Not Just a Trainer, an Accountability Partner

In my blog ‘The Benefits of a Workout Partner and How to Find One,’ I touched on the importance of accountability over willpower. I’d like to dive a little deeper into the difference between the two and how as a personal trainer I use accountability to increase your confidence and ultimately strengthen your willpower.

Making Changes

When working with my clients we always start by talking about their goals: physical, nutritional and lifestyle. This information is essential to create a customized plan with unique and personal goals. And in creating their plan and goals we break things down into stages.

It’s important to have both short and long-term goals. The short-term goals may be for a week or a month and are the steps necessary to accomplish the long-term goals. They are the key to increasing confidence and willpower and create the accountability needed to sustain change. Let me give you an example of physical, nutritional and lifestyle:

Physical

Let’s say your goal is to reduce body fat from 32% to 25%. That’s not going to happen overnight and not something I would recommend measuring on a weekly basis, but rather every 4 to 6 weeks. Here’s why: measuring it weekly could create frustration by not seeing results and could result in a loss of willpower and desire to keep working towards the goal. However, part of achieving that goal will be to increase lean muscle mass and reducing fat.

So the client and I would work together to create goals that are based on increasing performance during the workout; perhaps increasing the number of repetitions, or increasing the amount of weight lifted. These are examples of short-term goals that can be easily achieved in progressing towards the ultimate goal of fat loss. Each time one of those short-term goals are accomplished, the client gains confidence in their ability to achieve the long-term goals and increases their commitment to the process. When committed to change, willpower grows and excuses for skipping workouts diminish.

Nutritional

The majority of clients that I have worked with have had a weight loss goal in mind. While exercise is an important component of weight loss, dietary modifications are also necessary. Unfortunately, even our toughest workouts can’t overcome continuous bad choices in the kitchen.

I try to encourage my clients to track their nutritional intake through any number of free apps like MyFitnessPal or LoseIt, but the fact is, some just aren’t interested in tracking portions and calories. I understand that and help them to create other goals that will help to make long-term dietary changes.

For example, let’s say you love sweets. The extra sugar and calories consumed by eating sweets is a factor in weight maintenance. Once again, this isn’t something that can change overnight. Making too drastic of dietary changes quickly puts too much pressure on willpower and not enough on establishing a pattern of sustainable dietary changes.

So we break it down first by evaluating the quantity of sweets consumed during the week. Once we have a handle on the amount, we can establish a goal of beginning to replace manufactured sweets with natural sweets because it’s no mystery that a piece of fruit is a better choice than a candy bar. Rather than setting a goal that the client is going to quit sweets all together, we establish a plan for manageable modifications. Maybe that means starting with replacing two items a week, maybe more. Using the approach of gradual modification allows the client to see that reducing sweets is possible. As the client gains confidence in their ability to make choices, we increase their goal because their willpower to resist manufactured sweets has been strengthened.

I would never ask a client to stop eating sweets cold turkey; this puts an enormous pressure on their willpower and each time they are exposed to sweets the temptation grows and the greater amount of pressure on their willpower. Eventually, the temptation wins, the client feels defeated, discouraged, and ashamed they weren’t able to stick with their goal. This isn’t helpful for anyone. Whereas the gradual change builds confidence, willpower and the ability to adopt long-term change.

Lifestyle

I am a firm believer that if you are working towards improving health, you need to incorporate lifestyle changes beyond diet and exercise. My favorite example for a lifestyle change is creating a consistent bedtime and waking time. Our bodies crave routine and many of us rarely give our bodies the rest they need. I know both personally and through my clients that adopting a consistent sleeping pattern helps with energy levels, weight maintenance, and stress levels.

Establishing Accountability

So I know you’re probably thinking, ‘That’s all great, but as a client I might only meet with you once a week. It’s up to me to follow through on all of these goals.’

In part that is true, it is up to my client’s to commit to their goals, however, I know that no matter where you are in the process of achieving your long-term goals, you need support and accountability. Honestly, as a personal trainer and group fitness instructor, I need accountability. We all struggle with willpower from time to time so we need to be surrounded by those who want to build us up.

Throughout the week I check in with my clients. Whether it’s a text or sending an email with an article that could be helpful, I make sure to stay in contact. This helps my clients to know that I am there for them, opens the door for them to ask questions or admit their struggles, and further builds our trainer-client relationship.

If you are looking to make some changes, I would love the opportunity to speak with you. Drop me an email, and let’s set up a time to chat about your goals and how I can help you create a plan to achieve them.

Finding a Workout Partner Through FaceBook

As a personal trainer and group fitness instructor working out is an essential part of my life. But I realize that isn’t true for everyone.
Which is why I have asked some of my friends to share their stories about how working out has impacted their lives.

This story is near and dear to my heart. Jason is a great friend of mine and to see the positive changes that have resulted from him exercising is undoubtedly inspirational and proof that finding a workout partner or group can be the motivation you need.

Here’s Jason’s story…

Let me start at the beginning…my Mom died. That’s what woke me up. December 21, 2013 she left this place for another. She was 70. My mom struggled with her weight my entire life. She had high blood pressure and suffered her first stroke when she was 45. The day she passed I was 44, and 281 pounds. I knew I didn’t want the same path my mom walked so I had to change.

I challenged myself to lose weight. Shortly after, my dear friend Jenn, challenged me to join her team in a mud run. Challenge accepted, now to get busy. I stopped eating all of the things that I enjoyed. I worked out like a crazy person and stopped drinking altogether. In five months I lost a little over 20 pounds and I finished the run. I didn’t feel a lot different and I wasn’t losing weight at what I thought was an acceptable rate. I was flabby and unhappy, period.

I found my group on a Facebook post. A friend of a friend mentioned something about a new workout group he was in at a local gym and blah,blah,blah. Next day, I’m passing the gym and decide to check it out. Game changer.

The owner invited me to a free session and I loved it. Ever been in the gym and you think maybe you want to do a little chest workout, or just some cardio….man why am I even here? Me too. That doesn’t happen when you have group work.

Nothing, and I mean nothing, will push you to new levels like thinking you need to stop and looking to your right and seeing someone just like you busting their butt to make it happen. Same exercise, same time. Groups equal motivation and accountability.

If I am going to miss a session I have to write my name on the board and the date I am scheduled to miss. Otherwise, everyone in my group is calling or texting me as soon as the session ends….to make sure I’m o.k., and talk a lot of smack. This works.

When I started in January I set my goal weight at 240. I thought I would be happy there. Today, I’m a very handsome 227. Thank you very much.

I know my weight because we take measurements every two weeks. I don’t check the scale anymore, I don’t care what it says. I feel great. My last physical my Doctor chest bumped me! That’s what matters.

My group is like family. We help each other, we cheer for each other. We make others welcome. Everyone is awkward at first, but we have all been there. I know, without any doubt, I would never have gotten here without them.

Jason’s story is proof that having a partner or a group helps you to keep going when it gets hard.

Do you have a workout story of your own? I’d love to hear it! OR are you in need of finding your workout ‘home’? I’d love to help you do that. Drop me an email and let’s talk about your story or how we can begin your changed life story.

The Benefits of a Workout Partner and How to Find One

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about what makes people stick with their workout programs. Let’s face it, if working out is something new, it’s going to take more than willpower to keep you motivated.

Sore muscles, sweat, difficult exercises, comparing yourself to others in the gym or class, grabbing your gym bag and heading out in the cold, snow and ice OR in the summer grabbing your gym bag instead of your pool gear…as a trainer and group fitness instructor I’ve heard all of the excuses.

I know personally and professionally how much willpower it takes to work through the excuses and stick with a program.

Willpower: the ability to control yourself : strong determination that allows you to do something difficult.

But when you couple willpower with accountability you have a much greater chance at success. Which is why I encourage everyone to find a workout partner.

The Benefits of a Workout Partner

Willpower is Doubled

What better way to increase your own willpower than by teaming up with a friend or spouse? There might be days where your motivation or willpower is down. Being able to rely on someone close to you to fill up where you are lacking is a great way to push through the excuses and stay on track.

Become the Encourager

Now let’s flip that, think about how good it feels to build someone up when they are down? Not necessarily because of the personal gratification, but because it’s someone you care about and want the best for. Being able to provide encouragement is a great way to help them achieve their goals and strengthen your relationship.

Quality Time Together

We’re all busier than we want to be. Lack of time can be one of the biggest excuses for skipping a workout. So why not get the benefit of two things at once…time with a best friend or spouse plus a healthy activity? You get in a workout, spend time with a loved one, and again, have the opportunity to strengthen your relationship. Seems like a win no matter how you look at it.

Healthy Competition

We all have a competitive spirit, so one of the best ways to push your limits is to exercise with a partner. This isn’t to say during the workout either person is trying to ‘out-do’ each other, rather by each working as hard as they can, they encourage each other.

Don’t Let Me Down

It’s one thing to skip the gym when it’s just you, but it’s a whole other thing to skip out on a commitment with someone else. No one wants to let down someone they care about so a workout partner will keep you accountable for showing up regardless of the excuses you can think of.

Have Some Fun

Is exercise hard? Sure. But nothing makes something hard better than laughter. Who better to sweat with than someone you can laugh with?

Finding a Workout Partner

Ask your spouse, a friend, a neighbor, a classmate…anyone can be your a workout partner.

I’ve personally had my husband as a workout partner and while our strength and abilities are very different, we both benefited from the training sessions. Aside from all of the benefits listed above, we were both physically challenged and grew in our abilities.

I’ve also had friends and neighbors as workout partners and my relationships with each of them grew. There were times that we all lacked the motivation for class, but because we didn’t want to miss out on time with one another, we’d take turns picking each other up along the way. Whether it was driving or walking to the gym, we couldn’t ignore the knock on the door asking if we were ready to go.

If you can’t think of a workout partner, contact me. I’d love to help connect you with someone. While you won’t have a foundation going into the partnership, you will certainly have the opportunity to grow one as you workout together.

Don’t believe me that you can develop relationships through working out? Check back this week…I’ve asked some people to write about their experience and how their workout partners have changed their lives.

If you are in the Lombard, Glen Ellyn, Elmhurst area, contact me about connecting you with a workout partner. I’d love to help you start achieving your fitness goals.

I’m Just Like You

One of the things that I think makes me different from other personal trainers is that I have three children and my professional life hasn’t always been centered on health and fitness. I’ve spent years sitting behind a desk, gaining and losing pounds, celebrating losses and hating myself for the gains, and achieving fitness milestones just to lose it all.

I know what it means to work hard and hit a plateau, I know how hard it can be to try and get a workout in when the laundry is piled up, when there are no real plans for dinner and the house is a terrible mess and add on one or more children screaming at the top of their lungs!

All of those things make me think I can identify with women in a real way. I’m not an elite althete, I’m not going to scream at you and I’m not going to pressure you to give up the things that mean the most to you just to just to shed some pounds and build lean muscles.

But being a wife, mom, daughter and friend are more important to me than anything and I think most women would agree with that. So when it comes to personal training I take all of those things into consideration. No program can be successful if it doesn’t match the needs and lifestyle of the person.

Women often put ourselves on the back burner to make sure everyone else is happy. We’d do just about anything and drop everything at a moments notice if we knew it would make our spouse, children, parents or friends happy.

I recently gave up a secured income to follow my passion to help others achieve health and fitness. Part of me felt like I was nuts – who gives up a guarnteed paycheck? But the other part of me felt so alive knowing that I was reaching for a dream that not only filled me but gave me the opportunity to help others.

This change is scary. It’s going to take me out of every comfort zone I have. But I realize how happy I am connecting with people in a fitness setting. I realize how energized I am thinking about changed lives. I realize that I don’t have to be perfect – I’m a wife, mom, daughter and friend just most other women out there who are trying to do it all and make it work and my job is to train, inspire and encourage.

I’m excited about the path ahead of me. I’m sure there will be some ‘stumps’ in the way, I’m sure there may be some forks in the road, and without a doubt there are going to be times that I won’t know what to do with the stumps or the forks, but what I do know is I’m following my passion. My life has been changed and I know I can help others achieve change too.

We only get one time around – today is the day to make the most of it.

Give me a call 574-387-1344 or drop me an email at jenn.customfitpt.com and let’s talk about how I can help you to make the most of your one time around.

CustomFit Partnership

Last winter I had to decide if I was going to pursue a fitness career in Lombard, IL or if I was going to put back on my heels and head back into a traditional office as a production manager. The job opportunity came out of no where which lead me to believe that I really had to give it a whirl. They gave me a flexible schedule and the pay was pretty decent so I thought I was a fool to pass it up.

I kept up with teaching a class a week as my hobby, but secretly longed for my gym shoes and workout clothes over curling my hair and dressing up. Slowly I added a couple more classes, then a couple more and before I knew it I was teaching 5 classes a week plus working in the office Monday through Friday.

I realized that something had to give, and this time it wasn’t going to be fitness. But to really make a go at personal training and group fitness I was going to have to find the right fit. Big box gyms aren’t my thing and starting a business from scratch seemed entirely too overwhelming to even know where to start.

It was about that time that an email conversation started up between a local trainer and me. When we first moved to Lombard I took BootCamp classes from Julianne at CustomFit and really enjoyed the workouts. Always challenging, never the same, and a great group of people to work out with. I always admired her and her business. For me she was ‘living the dream.’

It wasn’t long that we realized we needed to meet in person to talk about the possibilities of partnering. I would teach some classes while having the opportunity to build new programs and a personal training clientele. I felt like I needed someone to pinch me, or challenge me to another ice bucket challenge to snap me back to reality.

I’m happy to say that this is all becoming a reality and I couldn’t be more excited to invite you to join me at CustomFit. Here’s how:

Mondays 7 – 8pm BootCamp

BootCamp is a full body challenging workout that builds muscle through strength training and burns fat through cardio bursts.

Wednesdays 7 – 8pm PiYo 

PiYo gives you the muscle-sculpting and core-firming benefits of Pilates with the strength and flexibility advantages of Yoga. But don’t for a second think you won’t sweat in this class because it’s all done at an intensity that helps you burn fat with low-impact moves. You’ll burn calories, tone muscles, work on balance and core strength all while getting a great stretch.

For those of you interested in a more customized approach to fitness, let’s chat about personal training. I create unique plans for each of my clients to meet their health and fitness goals. We can establish a schedule that works for you and as your trainer I will work to keep you accountable on the days that you don’t workout with me.

I couldn’t be more excited to be a part of the CustomFit team and I would love to see you there!

Why Personal Training?

Who decides at 33 that they are going to start their career over and become a personal trainer? ME!

Pretty crazy, huh? Believe me, it feels a little strange to be starting over, however, I have found something I am truly passionate about and I can’t help but want to share it with others.

As a mom of three busy children I have learned the hard way that staying healthy doesn’t just happen – it takes knowledge, planning, dedication and time.

Over the past several years I have picked up every book, article and workout DVD that I could get my hands on. I’m drawn to this information – it not only interests me but I love challenging my mind and body.

In all my readings and personal trials of various diets and exercises I know one thing for certain – to see results you must be proactive in establishing a plan that maps out how you will accomplish your goals. Without a plan your workouts and diets will both be haphazard and you will be less likely to achieve the results you are seeking.

But it’s not just good enough to have it written down on paper – you have to be dedicated to following the plan. Lack of commitment to your goals can completely derail the entire process. When it comes to your health the idea of “I’ll start tomorrow,” really only puts you one more day behind on reaching your full potential.

I know what you’re thinking at this point…that’s all good, and it makes sense, but I just don’t have the time for all of that. Now I don’t live in your shoes, however, I can tell you that everyone is capable of finding time for anything that is important enough. It’s time to realize that YOU are important and by taking even just 30 minutes a day to dedicate to your health you will notice a difference in your overall health, energy levels and self-esteem.

As a trainer my desire is to be next to you in this process. I want to share my knowledge with you and encourage you to look within and find the person that you want to be. Together we can take on your goals and establish a plan to get you there.

The one thing I can’t give you more time in a given day, but by helping you to achieve greater health I think you can achieve a greater quality of life so that you enjoy the hours you do have more.