Health & Wellness
by Dr. Kyle McCrobie
A small business relies on existing customer referrals more than you think. Read below to understand how your recommendation makes a difference.
How does anyone make a decision these days on what to buy or where to go for a service with so much information out there? If you’re not making a beeline for your fave spot or a trusted chain, it can be overwhelming to decide where you should go for a new restaurant, hotel, hair stylist or gym. I can’t be the only one who has looked to Google for these answers and felt overwhelmed. I visit a few websites, read some reviews on Yelp, and after extensive searching, close the laptop without making a decision.
When all of the options seem too similar and the internet can’t convince you to make a decision, it goes like this: You tell a friend you’re looking for a new gym and they say, “Oh, you need to go to The Training Room, they are hands-down the best gym in the area.” Instantly, your mind is made up by this trusted endorsement.
The simple recommendation to your friends is a vital component to the success of our small business. Please help us continue to grow and succeed by spreading the word about The Training Room to your friends.
When your refer a friend to The Training Room and they purchase a package of personal training or group classes, you will receive a complimentary group class! Thank you for supporting our small business 🙂
by Heidi Shalek
At the TR, we’re pumped that heart rate training is “IN”. It makes perfect sense that collecting data about how your body is functioning while you exercise should enable you to train with more precision. However, be careful not to over-simplify the numbers coming through on your device. With the rise in popularity of high intensity interval training (HIIT), it’s easy to fall victim to the sweat factor. In truth, harder work does not always equal better results, and a higher heart rate doesn’t necessarily mean you’re doing your body good. So, the next time you’re racking up those splat points or stuck in the endless red zone, take a moment to consider these three heart rate rules:
RULE #1 – Know your resting heart rate. It matters. Your resting heart rate (RHR) is a good indicator of your overall aerobic capacity. When training your heart, the goal is to develop and then maintain the most resilient, efficient aerobic system possible. If your RHR is less than 60, you’re doing pretty good. If your RHR is between 60-70, there is certainly room for improvement, and if your RHR is 70-80+, building your aerobic base should be a focus of your training program. Many heart rate monitors will calculate an fairly accurate RHR with frequent use. Otherwise, simply take your pulse and count how many times your heart beats in 60 seconds when you are completely at rest – ideally first thing in the morning before you get out of bed.
RULE #2 – Know how to recover. Be sure to include purposeful activity into your routine aimed at recharging your system. This could be anything from soft tissue work to acupuncture to meditation to low/slow cardio to a salt bath (to name a few). The amount of rest you need is proportional to the amount of stress you put on your system. In other words, if you aren’t working hard, there is less to recover from. Above all, learn to listen to your body, because work/life stressors outside of the gym count here too. In a nutshell: Hard Work + Better Recovery = Better Results.
INTRODUCING PHYSICAL THERAPY AT THE TRAINING ROOM
by Dr. Kyle McCrobie
by Heidi Shalek
Let me preface this post by saying that you do NOT necessarily need one-on-one coaching to be successful in the gym. What you DO need is good training technique a program you will actually follow.
A few weeks ago I received an email inquiry from a potential client asking about one-on-one training. This led to the very long-winded (non-edited) answer I am sharing with you now- straight from my Sent folder. If you’ve ever been curious about personal training or wondered if it is right for you, I hope this helps!
Q. “I could really use some one-on-one help and motivation getting back on track. Can you talk to me a little bit about what personal training sessions look like? Is it primarily guidance? Do we try new things each session?”
A. The best way to explain it is a balance between what your body needs and what you want/expect from training. For some people, the needs and wants are completely in line with each other. For others, they can be vastly different. For example, someone could come in wanting or expecting a total body beat down that leaves them in a puddle on the floor, when what they really need is mobility and recovery work. We are always working to achieve this balance so that expectations are met while progress is being made. I hope that makes sense? That’s why we do a movement screen and physical assessment combined with a goal discussion when you start- to determine the best plan forward. At the foundation of all training progress is good movement, so you will be coached to master the fundamental concepts of breathing, core bracing, neutral spine position, squatting and hinging for sure.
by Heidi Shalek
A resolution, by definition, is a firm decision to do or not do something. Sounds simple enough, right? So why is it that so many new year’s “resolutions” don’t stand the test of time? A resolution without planning and accountability is really just a good intention, at best. A want or desire to do something will never come to pass without action. So how do you set yourself up to be successful and take control of all the things you wish you would do? Start by saying goodbye to resolutions and hello to habits.
#1 CHANGE YOUR MINDSET. Be present, make progress. You can’t go back in time and change the fact that you took two weeks off from training or grabbed take out five out of five nights last week. What can you do? MOVE ON. Tomorrow is always a new day, another opportunity to make the best choice available. Practice letting go of what you did or didn’t do, and do something now to make yourself feel better. Missed both of your workouts this week because you were living your life? No problem. Hit some lunges and push ups in your basement and call it a day. Ate three cookies for lunch? No problem. Wash it down with some kale juice. You get the idea…
#2 GET A COACH. Behavior change thrives on accountability. Can’t afford one-on-one training every week? No problem. Identify a coach or instructor who inspires and motivates you. Spend the money on ONE single strategy session. Ask questions about EVERYTHING. Set goals, exchange emails. Now you have someone in your corner who you can reach out to if you find yourself off track. You’ll see your coach in class every week, and you can bet that they will check in with you every time.
By Dr. Kyle McCrobie & Heidi Shalek
As 2018 draws to a close, you may find yourself evaluating your fitness routine or thinking ahead to your health and wellness goals for next year- it’s totally normal! Should you join a gym? Should you download a fitness app? Should you check out that boutique fitness studio? Should you do an online program like a Couch to 5k? Should you change your eating habits or get a meal prep service?
With so many options and information floating around, we hope we can point you in the right direction by answering one question: What IS the difference between a big commercial gym and a small fitness studio like the TR? (And why should you care?)
We think it’s safe to say that most people are in agreement about what they dislike about the gym- whether they go or not.
#1. It’s a process to join.
#2. It’s crowded.
#3. It’s usually dirty.
#4. Personal trainers bombard you with their sales pitches.
#5. Creepy gym goers try talking to you even when you have headphones on.
#6. You feel stressed about what to do for your workout.
#7. You’re worried you’re not doing the exercises correctly.
#8. You feel a little self conscious while exercising.
#9. You do everything you can to drag yourself there multiple times in a week.
At the TR, none of the above happens. At the TR, you might even start to look forward to exercising. Why? Because in a small studio environment your program is adjusted specifically for you- even in a group class. Your workouts are appropriately challenging, not inherently painful. With consistent practice, you will know what you are doing and understand why you are doing it. Most of all, you’re making progress you can measure and FEEL. The coaches will make sure you’re getting the most out of the exercises you’re doing by correcting your form. Not to mention that each one of our locations is spotless, the clients are friendly and the music is on point.
by Jonathan Carroll
How can I get more sleep? How I can eat better? How can I get booty like yours? These are questions I get all the time.
Since my job is really about helping people improve their overall heath and quality of life, I frequently get asked, “How can I improve my _________?” Let’s be clear – there is tremendous variety to the way people fill in this Mad Lib. And, yet, I have found that most questions fall into what I affectionately call “The 4 Pillars of Health”: Sleep, Stress Management, Exercise and Nutrition.
The “4 Pillars” started as a simple, easy-to-follow guideline I provided to the people I coach at The Training Room. Over the past several years, it’s taken on a life of its own! While I am in the process of putting together an entire book that summarizes my complete recommendations in these four areas, I wanted to give you a sneak peek. Hopefully, my suggestions will give you a basic framework for thinking about your habits and goals – either way, I’d love your feedback.
I know this is an ask. As George Costanza used to say, “I’m busy, you’re busy, we’re all busy.” I get it. I’m guilty too … but we need to stop priding ourselves on how busy we are – it’s not the first adjective any of us wants used to describe us. A few years ago, I was (un)fortunate enough to have thyroid problems and chronic plantar fasciitis which left me waking up in pain on a daily basis. While I can’t say this was the best of times, it was transformative for me. It’s when I decided that I needed to make some major changes to my life and prioritize my well-being. I know it’s hard. But, I promise you, if you do the same, it may be one of then best decisions you ever make (other than doing another couple deadlifts to get glutes like mine).
Pillar 1: Sleep
I used to stay up late almost every night. I convinced myself that I was a “night” person – that the wee hours were my “creative” time and were precious. While I would routinely come up with four or five ideas a night (all brilliant, thank you … good thing I love being a trainer), I was only getting 4-5 hours of sleep after working 8-12 hour days. Even for super humans (or as I like to call them, the Irish), it takes a toll. Sleep is when your body and mind repair themselves. It’s when the junk gets filtered out and things get reset. Sleep lets you think more clearly and be at your best. And, trust me, since your brain and your body love deep sleep, you should too!
by Jenny Cunha
I became a SFG kettlebell instructor in order to challenge myself and fine-tune my abilities. Going through the training and certification process not only gave me the opportunity to learn from some of the best coaches, but made me focus on the basics in order to push my own endurance and strength. I’m so glad I embraced the challenge, and I’ve got six good reasons why you should train with kettlebells too.
#1 – Skill Acquisition Learning and practicing a new skill, whatever it may be, improves confidence and cognitive function- both of which have a positive impact on your health and well-being. You can increase your focus and involve your brain in your workouts by using a tool that requires a higher-level of technical skill and understanding – the kettlebell.
#2 – Versatility The kettlebell may be the most versatile, stand-alone training tool, period. Inline with the specific goals, structure and timing of your program, the kettlebell can be used to focus on mobility, strength, power or conditioning. A well-rounded training program starts with good movement at its foundation. From there, you can progress in a logical sequence, building strength and then power. The kettlebell can be used every step of the way.
#3 – The Sweat Factor It’s no secret that a good sweat can be satisfying. Physical activity has long been shown to have incredible health benefits, including the ability to lift your mood. Research has even proven that exercise is an effective treatment for mild to moderate depression. Regardless of whether exercise actually releases endorphins (jury’s out on that, believe it or not), stimulates norepinephrine production to help combat stress, or simply enhances communication between your body’s physiological systems, it’s undeniable that it’s good for your body and your mind.
by Tyler Cote
That’s right, I’ve now been in the fitness industry for 10 years! Don’t ask me where the time has gone — all I can tell you is that when you love what you do, it never feels like work. Today, as I look back, I’d like to share with you 10 things I’ve learned over this period of my life:
1) Make fitness a lifestyle
I assess nearly everyone who starts at The Training Room and have found that most voice similar goals: “I want to lose weight”, “I want to get stronger”, and sometimes both. Rather than jumping straight into an exercise, I follow-up with a series of questions:
A.) What is normal day of eating like for you?
B.) What is a normal night of sleeping?
C.) Based on a 1-10 scale, how stressed are you on average?
Your answers to these questions play a major role in achieving your goals. You can exercise as much as you like, but if you don’t have a strong handle on your nutrition, sleep and stress, none of it matters. Creating good habits and making a life commitment to them will be the game changer. If you’re willing to do this, I promise you that what follows will be easier.
2) Build the foundation
When I think about why the TR has been successful over the years, I accredit it to our ability to form a strong foundation for our clients. Mainstream media constantly advertises the next best exercise or quickest way to burn fat. In reality, all they’re doing is pushing you farther away from where you want to be.
Your focus should be learning how to do exercise basics really well. Learn how to breath correctly, how to brace your core, and how to feel when your glutes are activated. These practices may seem slight, but it is this kind of investment that forms the most stable foundation for you to build upon as you increase your strength and skill over time.
by Alex Tanskey
I often feel like I’m a salmon. Not in a bad way. More in a “swimming against the tide of outdated fitness information” way.
But sometimes, that tide is just too strong.
Whether it’s someone’s preconceptions of training, or previous experiences with other trainers/coaches, people are often surprised when they go through one of my sessions or classes. There’s this idea that in order for training to be “good” it must be 1) hard, 2) intense, 3) bodybuilding style, and/or 4) cardio based. And really, it doesn’t need to be any of those four.
by Eirinn Carroll
by Maren Kravitz
Marci Karplus began personal training at The Training Room in March 2011. Since then, Marci has completed 337 personal training sessions. With the exception of summer travel, a few injuries and life’s minor twists and turns, Marci has remained committed to training twice a week for the past five years.
Beyond her commitment, what makes Marci’s story unique is her late arrival into the world of fitness. Marci picked up running at the age of 58, after a news program mentioned that Jill Biden was running five miles a day. “I thought well heck, maybe I can do that,” Marci said. “Nothing like having a role model.”
Marci got hooked on the exhilarating feeling she got from running. Cautiously increasing her mileage, Marci worked up to four weekly runs – ranging from three to ten miles at a time. Marci loved it. “Running at a slow pace allowed me time to get lost in my thoughts, while enjoying the scenery around me,” said Marci.
When life gives you lemons, make lemonade
Within the first year of taking up running, Marci began to get sidelined by aches and pains in her knees. Determined to get stronger and continue her running, Marci began training at the TR and enlisted the help of physical therapists.
Marci was diligent, completing her physical therapy exercises and making sure she took an appropriate amount of time off running to rest her knees. Unfortunately, Marci continued to feel the same knee pain each time she returned to running after a break. Unbeknownst to Marci, a foot surgery dating back 25 years was the cause of her knee pain and eventual end to her running career.
Ray Weaver came to The Training Room in March of 2015 with two specific goals – to lose weight and manage his back pain. At the start of his training with me, Ray weighed 245 lbs. With a true belief that a healthy lifestyle will lead to success, Ray stayed the course, and is now 195 lbs while living pain free. Not only is Ray’s story inspiring, but it can remind us all that real change is possible through hard work, dedication and positivity.
Finding your course correction
The first step toward success in the gym is your personal mindset. Ray understood that a healthy lifestyle did not have to be all sacrifice and no fun. Wishing for a quick fix or directing too much attention to the past could have easily sidelined Ray’s future goals. As a team we remained focused on the positive while embracing the challenges that lie ahead. Results are not a given, they are earned.
Focus on progress not perfection
If you’re dreading your gym time because it’s challenging, uncomfortable or boring, you may find it hard to stay committed to your goals. With a positive mindset, Ray committed to a training program two times a week at the TR in addition to improving his eating habits. In the gym, Ray followed a simple, straightforward weight loss program including total body strength work, core work, and metabolic circuits.
Moving more often and becoming stronger not only helped Ray meet his weight loss goals, but also helped eliminate his back pain. Like most new clients at the TR, Ray had a specific goal when he walked in, and it is my job as his coach to keep these goals at the forefront of his training program while creating a safe, fun and effective workout. Keeping the sessions focused on what he could do, rather than what he could not do, helped Ray maintain a positive mindset and dedication to his training plan.
Join The Training Room, Runfellow, Oat Shop Boston, Neon Bandits and Somerville Local First on Saturday, September 24th for the Community Co-op Series: Health & Wellness Edition. Our mission is to bring small businesses together to strengthen the local economy through collaboration. Proceeds go directly to Somerville Local First, and the funds are used throughout the year to support SLF members as they work to grow their local brands.
How can you help support all things local in Somerville? Sign up to participate in this awesome event that’s not only good for your health, but good for the local economy! Run 2 miles, bike 10 miles (indoor), and run 1 more mile to the finish!
Sign up online via The Training Room website by selecting the September 24th date on the calendar and clicking on your preferred time slot. Registration for this event is FREE, with donations (suggested, $30) accepted at the event. Oat Shop Boston will be on hand for post-workout fuel, and Neon Bandits will serving up socks. That’s right, action-lifestyle socks. What are you waiting for?
When we receive a letter like this from one of our clients, it reminds us what a great job we have as coaches, and how fortunate we are to work in the fitness and wellness industry. Helping people learn how to move well and get stronger so they can enjoy life is quite simply, the best thing ever.
July 26, 2016
To: Training Room
I found out about the TR through a friend. One day I ran into him at work and complimented on how great he looked. He then started to tell me about TR and kettlebell training. He had hurt his back as well and we pretty much experienced the same pain. We both were on the same page how Meds, PT or even a chiropractor wasn’t helping. Seeing how he looked and felt I decided to look into the TR. I asked who he recommended and he told me about a kid, Kyle. November of 2016 I called and made an appointment with Kyle. I had no idea what to expect which I am sure Kyle knew since I showed up in jeans and a sweatshirt for the assessment. Before I started I could hardly walk or stand without having pain. I was miserable every day. I am a very active person and just turned 50 and this injury had stopped me from most activities I enjoyed. At first when I started I thought, “Is this going to help at all?”. The exercises were something I never did and seemed very weird to me. But within the first month I started to feel better and was able to do things I couldn’t do before.
by Rob Colameta
Whether you’re personal training, in TRAC class, circuit training, or even at outdoor sports conditioning, you’re guaranteed to run into the pushup. I’ve seen a lot of different people do the pushup and have found myself using the same two cues to help people get the most out of this popular and really effective strength exercise.
Most people finish their pushups like this:
In reality, that’s not too bad. Note that his hips are in-line with his shoulders, he’s not arching his back, and it looks like he’s holding a solid plank at the top. However, he’s missing out on some serious shoulder benefits by not reaching his hands through the ground.
If he thinks about “reaching” at the top of the pushup, you’ll see his shoulder blades come around to the sides of his torso, like so:
It’s a subtle change but very easy to correct and guarantees you the awesome shoulder benefits that come along with doing the pushup correctly.
#2: Use Your Whole Body
By Chris Mullins
Leiter began training with me back in January 2015 to incorporate strength training into his running routine. He had gone through physical therapy to rehab a calf injury sustained while running back in August of 2014, but was still experiencing some lingering effects. His initial assessment revealed some common imbalances, as well as high training volume. Put these two elements together–repeated overload on a compromised foundation–and it’s not surprising that Leiter’s body started to break down. So the approach was simple:
- Address imbalances
- Reduce training volume (# of days and total weekly running mileage)
However, as always the approach may be simple but the implementation is rarely easy. Fortunately, Leiter is a fantastic client with an aptitude toward structure and routine. Without further ado, here is Leiter’s story.
If you didn’t catch coach Alex’s blog last week… don’t worry, it’s not too late for an interesting
rant read. 🙂 Please enjoy:
I’d like to thank The New York Times for contributing to the malaise and hopelessness currently coupled with obesity.
Why? Because last Monday the Times published After The Biggest Loser, Their Bodies Fought to Regain the Weight. A depressing account of what happens to contestants after they leave the show, it is. But good journalism? It is not.
Sadly, this newest article adds to the disagreeable and outdated health advice from the Times, or those found in an Op-Ed. And full disclosure, I’m far from impartial as The Biggest Loser is among my most hated shows on television. Yet I’m also a religious watcher of The Bachelor, so hey, nobody’s perfect.
I don’t believe the Times had malicious intent, nor were they purposely trying to paint sustained weight loss as some Sisyphean task. Instead, my main gripe was that they didn’t add anything to the conversation and they failed to propose any solutions. We’ve known from study after study that losing weight is the “easy” part, maintaining is the hardest. And the only answers they did provide were bariatric surgery or accepting hunger as the new normal.
Whitney’s struggle with anxiety and depression let her to pursue exercise as a way to improve her mental health. We’re so grateful that she took the time to answer a few questions and share her story…
What initially brought you into the The Training Room?
Mental health. Like many people, I have anxiety and depression and last June, I decided to try exercising as a way of managing. I felt anxious about joining a large gym and knew I needed one-on-one attention. I sent an email to the TR explaining my situation and saying that I desperately needed help. I put myself out there and within hours received a response from Heidi who scheduled me for a fitness assessment and set me up with personal training. She suggested I start with Kyle, and almost a year later, I feel better than ever! Now, exercise is a way of life – my friends even jokingly call me Ms. Fitness, which is a far cry from the person who ran off a treadmill a few years ago shouting “I will never set foot in a gym again!”
What has been your favorite part about your training?
I love the education I’ve received since joining the TR. Each trainer spends time explaining what we are doing and why, taking the time to increase my knowledge about fitness, exercise, and movements. I bring out of town friends to the TR at times and I love that the trainers are consistent with teaching proper form and educating guests. They show their passion and knowledge and in turn, it is passed down to their clients. That, my friends, is my favorite part!