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What’s Trending in Personal Training?

9 Trending Tips for Personal Trainers 2016-2017

As personal trainers, we are always looking for the next best thing to help our clients achieve their goals while keeping ourselves from getting stuck in a fitness rut. I’ll be the first to say, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it,” but let’s face it, there are some pretty cool things trending in the fitness world today that we should take advantage of: some old, some new, all tested, tried and true! Check out my top favorites.


Foam Rolling

Exercise & Muscle Recovery

More people are becoming keenly aware of the importance of muscle recovery. I personally have a deeper appreciation now that I’m getting older and my body doesn’t recover as quickly. There are lots of techniques available to aid in the process of recovery like SMR (Self-Myofascial Release) by way of Foam Rolling, The Stick and Trigger Point Therapy, compression clothing to improve circulation and provide support, and Cryotherapy or ice pack therapy which uses extremely low temperatures to decrease inflammation and help athletes recover faster. Check out the Total Gym Pulse blog on foam rolling.


Podify is an App that allows professionals to connect and collaborate by creating a referral network to grow each others businesses and create more revenue.  The App, which is free, provides real-time and interactive scheduling, automated billing, and referrals to wellness professionals. It is a trusted community marketplace that empowers trainers and their clients to do business with one another through their common trusted relationships.

Dejinira Lee - Virtual Personal Trainer

Virtual Training

Virtual Personal Training

Thanks to virtual training technology, trainers have another avenue to reach potential clients and change lives for the better, and clients have more access to a wider range of personal trainers. All you need is a computer, laptop, iPad or smartphone and you’re ready to roll. Virtual training omits commute times while providing the option to train in various locations. Check out my previous blog on Virtual Personal Training and get creative and give it a try. The sky’s the limit.

Wearable Technology


Slake Deluxe Activity Crystal Bracelet Carrier

We’ve all got fitness tracking technology in some form. And now there are plenty of fitness apps and studios utilizing this technology. Aside from smart phones being equipped with step counters, heart rate monitors and more, you can now buy sports bras with sensors, clip on fitness trackers, and you can even dress up for a black tie event without missing a step, with activity tracking jewelry from Swarovski.

Obstacle Course Races

For some, it’s on their bucket list while others just want a good, physically challenging experience. Parkour, Ninja Warrior and Spartan Training Gyms are opening up everywhere and encouraging folks to put their passion for fitness to the test. Male, female, young, old, fit or not, obstacle courses are the new rage. Grab your clients, put a team together and get moving.

Bodybuilding Competitions

With thousands of men and women competing every year, this cult classic is one of the fasting growing athletic events in the country. There’s more to it than just looking good. The goals of a successful competitor are a great body, great stage presence, personality, showmanship and strength. Need some inspiration? Check out Ernestine Shepherd.

Total Gym Row Trainer Class

Total Gym Row Trainer Class

Small Group Training

This is one of my personal favorites. There’s fun, camaraderie and just a slight hint of competitiveness when you get together with a small group of people to train. Whether it’s bootcamp in the park, a Total Gym Elevate Circuit class or a Total Gym Row Trainer class, or a dance class like U-Jam or Zumba, there’s excitement knowing that people are expecting you to show up. We all have those days when it’s difficult to find the mojo to get moving. With SGT all you have to do is get there.

Back to Basics: Workout 101

Joseph Goldstein, John Grimek, Eugen Sandow. Do you recognize these names? They were pioneers in the fitness industry; experts who built a solid foundation for a long, healthy life. Their fitness journeys began in the late 1800s and early 1900s with principles based on isometrics, high repetition training, deep breathing and sticking to a very clean diet. Other disciplines included self-resistance workouts and creating variety when working out to stimulate muscle growth and keep the training program interesting. If you find yourself getting overwhelmed with all the intensity of HIIT, GRIT and CrossFit, just bring it back to the basics.Close up of asparagus on white background

Diet & Nutrition

Fitness enthusiasts are now spending as much time focusing on clean eating as they are planning their workout routines and trainers are spending as much time learning about nutrition as they are training. Clients are looking for the whole package; nutrition, fitness and motivation all rolled up into one fabulous trainer.

The fitness industry continues to create new, exciting ways to keep people interested and gives trainers as many options as possible to create opportunities for clients to be successful. As more options become available, more people are joining the fitness movement. Whatever kind of workout you clients are looking for, keep your knowledge broadened and make sure you’re it.

About the Author

Dejinira LeeDejinira Lee has been an ACE certified personal trainer, group fitness instructor and nutrition specialist since 1997. She received her education from UCLA’s specialized Fitness & Nutrition program and Tuft’s University for Total Nutrition. Dejinira is also a Total Gym GRAVITY Trainer, BOSU Master Trainer Levels I and II, and an ACE trained Clinical Exercise Specialist. She currently works with golfers, instructors and regular clients of all fitness levels, in both a Virtual and Studio setting, focusing on improving strength, range of motion, balance and agility. “I love meeting the different needs of my clients! It keeps my mind active and inspires me to keep learning. There’s no better feeling than hearing my clients say “I can’t believe I did that!”


Cuing to Music for your Workout Class

How to Cue at the Right Times for the Next Move


5, 6, 7, 8 is burned in my brain, in part of my subconscious. I probably say it in my sleep, because I know I dream about it. I am not going to get all wordy and technical to explain how you should cue to music while you are teaching, but chances are if you are a new instructor and already nervous about keeping a class going with a good flow, you don’t want to read something complicated and end up with more anxiety.

Even though I am a dancer and counting and cuing is like drinking water, I really came about all of this by a FEELING. And by that I mean, some of us learn to cue and count and others just naturally feel it. Only until I taught my first dance class at 16 did I have to really put cuing in to practice. This is when I learned not everyone felt the music like I did. A student would ask me “what count was that on?” And I would go…”Umm, it was BOOM BAP DA DA BOOM BOOM”. Then they would look at me with a blank stare and I would have to say, “well I don’t really know, let’s go back and do it with counts out loud.”  For me I just knew when the music would change or when there was going to be a new instrument added or a beat was about to
disappear or appear.

What I suggest is this…

Listen to as much music as you can and test yourself. Play your music and don’t count, then in the middle of the song try to find the count to drop into. The more comfortable you get with beats, melodies and different types of music the easier it will be.

Learn your instruments. Learn what they sound like so you can recognize them when they appear at the beginning of a new set or in the middle. Sometimes you will pick a song and the sets are happening on the intro of a new instrument not just a distinctive drum beat. Plus it will open up your world to a whole new style of music. Remember you want to keep your class interesting and fresh.

Know your routine. If you are not someone who can just improvise, then make sure you know your routine inside and out. In the beginning you can try to end your 8 counts on a distinctive move.

Use visual cuing. Some people are visual learners and no matter how many times you yell out “7, 8” or “on the 1, 2”, they will miss it every time. Try placing your hand in the air and using your fingers to do a count down while you are verbally counting as well.

1250525What Type of Music Should I Play?

The type of class you are teaching, the mood or vibe you need will all boil down to the style of music you choose and want. And this is where the real learning about cuing happens.

Hard to count music will fall into the category of Classical Ballet, Contemporary, Ambient and Jazz Music. This type of music is definitely a feeling. You will find that the tempo switches around a lot: sometimes fast, sometimes slow.

Easy to count music will be your Hip Hop, House, Techno and most Pop Music. These all have distinctive beats and are pretty much to the point. You will also find that when counting to it you will have:

4 sets of a 4 count or 4 sets of an 8 count.

With this style of music, you will also have your basic BPM (beats per min) or Steps per min. This can be from 130-180 BPM, and will be your cardio dance class, step, kickboxing, Zumba, and others. But to be honest I never pay that much attention to it. As long as the music goes with my routine and the students aren’t tripping over their feet, you are probably not going to judge your music based on how many BPM’s there are or aren’t. One more thing about counting to music that most people forget to tell, is no matter if there is a 4 count or an 8 count, there is also a little count called the “And” count. This is the space between each count. You can leave it open, or the more advanced teachers will have a move on the “And” count. Now they might only keep it for 4 counts and then go back to 5, 6, 7, 8, but it would go a little something like this…

1 and 2 and 3 and 4, 5, 6, 7, 8.1903213


1 and 2, 3, 4, 5 and 6, 7, 8.

This little “And” count can make your routine a little thicker and complex, kind of like a hearty vegetable soup!

Follow the Leader…

Remember, when you are in the position of being an instructor, for that hour or whatever length of time your class is, “YOU ARE THE LEADER”!! If you are feeling a little out of control or lost just say, “OK after this next move let’s take a break, keep moving and get some water”. This gives you a chance to get your bearings back and start fresh. You can also switch up your music completely. So have a bunch of options for yourself in music. When you are calm and confident that energy will flow through the room and if you are not, well they will feel that also. Try keeping your instruction simple, not talking the whole time so that it doesn’t ruin the experience for your students. They say if you want to really learn something then teach it. For you first time Instructors nothing could be more true. It’s OK to mess up from time to time, it keeps you real and it’s how you learn, plus I have seen some of the top instructors flub up plenty of times. It’s not whether you mess up but how you recover.

Always remember…

People are coming to get away, to have and experience and have fun while getting into shape. Being and instructor that teaches to feel the music while helping them tap into that deeper part of themselves goes way beyond just cuing.

Until next time…

About the Author

Melissa MunizMelissa L. Muniz is a certified Pilates Instructor, Dance teacher, Choreographer, Actor, Model and full time Mom! She has spent over a decade traveling the world studying traditional dance such as Flamenco in Spain and cultural dance in Indonesia to name but a few. She has toured with Nickelodeon as a dance performer and actor and starred in several music videos and movies. Melissa had the opportunity to train teachers for the opening of the first Pilates Studio in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia and has been working with Total Gym as a Gravity Master Trainer since 2002. She has loved the inspiration and support that Total Gym gives and lives by. Melissa now resides with her family in Atlanta GA, teaching at a Wellness Center where she infuses life, happiness and understanding of the body, to those with an open heart and mind.


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.”


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!


Understanding Total Gym Progressions Part II

Combining Pullover Crunch, Reverse Lunges, & Chest Flies for the perfect routine


Understanding Total Gym Progressions


Some clients like to be tortured … in a good way of course! Others look to their trainer to provide the best workouts, with the best exercises to achieve their desired goals. Then there are those clients that struggle to make their session and want to talk the whole time avoiding another boring squat! 

Regardless of the type of client you work with, the same struggles hold true for all, and that is to provide the best exercise challenges suitable for each client at their fitness levels.  The workouts developed need to evolve so that the client’s interest, motivation and achievements, continually progress with success.

Progression is a strategy that is developed to allow your client to advance in his or her own movement skills.  This is an important concept to understand since every client has different goals and training needs as well as his or her own set of strengths and weaknesses.  What is challenging for one may be easy for another. 

Once a skill or task is mastered, something needs to be changed to continue to advance.  This is where proper progression becomes an art form.

Progressing An Exercise

Listed below are the primary ways to progress an exercise.  These methods each have their own progressions within themselves, but if you understand how each one affects the other and that slight changes can alter a movement to obtain a skill, then you will be able to effectively execute the appropriate progressions for your clients when they are ready to advance.

> Incline adjustmentincreasing or decreasing the incline

> Speed – performing an exercise faster vs. slower.

> Body Position – altering the body’s position challenges different muscle angles.

> Sets & Reps/ Sequences/ Style – These factors enhance the workout challenge.

> Add Uni or Bilateral Movements- Changing an exercise from both limbs to working one at a time not only adds an increased strength challenge but it also allows focus to be placed on the weaker side while using core stabilizers.

> Incorporate Compound Movements – Performing two exercises at once challenges multiple muscle groups simultaneously and saves time.

Adding these dimensions to your clients’ workouts may be a successful game changer.

Total Gym Progression Tips:

The Total Gym offers so many variations when it comes to progressing an exercise.  Here are some ways to progress a basic exercise to a more challenging option:

Adjusting the incline for increased resistance

Increasing or lowering the incline changes the feel of an exercise.  Typically, a higher incline is more challenging for extremity work, and a lower incline is more challenging for core work. 

For example, performing pull-ups with a high incline is more challenging due to the gravitational load and direction of pull.  The higher the incline for this exercise, the harder the exercise.  The Total Gym can provide assistance for those clients needing strength development by allowing the client to successfully perform the exercise at a lower level.

Changing the anchor position

Adjusting the hand/ leg stance position during specific exercises can challenge an exercise.   Changing the anchor placement of weight distributed on the glide board by a seated, kneeling, high kneeling, or standing position can also challenge an exercise.

For example, performing a seated row in the middle of the glide board at a low level is less challenging than performing the same exercise from a kneeling stance at the top of the glide board at a moderate incline.  It requires more core stability and balance to adjust from a seated to a kneeling position. 

Added Resistance

Adding external resistance along with the Total Gym provides an extra challenge for your core, balance, coordination, and strength.  Always perfect a client’s form from the simplest level before adding an extra “fitness toy” or external resist.  Creativity is great, but if it hinders a client’s form, then the purpose is defeated.

For example, performing a reverse lunge on the Total Gym challenges core balance, stability, and strength.  When adding extra resistance or a movement skill that follows the basic reverse lunge, more muscles are recruited, coordination plays a role, and effective execution of the exercise is still the primary goal.  Intensity can always be added, as long as a client is ready for the challenge.

Analysis of each exercise needs to be done in order to progress your client appropriately during their workouts.  This is what will make all the difference for a successful session each time.

Basics to Progress

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

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

Pullover Crunch

  • Supine
  • Legs at 90 degrees
  • Straight Legs

Reverse Lunges

  • Closed Glide Board, Stationary Lunge
  • Open Glide Board
  • Pulses

Chest Flies

  • Seated
  • Kneeling
  • High Kneeling
  • Static equilibrium

These are a few examples of how to simply progress a basic exercise.  From understanding the basics, you can always add in your own progressions to create more challenges.

A personal trainer has many responsibilities to execute safe, effective and efficient training sessions to clients.  Being knowledgeable of the basic exercise principals allows progressions to occur when a client is strong and ready.  It is important to understand these modifications, variations and specifics to each exercise to accommodate clients properly by layering an exercise with proper advancements.  It’s always amazing to see the simplest exercises to be some of the hardest to perform.

Inspire and challenge your clients each session by going back to the basics and layering 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)

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