What to look for in a Personal Trainer

PPP-logoOnce you’ve decided to hire a personal trainer, how do you know you’ve found a good one? Great question.

Once you find a good hair stylist, you’re set, but if you get a bad one…ugh. It’s a little bit like that with a trainer. The best way to find a good one is to ask around—word of mouth is a great way to find someone great. However, you should also talk to a few trainers and ask some questions of your own. You may not know anyone who has hired a trainer so word of mouth may not be a viable option.

Here’s how you find a good one.

1) How many questions does the trainer ask that have nothing to do with fitness directly?

A good trainer will want to know about much more than your fitness goals. If you talk to one and they ask you about your attitudes and opinions about exercise, your work schedule, family commitments, your history of stopping and starting exercise, etc., you’ve probably found a great trainer. Why?

Great trainers realize that the workout program they create is the easy part. Any trainer can make a half-way decent workout program for most people. The real measure of fitness success is in your ability to adopt behaviors that become part of you. To make changes that last, a trainer must know the obstacles and opportunities for exercise in your schedule and all of the many non-workout factors that will determine your ability to absorb a fitness routine into your daily life.

2) Does the trainer teach you movement or just exercises?

This one might not be so obvious from your first conversation, but you can either ask directly or listen for how the trainer describes what they do. As my friend and fellow ACE consultant Chris McGrath says, “Exercise is optional; movement is essential.” Everyone moves, even if they don’t exercise. Thus, a good life starts with a foundation of quality movement when you’re doing chores, playing with your kids, walking the dog, putting away groceries and all the various tasks of daily life.

Perhaps more importantly, though, quality movement allows for exercise at an appropriate intensity that will stress your muscles (which is what you want) and not your joints. With the increased popularity of high-intensity training, trainers who don’t want to become good at teaching movement need to look for a different line of work.

How can you tell if a trainer focuses on movement quality? Here’s a big clue: When they describe what they do, they explain that they will first determine what your body is capable of given any current or previous injuries or limitations you may have. Regardless off how they describe it, the trainer you hire should care about how you move your body—both during and outside of the exercise session. Alternatively, you can ask them directly. For example, you could ask, “How will you address any specific joint issues I may have?”

3) Do you get a good workout at the first session?

I hope not. A terrible trainer puts people through hard workouts at the first session. A great trainer needs to get to know the people behind the programs they create—that’s what makes the training personal. Until I see you move and can gauge your response—both physically and mentally—to certain movements, it is impossible for me to create an effective program that will get you the results you want.

During the first session, a quality trainer might teach you movement skills or exercise technique, or address specific issues you may have, but they cannot possibly have a full workout ready to go until they spend some time with you in person. Hard workouts are easy to find and trainers that can deliver hard workouts are a dime a dozen. Any trainer who boasts of making clients sore for days is to be unequivocally avoided—they don’t know exercise, they only know intensity.

Wrap-up

Ask around, or ask the trainer you are considering these questions. Better yet, why not do both? A trainer-client relationship is a very personal one and you want to know that you are wisely investing your body, your time and your money into working with a competent, caring professional, one who helps you find the right starting point to fitness and helps you progress at the right pace to keep you engaged mentally and appropriately challenged physically.

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Girls: Toned and Sexy through Weight Training

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Lyen Wong – owner of PEAK PHYSIQUE & PERFORMANCE

A skinny body is not always equivalent to a sexy body. Having the right curves means round buttocks, shapely legs and toned arms. If you have a skinny frame, you can gain weight through natural and safe methods. Exercise is the essential key to a healthy weight gain while still maintaining your curves like Jennifer Lopez and toned arms like Demi Moore.

Most women are afraid of too much exercise and weight lifting because they don’t want to have bulging arms and thighs. The truth of the matter is, women can’t have the same muscles like male bodybuilders simply because Mother Nature does not allow it. Women lack the testosterone needed to build those muscles. Don’t believe in stories about women getting manly arms and legs after exercising. There is nothing to fear. A leaner body is your key to a sexier body with curves in the right places. Celebrities like Miranda Kerr and Jessica Biel know the value of toning your legs, arms and buttocks to maintain their sexy shape.

Why exercise at all?

1. To build muscles

For effective weight gain, engaging in regular exercise will help build muscles, increase your metabolism and burn calories. Not only is exercise important in weight loss, it is also necessary in weight gain. Whether you prefer to work out at home or in a gym, you have to choose an exercise routine or sport to keep your body in shape.

Strength training exercises for weight gain involves resistance training to tone those scrawny arms. Regular exercise and physical activity helps in weight management and promotes a healthier lifestyle.

After an intense workout, you burn calories and use energy in your body. You will feel hungry and ready to eat food as much as you can. Use this time to gain weight by eating foods rich in protein as a muscle building block. The hungrier you get after strenuous physical activity, the more you can eat to gain more weight.

2. To improve sleep

Exercise also helps you sleep better. A good night’s sleep is a requirement to maintain a healthy body. When your body gets used to the strength training exercises for weight gain, you will experience high energy levels to make you want to do more. Boosting your energy will give you the fuel to perform your weight gain exercises. The more sets you do, the faster you can build your muscles and tone your body the way you’ve always wanted.

3. To prevent /reverse fat storage

Gaining more weight doesn’t mean being overweight. There is always a difference between a healthy and obese body. Not many people know that muscle is actually heavier than fat. Eating just about anything in excessive amounts will cause you to gain excessive fat. This is harmful to your health due to a number of diseases associated with excess fat intake. You can eat foods rich in fat but in moderation. Your body will need to use fats and turn them to energy as you exercise.

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Video: TV personality Carmen Geiss trained by Lyen Wong

Carmen Geiss of “Die Geissens” fame on German television needed a German-speaking personal trainer to get back in shape while filming the new episodes of “Die Geissens” in Miami. Lyen Wong was just the right person for the job – watch the fitness routines that got Carmen her body back! The training sessions, both at the the mansion and at PEAK PHYSIQUE & PERFORMANCE, were also filmed by the TV crew that follows Carmen everywhere. They will air in Germany when the next season of the show starts later this year.

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Another great review – thank you!

After 4 years of procrastination, I have finally decided to find support to achieve my fitness goal, which is to compete in a bikini modeling competition. Within 3 months, I’ve lost 10 pounds and 3% body fat. I feel more confident with my body now and the knowledge and support of the team at Peak Physique & Performance is invaluable. I look forward to continuing this journey together with them all the way to winning the bikini modeling competition… stay tuned 😉

R.D., Miami Beach, FL

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New client result pictures!

Our client has graciously given us permission to use her before-and-after pictures and measurements but wants to remain anonymous. No problem, her results are impressive as-is!

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Awesome, huh? But she’s just halfway there as her goal is to participate in a bikini competition soon. Way to go, girl!

 

 

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The importance of posture in your workout

Working out at PEAK PHYSIQUE & PERFORMANCEEach January, people flock to gyms and training programs, determined to get in shape, return to fitness and lose weight. Then: ouch! A hurt, an ache, an injury. Or, alas, no results. Often, that is due to bad alignment and bad posture.

Q: What does proper body alignment mean in terms of working out?

Proper body alignment means maintaining good posture and core stability, no matter what movement or exercise you are performing.

Q: Why is proper posture important when you’re in the gym?

Good posture has been proven to improve all levels of human performance. Studies show that when you are aligned, your body moves with less effort and mobility, stability and strength improves — and you become more efficient at transferring energy and strength up and down the kinetic chain (foot-to-ankle-to-knee-to-hips-to-spine-to-scapula-to-shoulders-to-arms). Therefore, stress of training stays within the muscles of your body and reduces joint stress and injury.

Q: Any advice to people headed to the gym about body alignment that can help them avoid injury?

Be aware that your body will mold to the posture you are in at the end of a rep. Ask yourself…is that what I want to look like? Compare how closed and slumped forward you look finishing a front fly to how open and tall you look at the end range of a reverse fly.

Also, one of the most important moves to master in fitness is a proper hip hinge. Most movements in core and posture training (squat, lunge, etc) involve moving properly from the hips, instead of rounding forward and using your back, which is the cause of many low back injuries in training and sports.

Interview with Dr. Brown

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Fitness is more important than just weight loss

Lyen at the gym

Lyen Wong at PEAK PHYSIQUE & PERFORMANCE

If you’re slim and lean, you don’t have to do resistance training – true or false? As long as you watch what you eat you’re healthy, right? Most people believe in these and other false “fitness facts”.

Fitness is a product of healthy diet and exercise, sleep and mental well being. “Physical fitness is considered a measure of the body’s ability to function efficiently and effectively in work and leisure activities, to be healthy, to resist hypo-kinetic diseases, and to meet emergency situations” as defined in Wikipedia. Here is why fitness is a far better goal than weight loss in the long run.

Difference between weight loss and fitness

While fitness usually does involve weight loss, all weight loss does not involve fitness. One can lose weight – the unhealthy way – through crash dieting, over-exercising, weight loss pills and several other, equally, harmful quack methods.

Unhealthy weight loss involves losing mostly muscle mass and small quantities of topical fat. Visceral fat, or fat that is stored internally around organs, does not decrease with unhealthy weight loss practices. In fact, it can increase due to the starvation mode set off with unhealthy dieting.

Pursuing general fitness and well being, on the other hand, takes care of the harmful body fat, while giving you a healthier mind and body and, yes, burning, calories. Weight loss is about losing weight rapidly. Fitness is about healthy living and longevity. Fitness is a combination of exercise, diet and rest. When weight loss is your only target, you tend to ignore the other benefits of living a healthy life.

Let’s look at what impact fitness has on the different systems in your body:

Importance of fitness: respiratory and circulatory system

You know the heart is a muscle that pumps blood and oxygen to the body. Exercise helps the heart in circulation of blood and oxygen. That means healthy skin, alertness and a healthy system, among other benefits. Similarly, a healthy diet aids your circulatory and respiratory system by preventing thickening arterial walls and better blood circulation.

Importance of fitness: digestive system

When we are constipated or feeling bloated we look for a change in diet to relieve us from our discomfort. But exercise can help you avoid digestive problems, as well. Walking, running and other physical activities can improve your digestive system.

A poor digestive system leads to a poor well-being and quick weight loss ignores this fact. The result of crash dieting is often Irritable Bowel Syndrome, and plenty of fat gain once you stop the fad diet. Instead, focusing on general fitness through balanced nutrition and exercise will give you a smoother digestive function.

Importance of fitness: lymphatic system

‘”The lymphatic system is a part of the circulatory system, comprising a network of conduits called lymphatic vessels that carry a clear fluid called lymph”, as explained on Wikipedia. Stretching, strength training and aerobic exercises improve the lymphatic system. A healthy lymphatic system reduces swelling, improves circulation, metabolism and flexibility.

Importance of fitness: cardiovascular system

Research has proven, time and again, that pursuing fitness is the best way to achieve better cardiovascular health. This means that your cardiovascular system is able to function a lot better when you’re fit, within your ideal weight range, and live an active life with healthy eating.

The cardiovascular system is responsible for circulating oxygen and important nutrients to the body. Opting for fitness, instead of quick weight loss, will help you avoid diseases related to the cardiovascular system like heart attack and stroke. Strength, stamina, and agility also get a boost with a well functioning cardiovascular system. Cardio exercises are the key to a functioning cardiovascular system.

However, many make the mistake of associating ‘cardio’ exercise with rapid weight loss. This usually leads to long hours of cardio that cause fatigue and over-train your body. What does this mean? Over-training leads to more fat storage in your body. So, if you walk/run/jog/swim too much, your body will start craving more food.

Importance of fitness: nervous system

The nervous system includes the brain and the spinal cord. Physical activity helps to keep the brain sharp and alert and improves hand-eye co-ordination and balance.

Mental health is crucial for a healthy life. By pursuing weight loss only, without any thought toward fitness and the right way to achieve it, your mind will experience fatigue and negativity. Those that rely on vanity alone as a motivator tend to drop out of their ‘fitness’ routine. A balanced diet and regular exercise over the long term, because you want to be fit instead of a size zero, is a better idea.

Importance of fitness: musculoskeletal system

This is the easiest association to make. We use muscles everyday, consciously or subconsciously. All aspects of exercising, from resistance training to flexibility and cardio training, and eating right improve the musculoskeletal system.

Importance of fitness: overall health

  • Improves performance and stamina
  • Reduces chances of experiencing lifestyle diseases
  • Promotes longevity
  • Prevents excess body fat
  • Improves mood
  • Improves confidence
  • Induces good sleep

When you focus on weight loss alone, and quick weight loss at that, you ignore your body’s actual needs. A common sign of rapid weight loss is weakness and fatigue. This is because your body loses muscle a lot faster than fat. With muscle loss, your metabolic activity decreases, causing imbalances and increased fat storage. The result: short term weight loss, and long term weight gain.

For the over-weight and obese, fitness does involve weight loss. But this is sustainable weight loss that comes with a shift in lifestyle habits. If your only concern is to look good in that slinky outfit or that wedding dress, then you will set yourself up for failure. Chasing the short term dream by radical, unsustainable means is a recipe for disaster.

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Review: What Julia thinks about us…

Female silhouette“Lyen is a great motivator and she really makes you want to exercise and eat healthy. She is very honest and upfront with you about your goals and training program. There is never a dull moment with her program, she switches up the routine and makes it so that you are able to do it. When you tell her you can’t go on she says “yes, you can”. She is awesome and I am very happy with her. She makes me feel comfortable and she gets to know your fitness level so that you can gradually build up and become stronger. If you’re looking for specific needs and want to see results, I highly recommend Lyen.”

Julia K. (Homestead, FL)

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