IN THIS ISSUE
Every year around this time we watch the gym memberships skyrocket and personal and group trainer schedules fill. The million-dollar question is…
Why do such a large percentage of these new year fitness fans neglect to stay consistent with their training all year long?
Many fall prey to the roller coaster of life and eventually depart completely until another year comes to an end and they find themselves pondering their next plan of action to get in shape. Trainers, coaches, managers, and gym owners, this is on us! I’m a firm believer that the majority of the problem is on us. We must be creative, passionate, energetic, artistic, and graciously direct with our clients.
“DON’T BE A COPY AND PASTE COACH”
For eleven years, I’ve owned and coached a successful boot camp and never once have I used the same workout twice. We can always find a way to keep things fresh. I challenge myself to be a fitness artist! I thrive off the requirement I pressure myself with to really deliver something every individual and group will remember.
ALL-IN ENERGY EVERYDAY
For eleven years I have graded myself on a scale of 1-10 after every session. Was I all-in today & did I bring it with passion? It’s extremely important to never forget that even though we are comfortable with our routine, the workout, the movements, our space, and the people we are training/coaching, this definitely isn’t the case for our clients. We have to be passionate about more than just creating a great workout.
CREATE A TEAM EXPERIENCE
What are we doing to make our clients excited about the entire experience? Don’t blame declining memberships on lazy or “uncommitted” clients. It’s on us! Former NBA superstar Steve Nash was not only a great player, he was a great leader. He averaged 238 physical touches in the form of high fives & fist bumps each game. He was constantly working on building the bond between his team. Using words like TEAM, FAMILY, and WE also go a long way as you’re building your client family.
ATTITUDE IS EVERYTHING
Coaches, trainers, owners, managers, and other members of the fitness team, WE are in total control of choosing our attitude before each training session or before we open the gym/box doors each day. Our attitude choice plays a huge role in promoting or preventing the annual decline we see each year. Choose wisely my friends and here’s to a great year of helping our clients reach their goals
Long gone are the days when we had to remind each other, “Friends don’t let friends skip leg day.” With all the positive attention on our lower halves, our upper bodies may now get the short end of the stick when it comes to exercise selection and attention. Keep your workouts spicy by adding the Surge® Storm into the mix. The Surge® Storm has a variety of hand grips and water actions to accommodate a huge library of upper body moves. To help fill your exercise arsenal try these four Surge® Storm moves. Use these exercises on an upper body workout day or sprinkle them into your current routine.
Single Arm Bent Over Row
Grip Position: Single handle
Water Action: Quiet
Execution: With feet under the hips, hinge forward while keeping the shoulders retracted and core engaged. Grip the Surge® Storm single handle towards the center, where you find stability in the water. Drive the elbow up and back while keeping the water quiet. Slowly lower back to the start position. Repeat for multiple reps, then stand up before repeating the exercise on the other side.
Clean & Crash
Grip Position: Double Handle
Water Action: Oscillate to Crash
Execution: Begin with an athletic stance. Grip the Surge® Storm by the double handles in a neutral grip. Perform a Clean by driving the elbows upward, keeping the Surge® close to your body, then snapping the elbows close to your sides and catching the Surge® at your chest. Pause, then forcefully press the Surge® overhead, creating a crash with the water. Reverse the move to return to the start position.
Wide Overhead Rainbow Press
Grip Position: Wide grip
Water Action: Dumping
Execution: Holding the ends of the Surge® Storm in a wide drip, squat to pick up the Surge® and lift it overhead. Drop one elbow toward your side, allowing the water to dump while stabilizing the core. Press the lowered end of the Surge® back up and overhead, then repeat the movement on the other side.
Overhead Triceps Extension
Grip Position: Overhand grip on single handle
Water Action: Quiet
Execution: Begin with an athletic stance, gripping the single handle with both hands in an overhand grip. Lift the Surge® Storm overhead and allow it to rest on the back of the wrists. Keeping the upper arms vertical and parallel to one another, flex the elbows and lower the
Use these four exercises on an upper body workout day or sprinkle them into your current routine.
About the Author:
Alison Galvan has a Masters degree in Kinesiology and works with athletes, college students, kids, older adults, and everything in between. In addition to working as a Hedstrom Fitness Master Trainer, Alison owns EnergyX Fitness in San Antonio, Texas.
Please take 5-10 minutes to complete the below nutrition survey, and you could win a Free MANIA® Conference for 2018. SCW is partnering with the researchers from Georgia Southern University to better understand the nutritional education needs of our clients. Your honest input is critical to promoting better nutrition education within our fitness industry. Do not delay! The survey is open until April 1st, 2018. Only one entry per fitness professional!
Please click on the survey to begin: Nutrition Survey
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Does our fitness industry have a preoccupation with body imagery? One need to just check out some of the most commonly Googled words: “fitness,” “exercise,” and “gym”, to see that model-like images across the social media platforms abound (https://trends.google.com/trends/topcharts). To be sure, we all work in an environment of hyper-focus towards external fitness imagery, in which that imagery does not always prove realistic. Since the US Center for Disease Control at cdc.gov tells us that over 70 percent of North Americans are sedentary, and since IHRSA (ihrsa.org) tells us that approximately 16% of Americans formally belong to health clubs, clearly a huge majority exists of untapped market for wellness. Does that market come flying through the doors of the traditional fitness centers each day asking for memberships? No. It would seem then, in our public messaging to untapped markets we are failing in our choice of images and lifestyles that we propose to put forward.
When I check the current Googles as suggested above and click on “images,” only those who appear to have a body fat of less than 10 percent surface. Serious faces, intimidating equipment, and long commitments seem to be the norm. These images appear to be conditioned, sculpted, fit, and lean models with apparently perfect skin. If I were a part of the sedentary, deconditioned population who does not currently belong to our fitness party, looking at such images that are trying to convince me that “fitness is fun” and “HIIT training is what I need,” the “AMRAP” approach is hot (doing As Many Reps As Possible within a short, timed format), and that all classes need me to stay for an entire hour, I would continue to stay at home on my couch.
Years ago, I sat in a lecture by Petra Kolber called “Beauty and the Beast.” In it, she discussed how so much of the industry profiles unrealistic images of fit people in gyms who are just dedicated to getting fitter. She also candidly explored the personal challenges she had as a dancer in NYC to maintain weight, be accepted, and fit the weights and body images that executives decided were the necessary ones to maintain employment.
In high school, I lived two years with anorexia nervosa, a disease that primarily affects girls. While it has always been prevalent with men who have to depend on scales and numbers, such as young wrestlers with mandatory weigh-ins, the industry never has been ready to bring this to light.
Petra’s courage enabled me to open up about my own story, which was difficult for me for several reasons. First, no doctor would own my disease. “That’s just for girls,” one specialist told me on the very day that Karen Carpenter died from anorexia. Second, I was always fearful that discussing my problem with food would be a simultaneous admission of mental health disorder, a sexual orientation revelation with its own homophobic reactions by those who assumed that all anorexic males would be homosexuals, and the knowledge that no US health care professionals would even be able to work with males with the disease. Finally, not many fitness conventions want to put on stage a male who admits to having a disease previously dominated the female market, let alone one who does not meet the current “fitness television” model status of hypertrophic, super-lean, young, and wrinkle-less image.
Following is an excerpt that was published as an appendix of the first book I ever wrote as a twenty-year old, The 1% Factor: An Eccentric Unicorn’s Approach to Touring and Traveling, detailing a part of living with anorexia.
Yes, It Happens to Us, Too!
Anorexia: A Male’s Experience
“So, you want to go into acting, do you?” the pretty Jamaican stewardess asked me when I was twelve, flying home to resume work in the sixth grade. “Well, “lose some weight first and then you’ll be fine.” Little did I realize the foreshadowing of my war with anorexia that was to take place six years later.
Careful the tale you tell, I learned quickly. Tell a child he’s cute and he remembers it for 3 seconds. Tell a child he’s fat and he’ll remember that for the rest of his life.
Then came pressure. As a junior in high school, I began getting letters from the college guidance counselor. I felt that she and my father were telling me what to do with my life. Choose a career. Choose a school. Be successful. As a result, I applied at Colgate University, thinking that being far from home would give me control. I felt resentful for making me have to decide what I was going to do with the rest of my life in one decision: where I went to school.
The second principle cause of my disorder was lack of proper attention at home. My parents divorced when I was five. My mother and I became such good friends that we began taking each other for granted. I brought home A’s and she cooked, great, carbohydrate-rich Italian foods, almost without any real communication. On my father’s side, I wanted even more attention. On rare occasion, I would visit him, but his very jealous wife resented the total of 7 days per year we would spend together.
Ironically, the main enabling of my disease came from an unconscious identification with my step-mother, a highly successful anorexic who also told me I was overweight. I modeled her behavior, and then some. This egocentrism lead me to the extreme, almost to the hospital, over the next three years until the climax in my senior year. My goal was to survive on a peanut per day during weekdays because I had read some quack doctor’s essay claiming that the human brain could survive on a single peanut per day. I didn’t learn the truth about how ridiculous that was for twenty-three years later.
I was a bundle of defense mechanisms in my desperate struggle to control my life. The most overriding defense I used was regression. I began a diary in which I wrote everything I ate each day. My object was to have a blank diary, leaving as much of the page blank as possible, then binge and purge on the weekends.
There were still other defenses. I denied I was anorexic. I displaced my hunger and physiological need for food by going to the library daily during lunch hour to take out picture books on French (never Italian!) meals. I would stare at it until I not only could taste the food but until, in psychoanalytical terms, I was full. I got my family doctor to prescribe a “rigorous calisthenics program” which I began daily. I carried additional weight like rocks in my backpack to burn more calories. All these mechanisms distorted my relationship with food and I resorted to a life deceit. Although I lived a distorted reality, I never lost sight of my weight and constantly designing new ways to reduce.
After graduating, my gift was a monthlong vacation anywhere, so I embarked on a month-long trip to Tahiti. I set up new associations and completely extinguished all previous classical conditioning by introducing competing responses. I began with eating three meals a day without snacking or desserts. With the gorgeous atmosphere and unrushed pace far away from a high school bullying daily prison, I began to associate beautiful scenery and contentment with the nutritious food. Why was I able to eat just like that? I wanted to change because I now knew I did not want to die. I was sick and tired of being sick and tired.
Upon returning, I found my father dying of cancer. He did die that November after I began university. For about two months, I partially slipped into anorectic behavior, living on only bags of Pepperidge Farm cookies. Through the writings of Leo Buscaglia, therapy, and my exercise regimen, I found my way back to the healthy Lawrence and have been fine ever since.
It frustrates me when I hear that parents and teachers should be wary of their daughter’s behavior, watching for anorexia nervosa. This disease can affect any gender. Not many discuss this once “fashionable disease,” anymore, but I see it highly prevalent in the fitness community. The new approach is exercise bulimia, in which people eat what they want but live in the gym overtraining taking many back-to-back classes.
Years later, I go through the time telling my story, not as therapist, but as someone who had to figure things out alone. My hope is that some parts of my truth will let both women and men know that admitting a problem with food does not need to carry shame, outing of sexual orientation, or any other common stigma that the public may put on anyone who admits to a disease.
In our industry, it seems to me that the time has come to discuss not only the problem, but to offer solutions to the imagery that the industry conveys.
Walking up to someone and saying “you look great” may seem innocent. Unknowingly, however, this fuels our own message that the external is more important than the internal. Possible alternatives could be “I hope you feel as great as you look” or “Clearly fitness is working for your outside: and how are you doing on the inside” to show that we put just as much importance on internal, unseen values, such as feelings, over numbers.
Furthermore, can we avoid references to the verb “to be” when referencing numbers and weight. Instead of asking “what are you?,” asking “what is your bodyweight today?,“ or, even better, “how great do you feel today?” shifts our emphasis to the person over the pounds. When referencing ourselves, we should do the same. Instead of saying, for example, “I’m still 180,” we could reference our bodyweight as “I’m doing what I can to keep the numbers on the scale at 180 pounds.”
Ask each other “how do you feel today?” instead of “how are you?” Even more open-ended questions can allow colleagues and clients alike to tune into themselves as we try to shift towards an inward focus. “What’s the best thing that happened to you so far today” is a far more thought-provoking question than the ubiquitous “how are ya?”
When we profile images on our fitness websites and advertising, let’s feature our guests and members as widely diverse as possible: large to small frames, all ethnicities, and stages of fitness.
Follow the footsteps of places like downsizefitness.com to make fitness places a welcoming and non-intimidating place to join, taught by like-minded and like-looking people.
If our industry continues to put forth—and speak to—images of fit people getting fitter, we continue to stay in our own small circle of fitness, wondering why the rest of the world “just doesn’t get it”. It’s ours to help everyone learn that movement is mandatory, and exercise is optional. After all, adding the “f” word of “fun” can make all the difference in showing that, if fit people are happy people, we really are exercising our happiness.
About the Author:
Lawrence Biscontini, MA, has been a SCW Faculty Member, Keynoter, Course Creator and Presenter for over two decades. As a Mindful Movement Specialist with over a dozen multiple industry-recognized awards, Lawrence serves on the Advisory Boards for CanFitPro, the International Council on Active Aging, and Power Music®. He has been part of the SCW and BOSU Development Teams, and he is a Registered Yoga Alliance Teacher (500RYT) and Content Specialist Contributing Author to industry magazines and texts like SCW, ACE, and AFAA. Find Lawrence at www.findlawrence.com.
Lawrence is a staple at every MANIA® Event, be sure to come see him LIVE and experience all he has to offer fitness professionals both physically, and mentally! scwfit.com/mania
This traditional southern Italian beverage is relatively new in the U.S., and it makes a wonderful, light drink anytime. Plus, eating the fruit at the end is an added bonus! Get this recipe and many others from Lawrence Biscontini’s book, “Meals and Musings”!
2 cups white seedless grapes, sliced
2 cups sliced fresh peaches
1 cup of sliced apricots
1 cup of sliced & peeled apples
1 cup of sliced strawberries
1 cup of cut cherries; this adds additional color
2 bottles of white wine (Lawrence prefers Sauvignon Blanc from Australia or New Zealand
2-3 cups of white grape juice (Welch’s® brand works great)
½ cup sugar/agave/honey
Mix all ingredients and store in refrigerator overnight or for a few hours to marinate fruit. ENJOY!
Check out all of the MANIA® events, and find one near you! www.scwfit.com/MANIA