Corporate Fitness and Active Aging

Debunking the Myths About Personal Trainers

 

TRX Cher (2).jpgThere are a number of misconceptions these days about personal trainers and what it’s like to be one. Don’t all personal trainers have perfect bodies and eat nothing but fruits, vegetables, and protein shakes? Sure, you’ll have a select number of trainers who eat, sleep, and breathe fitness, but the vast majority of us are just normal people. Let’s debunk some of these common myths about personal trainers.

  • We eat healthy foods every day of the week. While most trainers enjoy a nutritious, well-balanced diet, most have no problem mixing in a few splurge meals throughout the week. I personally follow extremely strict nutrition Monday morning through Friday afternoon, and then reward myself with fresh pasta or pizza and breadsticks for a Friday dinner. You better believe I’m getting up early on Saturday morning for a long bout of cardio to put those extra carbs to good use!
  • We work out two or three times a day. It’s true, trainers should practice what they preach; however, most of us only work out once a day, most days of the week. One big misconception is that trainers and fitness specialists spend most of their workday working out. I actually had a friend ask me, “What do you do all day at work, just work out?” I was flabbergasted with my friend’s question. Whether I’m delivering fitness and nutrition presentations, making workouts for group exercise classes and clients, or creating fun and exciting fitness challenges, most fitness professionals don’t spend all day “just working out.”
  • We love all types of exercise. Variety in your workouts is essential, but any trainer would be lying if they said they love all modes of fitness. Most trainers have been working out long enough to recognize what they enjoy, so they generally stick to those methods of exercise to maintain a healthy weight. The key is understanding your client’s needs, and providing them with a variety of options that work for their likes and dislikes. For example, I have two left feet in Zumba class and feel like I might drown in a pool, but I understand that some clients thrive in a choreographed class or swimming freestyle.
  • We never get hurt. It’s true that trainers should be demonstrating impeccable technique and injury prevention form while exercising. The truth is that even trainers can overdo it with too much weight or too many repetitions. Furthermore, trainers can sometimes feel like Superman or Superwoman and try things outside of traditional exercises that could potentially hurt them. I learned this the hard way recently while thinking I could ski all day for four days straight in Colorado. The second to last day of my vacation I severely tweaked my back, making the long plane ride home almost unbearable. I credit my consistent core training for my quick recovery; however, I learned my lesson that anyone can overdo it.
  • We’ve never had issues with our weight or body. Believe it or not, trainers can be even more self-conscious than their clients. We have problem areas and imperfections. We look in the mirror and wish a certain part of the body was more defined or had less fat. We set such high standards for ourselves; it’s easy to be extra critical of the way we look. Most good trainers can relate to these insecurities and use these feelings to help empathize with clients. Eventually trainers and clients alike have to learn to accept imperfections and embrace the beautiful qualities of their body.

Now that you know a little more about what it’s like to be a personal trainer, you can learn more about personal training at NIFS, and even get a free 30-minute assessment.

 

 

Topics: personal training personal trainers nutrition workouts injury prevention NIFS

Why Hiring the Right Trainer for Your Senior Fitness Program Is Vital

Let’s face it, personal trainers are pretty ubiquitous these days, and it’s easy to understand why. The industry doesn’t have licensure (yet), and there are a lot of inexpensive and easy-to-obtain “personal trainer” certifications available that allow fitness enthusiasts with little knowledge about how the body works to earn a distinction as a personal trainer.

The scary truth about hiring a personal trainer for your senior living community is that the typical consumer doesn’t necessarily know what to look for in a qualified fitness professional. Unfortunately, the I-paid-them-and-they-certified-me individual looks equally competent alongside the individual who has a bachelor’s degree in exercise science and who has earned and painstakingly maintains an industry gold-standard certification.

While hiring an exercise professional for your senior living community fitness program is a very buyer-beware proposition, the rewards for making the right staffing choice can be great.

The right fitness professional is a major benefit to the residents.

MMFC1.jpgThis is really what it’s all about, right? You want a passionate, capable, competent, self-starter running the exercise program in the community. You need someone who will

  • Coordinate the group exercise program (the fitness specialist should be teaching at least some of the classes).
  • Initiate and execute on health-related programming both in the fitness area as well as in partnership with other departments in the community.
  • Promote and provide important services like exercise prescriptions (writing individual exercise programs for residents) and senior fitness testing, as well as follow up with residents to offer updated exercise programs and repeat testing as appropriate.
  • Track participation by individuals and reach out to nonactive residents to invite them into programs.
  • Manage the fitness space, including ensuring amenities are well stocked and equipment is in good working order.
  • If your personal trainer isn’t doing these things for you, it’s worth spending some time to re-envision what’s possible in your exercise program. Your residents deserve regular access to diverse classes that respect and challenge them physically. They will participate more if a fitness professional is available to customize exercise plans for them and to help them evaluate their progress along the way. And having a point person who is tracking the participation data and is constantly innovating will draw in more residents who wouldn’t engage without a personal invitation.

The right fitness professional is a major benefit to your business.

This is a tough one. Community leadership seems to have a difficult time making the leap from status-quo group fitness classes and the occasional trainer to establishing a manager for a robust fitness program. Maybe that’s consumer driven, and today’s residents, for the most part, aren’t balking at the outdated model. Maybe the lack of change is rooted in where fitness falls on the priority list.

Yet, with the right fitness center manager on board, you can free up your activities director to actually create person- and purpose-centered activities instead of tracking down a substitute for the group fitness instructor who just bailed on a class. You also send a distinct message to prospects and current residents that healthy living is central to who you are. And because so many communities are still operating on the outdated “group fitness + occasional trainer” model, you clearly distinguish your senior living community from the competition.

If you’re ready to start tapping into these benefits, you can either hire your own fitness center manager for the community, or partner with an organization like ours (NIFS fitness center management) to start improving the fitness program for your residents.

 Senior Fitness

 

Topics: CCRC senior living nifs fitness management staffing senior fitness personal trainers nifs fitness center management

75 year old resident with Parkinson's steps up to the challenge

This is the story of a man, who by all accounts, has received a challenging diagnosis, and who, by any standards, could have slowed down years ago.  But he hasn't, and instead, he's overcoming his health challenges to help patients at Lurie's Children's hospital through the Aon Step Up For Kids fundraiser.

Larry Pirovano, a resident at The Clare, in downtown Chicago has been working with his NIFS personal trainer, Zach DeCoster to accomplish the stair climb challenge that required more than 1,600 steps.  We've got his amazing stats below as well as a video from a local NBC affilate who profiled his inspiring story.

  • On January 25, 2015, Larry and Zach climbed 80 flights of stairs in the Aon Center in 50 minutes and 15 seconds.  
  • Larry placed 2nd in his age bracket.
  • He raise the most money of all individual participants and was 16th in total fundraising including all teams and individuals.

 stepping_up

Topics: active aging senior living communities personal trainers

The Alternative to Personal Training in Corporate Fitness

personal trainingLet me start by saying I’m not here to dog personal training. There is absolutely a niche for that fee-based service, and there is clearly a clientele for it. It should definitely remain an option in fitness centers.

But sometimes, there are people in corporate fitness client settings who simply cannot afford the service. And the real rub is that often, the people who can’t afford it are the ones who would benefit the most from it. If you’re a trainer, you know what I’m talking about.

If you’re charged with overseeing outcomes from your corporate fitness program, you may be pulling out your hair trying to figure out how to get more people exercising on a regular basis. Personal training could help, but again, you're stuck with that price point issue that makes the service out of reach for many.  

The research is clear: moving more is good for your health and sitting is WAY worse than we thought.  

More Personal Attention Without a Personal Trainer

But let’s face it, for someone who is new to exercise or who, for whatever reason, is intimidated by the gym, a little hand-holding from a compassionate and capable professional can go a long way toward boosting the confidence of an unsure individual. The struggle is how to create opportunities for that hand-holding that don’t cross the line into fee-based personal training.

Fortunately, we’ve landed on a service that has proven to be a major value-add both for our clients and for their employees. Personal Fitness Quest, NIFS’s alternative to personal training, was born out of our staff routinely encountering the challenge of trying to invite more members to exercise regularly as a way to improve their health, and knocking up against people who needed more than a little instruction. Here are a few snippets of success stories from the service.

Corporate Fitness Success Profiles

Joyce’s Story: In January 2011 I started working out consistently. After working out with Adrienne through my Personal Fitness Quest, I started to feel more confident. I later joined Weight Watchers and almost three years later, I’m 80 pounds lighter, off my blood pressure meds, and feeling great!

Jen’s Story: When I started my first Personal Fitness Quest, I was walking for exercise. My NIFS staff trainer whipped me into shape and in that first six weeks I lost 11 pounds and seven inches. Since then, I’ve completed two more Personal Fitness Quests with the NIFS staff as well as started other healthy behaviors. As of July 2013, I had lost 115 pounds.

Julie’s Story: In August 2012, I started my first Personal Fitness Quest with Anne. She had me do things I didn’t think I could or wouldn’t try. I complained and whined but she said I’m the only person who smiled the entire time. After a year and a half, I’ve learned a whole new way to exercise and I’m thrilled to say I’ve lost more than 60 pounds and almost 40 inches.

Learn how you can implement a personal fitness quest program at your corporate fitness center by signing up for NIFS best practice series.  

Topics: corporate fitness program corporate fitness weight loss NIFS corporate fitness centers corporate fitness managment best practices Fitness Center personal trainers CORP Programs and Services

Putting Ourselves in Our Corporate Wellness Clients’ Shoes

personal trainerHave you heard this interesting story  regarding personal trainer Drew Manning?  Manning was what his wife called a “judgmental trainer,” and he admits that he would look at his overweight, struggling clients and think that they must choose to be lazy. Surely if they cared about their health enough, they would just make changes instead of blaming their genetics or other factors, Manning thought.

Trainer Finds Drastic Way to Learn Empathy

So, to put himself in his clients’ shoes, he took it upon himself to gain 70 pounds by foregoing his workouts and eating a new diet of junk food. What he found out is that beyond the physical effects of weight gain, he was a different person mentally and emotionally as well. He became self-conscious, insecure, and lethargic. Next, he quickly returned to his former fit self, dropping the 70 pounds and regaining the muscular build. But he now has a heightened sense of empathy for his clients.

As corporate wellness professionals, are we finding empathy with our clients? It’s true that making healthy choices is exactly that—a choice that only an individual can make. But, are we understanding of the many factors at play in our clients’ lives and aware of possible feelings of guilt or embarrassment when they carry extra weight or lack the strength to perform certain exercises?

Be Mindful of Clients’ Emotional Factors

I would never suggest that we pull a risky stunt of gaining and losing large amounts of weight like Manning did. However, we can make it our job to use patience, reflective listening, and a nonjudgmental attitude to be more understanding of how our clients are feeling mentally, not just physically.

Topics: motivation corporate wellness obesity corporate fitness centers personal trainers guilt

Corporate Fitness: How to Pick a Personal Trainer

This blog was written by Mechelle Meadows. Meet our blogging fitness specialists at the NIFS website.

C  Documents and Settings kgootee My Documents Dropbox Images New personal training resized 600There are many reasons for seeking the help of a personal trainer. Corporate health and fitness specialists can introduce you to an exercise routine, help you break through a rut, or give you the extra boosts of knowledge, motivation, and accountability that you need to achieve the next level in your fitness. But how do you pick a trainer?

Check for Fitness Certifications

First, make sure that your trainer has the appropriate credentials. The most basic certifications on a personal trainer’s resume would be CPR, AED, and first aid; a four-year degree in the health and fitness field; and preferably a certification from a well-recognized organization, for example the American College of Sports Medicine.

While most corporate fitness companies will have already screened potential employees for this information, many commercial gyms require only minimal certifications or experience in the field. Knowing that your trainer has met these standards, you have a better chance of achieving your goals and staying injury-free.

Ask About the Personal Trainer's Background and Specialties

Ask about the trainer’s background and what his or her specialties are. While health and fitness specialists should have experience training with a wide population, most will be honest if they have a passion for certain demographics, for example children or senior citizens. Also, some trainers may be more inclined to work with people looking for specific athletic goals, while other trainers prefer working with those striving for everyday fitness or disease prevention.

Make Sure the Trainer Pays Attention to You

During your consultation and first personal training session, make sure that your trainer thoroughly listens to you and understands your goals. While you are exercising, make sure that he or she is watching your form and not gazing off at the TV in the corner of the gym or chatting with other people during your whole workout. Ask for feedback if they do not give it automatically.

Don’t be afraid to shop around for a personal trainer. Put your fitness into someone else’s hands only when they have shown the experience, interest, and encouragement that you deserve from a personal training relationship.

Topics: corporate fitness injury fitness success Fitness Center weight training personal trainers