The Official eNewsletter of TODAY! Fitness

vol. 2008 issue 1



Choosing the Right Personal Trainer

Besides going to and inquiring if I am accepting clients J, I found a decent article that provides some very valid information regarding considerations in selecting a personal trainer.  People find motivation in different places, so just make sure you know the reason you want to seek out a personal trainer and be sure that they are able to provide the solution you are looking for.

Why a trainer may be right for you
If you want to lose weight, get healthy and/or build muscle, hiring a personal trainer can be a step in the right direction. A good trainer can help you set up a program that meets your goals and teach you the best way to exercise. Here's what you should know before you hand over the cash.

What is a Personal Trainer?
A personal trainer should be, at the least, educated and certified through a reputable fitness organization. This person's job is to assess your fitness level, set up a program for you and keep you motivated. He or she will push you past your comfort level--something difficult to do on your own. A trainer also provides:

  • guidance on reaching your goals
  • education about strength training, cardio and basic nutrition
  • a reason to show up at the gym each week
  • accountability
  • ways to help track your progress

What is a Session Like?
Each session lasts about an hour.  After your initial consultation, the first meeting is devoted to assessing fitness level, body measurements, exercise and health history and goals. Be prepared to step on the scale, have your body fat tested and answer specific questions about your goals. After that, you'll spend most of your time on strength training and cardio.

What to Look for In a Personal Trainer

  • Education: A personal trainer should be certified through a reputable fitness organization (ie. ACSM, ACE ,NSCA, etc..). An exercise science or other related college degree isn't necessary, but the more education your trainer has, the better prepared they will be to prescribe appropriate programs.
  • CPR: your trainer should have an updated certification in CPR and/or first aid.
  • Experience: Make sure your trainer has several years of experience, especially in relation to your goals. For example, if you're a bodybuilder, you want someone knowledgeable in that area.
  • Specifics: If you have a specific medical problem, injury or condition (such as being pregnant, heart problems, diabetes, etc.) make sure your trainer has education in these areas and will work with your doctor.
  • A good listener: A good trainer will listen closely to what you say and make sure he understands your goals.
  • Attention: A good trainer will be focused only on you during your sessions.
  • Tracking progress: A good trainer will regularly assess your progress and change things if necessary.

Personality is important too since you'll be working very closely with this person. Make sure you get along with your trainer and feel comfortable asking questions.

How to Find a Personal Trainer

One place to look is your local gym. Most gyms have personal trainers on staff and offer attractive packages for personal training. You can also look in your yellow pages, however, here are some tips for doing a bit of investigation before you take the plunge:

  • Get a referral from a friend who's had success in reaching their goals with a personal trainer
  • When you're at the gym, watch trainers with their clients and see how they interact. Make a note of trainers who get along with their clients and seem fully involved in their workouts...that may be a good one to choose.
  • If you do get assigned to a trainer, make sure you tell the manager if you'd prefer a male trainer over a female trainer or vice versa, or if there's anything special you'd like to work on (getting in shape before pregnancy, getting ready for a marathon, etc.) so you'll get a trainer with experience in that area.

Warning Flags
Although the majority of reputable trainers abide by a code of ethics and professional standards, there will always be those who are less than qualified. In addition, some qualified trainers may engage in unethical practices. Be highly skeptical if your trainer.  Just because you're assigned to one trainer doesn't mean you can't work with someone else. It may be a personality conflict or you may wonder if you're getting the best advice. Either way, here are some warning flags that it's time to switch.

Beware if your trainer does any of the following:

  • Ignores or dismisses your questions.
  • Works you so hard you're in pain for days. Soreness is normal, but you should still be able to get out of bed.
  • Neglects any part of a complete program or recommends a level of training that's too hard for you.
  • Recommends questionable supplements or herbs. Always talk to your doctor before taking anything!
  • Diagnoses injuries or illnesses instead of referring you to a doctor.
  • Interrupts your session to talk to friends or take phone calls (unless it's an emergency or can't be avoided).
  • Insists on a workout during the first meeting. This initial meeting should be used to explore what you need and process any necessary paperwork.
  • Is hesitant to provide you with proof of credentials or references. This is probably a sign that the trainer's credentials are less than credible.
  • Is uninsured. Liability insurance is a must for every personal trainer.
  • Does not keep up with current research in the field of exercise science. This can be done by taking accredited continuing education courses and reading journals.
  • Does not practice what he/she preaches. Those who do not train their own body may lack the dedication needed to inspire their clients.

A personal trainer should watch you, correct your alignment, and explain what you're doing and why.




Elite Bodyweight Exercise of the Month!

Hip Raise


I know what you're thinking... how can I let my wife demonstrate this movement in my newsletter?  Well it was either her or me, so just count your blessings!  Seriously though, this exercise is a lot more difficult than it looks.  You'll definitely know where your hamstring muscle is located after hitting a couple sets.  Focus on a controlled up and down movement and getting a full range of motion.  Beginners can use both legs, while the one-legged hip raise presents more of a challenge.


Target:  butt and legs (gluteals and hamstrings)

Count:  2 count

Description:  Support yourself on your feet and hands so that you can raise your butt up and create a straight line between your knees and your shoulders.  In a slow controlled motion, raise up and down for the desired repetitions.

Short Term Goals – Long Term Results

By Mike Duggan

I’m sure most of you are more mature, better planners, more patient, than I have been for the last 56 years, however my biggest frustration when I first starting lifting weights is that I didn’t see immediate results…I mean now!  Today!  Eventually I would get bored and gradually my workouts would dwindle down to nothing. 

Then one year, I got a notice in the mail about a class reunion coming up in several months.  I became a motivated lifter, runner, and dieter, until that event.  My energy level was instantly elevated and it showed.  My former classmates noticed and I liked the recognition. 

After the reunion though, I slid back into bad habits, less motivation, less excitement about working out, more chips, more dip, and it showed…that is until my buddies from college invited me on a canoe trip down the Buffalo River in Arkansas for several days.

Back to the weight room, back to the track, hit the protein, watch the carbs and sugars…I couldn’t go down to the river and take my shirt off in front of my buddies and not be in shape…it wasn’t going to happen!  More motivation…a goal…a specific date of an upcoming event…produced a sense of urgency, and has kept me motivated since that time.

Setting short term goals has worked form me.  I always try to work out for an upcoming event, and then work hard to find out what next event I can work out for next.  Sometimes I have to get creative, however for the most part there is always something on your calender down the road, where you want to look your best…

  • Class Reunions

  • Family Reunions

  • Vacations

  • National Meetings

  • Company Trips

  • Races

  • Hunting Season 

  • Weddings

  • Parties

  • Summer Wardrobe

  • Football Tailgates 

  • Graduations

  • Softball Season

  • Weekends at the Lake

The events are irrelevant as long as they produce the results.

Keeping your goals short term also allows you to change you workout, which is very important physiologically and psychologically.  Physiologically, your muscles need the transitions from heavy weight, low reps, to light weight, high reps.  You also need to mix up your combinations…Going 12-16 weeks of

  • Chest and Biceps on a day

  • Legs and Shoulders on a day

  • Back and Triceps on a day

Then switching up when you set your next event short-term goal to…

  • Biceps and Triceps on a day

  • Legs on a day

  • Chest on a day

  • Back and Shoulders on a day

These changes really help hit different muscles different ways, which really helps you eventually hit them with a lot of variation for better results.  Psychologically it keeps you from getting bored and doing the same old lifts, the same old way, getting the same old results.

Short term goals can help with diet also.  Every time you reach for a piece of pizza, when you know you have an upcoming event, something in your head will say, Absolutely Not!  The only thing this pizza is going to grow is your ass!  Go get a piece of chicken or turkey somewhere and Eat Right!

Eating is Psychological.  I am in the Food Business and go to 14-20 Food Shows a year, however I can go to a 3 day show and never eat one bite of the 200 booths of samples at the show…because I have an event coming up, a goal, an opportunity…I don’t need that junk!  Six meals a day of the right stuff…high protein, low carbohydrates, no sugar…is just as important as the exercise…don’t think you can’t out-eat your exercise…take a look around…people are doing it everywhere, everyday.  Your short term goal is more important than that candy bar!

Last but not least…when you fall off the wagon, miss a workout, eat a piece of pizza, you have got to mentally reconcile, and get back on the program, immediately!  You can’t just say, well it’s over, I quit.  You have got to start from that moment working on your short-term goal again, and Make It Happen! 

Our National Sales Meeting is coming up in January…after that we have a company trip in May to Cabo San Lucas and a company Food Show in June…what’s your next short term goal to present yourself in the best Physical condition possible?  Try Short Term Goals…they Work!

It's Go Time!

So is everybody feeling a little fat today?  Did the holiday celebrations get the better of you?

<= Is this what you are looking for right now?

The common problem with a growing number of people in our world today is that they are still looking for that easy button for health and physical appearance!  In the exercise and fitness world, everyone is looking for the "quick fix" and "shortcuts" that will allow them to skip all of the necessary efforts involved in WORKing out. 

So you want to get back into shape, you want to get fast results, you don't want to work that hard at it?  Then why are you reading my eNewsletter?  You're not going to hear anything like that here!  If you are smart about what you eat and put in the time and energy to get good workouts you should start to see results in your body composition in about 3 months (although you will see strength and endurance enhancements much sooner). 

Notice I said START to see results.  You should focus on the way you feel at first... the way you look will come as a side affect!  When I initially got back into fitness and dropped 35 pounds, it probably took me 6-8 months and that was being very aggressive.  I worked out like crazy and made some major changes in my diet.  At first I got a little too skinny before I started to bulk up again (different types of workouts and different kinds of eating).  These changes can be different for everybody, but one thing remains the same...  If you want to see the benefits then you need to get tough, have a little patience, and put in the time!

For prior issues of this newsletter go to  

Good Luck!

Pete Mazzeo, CPT


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