Many fitness professionals dream of starting and growing their own fitness business. They’ve put a lot of investment (both time and money) into getting certified … and they’re excited to get going. And then what happens?
They get stuck and don’t progress. WHY?
They fall into a trap. When most people think about growing their fitness business, they think “I just need more leads and clients.” Followed by: “How can I get more clients?” And then: “But really, where do I find more clients?”
But the problem with that line of thinking is that it almost always leads to a dead end. Truth is, there’s some hard strategizing and planning that needs to be done before you hit the accelerator on new client acquisition.
WARNING: If you DON’T review and address these critical areas of your business, things actually get WORSE when you add more clients into the mix (NOT better).
Where you need to begin is here:
Understand the “money math” that drives PROFITABILITY and cash flow with your business model
Get real SYSTEMS in place that support increased retention AND new client acquisition every single month
Increase your LEADERSHIP (and eventually, your team capacity) so your business and life will get better (not worse) as you grow.
At NPE, we take a different approach. Since 2006, we’ve helped over 45,000+ fitness professionals and business owners in 96+ countries grow to the next level. We’ve been listed 8x on the Inc 500/5000 list of fastest growing companies, and we’re a global team with offices in Los Angeles, London, and Sydney.
Our ‘secret to success’ is our methodology. Through the NPE 5 CORE DISCIPLINES™ we relentlessly focus on creating more profitability, revenue, and (critically) happiness with your fitness business to create long-term success.
Each of the NPE 5 CORE DISCIPLINES™ aligns to a powerful business growth question:
What does success look like and how will you get there?
Where do you find (and how will you sign up) new prospective clients?
How do you serve the market in a unique and powerful way?
How will you increase revenue, cash flow, and profitability to ensure continued success?
How will you look after yourself, have fun, and enjoy the journey?
As you get better answers to these questions, you will have increased FOCUS.
To help you get the better answers, we at NPE are inviting canfitpro members to take an exclusive FREE eCourse. In this course, you will learn how to:
Grow your income while doing more of the work you love helping people transform their lives
Take your passion for fitness and turn it into a successful business
Find the business model that best fits your strengths and allows you to differentiate yourself from the competition
Increase business cash flow and profitability while scaling to multiple 6 and even 7+ figures
Feel inspired by the work you’re doing, so you can continue enjoying the journey while making a bigger impact in the lives of the clients and communities you serve.
City of Mississauga fitness and therapeutic programs are part of the municipal recreation division. We have 13 fitness locations across the City with a variety of weight room and group exercise studios. Facilities and memberships also include squash, swimming, skating and walking tracks.
How long have you been in the fitness industry?
More than 10 years.
What attracted you to the fitness industry?
The City of Mississauga offers fitness as part of recreation offerings to appeal to the broadest interest of residents.
What made you choose to own/operate your own business?
The City of Mississauga is committed to offering fitness as part of recreation services as a community-based option for fitness facilities and programs.
What has been your greatest challenge as a businessowner/operator and how did you overcome it?
The biggest challenge faced has been promoting the quality and breadth of fitness programs and services offered along with the high standards for staff qualifications and accountability. Sometimes we’re too humble and understated for our own good!
What do you hope your member’s achieve within your facility?
Our objectives for residents are to find facilities and programs that best fit their needs along with a community connection and belongingness.
Tell us your greatest memory/highlight in your career?
One of our greatest highlights has been the development and introduction of the Therapeutic Membership and line of business. This includes many hospital partnership programs along with post-therapy focused programs – for example COPD, Strong and Steady and the Next Step to Active Living.
This membership also includes programs like Ai Chi, Therapeutic Pilates and Therapeutic yoga that creatively combine functional and post rehab type exercises with modifications to enable all levels of ability and movement to participate. These programs connect people in their community while maintaining and building strength for activities of daily living and independence.
How long have you been a Business Member?
8 – 10 years.
Have you used a business coach to better educate you and your business? If so, who?
Yes. We have the support of recreation managers and leaders along with a team of business and marketing advisors.
Do you have a favourite quote or saying you try to live by each day?
Our mission is to have more people connected more often through programs and services that reflect our community’s needs.
Help your clients to eat better in the long run by making small changes over time, like swapping sugary snacks for protein-filled snacks that help to curb hunger, and build and repair muscle. Here are three dietitian-approved options that are also perfect for on-the-go eating.
TIP: Remind clients that a way to avoid turning a snack into a meal (unless of course a large snack is warranted!) is to try not to snack while distracted with things like working, driving or watching TV. When we are distracted we tend to overeat.
Delicious hard-cooked eggs
Two eggs serves up 12 grams of hunger-curbing protein, vitamins and minerals, all for a mere 140 calories.
What’s more? With Eggs2go! TM you’ll get a boost of inflammation-fighting omega-3 fats. It’s a natural alternative to supplements. All it takes is adding flaxseed to a hen’s diet!
TIP: Look for Eggs2go! TM in packs of two in the deli section of grocery stores or packs of six in the egg section. These pair great with raw veggies like grape tomatoes or sugar snap peas.
Todd’s Better Snacks
New to the snack market, these lightly puffed flavoured crisps are made from high-quality Canadian egg white protein (each bag contains 2 ½ egg whites), plus prairie lentils (and are peanut and gluten-free). They can satisfy a savoury snack craving and help curb hunger until your next meal with 10 grams of protein in each portion-controlled bag.
TIP: Todd’s Protein Crisps are available in BBQ, salt and vinegar, sour cream and onion, sea salt and vinegar flavours and can be ordered online: Todd’s Better Snacks.
These are an oldie, but reliable goodie. Just a small handful of almonds (23 almonds, one ounce) packs six grams of protein plus four grams of fiber for a winning hunger-curbing combo with that crunch appeal many of us crave in a snack.
What’s more? You also get about 50% of your antioxidant vitamin E needs, helpful to keep our immune system in tip top shape.
TIP: Pack up single-serve containers with a small handful of almonds for easy grab-and-go snacks. Keep them at work, in the car and in your gym bag. Almonds pair well with banana slices, a mandarin orange or crisp apple.
Canada’s population has been steadily aging. As of 2014, seniors were making up 15.6% of the population (approximately 6 million). By 2030, estimates expect that number to rise significantly to over 9.5 million seniors that account for more than 23% of Canadians.
With life expectancy increasing and the baby boomers still entering their senior years, these numbers are expected to keep rising, which is why there is a need now, more than ever, for more personal trainers, nutritionists, fitness instructors, and weight loss coaches to garner a greater understanding of seniors and the best ways to serve them. One way to better understand seniors is to first take a look at how aging impacts the body.
Four Impacts of Aging on the Body
1) Age-related loss in muscle mass (and sarcopenia)
The unfortunate fact is this, aging inherently leads to seniors losing muscle mass. At first, it can be a bit slow. But, from age 50 on the rate of decrease starts to pick up. At this milestone, you start losing muscle at a rate of 1-2% every year. If left unaddressed, this can develop into significant issues like sarcopenia, which, up to 13% of those aged 60-70 suffer from. Then, looking at the 80+ crowd, it is clear that this issue has continued to progress since as much as 50% of this population struggle with the health issues of sarcopenia.
2) Deterioration in strength over time
As you continue to lose muscle, you are also going to be losing your strength. Those above the age of 60 are estimated to lose as much as 3% of their strength every calendar year. This is troubling for a slew of reasons, but no more troubling than this next point.
3) The degradation of functional capabilities and functional independence
As muscle and strength decline, basic functional capabilities start to become harder and more difficult. Overall mobility and flexibility begin to take a hit as well. As these capabilities begin to degrade, it starts to limit overall physical activity which only further expedites the loss of functional capabilities. With this comes a continuous loss in seniors’ abilities to simply be functionally independent and living life by their own means.
4) Slowing down your metabolism and increasing obesity
The three above points all play a role in packing on the pounds as you age. Muscle mass is beneficial for more than looking good, mobility, and strength – having higher levels of muscle mass leads to a direct increase in one’s metabolic rate.
A decrease in strength causes speed, intensity and power generated in your day-to-day activities to significantly decrease as well. This means you are utilizing less energy, burning fewer calories, and missing the benefits of more intense physical activity.
The loss of functional capabilities inherently leads to a more sedentary lifestyle. Being less physically active overall is only going to further decrease your metabolism, increase weight gain, and a whole host of other issues.
All of this is dangerous – continually adding on weight while being less and less active can bring upon other health concerns like heart disease and diabetes.
It is clear that all of these aspects are all interconnected. But what is the best way to fight back against these issues?
Click to view the full infographic: 78 Benefits of Weight Lifting for Seniors
Strength training: Five benefits for the 65+ population
Weight lifting to build muscle and increase strength is easily one of the most important things that the aging population needs to be engaged in. In fact, a meta-analysis analyzed over 120 peer-reviewed studies and identified 78 benefits of strength training for seniors. It addresses everything from the topics we are touching on here to cognitive health, mental health, reducing fall risk factors, reducing mortality rates, and much more.
But, even if we focus just on the issues listed above, it is clear that strength training is critical. Here’s why.
1) First of all, it’s safe
The amount of times I have heard people spread the myth that lifting weights is dangerous for older folks is mind numbing. I have even seen trainers refuse older clients because “they should just walk at the mall”. Infuriating. So let’s do away with this myth first and foremost. Study after study has shown that not only is it safe, it is extremely effective for a whole bunch of reasons.
2) The best prescription for preventing and reversing sarcopenia
A lot of people, my father being one of them, didn’t think that they would be able to really see any improvements in their muscle mass. The question is always something like “I am just too old, will this really work?”
The answer is a hard yes.
Whether your 50 years old or 90 years old, you can still build muscle. In fact, even just doing one set of exercises three times a week has been shown to produce significant improvements in muscle mass. Increasing the sets, reps, intensity or number of exercises leads to a dramatic boost in benefits.
By starting earlier, rather than later, you can actually prevent the decline from ever occurring. But, if you haven’t started, it isn’t too late. As studies have seen, volunteers aged 61-80 can see dramatic improvements of their current health status, with volunteers being able to add over two pounds of muscle mass in 10-12 weeks, which reduced their physical age by five years on average.
3) Best way to maintain strength and improve it
No matter the age, strength training will improve general functional strength, maximal strength, endurance, and conditioning.
Being ahead of the curve has its benefits. Those who had been strength training as a regular way of life were protected against significant losses in strength.
But don’t be confused, just being physically active isn’t the same. When one study compared populations of strength training masters and physically active seniors, the masters had greater strength, functional capabilities, functional performance, and more.
4) Fighting back against obesity
The obvious is that exercise is going to help fight back against obesity. What isn’t obvious is what sets strength training apart from other forms of exercise.
One study demonstrated that hitting the weights over the course of 10 weeks was able to reduce more than 1.8kg of fat mass. All the while, the participants saw their average metabolic rate increase by as much as 7%.
Another aspect is that load-bearing exercises are known for significantly elevating metabolic rates for 12-48 hours post-workout. Adding this on top of the already elevated resting metabolic rate will help to utilize more calories and increase your daily energy expenditure to drop fat.
A third way that isn’t talked about as much revolves around a singular hormone known as isrin. Lifting weights increases the levels of this hormone (while also improving other aspects of your endocrine system). What isrin does is help promote “good fat” while also decreasing “bad fat”.
You see, if you live a more sedentary lifestyle, the type of fat you are more likely to have is known as white fat (bad fat). This type of fat tissue is not metabolically active. It doesn’t produce much energy or burn many calories.
On the other hand, brown fat (good fat) is the complete opposite. These brown fat cells are packed with mitochondria that are highly metabolically active. Having higher levels of brown fat vs white fat leads to overall great fat loss.
Coming back to isrin… isrin works to actively convert white fat into brown fat. By working out more you can keep the levels of isrin elevated to continually improve the ratio of white to brown fat.
5) Staying physically fit to keep that functional independence
Last but not least, lifting will help you to stay functionally independent.
Seniors that were hitting the gym were able to see physical capabilities improve across the board. Studies demonstrated significant increases in:
Walking speed and step length
Performance and time of doing tasks like sitting down, standing up, climbing stairs, and walking
The flexibility of every single joint movement
Static and dynamic balance
Movement control due to improved neuromuscular functioning
With these improvements, seniors can expect to reduce fall risk factors. With that, they may experience improved confidence in their movement which helps to reduce their fear of falling – a fear that can be restrictive and paralyzing from even attempting to be active.
Active living: Are you ready to help seniors with active aging?
The goal of this article is to simply help you understand this aging population and the struggles they may endure. Just simply strength training two to three times a week can be absolutely critical to having a long, healthy, and active life.
With that said, there is so much more you can do to help older adults. If you want to become someone that older clients can look to for “all of the above”, look into earning your Personal Training Specialist Certification and the corresponding Active Aging Certificate from canfitpro. You will get a deep dive into the impact and physiology of aging, healthy eating, the crucial type of exercises for older adults, and even how to adapt regiments for specific conditions or illnesses they may be struggling with.
About Nick Rizzo
Nick Rizzo is the Training & Fitness Content Director at RunRepeat.Com. He uses his education in the sciences, experience as a researcher, and 10+ years in the fitness industry to craft comprehensive content to educate, motivate, and support readers with information backed by science.
The gym can be a scary place, until you feel like you belong. When joining or rejoining a gym, it can raise intimidation that make us fearful of being judged, left out, conspicuous or other feelings of simply not fitting in. Let’s look at it a different way to see that the gym is indeed the right place for you!
In all areas of life, we either feel like we belong or like we don’t. Back in the 1970’s, Henri Tajfel developed the theory of in-groups and out-groups as part of social identity theory; situations where we either see ourselves as a group member or as an individual. With a sense of common ground, interests or circumstances we experience a sense of loyalty, common purpose and togetherness with other people.
We are a part of this particular in-group and feel comfortable because we have an idea of what to expect from members of our group and what is expected of us – a team at work, your curling club, fellow dog owners, are just a few examples. If someone is part of an out-group, a group to which we don’t belong, it is easy to see them as “other” and separate from ourselves. This information will sound familiar to many of you. Here’s what might be surprising. Creating an in-group can be as simple as assigning a random group of strangers to a team. Think of the last time you were at an event and assigned to the Blue Team. Did you automatically feel a competitive push towards the Red Team, even though two minutes earlier you were all part of the same large group? The same idea applies when walking your dog in a new neighbourhood and you automatically smile or wave to other dog owners. You have common ground that allows for easy, casual interaction. They get you and you get them.
Let’s apply this in-group theory to going to the gym or a fitness class for the first time. It feels daunting. You don’t know the social etiquette, who is new like you and who are the regulars, what is the cool dress code, how to work the machines, do you bring your own water or are there water fountains, where is the change room – the list of unknowns can be quite long. We assume that we are seen as a member of the out-group. We are a newbie trying to get into the in-group. It is natural to experience a heightened awareness of all the ways in which we are different, whether or not our assumptions are correct. “Everyone else has a towel, I don’t.” “Lots of people seem to know the instructor and what equipment we need. I am clueless.” And, the most common thought? “I am the most out of shape person here and everyone can tell.” At the gym, it can feel like everyone else but us belongs there and is super fit. But, just because you feel like an outsider, doesn’t make it so.
Here comes the good news. You do belong. Simply by showing up you are part of the group of people who exercised today. Congratulations! You are in the elite 20% of Canadians! A pretty nice in-group wouldn’t you say? That camaraderie is immediately noticed by other people in the gym. In all my years as a personal trainer, the only comments ever made by my clients about fresh faces in the gym all ran along the lines of “I hope they come back.” Without exception, they were wishing people success. When we are comfortable in the gym, it is easy to see others as part of our group.
Here’s the take-away message: The rest of your gym family, even though you don’t know their names, are all rooting for you! So head high, big breathe and smile. Guaranteed you’ll get a smile back!
About Leah Staff
Leah Staff is a communications consultant, wellness expert, and 25 year veteran of the wellness industry whose corporate programs have achieved national award-winning success. As an educator, presenter and coach, Leah helps people talk with people.
We’re not just talking about swimming laps, because you can absolutely get a body-sculpting weight-training session in a pool. So many people think of swimming as a cardio workout, but at Studio SWEAT onDemand, we think it’s an ideal place to gain power and build muscle. Seriously – your body weight is supported in water, so you can focus on building strength and flexibility. The buoyancy of a water workout is also perfect for people who suffer from conditions like arthritis, fibromyalgia, back pain, joint replacements, and balance issues.
On average, people burn about 500-600 calories during an hour of swimming, so, if you want the best pool exercises ever, dive into our easy-to-follow guide. We suggest anywhere to three rounds, depending on how much time you have to play.
Weight Training Twist
It’s not all pool noodles and beach balls. You can actually buy pool weights, foam, and plastic dumbbells that work well underwater. These weights are perfect for building bulk – so, it’s time for you to change your perception around aquatic sports.
What it works: obliques, core, and quads
Here’s how to do it:
With both hands, hold your pool noodle or barbell shoulder height with arms straight in front of you.
Keeping your arms extended rotate your torso to the right while hopping your feet to the left.
Repeat by hopping feet to the right while twisting your upper-body to the left.
Repeat back and forth for 30 seconds.
Running in Place
No, you’re not dreaming – it’s really that hard to run in water. So, if you want the ultimate aerobic exercise, then try this new take on high knees. Just remember – slower kicking means less resistance, while faster kicking increases your resistance.
What it works: cardio, hip flexors
Here’s how to do it:
With your feet touching the floor, begin to run in place.
Go as fast as you can, kicking your legs and lifting your knees as high as you can.
Complete for 30 seconds.
This deceptively simple ab move is difficult enough on land, but in a pool? You’ll find that you’ll need extra core strength to keep your body from floating away AND push your legs through the water.
What it works: abdominal muscles, obliques, and hip flexors
Here’s how to do it:
Holding on to the edge of the pool, lift your legs together until they’re parallel to the floor.
Lower them down.
Repeat for 25 reps.
Use Your Noodle
This one may require you to steal your kids’ pool noodle, but trust us, it’s worth it, and they’ll forgive you.
What it works: core, shoulders, and triceps
Here’s how to do it:
While on your belly floating in the water, hold on to a horizontal pool noodle.
Engage your core to hold your position, then push down the pool noodle with arms straight.
Complete for 25 reps.
Because it’s so high impact, not everyone’s a fan of the tuck jump. But, in a pool, treading water? You’ll experience that same heart-pumping cardio without being as hard on your knees as you add a bigger element of ab work into the mix.
What it works: core, quads, glutes, deltoids, chest, and lats
Here’s how to do it:
Make sure the water comes up to your shoulders.
While treading water (or with your feet touching the bottom of the pool), bring both knees up to your chest.
Extend your legs straight down.
Complete for 10 reps
A note to improve your pool workout: yes, you still have to drink water before and after your workout. Accidental pool water intake doesn’t count!
Just because a workout is creative and fun doesn’t mean it’s inefficient. If anything, changing it up with out-of-the-box exercises keeps you from getting stuck in a workout plateau and keeps you on your toes!
About Cat Kom
Cat Kom is a celebrated fitness trainer who launched a global movement to bring fitness to the masses, no matter their age, ability or skill level. Through her company Studio SWEAT onDemand, a fitness studio based in San Diego, California, she produces streaming workouts that can be accessed through their app, any internet browser, smart device or TV. As one of Huffington Post’s‘ Limit Breaking Female Founders,’ Cat has gained notoriety for her fat-torching classes featuring passionate trainers and real people, getting real results.
During the 30 years that I was building my company, I became increasingly tired and stressed. There were plenty of gyms near me, but I regarded them as sweat factories where people rode bikes that went nowhere. It was only after I sold my company that I made a dramatic discovery: signing up with a personal trainer can turn your life around.
Working with a trainer, I enjoyed the physical experience of discovering the power of my body and the beauty of a more aligned and confident physical presence. But it took me three tries to find a personal trainer who was a “good fit” for me. The first one was OK, but we didn’t connect on a personal level. The second one didn’t read me very well and pushed me too hard.
The third one, as the expression goes, “was a charm.” The reason I love working with him is that he not only has technical skills, but he has superb emotional intelligence. Every word he delivers inspires me, motivates me, and makes me feel hungry for more coaching. Each session is fun, we laugh, we talk, and we connect on an interpersonal level. I would never leave him.
If you want to keep your clients for the long term—you’ll need this emotional intelligence (EQ). These are the interpersonal skills that allow you to form better and more lasting relationships with your clients.
In the world of fitness, emotional intelligence is imperative. It enables you to elevate the client experience and retain clients in an increasingly competitive industry.
This is the first in a series of four monthly articles that will explore how you can develop your EQ and use it to foster deeper, lasting client relationships.
This first article is on how to “connect” with clients. The next three will deal with body language, the art of listening, and vision.
The Importance of Connecting
In his book, Social Intelligence: The Revolutionary New Science of Human Relationships, Daniel Goleman writes: “We are wired to connect. Neuroscience has discovered that our brain’s very design makes it sociable.”
The clients you deal with want that connection with you – in fact, clients rarely leave trainers for technical reasons. Whoever left a trainer because he couldn’t bench press 250 pounds? It’s more likely that relationships end when there is an interpersonal disconnect.
As you build healthy bodies, make sure to create these crucial ties with your clients. Even if you feel you are a social introvert, you have an obligation to give your clients an experience that is personally enriching. Hence the term, “personal trainer.”
Three Ways to Connect
There are many ways to reach out and connect with your clients, but let’s look at three that will create “stickiness” in your client relationships, and encourage clients to enjoy working with you and stay with you.
#1 Show Interest
The first way to connect is to show interest in your client’s life. You’re dealing with a whole person, not just a body or a set of muscles.
During the initial assessment start probing. You might ask what that individual’s current exercise routine is. Or where he lives or what brought her into the gym.
Over time, you may ask what your clients do professionally, whether they have children, what sports, if any, they play, and what their hobbies are. And if someone tells you they’re going to be giving an important presentation, next time they come, say “How was your presentation?”
The important thing is to remember things they’ve told you and ask about them. Never start a session with the generic, “How’s it going?” That’s a non-starter. Ask more specifically about something that’s happened to them that week.
#2 Show Sensitivity
The second rule of connecting is to be sensitive to your client’s feelings. A sensitive trainer recognizes what a client is going through – and responds accordingly.
Your client may come in and say, “Hey, I know you assigned me cardio workouts at home, but work’s been crazy and I haven’t found the time.” Instead of saying, “You need to find the time,” or ignoring their words all together, say, “Hey, I completely understand. Sometimes life gets in the way.”
If your client pulls you aside and says, “You know, I’m just not having fun with these sessions anymore,” take note of that, stop what you are doing and say “Let’s talk about why that may be happening.”
Showing sensitivity also means giving kudos to your clients because they show up and work hard for you. So, instead of saying “see you next week” at the end of a session or giving a pro-forma high five, be specific. Say, “Wow, you worked really hard today,” or “You hit a personal best on your pull-ups, impressive stuff!”
#3 Show Respect
The third rule of connecting is to show respect for your clients.
If a client asks you to explain something, do so with as much clarity as you can and if you don’t have the answer say, “I’ll get that for you.” Once you’ve explained something, ask the client, “Is that clear?” or “Does that answer your question?”
Show respect by being sensitive to your client’s personal boundaries. If you are with a client and take a video of her doing an exercise, don’t show it around to other trainers. In fact, one disgruntled client said she left her trainer because he did just that.
Show respect, as well, by not mimicking the poor posture or bad form of a client. You may be trying to show your client what not to do. But it’s far better to focus on what the client should be doing.
Finally, show respect by not talking to other trainers, gazing at other clients, or checking your phone when you are with your client. Sure, it’s tempting to do so, but showing respect means you are 100% focused on your client.
These three ways of connecting will ensure that you are giving your clients all the personal attention and respect they deserve.
About Judith Humphrey
Judith Humphrey is Co-Founder and CEO of EQUOS Corp, a firm that teaches EQ skills to fitness professionals, manual therapists, and health care practitioners. Before entering the world of fitness, Judith was Founder and CEO of The Humphrey Group, a company that works with corporate leaders around the world who wish to speak with clarity and confidence. Judith is a Fast Company columnist, and the author of three books on communication: Speaking as a Leader: How to Lead Every Time You Speak (2010), Taking the Stage: How Women Can Speak Up, Stand Out, and Succeed (2014), and Impromptu: Leading in the Moment (2018).
EQUOS will be offering a one-day workshop, “The Emotionally Intelligent Fitness Professional,” in Toronto on November 9th and December 7th. For further information, visit their website.
You’re a personal trainer, and you work with clients who have mental health issues (be it anxiety, depression, or something else). You know they’ve gotten better over time, thanks to exercise, but what’s the best form of exercise for different mental health issues, and how does it work? That’s what we’ll talk about in this article.
Exercise Prescription for Mental Health
Interestingly, when a doctor prescribes a medication to his/her patients, s/he says the name of the medication, the dosage, whether it should be taken with meals, or away from them, and whether it should be taken in the morning or evening. There is precision in the prescription. But when a doctor tells his/her patients to exercise, s/he leaves it at that. No more information.
So what is the patient to do? Should they do cardio or strength training? How frequently? At what intensity? For how long?
The truth is that just as the doctor has the right medication for each condition, so should exercise recommendations differ based on the specific condition. Fortunately, in recent decades, there has been more and more research on the right type and “dosage” of exercise necessary to improve and support different conditions.
Anxiety is a persistent worry and restlessness, which is normal to most people. By the time it crosses the line (once the label of “anxiety” is official), the person is in a pretty dark place. Fortunately, exercise can help with that (as you already guessed).
In one study, researchers took 26 well-conditioned college athletes and divided them into two groups. The first group cycled for 30 minutes at 70-80% of their maximal heart rate. The second group lifted weights for 30 minutes at 70-80% of the 1RM. The group that cycled had a lower anxiety level after exercise, compared to before. What about the group that lifted weights? Their anxiety levels were actually higher after exercise than before. But, when they were measured through the State-Trait Anxiety Inventory (STAI) questionnaire at 20 and 60 minutes post-exercise, their anxiety levels only returned to their pre-exercise levels.
The conclusion: cardio is more effective than strength training for anxiety reduction, when done at 70-80% of the maximal intensity.
What about duration? What’s the least that you need to exercise to have anxiety-reducing effects? Most studies start at 20 minutes, but that’s because they don’t directly look at the minimum effective “dose”. There are currently two studies available that look at the least amount of exercise someone needs to do to have anxiety-reducing effects.
Their conclusion: somewhere in the 10-15 minute range. That’s pretty cool! For only 10-15 minutes of exercise, anxiety is reduced, and usually for up to 6 hours.
But there are still a few unanswered questions, like:
Does it only change their anxiety in the moment, or does it change how they are as a person?
What about people with severe anxiety? Does exercise work for them as well?
We now know that exercise works well for anxiety, and that cardio is more effective than strength training. How about depression?
In the case of depression, it seems that both cardio and strength training have equal effects. In one study, the researchers enrolled 40 women with depression and divided them into three groups. The first group was the control group. They didn’t exercise. The second group ran four times per week for 30 minutes, and the third group lifted weights four times per week for 30 minutes
The results: both the cardio and the strength training groups reduced their depression symptoms by an average of 50%. Not bad, considering that exercise was used as a stand-alone therapy (no medications or psychotherapy were used).
But just as in anxiety, there are a few unanswered questions, such as:
How does exercise compare to medications in those with depression?
How long do the effects of exercise last?
How does exercise affect those with severe depression?
Mechanisms: How does it Work?
There are eight hypotheses that explain why exercise works to improve mental health. Three of those will be covered here.
Hypothesis #1: Self-Efficacy Self-efficacy means that you feel like you’re in control. When you have anxiety or depression, it feels like things are happening to you. You feel helpless, out of control. But then you start exercising, and you quickly realize that if you exercise you can make yourself feel better, which brings back a sense of control to your life. You start to understand that you can control how you feel. You can control when, where, and how intensely you exercise. Exercise doesn’t just “happen” to you. You make it happen.
Hypothesis #2: The Tryptophan/Serotonin Hypothesis It is believed that one of the mechanisms of fatigue in exercise is the increase in tryptophan levels in the brain. Tryptophan is an amino acid and it gets converted to serotonin. Serotonin is the “happy chemical.” When serotonin levels rise, you feel happy and relaxed.
Hypothesis #3: Increased Alpha Waves in the Brain If you were to hook up the brain to an EEG machine and measure electromagnetic waves, you’d notice four types of waves: alpha, beta, gamma and delta. The beta waves are what you experience when you’re awake and concentrating. The gamma and delta waves predominate in deep sleep. It’s the alpha waves that are less present in the person with anxiety. Alpha waves signal relaxation, and they’re most evident when a person is relaxing, daydreaming, or in that period when lying in bed and you’re not quite asleep, but not quite awake. Exercise helps increase alpha wave activity and calms you down.
About Igor Klibanov
Igor Klibanov is the author of five books on fitness and nutrition, as well as the CEO of one of Toronto’s premier personal training companies, Fitness Solutions Plus. He was selected as one of the top five personal trainers in Toronto by the Metro News newspaper, and has performed approximately 400 speaking engagements, many of which have been to some of Canada’s largest corporations (including RBC, IBM, Intact Insurance, and others).
Additionally, he has multiple programs for personal trainers to enhance their skills and is a regular speaker at various personal training conferences, including canfitpro.
I just returned from the LARGEST Fitness Expo of its kind in the WORLD – The 26th annual canfitpro 2019 Fitness Convention and Tradeshow. One thing most of the presenters and delegates had in common…we were on our feet all day, and they were long days. When feet become tired they can become unstable and lead to a host of issues, which brings me to this month’s movement called FOOT FLOW.
These moves could change your life, and I’m going to quickly explain how.
Foot strength: While there are many day-to-day movements and exercises in the gym (calves raises) that can help strengthen the extrinsic muscles of the foot, in my experience 99% of the population does NOT do any specific exercises to strengthen the intrinsic muscles of the foot. The benefit? A stable foot allows the ankle more freedom to move. Limited ankle dorsiflexion affects all movement.
Single Leg Balance. With every step you take, you’re constantly shifting from one leg to another, making walking a single leg (SL) balance movement. One foot is fixed and one is always lifted. When you run, you’re always on a SL. That’s reason enough, but a big reason is also fall prevention. Regardless of age.
Glute Strength: to balance on a beam means your body is constantly fighting to balance itself in the frontal plane. One of the prime muscles doing this is your Glute Medius, as well as your TFL (tensor fascia late). By driving the foot into the ground or beam you make a direct connection to your glutes. In the video, Jason goes for a full two minutes, ask him how his glutes felt!
Helps keep your knees safe: Simply put, our feet are connected to our glutes. As I mentioned above, as your feet move side to side so will your Glute Medius. AND, your Glutes drive your knees…healthy feet=healthy glutes=healthy knees. We are one integrated kinetic chain from toe to fingertip.
Proprioception: Ever wonder why you don’t miss your mouth when you eat with a spoon or fork? Ever wonder how you never miss a step when using stairs? How is it that you know exactly how high to lift your leg? It’s called proprioception, body awareness. This means during life or sport whenever you’re bumped, pushed, hit etc, you have a greater chance of being able to stay up or recover. You have a better ability to keep your COG (center of gravity) in-between your BOS (base of support-the space between your feet.)
Please note that many will need to begin these movements on a stable surface. In fact, I would suggest regardless of your skill level that you do a bit of practicing on a stable surface to begin. This is a great way to lay down those patterns while not having as much concern about the balance aspect. Please note that if the stable ground is also a challenge, you would begin holding on to a dowel rod or body bar.
Depending on where you begin, the goal is to take you from the supported stable surface, to an unsupported stable surface, up to the beam supported and finally on the beam with no support. Where you begin is KEY. So, do not advance yourself too quickly.
Also, keep in mind that in the video Jason (@coachjay.persaud) performs all of this in one flow. You can break it down per movement. In other words, first perform the SL then stop and restart and perform the 2nd movement and so on.
In the exercise protocol below I’ve listed ways to begin, but this is what you are looking to work up to:
The SL Balance: 30 secs per side.
Clocks: Left Leg: 12PM, 3PM, 6PM. Right Leg: 12PM, 9PM, 6PM.
Runners “A”’s: 5 per side.
If you have any other questions, please don’t hesitate to reach out. If you’re interested in picking up a beam go to: www.hqconsulting.ca and once you get to the cart use the code CKHQ10 to receive 10% off just for being a canfitpro member.
Once you have been able to progress from the ground to the beam:
The SL Balance: Begin with 10 secs and work up to 30 secs depending on your goals.
The Clocks: Begin with just tapping 12PM once per Leg. Work up to the full circle. Repeat if you like.
Runner “A”’s: Begin with one per side, work up to 5 per side, or more.
Coach Kennedy (Kennedy Lodato) is a 28-year advocate of health and a 14-year veteran of the fitness industry with a thirst for knowledge and a passion for teaching and running his CKM Mentorships, CK Private Coaching, AOW- Anatomy of a Work workshops and courses as well as a Fitness Educator of LIVE education to the fitness industry.
Before pursuing his true felt passion for mentoring trainers and coaches, he occupied the positions of Personal Trainer, Sport Conditioning Coach and Personal Trainer Manager. Kennedy is a three-time recipient of the canfitpro PRO TRAINER of the Year award as well as the 2019 Canadian Delegates Choice Presenter of the Year award.
Can you imagine a fitness class without music? Probably not, because music and exercise are a natural fit.
While it’s important that you put music to work in your classes and at your gym, it’s equally important to use music responsibly.
Entandem makes it simple.
As of July 2019, the hundreds of thousands of Canadian businesses that use recorded and/or live music to make their business better can complete their required RE:SOUND and SOCAN music licenses in one easy step, through Entandem.
Not only does music add great value in your fitness studio or gym, working with Entandem ensures music makers can keep on making great music.
Three reasons why being licensed to play music is good for your fitness business:
Customers are loyal to businesses that act ethically.
Research shows that when customers believe a business is acting ethically and responsibly, their customers are more likely to trust the business and be loyal to it. Your music license(s) says you’re a responsible, ethical, and legal part of the music ecosystem.
Music impacts the bottom line.
When music isn’t there, your customers notice. Studies1 repeatedly show that using music helps businesses reap rewards through higher traffic, greater customer satisfaction, and increased loyalty. In fact, more than half of Canadians who exercise believe having good music is as important as having comfortable shoes for working out.
Music creators deserve to be compensated.
Music makes your programs and classes better. The money from your legally required music license supports the people who make the music. This is their work and they rely on royalties from licenses to make a living.
Stay tuned to your inbox to learn more about Entandem and valuable tips on how to best pump up the jams while your clients pump iron.