Personal Trainer's Top 3 Tips for Exercising

I’ve been a personal trainer for many years, and there are three tips that I wish the general public knew: 1) don’t let an old injury or sore body part keep you from exercising 2) you know your body best and 3) all exercise is beneficial – even if it’s only for 5-10 minutes!

If you have a sore knee, you don’t need to forgo exercising altogether. There are so many knee-friendly modifications that can be made for your workouts. It would be worth hiring a personal trainer for one or two sessions to share modifications for popular workout moves. 

Sore lower back? Avoid exercises that require you to have both of your feet/legs hovering off the ground (if you are lying on your back); opt for a plank rather than lying double leg lifts. Again, research back-friendly workouts or hire an exercise professional to share some modifications.

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I have had dozens of clients come to me with a variety of physical ailments – plantar fasciitis, artificial hips, artificial knees, rheumatoid arthritis, broken arms and legs, etc. We always find a way to keep them active while being conscious of the injured area. (In some instances, we are able to strengthen and improve the functionality of a chronically injured body part!)

You Know Your Body Best

No matter how experienced an exercise professional is, he or she does not know your body as well as you do. If a movement hurts, stop. Tell the individual that you don’t want to do that movement or explain the discomfort you are feeling. There are so many exercise modifications that it’s easy to substitute another movement.

I want clients to tell me when something is painful, uncomfortable or if they don’t feel the movement. On many occasions, I’m able to identify a muscle weakness because of their feedback. We can then focus on strengthening that body part.

Exercise – Even If It’s For 5 Minutes

Moving your body is beneficial. If you only have 10 minutes, work out for 10 minutes!  Being active is the overall goal, so fit exercise in wherever you can. We are working out to improve our overall health, which means any and all activity is welcome.

Many times, a client will tell me she didn’t exercise because she only had 20 minutes. A 20-minute workout is all you need on most days. I have several 5, 7, 10 and 20-minute workouts on my workout page. Check them out if you are needing a fast workout!

You can be active even if you have an injured body part or have limited time. However, remember that you know your body the best! If you need modifications or have questions, please comment below or email me!

If you are interested in doing a low-impact workout or one that is modified for sore knees or wrists, check out some of my favorites:

Wrist-friendly Bodyweight Workout

Best Workout for Bad Knees

Back-friendly Ab Workout

Low-Impact, Full-Body Workout

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Starting an Exercise Program in Four Easy Steps

Starting an exercise program or routine can be overwhelming. There are so many options and sometimes a very unclear path to follow. For years I’ve been helping clients and friends start and continue their exercise programs. It doesn’t have to be complicated – just follow these four EASY steps.

Step 1:

Decide what’s feasible for you to do. If it’s a 10-minute walk, three times a week – that’s great! Pick something you can be successful at. Don’t go from the couch to committing to working out for 60 minutes, five days a week. That’s probably not sustainable long term. You can work up to that type of a goal, but your body is probably not ready for that! Some ideas of activities include: 10-minute walk, 30-minute class, 20 minutes of bodyweight exercises, 15 minutes of stretching, 20 minutes of swimming or water walking, walking the stairs at work for 10 minutes or a 15-minute online workout video.

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Indoor Workout You Can Do With Your Kids

In December, I had an insane amount of continuing education credits to finish because I had put the classes off…for two years. One of the classes I took was about exercise and kids. I was reminded that kids need a minimum of 60 minutes of physical activity a day. While taking the class, I started to worry that my son wasn’t getting enough activity each day. As a result, I’ve been trying to focus on ensuring that he gets at least 30 - 60 minutes of activity each day.

Much to my son’s dismay, I’ve started making him exercise with me in my gym. Knowing he wasn’t crazy about the idea, I’ve been trying to come up with workouts that are fun and distracting. We just want to burn some energy! This is an alphabet workout we did recently, and it was a success! I spelled out “Happy Valentine’s Day, Finn.” He had to do the exercises associated with each letter!

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Ultimate Core Workout

Although we covet and drool over an impressive set of abdominal muscles, we often overlook how much support those muscles provide in our bodies! Your core (abdominal muscles, back muscles, pelvic core muscles and diaphragm) is the support system for a multitude of movements: bending forward, straightening up to standing, bending back, bending to the side, twisting your torso as well as stabilizing your spine.

When we think about working our core, we often just focus on abdominal movements, but we need to be working our backs and strengthening our pelvic core muscles, too! Many people suffer from lower back pain, and strengthening your core is a great way to help combat back tightness and weakness.

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Heading Back to the Gym: Bodyweight Workout

I have a love/hate relationship with the month of January. I love the idea of a fresh start for the new year, but I dislike that the month also brings that annual pressure to lose weight and get in shape. I’m always in favor of trying to incorporate more exercise and activity into my life, but I think the pressure and expectations of resolutions and big goals set us up for failure. Most people who make big, sweeping changes rarely maintain their new “normal” for a lifetime. It usually requires an insane commitment that most people can’t sustain.

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Want to Start Strength Training? Try This Beginner Workout

Are you wanting to start a strength training program but have no idea where to start? Rest assured, you are not alone! I used to be a cardio-only workout person. I didn’t particularly enjoy lifting weights, and truthfully, I had no idea where to start. If I could get past being totally intimidated by the serious lifters, I’d walk into the workout area and just stare at the gym equipment wondering where to start.  I’d grab a few free weights, do a random number of repetitions and slink back to the treadmills! 

The good news is that it’s not nearly as mysterious as it seems.

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Low-Impact Workout for Bad Knees

I am a firm believer that you CAN workout even if you have bad knees, an artificial hip, sore wrists or a sensitive back. You just have to be cautious of what movements you do.

Today’s workout is knee-friendly, so you can squeeze in a workout without irritating your knees. If anything bothers your knees, stop what you are doing and return to a movement that is comfortable. Our goal is to do no harm!

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Beginners Guide: Eating & Drinking Before Exercising

The quickest way to derail a workout is to suffer from that queasy, I-just-ate feeling. When is the ideal time to eat and drink before a workout? What should you eat?

Snacking and hydrating yourself before a workout can provide you with the extra energy boost you need to power through a workout. Figuring out when to snack and drink can seem tricky. I have had many clients come to a workout saying, “I skipped lunch. I wasn’t sure when it was too late to eat before working out, so I just didn’t eat.” Their workouts suffer – or sometimes come to a crashing halt - because they lack the energy they need to last the entire workout.

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The Science of Exercise: Benefits for Your Mind and Body

Exercise provides amazing benefits for our bodies and minds. People who participate in regular exercise, have an up to 50 percent lower risk of type 2 diabetes, up to 35 percent lower risk of coronary heart disease and stroke as well as 20 percent lower risk of breast cancer. Those are some pretty impressive statistics…but there’s more!

Exercise can reduce symptoms of depression, and it can help reverse the effects of stress on us and our aging process.  Studies have also found that regular exercising can help individuals with asthma, as it reduces the airway inflammation.

Exercise does amazing things for our bodies and minds. People who participate in regular exercise, have an up to 50 percent lower risk of type 2 diabetes, up to 35 percent lower risk of coronary heart disease and stroke as well as 20 percent lower risk of breast cancer. Those are some pretty impressive statistics…but there’s more!

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When to Breathe During Strength Training Exercises

Recently, a client asked me about the timing of her breathing during a strength training workout. When should she exhale? Inhale? The easiest rule to remember during a strength training workout is to exhale when you are exerting force and inhale on the recovery. That’s easy to master – in theory. Sometimes it’s difficult to figure out what is the exertion portion of certain exercises. Let’s look at some popular strength training moves and identify when you should exhale and inhale.

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Hate Working Out? Try This Alphabet Workout

A former client of mine posted a picture on my Facebook page last week featuring another trainer’s alphabet workout. She commented that it was just like something I would make my clients do! Little did she know, I’m a huge fan of alphabet workouts.  If you are constantly watching the clock while working out, then this one is for you. Time flies by while you are doing it.

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What is Dynamic Stretching?

f you've read any fitness magazines or perused online workout videos recently, you've likely encountered the terms "dynamic warm-up" or "dynamic stretching." A dynamic warm-up is a method of stretching at the beginning of a workout that moves your body through various range of motion movements that are similar to a lighter version of your workout.

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12 Days of Health & Fitness Day 10

12 Days of Health & Fitness Day 10: Lunge it, Lunge it, Lunge it! Find a track nearby (or an indoor gym) and prepare to do some lunges. Advanced option - Lunge around the entire circle of the track! Intermediate - Lunge 50-100 yards (about 50 lunges each leg); Beginner - 25 lunges each leg. Modification for individuals who don't lunge: sit on the ground and raise one leg up. Swing that leg to the side and back to the starting position. That's one rep. Complete 25 reps per leg.

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12 Days of Health & Fitness: Day 5

12 Days of Health & Fitness Day 6:  Drink 8 servings of 8 ounces of water today! Water is essential to your body - it regulates body temperature, lubricates joints, protects body organs and tissues, carries oxygen and nutrients to cells as well as many other benefits! People often confuse thirst for hunger, so this is a great way to ensure you are not eating when you are really just thirsty!

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