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Jan
16

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.

http://www.groovysweat.com

http://www.groovysweatstore.com (purchasable workout videos)

http://www.youtube.com/groovysweat (workout clips)

Nov
16

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.

ELEVATE Row ADJ

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.

 

 

Oct
4

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 MyFitnessPal.com, 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 Wearables.com. 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.

Sep
19

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 ideafit.com  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.

Aug
8

7 Ways Members Benefit From Circuit Training

ELEVATE Circuit

ELEVATE Circuit Training – Get Results That Retain Members

Weight loss is one of the primary reasons why most consumers look to join a health club and start an exercise program. Yes, traditional aerobic conditioning like running on a treadmill, sweating buckets in an indoor cycling class, or the popular high intensity strength training workouts, can help burn calories for weight loss, but the simple fact is, that many people don’t enjoy them.  They can be intimidated by the loud music and fast-pace of indoor cycling or could get injured by doing exercises too challenging for their skill level.

If you’re looking for ways to boost member engagement and retention, here’s a little secret.  It doesn’t matter how good the exercise is for helping an individual reach his or her fitness goals, if a member or client doesn’t enjoy it, then they’re not going to do it.  So now what do you do?

Make Exercising Enjoyable

One of the best ways to improve retention is by creating happy customers, which means featuring exercise options they WANT to do because they’re both fun and relevant to their goals.

Fortunately, there is a mode of exercise that can be both fun AND effective for weight loss: bodyweight circuit training; specifically circuit training featuring bodyweight exercises.

In general, circuit training involves a series of resistance-training exercises for different movements or body parts with little-to-no rest between each exercise. The traditional selectorized resistance-training machines, normally used for circuit training are effective but also expensive, not easy to move around or reconfigure and can be intimidating for some members.

A good strength training circuit should not only be time-efficient and easy to follow, but should be easy to adjust and re-organize to create different workouts from week-to-week or month-to-month.

Make It Easy To Follow

Lack of time and not knowing what type of exercise they should be doing are two of the most frequently cited reasons for why club members or personal training clients have a hard time following a workout program. As health and fitness professionals, it’s our job to help our clients overcome these roadblocks.

Strength training circuits should transition between exercises for upper and lower-body muscles or alternating movement patterns like from push-ups to pull-ups to help members do workouts that are both time efficient and effective.

Circuit training on the ELEVATE Circuit can provide the following 7 benefits:

Burn More Calories

The body burns 5 calories of energy to use 1 liter of oxygen. Circuit training can use most of the muscles in the body, which significantly increases oxygen consumption when compared to a mode of cardio exercise relying primarily on the lower body. Any mode of exercise that increases oxygen demand also increases energy expenditure, making it an effective strategy for weight loss.

Alternating between upper body, lower body and core muscles, while circuit training on ELEVATE can help increase oxygen consumption in the body, resulting in the ability to burn a lot of calories in a relatively short amount of time.

Total Gym Elevate CircuitWork Smarter Not Harder

Bodyweight circuit training can be considered both moderate intensity cardio-respiratory AND strength training exercise both of which are important for fat loss. Too much high intensity exercise (where breathing is much faster than normal, and saying more than a couple of words at a time can be difficult) for more than 50 to 60 minutes at a time could actually lead to burning muscle instead of fat.

At a higher intensity of exercise, the body will use primarily carbohydrate for fuel. Once this carbohydrate is depleted, the body uses the hormone cortisol to convert protein to fuel in a process called gluconeogenesis. When this happens, less protein is available to repair muscle tissue damaged during the exercise.

Fast Track Strength Training

Bodyweight strength-training circuits can actually increase lean muscle mass throughout the entire body while most modes of cardio training involve primarily leg muscles. Doing bodyweight exercises to a point of momentary fatigue can stimulate the type II, fast twitch muscle fibers responsible for improving strength and size. Increasing activation of the type II fibers can result in larger, more defined muscles throughout the entire body.

Increase Metabolism

Higher levels of lean muscle mass equate to a higher resting metabolism, which means the body will burn more calories while at rest. At rest, 1 pound of muscle can burn up to 7 calories of energy during a 24-hour period. Adding 5 to 7 pounds of lean muscle mass can increase resting metabolism up to 50 calories a day or 350 calories over the course of a week. Given that the body uses approximately 100 calories to walk a mile, this can be considered the equivalent of taking a 3.5-mile walk.

Using ELEVATE can help add lean muscle mass to your body. As you increase the amount of muscle tissue your metabolism will become much more efficient at burning calories meaning that you can increase caloric expenditure even when you are NOT exercising.

Combine Strength Training With Cardio

Row Trainer small group class

Row small group class

To increase energy expenditure for weight loss, combining circuit training with cardio exercise can be extremely effective. For example, after completing a circuit of resistance-training exercises, hop on an ELEVATE Row for 3 to 7 minutes of steady-state, moderate-intensity exercise. The cardio exercise should focus on the aerobic energy system, so your breathing should be quicker than normal, but you shouldn’t be out of breath.

Non-Intimidating

Weight rooms can be intimidating, which can keep members from doing beneficial strength training exercises. A bodyweight circuit that is set up away from the free-weight area can provide a non-intimidating environment for club members to obtain the many benefits of strength training, while also establishing the base level of strength required to progress to more challenging forms of resistance training.

Trainer-Led Sessions Create Rapport and Encourage Members

Scheduling a trainer to assist members during busy times can provide a higher level of service to members who are attempting to use the circuit. A trainer can push members to work a little harder on the circuit, which can be an important component for achieving results. In addition, coaching club members through an established machine circuit provides a way for trainers to meet a number of members during each shift. As the trainers help the members, they can learn names and establish rapport, both of which are essential for long-term success.

In this era of demanding, high-intensity group fitness classes and technically complex free-weight training programs, the idea of returning to circuit training, which was popular in the early ‘80s, may seem like a return to the dark ages. The accompanying video can help you understand how the Elevate Line can be organized to create an effective strength training circuit that can help your members reach their goals from weight-loss to enhanced muscle definition. One of the best features of the Elevate Line is that all pieces are easy to move around meaning you can create different circuits to meet the needs of different populations of members or clients you serve.

For more information on the ELEVATE Circuit – call 858 764 0078 or visit totalgym.com

About the Author

Pete McCallPete 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. www.petemccallfitness.com

Jul
31

Online CECs – Keeping Education Updated

Personal Trainers: Stay Up-to-Date With Online CECs

When it’s time to renew your personal training and/or group fitness certification, I think we can all admit that it could be somewhat simpler.  But that just isn’t the case, and unless you have a lot of time to spend on sifting through all the ins and outs, the re-certification process can be time consuming and confusing. So let’s break it down and try to simplify.

Online “continuing education units” (CEU) can be obtained through several bodies, such as the National Association of Sports Medicine (NASM) and the Aerobics and Fitness Association of America (AFAA).

One CEU is ten hours of participation in an education program.

Several years ago, we had to attend conferences and classes to as well to accomplish the same goal.  I still believe that is a great way to keep up with industry innovations and news, however online CEUs are becoming the norm now, for maintaining certifications.  Pretty much all the major certifying agencies have online CEU courses, so you really don’t have to leave the comfort of your laptop to stay current.

How Much Does it Cost?

Based on a summary review of available course sites shown below, the price for one CEU ranges from $150 to $250. NASM and ACE require 2.0 CEUs every two years, which will set you back between $300 and $500.

NASM claims to have a re-certification for life option, but you still have to pay for the 2.0 CEUs every two years, as well as your CPR certificate which is around $12-17.

NASM does waive the application fee for life and provides some discounts for courses.

                            All CEU Requirements Are Not Equal

CEU requirements and values are not the same.

NASM’s 2.0 CEUs or 20 hour requirement is more than AFAA’s 15 hours of education or 1.5 CEUs.

Consequently, a course that offers .10 CEU’s for NASM will offer 1 CEU for AFAA.

It’s confusing in that 15 of these courses will satisfy the AFAA requirement, while 20 will satisfy the NASM requirement. So, you have to calculate how many CEUs you’re really getting for the intended re-certification and that can often be tricky.

Check That Your CEU is Accepted

Be sure that the online CEU you purchase is accepted by your agency. According to their website, NASM does not accept CEUs from Continuing Education although they can be petitioned, which involves a fee.

Even if your agency accepts a course from any of the below sites, they may not accept all the course offerings.  So be very careful when reviewing which courses will count for your agency’s re-certification and how many credits it offers.

Some agencies also place more value on specific courses than others.

Sites Offering Online CEU Courses

Continuing Education ACE, ACSM, NSCA

ACE Fitness ACE, ACSM, NASM, NSCA, NFPT

Health & Fitness Continuing Education  ACSM, NSCA, NASM, ISSA, AFAA

IDEA Health and Fitness Association All

NESTA NESTA, NASM, NSCA

NASM  NASM

Fitness Mentors  NASM, NESTA, ISSA, AFAA, NCCPT, ACE. NSCA, ACSM

In addition to online courses, Exercise ETC., Inc. offers webinars for CEU credit and is accepted by almost all agencies.

So there you have it, a brief synopsis to help you continue with your education.  It’s time to open the pocketbook to stay current, but your clients will thank you in the end!

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.

Jul
24

Why Your Clients May Not Be Shifting Weight

1992191 - Copy

What To Do When Some Clients Just Don’t Lose the Weight.

Are you clients stuck?  Has a client ever told you that no matter what he or she does, they are just not losing weight? They are on the same dietary suggestions that your other client is on. You train them the same way, yet they just don’t seem to be shifting enough.  Besides struggling with fat loss, some even lack energy and complain of not feeling up to par.  You are puzzled and frustrated as a trainer, because you see how hard they work. You do feel that they are eating well and are being honest, yet you see for yourself that the weight is just not budging, nor is there any shift in body composition.

I get it because I have been there too. Before studying naturopathy, I used to shake my head in amazement, thinking for sure that my struggling clients were not being true to themselves and were just simply closet eaters.  I now know better and would like to share this knowledge with you.

First a personal story. Years ago, when I was competing in natural (drug tested) body building competitions, I seemed to struggle more than a few of my colleagues with losing those last few pounds (especially around the belly). I was following the typical body building diet–high amounts of lean protein, no fruit or refined sugars, some low glycemic vegetables, some carbs and good fats.  The point that I want to emphasize with this type of “diet”, is that I was eating small meals throughout the day. I must say that I looked pretty good, but I did not feel great most of the time. I was constipated for the first time in my life. This period of up and down stomach issues, combined with losing my mother quite suddenly, led me to search out a naturopath for personal growth and awareness. I was so enlightened with what I learned about our miraculous bodies, that I decided to go back to school and become a naturopathy practitioner.

2022180Contrary to the popular belief that we are what we eat … we are NOT. We are what we DIGEST and actually, we can even take it another step and say that we are what we eat … eats.

Digestion is the process used to convert protein into amino acids, carbohydrates into glucose, and fats into fatty acids. Cells are microscopic, so they can’t absorb big structures – they can only absorb the elements found within these converted structures. It is not until protein, carbohydrates and fats are broken down that vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants are released into the blood stream.

Understanding Digestion

For the sake of this blog, I am going to only focus on protein digestion … why? Because everyone is overly concerned about protein and too many trainers emphasize protein with their clients when in reality, most people have a hard time digesting protein and here is why.

The breakdown of protein into amino acids takes place in the stomach. The stomach has two functions to perform once the food arrives. First, it acts like a blender. The powerful muscles of the stomach squeeze and release the food into what we call “chyme”.  Think of it as an internal smoothie. This action takes place only in the stomach, so if you see undigested food in your stool, it indicates the stomach walls are weak. Although some foods, such as corn, do not break down, beware if you see broccoli, mushroom, or potato pieces in the toilet.

2022193The second function of the stomach is to produce hydrochloric acid (HCL), peptides and intrinsic factors. For a protein to break down, the stomach cells need to produce HCL and this is where many people suffer. Many people do not produce a good quality HCL making protein digestion difficult.

When the food enters the stomach, the body has already started to produce gastrin (a hormone that stimulates production of HCL). As the gastrin begins to move into the bloodstream, it signals the release of HCL and the other gastric juices needed, to convert protein into amino acids.

The chyme then leaves the stomach and enters into the first part of the small intestine called the duodenum. This is another important stage of digestion as these acids coming from the stomach need to be alkalized before further digestion can take place.

The liver, gallbladder and pancreas, all have digestive secretions needed to make the chyme alkaline. The liver makes bile (an alkaline mineral needed to alkalize the chyme) and stores it in the gallbladder. The longer the bile remains in the gallbladder, the more concentrated it becomes. Most livers never have a chance to concentrate their bile because people eat far too much acidic (cooked) food. And when we eat every three to four hours, the liver does not have time to process what it has already received. This is toxic for the liver. Added to this, I want to say that for the liver to make a “good quality bile”, it requires minerals such as sulphur, sodium and chloride, yet most diets are deficient in these minerals.

If a diet is deficient in minerals, we experience digestive problems.

Digestion should take place with ease. As a naturopath, we do not see this happening in most people today. Instead, we see gas, bloating, constipation, bowel issues, intolerances, etc. There is much more I can add to the path of digestion. It is a huge process, but for the sake of this blog, I want to focus on a few points that could be hampering your clients from progressing and seeing results in their programs.

When digestion, the first pillar of health, is weak, absorption is compromised and cells become hypo active. This means they do not have enough nutrients to do their work.  If the thyroid gland doesn’t have enough nutrients, then it cannot do it’s job properly.  The job of the thyroid gland is to create a hormone called thyroxin which regulates body temperature which is the rate of which the body burns calories.  Some people call this metabolism and say that their slow metabolism is to blame when in reality, it’s the poor digestion and lack of nutrients.   All of these compounding issues will lead to none-weight loss.

Now You Know, What Do You Do?

As a trainer, the first thing you can do if you see a client stuck in their progress is ask a few questions about how they feel after eating.  They might not be thinking about it. Often, I see clients who are so used to the way they feel, they don’t realize it is not right.

Here are some sample questions you may ask:

  • Do you feel like your food is just sitting in your belly?
  • Do you ever feel bloated?1957620
  • Do you ever feel tired?
  • Are you burping?
  • How is your elimination?
  • Do you see undigested food?
  • Are your stools too loose, too hard?

These are all signs that digestion is weak.

Referring your clients out to a licensed naturopath can be the best way for you to get your clients out of their rut if they are stuck!

To find out more, check out France Michaelson’s soon-to-be-released book.  Let’s Practice Health. Learn Why Your Gut is the CEO of Your Health.

About the Author

Frances Michaelson, N.D.Based in the West Island of Montreal, Frances Michaelson, N.D. is author of several publications including her upcoming book, Let’s Practice Health: Learn Why Your Gut Is the CEO of Your Health.

With over three decades of experience and a broad knowledge base, Frances is widely recognized as a leader in the health and fitness field. She is the former owner of Muscleup Inc., an exercise product distribution company, which she founded and operated for over 20 years. Frances is a licensed naturopath in Quebec and has been a personal trainer for the past 17 years. She is also an avid health and fitness blogger and a frequent conference presenter.  She can be found on her website www.livethewow.ca

Live the Wow

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