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What is Virtual Personal Training?

Skype Your Way into the World of Virtual Fitness

by Dejinira Lee

Dejinira Lee - Virtual Personal Trainer tells how she discovered the world of Personal Training and Virtual Personal Training

Dejinira in a Personal Training Session

I didn’t grow up dreaming of being a personal trainer. I didn’t play sports in school. In fact, when I look back on my young adult years, I was on the fast track to a very unhealthy lifestyle. I was a pack-a-day smoker and ate junk food every single day. I knew I had to get my act together so I quit partying, joined a gym and hired a personal trainer. I have never felt better.

I remember when I was young someone told me I should look for a job that offered stability and a paycheck, but not to waste my time looking for something I enjoyed because I would grow to resent it. Fast forward several years and many cubicles later —sure I had a steady paycheck, but I was miserable. I decided to go back to school, but had no idea what I wanted to do. One day a friend asked me what I really enjoyed doing. My answer was “Exercise, but who makes a living doing that?” She challenged me to go to different gyms and ask questions—gain knowledge. So, I quit my job, walked into a gym and asked if they were hiring. Now I’m not suggesting that this is the way one should go about changing careers, but the stars were aligned for me that day and three weeks later I was somehow teaching a class.

One month later I was teaching three classes per week and a few months and many classes later my fitness manager asked if I would be interested in becoming a personal trainer.

From that point forward my education was geared toward health and fitness. I have learned so much not only from books, but through each and every client that I’ve trained. One of the most important lessons has been that training is so much more than physical. It is mental, emotional and spiritual. Over the years I have been fortunate enough to train clients, teach classes, mentor instructors and travel the world educating people on healthy living. It has been my goal from the beginning to impact as many people as I can and get people healthy one step at a time.

One day I saw a TV show where a doctor was performing an examination on a patient, virtually. She lived abroad but was able to consult with patients through a robotic computer screen. I thought, “how cool would it be to train clients that way?”

I wasn’t sure how it was going to work, but my curiosity was peaked. I just needed to find a willing and able body that I could practice on. It didn’t take long before we were up and running—literally. My biggest concern was making sure that I could help my clients achieve the proper form so they could accomplish great results without injury. Today I teach up to 10 virtual classes a week in addition to my IRL (in real life) sessions.

How Virtual Training Works

All you need is a computer, laptop or iPad: even a smartphone and you’re ready to roll. There are so many ways to connect on the net via Skype, Google Hangouts, Oovoo and Facebook just to name few. I usually check in with a text, a few minutes before the session begins, so we each have time to login and we’re ready to work when the camera comes on. Sometimes we may even change up the scenery and head to a local park or even their backyard. The sky’s the limit.

Just like training sessions in real time, session time and frequency are at the client’s request. I must admit scheduling took some getting used to, especially when training clients abroad. Be prepared for some unusual working hours.

Assessing New Clients

When I begin training a new client, I always perform an assessment, which may include postural analysis, health history, and a strength and flexibility test. I also take an inventory of what equipment they have including things around the house because we all know you don’t have to belong to a gym to get a great workout. That way I can design a program that will best suit the client and help them to achieve their goals in the best way possible. Form is so important, so I always have eyes on my client, ready to make adjustments if and when necessary.

What Equipment Works Best

There are so many great workout tools out there. My clients range from having a set of weights and a mat, while others have gyms that are fully equipped. We always make it work with whatever is available. You aren’t limited to what’s in front of you.

Once my new clients get more comfortable with virtual training, we really start to have a good time. We may have a little challenge to see who can plank the longest or take 60 seconds to find an item in the house and turn it into a piece of exercise equipment.

Why It Works

The beautiful thing about virtual training is the simplicity of how it works. You don’t have to leave your house. I’ve worked with several people who don’t feel comfortable exercising in a gym or around large crowds. You also don’t need to pack a gym bag, get in the car or drive anywhere. It’s nice to save the commute time. You can just roll out of bed and login. Heck, it doesn’t even matter if you don’t brush your teeth! Can’t say that when you’re training IRL. You’ve got hotel rooms for travelers, park benches, the beach, hills in your neighborhood: get out in the open, even the tightest space in the home can provide enough for a great workout. As long as I can see the moving parts, it’s all good. You can work wherever you are.

I have also found that the cancellation rate is almost nil with virtual training. In this day and age we spend so much time on the computer; we might as well be getting some good physical fitness out of it.

Success Stories

It seems to me that the ease of getting in a great workout without having to leave home has given clients an extra boost of energy to use elsewhere. I love it when my clients check in with reports of additional workouts done on their own and more mindful eating habits. One of my clients who lives in the Caribbean has been working diligently, checking in constantly and logging her food in a 3rd party app. She’s lost 17 pounds in 12 weeks. Another has developed a passion for fitness and food, which led her to complete a Spartan Race and with no previous experience has developed Briskbars healthy energy bar, which just ranked a #1 new seller on Amazon.

The bottom line is that the world is full of people who just need a little guidance and support so they can live healthier lives. Thanks to virtual training technology, trainers have a whole other avenue to reach potential clients and change lives for the better, and clients have more access to a wider range of personal trainers. It’s a win / win. You just have to be open and willing to step out of your comfort zone and try something new. I’m glad I did so I can continue my goal of getting everyone healthy and fit. If you or your clients are interested in Virtual Personal Training they can find me at

About the Author

Dejinira LeeDejinira is 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.

As well as an ACE certified personal trainer, group fitness instructor and nutrition specialist since 1997, Dejinira received her education from UCLA’s specialized Fitness & Nutrition program and Tufts University for Total Nutrition.

“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!”


PROJECT WALK: Customer Spotlight To Join This Worthy Cause

by Mark Kirkpatrick


While we’re all busy keeping up with our own healthy lifestyle, eating healthy, exercising and working out, many of us also participate in charity events that are associated with our fitness programs. We’re participating in triathlons, biking, swimming running in that 5 or 10K event, raising money for local walk-a-thons and other worthwhile programs. When it comes to those of us living in the San Diego area, the Project Walk foundation is definitely worthy of our attention.


The fine folks over at Project Walk began their endeavors to help those mostly afflicted with spinal cord injuries, but their treatments and methodology also address those dealing with the devastation of:

The results following a stroke

  • ALS (or Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis)
  • Traumatic Brain Injuries (or TMI)
  • Cerebral Palsy (CM)
  • Multiple Sclerosis (MS)
  • Both children and adults afflicted with SCI (Spinal Cord Injuries)


It all began back in 1999, with a small training center in conjunction with SCI Business Solutions based in San Diego. Addressing those with the inability to perform one of life’s most basic and fundamental functions, the ability to walk and have normal mobility, SCI, together with Project Walk, both have one of the most experienced management teams in the paralysis industry. Not being tied down to just the Southern California area, they eventually branched out to locations throughout the United States, including Colorado, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey and Texas.


Project Walk’s Mission Statement, “We Aim to Change the World’s View of Disability to That of Ability,” follows a path similar to those supporting many other types of charities: We run, walk and offer our support to those who often cannot do so for themselves due to a disability, injury or disease. Still other times, we are there to lend a helping hand to those suffering from these types of debilitating conditions, raising money for research to offer better treatments or are present in order to honor those we have lost.

In any event, Project Walk is committed to the treatment, support and rehabilitation of those suffering from spinal cord injuries, the accompanying paralysis and other types of these life-altering conditions. In the past, it was often believed that those with these kinds of injuries and disorders were doomed to be immobile for the rest of their lives and little was offered to assist them, but this is not the case with Project Walk.


In the past, spinal cord injuries and other life-changing events related to the loss of mobility were often treated with monetary compensation, rather than human compassion. It was believed that the nervous system was unable to completely recover (or offer those afflicted with paralysis) with any kind of hope for improved function.

This type of falsehood and negative attitude is something that Project Walk is changing. They are continuing to succeed with documented examples of their success. Although 100% complete recovery isn’t always a possibility, Project Walk doesn’t give up on with an attitude of continued hope for their patients, including their friends and family … they’re not just a number or a statistic.

Rather than concentrating on what is the unthinkable result of being paralyzed, instead Project Walk looks to offer hope through their programs of rehabilitation, instead of a remembrance of what once was and taking on a defeatist attitude. Again, this type of positive recovery through activity, physical fitness and attentive care is exactly what these shattered lives need to progress towards a better future with continued activity and awareness.


We all know how important mobility, physical fitness and exercise are to our overall health and well-being, and the same is true for those who are ability and mobility challenged. Utilizing world-renowned, activity based programs, they focus on specific exercises and fitness experiences that focus on using movement patterns that occurred during basic human development in our formidable years.

These basic movements are beginning to establish a neurological pattern through brain function that connects with the physical movements that have been somehow lost in the translation associated with the injury. What was once lost, is now being found through activity, exercise and attentiveness with the staff, ongoing research and hard work with both the patients, their families and people at Project Walk.


Obviously Project Walk could use monetary contributions, but similar to their somewhat unorthodox approaches to these types of debilitating conditions, they’re looking towards more of a community support approach. Obviously these unfortunate people are often strapped with overwhelming medical expenses are faced with a number of financial hurdles, especially since medical and life insurance can be out of reach for some of them. But similar to Project walk, there are often other options available through different “rate classes” and other financial resources … but that’s the subject for a whole different topic.

While Project Walk thinks “outside of the box,” when it comes to “run-of-the-mill” care, recovery and rehabilitation, however they do support other, more traditional fundraising options.


While warmer spring and summer months might still be a ways off, Project Walk is associated with a couple of events in May of 2016 near San Diego and close to Claremont, California to help further this important cause:

  1. The Wings For Life Run – Watch the sunrise take place with this popular run located in the third largest city in Los Angeles near Santa Clarita.
  1. The 7th Inning Stretch – Paralysis support continues with “Helping Hal Heal Others” that thwarts the insurance company’s denial of claims that are rightfully due to these patients.

Save the date(s), visit their website for more details, help save lives, keep fit and help others to move, walk and run, something we often take for granted!

About the Author

Mark Kirkpatrick is a blogger and tech enthusiast in Santa Clara, California. He has found that productivity starts with healthy habits and hopes to help others achieve their goals through positive reinforcement.


Why the Total Gym Jump Trainer Provides Great ROI.

American Council on Exercise Reviews the Total Gym Jump Trainer

Club owners are always looking for the next trend to emerge on the gym floor. Whatever that trend is, it needs to be cost effective, with a good return on investment. It needs to have fast, effective results, take up a small  floor footprint and the members must love it. Sounds like a tall order doesn’t it?

For those who haven’t jumped in years, or who have difficulty in jumping due to injury, the Total Gym® Jump Trainer™ is an intuitive and effective way to start again. Using one’s own bodyweight users can begin with gentle squats, progress to squat jumps and explode into Plyometric jumps providing a challenging cardio workout. Part of the 6-piece Total Gym® Elevate Circuit™,  the Jump Trainer is perfect as a self-serve unit on the gym floor or ideal for personal trainers in a small group training setting.

Here’s what the American Council on Exercise had to say about the Jump Trainer in their online product review:

“It’s easy to use, accommodates all fitness levels and you can work at your own pace. Add Plyometric squats to the mix and the explosive power is amplified increasing speed of recovery and improving muscular strength while adding a calorie-burning, cardio-component” said Total Gym President, Jesse Campanaro.

For those who are at a more advanced fitness level the Jump Trainer trains all the lower body muscles and tendons, increasing range of motion through eccentric and concentric loading and with the optional addition of variable band resistance, the exercises can really be challenging.

“The Jump Trainer is extremely popular here. All different ages and fitness levels are utilizing it and we have had very positive feedback. The trainers here especially like using it with their clients.  It is a great piece. I would say it is equally, if not more popular than the Core Trainer,” Michael Marquez, Health and Fitness Director, Toby Wells YMCA, San Diego, CA, explained.

For Physical Therapists, the Jump Trainer has a different installation setting where the closed chain load is 30-65 percent of the user’s own bodyweight, compared to 50-80 per cent on the fitness setting. Clinicians can modify the load and introduce Plyometric training earlier on in the treatment phase as well as taking the patient to the next level easily through the seven incline level adjustments and the 10-70lbs of resistance in 10lb increments.

The specially designed ergonomic foot platform allows for proper biomechanics through the anatomic curve of the hip to foot ratio and the built in slide distance regulator regulates range of motion. The Jump Trainer has a wide glideboard and the angled backrest ensures comfort, support and safety, letting the Clinician focus on core stabilization response, as spinal alignment is improved.

Patients love that they can do squats on the equipment when they can’t perform them on their own,” said a spokesperson from the Three Rivers Health Outpatient Therapy, MI.

The Jump Trainer is a versatile piece that will benefit your facility and your ROI, whether you are a Club Owner, a Physical Therapist, an Athletic Trainer or Strength & Conditioning Coach.  It will deliver a faster return to sports, a quicker recovery for patients and it’s an impressive strength training piece for gym-goers.  And one more thing… did we mention it is FUN?

Click here to see more Physical Therapy benefits


How to Retain Gym Members with Circuit Training on Total Gym

Refresh your class in 2016 and retain members with circuit training

Every year, January starts with a great rush in the fitness industry as gym-goers burst with enthusiasm and New Year resolutions, but by mid March have they lost their interest?

A Total Gym/GRAVITY class is a  fresh way to keep your members engaged and interested.  The fun factor, rapid results and the health benefits of a half hour – 45 minute functional total body workout,  can maintain long-term loyalty and provide enjoyment that will keep members coming back through to next January.

Keeping a choreographed Total Gym/GRAVITY class exciting may sometimes be challenging.  Fun new exercises and workout tips keep your exercise repertoire stimulating and your members happier.  Here’s an easy circuit-style workout that new class participants or regular members will enjoy.  And it’s simple to implement!GTSinuse_300DPI

Set Up – What you Will Need:

Ideally, you will need eight GTS units (you can add more rounds if you don’t have enough units). Take a little bit of time to write or print out the exercises for each station and stick them to the tower on the unit. Even though you will likely demo the exercises before each round, by the time the participant gets to any given station they may have forgotten, so a visual cue will be very helpful.   To familiarize yourself with the exercises please refer to your Foundation Manual (that you received when you took the course).

How Long the Workout Should Last:

  • 45 seconds per station,
  • 15 seconds transition time = 8 minutes per round.
  • 4 Rounds = 32 minute workout.
  • (Add warm-up and/or cool-down of 10 minutes = 42 minutes total)

How to Configure Your GTS Machine Stations:

  • Station 1: Set up for Squat – no pulley
  • Station 2: Set up for Biceps
  • Station 3: Set up for Torso Rotation – use Adjustable Glideboard
  • Station 4: Set up for Hamstring Curl
  • Station 5: Set up for Row
  • Station 6: Set up for Chest
  • Station 7: Set up for Triceps
  • Station 8: Set up for Overhead Press – with Press Bar

Round 1

Station 1: Regular Squats

Station 2: Bilateral Bicep Curls – Palms Facing Up

Station 3: Torso Rotation – Kneeling – Left side

Station 4: Bilateral Hamstring Curl

Station 5: Low Row – Palms Facing Each Other

Station 6: Chest Press – Palms Facing Down

Station 7: Tricep Press Down (Lying Supine)

Station 8: Overhead Press

Round 2

Station 1: Squat Jumps

Station 2: Bilateral Bicep Curls – Palms Facing Each Other (Hammer Curls)

Station 3: Torso Rotation – Kneeling – Right side

Station 4: Bilateral Hamstring Curl with Sit-up or Crunch

Station 5: High Row – Palms Facing Down

Station 6: Front Raise – Palms Facing Up

Station 7: Overhead Triceps Press (Lying Supine)

Station 8: Plyometric Overhead Press

Round 3

Station 1: Unilateral Squat Jumps (One Leg, Alternating)

Station 2: Biceps Static Equilibrium

Station 3: Torso Rotation Oblique Small Twists – Kneeling – Right Side

Station 4: Unilateral Hamstring Curl – Right Leg

Station 5: Surfer (Kneeling Optional)

Station 6: Chest Fly

Station 7: Overhead Pull Down – (Lying Supine)

Station 8: Unilateral Press – Right arm

Round 4

Station 1: Plié Squat Jumps

Station 2: Unilateral Switching Bicep Curls

Station 3: Torso Rotation Oblique Small Twists – Kneeling – Left side

Station 4: Unilateral Hamstring Curl – Left leg

Station 5: Row (cable unhooked from glideboard)

Station 6: Unilateral Chest Press – Static Equilibrium

Station 7: Lying Supine – Iron Cross

Station 8: Unilateral Press – Left arm

Hot Tips:

For a newer group, you may need to add more time to each station and reduce number of rounds as there is more necessary explanation and setup/help. So instead of 45 seconds with a 15-second rest, you can increase to one minute of exercise and 30 seconds of rest/transition.

Stay tuned for more exciting ideas for your classes.



Acclaimed Strength Coach, Mike Boyle talks about the Total Gym Jump Trainer…


Mike Boyle testing the Jump Trainer.

The Total Gym Jump Trainer is pulling some traction in the world of Strength and Conditioning!  Launched only last year at the 2015 IHRSA show in Los Angeles, the unit is exploding into the lime-light because not only is it reducing injury recovery time considerably, its use for bodyweight plyometrics is allowing users to perform squats when they may have not been able to on their own previously.

Acclaimed Strength and Conditioning Coach, Mike Boyle discusses this further in his blog on Bodyweight Plyometrics:

A Little About Mike Boyle:

Mike Boyle Strength & Conditioning offers the most comprehensive performance enhancement training, reconditioning and personal training in the nation. MBSC’s results- driven approach covers every aspect necessary to achieve your goals, whether they involve sports performance, weight loss, or a healthier lifestyle. For the best in Boston area sports and personal training go to  For the best in performance enhancement information go to

MBSC was recently named one of America’s Top Gyms By Men’s Health Magazine and was voted Boston’s best personal trainers for 2011.




Mission Valley ymca images- GRAVITY- SMALLNancy Vaughan used to be a regular at the gym until she began experiencing constant hip pain and had to stop working out. A private pilot for 30 years, she could no longer get in and out of a plane; she couldn’t event go to Padres or Chargers games because she couldn’t walk the stadium stairs without pain.

Then Nancy had total hip replacement surgery, but her road to recovery only started there…

“After hip replacement surgery, your body mechanics are off – you have a foreign object in your leg – suddenly your bad leg is your good leg but you’re not sure how to move. You’re terrified of doing something wrong, so you don’t do anything.

I experienced severe muscle pain in my lower back after walking only a few steps.  I’d stopped working out prior to my surgery and had become deconditioned and I realized that I needed to get back into shape – I needed to take control of my pain”

So Nancy joined the Mission Valley YMCA

“I started aqua exercise classes with an instructor that specialized in pre and post-operative patients. Once I felt I could complete a workout in the gym, I joined the ‘Team Challenge’ where I got a free pass to try GRAVITY using the Total Gym GTS  – I pretty much stopped everything else after that first class. Now I attend GRAVITY classes as often as I can. I go four to five days a week; sometimes I even go every day. The instructors are all great and I love the variety of classes offered – some emphasize stretching, some posture and balance, others focus on building core strength and overall muscle – but they’re all fun – and it works!

Working out on the Total Gym GTS has helped me regain strength in my legs, strengthen my core and has greatly improved my posture. I feel like I’m standing taller and straighter than before.

Even though my physician had sent me to physical therapy, it was GRAVITY and working out with Total Gym equipment that saved my life.

Now I have the freedom to get up and go do whatever I want. I knew after my surgery, that once I was able to climb back into my airplane, I could fly it and GRAVITY helped me feel more confident about trying it.  And of course it helped me to have the energy to be able to do the physical things that go along with recreational flying, like pulling the plane out of the hangar, loading it up, putting fuel into it, and then putting it away and unloading it at the end of the day.

Part of the recovery process from any total joint replacement is getting people back to good conditioning – I believe if there had been a Total Gym machine available to me during my post-op physical therapy, I would have been six months ahead of the game. I personally don’t feel there is any reason physical therapy clinics can’t run their own GRAVITY classes – it’s the missing link!  Total Gym should be a part of any physical rehab program.”

Total Gym and GRAVITY allowed me to get back to my active lifestyle pain free with confidence!



We recently exhibited at the IHRSA (International Health, Racquet & Sportsclub Association) 2015 Tradeshow in Los Angeles where we had the opportunity to discuss two exciting NEW developments:

– The newest addition to the Elevate Line™ – the Total Gym® Jump Trainer™

– GRAVITY Studio® – a franchise/licensee opportunity for those looking for an approachable and effective studio fitness solution.

IHRSA is the trade association serving the global health club and fitness industry. The mission of IHRSA is to grow, protect and promote the health and fitness industry, and to provide its members with benefits that will help them be more successful.

IHRSA and its members of health clubs and fitness facilities, gyms, spas, sports clubs, and industry suppliers (like us!) are dedicated to making the world healthier through regular exercise and activity promotion.