Archive for February, 2011

Be Creative With Your Vision!

Sunday, February 27th, 2011
Kelly Kalbfleisch, NPTI Certified Personal Trainer
Manager of CoachMeFit Ann Arbor

I can’t change the direction of the wind, but I can adjust my sails to always reach my destination.

 -Jimmy Dean

The other day my client, Jennifer, told me she put together a vision board.  I had created one before so I knew exactly what she was talking about.  Do you?

A vision board is a collage of images, pictures and affirmations of your dreams and desires.  Vision boards are a great way to make you feel positive.  At first, it may seem a little juvenile to get out your scissors and glue, but once you have created a vision board it is amazing how refreshed, inspired and motivated you will feel.   A vision board can be focused on fitness, work, travel, family etc…whatever you desire! 


I took time this weekend to put together my own vision board.  I used it to motivate and drive me not only physically, but mentally as well.  I have included pictures from my board to give you an idea of what one may look like.  Soon, I will do another one geared towards other aspects of my life.


I encourage and challenge you to take a little time for yourself and put together your own vision board.  Be creative and personalize it.  Once created, hang it someplace you will see it every day.  Jennifer put hers in her office at work.  I hung mine on the wall right outside of my bedroom so I see it every morning and walk past it more than once a day.


If you do take me up on this challenge, I would love for you to send me a picture.  My email address is  Be proud of what you create and if it’s not too personal, send it my way!


Should I change up my workout routine?

Friday, February 18th, 2011

Joseph Ash West Bloomfield Manager


No matter who you are, change is a constant part of life. Change can be scary, but necessary to grow.  My newest change will be going from a personal trainer to managing CoachMeFit West Bloomfield. This will create new challenges for me as well as the opportunity to grow. This concept also applies to your workout.  Like in life, change in your workout routine will create new opportunity to grow.  This brings up the question…

To change or not to change…that is the question.

The answer – change can be a good thing. In fact, varying your exercise routine can have a number of benefits, including preventing boredom and avoiding plateau.

Tired of the same ol’ same ol’?

You’re not alone. Many people find that doing the same workouts over and over becomes monotonous, and as a result they may begin to lose their desire to continue to exercise on a regular basis. Research has shown however that adding variety to an exercise program can help to improve adherence. Exercise scientists as the University of Florida observed that individuals who modified their workouts every two weeks over an eight-week period appeared to enjoy their workouts more, and were more inclined to stick with their exercise programs when compared to individuals who followed the same workout regimens week after week.

So what’s in it for me?

Aside from alleviating boredom, varying your exercise routine can also help you stay physically challenged. Many of the body’s physiological systems (e.g., the muscular systems) adapt to an exercise program within approximately six to eight weeks. Failure to modify your exercise routine will cause you to reach a plateau, as your body will have adapted to the repetitive training stimulus.

I want to change, but I don’t know how.

There are several ways you can spice up your current workout routine, including boosting the intensity of your workouts. For instance, if you jog or run, try incorporating some intervals of sprinting (e.g., sprint to a given landmark, then jog to the next one) or adding more hill work to your run. You can also cross train and perform different activities to provide your body with a new challenge. A nice alternative for resistance-training exercises involves changing the sequence in which you perform the training exercises. By fatiguing the muscles in a new order or pattern, you are requiring them to adapt to a new training stimulus. Another option for adding variety to strength-training workouts is to replace some or all of the exercises in your workout routine (e.g., substitute a dumbbell pectoral fly exercise on a stability ball for your typical barbell bench press exercise).

What if change isn’t for me?

While there are many benefits to varying your exercise routine, keep in mind that doing the exact same workout, day after day is not necessarily a bad thing. Some people enjoy a predictable, consistent routine, and they don’t mind the possibility of experiencing a training plateau as they are content to maintain their health and fitness levels with a comfortable exercise habit.

However, if you are one of the many individuals that has desire to take your workouts to new levels and to try different activities in order to stay enthusiastic and excited about exercise, go ahead and embrace change and add something new to your workout today! Remember that by varying exercise routines, you will not only stay physically challenged, but mentally stimulated as well.

- Jessica Matthews


Full-Service Gyms Feel a Bit Flabby

Tuesday, February 1st, 2011

Kelly Kalbfleisch, NPTI Certified Personal Trainer

Manager of CoachMeFit Ann Arbor

Is the gym passé?
It used to feel worthwhile to commit to an annual membership at an everything-and-the-kitchen sink gym featuring high-spirited classes, top-of-the-line cardio machines, weights — and perhaps a shot at striking up a conversation with Ms. Lithe sipping a post-workout smoothie.
But these days, the idea of a full-service gym is as stale as yesterday’s sweat-soaked towel. Up to 45 percent of fitness-club members quit going in any given year, according to the International Health, Racquet & Sportsclub Association.
For all their ads promising to stir motivation, gyms have failed to do so. “Up until the last six years, it’s been relatively easy to sell memberships, and to replace people going out the back door with people coming through the front door,” said Michael Scott Scudder, a consultant who advises health clubs and conducts up to 15 industry surveys annually. “Not so anymore. We’ve come to a point that we can’t sell enough membership in the industry to cover the attrition rate.”
Blame the gym’s now-ubiquitous flat-screen TVs and the fact that iPods are de rigueur, said Jonathan Fields, a marketing consultant in Manhattan who has helped found personal-training gyms and yoga studios. “Now everybody’s plugged in,” Mr. Fields said. “In the 70s, they came for community. Now they come in and disassociate themselves from everyone in the club. It’s killing the health club.”
Kitchen-sink gyms also face pressure from operations like Planet Fitness, a chain founded in 1992 that offers Cybex treadmills and weight machines, but which does not have Zumba classes or perks like towels — and charges $10 a month.
Today’s consumers wonder why they should pay more for a so-called big-box gym when they can get the laissez-faire approach for less. Michael Grondahl, the chief executive of Planet Fitness, who recently eliminated personal training at his 406 franchises, does not believe that he is in the motivation business. A staff trainer still offers 30-minute sessions for groups of five, but Mr. Grondahl said he does nothing to keep members coming. “I can’t keep you motivated to do something you don’t want to,” he said.
Rich Boggs, a creator of the original step and the chief executive of Body Training Systems, which licenses group fitness classes to 700 clubs nationwide, said this hands-off model won’t work for people who aren’t self-starters (which is to say: most of us). “You can’t get the cheapest and the best at the same time, unless you know precisely what you want to do, you’re Equipment Guy and you don’t need any help,” he said.
But that is a fair description of Chanie Raykoff, a special educator who works out at Blink Fitness, a low-price spinoff of the cushy Equinox. “I like to get in and out,” said Ms. Raykoff, at the NoHo branch on a recent Tuesday evening. “I do weights and cardio. I am not social.” Indeed, conversation was sparse during an hourlong visit to the gym’s sleek workout floor.
Socializing, however, is key to long-term exercise success, said Terry Blachek, the president of International Consulting, which helps clubs improve member retention. “We know you’ve got to engage the client,” Mr. Blachek said. “It’s got to be a challenge for them. And we know you’ve got to connect the client in a meaningful way to others.”
Mr. Blachek has some experience in this: He was the executive vice president at the once-chic fitness chain Crunch in the 1990s, when its novelty group workouts, like the Firefighter and Cycle Karaoke, were the rage. “Those classes were the claim to fame for Crunch,” he said. “They connected clients to their peers.”
These days, “loyalty has dropped dramatically,” said Casey Conrad, a consultant with 25 years in the fitness industry. One reason: A decade ago, full-service gyms didn’t offer today’s “unbundled” memberships that let consumers choose what perks to pay for. Some fitness seekers have been trying an à la carte approach, taking specialized pay-as-you-go classes like those offered by the stationary-cycling competitorsFlywheel Sports and SoulCycle, or Core Fusion at the Exhale Spa, rather than committing to a gym membership.
“You can do whatever suits your fancy when it does,” said Jessica Underhill, a personal trainer who writes the blog Fit Chick in the City, referring to the pay-per-class approach. She tried so many studio classes in 2010 that she thought she had “exercise A.D.D.,” but came to favor the Bar Method, a body-sculpting class held at studios from Manhattan to Marina del Rey, Calif., because, she said, instructors rattle off names as they offer corrections and make her feel as if she is a part of something.
“They acknowledge that you are a consumer, and are friendly at the same time,” Ms. Underhill said. “It doesn’t feel stale or super crisp and clean. It’s about connection.”
And no one is going to turn into a lifer akin to Jack LaLanne, the fitness pioneer who died this week, without a reason to work past the aches and drudgery of exercise. “There’s no question that the social element is a huge, huge piece to getting participation,” Ms. Conrad said. “I travel a lot, and when I miss yoga class, they are like, ‘Casey, where have you been?’ ”
Nancy Pusateri, 40, a small-business owner from Fort Lauderdale, Fla., who has attended small-group training offered by a company called OrangeTheory for about a year, said she finds paying per class more motivating than a monthly membership. “I go because I want to go, not because I’ve paid for it or feel obligated,” she said, adding, “I love that I’m only competing against myself.”
An hourlong session of OrangeTheory, which has three franchises and is planning national expansion, includes treadmill speed work, indoor rowing, weights and core-strengthening suspension straps. Ellen Latham, a founder and an exercise physiologist, said the ever-evolving workout, which costs $14 to $20 a session, is designed for gym dropouts frustrated by lackluster results. “After six weeks of doing the same workout, your body has plateaued,” Ms. Latham said. “People keep coming back because they aren’t plateauing.”
Many, even go-getters, see their results leveling off at the gym. Theodora Blanchfield, 27, a social-media specialist for magazines, used to go to New York Sports Club four times a week. “I knew how to go to the gym, but not how to work out hard enough to lose 50 pounds,” she said.
Ms. Blanchfield eventually hired a personal trainer at $80 a session for a year, and learned the transformative effect of progressively harder weight lifting. She no longer sees the trainer, but consistently mixes up her workouts between outdoor running, 30/60/90 interval-training classes at Equinox, and a marathon boot camp with Pace4Success. “I want to make sure to stay interested,” said Ms. Blanchfield, who chronicled how she shed 50 pounds on her blog.
Historically, “People who take personal training and do group fitness classes are more likely to stick with a gym,” said Tony Santomauro, a fitness consultant with 35 years of industry experience.
But too often health clubs don’t understand they “should be a support system for people,” said Mr. Scudder, the health club adviser. “It’s merely four walls to come in, work out and leave.”
Only a fifth of gym members take part in group fitness on average industrywide, said Ms. Conrad, adding that these days instead of packing in more cardio machines, “good quality health clubs are returning to emphasizing group exercise.”
Mr. Scudder said that a sixth of health-club members participate in group fitness, and marveled that clubs often fail to guide newcomers to classes that might appeal. (By contrast, YogaWorks, the national chain of studios, employs yoga advisers for newbies.)
Miramont Lifestyle Fitness, with three branches in Fort Collins, Colo., is trying, offering an eight-week learn-to-exercise course for $179. And some low-price gyms give a nod to social connection: Blink Fitnesshas a so-called “front porch” at its gyms designed by the architect David Rockwell, “where people could congregate and create a sense of community,” said Dos Condon, the vice president of Blink.
“I don’t see that working,” Mr. Scudder said, implying that design elements are incidental.
Dori Manela, 27, who does social-media work for a real estate company, doesn’t believe that gorgeous design helped her get fit. She quit the luxury gym at the Sports Club/LA on the Upper East Side, which she lives a door away from, after Core Fusion classes at Exhale Spa gave her muscles she’d long coveted (and the first two months free). “I was paying a lot for a pretty space,” said Ms. Manela, who found it hard to trudge next door to spin at the Sports Club, and yet now rides the subway to do Core Fusion four times a week. (She blogs and even posts messages on Twitter about keeping her “exercise mojo” alive.)
Despite such defections, Mr. Boggs of Body Training Systems thinks the classic gym has a chance at survival. “The consumer can, and will, change it by the way they spend their money,” he said. “You need to say: ‘I need help. I am going to make you prove you’ll give it to me.’ ” Ask for a month of membership free, he suggested, or for fitness evaluations to track progress. Mr. Scudder suggested asking what the club does to retain members in the crucial first 30 days. New-member meet-up, anyone? He said if they don’t have a satisfactory answer, leave.
Only 15 percent of the American population belongs to gyms, Mr. Boggs said. “When you’ve got 85 percent saying ‘I don’t think so,’ we’ve got to recalibrate what we’re doing.”