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Understanding Total Gym Progressions – Part 3

Combining Chops, Lateral Lunge & Bicep Curls for the Perfect Routine

Total Gym Progressions Part 3

Performing the same workout with the same exercises week after week would become monotonous, rather boring, and extremely stale for anyone!  It would feel like ground hog day and change how people spend their time.   This never has to be the case if you know the exercise basics, how to integrate variety and challenge what you already know with a few simple techniques.

Basic Principals of Exercise

As a professional trainer, understanding the principals of exercise and progression is key to challenging all client types to achieve their goals.  Listed below are the primary principals that must be understood and mastered to deliver safe and efficient workouts.

Overload – To become stronger, the body must be exposed to workloads greater than those it is accustomed to. Work levels must gradually “overload” the body above its resting level to bring about improvement.

Progression – Progressively and gradually increasing the workload of an exercise for improvement – once a basic movement or skill is mastered and is performed at ease, one will advance to a higher level of training by progressive variables.

Regression – Training improvements are rapidly lost when training ceases. Significant reductions in fitness levels can be seen after only 2 weeks without training.

Specificity – Specific focus to become better at a movement or skill by consistent practice for the body to adapt.

Plateau – The gains usually seen in the early stages of an exercise program level off after a few weeks, and no further gains are apparent. This is normal, and progression will again occur as the program is continued.

Learn to Vary Any Exercise

Altering the weight used along with the reps and sets performed are not the only way to vary an exercise.  Actually, it’s just simple ways to address changing an exercise.

Often times, trainers have an exercise in their mind they want their client to perform, but it might not be the ‘right’ exercise for the client.  Rather than force a movement that’s not working, be prepared and knowledgeable with variations to perform the same exercise in a different way that accommodates the client’s needs.

Methods of Progression & Regression

Progression and regression happens in a variety of ways.  Some of these include:

  • Changing the resistance
  • Increasing/ decreasing reps
  • Intensity of exercises performed (difficulty of workout)
  • Speed (tempo of exercise/drill)
  • Duration (length of workout)
  • Balance challenges
  • Super sets OR compound movements (performing 2 exercises at once)
  • Timed sets vs. number of reps
  • Stance of feet/ hands (uni-bi lateral movements)
  • Angle of movement
  • Range of motion
  • Equipment used
  • Workout style (circuits, intervals, HIIT, low impact, post-rehab, etc.)

By changing just one of these variables, your clients will be challenged with the same exercises they’re familiar performing.


You can achieve anything you want with consistent, hard efforts.  Patience and consistency will bring results.  This is such an important principle to implement because this is where many tend to fail.  They give up before they succeed in the end result.

Bottom line: never give up on the end result.  If it were easy, everyone would be doing amazing, difficult things.  So be prepared to work hard mentally and physically and stay focused on the end goal to achieve any learned skill.

Basics to Progress

Let’s discuss 3 excellent exercises you can progress during a workout by adding a variation for an increased challenge. Cable Chops, Lateral Lunge, and Chest Flies are a great combination of exercises to work the entire body while focusing on a specific area.

Each of these Total Gym exercises show a series of ways to progress ranging from beginner to advanced.  Try incorporating these exercise progressions with your client according to their strength level.


  • Seated
  • Kneeling
  • High kneeling
  • Different angles


  • Stationary
  • Open glideboard lunge
  • Pulses
  • Dynamic movement


  • Seated
  • Kneeling
  • High kneeling
  • Angle of arms
  • Static equilibrium

NOTE:  These exercises are specific to the Total Gym, but can also be applied to a more traditional setting in the gym using weights, bands, stability balls, or cables. 

Inspire and challenge your clients each session by going back to the basics and progressing the exercises from there!

Best Always,


About the Author

Maria Sollon ScallyMaria 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)



Keep Your Total Gyms Clean & Yoga Mats Fresh

How to clean your Total Gym

Germ Prevention – How to Clean Your Total Gyms and Your Yoga/Pilates Mats

Just for the record, I am no germaphobe, nor is this blog meant to turn you into one.  But I do want to share with you some healthy tips to help you prevent your gym toys from making your clients and your members ill.  It’s no secret that the gym and workout equipment can be a cesspool of dangerous germs that can pose serious health risks ranging from the common cold or flu to the real fun stuff like diarrhea and even Hepatitis A.

Almost every piece of equipment in your gym has a place to put hands.  Health experts are constantly warning us about how most germs and bacteria are transferred through our hands.  That is why they harp on frequently washing your hands, coughing or sneezing in your arm instead of your hands, and using hand sanitizers wherever possible.  Furthermore, when your clients or members use your yoga and Pilates mats, their hands and feet are sharing the same space and swapping germs and dirt from the studio floor or wherever they have been since they removed their shoes.

FEAR NOT!  Read on for some simple ways to keep your clients and members healthy in your workout setting so a germ laden illness won’t zap their energy, keep them from your workout, cause them to miss work, or enjoy life in general.

Cleaning Your Total Gym

Keep a bottle of hand sanitizer readily available for people to use – a quick squirt will go a long way in preventing the spread of germs.  After each workout, wipe down the glideboard with an anti-bacterial cleanser.  Move the glideboard up and down rails to ensure smooth rolling. If glideboard does not roll smoothly, pop off the glideboard and the clean rails and wheels thoroughly. Refer to your Owner’s Manual to see how easy this is.

What disinfectant should I use?

Great question.  Use a non-alcohol and non-bleach product.  Although effective, most cleaners contain some harsh chemicals, like alcohol, that can damage the vinyl or mat rubber.  A better alternative is to buy an all-natural cleaner or make you own!  Here are a few simple recipe examples (and there are many more on the web):

 > Soap/Vinegar/Water:  Mix 1 part dish soap to 2 parts vinegar – I recommend a scented vinegar – and top with 5 parts water.

> Essential Oils/Water:  Add about 10 drops of Tea Tree Oil to 12-16oz of water for a truly all-natural cleaner.  You could also add a scented oil such as calming lavender or an uplifting peppermint oil to add a pleasant aroma-therapy scent.

Cleaning Your Yoga/Pilates Mats

This is one of the dirtiest places for germs to hide.  These mats are usually porous, soft and can harbor a lot of bacteria. 

Here are a few tips:

> Spray the mats before and after each use. Be sure to check out the video for some eye-opening ways your mat gets dirtier than you think!

> Use an industrial washing machine or the local laundromats industrial washer (used for comforters and such). Ensure you check the manufacturer’s instructions, as for some mats it is not recommended.

NiceDogYoga.comJust take some of these simple, extra precautions to ensure your clients are not getting anything else from your training other than a buff, healthy body!

Be sure to check out the video to learn more tips, tricks and information to minimize your germ exposure.  I’ll also introduce you a disinfectant that I developed called NiceDogYoga Mat Spray especially formulated to:

> provide an all-natural way to disinfect the germs, fungus and smell that tends to build up

> provide an aroma-therapy element that would enhance the students’ practice and freshen their mat with pleasing scents.

People love it!  Check it out at

About the Author

JayDee Cutting III, MBAJayDee Cutting III, MBA is an Educator for the American Council On Exercise, possesses 12 fitness certifications including pilates, yoga, personal training, lifestyle & weight management, is a Total Gym master trainer and spokesmodel since 2004, lectures and teaches wellness at Rancho La Puerta Fitness Spa since 1994, is featured in over 10 fitness DVD’s and over 40 fitness television programs, developed Coregolf Fitness Program, and founded NiceDogYoga Company. Personal Mission Statement: “My passion is inspiring people to enhance their lives through wellness, creating healthier, happier, higher qualities of life.”


Music And Small Group Training Classes

How Music Makes a Small Group Training Class

Survey your clients within the next week on an 1-10 scale about how important music is to their overall fitness experience and how much it contributes to their effort while exercising. Chances are that the majority (if not all) of your clients strongly relate to pushing harder and performing at a higher level when listening to their favorite tunes. It is all relative but obviously some music is better than others when it comes to using the beat of the music to be motivated. Some people will respond better to rap music, some people will respond better to heavy metal, and some people will respond better to country music.

All music is not created equal and neither are the preferences of your clients.

Just in this past NBA Finals in June of 2016, there was pre-game footage where they showed Lebron James (of the Cleveland Cavaliers) with headphones on and the reporter asked him what he was listening to and he replied with the name of a specific rap artist and song. Right next to him was his teammate who also had headphones on, then the reporter asked him what he was listening to and he said “Christian music”.

Here are 2 elite NBA athletes on the same team, side by side in the locker room about to go out and perform on the NBA court and play in the same exact game. In the same game, both are expected to play at a very high level, yet they both have two different pre-game routines that include listening to and getting pumped up by different music. That goes to show you that everyone is different and can be hyped up differently with different artists with different songs fro m different genres.

There are 12 guys on the Cleveland Cavaliers and it’s possible that there is 12 different types of music being played in the headphones before each game which would explain why there is not just one speaker filling the room with music.

That story is shared with you because it applies to a typical group fitness class at any gym that plays music. In your group fitness class, you may have anywhere between 8 – 100 people working out and most likely, they don’t all love the same type of music.

So what do you do knowing that you cannot accommodate all of them at the same time?

One of the most common approaches for group fitness instructors is to play music from the Billboard Top 40 because of the variation in different music genres. This approach allows for a wide variety of music to be played so that you can add some diversity to your music and no particular person feels left out or unmotivated by the music. By having different types of music played, you can energize the room throughout the workout and have members feed off one another. Playing music for your group fitness class is usually about energizing the class, but did you know that there are other reasons that fitness professionals play music for their members?

:  Makes members feel good
:  To celebrate a birthday, anniversary, or special event
:  Get people dancing
:  To have fun
:  To get their mind off of outside distractions
:  The motivational lyrics or rhythm
:  Special requests

A great fitness professional will do almost anything to create a special and motivational atmosphere for their clients and usually that somehow includes music. Remember when running your fitness club, everything that you do is marketing and creating an atmosphere that motivates your members to come and have fun is one of the best marketing tools that you could ever utilize.

Think about the following questions, when creating this magical experience for your member:

:  How old is my target market?
:  What gender is my target market?
:  What income brackets is my target market in?
:  Should I download music?
:  Should I play my ipod?
:  Should I use Pandora or Spotify?

Everyone is different and every fitness club is different. That is what gives you the opportunity to be truly unique and stand out in the crowd. You want to have the reputation for having the best group fitness classes in your community and better way to do that than to get some feedback from your members.

1884089Take some time to get to know your members more. Find out what music motivates them, what music pumps them up, what music makes them move better, what music makes them want to dance, what music reminds them of when they were in high school, what makes them feel like they are in college again, what music makes them come, what music makes them feel alive, and what is their favorite song.

Doing this research does not have to be a lot of work or take a lot of time. You can perform a quick survey on one of the social media pages of your business and ask your clients on that platform or even through one of your email marketing campaigns. Consistently selecting the right type of music will create the right synergy within your group and it will also create a special bond between you and the members because they will feel catered to and know that you are listening to them!

About the Author

Mike Z. RobinsonMike Z. Robinson is the owner of the highly successful personal training facility, MZR Fitness as well as Mike Z. Robinson Enterprises which features & highlights a myriad of options to help fitness professionals grow their businesses and careers. Mike was the 2015 IDEA Personal Trainer of the Year, is the author of the E-Book: “Fitness Up, Everything Up”, and he is also a Media Spokesperson for both the American Council on Exercise & IDEA Health & Fitness Association.


Keep Your Clients Exercising While on Vacation

Personal Training: 5 Top Tips To Help Your Clients Stay On Track While On Vacation

I live the majority of my life on vacation … OK, don’t hate me … it’s not as easy as it sounds!  There are some downsides or ‘traps’ even the most dedicated clients will probably fall into once they go off their regular daily schedule.   How to relax, stay fit and healthy, when almost all meals are either out, or in the case of social/family vacations, filled with consistent eating and multiple temptation, is very challenging.

According to Michael Olzinski, a coach for the elite and international endurance program purplepatch fitness, the state of deconditioning is very simply the fitness of the human body losing specificity.  It is a decrease in function of the nervous, musculoskeletal, and cardiopulmonary systems that will vary significantly based on a person’s fitness level and background.  Olzinski, who has learned alongside seasoned triathlon super-coach Matt Dixon, believes that everyone needs to take breaks from heavy routines for up to 3 weeks, and twice in a year.  However, the actual definition of those breaks will vary based on the athlete, and they never recommend laying on a couch and eating potato chips all day long.  There should still be a level of exercise and activity, but it can be fun, social, short in duration and low in intensity.

Exercising on the Total Gym Row Trainer using a MYZONE® MZ-3 Physical Activity Belt

Encourage Tracking

If your client doesn’t have one already, now is a good time for them to invest in a fitness tracker.  Consumer Reports has solid reviews that also explain how they work and what they do. Using the tracker prior to the trip will help work out any kinks that the client might have including pairing issues.  Keep the goals simple and achievable so not to stress or guilt the client; remember they want to please you.

When a tracker is not in the budget, the App MyFitnessPal is an easy one to navigate and can also be used as a dietary tracker.  My Tri Coach friends use this App for their Ironman athletes for diet alone.  For a client that is going on an athletic type vacation such as a hiking or a biking trip the App AthlEats is my new fav for nutritional tracking.

Book Them a Workout

Almost all resorts and most hotels have a small workout area.  Some are amazing, some not so much … but if you go to the hotel website it should be listed with pictures.  If there isn’t one, or the picture looks like some 80’s universal throwback, Google ‘fitness’ and see what comes up.  Usually tons of really cool options which can be cross referenced via Google Maps.

You can map your clients commute (great way to sight-see and work towards those 10,000 steps) or thankfully Uber it if it looks complicated or time consuming.  It seems like everyone is on MindBody these days, so from there you can actually book your client into a class or training session.  Note to self, this is a GREAT opportunity to network and learn, email the studio or Fitness Manager, introduce yourself and let them know you are sending them a great client.  The instructor will be able to learn about your client ahead of time (make sure the client OKs this of course; privacy is priority). This will create a personal connection to the instructor both for you and the client.  It’s the best way to increase your social network plus it’s super-good Karma–give (business) and thou shall receive.  Got to love networking!

1680465Keep In Touch

Sometimes a vacation is about visiting family, which can be wonderful and stressful at the same time.  Having some private time with a family member such as a ‘walk and talk’ is a great excuse for an hour of semi-alone time.   First thing in the morning is usually the easiest before the whole house is up. Setting a time for a ‘coaches call’ (or texting your client to remind them it’s time to exercise) can help them get outside for their walk, especially if they are finding it challenging to break away and end up losing that ‘window’ so to speak (my biggest challenge).

Meal Planning

Diet is the elephant in the room here.  We all know it is really really hard to eat healthy when you don’t have much control over the food timing or choices. The internet has helped change that a bit.  Almost all restaurants have websites with the menu posted.  Encourage your client to look at the food options ahead of time to help prevent bad decisions, skip the bread basket (one I need to work on) and drink as much water as possible.

I am always the designated driver when we travel so I won’t be tempted to drink.  As much as alcohol is nice when you don’t have to get up for work the next day it can be a major sabotage in a plan to stay fit and healthy.  Hotels tend to over-climate control, plus the dryness of a plane and a few cocktails will leave them dehydrated and feeling funky the next day. And we haven’t even added jet lag, if that’s part of the equation.  Have them contact the hotel and request a humidifier, it really helps.

Here’s a trick from the professional athletes who need to perform at their best when on the road and changing time zones: eat your meals at the same time that you do at home. For example, if dinner is at 6pm eastern time, then when you get to, say, Hawaii (which is 6 hours behind) eat dinner at 6pm Hawaiian time.  Do the same with your sleeping pattern, if you need to take a mini nap, be sure it’s a mini nap not a full on snooze fest.  Try and stay away from the electronics at least an hour before bed.  A little off the grid time will do the client good.

Dejinira Lee - Virtual Personal TrainerGo Virtual!

Coaching and online training is getting a ton of buzz.  If virtual training is something that interests you at all, there’s no better time to try it out then with the traveling client.  If you don’t want to do a live virtual training, start simple.  Use your smart phone or tablet and an inexpensive base to hold it in place.  Record a few easy training sessions that require minor if any equipment that will be familiar to the client.  You can post it to the client daily and check in to see how it’s going by a simple text.  Here’s the question you may be thinking. Can I charge and how much?  For what it’s worth, I say yes.  Three 20 minute sessions are the same as an hour session.  So I’d consider that a full  session and take it out of the package making sure the client is aware. When they pay, these sessions are more likely to take it seriously and not just blow it off.   If you are not comfortable with that, I totally understand.  There are also exercises sites that post all kinds of stuff for free.  But it’s not the same as you taking the time to set up a workout specifically for the client.  This may be the number one tool to keeping your client on track and has great value so don’t overlook it.  Just saying.

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.


Perform Better: Performance Equipment Provider

Perform Better Really Does Perform Better!

If you are in the fitness industry –  whether you’re a gym owner, a personal trainer, a coach, a physical therapist, an athletic trainer or anything else that speaks functional training, fitness or rehab, and you need to find equipment, then Perform Better is the place to get it!

Experts in functional training, rehabilitation and sports performance, Perform Better will not only sell you any type of quality commercial grade exercise equipment, from a Total Gym Jump Trainer to a Lebert Equalizer Bar but they will advise you on which is the best equipment for your facility and they will also advise you on how to set up your facility and even design it for you!  Oh and they offer top notch delivery and installation services as well.

Jacob A. Guajardo

Jacob A. Guajardo

We recently caught up with Jacob A. Guajardo in the sales department of facility design to get the scoop on Perform Better and find out what they were up to these days.  He told us some interesting stuff.

“MFAC started as a heel cup manufacturer which most podiatrists around the world still use. From this origin, the company, led by Bill Falk, grew as a leader in the track and field community. Perform Better was established in 1992 and now is a leading provider for quality equipment for the fitness professional.  Currently, there are Perform Better divisions in Germany, China, Japan, and the Middle East. And they are still growing! Their main audiences are fitness professionals, college and professional sports teams, along with mainstream fitness enthusiasts. In addition, Perform Better offers a very unique educational platform which helps strength coaches, personal trainers and/or physical therapists become experts in functional training.”

Original Plan

Original Plan

Jacob got into the fitness industry 26 years ago while in college in Nashville, Tennessee. His first job was setting up various types of fitness equipment. When he moved to Massachusetts, he found a job setting up and delivering the same types of products for a similar company. After working for that previous company for 13 years, he moved to Perform Better sales and facility design and has been with them for over 11 years.

We asked Jacob about the facility design segment of the business and how the process worked.   Here’s what he told us:

“The staff at Perform Better brings a wide range of skill sets with some being former athletes and some of the staff still compete competitively. Every person in the company has been involved in athletics in some capacity which makes us a very well-rounded, trusted, and knowledgeable operation.

Regarding facility design, we started this service about ten years ago. Initially it was in a 2D format and was primarily used to figure out how we would layout turf or rubber or maybe give an idea of how a room could be laid out. Today the facility design team can create virtual products, provide 3D walk through movies of a proposed facility, and provide high resolution images for customers marketing grand openings or “coming soon” images.

3D Plan

3D Plan

The facility design process is very simple, yet effective:

We always like to start with a layout of the facility like this one from a recent install we completed.

This picture illustrates the initial idea or vision that the clinic had for the renovation of a local church.

Of course they met with the town building inspectors, builders and then presented it to Perform Better. We aided the customer by providing them with a conceptual drawing of their initial ideas (see the color 3D plan above).

Before and After

Before and After

Luckily the customer was local, so I was also able to attend meetings with anyone from the clinicians to the building personal, architects and the contractors. I was able to view the facility prior to design and was able to modify the design on the fly when a problem came up.”

Jacob continued with photos, “this one shows a before and after.  Well, more a “during” installation and after, for this very cool physical therapy/sports performance clinic.  You can see there’s quite a transformation.

The facility design department has grown to have 4 full time designers, meaning 4 people that know how to use the program, but every sales person on staff has the ability to help layout and give advice or lead buildout for all interested customers. The bottom line is facility design is just another way we can continue a conversation with a potential customer and then they be able to use our design when communicating to their investors, clients or staff.”

Jacob continued, “We’ve recently started to put together an online interactive map.  It shows locations of facilities we have designed over the years which we think is pretty impressive if you are looking to see how experienced we are.”

Perform Better Interactive Map

Perform Better Interactive Map


Perform Better also offers is a series of specialized Functional Trainer Summits across the US that are designed to provide trainers, coaches and therapists hands-on expertise through a combination of speakers, lectures and learning experiences by many top professionals in the industry.

Here’s a video showing a recent Perform Better 3-Day Functional Training Summit in Long Beach, CA.


New Microsoft PowerPoint Presentation

Watch the Video!


Perform Better have established themselves as the “go to place” for fitness, rehab and education.  Staying at the forefront of customer service, a Facebook Review couldn’t have put it better, “When you deal with Perform Better, they try to make sure it’s a good experience each and every time.  It’s great to see companies that do well by doing good!


How to Maintain Your Gym Exercise Equipment


Maintaining Your Exercise Equipment at your Fitness Facility is Crucial for your Business

Maintaining your equipment is so important because it shows your clients and members that you respect them.  It also shows them that you are happy that they are there to visit your facility, and that you want them to return again and again.

Just imagine that you reserved a hotel in your favorite city and you were extremely excited to get there.  You check in, walk into your room, look around, and experience the following:

> Your bed was not made up

> The TV was broken

> The mirror had a big crack down the center of it

> The toilet was not flushing correctly

>The floors needed to be swept

> And the shower head was missing

Sounds pretty awful, right?

But just maybe, you are one of those people who like to give other people & other businesses the benefit of the doubt and you choose not to complain about each of those things listed above. You even go as far as to view this situation as an isolated incident and you choose to stay at this hotel again the next time that you are in this particular city the following month.

But very much to your surprise, you experience the exact same situation that is described above and maybe even a little worse.  Except this time, you feel disrespected and not valued by the experience. You therefore file a complaint AND you make a decision on the spot to never patron this hotel again!

This above scenario is equivalent to how your clients feel when they walk into a fitness club or gym that is dirty, the treadmills are broken (with an out of order sign on it for several weeks), the mirrors are not cleaned, and the water fountain is not working.  We can discuss the cleanliness of a fitness facility in depth another time but right now, we’ll focus a little more on maintenance of the exercise equipment.

Some of the common questions revolved around maintaining exercise equipment are:

> Why should I maintenance my equipment?

> Will clients know if I don’t maintenance my equipment regularly?

> How often should I maintenance my equipment?

> Where should I take my equipment to get maintenance?

Now that you have heard some of the common questions about maintaining exercise equipment, let’s answer those questions in depth for you in order:

Why should I maintenance my equipment?

This is a 2 part answer because you maintain your equipment for: (1) your membership base; and (2) because it will help you to save money and cut cost at your fitness club. As previously stated at the beginning of this article, you want to keep your clients and members happy. You want to show them that you value and respect them.  You also want them to keep coming back and they will not do that if things are not in working order at your facility. They will eventually take their business elsewhere. Value them and you will have lifelong happy customers.

You also maintain your equipment for your cost saving reasons at your fitness club. It is much more cost effective to pay for regular maintenance or repair work for your equipment than it is to pay for a brand new piece of equipment especially when you are referring to cardio machines and larger pieces of equipment.

Will clients know if I don’t maintenance my equipment?

Simply put: yes they will know.

They have eyes and ears and will notice things just like anyone else … and even more importantly, clients talk to one another and the last thing that you want them discussing is anything at your fitness club in a negative way. When your clients speak about the equipment at your facility, you want them to use adjectives such as “immaculate”, “always clean”, “quality”, “well taken care of” – not “always broken”, “sloppy”, “treadmills squeak” etc.

How often should I maintenance my equipment?

How frequently you should maintain your equipment will depend on the type of equipment that you have. However, the general rule of thumb is every 3 – 6 months (or as needed) with cardio pieces being on the short end of that 3 month window.

Where should I take my equipment to get maintenance?

 This question has a variety of answers because there are several options for equipment maintenance solutions. With larger pieces of equipment, a warranty is usually offered for an additional price through the company that you bought the item(s) from. Therefore in those cases and depending on the type of the warranty that you get, you can just take the equipment to the business that you purchased it from or that company will send someone directly out to you to assist you with your repair or maintenance needs.

Another possible solution is to find a local person in your community that fixes exercise equipment. Sometimes these individuals offer their services as a side job which partly means that the price could be negotiable. Or you may just find an actual brick and mortar business that many local facilities use for their own maintenance needs. Ask around to your local fitness club owners & managers and get their recommendations.
Again, it is much more convenient as well as affordable to take care of your equipment by giving it regular and proper care than it is to be constantly having to replace it by purchasing new equipment.

Mike Z. RobinsonAbout the Author

Mike Z. Robinson is the owner of the highly successful personal training facility, MZR Fitness as well as Mike Z. Robinson Enterprises which features & highlights a myriad of options to help fitness professionals grow their businesses and careers. Mike was the 2015 IDEA Personal Trainer of the Year, is the author of the E-Book: “Fitness Up, Everything Up”, and he is also a Media Spokesperson for both the American Council on Exercise & IDEA Health & Fitness Association.



Best Smoothies to Recommend to your Clients

Personal Training: Post-Workout Smoothie Tips for Your Clients

As personal trainers, one of our biggest challenges is to make sure our clients replenish with good wholesome nutrients after a workout. It is important that we take the time to explain to them how important it is for growth and repair at the cellular level in order that they are better prepared for their next training session.

Green.I think smoothies are the easiest meal to promote as they take very little time to prepare, are very portable, and can be packed full of nutrients, given the right recipe. If the blender is a good quality, we can even benefit from retaining the vitamins, minerals, and enzymes over a 24-48 hour period. If I know I have a busy schedule right after I train, I make my smoothie the night before, freeze it, and then I am all set. Recommend this to your clients if they say they are pressed for time after a workout.

Make Your Clients Aware

Making our clients aware that they need to replenish their glycogen stores, proteins and electrolytes that were used up during training is paramount and a smoothie is an easy way to give back to their body. With the right ingredients smoothies help to load up on the right carbs, protein, essential fatty acids, electrolytes and anti-oxidants. It is not always necessary to include a protein in a smoothie. If a workout is mainly cardiovascular exercise and does not include weights or any other resistance, it is more important to replenish the energy and electrolytes with fruits, leafy greens, and coconut water as opposed to one with protein powder.

Explain to your clients that smoothies are also easier to digest than a cooked meal. Digestion is one of the hardest things our body has to do. It takes time and consumes us. When we are giving our body only liquid, our vitality is at its maximum. When the body does not have to spend this time digesting, it has more energy to regenerate. This energy can often last throughout the day.

What is best for a smoothie?

Do some of your clients get fooled by the powers of marketing, gravitating to those large jugs of whey protein promoting huge muscles? Some of these isolated whey proteins can lead to digestive issues including stomach cramps and acid reflux. This is because fruit should never be combined with a protein (unless plant based). You can explain to your clients that fruit, being a simple sugar, will ferment if it has to wait around for a whey protein to be broken down. Simple sugars are instant energy. There is nothing to break down. They digest well with the energy coming from dark green left vegetables but NOT protein.

1649754The best greens are kale, spinach, chard, and arugula. They have a high fiber content, are rich in proteins, vitamins, minerals. As for frozen fruits, I ask my clients to choose berries as they are high in anti-oxidants and could be a substitute for ice cubes. I always recommend, however, that they must include fresh fruits as well for added nutrients. I like bananas and pears for added texture, or anything in season in their area. Coconut water is a great way to replenish electrolytes lost through sweat and does add a nice flavor to the smoothie.

Add Super Foods

Some super foods that make super additions to smoothies as they are tough to get in your diet are:

  • Maca powder – is a root providing a powerful source of nutrition including over 20 amino acids. It is a testosterone booster for both men and women, has many anti-inflammatory properties, and has a pleasant nutty flavor.
  • Wheat grass – is a powerful cleansing food that helps the body get rid of toxins and heavy metals. It is rich in chlorophyll which is similar to the chemical structure of the hemoglobin of the human blood. You can buy it frozen at health food stores or grow it yourself.
  • Ginger – is a wonderful root that aids in the digestion of protein.


A word about blenders.

Not all are created equal. I think it is important to advise our clients that spending a little more money on a more powerful machine will go a long way. Now only will they benefit by retaining more nutrients with a faster motor, but they will also be able to crush seeds of some fruits that are full of enzymes. Being both catabolic and anabolic, enzymes help with digestion and cellular regeneration and a powerful machine like Vitamix will keep the smoothie longer so that they can be stored anywhere from 24 to 48 hours in the fridge. I have had mine for over 12 years and it has never given me a problem!

Other useful tips to pass on

Here are some other tips that you might want to make your clients aware of:

  • Almond butter is a better choice than peanut butter. It is easier to digest and contains calcium, potassium, and magnesium.
  • Seeds, especially chia seeds can also cause a problem when combined with fruit. They are a good source of fiber, but actually slow down digestion. This is the opposite of the power of the simple sugar of fruit. Therefore, the combination can add friction and result in bloating. Explain this and suggest that they keep these wonderful seeds to sprinkle on their salad.
  • Mason jars are prefect for storage. You can fill them up to the rim, letting in as little air as possible. To avoid oxidation, have your clients add a little lemon -a great way to get some extra Vitamin C.
  • Tell your clients that drinking slowly is key: we need to treat our smoothies as a though they were a meal. This will ensure better digestion.


  • One scoop of frozen banana
  • 1/2 cup of fresh blackberries or raspberries or strawberries
  • 1 scoop IRON VEGAN plant based sprouted protein, or the Vega brand is also very good
  • 1 teaspoon maca powder
  • 1/2 cup coconut water


  • One scoop frozen berries
  • 1/4 pineapple
  • 2 cups spinach
  • 1 teaspoon maca powder
  • 1 shot wheat grass -( they are usually sold frozen in small shot containers in health food stores)
  • 1/4 cup water

Your clients will really thank you for these extra healthy, time saving tips, so share my findings with them, try them yourself.

Cheers to healthy and happy!

About the Author

Frances MichaelsonFrances Michaelson is president of exercise equipment company Muscle Up Inc., a licensed naturopath and a personal trainer. She is passionate about helping people attain optimal health through proper diet and exercise. A self-described health-o-holic, she motivates others to move well and eat well to keep their bodies’ cells dancing and singing. Based in the West Island of Montreal, Frances is a frequent conference presenter, is author of BYOB: Bring Your Own Band and Replenish, Regenerate and Rebuild Your Cells, blogs for Total Gym exercise equipment, and is a regular contributor to IHRSA’s “Ask an Industry Leader.” With her broad knowledge base and over three decades of experience, she is widely recognized as a leader in the health and fitness field. Frances is committed to helping others make positive lifestyle choices that create stronger bodies, healthier minds and more fulfilling lives.

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