Total Gym InsideLatest Information about Total Gym


Total Gym Elevate Circuit – FAQs

Total Gym Elevate Circuit Frequently Asked Questions

Total Gym Elevate Circuit

Total Gym Elevate Circuit

In an effort to streamline our processes, we’ve created an FAQ blog where we answer the questions we receive the most on the Total Gym Elevate Circuit.  We hope this will help you get the information you need.

What is the difference between the Total Gym Elevate Circuit and other circuits of its kind?

The Total Gym® Elevate Circuit™ is the ONLY bodyweight circuit on the market.  This means that the exerciser is using a percentage of their bodyweight as resistance working against gravity, on an adjustable incline.   The Total Gym Elevate Circuit has been specifically designed as a set of machines to complement each other so as to work the entire body in 30 minutes.  The circuit is comprised of six pieces: the Total Gym Core Trainer, Leg Trainer, Press Trainer, Pull-up Trainer, Jump Trainer and the Row Trainer.

Total Gym Core Trainer

Total Gym Core Trainer

How does bodyweight training benefit my members?
Functional bodyweight training is a very effective way to build muscle while adopting a more natural range of motion that improves athleticism quickly and effectively. This type of training benefits every “body” as it is designed to mirror the way a body actually moves. The Total Gym Elevate Circuit applies the unique concept of incline bodyweight training as the method of resistance, rather than the traditional weighted resistance, most fitness equipment is built upon.

What are the individual benefits to the exerciser?

Users can perform exercises they may have not been previously able to do.  An example of this would be performing an unassisted pull-up. Because the Total Gym Pull-up Trainer is built on an incline, users lift a percentage of their own

Total Gym Leg Trainer

Total Gym Leg Trainer

bodyweight, starting at approximately 35 percent, and gradually working up to 65 percent – eventually building sufficient strength to perform the pull-up, unassisted. Many of the exercises on different units can be progressed in the same way.

Additional benefits:

>  Functionally strengthens to enhance daily performance.

>  Simple, approachable and easy to use.

>  Accommodates all fitness levels and ages.

>  Variety of machines and exercises offer a fun and stimulating workout.

>  Low impact on joints

>  Ergonomically designed to perform the exercise correctly.

How is the Total Gym Elevate Circuit best used in my gym?

Simple and intuitive to use, the Total Gym Elevate Circuit is ideal as a self-serve circuit on the gym floor. Each machine has an on-board placard detailing how to perform the circuit and the exercises.  There are over 90 exercises and variations that can be performed making the circuit fun and engaging.

The Total Gym Elevate Circuit is also perfect for small group training and personal trainers can benefit from incorporating the circuit into their own sessions or as part of another circuit.  The Elevate Circuit is a great tool to introduce clients to a functional style of training and to bridge the training gap between selectorized equipment and functional cages.

Can all my members use the Total Gym Elevate Circuit?

Total Gym Press Trainer

Total Gym Press Trainer

Yes, exercises can be progressed or regressed to accommodate ALL fitness levels and ages.  Because almost each unit supports the body on a padded foam rolling board, the Elevate Circuit is very safe for all ages, including children (ages 7 and upwards) with supervision.

Why would my members use the Elevate Circuit over other equipment in my facility?

For the member, apart from getting a great workout in 30-mintues, the Total Gym Elevate Circuit provides a unique experience when compared to selectorized or plate-loaded equipment. Why? Users move up and down the incline rail on a padded glideboard. People report that the “in-mid-air” airborne-type experience feels like they are on a “ride” which makes the workout a lot of fun.

Using a percentage of a person’s bodyweight, where the body is supported makes for a more comfortable workout as well as offering up progressions in a gradual way.  This allows for less injury and stress on the joints, but be rest assured, members will really feel the burn when they raise the resistance levels.  Some units accommodate additional variable bungee resistance for those who really need it and people report that they can really feel their muscles working.

Another positive experience factor involves bringing people together; allowing them to be more social in the gym setting, or a small training program setting.  Selectorized machines are very isolating and though people work out with others in the cage, it tends to get extremely competitive or intimidating.   The Total Gym Elevate Circuit is simple and easy to use, so members can feel empowered quickly.

Total Gym Pull-up Trainer

Total Gym Pull-up Trainer

You say the circuit is simple and intuitive.  How do I know my members will be able to use it on their own?

Each unit has an on-board illustrated placard, clearly detailing how to perform each exercise in the circuit and how to perform the circuit itself.  Once the member has familiarized themselves with a few exercises they will be able to perform the circuit in 30-minutes.  If an exercise is too difficult for them, they can easily lower the incline on the unit, or do less reps.  Each unit is ergonomically designed to perform the exercise correctly.   

The placard also includes a QR code that can be scanned for video clips of additional exercises – here

How do my Personal Trainers benefit from the circuit?

The Total Gym Elevate Circuit makes it easy for the personal trainer and the client to fully benefit from the session.  For the personal trainer, the Elevate Circuit facilitates over 90 exercises from basic to challenging which keeps the client fully engaged time after time.  The units are easily adjustable to accommodate the most high-spirited athlete and the deconditioned person alike, which for the personal trainer is a huge benefit that takes the guess-work out of complicated scheduling, as all different ages and fitness levels can be booked into the same session.

Total Gym Jump Trainer

Total Gym Jump Trainer

How much room will I need to allow for the Elevate Circuit

The Total Gym Elevate Circuit has a relatively small footprint taking up only 225 square feet of floor space for all six units. 

Each piece can be used as part of a circuit or individually. The equipment can be grouped together or blended with other equipment. Note that if you put the Core Trainer with an ab-crunch machine, clients will quickly see which one is more beneficial and diverse:  the same with the Leg Trainer replacing all three machines:  glute, quad and hamstring.

Where is the best place to put the Elevate Circuit in my gym?

The Total Gym Elevate Circuit can be installed on the weight training floor or in the functional training area and members can self-serve.  Open area placement is also advantageous because members look in on Personal Trainers in small group training or 1:1 sessions and once they see the success of the class, they too sign up, promoting additional revenue.

How much does the Total Gym Elevate Circuit cost?

Total Gym Row Trainer

Total Gym Row Trainer

The Total Gym Elevate Circuit is aligned with what gym owners are looking for to keep their members coming back and for the low investment of around  $10,000 for all six pieces, they can refresh their gym with the latest equipment guaranteed to drive sales while satisfying member needs for a workout that is fun and engaging.

For more information contact Ralph Ruggiero at / 858-764-0078.


Best Smoothies to Recommend to your Clients

Personal Training: Post-Workout Smoothie Tips for Your Clients

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

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

Make Your Clients Aware

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

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

What is best for a smoothie?

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

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

Add Super Foods

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

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


A word about blenders.

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

Other useful tips to pass on

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

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


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


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

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

Cheers to healthy and happy!

About the Author

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


Get Your Clients Ready for the Beach

Get Your Clients Ready For Beach Body Shape With These Creative & Fun Exercises

It’s that time of the year where as Fitness Professionals, we know that our clients are looking for a little extra motivation to push harder to tone up their bodies as they get ready to hit the Summer season and show off a little more skin. Whether your clients are headed out to the beach on a daily basis, enjoying some time at a nice Jazz Festival, or just taking a family vacation somewhere, you know that the weather will most likely be warmer and that your clients will be sporting shorts, t-shirts, dresses, tank tops, swimsuits, and flip flops every opportunity that they get. So with clients knowing that this “unveiling” is coming up, they tend to want any extra edge that they can to maximize their results these last few weeks right before summer hits.

So what do YOU, as the Fitness Professional, do to help your clients get ahead this time of the year?

Are you looking to maximize fitness equipment that you may or may not already have and creating an “Easy to Follow Step by Step” Training program to pique the interest of your clients?

If so, check out these exercises below that you can include in your training program to help your clients get Beach Body Ready.
Feel free to tweak it around to customize it to you and your clients but either way, enjoy the following exercises and as usual, be creative but be safe!

Training Program

Pull-up On Total Gym GTS

Pull-ups on Total Gym GTS

Total Gym GTS – Pull Ups (2 -3 Sets of 10-20 Reps)

Targets: Shoulders, Back, Triceps

How to: Adjust the height of the incline rack and then lay flat on the stomach. Bring both feet off of the ground and lay your legs on the rack. Decide which grip you would like to use for your pull-ups, then proceed to pulling yourself up quickly and then lowering your body slowly to the starting position.

TRX Push-Ups (2 -3 Sets of 10-20 Reps)

Targets: Arms, chest

How to: Facing away from the anchor with your feet shoulder-width apart. Grab the handles with an overhand grip and extend arms in front of you at shoulder height. Lean forward so that your body is at a slight diagonal. Bend elbows and lower chest between your hands. You’ll engage your chest and arms as you push yourself back up to the start position.

Lebert Bars – Single Legged Hurdler’s Drill (2 -3 Sets of 10-20 Reps on Each Leg)

Targets: Glute, Calves, Hips, Quads

How to: Stand behind one end of a Lebert Equalizer, balancing and hopping on the left leg. Raise the right leg in the air and “clear” the top of the bar, moving the right foot from the left side to the right side of the bench, going back and forth and still hopping on the left leg. Switch legs on the second round of the circuit.

Core Hammer – Chopping Wood (2 -3 Sets of 10-20 Reps)

Targets: Shoulders, Triceps, Core

How to: Stand straight up with the Core Hammer (with both hands) and proceed to swinging the Core Hammer over the heads towards the ground in a chopping wood motion. However instead of hitting the ground with Core Hammer, to make it more challenging you stop it shoulder height and pull it back over your head and repeat motion.

Medicine Ball Twists

Medicine Ball Twists

Medicine Ball Twists (2 -3 Sets of 10-20 Reps in Each Direction)

Targets: Core, Arms, Shoulders

How to: Stand with the feet hip-width apart, holding a medicine ball in both hands. Extend the arms in front of you at chest height, while keeping the shoulders relaxed. Hold the arms extended as you perform torso rotations, alternating the position of the ball from side to side.

Plyo Box (2 -3 Sets of 10-20 Reps on Each Leg)

Targets: Glute, Calves, Hips, Quads

How to: Stand beside a sturdy weight-room bench with the right foot on the bench and the left foot on the floor. Keeping the right foot stationary, pull yourself up, raising the left knee in the air. Return to the starting position. Switch sides halfway through the allotted time. Switch legs on the second round of the circuit.

Sandbags with a Push-Up (2 -3 Sets of 10-20 Reps on Each Side)

Targets: Chest, Triceps, Shoulders, Core

How to: Get into a push-up position with a sandbag on the floor, just behind the base of your left hand. Perform a push-up. At the top of the push-up, grab the sandbag with the right hand and drag it so it’s sitting just behind your right hand on the floor. Alternate sides.

Dumbbells with Monkey Row

Dumbbells with Monkey Row

Dumbbells with a Monkey Row (2 -3 Sets of 10-20 Reps)

Targets: Legs, Forearms, Arms, Shoulders, Core

How to: Stand with your arms at your sides while holding a dumbbell in each hand, palms facing in. Perform a squat, keeping the arms low. As you stand up from the squat, lift the arms as high as you can so the hands are beneath the underarms. Raise the elbows, bringing the dumbbells to the sides of the rib cage, with palms facing up.


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.


Understanding Total Gym Progressions

Combining Pikes, Squats, & Tricep Extensions for the perfect routine

Understanding progression of an exercise is an art form. 

It’s a strategy that is developed to allow your client to advance in his or her own movement skills.  This is especially important to understand because each client has different goals and training needs.  The most exciting part about progression for the trainer is that you always have a way to slightly advance the exercise.  This could have the opposite feeling from your client’s perspective because just when you think you have mastered an exercise, another piece is added to the movement to keep your client’s attention and muscles challenged.

Developing a progression strategy for each client is important.  It allows the client to:

  1. Learn and perfect a movement skill with proper form
  2. Develop a sense of accomplishment and confidence
  3. Keep the workouts interesting and the client motivated

A client may want to progress faster than you see their bodies are ready to.  Understanding why one specific exercise is taught before another is a skillful trait.  Certain exercises teach basic skills that develop strength needed to perform more difficult ones.  The more skills that are mastered and the more challenges added to an exercise, means your client will soon have a wide range of exercises they can perform! 

The more strength development from the fundamental level, the stronger your client will become and the more they will progress with advanced exercises.  This is why developing a strong base of strength and learning proper form is so important for your clients initially.

More Strength


More Progressions


More Exercise Choices


More Variety

= More Challenges!

Ways to progress 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.

  1. Incline adjustment – either increasing or decreasing the incline appropriately
  2. Speed – changing the speed of how the exercise is performed (faster vs slower)
  3. Body Position – altering the body’s position challenges different muscle angles
  4. Sets & Reps/ Exercise Sequences/ Workout Style – How you put these modalities together enhances the challenge of the workout session

Total Gym progression tips

Using the Total Gym is unique when adjusting the incline for increased resistance. Sometimes lowering the resistance/taking away the incline level is a way to progress the exercises.  Typically, a higher incline is more challenging for extremity work, and a lower incline is more challenging for core work.  For example, performing push-ups on the glideboard with a high incline is less challenging than when the incline is lower.  The higher the incline, the more assistance the Total Gym is giving the client to successfully perform the exercise. 

When strength is developed and the form begins to look perfect for each rep, then you can progress by adjusting the incline or changing the body position in someway to work a different angle.  Analysis of each exercise needs to be done in order to progress your client appropriately during their workouts.

The beauty of these exercises

Let’s discuss 3 excellent exercises you can progress during a workout by adding a variation of the same exercise for an increased challenge.  Pikes, Squats, and Triceps are a great combination of exercises to work the entire body while focusing on a specific area.

Try the following exercise progressions with your client according to their strength level. 


  • Kneeling
  • Legs Extended
  • Single Leg


  • Regular
  • Different angles
  • Plyometric Jump Squats

Tricep Extensions – straight arms

  • Seated
  • Kneeling
  • Static equilibrium

Watch the video for a few examples of how to simply progress a basic exercise.  You can always add in more challenges if these are not enough.

As a personal trainer, it is important to be knowledgeable on how to safely and effectively progress your client through a series of exercises when they are ready to advance.  Understanding the modifications, variation and specifics to each exercise will help you intelligently layer an exercise for proper progression.  The most basic exercises can be some of the most challenging! 

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.



Around the World – Total Gym in Singapore

Total Gym in Asia – 30 Years in the Making

Aaron Goh

Aaron Goh

“Understanding the needs of our end-user is our most important key principle,” said Aaron Goh, Business Development Manager of Active Lifestyle in Singapore, with a smile.  And this belief has brought him great success.

“Another is that we endeavor to provide excellent service that goes beyond point of sales”, he continued.  “These are some of the values that my father believed in and started the business with over 30 years ago, and we are proud to maintain these core values here at Active Lifestyle today”.

If you want to open a gym or health club in Singapore, China, Hong Kong, Malaysia, Thailand or Vietnam, Active Lifestyle will not only find the right equipment for you, they will design the gym blueprint and fit your facility with everything you need from top to bottom including the gym floor!

Just Like "Iron Man" v1.0

Just Like “Iron Man” v1.0

Goh’s father Arthur, started Reflex-O back in 1985 in Singapore, as a small outfit manufacturing fitness equipment.  Looking back, Goh says their first piece of equipment [pictured right] looks just like something Iron Man might have fashioned a helmet out of.  He may be right.

An early breakthrough at Reflex-O was the opportunity to construct over a hundred customized strength-training units for the military. It was this breakthrough that prepared the way for their business today and it is from that order that they learned the importance of understanding the needs of their clients.

Reflex O - the early days

Reflex-O : the early days

Total Gym and Active Lifestyle aligned at the end of 2015.  A key philosophy that both companies hold is, “it’s all about form”.  Good form and proper alignment is a way of life for Total Gym and a basic principle in adjustable bodyweight training.   And so the perfect partnership ensued. “We got to know Total Gym through our regular visits to the IHRSA shows – it was only later when we were looking for something simple and user-friendly that small countries/cities like Singapore and Hong Kong, can take advantage of, as small floor space is premium, that the Elevate Circuit caught our attention”, Goh told us.  “All of Total Gym’s solutions fit in very well for clubs and studios in such land-scarce areas.”

Reflex-O today

Reflex-O / Active Lifestyle today

In order to be able to support their customers with a full array of equipment, Active Lifestyle carries a number of different brands that are best in their field.  “Total Gym has been the only brand that finds itself in a category of its own.  It suits our ideology of a best-in-class product for facilities that are looking for an innovative pitch to differentiate themselves in functional training.” Goh explained.

“I believe lots of R&D and bio-mechanics were involved in designing each of the Total Gym machines and each has been responsibly considered – even though users may not realize the details and the rigorous considerations behind each design. And that to me is a great design! You do not have to bore people with the technical details; the results speak for themselves”, he continued.

Total Gym Elevate Circuit - Singapore

Total Gym Elevate Circuit – Singapore

We asked Aaron how he found his passion for fitness.  He told us that in his younger days he conducted isometric training for pilots in the air force to help tackle G-force.   His service in the Army helped broaden his understanding and perspective for fitness. Appreciating the science behind a workout made training others a greater responsibility. “You have to know what you are teaching, training and achieving for others and it was indeed an episode of my life that led me to the path I now follow”.

Active Lifestyle is just what its name says – they inspire active lifestyles and are setting trends in the Asian fitness market.  With additional products such as Startrac and Freemotion they are one of the top fitness equipment distributors in Singapore and surrounding countries.


Aaron and his team

The Vision 2030 committee of the Singapore government began to encourage its people towards a national movement for sports by launching ActiveSG, where each member would be given SG$100 to sign up for free in any sports program regardless of fitness age or ability.   30,000 people activated their membership on the first day.  With this in mind, Active Lifestyle continues to be at the forefront of the fitness market and Goh’s life experiences have led him to achieve more than he had ever dreamed of.


How to Train a Client for Body Building

Training Someone for Body Building

What is the difference between athletic training and body building?

There is a huge difference between training a client for athletic performance or function training as it is called today, as opposed to body building. I trained as a body builder in the 90s which led to competition. As a body builder, each segment of your training is planned according to how you progress and so called theories of progression. Although there is no set standard as to how each person should train for optimal gains, there is a defined and specific plan that one must follow which includes a change in reps, sets, volume and intensity, time under tension, rest periods and diet. Different coaches and trainers all have their varied opinions however there still lies a specific program for each individual. 

CaptureFunctional Training

With functional training, exercises that carry over to every-day-life performance are preferred and that can vary with each training session. These exercises will mimic what the athlete does in his or her sport that will focus on optimal gains and include five physical factors that the athlete must possess. These factors may vary from sport to sport but they all include:

  • strength
  • power 
  • balance and agility 
  • flexibility
  • endurance

This type of training prepares an athlete for his or her sport. Functional Training uses many concepts developed to improve speed, strength, and power to improve sport performance and reduce incidence of injury.  It teaches athletes how to handle their own body weight. The coach will incorporate balance and proprioception (body awareness) into training. Athletic training needs to introduce controlled amounts of instability so that the athlete must react in order to regain their own stability. As opposed to body building programs, there is very little exposure to seated machines and isolated exercises as these do not carry over to every day sport. Artificial turf, grass and ice are examples where the ability to display strength in conditions of instability is actually the highest expression of strength.  

fffHow should I start training someone to be a body builder?

There are many conflicting opinions on body building principles regarding the use of free weights vs machines, body part splits, and repetition ranges. For every rule, there are exceptions according to the individual’s strength, level of fitness, body weight etc. It is important, however, to understand the theories and limitations to body building so that you can design an effective muscle building workout. 

The most basic of body building principles is exercise selection. Most experts agree that a combination of free weights (compound exercises) should be performed along with isolated exercises (machines) to focus on specific muscles and full development. Competitive body builders acknowledge that machines allow them to target specific muscles to really make them grow. For example since the leg press (seated) does not involve the lower back as much as the overhead squat, they can push more weight.

Training frequency, reps ranges, and sets are other body building principles that must be set in the program and change according to gains met. Once again there is a lot of controversy, as some exercises are better suited for higher repetitions and some muscles respond better to a mix of rep ranges. Evidence suggests that a moderate number of sets (about 12-15 per body part per week) and a moderate number of reps (5-8 per set) is optimal for muscle growth. 

The last body building principle I would like to mention is training overload. Again the controversy lies in whether it is best to constantly push to failure or just training to performance failure. Progressive overload is key. If you do not increase the weight you use or increase the workload, you are not building muscle. 

dddTraining Men or Women?

Although men and women are aesthetically different, their training programs and goals are usually the same. Men strive to be jacked and huge, while women want to be toned and shapely. There is not a big difference between choice of exercises, reps, sets, etc. It is my personal opinion that if given the choice, women stick with female trainers as they know and understand the hormonal changes that can occur during the training period. This understanding can help with communication and support with the ups and downs that may occur during these times. 

Training for Competition

Training for competition is a much more complicated and detailed project. You must understand what is required to be stage ready. Every phase of training is a detailed from the exact amount of cardiovascular work each weak to the fluctuations in the diet. Bodybuilding competitions require a certain level of physical and mental discipline. It is a hard journey that involves different categories…from light weight to heavy. A difference in only 1/2 pound on stage day can force you into a category that you did not plan for. This is why it is of utmost importance to be prepared. As a personal trainer, if you are going to take on a client that wants to compete, make sure that you do your homework. Get out there and visit other shows, understand what the judges are looking for, and know that like in any field of competition there are politics. My best advice is to talk to other trainers that have had success in the sport with their clients as opposed to taking advice from a magazine or internet.

Additional Reading

There are a couple of coaches/trainers who stand out in this field of functional/athletic training that I recommend you take a look at. They are Michael Boyle and Gray Cook. Boyle’s book titled Functional Training for Sports and Gray Cook’s Athletic Body in Balance are very popular and ideal for any trainer to refer to.  They are both complete with solid information, exercise progressions and program design. 

About the Author

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


Launching the new Row Trainer at FIBO 2016

My Trip to FIBO, Cologne, Germany

It wasn’t long before Ildiko Nagy, our new Customer Support Specialist here at Total Gym, was sent off to meet our international distributors.  She returned full of excitement and was bursting at the seams to tell us all of her travels.

Here’s her story:

“Ildi, I want you to go to FIBO in Germany!” said Jesse Campanaro after only two months of my working at Total Gym.

Buzz Truitt

Buzz – the tallest man at the airport!

I was shocked as he said that, but happy and excited to go to my first international trade show for the launch of the new Total Gym Row Trainer and to meet all our international distributors.

FIBO has celebrated it’s 30th year just recently and pulls in around 150,000 people each year and attendees come from 100 countries world wide.  It’s a huge show (well actually 3 shows in one) that is the size of two football fields.

I was bursting with anticipation to meet, in person, everyone that I had been working with via email. I prepared a personal and visual “Hello & Intro Video” from our San Diego Corporate Office so all our international distributors were able to put names to faces, understand their roles in the company and learn how our company is set up.


Cross Corpo Team

And then the day came.  I was finally airborne and after a long journey I landed in Frankfurt and met up with a familiar Skype face … Buzz Truitt. How could you not recognize this face, not to mention he was the tallest man in the entire airport?

As I tried to keep up with Buzz’s “speed-of-light-walk”, my hands full of luggage, we headed towards the station to catch the train to Cologne.

At the hotel in Cologne, all the distributors from Germany, UK, Holland and Italy had already congregated and they all greeted us with wonderful welcomes and warm smiles.  Our 2-hour meeting was fun and interactive and we were able to exchange stories on all our  plans, goals and more.

Traditional German Sausage!

Traditional German Sausage!

The day closed with a “Getting-To-Know-Each-Other” dinner next door and it was so much fun.  The food was fantastic and I couldn’t get enough of it! Just look at those wonderful meals.

Schweinshaxe – Pork knuckle

Schweinshaxe – Pork knuckle


Distributor Meeting – Day 2

So great to see and meet everybody individually.  More distributors came in from Romania, Spain, Poland, Denmark and Israel.  It was all very impressive and I was all ears, learning how we work hand in hand together. We strategized, talked about innovation, solutions/ improvements, marketing and ultimately how can we make each other successful leaders in the market.  I also learned about each of the distributor markets and their country’s expectations.  It was fantastic to see how they shared all the success stories and suggestions between each other.

Total Gym International Distributor Meeting

Total Gym International Distributor Meeting

Jesse Campanaro, our Total Gym CEO closed the meeting with a BIG BANG – an introduction to the new Total Gym Row Trainer.   The excitement in the room was overwhelming and I was so pleased and elated to be part of this huge global team!

Finishing our very successful day, we celebrated with a surprise Award Winning Dinner.   We had a blast!


That’s ME in the red!

FIBO – Day 1 

FIBO 2016


After registering in the morning, we arrived at the German distributor’s booth – Cross Corpo, GmbH and I was immediately eager to experience the day with their highly trained, very friendly, very hardworking and professional team members. The booth was huge and beautiful and I felt very proud.

The day, as you can imagine, was full of non-stop demonstrations, introductions to the Total Gym Row Trainer, distributor meetings with big brand name fitness clubs as well as clients.  The Total Gym Row Trainer was a huge success!

Total Gym Row Trainer FIBO 2016

Total Gym Row Trainer

Everyone worked so hard.  Again I was very impressed by the team work at this massive event and couldn’t have felt more fulfilled. And of course what is a very busy day without a little fun?


Jesse with the Spanish team.

FIBO – Day 2 

Now I knew what to expect for day two but it was busier day than the day before.  I was able to take a little break time to look around our hall and explore through all the international vendors’ booths. Products were great; techno music was blasting and traffic was tremendous.


Me and the German Trainers.

Cross Corpo’s team in the booth were busy little bees and no question went unanswered.  Throughout the day quotes and orders were just rolling in. We couldn’t help it but feel the glory and success of FIBO.


We did it with Cross Corpo.

This opportunity has secured the foundation for the Total Gym family to grow and evolve and we can better understand each other on a level where we are more motivated, more productive, and more inspired to deliver the Total Gym success story by helping millions of people get healthier!

Thank you to all the distributors for making my experience at FIBO more amazing then I could have imagined and to Total Gym for giving me the opportunity.

Copyright © 2017 Total Gym. All Rights reserved.