Bored of your routine? Change it up!

Change is a good thing!

Chances are if you have been working out for an extended period of time you have gotten stuck in some sort of rut. It happens to all of us. You get comfortable with the same movements and weights that you do each week and thus lose the progression factor of your program.

It is important to make changes every four to six weeks and if you are an advanced lifter then it might even be every three to four weeks. We are not saying that you need to change your routine every time you get into the gym. Performing the same routine for a month is beneficial because your body learns the movement and you will most likely see and increase in weight that you can lift. However, it is important to challenge yourself every time you hit the gym.

If there is one thing I see often from clients who I train once a week, it is the fact that they don’t challenge themselves on the weight when they lift on their own. If your goal is 10 repetitions for three sets and you have done 10 reps for all three sets during your workout (the reps were all clean with no struggling) then it is time to move the weight up. That doesn’t mean jumping 5 or 10 pounds. It could just be a 2.5 lb increase. The important thing here is progression! Even little improvements in weight will lead to results throughout the year. That is the goal if you are a regular gym goer. It will not be to have large jumps each session but incremental increases throughout the year. Those will add up to big gains from day one to day 365.

How to know when to progress?

A general rule for progression is listed above. Once you hit all reps for your prescribed sets with good form you should increase the weight. It is ok if you increase the weight on say your dumbbell chest press and then for 2 weeks you can’t hit every rep clean, so the weight stays the same. Remember progression is NOT linear.  You might increase in other movements but some might stay stagnant. That might require a little program tweaking to get you over that hump, but you will not increase in every movement, every week, for the entire year.  Don’t get discouraged it is normal.

When doing a set when you get to your last rep you should be fatigued. If your goal is 10 reps and you get 10 and think you had 3 more reps in you with good form. Then the weight should be increased. If you stop and know you have more reps you are not challenging the muscle fibers enough and you will not achieve the progressions you seek. When you do your workout, come prepared to work! Challenge yourself and you will very happy with your results.

How many reps and sets should I be doing?

I get this questions very often. The simple answer is, it is different for everyone depending on your desired outcome. The one thing I see often is 3 sets 10 -12 reps. If you choose this path or any path make sure you vary the reps every four to six weeks. Many times people will do 10-12 or 10-15 reps for months on end. Your body has adapted and you need to challenge a different energy system to see more progression. My personal favorite is take clients from that program to a program of 4 sets 5-8 reps. This changes the intensity and volume of the program greatly since you will be lifting heavier weights for shorter periods of time. Don’t be scared of heavy weights!! You will not turn into Arnold or Hans and Franz from Saturday Night Live.

Lifting heavier weights will challenge your creatine phosphate energy system (short term strength system). That means lifting heavier for shorter bouts, which will result in getting stronger and making your muscle more ‘solid’. In short there is no perfect sets and reps for everyone. Consult a fitness professional is you need help getting started and they will point you in the right direction. Once you have done that, change your routine by varying the reps and sets. Make sure you lift heavy for certain periods of time, then decrease the weight and hit higher reps then back down again! Make it fun and keep challenging the different energy systems your body uses for exercise.

What are some variations I can do for my current exercises?

It can be tough to think of new movements once you are in a routine. To help you out with that I have listed a common movement and some alternatives to it that will challenge different muscle groups! Feel free to substitute these movements into your routine, just remember to start light and progress up from there!

Bench Press:

Incline dumbbell chest press

Flat dumbbell chest press

Single are flat or incline chest press

Lat Pull-down:

Seated row with a wide grip

Seated row with a narrow grip

Palms toward you lat pull-down

Single Arm lat pull down (use one handle, and one arm at a time)

Pull-ups! Assisted or bodyweight.

Leg Press Machine:

Walking Lunges

Step ups on to a bench with weights in your hands (the higher the bench the harder it will be)

Split Squats with weights in your hands


Weight your pushups with a weight on your back

Change your hand position (wide, narrow, offset)

Spiderman Pushups

Those are just a few suggestions for a few movements that are most commonly seen in the gym. There are of course countless variations of movements and ideas out there! Remember to change up your routine and try not to get stuck in a rut.

Little changes lead to the biggest results!

Be creative and if you are looking for something in particular, don’t hesitate to contact us!

Thank you for reading this week, it’s time to throw a curveball into your routine. Go ahead and try something new!

The Best Things To Do Before You Exercise

If you have a trainer that you meet with regularly or not so regularly you know it is important to get the most out of your time and money that you have invested. All too often clients come in unprepared to get the most of our their session. It essentially turns into wasted time for the client and the trainer.

It can be a myriad of factors some out of your control and some within your control that lead to not being 100% for the session. Today we are going to look at a few things that are crucial to getting the most our of your training. These will be tips to best prepare your body and also how to get the most out of your trainer when you are training.

These tips also apply to your workouts with friends or your own personal workout. It is important to be properly fueled and prepared every time you exercise.

Come to your session prepared, mentally and physically.

Sleep – It is always important to get a good nights sleep. I know it can be tough with things out of your control. However, if you shoot for six to eight hours your body will be rested and ready to take on the challenge of your workout.

Ideally the following hydration and food recommendations would occur up to two hours before your planned exercise session.

Hydrate – Drink water before your session and take sips about every 15 minutes while you are exercising. This is easier if you workout in the afternoon or evening. If you workout really early in the morning (Good for you!) try drinking a full glass of water once you wake up.

Drink the water...drink the water
Drink the water…drink the water

Proper Food – You can eat some healthy carbohydrates here. The following are some good options that are on the lighter side, low-fat or fat free greek or regular yogurt, oats, banana (add a little peanut or almond butter to it), a piece of whole grain bread with lunch meat.

If you only have a 5 – 10 minutes to eat something go with an apple or banana. Those fast digestions carbohydrates will help fuel your workout.

Foods to Avoid – You want to avoid foods with fats and also foods with too much protein. These foods take longer to digest and may make your stomach uncomfortable during intense exercise. Once you start exercising with a high intensity your blood flow goes to your muscles that are working. Thus, leaving the high fat food just sitting in your stomach like a rock. There is reduced blood flow to the stomach to break down this food while you workout.

Warmup – Get a warmup in before your session starts. They are important to making sure your body is ready to handle the demands you are about to place on it. If your trainer has you do specific movements to get ready, do those before you meet. This will save 5 minutes at the beginning of the session and you can be ready to jump right into the workout for the day! The warmup should get your heart rate up and maybe even have you sweating a little bit. It can be anything from walking up an incline, riding a stationary bike or running at a moderate pace.

Take advantage of every second with your trainer by getting this out of the way before your designated time slot!

Things to do during your workout.

Hydrate – As mentioned earlier it is important to stay hydrated! I recommend my clients take a small sip of water every 15 minutes.  With this time table they stay hydrated but don’t drink so much water at once that they feel like there is an ocean in their stomach. We have all been there and that is not good when you are on your last ab set!

Ask Questions! – I encourage all my clients to ask questions about certain movements or as to why we are doing things in a certain order. If you have a trainer and you ask questions and they don’t know the answer……change trainers! You are paying for the session so use us as a knowledge base. Did your friend show you a great ab exercise and you want to know if it is effective? Ask! We are in this business to help educate you and help you along your fitness journey. Bring questions of all types and pepper some into your workout.

Stay Focused – It can be very easy to get sidetracked and begin talking about your weekend plans for 5 minutes. We have all done it and sometimes it just happens. However, try to keep that conversation as succinct as possible during your breaks. We program a lot of your workouts based on rest intervals so it is crucial you stay as close to those as possible to achieve your results.


Sparkle Shirt Optional
Sparkle Shirt Optional

Exercise is about feeling good and having fun. So meet up with your trainer or your friend or get in by yourself. Whichever method you choose, enjoy it! It is the hour of the day you get to focus all on yourself! Take advantage of the time to yourself and get healthy at the same time!

Fuel up and take on your workout!

Find Your Routine

Sustainable food, why not sustainable exercise?

How regular is your fitness routine? Do you find yourself going 1, 2 or 3 months to the gym then falling off? Things get too busy, weather changes, travel is too much, kids? The list is endless. 

There has to be a way to have an exercise program that you can fit in when you are on the go or you just don’t have access to equipment. Good news, there is and it is not as difficult as you may think!

The key to staying active and healthy when life gets hectic is to find small pockets of the day where you can fit movement in. The key word here is movement. It doesn’t have to be exercise in the way that everyone thinks. If you can get your body moving for as little as 30 minutes a day you will see feel the changes.

How do I fit in 30 minutes is a question I get a lot during the day. If you are really strapped for time you can break it up into 10 minute segments that will total your 30 minutes.  For the best results you need the three 10 minute segments to be at an equally high intensity. You have to get your heart rate elevated enough to give you benefit (over 65% of your heart rate max).

The following are some simple ideas to get in more movement without going outside of your daily routine too much. These are lower intensity movements that can be applied in addition to the 30 minutes of higher intensity movement.

If you drive to work, park farther away in the lot. I know people say this a lot but trust me it makes a difference!

Walk to lunch if it is under a mile away and there is a sidewalk or nice walking path available. Not only will it get the blood flowing before lunch. It will aid in digestion after you eat. I don’t think anything is more pleasant than a nice post lunch walk! 

If you have a choice between and escalator and stairs and you’re only going up a couple flights, take the stairs. This is another example of the little changes in your routine make a big impact.

Oh those stairs look good.
Oh those stairs look good.


Your health is one of the most important things that you are in DIRECT control of. Use that to your advantage. Be selfish here, think of yourself first. Schedule time before work, at lunch or after work. If it is only 30 minutes it will still have a positive impact. During these 30 minutes is when you want to crank up that intensity. You’re going to sweat here so get a towel!

– Interval Sprints (Look at our Dynamic Duo post and you can do that by yourself)

– A six exercise circuit. Pick six full body exercises and do them without a break for 15 repetitions and repeat 3 times.  After you complete the circuit rest for two minutes.

For example here is quick routine.

1. Pushups

2. Bent Over Row

3. Squat to Overhead press

4. Walking lunges

5. Jumping Jacks (30 seconds)

6. Step up with Bicep curls

Use tools to help you achieve your goals.

There are a bunch of great apps out there (Map My Run, Strava, My Fitness Pal) and also fitness tracking gadgets (Fitbit, Jawbone, Old Fashioned Pedometer).  The more accountability you have the more likely you are to see achieve your daily goal. You can set a step goal for the day and try to reach it by the evening. In my experience if you are 700 steps short and it is a nice summer night, you will go for a walk to get those last 700 steps. Instead of sitting on the couch because the work day has wiped you out. It is that feeling of accomplishment that will keep you on track everyday.

All of these apps have the ability for you to connect with friends.  Even if you do not have a trainer to see everyday you have a friend or family member to keep up with. If you are having trouble sticking to your routine challenge a friend! It will keep you both going strong and give you both something fun do during the week.

Accountability can go a long way in creating habit.

Now that you have been armed with easy to use information, get up and use it! Walk to the water cooler, do a few laps up the stairs, or just go walk to lunch!