position while doing a rep with the other arm, alternate arms.

Kneeling Torso Rotation

SUP is done in a standing position, therefore strength exercises for the core should be done in a similar position. Keep your hips pressed forward, gluts squeezed and focus on rotating from the shoulders. Do the same number of reps or amount of time on each side. 12-15 reps on each side or 30-45 secs.

Doing timed sets and trying to complete as many reps as possible during the time can be an effective way to increase the cardio-respiratory benefit of the workout.  Make sure to do the same amount of time on each arm or in each direction.

This workout can either be organized horizontally: completing all sets of an exercise before moving to the next.   Or it can be performed vertically: moving from one exercise to the next with little-to-no rest (circuit training). Start with 2 sets of each exercise and progress to 5 sets. If doing horizontal sets, rest 30-45 seconds after each exercise; rest for 90-120 sec. after a complete circuit.

What I love about the way you exercise with Total Gym, is it allows several different options for both foundational exercises and creative movements and more advanced exercises, if needed.    I follow the KISS method (Keep It Simply Silly) and use exercises that focus on the foundational patterns of movement. This way, clients have the highest probability of actually doing the workout I design for them. That’s how this program is designed, to make it more challenging when using timed sets. I challenge clients to complete as many reps as possible in the time frame and then encourage them to meet or beat that number on the next set.

About the Author

Pete McCall is an educator, performance coach, personal trainer, author, consultant and host of the All About Fitness podcast. Based in San Diego, CA, Pete holds a master’s degree in exercise science and health promotion, completed a Fellowship in Applied Functional Science with the Gray Institute, is a Certified Personal Trainer and a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist. Currently Pete is an adjunct faculty in exercise science at Mesa College, a master trainer for Core Health and Fitness, a blogger and content contributor for the American Council on Exercise (ACE) and online instructor for the National Academy of Sports Medicine (NASM).

Consulting with organizations like the World Bank, Reebok, 24-Hour Fitness, Core Health & Fitness, the Institute of Motion and Fit Pro, Pete has experience identifying needs and delivering solutions. Frequently quoted as a fitness expert in publications such as The New York Times, Washington Post, U-T San Diego, SELF, Glamour, and Shape Magazine and featured as a fitness expert for TV news outlets including WRC-NBC (DC), Fox News, Fox 5 San Diego, and NBC7 San Diego, Pete is a sought-after media resource for accurate, in-depth insight on how to get results from exercise.

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