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7 Tips On How To Manage A Successful Class

ELEVATE Circuit Class

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

You Are Amazing

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

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

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

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


4 Top Tips To Be A Successful Personal Trainer

Successful Personal Trainer with Total Gym

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

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

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

Get Certified

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

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

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

Be an Expert Networker

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

Bone Up on your Social Media

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

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

Have a Business Plan

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

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

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

About the Author

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


5 Key Components of a Group Class


5 Top Tips That Make Your Classes Enjoyable, Your Members Coming Back

When designing a new group fitness model for your clients, there are a few key components that create the right type of atmosphere for a successful training environment. With so many studios and gyms popping up every single day, it is absolutely critical that your group fitness program is top notch and can stand out in your local community.

You can be as creative as you want, when it comes to the exercise programming, but here are 5 key components that you can implement to make your program really successful:


This is a biggie. Clients have to enjoy you, your class and your facility.   And when they keep coming back, they will also refer people to you and grow your business. How do you create that buzz and excitement? You do so by creating unmatched energy. I don’t care if your entire exercise program is built around brooms and mops, make it the most energetic broom and mop program EVER.

Creating energy in your program is not nearly as difficult as some would suggest. In fact, you can do so in a number of ways, that include:

(1) Hire (or be) an energetic instructor.

(2) Have energetic people work for you at the front desk. They will create excitement the moment your clients walk through the door.

(3) Have energetic people participate in the workouts.

(4) Switch up the workouts, so clients don’t get used to the same routine.

(5) Select GOOD top 100 songs, so clients get lost in the rhythm and forget their heart rate is up.

Build Camaraderie

Like most things in life, it is better to do things with people that you know and care about. When that bond is formed, people tend to do those things more often. In the fitness industry, we do have a rare opportunity to build relationships that create camaraderie. Shockingly, most people actually don’t like to work out on a regular basis, if at all.  So, it is extremely important for us to provide as many ways as possible, to encourage our clients to consistently attend the gym and spend time working out with their friends.


Motivation is hugely important and very critical because it is usually the driving force as to why someone will or will not join your program.

Even though, as we said earlier, most people don’t like to work out,  many do work out on a regular basis. They do it for an internal reason or goal.  They do it because it could be life or death for them.  Maybe they do it to have more energy for their kids or maybe they are doing it to relieve some back pain. What is important, is that these people provide the most insight to the mindset of those who don’t want to work out.

Whatever the reason may be, they are motivated by some THING and that is our job as fitness professionals to figure out what that THING is.   Everyone is driven differently and everyone needs to be treated accordingly.

Don’t be afraid to ask your clients lots of questions to figure out where their motivation levels lie. Whether that be physical appearance, health related, or something completely different, the more data you collect, the better.    The more you can use that data to build successful programs the more you will create motivation.


This is another biggie.  If you look at gym statistics in the fitness industry, you will notice that the new client acquisition period is January and February and again in April and May. You will also notice that the majority of these newbies will quickly either cancel their membership in a month or two or just keep paying and not show up.

One way to get around these no-shows, is to create a contract.   I’m not talking about a financial contract but an accountability contract that identifies their goals. State what you expect of them while they are under your tutelage.  You will have to do some work now, because you will have to actually hold them to it. You will have to assess them regularly, do pop-up visits to their workplace or home, meet with them quarterly to discuss their goals, and you will need to stay in constant contact via text, email, social media and phone.

Some clients will need more accountability checks, than others which means it is up to you to create the right type of accountability system for each individual client. Some will need daily monitoring and others quarterly, but the bottom line is that everyone will need some level of accountability.


Of course, clients must have fun while they are in your facility. It doesn’t matter if your program is 110% guaranteed to hit every single client goal, if you or your instructors are boring, it’s a given that a new client just won’t last very long. People always look reasons not to work out and being bored just makes it easy for them.  So take it upon yourself to make sure that your facility eliminates those potential excuses.

Aim to be buzz-time energetic, camaraderie built, highly motivating, accountability driven, and the most fun facility in the world!

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.


Trainer Harley Pasternak Uses ELEVATE Pull-Up



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

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

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

Harley Pasternak

Harley Pasternak

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

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

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

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

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


CHEK Institute Brings ELEVATE Row ADJ Into The Mix

Paul Chek has Ben Greenfield demo the new ELEVATE Row ADJ

Paul Chek

Paul Chek

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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




Make Your Gym A Media Magnet

3 Ways To Become The Go-To-Person In Your Local Media Market

In any business, marketing is a huge deal. It is not just when you start your business, but the entire time that you ARE IN business.  Think about it for a moment, how are you going to get business if you don’t consistently market yourself or your studio?

As far as which marketing technique works best for you or your company, that will depend on a number of things.   The type of business you are in, your budget, your target market and what your marketing objectives are, will all play a part in the marketing avenues that you choose.

Marketing, in general, enables you to show off your knowledge and build credibility.  But it can be expensive.  Free marketing, however is good for everyone, but especially for us, in the fitness space.  Because we are in a service industry, paid marketing can make customers skeptical, since they know that the advertisement was paid for.  When marketing is free, you will build your client base.

However, your marketing efforts will be far better when you’re able to get testimonials from clients.   When you also get the platform to really show how unique and awesome of a fitness professional you are and how incredible your fitness studio is, then that is when you will really shine.

One of the best ways to do this in your own community, is to create a relationship with your local media, such as TV news and radio stations, magazines and newspapers.

Each one of these media outlets have opportunities for you to pay for advertising too. But did you know that, if you provide great content for them, then each one of these companies will feature you for free? Then you will become a reputable resource for them and they will continue to turn to you for more.  All for free as well.

Below I’m going to describe 3 ways to help you to become the go to person in your local media market that will help you to inspire your community while also marketing your studio and getting more clients to train with you, all for free!

Create Newsworthy Content – Unless you live in a really big market such as Los Angeles or New York City, then your local media will always be on the search for new stories to place in their media circulation. The media is always looking for a great interview about a trending topic or an unique perspective about a potentially controversial topic. Sometimes they are just looking for something that is simply really, really cool.

One of the most successful media pictures that we have ever made at my gym, MZR Fitness, to our local market was a few years ago when we offered an essay contest during National Childhood Obesity Awareness Month for parents to write essays with their kids about the importance of health and fitness.

It was for families with kids that were between 8 – 13 years old and the family with the best essay won 3 months of private training for their family at my gym. It was hugely successful, as we inspired our entire community, and we received over 300 essays for the contest. The family who won still works out with us and we also got well over 70 new clients from that contest and it was all because of the media coverage from our local news station. Talk about impact! To date, that segment is still one of highest rated non-political segments of all time for our local news station.

Be Available and Ready – Once you establish a relationship with your local media, it is imperative that you continue to nurture that relationship by being very consistent and never being too busy for them. No matter what, make yourself available because the local media can easily replace you and get another fitness source to come on camera and speak to them about any number of fitness topics.

The upside of being consistently available is HUGE because once they feel that you are a credible and reliable source, they will begin to seek you out for your expertise when they need a source for a fitness topic. But if they feel that it takes a long time for you to respond to them or you consistently don’t meet their deadlines, then this relationship can quickly deteriorate. So again, make it a point to quickly respond to every request and if they end up giving you a deadline, ALWAYS deliver the content as early as possible and never wait until the deadline date to submit it.

Be Presentable and Prepared – This point piggy backs the other point listed above about being available and ready.

You also have to make sure that you are always presentable in every interview situation. Make sure that you shirt is tucked in and that your hair is combed. Make sure that you are not flashy with dark shades and jewelry on. You also want to make sure that you can speak and convey your fitness message confidently and with a relatable voice and tone. Make it your business to know the target audience of every media outlet before you write anything for them and/or are interviewed by them, so that you can customize your message to their readers, viewers, and followers.

By being committed to the above points, your local media will love you for taking your role seriously and will continue to seek you out for the foreseeable future for your expertise on all topics related to health and fitness!

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.


Which Heart Rate Monitor is Best For Your Clients?

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

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

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

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

Industry Background

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

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

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

MyZone MZ3Cost Effective?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Top Heart Rate Monitors

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


Wahoo Tickr

Polar H10

MyZone MZ3

Garmin HRM Tri

To receive a discounted price on MyZone MZ3 Click here

About the Author

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

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