Training Styles

There are lots of training methods with different benefits and goals. It can be useful to utilize different methods of training to target and accomplish different goals. Training can lend you focus and guidance when it comes to progressing in your exercise, and can be helpful in teaching you more about your body and its abilities. Cardio and resistance are the two aspects of fitness, both of them accomplishing different goals, respectively. When beginning your own journey, it can be useful to sit down to decide which style fits best into your own goals.

Cardio is one category of training, one that many are familiar with. In regards to cardio, one can work with moderate continuous, or HIIT. Moderate continuous training is led at a steady pace for around 20-30 minutes. Because of its steady pace and set time, moderate continuous is easy to do and plan. HIIT, on the other hand, stands for “High Intensity Interval Training,” which is a shorter time overall. HIIT takes planning and tracking, since the intervals must be timed and monitored closely. When your heart rate is above 80%, one of the benefits of HIIT is that  it burns more fat. However, this should not be sustained.  

Resistance training has varied approaches: regular strength training, circuit training, and powerlifting are three options. Regular strength training is usually 8-10 reps, with 2-3 sets per body part. You focus on one exercise at a time to isolate whatever muscle group you’re trying to target. Circuit training is what it sounds like: going through a rotation, or circuit, of exercises. This will increase your cardio capacity, and you’ll spend less time at the gym. Finally, power lifting is another type of resistance training. This typically includes 2-6 reps in 3-6 sets. They are made up of one complex movement, such as a squat, deadlift, or bench press. Utilizing power lifting works best when you increase your upper limit once your body is acclimated to the new weight. 

There are benefits to each, and to whatever training style you choose. Neither is better than the other, they just have different focuses; find the one that works best for you. You don’t have to decide on one, either! Utilizing both cardio and resistance training in your exercises will help give you a rounded out and balanced fitness regimen that can accomplish your various goals. Don’t be afraid to try out different types of training to find out what works best for you and the steps you would like to take, as some training may fit others differently. Once you find a type that works well for you, explore its expanses! The world of training has endless possibilities, and there is a workout out there for you that fits.

Interview with a Gym Owner

An Interview with Eliot


When and why did your fitness journey begin?


            It really began when I started college. I took fitness classes and began to play sports more competitively. Prior to college I knew I liked playing sports and being active but I was pretty shy in high school so I didn’t get very involved. Once I got to college and started doing more activities, I gained the confidence to further pursue fitness.


How long did it take you to get to where you are now?


            Well I was 18 then and I’m 39 now, so 21 years.


Are you still on your fitness journey?


            Of course! Everyone is still on their fitness journeys. It’s not necessarily something that stops at a certain point. There’s no final destination, other than your own goals, so you never really arrive at fitness, you just progress.


So, you’re saying one can never get fit?


            You can get to certain point where you’re at a high level of fitness but you won’t stay at that level with no effort. To maintain it you must keep working out.


What made you go from your fitness journey to helping others on their fitness journeys?


I needed a job and while I was at the beach with friends they noticed how happy I was running around the beach and playing in the ocean. That made me realize that some of my happiest moments were being active, playing sports, and working out. I thought, if I like that stuff why don’t I look into becoming a personal trainer so I can do something I enjoy.


Are you enjoying your decision to pursue personal training?


            Absolutely, I like helping progress. I’m happy to enable people to workout in a way that makes them feel safe and comfortable.


What is your current fitness goal?


            I’m working on having a combined total of 1000lbs in the squat, deadlift, and bench. I’ve been in a bit of a lull as far as working out goes though. I tested what I can do on Friday and I got 335 squat, 245 bench, and 385 deadlift. That amounts to 965 so I’m not too far off.


Is this the first ‘workout lull’ you’ve experienced?


No, it’s not.


How did you get through it before? Do you have advice for anyone currently in one?


            Start slow when you get back into it and don’t expect to be at your peak. Try not to get frustrated, especially if you’ve been gone awhile. Give yourself some grace to get back into form.


Are there any business goals your working on? Where is Advantage trainers headed?


            I see personal training and exercise as park of a continuum in health care. When people get sick or injured they typically go to their doctor and/or physical therapist. Often, the advice they’re given post-treatment is to exercise but there isn’t much help after that. Doctors just tell you to do it as if you’re supposed to know how to do it on your own. Something I’ve noticed is that a lack of knowledge usually leads to a lack of motivation, which affects people’s recovery ability and rate.

            I intend to create a fitness facility that’s has a broader care model. It will be a gym with a physical therapist, nutritionist and one or two general practitioner doctors. That way, clients could be seen and if they had any health concerns, for instance high blood pressure, then we would help people recover via proper exercise and nutrition along with any necessary medication. We’re going for a more wholistic approach.


How are you going to make this happen?


            Well, I need this business to be more successful before I move on to the next step. This business is quite big enough to expand yet, it needs to be more profitable before I can merge it with another business.


Are you working on being more community-centered?


            Yes, I am because the gym membership model needs to be more that taking people’s gym membership fees and not caring whether they show up or not. That’s sort of the standard business model right now.


The standard business model for all gyms?


            For most of them it is. The economics behind having a different model are tricky, however I think a place to exercise shouldn’t be solely about making money. A gym is a place to assist with helping improve people’s health.


Have you considered crowd funding?


            I’m working on becoming well-versed enough on the medical side of things to know what it would really take to combine that with a gym. I may need a knowledgeable partner to help with that.


Why not work with an already existing office?

            I want them to be attached with one entrance so that when people walk in they walk into both a gym and a doctor’s office. I see that there’s a disconnection between going to a doctor to improve your health and using exercise to improve your health.


What would you say is the most beneficial exercise one can begin with?


            Move. The key is that any movement is better than no movement. There’s no one “best” workout for everyone, otherwise I would put it on a DVD and sell millions of copies. There are movements and exercises that will be best for an individual’s specific needs.


What is the ideal amount of exercise one should get per day?


            The American Heart Association recommends 150 minutes of moderate to strenuous exercise per week so I use that as the baseline. What you’re asking varies by age, health, and fitness level. Moderate and strenuous are relative from person to person. 150 is good for everyone but what you’re doing during those 150 minutes will vary.


Are body fat amount and health related?


            Yes. The numbers are based on age and sex. For women, an acceptable body fat percentage is about 30% and under and for men it’s 20%.


What aspect of your health does body fat affect?


            It affects your overall body mass, which is the most challenging part for your heart and lungs, as well as making your heart have to work harder. Also, a higher body fat percentage can affect cholesterol and how your body metabolizes sugars.


How come I never see you with a protein drink?


            I don’t use them because most people get enough protein from their everyday meals. I only recommend protein drinks for people who have trouble meeting their bodies protein requirements with a supplement. That tends to be people with extremely large muscle mass, like bodybuilders and powerlifters, or people who are on low calorie diets.


Who is your training ideal for?


            I make my training adaptable. I tend to attract a lot of clients who are new to working out or who have an injury that changes their workout needs.


What can one expect at Advantage Trainers gym?


You can expect a cozy, supportive, inviting environment without the pressures typically present at larger gyms.


What do you mean by ‘pressures’ at larger gyms?


            It is common for people to be put off from working out due to the feeling they have to have already attainted a certain level of fitness. They can feel quite unapproachable and less personable.


Thanks Eliot, it was great chatting with you.



Nutrition Basics

When it comes to keeping your body healthy, nutrition is an essential part of your fitness journey. Nutrition can be daunting not only because it can require a lifestyle change, but also because it can come with a bit of a mental block: junk food tastes great, so we don’t want to get rid of it despite knowing its downsides. Tastebuds aside, nutrition goes beyond just deciding what to put on your plate at dinner time. There are many variables involved, and different people need different things; the plan that works for your friend might not work at all for you since you are a unique individual with your own needs. Nutrition comes with a lot of numbers and words that can be unfamiliar, but with a little bit of research it can turn into a lifestyle change for the better. 

One part of nutrition that will likely be familiar to you are calories. Calories are thrown about in any discussion pertaining to fitness, many claiming that you need to lower your calorie intake to lose weight, if that’s your goal. But calories, in themselves, are a bit more complex than just lowering and raising them. Depending on your health and fitness goals, it is important to understand just how many numbers can go into counting calories for yourself. Calories are the basic energy unit for your body. As a baseline without exercise, a basic formula for how many calories you should consume is 10-13 X your body weight. Of course, the more you exercise the more calories your body will need to function. As an example, someone who is 150 pounds and lives a sedentary life should consume around 1,500 calories per day, whereas someone who is 150 pounds but lives an active life should consume around 1,950. The more you exercise, the more calories you’ll burn; There are 3,500 calories per one lb of fat. Of course, some of these numbers will change depending on you age, level of activity, and your body composition, but they are a helpful baseline for most people. If you’re adding or losing 500 calories per day, you can usually expect to gain or lose 1 lb per week, respectively. 

Macro nutrients make up calories. There are 3 categories that go into macro nutrients: carbs, fats, and proteins. When it comes to your daily intake, your diet should consist of 45%-65% carbohydrates. They consist of 4 calories per gram, and they give you essential energy throughout the day. They are a high percentage of your daily energy. Fats should be about 20%-35% of your diet. They are 9 calories per gram, making them much more calorie dense than carbs or proteins. Fats are a long term energy storage. Finally, proteins should make up about 10%-35% of your diet. Like carbs, they contain 4 calories per gram. Proteins work towards your muscle and organ repair and maintenance. For example, if you’re extremely low on protein, this can begin muscle loss. An excess of protein does not really have a benefit to it, though it is important to be getting enough protein in your diet to maintain healthy bodily functions. 

Finally, micro nutrients are another important section of nutrients. Micronutrients include vitamins and minerals, and can be monitored easily. Unless a doctor or health professional recommends a different dosage, it is important to follow the daily recommended allowance. There are 2 kinds: fat soluble, and water soluble, which refers to the way that they are broken down. Fat soluble nutrients are processed by your liver, and it is important not to go over your recommended dosage as it is more difficult for the body to get rid of the excess. If you go over your dosage for an extended period of time, it can build up in your body and cause issues. On the other hand, water soluble nutrients are flushed out with water, so an excess of these will rarely harm you as the body can easily do away with what it doesn’t need. However, going overboard on these won't help you, either. 

It’s important to keep in mind that nutrition is just as important as exercise in your fitness journey. A way to consider nutrition is like this: think of your body as your car. You make sure to put the right oil into its engine, otherwise the engine won’t work properly. It’s the same with your body; you need to put the right nutrition in to make sure that your body can work properly and efficiently. Try not to think of nutrition as a burden to keep in check, but rather the fuel to keep you on track. Different factors will go in to making your decision when it comes to nutrition: your schedule and lifestyle especially. Remember that there are many variables when it comes to nutrition, and that there are different ways to approach nutrition as a whole. Taking some time to sit down with yourself and figuring this out is a great step to introducing nutrition as a part of a lifestyle. Your body will thank you for it.  

Fitness Fears

Starting a fitness journey comes with its own set of fears and concerns. It’s easy to get scared when beginning a new task, and the fears that can manifest may become daunting very quickly. There are many common concerns that people have when beginning their fitness journey, fears that even the most accomplished gym-goers can relate to. These fears can easily latch onto you and deter you from pursuing your goals. However, if embarking on the path to becoming a stronger, healthier you is something you are committed to, facing those fears will become nothing more than small bumps in the road. 

Possibly the most common fear when beginning a fitness journey is the fear of judgement, whether external or internal. There’s a lot that goes into a workout that might seem complicated and unfamiliar, and it’s easy to worry that people might judge you for not immediately knowing how to handle yourself like an expert. But, like everything else in life, we all start out as beginners. This is something that anyone in a gym can understand, even the people that are there who look like they were born in a gym. 

Internally, we can be our own worst critic. We can be upset when we have a shaky beginning, or upset when we mess a new move up or miss a workout. Beginning a fitness journey is more than just working towards a healthy body, though. It is also shaping a healthier mind, and this includes your self-image. It is important to have grace for yourself. It’s important to admit that yes, the beginning may be hard and disheartening, but the determination and the drive is more important. You belong here, whether you’ve been working out for a day or for years, and you have a right to become the person you desire to be, just like anyone else pursuing their goals in that gym.

Another fear that many face when beginning their fitness journey is the risk of being injured. Working out requires your body to do new and sometimes difficult things, and if you aren’t careful, the threat of injury is there. While it can be frightening to think of damaging our bodies in any way, exercise is vital because it makes us healthier, not weaker. Exercise, in the long run, will prevent your body from encountering more injuries and health issues in the future. Luckily, one of the number one ways to prevent injuries in the gym is to make sure you are performing your exercises with correct form at the forefront of your mind. Making sure that you are moving in the right way will make sure your body isn’t forced into any awkward, or potentially perilous, positions. One way to ensure you are performing your workout to the best form is to get a second, experienced opinion. Letting someone else who is knowledgeable in form watch you perform the move will give you a second set of eyes that can point out anything that might be incorrect, which will prevent injuries. It’s worth doing a handful of sessions with a personal trainer just to get you set up and comfortable with all the equipment in your gym and learn a few exercises to get started.

A fear that is closely related to injuries is the fear of a workout being painful, or difficult. Seeing improvements in yourself when embarking on a fitness journey often includes changing the level of difficulty every now and again to ensure that your body is rising to meet the challenge. Whether its increasing the weight you’re lifting or adding an extra minute to your cardio, it can be scary to wonder how your body will handle it. You might be afraid that you won’t be good enough to meet that new goal. But this, in a way, is one of the fun parts of working out. You get to put yourself to the test, to find out the amazing things your body and mind can accomplish. When you simply consider how great it will feel when you meet that goal, the fear of it being painful or difficult diminishes. Think of your soreness post-workout as a trophy that says you accomplished something important today, rather than a burden. Workouts should always be slightly challenging. Progressing is what we’re working towards and as you get stronger you want to keep pushing yourself to new levels.

One fear that many have which prevents them from working out is the fear that they don’t have enough time. It can be easy to convince oneself that a workout will be too long, and that the day is already filled with so many things and that a workout simply doesn’t fit into the schedule. However, if exercising is an important lifestyle decision that you have decided to pursue, making time will be simple. A good way to ensure you will always have time to work out is to take a moment to sit down with your schedule and find the best time every day to workout. You make appointments for things that are important, make one for your workout. Be it before work, during your long lunch break, or maybe before the commute home, there will be a chunk of time that you can set aside specifically for a workout. Giving yourself a set workout schedule will give you a peace of mind, an insurance that your time will not be compromised while pursuing your fitness journey. 

Though it is easy to convince ourselves that fear has no power over us, putting it into practice can cause some difficulties. Be forgiving of yourself if it takes time to conquer them. You are only human, and while it can be frustrating to not automatically overcome the fears in your head, it is a great reminder of why you began your journey in the first place. Being only human means that we need to take care of ourselves, mind and body, and a fitness journey is an amazing way to do just that. Taking time to understand your fears and why they are there in the first place is a great opportunity to understand ourselves better. Fear is simply proof that you are about to do something important, something great for yourself. Don’t let it deter you from starting an important journey and accomplishing your goals.

Benefits of Exercise

You’re in the middle of a workout and sweat is dripping into your eyes. You can’t remember if you’re doing this move correctly or if you’re just making a fool of yourself, and you start to think to yourself, “why on earth am I doing this?” Because you know that working out is good for you. But why? Sure, everyone knows that exercise is a healthy and vital part of every lifestyle; that’s been drilled into us since grade school. But what about exercise makes it so vital to our daily lives? Working out is so much more than just the desire to “look better,” it’s a foundation of living a healthy lifestyle. Beyond just the facts and figures, knowing all of the benefits of exercising can these help us realize that working out is more than just a chore to check off your daily to-do list.

Your heart is vital, which makes sense as to why you would want to keep it in top shape. Working out will reduce your heart rate and your blood pressure. Exercise is the catalyst for a healthy heart! The slower your heart rate, the less your heart has to work at pumping blood. If your heart doesn’t have to work as hard to maintain that rhythm that keeps you going every day, this creates lower blood pressure, which in turn gives you a lower risk of heart  problems. Along with a strong heartbeat you’ll gain improved respiratory function and increased V02 max. An increased overall and immediate metabolism is another benefit, which means your body with more efficiently burn up what you eat and drink into energy.You’ll also achieve improved glucose tolerance and insulin sensitivity, which means that your body will be able to handle sugar more efficiently.

The more obvious benefits of working out, and likely the most popular reasoning for it overall, is a reduced body fat percentage and increased muscle mass. Many people at the gym are there to try to shed pounds or bulk up, which is a good reflection of the changes that are going on inside of your body, as well. I don’t need to tell you that a benefit of working out is looking better- chances are you started this fitness journey to fit into those old jeans again.  Along with this comes increased bone density, which means you can stop thinking that drinking your milk is the only way to get stronger bones. Exercise also doesn’t just help you physically- it can help you mentally, as well! Strength training will releases hormones that increase mood, immune system, and your sex drive.

It’s easy to dismiss all of this information and go about your day, but when you really think about it, the most important payoff of working out is that you will be healthier. When people get hung up on just wanting to workout to look differently, the motivation can fizzle out. But if you focus more on the fact that it will cause a healthy chain reaction to improve you on the inside, as well, it might help you on your fitness journey. This list is just the beginning of why a good workout schedule will help shape you into a stronger person, which is what we all want in the end. So, the next time that you find yourself wondering if you should skip the gym today, remember that your body is counting on you to make it healthy and strong.