Tag Archive for personal trainer

Taking On Too Much + Yesterday’s Workout

Well, it sure has been a while since I’ve posted anything! It happens. I’m hoping to be able to pop in here 1-2x per week going forward. I have a lot to share and in addition to being a resource, I like to have an outlet to write in!

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(heyyyy! still flexin’ my life away)

Taking On Too Much

Something that I’ve been doing lately (besides working out of course ;-)) involves a whole crap-ton of introspection. Looking in to all that encompasses ME and figuring out what pieces are essential, and what pieces are just taking up space. (I sound so yoga-y, but I promise I’m not all meditative-hippie-sage burning….not that there’s anything wrong with that, but I’m just not even close haha)

While I’m generally a happy person, I’ve found that I also take on things that are there for no other reason then, THEY ARE THERE.

This can be good at times, but can also leave me really overwhelmed. It becomes a vicious cycle that looks a bit like this:

-Take on too many projects

-Not able to fulfill all projects (so someone gets delayed, cancelled, etc)

-I feel guilty because I’m not fulfilling all of everyone else’s needs

-I simultaneously feel that I am not fulfilling MY OWN needs because I’m busy trying to fill everyone else’s.

Does that sound familiar to anyone else? I know I’m not the only one, I’m just not sure it’s talked about much. 

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(yup, still flexing)

I’m beyond blessed to be given so many great opportunities. I’m currently training clients at 2 gyms, teaching classes at 3 gyms, training myself, training my online clients (you can go here for more info about it), and working full-time doing sales/marketing/admin/everything-in-between for my main job. Did I mention I’m also studying for my CSCS? On top of that, I have two different companies that have approached me in the last week to help them with their own email marketing. Once again…GREAT opportunities and I’m not complaining about that…but I am definitely in a predicament of sorts.

It leaves me with VERY little time to rest. The time I do have to rest, I end up trying to spend doing fun things because I don’t want to miss out on doing fun things just because I’m busy.

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(like wakeboarding and hiking!!!! no way i’m missing out on that!)

Do you see how this isn’t at all sustainable in the long-term?

But the question becomes, what do I give up? What is most important to keep?

I think this is something that everyone goes through at some point in their lives (and likely, multiple times), but it’s been very present for me lately and I am determined to truly figure out what I WANT and not just do things because others want me to do them.

I attended the Fitness Summit at the end of April in Kansas City (you can see my full review HERE), and I remember Alan Aragon making a comment about this very thing. He said that at some point, you’re going to have to learn to say no. To turn down opportunities, and to only go after the things that will be the most fulfilling.

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(Alan is the man! you are too Bret! ;-))

It’s a HARD thing to do when you actually like 90% of everything that you do.

Who do I say no to? Who do I turn down?

I’m still not sure what that answer is, but I risk a 2nd burnout if I don’t figure it out soon. (I had a similar burnout 2 years ago).

Unfortunately, I don’t have all of the answers just yet. And you may not either if this is something you relate to, but I think it’s still important to talk about it. To bring up the issue and connect with others who are in similar situations.

Please feel free to reach out to me if you want to chat! (email: fitlizzio@gmail.com)

Workouts

Ah, the very thing that started this blog in 2008!!! Yep, it’s been 8 years that I’ve had this dang thing. It’s had plenty of time where nothing was being posted, but it is still a very important blog to me and has YEARS worth of content. Old posts actually embarrass me, but I figure that it highlights a certain time in my life so WHATEVS, I won’t delete them.

In training news, I’ve been continuing to train as a powerlifter with the addition of some other exercises that I incorporate because I like them such as box jumps, various bodybuilding movements, and extra glute work (duh).

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Yesterday’s workout was:

Hip Thrusts

275×13, 305×10, 135 + knee band x 5-5-5-5 (5 reps + 5 second hold x 4)

Back Squats

165 x alt. 1, 2 reps for 10 sets

Deadlifts

175 x alt 2, 3 reps for 10 sets

KB Swings

70 x alt 10, 12 reps for 10 sets

This KICKED MY ASS. Not every day is this crazy, but this is just how it went down yesterday. Today I took it easier and did chin ups, deficit reverse lunges, and single leg leg press. Once upon a time (like up until 6 months ago), I used to try to go balls to the wall EVERY DAY. I’ve since gotten better at balancing the super hard days with less intense onces. Only took me like 8 years haha. (“FINALLY!!!” said every coach I’ve ever had).

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Speaking of that……this August marks 10 YEARS since I started working out. To some, that may seem like nothing, but it is a big milestone for me. I’ve been through SO MUCH in those 10 years and I fully plan to put out a picture-filled post that highlights the ups and downs and everything in between in the last 10 years.

That’s all I’ve got for today. I’ll be popping in again soon.

Keep up the training!

-Lizzy

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What I’ve Been Up To

It’s been a while since I’ve been an every-day-blogger, and for now, it’s what is working for me. There may be a day when daily blogging is back in my life, but for now I’m on the when-I-feel-like-it train.

I thought I’d pop in for now and let you know what I’m up to these days, so here goes!

Workouts

-Still doin’ it! It’s crazy to think that 9.5 years ago, I stepped into Lifts for the first time and started this crazy, wonderful adventure. I’ve been consistently working out since then and I plan on never stopping.

-My focus has finally shifted to powerlifting. It was something I’d been eyeing for the last 1.5 years and I had started gearing my workouts towards that style, but I finally bit the bullet and started training at a powerlifting gym this past January. I LOVE IT. Not only do I love the fact that I’m getting stronger, but the vibe of a powerlifting gym is just so much different than a regular gym. The focus is very little about aesthetics and very much about strength. You get a break from those who are there “to be seen” and instead get to lift weights with a bunch of like-minded people that also want to be strong AF. It’s quite wonderful. (I still do tons of glute work too, in case you were worried ;-))

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Food

-I’m eating what I want and being mindful of it. I’ve never been happier. I’m not focused on losing weight, I’m in control, and I’m happy with my body. Could I afford to lose 10-15 lbs to be leaner? Sure thing. But it’s not my focus right now. I’m simply focused on eating to fuel my workouts and also enjoying life.

Travel

-I’ve been gone almost every weekend this year! Multiple trips to AZ to see family, Seattle, Park City, Dana Point, and Maui. I’m headed to Kansas City at the end of this month for a strength training seminar and then to Big Bear at the end of June. I guess you could say I’ve got the travel bug!

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Work

-I’m still training clients at 2 different gyms, teaching a weekly boot camp, and working as a business consultant to gyms. The balance is great and I’m so happy that I’m able to work hard and play hard too!

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Oscar

-This is always the first question I’m asked by family and friends. “How’s Oscar?” He is definitely the star of the show and he loves every minute of it. This dog makes my life better. He’s the best friend I could ever ask for.

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That’s what’s going on with me! Tell me what’s up with you! Traveling? Working out? I want to hear about it, so comment below!

Good Coach vs. The Right Coach

Looking back on our lives, I’m sure each one of us can think of a teacher we had in school that really impacted us in a different way than the others. That person was someone we looked up to, wanted to impress, taught us lessons, and made us ultimately feel good and empowered.

I also would bet that there was at least one teacher you had that you just didn’t jive with at all. It didn’t necessarily mean they were a bad teacher, it just meant that there was something that didn’t work between the two of you. Maybe the way they taught you wasn’t the way you learned best. Or maybe their way of giving criticism had a negative effect on you.

Just like academics, this holds true in health and fitness as well. There are literally 10’s of thousands of coaches out there. Some good, some bad, and plenty in between. If we narrow it down to the good coaches out there, we can safely say that there is someone out there for everyone.

A Good Coach

A good coach is someone who has education, experience, and a genuine interest in helping their clients succeed. They have spent their time researching and learning best practices, put them in action successfully, and grown a business that allows them to help others.

The Right Coach

While there are plenty of good coaches out there, the right coach will be different from person to person. The right coach is someone who has all of the qualities of a good coach, but in specifics to you, has some additional qualities. Their values align with yours, their way of operating feels good to you, their methods are something that you can manage, and most importantly, you get along well.

Coaches Benefit from Coaches

I’m a firm believer that coaches need coaches too. I don’t care how well educated you become, there is always more to learn and an added accountability from having a coach that you don’t get on your own. I actually would shy away from any trainer or expert that tells you they don’t “need” a coach because they are a coach. They may prefer not to have one, which is totally fine, but if they claim that it wouldn’t be useful or that it isn’t necessary because they know everything, they probably don’t know very much. A teacher never stops learning. In fact, I’ll take that one step further and say that any intelligent person will never stop learning because they are smart enough to know they don’t know it all.

With that said, even before I was a trainer or coach myself, I had many coaches. It started with my flag football and baseball teams growing up. I had several different types of coaches. Oddly enough, my favorite ones were the type of coaches that yelled at me when I made an error. They weren’t total dicks, but they definitely let you know when you weren’t doing your best. I could appreciate that because at the same time, they gave me praise when I did well. The coaches I didn’t like were the ones who didn’t take the games very seriously. They were the “don’t worry, you’ll get it next time!” type of coaches. I didn’t learn anything from them because all they cared about was making everyone feel good. I hated feeling more competitive than they were and those teams never did very well (shocker).

In-Person Coaches/Trainers

My first personal trainer gave me the best foundation I could ever ask for. Even though I was a total pain in the ass, he was always (and still is) there for me whenever I needed anything. THAT is a good coach. He was never one to just “give me a trophy”. If I did something well, he told me. If I was sucking it up, he told me.

My next trainer was at a different gym since I had moved and it was during a stage I like to call the “I’ve been training for a year so now I know everything” phase. Seriously guys, I got a little ahead of myself. (Side note: Bret reminded me just a few weeks ago about the time I went back to his gym with all the “cool new things I learned from my new trainer”. I think I actually told him that I was thankful for the “beginning stuff” he showed me, but that my new trainer was showing me more advanced stuff. I cannot believe he didn’t slap me! I think I’m lucky I was cute.) Anyways, this trainer was the type of trainer that just pushed me to my limits every workout. I really liked training with him and he was a big help in getting me ready for my first NPC Bikini Competition. He didn’t make it easy and he never let me give up.

This is where things went down hill. The next trainer I had (about 3 years later) was an IFBB Pro (which shall remain nameless). She actually didn’t even charge me beyond the 1st month she coached me and was quite honestly the worst coach I’ve ever had. She gave me a restrictive diet to follow that was about 1200 calories per day and consisted of mainly veggies, chicken, fish, and egg whites. Surprisingly, I couldn’t stick to it. The workouts I did with this coach were “fancy” but didn’t make me work very hard. It felt more like she was trying to show off than anything. I would leave the gym sweaty, but the constant “you’re doing great! great job!” got old quickly.

Because of this lackluster experience, I moved on to another trainer that was recommended to me. This might have been even worse. The workouts we did were cookie cutter and involved constant high reps with no consideration for form. I seriously felt like a bunny rabbit jumping from station to station (literally…these workouts were about 80% plyometrics) and I’m not even sure my trainer was in the gym half the time I was doing these workouts. Bye Felicia.

The last trainer I had before moving to LA was Karl. He is a former competitive power lifter and has really helped me to perfect my squat and deadlift form. He is so in tune with the human body and so practical that sometimes I wonder if he’s human. Talk about giving it to you straight. There were times I’d be working out on my own and Karl would grab my workout log and just look at me. He’d say “why are you doing this?” and I’d feel myself stumbling with my words to try to find out the answer he was looking for. Needless to say, NOTHING is sugar coated with Karl. He tells it like it is and I know I’m in good hands with him.

Online Coaches

I’ve since had 3 different online coaches and this is where the idea for this post came about. All 3 coaches are fantastic coaches. I don’t have one poor thing to say about any of them, but I can clearly see why 1 of the 3 has helped me actually see results and progress. Yes, I realize that me not seeing results or progressing is on ME, but there is also a correlation between the coaching styles. While I don’t want to get into their coaching styles since it is irrelevant, I do want to highlight the attributes that I believe are making me successful with my current coach.

1. Trust. I’ve been following him online for a long time. Probably 5-6 years, actually. I’ve read multiple articles written by him, seen his personal FB posts that resonate with me, and chatted extensively with him before signing on with him. Because I know his track record, I feel a compelling urge to impress him. Knowing he has had so many clients come in and out of his life, I want to be one that he remembers. This has helped me to push myself harder than I have in a long time.

2. Honesty. In our first conversations, he was extremely realistic. He didn’t try to massage me into being his client or tell me what I want to hear. In fact, he told me the opposite. He gave me the harsh realities and expectations. He didn’t leave anything out and told me just what it would take for me to achieve what I wanted. He also helped me refine my goals, as what I had in mind wasn’t totally realistic either.

3. High Expectations. He doesn’t allow me to be anything but my best. Great example: I sent a video to him of my front squats last week. I was really proud of this video and was excited to hear his feedback. Unfortunately, I had not followed what he had told me and he called me out. So what did I do? The very next workout, I made corrections and sent it back over. I appreciate this completely. High fives are EARNED, they are not handed out.

4. Methodology. While macro counting is a fantastic method for fat loss (and oddly enough what I do with 90% of my clients), it actually wasn’t right for me. I found it harder to manage and instead, I eat a pretty simple meal plan each day, with flexibility in my post workout meals. It’s the best of both worlds for me. There is consistency, ease of preparation, and I do get to fit in treats each day, so I don’t feel deprived.

Applying this to You

While these traits are specific to me, it can help YOU in the search for the right coach. Along with seeking out someone who is experienced, educated, and has a proven track record, ask yourself these questions:

  • How do you learn best?
  • What is your current lifestyle like?
  • How do you handle praise and constructive criticism?
  • What did your favorite teachers/coaches have in common? Look for those qualities in a coach.

Just like in love, there is someone for everyone. What’s right for one, may not be right for the other. Take your time when looking for a coach and don’t base your decision off of progress pictures or testimonials. Read that coach’s material, spend time messaging with them to see if your personalities work well together, and get an idea of their methodology before you jump in. Having a coach can be a GAME CHANGER, but if you don’t have the right coach for you, it can be a giant flop.

Have you had a good or bad experience with a coach? Share it in the comments.

Liked this article? Check out Who Should You Trust?

Lizzy Ostro is a NASM and AFPA Certified Personal Trainer with over 8 years of experience. She is currently working on her NASM FNS Certification and currently trains clients out of Santa Monica, CA as well as providing online coaching to clients across the U.S. 

 

Underestimating Yourself + Weekend Fun

I am a resource.

I live and breathe health and fitness. And by that, I don’t mean that I am 100% healthy all the time or that I’m the fittest person on the planet. I mean that my world literally revolves around health and fitness. My jobs are all health and fitness related, I personally do my best to stay healthy and fit, and it happens to be what interests me most in this world. So when I say I live and breathe it, I mean it.

With that said, I tend to underestimate myself at times. Forgetting that I’ve been studying, learning, and DOing this “stuff” for almost 10 years. I still have plenty to learn, and am constantly challenging myself to learn more, but I DO know a lot and I tend to forget that sometimes. For me, it’s common knowledge. It’s no different to me than knowing my couch is black and tan. And sometimes I forget that it isn’t that obvious to most people. That is no fault of their own, and as long as they’re willing, I take those opportunities to teach.

I think a lot of us do this. We forget that what WE know is very valuable. Because it’s such a common knowledge in our world, we tend to underestimate what we have to share with others.

It’s the reason I started training clients again. I LOVE teaching others, I love showing them how they can achieve their goals, and it helps ME continuously learn, learn, learn. I’ve been training myself and learning from other world-renowned fitness professionals for YEARS, and now I’m getting to learn by training my own clients and learning it from a whole other perspective.

Because of this, I’ve started sharing more and more fitness tips that I think would be useful for others on Instagram and Facebook. Those things that I felt like “everyone knew”. And I urge you all to ask more questions. I’ve always been a curious person, and whenever I’m unsure, I always ask. Any of my trainers would tell you, I constantly had questions. “why am I doing this?, what does this do? Is this the best way to do it?” and then I would experiment on my own too. So all of this to say, USE ME. Ask me questions. Get my advice.

I’m HAPPY to share! You can e-mail me fitlizzio@gmail.com or message me on Facebook! I’m always listening! (well, Charlie might say differently but…you know :-D)

I encourage you to stop underestimating yourself as well. Share your knowledge. Somebody (or a lottabodies out there might really need it!)

Ok, onto more exciting things…

WEEKEND FUN

This weekend, I taught boot camp, played baseball, and lounged. It was great! Instead of talking about it, here are some photos….

My #1 Fan!

My #1 Fan!

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SO GOOD. Shrimp, avocado, lemon juice, cayenne pepper, garlic salt. THAT’S IT

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Question of the Day:

1. Why do you do what you do? Whether it’s for work, a hobby, etc.

Stressful, Crazy Week!

Happy Friday peeps!

This week flew by! I’ll be honest, I was pretty exhausted and grumpy this week. I think it’s a mixture of overtraining, lack of sleep, and some work stress. It’s all good though, overall things aren’t too shabby. Sometimes, I just need to step back a little bit and that’s exactly what I did this week!

Thursday morning I was especially tired. I didn’t sleep well the night before and even my morning coffee didn’t do it for me! I got some work done and then headed home around 12:30pm to eat lunch and just collect myself a bit. This is my “I’m tired and I don’t want to work out face”.

dontwanaworkoutI headed to the gym at around 1:45 to do a leg workout. I did something a little different than usual, and it was fun to change it up.

4 Sets of the following:

-Sumo Deadlift + DB Curtsy Lunge

-Leg Extensions + Supinated Hamstring Curls

-Banded Hip Thrusts

-45* Hypers w/ 25lb Plate

When I finished my workout, I finally tried the new protein powder I told you guys about. The verdict? IT’S AMAZING. If a protein powder is good just mixed with water, IT’S GOOD. Most protein powders that I like and are even good for baking, etc. don’t taste so great on their own. I am completely sold on this stuff. MINIMAL ingredients, sweetened with stevia, and tastes good. Two thumbs up in my book! You can find their products here. (This is not a sponsored post, I just really love the product!)

slapAfterwards, I had a few meetings and also needed to rehearse for a competition I’m demoing on Saturday. The competition is to find Santa Monica’s Best Trainer and two of our personal trainers (Courage & Torri) have been nominated. I just get to be one of the workout dummies for them to train.

10428061_10152329134527540_1196942313145258660_nHere are some of the exercises I’m doing with Torri:

exercisesLOL Don’t worry…I’m not doing this topless. We just have a funny little intro planned and that’s my way of reminding me what to do. 🙂

After rehearsing, and getting a bunch of work done, I headed to a boxing class! Quite the fitness day for me! I better sleep well tonight! I went with my friend Tedi, who’s one of my favorite people to laugh with. We have fun.

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That’s all I’ve got folks! This weekend is looking to be quite an adventure! I’m sure I’ll be exhausted, but HEY, I’ll sleep when I die. 😀

Question of the Day:

1. What’s your favorite brand of protein powder?

2. What are some things you do to combat stressful & tiresome days/weeks?

 

Fitness is FUN: How A Bad Trainer Can Make You Think Otherwise

I had an experience the other day that gave me a total “aha!” moment. It was one of those moments where I literally stopped in my tracks and said to myself “oh my gosh…I get it.”

Part of my job as the manager of a high end gym is to ensure that we have highly talented and knowledgeable personal trainers on staff. This is a big deal in any gym, but especially in this area of town and in this gym. Our clientele is mostly fit people that are serious about their fitness. Many have worked with a personal trainer before and will immediately know if someone doesn’t know what they’re doing. As such, part of our interview process involves a 30 minute practical, where the potential personal trainer puts me through a training session, while our Personal Training manager observes. This is helpful because we both get to put our heads together at the end of the training session to talk about what was good vs. what was not good. It’s changed our entire staff for the better and is a really great practice.

Last week, we were interviewing two potential new trainers to hire. We had set up a practical with both of them. One no-showed (well, there’s your answer!), and the other showed up right on time. He was well-groomed, looked the part, and was extremely nice. That’s about all the good I have to say.

We started our training session with some static stretching. I equate static stretching before a workout to the low-fat diets of the 80’s. Irrelevant and not smart. Strike 1.

From there he took me to the Smith machine to do front squats and back squats. Now, knowing my background and my current training, this wasn’t a very bright idea. I have a good working knowledge of front squats and back squats, and this application wasn’t useful, in my opinion.  I use the Smith Machine for the following 3 reasons:

1. Someone is new to squatting and/or very weak

2. Someone has injuries or has other limitations

3. Things I’m unable to do with a standard barbell (certain glute/quad exercises)

(This doesn’t mean other applications are incorrect, but if you’re able to properly do front and back squats using a barbell and plates on your own, no use downgrading to the Smith Machine!)

Smith Machine

Smith Machine

Anyways, I asked this trainer why he was having me do front squats and back squats on the Smith machine rather than using a barbell. Had he given me a decent response to this, I could have accepted it. I am constantly learning new tricks of the trade and was hoping he would have something cool to tell me. But no. The response I got was that it was to “up the intensity.” Really? I can show you 500 ways to “up the intensity” using a barbell. Not a very good answer. Strike 2.

I gave it a shot anyways to give the guy a chance to see what he would have me do. He explained the front squat and back squat and told me to start. The result? It felt awkward. My range of motion was limited. The movement was uncomfortable. I felt the movement in all the wrong places. The experience was not fun. Moreover, the trainer didn’t help me get into the proper position, he didn’t make sure my form was proper, he just stood by and told me what to do. (There’s always a chance my form wasn’t right, making the movement feel awkward. After all, I don’t use the Smith Machine for squats. Ever.)

It was then that I had this realization. I am someone who LOVES working out. I love to sweat and work hard in the gym. For the most part, you can put me in any situation at the gym, and I’m game! Not everyone feels this way, and that is perfectly okay.

But had this been my first time in the gym and that been my first time with a personal trainer???? I would have walked out that door and never come back. I would have thought working out was not fun, uncomfortable, and didn’t feel good. I would have thought “well, that’s not worth it!”

I wonder how many times that has happened to someone who claims they “hate working out”…..when really they just haven’t had a good experience? I’m sure it’s very common and that bums me out!

With that said, I challenge all of you that have tried working out and deemed it as something you hate, to try again. Try something new, try something that look fun to you. Working out does not have to be barbells in a gym. The whole point is to do something that makes you feel good, requires your body to work hard, empowers you, makes you strong, and makes you sweat it out! For some, that might be rock climbing, for others, that’s lifting weights, for the next person, it’s taking an adult gymnastics class. DO WHAT YOU LIKE. And if you have a shitty experience either on your own or with a trainer? TRY AGAIN.

Fitness should be FUN, and inevitably will make you feel like you’re on top of the world. You can’t buy that feeling! I promise, there is something for EVERYONE.

1. What new fitness adventures have you been on lately?

2. Have you ever worked with a trainer that made you think fitness sucked?