Introductory Fitness Consultations – Why They Matter

A few weeks ago I met with a new gym member for a fitness consultation.  Julie (not her real name) is in her early 40’s and mother to three children under the age of eight. She works part time and mainly sits at a desk when she is in the office.  Since having kids Julie hasn’t exercised regularly, has a few minor knee issues from her college days, but is otherwise in fair physical shape.  Julie admitted to me that her diet is lousy, but she is working to make some changes for 2017.

After chatting with Julie for about 15 minutes about her health history, I took her out to the gym floor to conduct a Functional Movement Screen and Overhead Squat Assessment and took notes on the results.  We then spent another 20 minutes going over foam rolling, stretching and movement techniques that she could use to get started with her workouts. After wrapping up her consultation, Julie signed up for a 5-pack of personal training sessions, and I am looking forward to helping her get back in shape. 

Introductory fitness consultations are worthwhile whether they result in personal training sessions or not. Even if a person does not choose to get personal training right away, we’ve established a relationship so that if they come back to me for advice later, I will be able to hit the ground running.

So here are the main things I try to accomplish with each introductory session:

  • I ask a lot of questions – What is their work history? Exercise history?  Physical activity background?  Were they an athlete in the past?  Do they have kids living at home?  What is their typical work day like?
  • I take notes – These are just little tidbits of information, like “bad diet,” “achy left knee,” “sees chiropractor sporadically,” etc.
  • I’m genuinely curious as to not only their gym goals, but their personal lives as well – Are they from the area? Where do they live in relation to work?  Do we have any commonalities in terms of where we’ve lived, maybe a past business connection, or a mutual friend?
  • I perform the Functional Movement Screening and Overhead Squat Assessment – They give me the most basic recorded data that I can use to introduce someone to foam rolling and corrective exercises. They also help me show how to alleviate basic aches and pains, such as tight hip flexors or a strained lower back.
  • I show my clients how I’ll use all of this information to tailor exercise programs specifically for them – The notes aren’t just for me. I’ll actually show them everything I’ve written down at the end of the session so they can see how I work, what the consultation has determined and, at the end of the day, exactly what I am going to do for them from a health & fitness standpoint.

by Adam Marks, Fitness Site Manager for HealthEase

HOLIDAY HEALTH TIPS!

The upcoming holiday season is one of the hardest times of year to try and keep up with fitness and nutrition goals. We are surrounded by temptation virtually every day, whether it is the massive Thanksgiving spread, co-workers bringing in dessert leftovers to the office, Christmas holidays parties and hanging out with family and friends for extended amounts of time. With that in mind, here are a few tips to keep yourself in check as the weather turns cold:

· Have a seat — If you are standing you are normally in a hurry to eat quickly. Have a seat and enjoy your meal!

· Protein and veggies first – Both are more filling than the starchy carbs that we normally eat, and they will help let you know when you are full.

· Chew your food, and put your fork down between bites — This will not only help you slow down and thus not over-consume, it will also help your body break down your meal.

· Try not to combine alcohol and desserts — Combing alcohol and sugar creates the perfect storm for a holiday hangover and is tough on your stomach.

· Stay hydrated – Staying hydrated is important, especially if you are drinking alcohol.

Little things make a big difference, so the more you can pay attention to your meals, the better off you will be for the start of 2017.

 

Author: Adam Marks, NASM Master Trainer and HealthEase Site Manager

Portion Control Your Thanksgiving Feast

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Thanksgiving comes around once a year and is a day we dedicate to tradition, family, and eating!  It can be hard to keep your nutrition goals in focus when surrounded by a feast of calorie-rich options. Thankfully, you don’t have to sacrifice your favorite holiday foods in order to stay healthy and avoid weight gain.  Use the portion size references below and the United States Department of Agriculture’s MyPlate guidelines to enjoy your favorite foods without overindulging, because the only thing that should be stuffed on Thanksgiving is the turkey.

Follow the USDA’s MyPlate Strategy!

How to Measure Serving Sizes of Your Thanksgiving Favorites:

  • Turkey – White meat = 3 oz. cooked or one deck of cards
  • Mashed Potatoes = ½ cup or a Scotch Tape roll
  • Cranberry Sauce – canned =  ½ inch slice; homemade = ½ cup or spool of thread
  • Sweet Potato or Green Bean casserole – ½ cup or an Altoids box
  • Stuffing – ½ cup or a bar of soap
  • Dinner roll – a medium roll or a tennis ball
  • Gravy – 2 tbsp. or a golf ball
  • Cornbread – a combination lock
  • Pumpkin pie – 1/10 of a 9 inch pie plate or a light bulb

 

For more information on portion control ideas, go to www.choosemyplate.gov.

Meghan Rath

Meghan Rath

M.S., CSCS, HFS is a HealthEase Fitness Manager with a Bachelor’s degree in Exercise Science and a Master’s degree in Exercise Physiology from West Chester University. She is also ACSM and NSCA certified.

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Total Body Resistance Exercise: TRX – Get hooked!

Have you seen yellow and black straps hanging around gyms? They look like Cirque-du-Soleil contraptions, but don’t worry – they are not meant for aerial tricks or contortions. The Navy SEALs, who were looking to maintain their strength while on the move, created what is called TRX out of necessity.

 

Short for Total Body Resistance Exercise, TRX leverages gravity and the user’s body weight to complete hundreds of exercises. TRX Suspension Training develops strength, balance, flexibility, and core stability simultaneously. In fact, its mantra is: “Training movements, not muscles.” TRX can be used for pre-habilitation, rehabilitation, and sport-specific training purposes.

 

So, next time you see a TRX hanging around, ask a certified fitness professional to teach you some exercises. After giving it a try, you may be hooked!

 

Click here for three great moves:  TRX EXERCISES

 

Author: Julia Anthony, a HealthEase fitness specialist, is certified in TRX suspension training.

 

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Armand Tecco

Armand Tecco

As president and founder of HealthEase, Armand is dedicated to his corporate clients and helping them achieve their goals for employee wellness. He has a Bachelor of Science degree in Fitness Management from West Chester University and a Master’s degree in Exercise Physiology from Temple University. Armand is also certified through the American College of Sports Medicine and the National Strength & Conditioning Association.

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Meal Prep Time Savers

Busy schedules, low energy levels, and not knowing what to do for dinner all lead to ordering off the takeout menu or eating less than healthy options during the workweek. Check out the tips below to help make healthy cooking a breeze.

Prep Work Shortcuts:

  • Buy precut, prepackaged veggies or buy the toppings from the grocery salad bar and throw into stir fries, omelets, quesadillas,  or use for kabobs
  • Use frozen veggies – try them roasted or sautéed straight from the freeze or steam them according to package directions
  • Use beans or tofu as a no-cook protein source for your meal
  • Buy pre-portioned chicken breasts, pre-formed ground beef or turkey patties, precooked shrimp, etc. to cut down your meat prep

Embrace Kitchen Tools and Gadgets:

  • Use your Crockpot to do the cooking while you’re at work:
    • Cook chicken or turkey breasts and shred them to add to salads, quesadillas, pizzas, burritos and wraps, or sandwiches and burgers
    • Cook ground beef, chicken, or turkey to use in tacos, sloppy Joes, burritos bowls, or add to lasagna
  • Use a food processor or mandolin to chop and slice your veggies, herbs, and fruits in no time
  • Use tools such as cherry pitters, apple slicers, egg slicers (also great for mushrooms), garlic presses, and other time savers to cut down on tedious chopping and dicing

Use convenience foods when you can:

  • Buy a rotisserie chicken instead of cooking your own to add to your favorite recipe.  Just be sure to remove the skin
  • Layer frozen raviolis (with spinach!) with pasta sauce, lean ground beef or turkey, and low fat mozzarella to make a super quick lasagna
  • Buy precooked whole wheat pizza crust to make homemade pizzas
  • Use frozen, microwavable rice as a side or to add to casseroles, stir fries, burritos, or soups Try these combinations to get your creative juices flowing!
  • Add shredded chicken and black beans to rice and prepared salsa for a Southwestern quick meal (omit chicken for a vegetarian meal).  Bump up the fiber with frozen corn and bell peppers!
  • Toss precooked shrimp with lime juice, cilantro, and prepared mango salsa.  Wrap in a whole wheat tortilla and top with pre-sliced red cabbage for easy shrimp tacos.
  • Cook ground turkey meatballs in your Crockpot and serve on a whole wheat roll with chopped spinach, feta cheese, cucumbers, tomatoes and Greek yogurt for a Mediterranean take on a meatball sub.
Meghan Rath

Meghan Rath

M.S., CSCS, HFS is a HealthEase Fitness Manager with a Bachelor’s degree in Exercise Science and a Master’s degree in Exercise Physiology from West Chester University. She is also ACSM and NSCA certified.

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