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Sep
26

7 Total Gym Exercises That Build Killer Arms

Mike Z. Robinson on a Total Gym GTS

(Watch the Video)

Improve Upper Body Strength With These Total Gym Exercises

If you are looking for new and fresh ideas to challenge your client in their next workout session, then look no further than these 7 Total Gym killer arm exercises.   Your client will increase arm strength, tone muscles and get the arms of their dreams.  That’s “Sun’s Out, Guns Out” arms!  Have them perform these exercises 3 days a week for the next 6 weeks, with the recommended amount of reps and sets.

3 Point Pull-Ups

Lay stomach down on the glideboard with arms fully extended and grab the wide part of LAT bars with your hands facing one another. Proceed to pull yourself up fast and while you are in the up position, quickly move your hands to the middle grip. Next lower yourself slowly, then pull back up, quickly move your hands to the inside grip, and slowly lower your body. Repeat this sequence to complete the first rep and repeat the exercise to complete the set. (2 Sets of 5 Reps on each bar).

Seated Wrist Curls

While seated at the top of the glideboard, facing the tower, grasp the handles and with the outside of your forearms rested on your thighs. With palms facing up, flex your wrist upward and slowly come back to the starting position to complete each rep. (2 sets of 25 reps)

Incline (Spiderman) Push-Ups

Stand at the end of the machine facing the standing platform and place hands on the top edge, slightly wider than shoulder width apart. Walk your feet back while still holding the standing platform, so that you are in an inclined plank position.  Lower yourself down slowly and as you do, raise your knee up to your elbow. Push your body up until arms are extended to complete the first rep, then you repeat this sequence on the other side of the body. (2 Sets of 15 Reps)

Curls

Sit up straight with good posture facing the tower, grasp the handles. With a closed fist curl your arms up from the elbow to your chest. Curl up fast, then come back down to the starting position slowly to complete the rep. Repeat this sequence to complete the first rep and repeat the exercise to complete the set. (2 Sets of 15 Reps)

Decline Push-Ups

Facing away from the tower place both hands on the standing platform and kneel at the bottom of the glideboard. Push yourself away from the standing platform and the glideboard will move you up and down the rails.  Make sure that you try to come down far enough that you can see over the platform. Repeat this sequence to complete the first rep and repeat the exercise to complete the set. (2 Sets of 15 Reps on Each Side)

Reverse Pull-Ups (On Back)

Lay flat down on your back on top of the glideboard with your head supported.  With your arms fully extended above your head to grab the LAT bars with your hands facing one another. Pull yourself up fast, then lower yourself slowly. Repeat this sequence to complete the first rep and repeat the exercise to complete the set. (2 Sets of 15 Reps)

Triceps Kickback

Sit up straight with good posture facing the tower. Grasp handles with your arms fully extended, push your arms down your sides with your palms facing backwards and bring your hands back to the starting position. Repeat this sequence to complete the first rep and repeat the exercise to complete the set. (2 Sets of 15 Reps)

Remember to remind your client(s) that each week it will get a little easier.  When doing this program they should look for additional ways to challenge themselves each week because. One of the best and most effective ways to do that is to decrease the break time between reps and sets.  Beating their last time also works well. For example, if it takes 30 minutes to complete the workout the first time, they should be aiming for a completion of 25–29 minutes the next time and so on an so forth.

So, I wish you luck with implementing this routine into your clients’ new exercise program. I’m sure that they will love and appreciate the extra challenge.

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.

 

Jul
24

Why Your Clients May Not Be Shifting Weight

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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

Jul
11

How to Project Your Voice in Group X Class

Woman gesturing and shouting

Protect Your Vocal Chords, Project Your Voice

Music with rockin’ beats draws energy to fitness classes.  It’s a form of instant motivation when you hear the tunes as the instructor belts out commands that move to the beat.  It’s like performing a ‘movement concert’ in a room filled with an audience that follows your every lead.

As an instructor, there’s an energy you get from your students that inspires you to vocally command the room while dishing out a great workout.  This is a wonderful attribute we possess, but sharing our skills with good cuing over the loud beats is a recipe for vocal chord damage that could occur over time.

Voice Health

Instructors, you should understand the importance of projecting your voice during your classes. A projected voice, especially for high-energy classes such as boot camps, spinning and kickboxing, will bring out your passion and confidence, and will get your class fully engaged.

The vocal cords should function like a synchronized beat, just like the music.  When they become strained, the cords strike at uneven times creating a vocal health hazard.  This can be quite painful.  The voice can become raspy or it could develop into no voice at all.   Seriously, this is not a fun experience.  Especially if you like to talk.

It’s absolutely critical for you to know that projecting your voice the right way is not to shout louder.  Incorrectly shouting while you teach can eventually strain and can ultimately damage your vocal cords.  To protect your voice health, you must learn the correct use of your diaphragm to project your voice effectively.

The diaphragm is an umbrella shaped muscle, which lurks at the bottom of your stomach above your belly button. The strength of the speaking voice is marked by the amount of air that can be steered by the diaphragm through the lungs to the vocal cords.

Tips for Vocal and Class Communication

Learning about vocal cord damage from someone who has experienced it creates the awareness of its hazards.   Speaking is something we just do, right?  Unless you are a trained singer or speaker, no one really teaches you how to properly use or project your sweet vocals.  We just carry on doing what we do best; teach skillful movements, cue the class, and give our students a great workout.

Here are a few tips and suggestions I believe have helped me along the way, especially since I have experienced this dreadful and serious condition.

CaptureCREATE LABELED SIGNS

If you teach a high intensity boot camp or interval circuit style class, I suggest taking the time to make labeled signs of the exercises performed in the workout.  This is not only helpful for you to quickly explain the exercises once for the workout, but it’s also helpful for your students to remember what you instructed them to do when they cycle through the stations.

Chances are, when you initially explained the workout, they probably didn’t hear you or weren’t paying attention to what you said.  So, stations with labeled signs will help you instruct the workout and keep it flowing while providing personal attention without having to scream to the whole class.

PROJECT YOUR VOICE

Learn to speak efficiently and effectively by projecting your voice across the room.  Sounds travel and can be lost as your position in the class changes.  Therefore, be sure to speak to the students, not to the walls.

VOICE TONE

Have you ever taken a class where the instructor uses their voice as if they are telling a story?  The deflection of how the words are spoken can be inspiring to the student.  This is an important skill that comes with practice.  Calmer classes such as yoga, Pilates, Barre or stretching workouts work best with this type of voice tones.

MicMIC IT UP

Teaching with a reliable microphone is a game changer for you and your classes.  It’s the perfect solution to be easily heard without having to scream over loud music.  It allows you to float around the room cuing and correcting without disrupting the classes flow.  Not only is it better for your students to hear you, but it’s also better for your vocal health.

Personal Story:

I used to teach outdoor water aerobics to a group of women.  They would chitchat, bounce around, and be more into their social discussions than into the exercises. It was tough for me to project my soft voice over 24 chatty women out in the open.

Over time, I developed vocal chord nodules that became quite painful.  I had the option to get surgery and heal for 4 months or to completely rest my voice and not speak for 4 months.  I chose to not speak and go to vocal therapy after.  It was one of the hardest things I have ever had to do and yes, I had to take a break from teaching.

I am sharing this story with you because this is very common with instructors.  They tend to ignore the issue or fight through it without stepping back to realize their body is breaking down and needs rest.

There are many different types of microphones on the market now that are wireless and portable.  I highly suggest investing in your own so that you are always prepared and your health is prioritized.   I also suggest carrying your own batteries in case the microphone quits mid class.

VOICE CHANGER

Woman shouting into a megaphoneHave you ever taken a class where the instructor’s tone of voice went through different vocal points throughout the workout?  For example, the class starts with a strong burst of happy energy, then as the class picked up, the vocals got louder and that sweet happy voice turned into a screaming drill sergeant dictating your every move?  Then, as the class concluded, the voice turned into an extra sweet, soft whisper that was calmer to the personality of the instructor?

This does occur and if you are one of these instructors who tries to give different energy throughout the class, be aware of how you sound to your students.  There is a way to fluctuate your voice in different tones without changing it drastically to reflect a certain enthusiasm of the class without sounding like a multi-personality nut.  (I mean this kindly).

Personal Story:  I love to take other peoples classes. It allows me to move with purpose without having to think of what to do. But it can be frustrating to take a class that wastes my time and I end up feeling like I need to do more.

One class in particular I enjoy taking is Barre.  The class, music, and instruction is always good, but I have to say there are some instructors that do this ‘multi-personality’ voice tone thing and I know they don’t even realize they do it.  If you can relate, just be mindful that it is a real ‘thing’ that occurs.  Perhaps only instructors pick up on this, but I bet our students do too!

To enlighten myself, and possibly you too, I have categorized these personalities that occur during some classes.  Take note, be aware, and have a little laugh…

The Whisperer: calms his/her voice to an unrecognizable tone so that you almost cannot hear them. It’s a completely different voice and tone than the actual workout.

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The Screamer: yells out commands at a super high pitch and demands certain movements. If a microphone is used as well, this can be very disruptive to the workout rather than motivating.

The Drill-sergeant: bossy, direct and on a mission to make you work and work hard. The participant is almost scared – if they don’t do their best they will be sentenced to 20 push-ups.

The Singer: the instructor seems to be having their own dance party on the microphone by singing the song and trying to instruct. Let the music be sung by the artist and use the beat to create your movement art.

The Rapper: this instructor cues to the beat of the music as if they are rapping the instructions. If you have experienced this, you know what I’m sayin’…1700684

The Counter: counting down is a great form of motivation and can help transition into the next exercise. But when the majority of the class is spent counting, it can be daunting and boring, plus the tone of voice can get drawn out.  Finding the right balance of instructing and counting comes with practice and teaching experience.

I find that the most effective instructors are those who communicate by using deliberate words that the class can hear, understand and be motivated to follow.  The more you talk the less the class will listen, so choose your words wisely, deliver important points and stick with those points throughout the class. It is amazing to see how well a class responds when it synchronizes with your clear message.  The way you speak during your classes will allow your students to be engaged with your every word.

Cranking up the music to get the energy going definitely motivates and provides a great class experience. But if no one can hear what you’re saying and your own health becomes jeopardized, how effective is it?   Hopefully these tips will help you safely and effectively execute a great class in different settings but by protecting your health first so you can teach for years to come.

Cheers to strong vocal health!

Maria

About the Author

MARIA HEADSHOTMaria 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)

May
30

7 Tips to Successful Group Class Teaching

What Makes a Successful Class for You and Your Participants?

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“Left, right, left, right”

Fitness instructors have a fun job … right?  We get to yell out commands, push our participants out of their comfort zone and work the floor as if we were the only one on center stage!  This is partly fair to say, but we serve so much more than a bossy drill sergeant to our students.

We, as instructors create movements that effectively challenge our students to accomplish their fitness goals.  We are motivators, educators, listeners, coaches and an inspiration to those around us.   It’s a truly amazing role that we play and there are so many elements that have to come together to create an outstanding class experience for both parties and ensure participants keep coming back for more.

The role of a group fitness instructor is filled with personal experience, specific skills and a vast amount of knowledge that is developed over time.  We are creative ‘movers’ that motivate and inspire people to engage in a healthy lifestyle.  Classes flow from one movement to the next to the beat of the music (depending on the class), with phrased continual cuing that keeps the class flowing.

Teaching an effective class requires planning, strategy and continuous improvement efforts.   As a seasoned group fitness instructor for over 25 years, I am always learning and developing my teaching skills so that I can create a positive experience, not only for my students, but also for myself.  There are days when I am spot on and the class is killer from start to finish and there are days where things are a bit off and the energy in the class suffers.

So how can you learn to improve your skills, both personally and for your students?  I’d like to share some qualities I expect to receive in a class, and tips on how to make this happen.  Because YOU are what can make or break a participant’s experience!

Listed below are some important teaching concepts.  Be mindful that we all work in different ways and what affects one may not work for the other.  Learning how to be aware of possible situations and knowing how to accommodate all personalities, is a skill that develops over time.

The Importance Of A Good Welcome And A Proper Introduction

We can all agree that it’s always nice to be greeted and welcomed as you enter into any room.  Your class is about to sweat together, so putting them at ease is the best way to personalize your hello and interact with them as they walk in.  This develops trust and a personal connection with your students, especially as you get to know them more.

Always introduce yourself prior to the start, even if you are familiar with your students.  There’s always one person that can sneak into the room without you seeing them.  Perhaps give them a quote for the week, or a little fun fact about you that will break the ice.  As you talk, in the introduction and throughout the class, make direct eye contact with each student – it’s welcoming and can set a personal tone.  The introduction is also a great opportunity to share a brief explanation of the class and to remind them to work at their own pace.

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“What? I am fine.”

Ask About Injuries

Asking your students if they have any injuries or other health concerns prior to class is a must, so that you are prepared to make modifications for them.  However, from personal experience, I find it embarrassing and rather non-personal to ask the class as a whole and expect someone to blurt out their issues.  It puts the students on the spot.

Rather, ask ‘if you have any injury or health concern, please raise your hand and I will come to you’.  This way you can have a one-on-one short chat.  You can also ask as they enter the room and have another discussion post class to make sure they leave happily.  However you do it, try to respect your student’s privacy.

Accept Latecomers

Every class, studio or instructor may have his or her own set of rules on this topic. Some instructors will not allow a student to enter once the door is shut and I respect that. Arriving late to a class is not appropriate, however, things do happen.  You never know what has happened prior to their arrival and the effort they made to get to your class.  I would not take it personally, unless it was a consistent trait.    If someone is late, I suggest keeping the flow of the class going and help them quickly set up and warm-up before jumping right into the workout.

Set The Tone For Early Leavers

It drives me nuts when a student sneaks out right before you are about to end the class.   It can be frustrating but don’t take it personally.  Typically, a class ends with a few good stretches to lengthen the muscles worked and prevent injury.  It’s understandable that a student may have to leave early, but out of respect for you and the rest of the class, they should at least tell you prior to class and position themselves closer to the door so it doesn’t disrupt everyone else.  I recommend setting the tone at the beginning of the class so your students learn to take your sessions seriously and get most out of it.

Know Your Students

People of all ages and ability levels take classes for different reasons.  They may be attending due to the class time, the class type, or just because they like your style of teaching.  The more you teach your workout, the more you will learn about your students’ abilities, goals and any limitations. Pay attention to them before, during and after the class.  Learn as much as you can about them.  It shows you care and be genuine about it.  Over time you will gain their trust and that helps both of you in the long run.

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“Thank you, thank you very much”.

Use a Microphone but Know Your Voice

Most instructors today teach their class using a microphone so they can easily be heard without having to scream over loud music.  It allows you to float around the room cuing and correcting without disrupting the class flow.  Not only is it better for your students to hear you, but it’s also better for your vocal health.  It can prevent a serious case of vocal chord nodules from occurring.  Trust me, that’s not fun!

We all have our own teaching styles and ways to communicate but be sure to become aware of how you sound on a microphone and correct if needed.  There’s nothing worse than listening to a trainer who has a really grating high pitched voice for an hour or is shouting unnecessarily into the microphone.   Be sure to check yourself with and without the microphone regularly.

Having the ability to be yourself while teaching a class is a perfected skill and it’s always important to know what could affect your participants both positively and negatively.

Just Be You

Being an instructor is highly rewarding, but can also be exhausting.  Never lose sight of what you want your students to feel and experience in your class.

Remember to learn from experience and listen to your students’ feedback.  Your students give you joy and make you thrive to be the best you can be.  Do what you do best – be yourself and teach your heart out!

About the Author

MARIA HEADSHOTMaria 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)

May
19

GRAVITY Spotlight – BB Fitness Studios

GRAVITY Stands the Test of Time

Michele Melkerson-Granryd

Michele Melkerson-Granryd

BB Fitness Studios has been running GRAVITY classes at their location in Austin, TX for many years now. They purchased four Total Gym GTS units in 2008 and their small group training classes using GRAVITY programming are still going strong almost a decade later. We wanted to catch up with BB Fitness Studios to find out how GRAVITY has developed for them over the years and to see how it was still benefiting their members.  Michele Melkerson-Granryd, the General Manager and Personal Trainer, explained how they started up and how GRAVITY was working for them now.

“Our facility is heavily focused on group exercise classes, Personal Training and Pilates.  In 2006 we started small group training with a wall of Kinesis equipment. At that time, many of our trainers were concerned that small group training would cannibalize their individual training sessions.  However, what we experienced was something different.  Instead, our regular clients maintained their individual sessions and joined the additional small group training classes because it was so affordable for them.   It was a win, win for everybody!

One of the most exciting aspects was that we were able to attract group exercise class participants – a population, that in most clubs doesn’t typically spend much money outside of their membership dues. Our small group training quickly became a staple of the programming at our facility, generating additional revenue for the club and income for our trainers.

BB Fitness StudiosWe integrated equipment like BOSU, TRX units and medicine balls for variety and then in 2008 we expanded the program by adding the four GTS units.  At the time, we also purchased a Total Gym PowerTower for our main weight floor, so that our members and trainers would have access to a Total Gym unit if a GRAVITY class was going on.

Today, we run approximately 20-25 small groups per week (3-6 people per group) with additional seasonal 6-8 week small groups throughout the year.  Our sessions consist of single equipment sessions as well as sessions that fuse the various equipment modalities (e.g. GRAVITY/Kinesis Fusion).  We run both 60-minute group sessions and 30-minute express workouts.

GRAVITY challenges our fittest clients as well as those who have been inactive or are returning from injury. Our clients really get stronger, healthier and more functionally fit with GRAVITY.

Additionally, we recently purchased a GRAVITY License.  For a nominal annual fee, Total Gym provides our trainers with access to ready-made programming for their groups.  They have the freedom to use the programming exactly as it is or incorporate it into their own design.  The ongoing quarterly programming provides our trainers with enough fresh and safe material to use over the three months and it’s excellent for our long term clients who need the added variety to keep them coming back, one of the biggest challenges the industry faces, I think.”

GRAVITY at BB Fitness Studios

GRAVITY works with any fitness level

Trainer-Centric Equipment

Michele continued to tell us why they chose GRAVITY in the first place.

“When we add equipment to our facility – we look for “trainer-centric” equipment.  Equipment that is ­­­­most effective for our clients when used with the guidance and creativity of our trainers.  The criteria that we use when choosing equipment for small group training are:

  1. Return on investment – how quickly it will take to recoup the investment (number of sessions, etc.)
  2. Ease of use and maintenance.
  3. Reputation of the manufacturer.
  4. Training and support materials.
  5. Ability to use the equipment for both individual and group training sessions.
  6. Ability to handle a wide variety of clients.
  7. Potential for interesting and “fun” workouts.
GRAVITY at BB Fitness Studios

Versatile GTS machine

GRAVITY met all of the above criteria.  And while I wouldn’t trade any of the equipment we have now, if I were to open a small group training studio today – I would make GRAVITY the foundation of my studio, for sure. It’s  a cost effective option, equally appropriate for both group training and individual training and you can maximize studio usage, i.e. offer group sessions during prime time hours and train clients who require more individualized attention in off-peak hours.  It’s also really easy to configure the studio as the GTS units can be conveniently folded up and rolled to an alternate location.

For us, GRAVITY is a success story.  We love it and so do our members!”

For more information on GRAVITY, please visit http://gravitystudio.com/ or contact Ralph at 858-764-0078 | ralph@totalgym.com

May
9

5 Top Total Gym Exercises That Make a Great Class

Total Gym Exercises

(Watch the video)

Great Exercises That Save You Time AND Give An Effective Total Gym Class Workout

A daily task for any fitness instructor or personal trainer is to evolve, grow, learn, and constantly tweak their fitness programs to best fit the needs of their clientele. Whether in an one-on-one workout, a small group training session, or a group fitness class, you always want to provide fun, challenging, safe and unique workouts for your clients.   That might mean changing up the scenery, the intensity, the exercises, the number of reps, or even the music in order to create that unique experience for them.

One of my personal favorite group class formats to teach, is a circuit-style workout incorporating a Total Gym GTS machine. As the title implies, it really does offer the opportunity to provide a total body workout.

If you’re looking to add some variation to your class here are some great Total Gym exercises that you can incorporate into your next class, check out the following 6 exercises and create a mini-circuit with 45 seconds at each station:

Here are some ways to cue the exercises in the class.  All of these exercises can be performed at the mid to lower level range.  Increase the level as needed.

Total Gym Seated Forward - Chest Fly Chest Fly

Grasp the handles to bring the glideboard half way up the rails.

Facing away from the tower, straddle the glideboard and sit toward the top edge of the glideboard.

With tension on the cables, pull your legs up onto the glideboard and bend knees slightly and sit up straight.

Bring your hands together in front of you in a clapping motion to complete your first rep, then you repeat the exercise to complete the set.  Maintain a stable trunk.

Remember to squeeze in front of you fast but to come back slowly to the starting position.

Repeat this sequence to complete the first rep and then you repeat the exercise to complete the set.

Total Gym Chest Press

Chest Press

In the same starting position as the Chest Fly, push out directly in front of you and return to complete your first rep, then you repeat the exercise to complete the set.

Now repeat that motion to complete the 1st set.

Remember to press out fast but to come back in slowly to control the movements and maximize the muscle contractions.

Repeat this sequence to complete the first rep and then you repeat the exercise to complete the set.

Total Gym Seated Backward - Reverse Fly Reverse Fly (Upright Back Row)

Grasp the handles to bring the glideboard half way up the rails.

Facing towards the tower, straddle the glideboard and sit toward the top edge of the glideboard.

Lift feet up off the floor.  Sit up straight and with good posture begin to pull the arms back in an outward arc until the hands are directly in line with the side of the torso.

Maintain a stable core as the hands return with controlled back to the starting position.

Remember to pull in towards your body fast but to go out slowly to control the movements and maximize the muscle contractions. Repeat this sequence to complete the first rep and then you repeat the exercise to complete the set. (2 Sets of 15 Reps)

Total Gym - Seated Backward - Biceps Curl Bicep Curl (Curls)

Grasp the handles to bring the glideboard half way up the rails.

Facing towards the tower, straddle the glideboard and sit toward the top edge of the glideboard.

Lift feet up off the floor.  Sit up straight and with good posture and with a closed fist, bring handles up to your chest.  Keep elbows stationary.

Curl up fast, then come back down to the starting position slowly to complete the rep.  Repeat this sequence to complete the first rep and then you repeat the exercise to complete the set.

Total Gym - Upright Supine - Lying Leg Lift ALying Leg Lift (Leg Raises)

Push the glideboard halfway up the rails and straddle the glideboard facing away from the tower and sit at the bottom of the glideboard.

Lay down on the glideboard with your head fully supported by the glideboard.

Reach overhead and grasp the LAT Bars with your hands facing each other.

With your arms fully extended and your body stretched out, begin to lift your legs up simultaneously as high as you can to form the letter “L” out of your body, then slowly lower them back down. Repeat this sequence to complete the first rep and then you repeat the exercise to complete the set.

Creating a circuit-style workout on the Total Gym GTS is great for all fitness levels as you can easily raise or lower the resistance level for each individual client.  It’s a fun and effective way to incorporate strength training into your class and your members will enjoy the versatility of the class while getting a super total body workout in a short period of time.

For more information on how Total Gym programs can benefit your facility, please contact ralph@totalgym.com / 858 764-0078.

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.

May
2

Dr. Ben’s 15 Minutes to Fitness – SMaRT Plan

Dr. Ben’s SMaRT Plan: 5-Week Metabolic Makeover

Dr. Ben Bocchicchio

Dr. Ben Bocchicchio

In his new book, Fifteen Minutes to Fitness: Dr. Ben’s SMaRT Plan for Diet and Total Health, Dr. Vincent “Ben” Bocchicchio has developed a sensible and rational approach to diet and exercise.  It works in concert with our physiology to produce dramatic results and is something that every personal trainer and fitness professional should read.

It sounds like a new fad and just another new exercise plan in the long stream of the thousands, if not millions available to us. The foundation of this program, however, is based on years of study, observation and practice. It has delivered real and measurable results in the overwhelming majority of those who have tried it.

Dr. Ben has worked professionally in the fields of fitness and health for nearly 40 years.  An acknowledged leader in the field, he has built his success by combining science with effective body conditioning and technology to product optimum health, fitness, rehabilitation and weight loss.  In the 1970s, Dr. Ben developed slow resistance training, a fitness technique that changed the way people exercise.  Although, not a “body builder”, he maintained his physique by doing his 15-Minute SMaRT Workouts.

pec fly

Pectoral Fly

The SMaRT™ Program is a five-week metabolic makeover which covers exercises for everyone, whether you are a gym goer or a home exerciser.  It includes step-by-step photographs and instructions for each routine.  The Commercial Gym SMart Workout, the At-Home Resistance Band SMaRT Workout and the Total Gym SMaRT Workout takes you through the difference between exercise and activity. It talks about why cardio alone doesn’t work and the science behind why a high intensity resistance training program paired with a controlled carbohydrate diet, results in the most optimal fat burning program.

You will learn how to properly exercise all of the major muscle groups to failure, so that you engage all of the muscle fiber types, including the Type II b-fibers, the holy grail of fat and sugar burning.  Most folks are surprised to discover how quickly they can sense a feeling of increased strength and energy and how they can see body changes after even two or three workouts.

In 1974 when Dr. Ben created his slow resistance training program, now called  SMaRT-Ex, it was originally designed for elite athletes whose time and energy were at a premium, especially during their competitive seasons.  It has now been used by half a million people.  So what exactly is SMaRT-Ex?  It’s an acronym for Slow MAximum, Response Training Exercise, and it’s a system Dr. Ben invented and developed that is now a mainstream fitness technique used by trainers worldwide.  One of the most effective, efficient forms of exercise ever invented, SMaRT-Ex includes the following features:

Slow – Usually 15 degrees per second or slower (a much slower speed of movement than normal).  This controlled speed allows for isolation and focused muscle loading (significantly slower than the common speed of resistance training).

MAximum – Unless a subjectively high level of demand is met, optimal exercise stimulation is impossible.

Response – Constantly loading a muscle through its range of motion, using appropriate resistance to induce fatigue (“muscle failure”) for a physiologically determined length of time consistently produces the desired metabolic responses.

Training – Consistency and organization are mandatory in order to separate random physical activity from formal exercise.

Chest Press

Chest Press on GTS

Dr. Ben incorporates exercise with a SMarRT eating plan that does not force one to give up multiple foods, but concentrates on carbohydrate decrease.  He goes into gender specific weight loss problems, hormones, insulin sensitivity, liver taxation, systemic inflammation and many other important factors that contribute to the modern American diet.  The key, cut sugar and fuel with protein/fat.  With 5 weeks of meal plans and countless additional food options and suggestions, the SMarRT plan is a program to be strongly considered in this age of obesity and health issues.

This blog was posted with full permission from Dr. Ben Bocchicchio.  Click here to purchase your copy on Amazon.

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