I have spent seven years in the fitness industry training across the country from Los Angeles, California to Bristol, Rhode Island, to Meredith, New Hampshire, and working with a variety of different body and personality types. I am a certified Personal Trainer and Group Fitness Trainer through the American Counsel of Exercise (ACE) and have a specialty certification in the Indo-Row program.
I first began training in college while I was rowing for the University of Massachusetts Lowell. Unfortunately, during the 2009 Head of the Charles Regatta I was seriously injured and had a hard time walking after that race. Using the knowledge I gained from my experience in athletics and through personal curiosity in readings, I was able to identify the problem and trained myself back to square. Deciding that I did not want anyone to experience the same level of pain I had just undergone, I went back into the rowing industry and became certified in Indo-Row with the first certification group on the East Coast. This sparked what is now understood to be an inherent interest in training and I shortly began composing athletic programming for my friends. These two passions of athletics and a desire to assist people in harmless trainings, lead to my two certifications through ACE.
Currently I am creating my own small group-training program that melds together multiple athletic and training disciplines into a single hour-long program. With any luck, you will see that soon!
"Personally I make exercise enjoyable because I don’t take it too seriously"
"I like to suggest cardio training 2-3 times a week and weight training 2-3 times a week"
"In my diet the mistakes I made were to immediately force myself off of certain foods instead of more gradually phasing them out. "
"With the current pace of the modern day, people rarely get the nutrition they need from food alone so this form of supplementation does play a role in a healthy lifestyle. The best kind of supplementation is a healthy and well-rounded diet"
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1 - How can I get motivated to start a healthy/active lifestyle?
What an open question this is. When I screen my potential clients I always ask my favorite question, “Why?” Why allows trainers and clients to identify the root of the motivation if you are able to be perceptive enough. So, to answer this question I would need to ask why. If the answer is along the lines of, “just to be healthier” I know to suggest light changes to your lifestyle that are easy to accomplish and where you will more feel successful. This will translate into a long-term adherence to these changes encouraging a healthier lifestyle over time. Ultimately, motivation must come from within. It is my job as your trainer to help you identify your motivations, where you are weak and where you are strong, then play to your strengths while working on the weaknesses. It is also my job to help with lapses in concentration and to assist in the maintenance of focus. As far as starting a healthier lifestyle, that initial motivation comes from you and your decision to do something about it, identifying your “why”. I am here to help with the next few steps.
2 - What are your best tips to get a flat stomach?
Honestly, the best way to get a flat stomach is what most people do not want to hear. Spot training is a myth and the only thing that will truly help in losing belly fat is training in general. I have found running and core exercises to work wonders, especially planks and plank variations, which are readily found on public exercise forums. The reason for this is the engagement of the transverse abdominis, which is critical to core strength and stability. Additionally for women, it will assist in childbirth, making this development even more critical. The best “cheat” in starting to get a flat stomach? Engage the transverse abdominis by consciously pulling your belly button to your spine and hold for a minimum of 10 seconds. If you repeat this every day in sets of 20, you will begin to see a difference as that muscle tightens and tones.
3 - Do I need to take supplements? Why?
Supplementation, through my research, has only shown marginal benefit and the industry is poorly regulated so you may not always receive what you believe you are paying for. So ultimately, unless you are a professional athlete - no, you do not need to take supplements. I do suggest, however, that people take a multi-vitamin from a credible manufacturer. With the current pace of the modern day, people rarely get the nutrition they need from food alone so this form of supplementation does play a role in a healthy lifestyle. The best kind of supplementation is a healthy and well-rounded diet.
4 - Do you think it's easier for guys to lose weight than it is for women? Why?
If I am being honest, I do not. A body is a body and while it may vary from person to person it should not cross gender lines. What is the root of the problem in regards to weight loss is the social misinformation on female weight lifting. Female lifters will not naturally get “bulky” or “masculine”, but the belief is that they will. This leads to women performing primarily cardio, which will work at first but will ultimately lead to a plateau in results as your body gets used to the exercise. Mixing up training practices and not being afraid to get under a weight bar will confuse the body and allow for continued physical improvement.
5 - What is the most underrated concept in fitness?
Functional fitness. What I mean by functional fitness is fitness that assists in everyday performance. Generally speaking, women train to be lean through cardio and men train to be big through weight. What this leads to is women being physically weak and men being inflexible and performing poorly in cardio activities. Training at the gym should assist in making life easier while accomplishing your overall goal be that size, flexibility, explosiveness, etc. To accomplish this the athlete must train in a variety of disciplines while maintaining proper form. It may seem to take longer but by preventing injury by improving at your body’s natural pace and maintaining mastery over it, you will see results in a healthy, functional and sustainable way. Ultimately, this will produce faster results in the long-term.
6 - How do you make exercise a more enjoyable activity?
Personally I make exercise enjoyable because I don’t take it too seriously. I have found myself having to stop mid-set because I’ve been laughing at a joke I had just remembered. Other times I have seen motivational stickers or posters around the gym/studio that take me away from the training and force me to see the joviality in it. If exercise isn’t enjoyable in the traditional sense, focus on what you prefer to do and simply do that. If you don’t like lifting weights but you really like swimming and hiking, then swim and hike. Fitness and exercise is as adaptable as your creativity is. Look to move and break the bonds of anything “traditional” and do what makes you happy. For me, that’s extreme sports and weightlifting, the element of myself vs myself.
7 - How much is too training?
Too much training varies from person to person. I usually go by the body’s response of pain. There are trainers that say, “no pain, no gain”. This is silly. Pain is an early warning sign by the body that you are hurting or doing something wrong. Discomfort, pressure, or gentle pulling are different sensations and are all within the realm of acceptability. So allow your body to speak to you, be aware and don’t push it beyond anything it isn’t ready to do. That is how you break form and ultimately injure yourself.
Another thing to be mindful of when it comes to training is the possibility of it taking over your life. As a trainer I am educated and experienced in noticing the early warning signs but if you experience serious anxiety in missing a day, you are choosing the gym over other responsibilities, or you are sacrificing other things you used to enjoy you may be training too much. Not physically but mentally. Addiction and body image issues are a real problem for a lot of people, so it is worth mentioning.
8 - Please, give us your best pre-workout tips
I’ve found this varies from person to person as well. Some people like to listen to music to get themselves amped up, some just like to jump into it, some will intentionally eat a big meal before working out, so I believe it varies. Personally, before sporting events I like to listen to music and warm my body up with simple calisthenics. Before I lift at the gym, I like to perform some cardio to a solid beat. This keeps my rhythm on point and helps to increase my heart rate so I burn more through my lifting series, even though my weights are not as high. Often people will take a supplement to get themselves amped up. You will see this marketed as “pre-workout”. If I need something like that to help wake my body up, I just have some coffee and I’m ready to go.
9 - What's a good exercise & diet routine?
This is a very difficult question to ask generally. Normally, this would be individualized per client needs. Generally speaking, however, I like to suggest cardio training 2-3 times a week and weight training 2-3 times a week, mixing it up however you see fit or working towards where you believe you are weak or lacking. For diet, eat well. Pay attention to what you are putting into your body and how many processed items you consume. Try to eat your veggies raw, as often as possible and limit empty calories like donuts, pizza, etc. Limit alcohol consumption and increase water consumption. Stay away from sugar as best as possible.
10 - What newbie mistakes did you make when you first started training?
I was fortunate enough to begin trying my trainings on myself before taking on any clients. The faults I found in my own training was compromising form for weight, a BIG no-no. Doing too much, too soon and too often. Both of these ended up forcing me to take time off and caused me to progress more slowly.
In my diet the mistakes I made were to immediately force myself off of certain foods instead of more gradually phasing them out. Gentle phasing allows for stricter adherence over the long-term and has a greater chance for success in behavior change. By forcing yourself to immediately eliminate something, you almost want it more and, when you do allow yourself to go back to it, you go hard which usually undoes all the work you had just put in.