Category: Personal Training


I know women have goals of getting fit and toned and then turn to the women’s fitness magazines with this month’s “Get In Shape” plan.  And not that these plans are totally worthless, the moves may be great, but most plans tend to start like this:  What you need is a mat, a pair of 3-5 pound dumbbells…. How in the world do they expect you to get toned and strong if you are lifting with a total of 6-10 pounds.  Most babies are born 6 pounds and then if you factor in carrying a car seat, that is way more than 10 pounds.  Do they expect muscles to magically appear?

I do agree that everyone has to start somewhere and progression is key, but I also think that most women are a lot stronger than they think and have the potential of being a lot stronger than they expect. If starting out with all body weight exercises is hard for you, then start there and that does cause muscle to grow, but only so much.  So, what happens when that gets easy? You add more repetitions. Then what happens when that gets too easy? You add more weight.  My professor always used to tell us, “behind every shapely curve in a woman’s body, there is muscle.”  These “shapely curves” he was talking about are the “toned look” most girls are wanting.  So to get toned, women must build muscle.

How do we build muscle mass?  There is a concept in weight training called the SAID principle.  SAID stands for “specific adaptation to imposed demands”.  Translation: Your muscle adapts only to what you put it through.  If you only train your arms to lift 2 pound dumbbells, then your arms are only going to be able to lift 2 lbs or maybe a tiny bit more.  If training with 2 pound dumbbells is honestly hard for you, there is no shame in that.  Everyone has to start somewhere.

The point is, if you do a ton of reps then you are training for endurance.  If you are an endurance athlete, then this training might be for you.  The same principle is why sprinters train the way they do.  They do short bursts of power because that’s what they have to do in a race.  If you are a mom who carries a baby around, then you want to train your muscles for that activity.  If the goal is to build muscle mass and to get toned, then you must challenge the muscles in that way.  The other goal that every woman should have is to move smoother and more functionally.  This takes our focus off of machine only training to doing more day to day movements to make our bodies move more efficiently and will make everyday activities easier.  Eventually picking up groceries out of the trunk and up the stairs will become easier.  Running and walking will be less tiring because you will be training your muscles to work together as they do in everyday life.  Then, adding the extra weight will help you gain the muscle mass to look and feel great.

To build muscle mass, choose a weight or body weight exercise that you can do the exercise for 8-12 repetitions.  This means to choose a weight where you can barely eek out the 12th repetition.  I would suggest doing a weight lifting program that lifts 3 times a week, with a day in between and doing one exercise for each body part.  Start with doing one set for each exercise and as you get into better shape, then add sets for each exercise.  If a woman is still in the bone building years, then doing a few sets of 4-6 repetitions is highly beneficial for building bone mass.  This means she’ll be lifting heavier weights than she did when she was doing 8-12 repetitions.  

Example:

Monday, Wednesday, Friday

  • Squats
  • Lunges
  • Anterior reaches
  • Bent over rows
  • Cable (or band) standing rows
  • Recline pulls
  • Cable (or band) chest presses
  • Push ups (these can be on the floor or on the wall)
  • Shoulder presses


Just do one set each of 8-12 repetitions in the beginning and add weight when you can do 13 or more in a set.

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Aside from my consistent reading about health and fitness, I’m also a major economics, psychology, philosophy, cosmology and theology junkie.  I just enjoy thinking about things.

I think that in all of these subjects, one issue comes up repeatedly.  This issue is embracing reality.

For some reason, we have a strong propensity to attempt to create our own reality.  We develop an idea of how we believe something should be and then we develop our ideas based upon what we believe should exist.

For example, later in high school and in early college, I believed that the Christian church should look like the one in Acts.  As a result of that belief, I neglected reality and chose to attempt to create my own reality wherein the church in Acts exists in the current.  In this skewed viewpoint, I thought it was intelligent to pursue God’s will how the apostles in the the book of Acts often did…. through casting lots, prophecies, dreams, and visions. Continue reading

The Sin of Yo-Yo Dieting

One of the cardinal sins of health and fitness is yo-yo dieting.  It destroys your health.

Yo-yo dieting is a repeated cycle of weight loss followed by weight gain.  At first, this doesn’t appear all that bad.  So, somebody went from 200lbs to 150lbs and back to 200lbs.  Who cares?  Yeah, they’re back where they started, but at least they’re not worse off now!

Unfortunately, they are worse off now.  The body can be a difficult machine to master.  Since your body is entirely concerned with survival and not very concerned about your figure, it doesn’t get along with the yo-yo dieting concept.  Consider the following example:

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Muscle Gain for Fat Loss

Each pound of muscle mass burns 50 calories a day.

Sadly, that’s probably new information for a lot of people, and it’s likely why most exercisers still have trouble controlling their weight.

A lot of dieters see exercise and nutrition as different issues.  However, they’re simply different sides of the same coin.  Your exercise and nutrition are both vital issues when it comes to your health.  So, when you go on a lower calorie diet without exercise, havoc ensues within your body.

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I know losing weight is one of the goals many people possess and most of the time, people like to measure their success by how many pounds they are losing on the scales.  While this may be the easiest and most convenient way to measure success, it may not be the most accurate.  We also live in a “I want this now” kind of generation and so anything we want to achieve, we want to achieve it as fast as possible.  As far as losing fat, this is neither safe or possible.

Let’s look at an example: Jenny who is 170 pounds and her body fat is 40%, goes through a quick weight loss program with a low calorie diet.  By the end of the 6 week program, Jenny is 140 pounds at 30% body fat.  This means before Jenny started the diet, she was 170 pounds with 68 pounds of that being fat.  After she went through the weight loss program she had lost a total of 30 pounds and now weighs 140 pounds with 42 pounds of that being fat.  Overall, she lost a total of 30 pounds and since she started with 68 pounds of fat and now has 42 pounds of fat she lost a total of 26 pounds of fat.  That means the rest of the weight lost was from muscle.  Jenny lost 4 pounds of muscle which also means she is burning about 200 calories less than when she went in since each pound of muscle burns about 50 calories a day just to maintain itself.  At first glance, the program Jenny did might seem good because on the scale it looks like she lost 30 pounds, which she did, but 26 of those pounds were fat and 4 of them were muscle, which slows your metabolism and makes it easier to put on weight. Continue reading

Personal Training

I know there are a lot of different views of what “personal training” is.  I just wanted to clarify what we mean by personal training when we take you on as a client.  As a personal trainer, our first goal is always safety and injury prevention.  From there on out, our whole program design is based on you and your personal goal. We don’t believe there is a “one size fits all” program.  Everybody is different and so we train everyone a little differently.

Initially, we will do a consultation with you, including your background information and medical history.  Then, after the consultation is done and you are approved to start a fitness program, we will do some fitness testing.  Fitness testing includes a sub-maximal stress test, blood pressure, resting heart rate, body fat, girth measurements, and a few other tests depending on what your goals are.   After fitness testing, we will set up goals together and steps to take to achieve those goals.  These goals have to be specific, achievable, and measurable.  Then, we will design a program that is unique to your needs.

Also, one major point of divergence of our training philosophy from the standard personal trainer is that our focus is more upon health and fitness than aesthetics.  Our first priority will always be your health and injury prevention.  However, we believe that a healthy body inside creates a healthy body on the outside as well.  As a result, we will take your blood pressure into consideration more than the size of your biceps, but as we create more lean muscle mass and decrease fat mass in order to better your health, you’ll also find that it makes the reflection in the mirror more pleasing as well.

Please feel free to contact us at tlbflowllc@gmail.com.  Thanks