What to Look for in a Personal Trainer

personal trainer

With the new year well underway and summer on the horizon, many people are looking to start achieving their fitness goals. Getting a good personal trainer is one of the best ways to do that. 

A personal trainer can help you set the right goals, balance your workout schedule, and even help with nutrition. Whether you’re looking to lose weight, gain weight, tone up, or reach specific lifting or cardio goals, they’re who you turn to. 

But how do you find the best personal trainer for you? We have a few ideas of what to look for so you can get started on the right track. Keep reading to learn about how to find a personal fitness trainer that will help you reach your goals. 

They Listen to You

A key trait of a good personal trainer is the ability to communicate effectively. This doesn’t just mean that they should be able to convey information while they’re training. It also means that they have to be able to listen.

When you’re entering personal training, you have goals and ideas in mind. You also have limitations and a set starting point. Your personal trainer needs to listen to you so they can best understand how to create your fitness plan.

Some trainers make the mistake of putting together a plan that works for most clients, or one that they like for themselves. This means that you won’t be getting the program that you deserve and that’s suited to your individual needs.

If your trainer seems like they’re not taking your suggestions into consideration, they’re not a good trainer. 

They Use Technology to Their Advantage

There are so many ways to use technology in the effort to create and track an effective fitness plan.

The days of tracking weight and muscle mass through inaccurate means and writing measurements on paper are behind us. In their place are full-body scans to help measure muscle, fat, and all other things that you want to improve upon on your fitness journey.

You can track your fitness and progress with helpful apps and keep all of your information digital and easy to access.

A good personal trainer knows how to use and share this technology to help you reach your goals. 

They Offer Suggestions for At-Home Activities

Let’s face it; you’re not spending every waking moment at the gym. Normal people need to go to work, attend to responsibilities, and overall need days off to let muscles recover.

This doesn’t mean that you can’t be working towards your fitness goals while you’re at home. 

Good personal trainers know that days off are just as important as days on. While you’re in recovery mode, you can be doing stretches or gentle at-home cardio workouts to keep your muscles warm without overworking them. 

They may also offer nutritional advice so you don’t undo all of your hard work by eating the wrong foods. 

They’re Motivating, Not Pushy

There’s a common trope of personal fitness trainers running their clients around as if they were drill sergeants. While this is amusing in fiction, in real life you want a more compassionate trainer.

A good trainer knows how to motivate clients without embarrassing them. They know how to push clients to their limits without pushing them beyond those limits. Trainers who don’t know the appropriate time to pull back are putting their clients at risk of injuries. 

They’re also at risk of losing clients altogether.

Good trainers want to empower clients to be their best, wherever that happens to be at the time. That “best” is different for everyone, so trainers don’t feel the need to compare one client to another, or their clients to themselves.

They Know What They’re Talking About

Not anyone can be a personal trainer. Even someone fit who works out every day may not be qualified to train others. 

Good personal trainers have an education under their belts. They’ve learned about exercise science, human anatomy, and nutrition. This helps them train clients in a way that’s scientifically proven, not anecdotal. 

Good trainers are also interested in improving their knowledge over time. Best practices for personal training change. Trainers should keep up with their learning even when their formal education is over.

They can do this by watching online videos, reading journals, or networking with other fitness professionals to make sure they’re providing the best possible service. 

They Can Adapt 

Adaptability is everything for a successful personal trainer.

As we mentioned, everyone has different needs and a different starting point. These needs will change over time. 

If you experience an injury or you don’t find yourself progressing as quickly as your fitness plan made time for, you should be able to talk to your trainer so they’re able to make adjustments to your timeline and the exercises that you’re able to do.

On the other hand, if your goals change, they should be able to work with that as well. Sometimes people come into the gym with an initial goal of weight loss, but later learn that they’re more interested in gaining muscle first. Your trainer should be able to make these changes on the fly.

The Right Personal Trainer Will Help You Reach Your Goals

Not all personal trainers are alike and finding the right one can be a trial and error. When you do find the right one, though, getting a personal trainer is the best way to reach your goals in the most efficient manner possible.

You don’t have to try to reach your goals alone. Get set up with a personal trainer and get a professional’s help. 

Are you looking for a gym in Houston Texas so you can get fit this year? We want to help! We have personal trainers available for you, or you can work alone. 

Join us online or at one of our three locations and get working on those goals. 

7 Rewarding Benefits of Joining a Gym

joining a gym

Your New Year’s resolution is put in place. This is the year when you finally get yourself back into shape. While you can sit in your living room and watch videos or buy equipment and work out alone, it’s not as rewarding as joining a gym.

At a gym, you’ll have access to equipment that you may otherwise not be able to get your hands on. You’ll also be able to meet with a personal trainer who can put you on the path toward workout success.

These aren’t the only benefits that you’ll get by signing up for a membership. Keep reading to learn more about going to the gym.

1. Meet New People 

For some people, the answer to “should I join a gym” is a resounding no if they don’t have a workout partner. It can be hard to find someone who has the same workout goals as you. That’s why you have to go outside of your normal social circle. 

Everyone at the gym has pretty much one goal in mind. They want to get fit. You’re sure to find someone who will want to work out with you. 

After attending a few classes together and socializing over coffee, you’ll make a lifelong friend who can motivate you to keep up with your fitness journey. 

2. Workout Classes 

Workout classes are guided by trainers who will help you meet your fitness goals in the safest way possible. Taking these classes can also be pretty enjoyable. You’ll be surrounded by like-minded people and potentially make a few new friends. 

Spin classes aren’t the only options available to you. There’s almost an unlimited number of things that you can try out such as yoga, Zumba, and swimming. 

Classes are also an excellent motivator. As you’re most likely aware, they work on a set schedule. Once you’re signed up and locked into the session, you’re not likely to skip it.  

Attending classes is sort of like being part of a group project, too. You’re working with others to obtain your fitness goals. You can’t let them down by giving up. 

3. You Get Access to the Right Equipment 

When you join a gym near me, you get access to all the equipment that you need. There are heavy cardio machines like treadmills and bikes. If your goals center more around strength training, there are dumbbells and squat racks. 

Can you buy this equipment yourself? Yes, that’s not out of the realm of possibility, but it is expensive. You’ll spend thousands of dollars trying to fill up one room with the machines that you need. 

There’s also the added problem of space. Treadmills and other fitness equipment take up a lot of room. They might not be available to you if you live in a small one-bedroom apartment. 

Home machines can be a little limited as far as the number of things you can do. Your body needs access to a variety of equipment for you to see the results that you’re going after. That’s where having a gym membership comes in handy.  

4. You’ll Get an Energy Boost 

As you exercise, your body releases a series of feel-good endorphins. While it can’t replace your normal depression treatment, the surge of dopamine will help. Finishing a tough workout is a huge achievement that makes anyone feel good. 

Hitting the treadmill will make you less stressed out, as well. Most gyms have massages and saunas that you can take advantage of once you’re done exercising for the day. That will help some of the anxiety melt away and massages are great for muscle recovery. 

5. Personal Trainers 

Most gyms have personal trainers available upon request. They can help guide you along and find a workout regimen that suits your needs. Some may even create a meal plan for you. 

Using machines that you’ve never so much as looked at before can be a little nerve-wracking. If you’re not careful, you may injure yourself. Personal trainers are there to ensure that doesn’t happen. 

They’ll show you how to use each machine and watch your form to make sure you don’t get hurt. Trainers are busy people, so they’ll have a set time when they can work with you. They will hold you accountable if you’re not there. 

6. Fun Extras 

Most gyms aren’t just dumbbells and ellipticals. Many have access to fun little extras that you can take advantage of. You can get a massage or stop by the sauna. 

Want to skip the treadmill the day? That’s fine, you can get your cardio in by swimming in a pool. You don’t have to do a heavy workout to see results. 

7. Improve Your Overall Health 

Of course, the number one reason to join a gym is the health benefits. Regular exercise has been proven to fight heart disease, strokes, high blood pressure, cancer, arthritis, type 2 diabetes, and more. 

As you get older, your risk of falling increases. Depending on the severity of the fall, it could be fatal. By getting in regular exercise you’ll strengthen your core and improve your balance. 

Pros of Joining a Gym 

If you have a New Year’s resolution to lose weight, there’s no better way to do it than by joining a gym. It will give you access to a variety of different equipment and trainers who have your best interest at heart.

You’ll also get a boost of dopamine, increase your confidence, meet new friends, get to attend interesting classes, and decrease your chances of developing certain diseases. So, what are you waiting for? Join up with us today and begin your fitness journey. 

Why Being Flexible Is Great for Your Health

Overview

Stretching your body to become more supple and flexible offers many physical benefits. Such training allows for easier and deeper movements while building strength and stability. Stretching your muscles and joints also leads to greater range of motion, improved balance, and increased flexibility.

Continue reading to learn more about the benefits of developing a flexible, healthy body.

6 benefits of flexibility

Improved flexibility produces a wide range of physical benefits and can have a positive effect on your overall well-being. Here are a few ways that increased flexibility is likely to help you.

1. Fewer injuries

Once you develop strength and flexibility in your body you’ll be able to withstand more physical stress. Plus, you’ll rid your body of any muscle imbalances, which will reduce your chance of getting injured during physical activity. Correcting muscle imbalances requires a combination of strengthening the underactive muscles and stretching the overactive (tight) ones.

2. Less pain

Your body is likely to feel better overall once you work on lengthening and opening your muscles. When your muscles are looser and less tense, you’ll experience fewer aches and pains. Plus, you may be less likely to experience muscle cramps.

3. Improved posture and balance

When you focus on increasing muscular flexibility your posture is likely to improve. Working out your body allows you to have proper alignment and correct any imbalances. Plus, with an increased range of motion you may find it easier to sit or stand in certain ways. Yoga has been shown to improve balance.

4. A positive state of mind

Regularly engaging in poses that stretch and open up your body can bring about feelings of relaxation. The physical benefits can extend to a relaxed state of mind. You may find it easier to unwind once your body feels better.

5. Greater strength

It’s important to increase strength as you become more flexible. This ensures your muscles will have the right amount of tension so that they’re strong enough to support you and your movements, allowing you to become more physically fit.

6. Improved physical performance

Once you increase your flexibility to allow greater movement in your body you’ll be able to perform better physically. This is in part because your muscles are working more effectively.

5 Proven Benefits of BCAAs (Branched-Chain Amino Acids)

5 Proven Benefits of BCAAs (Branched-Chain Amino Acids)

There are 20 different amino acids that make up the thousands of different proteins in the human body.

Nine of the 20 are considered essential amino acids, meaning they cannot be made by your body and must be obtained through your diet.

Of the nine essential amino acids, three are the branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs): leucine, isoleucine, and valine.

“Branched-chain” refers to the chemical structure of BCAAs, which are found in protein-rich foods such as eggs, meat and dairy products. They are also a popular dietary supplement sold primarily in powder form.

Here are five proven benefits of BCAAs.

1. Increase Muscle Growth

One of the most popular uses of BCAAs is to increase muscle growth.

The BCAA leucine activates a certain pathway in the body that stimulates muscle protein synthesis, which is the process of making muscle.

In one study, people who consumed a drink with 5.6 grams of BCAAs after their resistance workout had a 22% greater increase in muscle protein synthesis compared to those who consumed a placebo drink.

That being said, this increase in muscle protein synthesis is approximately 50% less than what was observed in other studies where people consumed a whey protein shake containing a similar amount of BCAAs.

Whey protein contains all the essential amino acids needed to build muscle.

Therefore, while BCAAs can increase muscle protein synthesis, they can’t do so maximally without the other essential amino acids, such as those found in whey protein or other complete protein sources.

Summary BCAAs play an important
role in building muscle. However, your muscles require all the essential amino acids for the best results.

2. Decrease Muscle Soreness

Some research suggests BCAAs can help decrease muscle soreness after a workout.

It’s not uncommon to feel sore a day or two after a workout, especially if your exercise routine is new.

This soreness is called delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS), which develops 12 to 24 hours after exercise and can last up to 72 hours.

While the exact cause of DOMS is not clearly understood, researchers believe it’s the result of tiny tears in the muscles after exercise.

BCAAs have been shown to decrease muscle damage, which may help reduce the length and severity of DOMS.

Several studies show that BCAAs decrease protein breakdown during exercise and decrease levels of creatine kinase, which is an indicator of muscle damage

In one study, people who supplemented with BCAAs before a squat exercise experienced reduced DOMS and muscle fatigue compared to the placebo group.

Therefore, supplementing with BCAAs, especially before exercise, may speed up recovery time.

Summary Supplementing with BCAAs
may decrease muscle soreness by reducing damage in exercised muscles.

3. Reduce Exercise Fatigue

Just as BCAAs may help decrease muscle soreness from exercise, they may also help reduce exercise-induced fatigue.

Everyone experiences fatigue and exhaustion from exercise at some point. How quickly you tire depends on several factors, including exercise intensity and duration, environmental conditions, and your nutrition and fitness level.

Your muscles use BCAAs during exercise, causing levels in your blood to decrease. When blood levels of BCAAs decline, levels of the essential amino acid tryptophan in your brain increase.

In your brain, tryptophan is converted to serotonin, a brain chemical that is thought to contribute to the development of fatigue during exercise.

In two studies, participants who supplemented with BCAAs improved their mental focus during exercise, which is thought to result from the fatigue-reducing effect of BCAAs.

However, this decrease in fatigue is unlikely to translate to improvements in exercise performance.

Summary BCAAs may be useful in
decreasing exercise-induced fatigue, but they are unlikely to improve exercise
performance.

4. Prevent Muscle Wasting

BCAAs can help prevent muscle wasting or breakdown.

Muscle proteins are constantly broken down and rebuilt (synthesized). The balance between muscle protein breakdown and synthesis determines the amount of protein in muscle.

Muscle wasting or breakdown occurs when protein breakdown exceeds muscle protein synthesis.

Muscle wasting is a sign of malnutrition and occurs with chronic infections, cancer, periods of fasting, and as a natural part of the aging process.

In humans, BCAAs account for 35% of the essential amino acids found in muscle proteins. They account for 40% of the total amino acids required by your body.

Therefore, it’s important that the BCAAs and other essential amino acids are replaced during times of muscle wasting to halt it or to slow its progression.

Several studies support the use of BCAA supplements for inhibiting muscle protein breakdown. This may improve health outcomes and quality of living in certain populations, such as the elderly and those with wasting diseases like cancer.

Summary Taking BCAA supplements
can prevent the breakdown of protein in certain populations with muscle
wasting.

5. Benefit People With Liver Disease

BCAAs may improve health in people with cirrhosis, a chronic disease in which the liver does not function properly.

It’s estimated that 50% of people with cirrhosis will develop hepatic encephalopathy, which is the loss of brain function that occurs when the liver is unable to remove toxins from the blood.

While certain sugars and antibiotics are the mainstays of treatment for hepatic encephalopathy, BCAAs may also benefit people suffering from the disease .

One review of 16 studies including 827 people with hepatic encephalopathy found that taking BCAA supplements had a beneficial effect on the symptoms and signs of the disease, but had no effect on mortality.

Liver cirrhosis is also a major risk factor for the development of hepatocellular carcinoma, the most common form of liver cancer, for which BCAA supplements may also be useful.

Several studies have shown that taking BCAA supplements may offer protection against liver cancer in people with liver cirrhosis.

As such, scientific authorities recommend these supplements as a nutritional intervention for liver disease to prevent complications.

Summary BCAA supplements may
improve the health outcomes of people with liver disease, while also possibly protecting against liver cancer.

Foods High In BCAAs

BCAAs are found in foods and whole protein supplements.

Getting BCAAs from complete protein sources is more beneficial, as they contain all the essential amino acids.

Consuming protein-rich foods will also provide you with other important nutrients that BCAA supplements lack.

The best food sources of BCAAs include

FoodServing SizeBCAAs
Beef, round3.5 ounces (100 grams)6.8 grams
Chicken breast3.5 ounces (100 grams)5.88 grams
Whey protein powder1 scoop5.5 grams
Soy protein powder1 scoop5.5 grams
Canned tuna3.5 ounces (100 grams)5.2 grams
Salmon3.5 ounces (100 grams)4.9 grams
Turkey breast3.5 ounces (100 grams)4.6 grams
Eggs2 eggs3.28 grams
Parmesan cheese1/2 cup (50 grams)4.5 grams
1% milk1 cup (235 ml)2.2 grams
Greek yogurt1/2 cup (140 grams)2 grams

The Bottom Line

The branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs) are a group of three essential amino acids: leucine, isoleucine, and valine.

They are essential, meaning they can’t be produced by your body and must be obtained from food.

BCAA supplements have been shown to build muscle, decrease muscle fatigue and alleviate muscle soreness.

They have also successfully been used in a hospital setting to prevent or slow muscle loss and to improve symptoms of liver disease.

Breakfast: Is It the Most Important Meal?

Breakfast kick-starts your metabolism, helping you burn calories throughout the day. It also gives you the energy you need to get things done and helps you focus at work or at school. Those are just a few reasons why it’s the most important meal of the day.

Many studies have linked eating breakfast to good health, including better memory and concentration, lower levels of “bad” LDL cholesterol, and lower chances of getting diabetes, heart disease, and being overweight.

It’s hard to know, though, if breakfast causes these healthy habits or if people who eat it have healthier lifestyles.

But this much is clear: Skipping the morning meal can throw off your body’s rhythm of fasting and eating. When you wake up, the blood sugar your body needs to make your muscles and brain work their best is usually low. Breakfast helps replenish it.

If your body doesn’t get that fuel from food, you may feel zapped of energy — and you’ll be more likely to overeat later in the day.

Breakfast also gives you a chance to get in some vitamins and nutrients from healthy foods like dairy, grains, and fruits. If you don’t eat it, you aren’t likely to get all of the nutrients your body needs.

Many people skip the a.m. meal because they’re rushing to get out the door. That’s a mistake. You need food in your system long before lunchtime. If you don’t eat first thing, you may get so hungry later on that you snack on high-fat, high-sugar foods.

For more questions on basic nutrition we would be happy to help Dynamic Results

3 Plyometric Exercises for Beginners

We recently dove into—or, should we say, “jumped” into—plyometrics training on our blog. This form of workout is a calorie-blaster, can be suited to fit your fitness level, and is pretty fun if you ask us. (Go ahead, ask us!) Today we wanted to equip you with three plyometric drills for beginners that you can try today! 

1| Squat Jumps

If you’ve been around here for any time now, you know we love squats. Add a jump to them, and you got a workout winner! This plyometric movement is excellent for beginners who have their squat form down (core engaged, straight back, etc.). If that sounds like you, then you might be ready to add on the jump for a dynamic movement!

How To Do A Squat Jump

  • Stand with your feet hip-distance apart
  • Point your toes slightly outward
  • Bend your knees to 90-degrees while engaging your core and keeping your back straight
  • Jump up from the squat position as high as you can, keeping your core engaged
  • Land softly back into starting position with your knees bent

Things to Remember

  • Avoid bending your knee over your toes
  • Do not hunch your back
  • Do not lock your knees when you land

A Little More Info

If you haven’t quite worked your way up to a jump squat yet, you can try standing up instead of jumping. This adds a dynamic movement without an impact on your joints. For some of us with a previous injury, this just won’t be a move that we can do, which is A-okay. There are tons of squat variations—we even made a video a few years ago to show them off. You can find the jump squat starting at 10 seconds.

2 | Long Jumps 

Long jumps are another tremendous plyometric workout for beginners because the movement is familiar. Many of us had to at least attempt long jumps in High School during gym class, and whether or not you fell in love with them then, they can be quite fun to do as an adult. Instead of jumping upward as you would in the squat jump, this movement asks you to propel yourself forward, utilizing different muscles that will help with endurance exercises as you continue to practice.

How To Do A Long Jump

  • Standing with the feet a little wider than hip-distance apart, bend your knees and get into your squat position
  • Use all of your muscle strength to jump as far forward as possible
  • Bend your knees as you land to absorb the shock
  • Land on both feet at once
  • Jog backward to starting position and repeat

Things To Remember

  • Do not lock your knees as you land
  • Be sure to keep your muscles engaged as you begin to jump
  • Do not allow your knee to go over your toes as you squat down

A Little More Info

While this is not the same as a long jump on a track where you might run and jump forward to exert all of your energy, benefits remain. This is a great way to get used to jumping and even work your way up to more advanced exercises like the frog jump, tuck jump, and more!

3 | Burpees 

Along with squats, we really love burpees. They may just be one of the most effective full-body movements you can possibly do, and they have a pretty cool history. One of the reasons we love burpees for beginners is because you can do variations of this exercise to match your skill level—allowing you to start with some assistance and work your way up to advanced variations as you get stronger.

How To Do A Burpee

  • Start standing with your feet hip-width apart
  • Quickly drop into a push-up position by placing your hands on the ground and shooting your feet out as quickly as possible 
  • Do a push-up and use the energy of the second half of that push-up to move your feet back toward your hands, landing you in a low squat 
  • Jump into the air as high as you can and repeat

Things To Remember

  • Form matters! (Keep that in mind for all of these plyometric workouts.) If you start to feel yourself arching your back, locking your knees, or any other no-no, take a break or stop for the day
  • Do not hold your breath
  • Do not force yourself to do an advanced version when you are not ready—you gotta start somewhere

A Little More Info

For other variations we love, you can simply drop into the pushup position and then walk your way up and repeat. Drop into the pushup position and jump back up. Or do the full movement. 

If you are ready to add plyometric exercises to your workout, you can do so at any of our locations.  Experience the our Dynamic Difference. Hop we will see ya soon!