Tag Archives: personal trainer

5 Ways to Stop Self-Sabotaging and Lose Weight Once and For All

Waldgeist Restaurant in Hofheim. Just make sure to take your Lipitor before bed.By Orion Talmay

The adage goes that you are the average of the five people you hang out with the most. So, it would logically follow that hanging out with people who eat fatty junk food will sabotage you and your diet.

Few of us consider that one of the things preventing us from committing to our weight and fitness goals is our environment – and that includes the people around us. This is especially true in America, where fast and “super sized” are glorified. We are surrounded by a junk food friendly environment – whether it’s the muffins offered to you in your company break room or the Italian “family style” dinner with friends. Everywhere you turn, advertisers are trying to hypnotize you into buying. We are bombarded with commercials for food which show joyful anorectic models enjoying chocolates and cheeseburgers. We were taught by our mothers to dutifully finish what’s on our plates. This world full of temptation, misconceptions, and immediate gratification just might affect our ability to get back into our jeans size from high school, don’t you think?

We are drowning in a flood of false information, thanks to all this pervasive and persuasive advertising. These advertisements train our brains to link unhealthy food with pleasure. As you pass a billboard showing a hot celebrity drinking Coca Cola, subconsciously you make a connection between what he or she represents to you – namely health, happiness, athleticism, vitality and success – and drinking Coke. In reality this sugary, toxic and chemically addictive drink is the epitome of unhealthiness, addiction, and obesity. In many cases, junk food is marketed to us as “healthy,” “natural” or even “organic,” but the opposite is more true. Even TV shows about weight loss such as The Biggest Loser glorify rapid, dramatic weight loss that unfolds before our eyes in an hour. And of course it doesn’t tell the whole story; we are spared the gory details, the high risk of injury, and the non-sustainability and unhealthy methods they use on the contestants. The TV magic and the glaring omissions give legitimacy to extreme rapid weight loss and create unrealistic expectations for the audience.

As I alluded to earlier, your peer group can also alter your decision-making. In general, people like people who are like them. For example, heavy drinkers prefer to hang out with heavy drinkers, and overeaters prefer feasting with fellow gluttons. The unspoken (or sometimes spoken) pressure is on, to fit in and be liked. Most social gatherings center around food and alcohol, so if you are dieting, you will need premeditated strategy and willpower if you don’t want to sabotage your diet.

Friends and family tend to appease each other when they fall off the wagon. When you look for consolation, they will tell you “It’s okay, it’s not that bad to take a day off; come on and live a little!” People become very forgiving because they want you to like them. They don’t hold you to a higher standard, in part because that’s not what you want to hear.

Unfortunately, not everyone wants you to be successful. Sometimes it can even be someone close to you like a spouse, family member, or friend who will try to talk you out of your goal. They might be afraid that if you feel better about yourself, you will neglect them or leave them. They might be afraid of “new competition” they will have when you accomplish your weight goals. Or, they may feel in competition with your “gym time” or even with your trainer. Bottom line is that most of the time they do it not because they don’t love you but precisely because they do. For instance, spouses may worry a “new you” may be less attracted to them. Sometimes, simply reassuring them of your love and friendship, keeping open communication and involving them in your health journey can solve these issues.

So, if you agree that the environment that surrounds you can sabotage your progress, what do you do? Well, since living on a mountaintop in Tibet is (probably) not an option, the best way to deal with misinformation or saboteurs is to plan for your success. When your mindset is stronger, achieving your outcome will be your priority. Nothing and no one will deter you. When you are prepared for success, you will win.

How do you prepare for success?

1. Surround yourself with supportive people. If your loved ones aren’t supportive of your health and fitness goals, convince them to change and be a part of your team or find some supportive peers to cheer you on. Succeed regardless.

2. Make sure you have accurate information about fitness and nutrition. Consult with a personal trainer and/or nutritionist. Nothing beats having a coach who can guide you to win the game the right way.

3. Plan your food shopping, plan your meals and plan your exercise time.  Don’t let anyone or anything distract you or steal your time.

4. Watch less TV. The number of commercials for garbage processed food is mind-boggling. These companies are paying a lot of money to sell to you and have mastered the art of influence. They (mis)use popular words like “healthy” and “natural,” but one glance at the label reveals how supposedly healthy, low fat, and natural it really is. Put your TV watching on a diet too, and it will facilitate your dieting and help you avoid unnecessary temptations.

5. Remember that you are a rock star. You can do it regardless of what anyone tells you, including your own inner critic. I believe in you. You put your mind to it and you will succeed.

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picOrion Talmay is a fitness expert and life coach who helps her clients transform their bodies and their lives. Her fitness skills include yoga, weight training, kick boxing, Aikido, MMA (mixed martial arts) and Krav Maga. Orion completed the Tough Mudder, a 12-mile extreme obstacle course with an ice pool, electric wires, buttered monkey bars, and more. She’s not all hard-core though; she is also a woman of the arts — loves to dance and sing, went to acting school, and speaks three languages. She is a graduate of the American Academy of Personal Training and is AAFA, AAPT, KBA, and Zumba certified. She is currently working on an online coaching program for weight loss and self development, designed to empower people across all aspects of their lives: physical, mental, social and spiritual. Orion is also working on her first book, about transformational change. Originally from Israel, she currently lives in sunny Santa Monica, California.

Lean, Toned, or Buff: What It Really Means to Be Fit

Flying In A Blue Dream

Different people have different reasons for starting a fitness program. Some want to lose weight, others want to build muscle, others want to reduce cholesterol, and the list goes on. If you’re a wellness-enthusiast, you’ve undoubtedly come across countless fitness philosophies, and it can be hard to know what’s really important in a workout routine. Do we need to be as big and bulky as, say, a body builder? Is that the epitome of fitness? Or rather should we focus on toning and building functional strength?

To help us answer some of these questions, we interviewed Sports Club/LA fitness expert Rob Kram.

There’s so much health information going around these days, but what does “fitness” really mean to you?

To me, fitness is the physical component of the entire health and wellness continuum. It fits right in with the importance of nutritional health, mental acuity and the holistic view that includes stress management leading to overall happiness. When you consider the body’s ability to move properly and painlessly, fitness encompasses many levels from an elite athlete focused on performance enhancement, to a grandmother simply wanting to be able to bend over and pick up her grandchild.

Is it more important to be thin, toned, buff, or what?

There are plenty of people with buff bodies who cannot functionally perform well in athletic activities. There are also very toned people who are functionally weak. Fitness is relative to one’s activities. For example, an elite marathoner and a world class sumo wrestler are both probably very functionally fit for their activities. But, switch their roles and both would fail miserably. Quality of one’s movement relative to their targeted activity is the most important factor.

Is muscle-building a sure-fire route to fitness? And if not, what’s your number one rule for building muscle for fitness?

Nothing is sure-fire in the fitness industry, simply because everyone’s body is so different. Muscle-building is as important as any other factor in overall fitness. It is a forgotten component for many who focus only on cardio exercise. As for a number one rule for building muscle – “surpass the ignition point every time.” Regardless of the exercise or goal, if you don’t reach the point of discomfort during your workout, you simply do not realize the benefit of that exercise. This point of discomfort is what I call the “ignition point” and many people waste their time working out and going through the motions without ever, or rarely getting past this point.

If someone comes into the club who is struggling with weight, endurance or a specific health concern, what are some of the first fitness tools you would suggest?

Each of those struggles are very different from one another and require different tactics. One thing that they do have in common is the need for professional guidance. Without a trained professional the struggles will simply continue through trial and error. Most people get their information, and therefore fitness advice, from the mass media. Although this raised consciousness is a positive thing, the application of exercise science needs to be specific to each individual. There are simply too many factors that create the person that you are for mass marketed trends to be effectively applicable to everyone. One exercise that yielded great results for one person may be detrimental to the health of the next person. If I had to pick one fitness tool that I would suggest to everyone, it would be a Private Trainer consultation.

What daily lifestyle practices would you encourage people incorporate in order to stay fit and strong, apart from (or perhaps in addition to) a formal fitness routine?

Move daily and stay conscious of how you are moving. Do things hurt? Does life get in the way of moving at all? Whatever you have to do to remind yourself to raise these questions in your own head, do it. Sign up for a fitness blog, hire a Private Trainer or coach, buy products that remind you to move and track movement. Create the conversation with everyone in your life (who’s willing to talk about it) so that they are all involved as a support system to continue to motivate you.

Add fitness to your calendar and make it a priority. Even picking a favorite tv show and starting a habit for yourself to do an “at home” workout whenever it’s on, works well. Everyone has time to do a set of push-ups, so there is never a reason to go extended periods without some type of strength training. Look for opportunities to challenge yourself and see if you can lift, move something or engage in any manual labor. Getting and staying strong needs to be a priority. The penalty is that if you don’t make time for it now, your body will deteriorate sooner and make you spend that time later in life.


Rob shared some great tips, and we hope this inspires you to get out there and get active!

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SPortsClubLA2012Sports Club/LA has been recognized as an urban lifestyle brand that serves as the ultimate health and wellness destination. Visit a Sports Club/LA location in Boston, Chestnut Hill, Miami, San Francisco, Washington D.C., and New York Upper East Side as well as their sister club, Reebok Sports Club/NY. For more information visit www.SportsClubLA.com.

Are You Vulnerable To The Freshman 15? Tips To Stay Healthy In College

For many people, fall will be the beginning of their college life. High school is over, and summer is just a distant memory now. College is a place where people go to obtain higher education. From esteemed professors to older students showing you the “in’s” and “out’s” of campus, college is a social environment that can impact your life.

Aside from tough quizzes and professors who you’ll dislike, weight gain may occur as well. Thus, the “Freshman 15,” a phenomenon of how college students gain weight their first semester attending a college, may appear in several new incoming students around the country.

Due to the erratic schedules, whether social or academic, students’ diets can be quite irregular and meals are often skipped, according a study, titled The Freshman 15: Is it Real, published Journal of American College Health. So when students are in college away from the parents, their eating habits change and adapt to their surroundings.

To help combat this, (gathered from my 15 + years in the fitness and wellness industry, training d a variety of clients, from Hollywood elite and high-powered CEOs to everyday New Yorkers and the occasional NYU and Columbia student), I designed the Femme Freshman workout that focuses on a healthy diet to help maintain a healthy weight (*Please consult your doctor before beginning any new workout or diet*).

My clients have full access to the workout and diet plan I designed, but below is a glimpse of it:o  

 Butterfly Abs

– This will flatten your tummy and strengthen your core!

o    Lie down and keep your lower back pressed into the floor with your feet pressed against each other so your legs make a butterfly shape.

o    Crunch your chin up to ceiling, pulling lower abs in.
o    Your goal (for fastest results!) is to do four sets of 25 reps, three times a week.

Leg Crossover Plank

– This tightens and tones your hips, abs and lower back.

 o    Start in the plank position with your forearms propelling your body a few inches off the ground. You should also be on your toes to help you keep your back straight.

o    Cross your right foot over your opposite leg and tap floor with your toes, then return to the starting position. Repeat with your left foot.
o    Do it 3 times a week, along with some light cardio for at least 15 minutes — and never overestimate the value of walking around campus.

Wall Angels

– This exercise strengthens your upper back and shoulders—so you can carry all those heavy books.

 o    Strike a "chair pose" against the wall (spine touching wall from shoulders to your hips) and extend your arms above your head. This is your starting position.
o    While your back is against the wall, bring your arms down to shoulder level. Hold it for one second and then bring your arms back over your head. Repeat like you are making a snow angel on the wall.
o    Your legs should remain still in the chair pose. To work your core, suck in your abs.
o    Your goal (for fastest results!) is to do three sets of 25 repetitions, three times a week.


Whether it’s the “Freshman 15,” “Sophomore Slump,” or just plain weight gain, being informed about the foods you eat and remaining active will help you maintain a healthy lifestyle. The students she was training just have to be educated on the facts and avoid the myths of living healthy, whether as a freshman in college or senior in life.

For more of my tips, visit my website at www.jencassetty.com, follow me on twitter @JenCassetty, or download my iPhone Fitness App: The Jen Cassetty App.

PHOTO (cc): Flickr / kcolwell

Neighborhood Fitness for Work Out Flunkies

I have a funny relationship with fitness and working out. I never caught on to aerobic classes, kick boxing or the zumba craze. I felt like a dork – stepping left when everyone else was stepping right. I couldn’t afford personal pilates lessons with those crazy contraptions. I ordered the “at home” equipment so I could look like Christie Brinkley – forget it. I like yoga; but couldn’t make the classes consistently – and I am down right bored with the drone of the gym.

I still get out and bike sometimes, hike sometimes, swim sometimes, ski sometimes –but creating a consistent fitness routine eludes me. If you want to get right down to it, having coffee with a friend trumps working out any day of the week.  Apparently, I am known as one of those “in-between” people: not a total couch potato, but not in top shape either.

Does this sound like you? Bored with the gym, or need to save money on monthly dues? This week I am starting a three part series on how to incorporate fitness into your everyday life, with the guidance of personal trainer, Terry O’Hara. In the next three weeks we will explore “neighborhood fitness,” followed by tips from the pros, and nutrition basics.

The national guidelines for fitness from mypyramid.gov  (http://www.mypyramid.gov/pyramid/physical_activity_amount.html)  state that to maintain established fitness levels- you must be vigorously active for a minimum of thirty minutes per day – every day. If you want to lose weight, or to maintain weight loss, vigorous activity is required for 60-90 minutes per day.  “That’s pretty aggressive,” said O’Hara. “All the articles that say you can get flat abs in 10 minutes per day are wrong. To affect change, you have to make it a part of your life."

O’Hara took me on as a bit of a pet project last year, and created a “neighborhood fitness” program for myself, and a group of girlfriends. Instead of going to the gym or a class, we met in a local parking lot, and spend an hour jogging through neighborhoods, huffing and puffing up stairs, stopping at a nice view for group squats, using park benches for push ups, and ending with plank style ab crunches, and giggle-filled kegel tightening exercises. (http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/kegel-exercises/WO00119)  Think, “Desperate Housewives Does Basic Training.”

It was one of the toughest workouts I had ever done, and a total paradigm shift for me. Everyone loved it; we felt energized, sore and happy. We got our cardio, strength training, and all the week’s gossip in one tidy little hour! The numbers grew each week, and all of us were challenged in some particular way. Some could hardly jog a block, while others zipped along. Some struggled with the push-ups and others with stretching. We learned that the gym had actually decreased our overall fitness level – by becoming stagnant with the same exercise pattern over and over again.

“Everyone has to find the goal of what their body needs the most,” explained O’Hara. “For some, the goal is to lose body fat to expand their range of movement. Some forgot to do resistance training their whole life – and can’t do a single push up. Others have a difficult time running, because their heart is so tired and weak. In a group of relatively fit people, there is a huge difference in what they need to develop.”

In between group workouts, the concept of getting in that sixty minutes per day became something to achieve in short increments. I discovered there were plenty of ways I could sneak something in. While waiting for the school bus, I could stretch and do push ups in the yard. In the evenings, I started doing exercises during the commercials of my favorite show – and made it a contest to see how much I could do, before flopping back on the bed for the next installment of Grey’s Anatomy.

One of my challenges is running. I could not keep up with the group, even though I was the tallest. I do not like to run long distances, and consistently cramp with a side stitch. I asked O’Hara for other ideas to help me get that “vigorous exercise” under my belt, in the shortest amount of time. She surveyed my neighborhood for options, and noticed I have a fairly steep hill on my street. Viola! My “neighborhood fitness” homework was to run UP the hill, and then walk back down again about 4 times. Running UP was the opposite of what I wanted to do!

It worked. I could jog up the hill without a side stitch, and got to the top gasping for air.   Running up a steep hill is just enough to get the heart pounding, and walking down offers time to get the breath back. The unexpected challenge of my hill inspired even the most fit to show up and give it a try. Imagine plenty of moans, groans and expletives as middle aged Facebook junkies heave themselves up and down a sleepy suburban hill. The rewards were quick; as the hill got a tiny bit easier to manage each time, if we kept it up.

I am still a work out flunkie. I still don’t exercise every day, or nearly as much as I should. However, I now know that I don’t need a gym, yoga mat or fancy equipment to be healthy. In fact, I can strengthen my body more than I ever imagined on the swing set, park bench or the municipal building’s concrete stairs.

Do you have any “neighborhood fitness” ideas, and are you a fellow work out flunkie? Love to hear your comments below. Time to lace up my sneakers – after my latte, that is…..


Sex and Fitness?

 Many are over-worked, over-stressed and over-eating on a daily basis. These factors lead to tired and generally unhealthy individuals who become too lazy for one of the best activities most teenagers crave – having sex. With these bad food choices and inactivity in our lives, is it any mystery why several choose to close their eyes and sleep when the lights turn down low?

 Instead of falling asleep or reaching for the next cupcake, you should take your man (or woman) by his head and gently push him toward the bed and embrace yourself for a fun night. This scenario is the options most would select, however, do you really have the energy for this activity past the age of 25 with the lifestyle many choose to live? What’s the solution? Try exercising more everyday and eating better by substituting unhealthy snacks for fruits and veggies that will provide more “energy” in your body.

 Studies have indicated that exercising with the right routines can ignite your senses, fill you with ripples of pleasure and awaken a new dimension of feeling for your partner.  In addition to improving sex, exercising is often one of the most important and overlooked components of a rewarding relationship. So get to it and include more fitness routines to your daily activity before you jump on your partner to ensure for a long and exciting night.

When our bodies are healthy, they tend to be able to “go with the flow” throughout the day and not become overly stressed and tired. With more energy and a better outlook emotionally, individuals will have a desire to engage in a healthy and intimate relationship and generally will be more open to try new things with their partner just to spend time with them.

 Exercising doesn’t require extraordinary skill, nor is it limited to young couples in the throes of passion. Couples of all ages can cultivate their relationship with fitness. Try some of the moves I listed and see how your sexual performance changes. I’m sure you’ll do more than just shut your eyes next time you and your lover are in bed.


Regularly change your exercise programme

Originally posted at Vitality Health Hub.

This time of year is one of the busiest times in most gyms all around the world. People are full of motivation to exercise for many reasons – getting fitter, getting slimmer, maybe bulking up, or just "because they think they should".

What is most common at this time is the prevalance of people exercising really hard (nothing wrong with that!), getting great results (brilliant news!), carrying on for maybe a month or two (excellent start to the year), and then finding it all trailing off towards March or April.

One of the most common reasons for people giving up on an exercise programme is because they do not get the results they feel they deserve. They dedicate lots of time to working out, and find that for a while it works, until they usually hit a plateau. Of course, 90% of gym go’ers go into the gym on their own and train with their own programme as opposed to a scientifically devised programme that you might get from a personal trainer or CHEK qualified professional such as myself.

Unfortunately one exercise programme just isn’t enough! A person needs many, and they need to be correctly periodised and progressed for results to become stable and sustained.

The fact of the matter is that approximately the first 6 weeks of exercise for most people is neural. What this means is that whatever the exercise programme is, the person will likely get results. Of course they need to be doing kind of the right thing, and kind of thinking about changing their exercise and lifestyle for this to happen!

After this period of 6 weeks, after people get great results at first, they carry on doing exactly the same thing and the body gets bored, muscles and joints go into what we call "pattern overload" from doing the same exercises/movement patterns too much, and then results plateau. Sometimes they even get worse.

They way to avoid this is to change your exercise programme on a regular basis. Of course you need to have an consistent programme to begin with. Here are a few tips when it comes to changing your exercise programme:

  1. Do the same programme for 3-6 weeks. No longer than 6 weeks! Try to stick to this regularly (2-5 x per week)  for best results.
  2. When your weights / speeds / distances start to plateau and stop improving, it is time to change your programme.
  3. A simple way to change your programme is to turn it all on its head. For example, if you were doing 4 exercises, A, B, C, D in that order, next time you come in the gym (and for the next 3-6 weeks), you could do them D, C, B, A using the same weights you were previously doing. This will once again give your body the kick-start it needs.
  4. Alternatively you can get a Personal Trainer to design you an exercise programme with sensible periodisation. The first programme should be used for Flexibility and Stability, followed by a programme for Strength and Functional Movement, and lastly a programme for Power and Performance, before the cycle is repeated again.

I hope you found this useful. If you need any more help and guidance, especially as we move towards the 3rd and 4th week of the New Year and exercise programmes need to be changed, please don’t hesitate to comment and I will get back to you as soon as I can.

I am also available in person for consultations and training programmes at The Third Space Gym.

How to be healthy, Part 2 of 5

Originally posted at Vitality Health Hub.

In my last post I discussed how Abraham Maslow developed a system of human needs that we must all meet, and how I have adapted this hierachial system to influence a person’s health.

The base or foundation level of the hierachy is the physiological needs. These must be begun to be worked on, and ideally mastered before moving on to the next stage, or level.

This next level is the Safety needs, or otherwise said, all humans need to feel safe. If we do not feel safe there will always be an innate feeling of being un-safe which can be very stressful to the human being and their nervous system. So what does "safety" consist of for human needs?

In order to feel safe we must have:

  • Security of body,
  • Security of employment,
  • Security of resources,
  • Security of health,
  • Security of morality,
  • Security of family,
  • Security of property.

Of course, very few of these above Securities are what are typically spoken about when it comes to health – its not the typical diet, exercise and drink more water approach.

However, when a person is sitting at the dinner table eating, or in the gym exercising, or at the water fountain rehydrating themselves, is it likely that they are disassociated from the other issues of their life such as their, relationships or finances? Unlikely! Unless of course they are a master meditator 🙂

So, when it comes to maintaining "security" it means consistency, or the need for an orderly life. Of course when it comes to employment, resources and property the definition of this is different for each and every person. We all feel that we need a different amount of money to survive.

For this aspect of your health, I suggest taking time to think about what it would mean to you to feel secure and safe in the aspects of your finances and your employment, whether that means working for yourself, working part time, needing to be employed and starting up an online business on the side. However, until you know, you will not be able to aim for it. As I mentioned in a previous post on Reverse Engineering Your Goals, you should start with the end in mind.

Take this a step further then a ask yourself what property you would feel safe with, what resources you need to live the life you truly dream of, and then even how your family would look too.

Of course, thinking about it doesn’t make it so. Write it down, and then write a step-by-step, timelined action plan to reach your goal by the time you desire.

Lastly, your security of health, body and morality for me come under one category and it all goes back to the Physiological Needs I spoke of in Part 1 of this series. If you are consistently taking action to be healthy through proper dietary practises, maintaining hydrated, exercise enough to get your heart rate up and your muscles pumping a little, and remaining stress free, then you will surely feel more secure.

Remember, health is taking responsibility for yourself. And you are the only one who can do that. Hopefully now you feel more secure knowing that you are in charge of your health!

Next post I will discuss the human need of desiring love and belonging in our lives, once you feel safe and secure in your health and resources.

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