Book Review - Your Fitness Career: The Business Guidebook For Trainer's Success by Lalo Fuentes

A couple of months ago I received an email from Hollywood A-List personal trainer, Lalo Fuentes. He had seen some reviews that I had written for various business and marketing books for personal trainers, and asked me to review his. Within a week I had a hardcover copy of his Your Fitness Career: The Business Guidebook For Trainer's Success.

Why Listen to Lalo Fuentes?

Lalo Fuentes has an interesting background related to business, as he decided to become a personal trainer while enrolled in business school. Halfway though, Fuentes realized that the world of numbers was not enticing. He didn't want to be stuck in an office, and saw a fitness career as a departure from that grind. Upon graduation, he moved to NYC and started in fitness.

Now, those of us who have been slogging it out in the fitness industry know well that so many trainers still end up grinding out way too many hours in the gym with clients. They work hard, not necessarily smart, and many end up burning out early and leaving the industry.

Fuentes avoided this by targeting a high net worth audience and selling to them. Plus, he was able to make good on all of his claims with very little drama, which led to a huge word-of-mouth following. Frankly, if your words are in the right mouths, that is really all you need!

Trainers who are successful in the fitness world and stay around have found a different path that allows us to open up multiple streams of income, scale our businesses, and charge enough to have a life outside of the gym or Pilates studio. In Your Fitness Career, Fuentes shares all of the information you need to make success happen.

Basic Business Skills for Trainers

I mentor Pilates teachers specifically in how to make more money by taking better care of their clients and themselves, which entails still having a personal life. Much of my mentorship work is in teaching basic business processes, good business behaviors, and marketing. Fuentes handles all of this in his book!

Money

If you struggle to figure out how much to charge per hour or per day, whether to give a free or discounted first session, and how to decide what to pay for advertising and leads, Fuentes addresses all of these early on in his book.

Not sure what cost per lead means? Cost per client? How about return on investment? Loss leads? Net income? You will understand all of these and more after reading this book.

Behavior

Most trainers need help in inter-personal skills. But Fuentes takes you even further. Not sure what to expect at a celebrity's home? What order to board or leave a private jet? How to behave with your clients outside of the gym? This book answers all of your questions, including ones you didn't even know you had!

Social Media

Not sure what to post, where to post, and how frequently? Have questions about buying followers (short answer is, "don't") as opposed to organic reach? Fuentes has answers.

Online Training

Have you considered training your long distance clients online? Have you thought about what to charge? How to automate payment and booking? Does your liability insurance even cover online training? Are there better programs? Again, the answers you need are here.

Marketing & Product Creation

We all know that how you present yourself to prospective clients is a huge issue. Do you want to come off as approachable or scary? Are you a screaming boot camp leader or a calming presence in your clients' otherwise crazy lives? And do you know what the physical signs are of each? Fuentes even delves into arm position in your headshot and what that signals to your prospects.

Self Care

To avoid burning out, we all must practice the self-care that we preach. For me that means both working out hard and relaxing. It means taking time when I need it to focus on my own needs, so that I am ready and able to focus on my clients. 

While not cheap, this valuable information in this guide justifies the price. Plus, an hour of consulting with Fuentes will cost a lot more than the time it will take to read this book and implement his recommendations. Highly recommended!

 

5 Ways To Cut The Fat Without Sacrificing Flavor

We are all trying to eat better and live a healthier life, and we’re all looking for a way to do it that’s easy to fit into a busy lifestyle.  One of the most popular ways to eat healthier is to cut down on fat in your diet. This is great if you’re eating too much fat, but you still need to do it the right way to see the results you want.

The low-fat craze actually caused a lot more problems than it solved because manufacturers used sugar to improve the flavor of the low-fat foods they produced.  Sugar is the LAST thing you want to consume more of when you’re trying to eat a healthy diet!

Fat is an important part of your daily macros (carbs, fat & protein), but that isn’t permission to eat as much fat as you want.  Most people need to make sure about 30% of their diet is made up of fat.

But Fat = Flavor and I like to eat good food!

The good news is, you can still eat delicious food, even if you’re trimming the fat to hit your 30% macro goal.  I recently had a fantastic chat over Facebook Live with professional chef Aelie Swift where she shared some of her best tips for lowering fat without lowering flavor.

5 Ways to Cut the Fat Without Sacrificing Flavor

1. Watch Your Red Meat

Red meat can quickly put you over your 30% goal for the day, but you can eat less without sacrificing your favorite foods!  If you cycle your carbs, (like I teach in the FASTer Way To Fat Loss), then save your red meat for low carb day when you’ll naturally consume more fat instead of carbs.

A great option for a lower fat (but still delicious!) burger is to cut in some ground chicken or turkey when you are preparing your patties.  Use about half ground beef to half ground chicken or turkey and you’ll have a flavorful burger that helps you hit your macros.  This is a lower fat option than 93% lean ground beef.

2. Cook Protein Over High Heat or with Low Heat

If you don’t have a sous vide option at home, a great way to increase flavor without using much fat is to cook it over high heat.  For example, if you cook a chicken breast in a 350℉ oven for 20 minutes, it will be cooked but bland. If you take that same chicken breast and sear it on the stovetop, then put it in the oven at a high heat to finish, you’ll have beautiful caramelization and incredible flavor with minimal fat.

Sous Vide (French for “under vacuum”) is a cooking method that produces tender, flavorful meat by placing it in a vacuum-sealed bag and cooking in a low-temperature water bath.  No fat is required and the results are moist and delicious. You can cook steak, chicken, salmon, or even poach eggs this way. Sous Vide is used by virtually all high-end restaurants because of the superior results, and recently, home options like the Anova Sous Vide Precision Cooker have become available.

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Roast Vegetables to Caramelize the Sugars

Roasting veggies caramelizes the natural sugars and develops a lot of delicious, fat-free flavor.  You can omit the oil (or cut it down drastically) when you roast instead of steam your veggies. As with chicken breast or steak, using high heat to develop a beautiful, caramelized crust is the key to more flavor with less fat.

As a general rule of thumb, roast veggies at 400℉ until they’re nicely browned (the timing will vary based on the size of the vegetables).  

Use Aromatics

Infuse flavor into your food using aromatics like garlic, onions and herbs.  They provide incredible flavor that you can’t get any other way, not even with fat.  Use fresh herbs to finish your food, and dried herbs for a longer cooking time. If you’re using the sous vide method, add your aromatics to the bag with your meat.  You’ll enjoy restaurant-quality meals at home for a fraction of the cost.

Add Citrus and Salt

If your dish seems bland or lacking, add some citrus to lift up the flavor.  Lemon is delicious with chicken.  Orange is a great compliment to salmon.  Sometimes acid is all a dish needs for the pop of flavor you want!

Don’t be afraid of salt!  If your dish is flat, it might just need a little seasoning to bring out the flavor.  You don’t need a lot of salt to make it delicious, just be sure to season to taste for best results.

You can enjoy delicious, restaurant-quality meals at home with less fat and more flavor—all while sticking to your macros and living the FASTer Way lifestyle.  

Hungry For More?

If you want to cook more from home but need some help figuring it out, you can check out Aelie’s 4 week meal plan for delicious lunch and dinner options.  

Wondering about the FASTer Way so you can easily live a healthier lifestyle?  Join me for the next round. We start soon, so don’t wait to register! It’s the best program on the market and it’s transformed the health of thousands of women.  Join the ranks, we’re saving you a spot!

New Fitness Reviews - Dolph Lundgren's Fitness Autobiography & Theraband CLX Loops

Train Like An Action Hero - Be Fit Forever

Dolph Lundgren: Train Like an Action Hero - Be Fit Forever—his autobiographical training guide—is out in a brand new edition, featuring weekly training programs with photos of each exercise, menu planners, guides to equipment and gear, stories from his life, and fantastic photos from behind the scenes of Hollywood action movies.

I have always liked Dolph Lundgren, from his debut as Rocky's opponent, his dating Grace Slick, and his current projects as writer and director. He is an academic (always close to my heart), a Fulbright scholar with a Master's in Chemical Engineering, served in the military as an officer, and is an internationally renowned black belt karate champion. Now, at 60, Lundgren has revamped his book for his peers, the older generation.

"[Y]ou are the star of your own life. Play it well and enjoy the movie."

DOLPH’S SPECIAL TIPS:
1. Briefing: The reasons you need to get fit
2. Mission: Personal training and health philosophy
3. Weaponry: How to best combine strength exercises, cardiovascular, and flexibility training
4. Special Ops: Stick to your goals even while away traveling
5. Fuel and supplies: The best foods and supplements to build your body
6. Fit forever: Stay in shape for the rest of your life!

Like Joseph Pilates, Lundgren was a sick child, with croup, asthma, and allergies. He also was bullied, and part of his fitness journey was simply being able to breathe. His father was bipolar (like my mom) and abusive. Lundgren was sent to live with his grandparents in the country, and that is probably what saved his life.

Lundgren promotes a holistic approach that includes strength training, cardio, stretching, and relaxation. He suggests meditation, breath work, and even legs up the wall! The workouts are pretty basic - a back body day (pull), front body day (push), and arm/shoulder day, and then a full body circuit workout for when you don't have time to separate parts.

Most of the exercises are gym and equipment-based, so if you want bodyweight-only exercises, this is not the book for you. My biggest issue with his approach to fitness is the classic, No Pain, No Gain mentality. He even asks readers to compare their measurements to the classic body builder Steve Reeves!

All in all, Train Like An Action Hero is worth it for the photos, the basic information, and Dolph Lundgren's stories. And the information he gives is sound and useful.

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Theraband CLX Consecutive Loop Bands

I LOVE the new Theraband CLX Consecutive Loops! My Black loop is arranged around Dolph Lundgren's book in the above photo. These bands are so useful, and are the first resistance bands I have tried that I believe really could replace weights.

Yes, you heard me, the CLX bands can actually replace weights for FASTer Way To Fat Loss or even Dolph Lundgren's workouts!

They come in 6 levels, ranging from Beginner to Elite, and are created with unique reinforced loops that give the user greater control and freedom when using the bands. The resistance levels pretty much match the standard Therabands.

But it is the loops that make the difference! The 5' band has loops built into it every few inches, and each loop can fit a hand, foot, arm, or leg. You can work many things at once! If you have a door anchor, you can literally do any resistance cable exercise. Want a longer band? They sell a 25' roll!

I used my black one for a strength training session a few days ago, and was able to do resistance squats, lunges, chest and shoulders, and all arm work, And then I was able to lay down and use it for hip and glute work. The bands are strong and it just really works!

The best part is TheraBand’s free CLX Exercise App, which guides you through a ton of different exercises, showing exactly where to place your hands and feet. With the CLX being as small and light as any resistance band, now there’s no excuse for skipping a workout! You can carry a few for different exercises.

My Top 3 Functional Exercises (that will help you look and feel great)

What is a functional exercise, anyway?

I consider a functional exercise to be one that works with a movement pattern that we use all the time, helps correct imbalances in that movement pattern, and builds strength. Other people may define that differently, but this is my definition. If it doesn't work with a common movement pattern, doesn't help correct imbalances, and doesn't build strength, it ain't functional.

And what is a common movement pattern?

A common movement pattern is one that we do as part of our basic daily lives. The big ones for me are:

  1. Sitting down and standing up. - We use this one often - getting out of bed, up from a seat, down and up from the toilet.
  2. Kneeling down and standing up, climbing up and down. - Also used often - kneeling down and standing up, climbing up and down stairs or ladders, getting in and out of SUVs.
  3. Pushing things away, or using upper body to help with 1 and 2. - Your upper body can help stop you from falling by pushing you away from the ground, help push things away from you, and help lift things.

My top 3 functional exercises

1. Squats

Squats are the workhorses of the workout world, They help us stand up from sitting, deep sustained squats help build collagen in the hip joints, they help tone our butts, calves, and thighs, and they work core stability. 

If your knees bother you, I recommend doing squats as sitting and standing, literally, with a chair behind you. Sit down and stand up, and repeat it several times. 

There are many versions of squats - front squats, plie squats, jump squats, pistol squats, Bulgarian split squats (which is also, arguably, a lunge)....

In Pilates we have footwork, standing footwork, the standing 2x4 work, sitting down and standing up from the mat, the russian squats (with pistol squat variation) on the reformer and with arm springs, the centering exercise on the ped-o-pul, seated leg pumping on the chairs, and the wall sit.

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2. Lunges

Kneeling down and standing up, climbing up and down stairs, climbing up and down ladders, and even getting in and out of an SUV involve lunging. I would start with walking lunges, then back lunges, side lunges, and then more complex moves like the curtsy lunge. A step up and down is another version of lunging. And lunges strengthen your core and tone your thighs, calves, and butts. 

In Pilates we have many lunges! Standing arm weight lunge series and arm spring lunge series, the splits on the reformer (especially Russian splits), going up front and side plus mountain climber on the chairs.

3. Push Ups

Since push ups involve plank (front support) with a controlled pushing and scapular stability and mobility, they are perfect for building core and upper body strength in a way needed to help us break a fall or push away from someone or something. Combined with the first two, we have the ability to push ourselves up from the ground to one knee and actually stand up. 

Push ups are also very amenable to modifications and variations. You can make them easier by separating your feet, bending knees, elevating your upper body, or shortening your range of motion. You can also easily make push ups harder by bringing feet together, straightening legs, elevating feet, or increasing range of motion. You can also alter hand/elbow positions to target triceps or chest more.

In Pilates we have Push ups on everything. Mat push ups, reformer push ups, and chair push ups, just to name a few.

I did a Facebook Live video about this topic yesterday. You can watch that here.

FASTer Way To Fat Loss features functional exercises 

If you are looking for a fat loss program that works through whole foods, functional exercise, and cutting edge nutrition and workout strategies, FASTer Way To Fat Loss is for you. This is, hands down, the best program on the market for a healthier you.

And if you are reading this on 2/25, it is the final call for my group that starts Week 1 tomorrow - Register Now. 

If you are reading this after 2/25, registration is open for the group starting 3/19.

Register for FASTer Way To Fat Loss here.

In and Up Diastasis Repair also features functional exercises

Moms need to sit and stand, kneel and stand, and climb around with their little ones. They also need to stabilize their spines and torsos to lift heavy children and play around.

For Moms with Diastasis Recti, all of these movements can be hard. My In and Up Diastasis Repair Program features functional exercises presented in a gradual way that will help heal your diastasis without surgery.

Register now for the In and Up group that starts tomorrow, 2/26!

Why You Aren't Losing Fat (the answer will surprise you)

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1. Your body will hold onto fat if it thinks you are starving

Fat storage is a main way that our body holds onto energy for later. While most of us know that our bodies store excess calories as fat, you may not realize that if you eat too little, your body will hold onto that stored fat as long as it can, in case you start to starve.

To get your body to let go of that stored fat, you must give it all the calories and nourishment it needs. You can use a free app (I like My Fitness Pal) to plug in your height, weight, and activity level to see how many calories you need to eat to maintain your weight, as well as lose weight.

2. Your body will keep fat if you are eating all the time

As many of you may know, I am huge proponent of Intermittent Fasting (IF) as part of an all-over weight and fat loss strategy. I used to eat all the time. Small snacks starting with an early breakfast to "start my metabolism" and eating every 3-4 hours from there. And no matter how how much I exercised, or how low my calories, I didn't lose fat.

Why? Because I was never in digestive rest, where our bodies really do use the nutrients we are eating, as well as repair and restore for the next day. I now practice a 16/8 IF schedule, where I eat 8 hours out of the day. This takes some planning, as I need to fit in all my calories and nutrients within that 8 hour window. But it saves me having to deal with snacks and packing food all day!

3. If you are always hungry, you are not eating enough!

A few of my friends shared with me that they "tried Intermittent Fasting" but stopped because they were so hungry. This is most often due to not eating enough in your eating window, and to not getting the right balance of nutrients.

For example, I need to eat 1950 calories per day to maintain my weight. So when I break my fast, I start with a protein shake (especially if I am running around). Then a large salad with chicken, avocado, nuts, some fruit, and an oil & vinegar-based dressing. For supper I will have another large meal, say some steak, rice or potatoes, and lots of vegetables. Then for dessert I will often have berries with greek yogurt or cultured cottage cheese and a few dark chocolate chips.

When I eat less, or don't get all my nutrients in (enough protein, carbs, and fat), I wake up hungry. For more information about Intermittent Fasting and being hungry, watch this video on my Facebook page.

And, if you are ready to get healthy and start losing fat now, my next FASTer Way To Fat Loss group starts prep week on Monday 2/19. Registration is open now! Click here to register.

Deep Core Strength Shown to Prevent Back Pain

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People Feel & Function Better When They Do Pilates

We in Pilates have been talking about back pain and exercise for decades. And while a whole host of anecdotal evidence does point to the deep core strengthening of Pilates as a huge help in preventing and treating back pain, the scientific evidence has been scant.

The connection between Pilates and less back pain is clear to me. It seems obvious to me that if you strengthen pelvic and shoulder stability, and strengthen deepest as well as more superficial layers of muscle, you are in a better position to withstand higher impact activities without fear of back injury and pain.

And, guess what? Not only is it clear to me, it's true!

A new study from The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center and published in the Journal of Biomechanics, examines what may cause chronic back pain in runners and what exercises may help. Basically, runners with weak deep core muscles are at higher risk of developing low back pain. "[W]eak deep core muscles force more superficial muscles like the abs to work harder and reach fatigue faster. When those superficial muscles are doing the work the deep core should be doing, there are often painful consequences."

It is not the six-pack that matters, but what is underneath it. And that is what we teach in Pilates!

Back Pain and the Opioid Epidemic

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Some Facts on Back Pain:

I was reading some statistics today on back pain, especially on the connection between back pain and the current opioid crisis we are having here in the US. Things are really quite scary! 

1. Almost Everyone Experiences Bad Back Pain

Yes, that's right, 80% of Americans experience back pain, and of those, 70% have bad enough pain that they go to the doctor. Statistically, more women than men seek treatment (which given my own experience with my husband, is not surprising, as he hates to go the doctor).

2. Back Pain Is One Of the Most Expensive Health Problems

Lower back pain alone accounts for 2-3% of all doctor visits. While that percentage seems low, it is higher than visits for allergies and the common cold! Between physicians, PTs, and pharmacies, the cost adds up to about $30 billion per year!

3. Treatment Costs Go Up, but Outcomes Haven't Improved

Most disturbing is the fact that as treatment costs go up, patient outcomes stay exactly the same. Why?

Because the costs are mostly for pain medications, which include fentanyl (which killed Prince) and Oxycontin (which most recently killed Tom Petty). And pain medications don't fix your back pain, they just numb you and turn you into an addict.

What Can You Do About Back Pain?

If the medical establishment is not helping people with back pain, and is in fact contributing to the opioid problem by simply giving people pain pills, what else can you do? Just suffer? As you might imagine, I have some ideas.

1. You Gotta Move!

One thing that we know improves peoples' back pain is properly done exercise to maintain appropriate spine positioning and posture. The less we sit, the more we move, and the more we move well, the better we feel. 

2. You Need To Chill Sometimes

There is a stress component to back pain, no doubt about it. We overwork and overworry. Take a bath, do a meditation class, take some deep breaths. But spend some time unplugged and relax!

3. Strengthen Your Deep Abdominal and Back Muscles 

Recent studies show that deep core strength helps us stabilize our spines both in movement and against load. In my humble opinion, Pilates is one of the best exercise modalities for this. 

Back Pain Resources 

1. Free Back Pain Resources

I have two free videos for you. The first is about how to stabilize your back and pelvis:

and the second is about Pilates Fundamentals to Eliminate Lower Back Pain:

2. Low-cost Resources

All of my Pilates Audios will help you reduce or alleviate lower back pain. They are 30 minute Pilates exercise routines that, if done regularly, really will help your back pain. Price? $20 each for something you can use daily, and easily travel with.

Click here to check out Pilates Audios

3. Higher-cost Resources

My two top resources for back pain are the Pilates for Back Pain eCourse and an Online Private Lesson.

The $97 eCourse is a comprehensive guide to using the full PIlates mat repertoire to eliminate your back pain, including an ebook with photos, audio workouts, and explanatory videos that break everything down for you. Weeks of content!

Click here for more about Pilates for Back Pain eCourse

An online private with me will allow me to see how you move and give you more specific recommendations for your particular back pain issue. A 55 minute session, which includes the video for you to watch and re-use, is $120 (Pilates pro discounts and package pricing available.

Click here to book an Online Pilates session

Any questions? Contact me and I will help you out!