Performance Not Soreness

Fitness has undergone some interesting transformations over the last several years. As an oldie but goodie in this industry I have seen it all, from Jane Fonda to Bootcamps and ultimately CrossFit. I suppose it depends on which fitness camp your in that determines which craze a person feels drawn too. I do not believe it really matters as long as you’re under the supervision of a good coach or instructor. You want to spin around and shimmy to Zumba…great…you want to carry tree trunks around like a cave man…great…you want to kick and punch a bag like a martial arts master… GREAT!  You know what’s not great? The injuries that are on the rise from poorly constructed fitness programs, bad coaching and individuals participating in a fitness trend that is completely beyond their fitness level.  There is no one size fits all in exercise, unless we are talking about Silver Sneakers…all you need are some Velcro white sneakers and it’s a go. Pretty sure the injury and soreness ratio in that class is somewhere in the negative.

It’s interesting to me that obesity is on the rise while simultaneously all these latest greatest fitness trends are popping up like Dollar Bargain stores.  I know this is not going to be a very popular statement to make, but I’m going for honesty not political correctness…for all these individuals I see burpee-ing and squat thrusting their way to a fitter, slimmer body…their body composition doesn’t seem to be paying attention. And unfortunately it is not the fault of the fitness participant it is the fault of the fitness professionals and the myth that if it hurts…it works.  It used to be people exercised to improve performance and gain better health, now they seek soreness over performance. What the hell happened! Martin Rooney the creator of Training for Warriors calls this the Illogical Four: Novelty, Coolness, Ability to Produce Soreness and Ability to Produce Fatigue.  I can tell you that it’s not very hard to make a person sore or tired, we just beat the shit out of you for an hour doing a billion repetitions of something and that pretty much will do the trick. Does it make you stronger, faster or leaner…uhmmmm well probably not like you had hoped for.  I used to tell people if I give you a shovel and tell you to dig a ditch for an hour, I promise you’ll be sore and tired but will you have actually gained the results you felt were attached to hard exercise?  Probably not and is that your fault or mine? I am supposed to say “Mine”, but I think this is a shared responsibility to a degree. I am responsible for providing my client with evidence based proven exercise and research driven programming, you the client are responsible for using your noggin to protect your back, in other words use some common sense when you approach a fitness trend.  For instance, suppose your about 50+, have spent the last 20 years talking about how you “used” to climb the old oak tree while carrying a bag of rocks on your back, does this in fact make you in anyway fit enough to flip a tire or jump on a big high box for an hour. No…no it does not. It does not because while it may seem unbelievable …the fact is what you did 20 years ago no longer counts. Nope…it’s nothing more than a memory and not muscle memory just brain matter memory.

Now that we got that out of the way, I’d like to talk about the whole concept of HIT (high intensity training), and why when done right it works and when done wrong you can’t get out of a chair without intense pain screaming out of your quads. The concept of HIT is based in EPOC…scientists…we love big words…E=excess, P=post-exercise, O=oxygen, C=consumption. Shall I simplify? The body has 2 energy systems the anaerobic “without oxygen” and the aerobic “with oxygen”, together they process the transfer of energy from food to ATP.  ATP is like a line of credit, the more you have the more your muscles can spend. If your ATP has a low credit score you won’t get very far, a higher score and the better your chance at making it to Vegas. When you are doing anaerobic work (HIT) your body depletes the credit line really fast and goes to the aerobic system to borrow some more ATP. The aerobic system loves to use fat as fuel, EPOC involves stimulating the aerobic system to repay ATP to the anaerobic systems. This means when you finish high intensity exercise, your body is still burning calories in an attempt to replace the used up ATP.  So…hang in there…You do 60 seconds of Goblet Squats, Goblet squats use large muscles (as in your butt), large muscles use “anaerobic” ATP, you finish and now the “ anaerobic” bank has to go to the “ aerobic” bank and borrows some ATP to replenish the account. The aerobic system makes a loan and then goes to it’s “fat’ stores to replenish its own ATP. With HIT training you build muscle and burn fat, that’s what makes all this high intensity training so effective. Confused? Listen I apologize if that does not make sense, I just condensed 100 pages of science into a few sentences and that’s all I got.

The perfect science of Interval Training understands that the rest intervals are equally important as the work. Rest periods are where the ATP is replenished it’s where the fat cells are burned to replenish the ATP this is the essence of Metabolic Training.  What makes it performance based rather than soreness based is the systematic approach. My functional training programs have been using this form of circuit training for over 10 years, so I have a system of training for each and every workout based on these principles. Tossing a bunch of hard exercises at a person is NOT Metabolic Training that’s called Beat Your Ass Training.  This is where you’re limping away from a workout and sore as all hell the next day. I guess for me to really make my point let’s look at a professional athlete. Do you think that they train like animals 24/7, 365 days a year? Because, if they did they would be limping down to the 50 yard line, not sprinting.  Good programs use systems that provide you the opportunity to build muscle, speed and power that improves your performance. Beating your body with a stick week after week will not improve your performance. You never give your muscles a chance to rebuild and regroup. You deplete your energy system bank and instead you end up bankrupt not rich. You end up driving a beat up Chevy and not the Porsche you had hoped for.

So what’s it going to be Performance or Soreness? Injury or a sleek physique? What I hope for is that next time you think that a hard workout is a good workout I hope you consider did you dig a ditch or strategically build a mean lean power machine? When I design a program it has stealth like qualities. The look is so deceptively simple yet when layered with complex exercises and restorative exercises the end result is a body that burns fat, builds muscle and performs like a high level athlete. There are lot’s of options out there in training land, choose one that fits where your body is NOW, not WAS. When you get up to speed choose a different option that challenges that and train like an athlete. Athletes vary their training though out the year, sometimes it is tough as nails other times it’s like a fluffy lamb. They allow for recovery, eat right and sleep right. Lastly be aware of overtraining, because it will make you sad…seriously sad…no joke… like weeping at Hallmark commercials sad.

All opinions are mine based mostly on science and some theories that I dream up when running. And I might have stolen some of the science stuff from Martin Rooney’s book Warrior Cardio.


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The Hobby Dad


I really thought long and hard about writing this little blog today, but I always think that whatever dilemma I am going through so are others and sharing is caring.  The dilemma I have is how to celebrate father’s day when I have such mixed emotions about my own dad. I grew up with the Hobby Dad and as long as we (my 2 older brothers) were on board with the Hobby of the Moment we could steal away a sliver of attention. The first hobby was airplanes…Remote Control ones and a real life Cessna big one. So large was this hobby that my father created a very intricate workshop in our basement to build these giant model planes and later opened his own Hobby Shop because my father did nothing in a small way. The real plane which was a very beautiful Cessna was around briefly until my dad had an accident at work (he was a Jet Mechanic) and a piece of metal sliced through his retina which resulted in him losing his pilot’s license.  I never really liked those balsa wood planes, but I had one, because to not build one and fly it myself would have been to lose out on those precious 5 minutes of attention I got when I nosedived the thing right into the ground. My brothers built and flew them too…I’m not sure how my mom got out of it. My sister was born right after my dad’s eye injury and she was too young to play with Epoxy so she was exempt. The next hobby following planes was the Corvette, which lasted about 4 months until my mother realized that 4 kids in a Vette was not going to be practical, and of course he really wasn’t a good driver with that one eye either. So… a few eye surgeries later, the motorcycle phase began. This one lasted a good long time and once again resulted in my dad opening up a side business to repair motorcycles and his deep involvement with that rugged bike gang…The Goldwing Club.  My brothers and I managed to scrape some money together and we had our own motorbikes…of course. I co-owned a Honda SL70 with my brother David that mostly I just rode around the yard and burned my leg on the exhaust pipe. My parents had the matching jackets, the personalized helmets and all the expensive crap that went along with it, the radio on that thing could be heard a block away.

By this time I was actually out of the house, being as my parents moved to Florida and I didn’t, thinking that I couldn’t leave “ The Band” and thus leaving me to fend for myself eating ramen noodles while they drove around in matching jackets on the beach. My relationship with my dad pretty much declined after that and not long after my parents divorced, which unleashed a whole new parade of hobbies. There was the Rollerblading phase, the Stunt Kite phase and the coup d’grace the Horses.  I think it’s important here for you to understand that when my dad went in…he did it big. It wasn’t just Stunt Kites…it was custom stunt kites and international stunt kite competitions, rollerblading in full decked out garb on the finest wheel bearings created, and the Horses…well see that takes me to Dr. Phil. When my dad entered his horse phase a whole new level of detachment with his family began.  By now my father was re-re-married to his third wife, and together they purchased a large house in a “ Horse Community” and built a barn for the new family additions. Third wife had some bucks…my dad maybe not so much as all those hobbies probably drained his bank account. My dad’s horse was named “ Rusty” and that horse was better than any of his 4 children, so much so that when my dad had a cardiac scare, he put the horse in his will telling us that all his money would go to the horse so it could be cared for. Now…at this point I should say a few things. One, I do love my dad even with this extremely self-absorbed personality he was a nice man. Probably a man who never should have had kids, much less daughters. My dad was a church going man, never drank, never heard him utter a swear word and was home like clockwork when I was a kid. So he was “ around” he just wasn’t around emotionally, which I realized some years later was the “ why” of how I ended up married to a man 14 years older than me and maybe not the best choice…but that’s another story.

Actually it’s the Dr. Phil story.  I was watching the Dr. Phil show one day, and they had this thing on that said something like “ If you had an emotionally distant father and it resulted in poor self-esteem and bad choices in men, “ write us. Hmmmm…sounded so familiar…so I wrote a rather brief humorous piece on my dad’s hobby life. They called me. Yeah…seriously called me and invited my dad and I onto the show. You can’t make this up.  I called my dad and explained the premise of the show and if there is one thing about my family, we know our own shortcomings, so he said to me “ okay Trish (never calls me by my real name, FYI), if you think this will help, I’ll go”. So I thought about how my sister was going to kill me for dragging my dad on air, how Dr. Phil was going to demonize my father so  I called the show back and declined the offer to expose my father and I’s relationship to millions of viewers, even though…I could have been a star.

Right now my father lives a few hours away, but he might as well live light years away. The building of barns, pitching of hay, the riding of bikes and the endless refusal to strengthen his back resulted severe nerve damage and the destruction of his spine.  This destruction lead to pain medication and depression and more medication and more depression and then neuropathy of his feet and his attempt to silence the pain by overdosing on anxiety medication. Things just declined and he is now a shell of his former self, this man is more child than father. It’s sad for me and it’s sad for my brothers and sister.  It’s hard to rectify the father I grew up with faults and all with this empty man.  So on father’s day, I think about all of this. I remember the family vacations, his dry sense of humor, his love of buttermilk (so disgusting) and the laughter we shared.  I love my dad…I miss the man he was…I honor the father I had…and I say to those dad’s with daughters…don’t underestimate the power of that relationship. Otherwise you might end up on the Dr. Phil Show!!!

Happy Fathers Day to my brothers who held up the slack, my son’s father for always being there after the dust settled and to all my friends who are great dads!





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Consistency…it is an often unspoken element of success. There is nothing very dramatic about the concept itself. If you were to ask me “ Hey PT…how do you stay fit?” my answer would bore you to tears…as I would simply answer consistency. There is no magic long-term super exercise or diet that works better than simply showing up every week and eating right most of the time.  If you are one of those people who are waiting to “feel like it”, your probably not very consistent because I can guarantee you about 50% of the time I don’t “feel like it”. There are days and sometimes weeks where if I were relying on motivation to get me to the gym or to eat the right foods, I would be a major fail. Honestly…I just don’t feel like it sometimes. What I do feel like is sitting on my butt, watching some mindless television, sipping some wine and dialing right out of my life. This actually is a conversation I have all winter long with my BFF who lives in Pittsburgh and she is a fitness professional of 30 + years.  Denise will send a confessionary text of complete boredom and disillusionment with her exercise and a strong desire to consume a bag of chips. Now if you ever met Denise, you would think that could never be true, because she looks amazing and is one of those people juicing, rarely eats anything unhealthy, and workouts almost every single day of her life.  But she has her moments and so do I and together we confess to each other this dark secret…We don’t feel like it.  I love to run…and as much as I love it I also hate it. I hate it when it’s hot, or cold, or windy, or too early, or too late, or I’m tired or I just don’t feel like it.  We all have those weeks where our energy is at rock bottom, we have major stressors and the very thought of squatting or running a block is as appealing as watching The Kardasians. ( and if it’s spelled wrong ..whatever )

The consistency secret is simple. To phrase Nike “ Just Do It”, sounds so trite but it’s really all there is too it. You put your workout clothes on and go, it might be a crappy workout but that’s okay because not every workout in your life is going to be “ Amazing”. Matter of fact I can guarantee you that about 25% of the time you might wish you WERE watching the Kardasians. Fitness, good health, eating right …these are lifetime habits that will get blown about for the rest of your life. The storm comes up and then it goes and the sun will make another appearance. This is why having a plan in place is your best defense against “ not feeling like it”. Discipline is so important if you want to stay consistent, you have to train discipline just like you train your body to love those burpees…it may suck but you suck it up!

This week schedule your workouts, plan your meals and stay consistent. No more yoyo dieting, no more I worked out last month but skipped the last 2 weeks because you were in a funk.  Besides that the super cool thing about participating in group fitness…is when your missing…we will…hunt…you…down!

See you on the mat …


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Great = Get Real Evaluate All Thoughts

Great: Markedly superior in character, quality or skill. Excellent. Webster’s Dictionary has a few meanings listed for the word “ Great”. It can also mean “large” or “big” and “being beyond average”. When someone greets you often they will say “ how are you today” and very often the response is “ great, I’m just great”. Sounds kind of braggy when you look at the above definitions. “How are you Steve?” Oh, Ted I am superior and beyond average and maybe a touch big today” It’s the no brainer response that we all use, because truly your response is to be polite and not give Ted your dissertation of the quality of your life.  “ Well, Ted since you asked, I am having recurrent gout in my feet, my cat keeps missing the litter box and my driver’s license was revoked because I have macular degeneration and I keep running into parked cars” Great….Steve…that’s just great.

I have come up with my own rendition of  “Great”, and I am renaming it GREAT….great huh?

G = Get

R = Real

E = Evaluate

A = All

T = Thoughts

We have a tendency to float through our lives and while things may not be perfect, we live with the mediocrity.  Your diet is a mess, your 20 pounds heavier than 3 years ago, exercise seems undoable and you push through because well…you’re great.  Greatness is a mindset to be sure, but is it a realistic mindset? There are some super important things in life that can determine the quality of our lives. Family, work, housing and health I think top the list.  Are you great except for your health? Do you have good health but a soul-sucking job? Do you have a great job but your family is in shambles? So many variables. Honey-Boo-Boo seems pretty damn great…except for that little obesity problem.  Donald Trump appears great…except for his hair problem, so much money and that hair!!!

I always say it takes one to know one and trust me I am “one”.  I am not great. There are several areas of my life that could use a swift kick in the ass. Nobody does the I am fine game better than me, and I don’t mean to be polite, I mean if I say it enough to myself I get a free pass to excuse the behaviors that are not serving me. So you know what…I am going to be GREAT!

For starters I am no longer going to use the following words “ I can’t “ and “ I don’t” and my most favorite “ I’m too old”. I can, I will and I’m not ancient like Joan Rivers for heavens sake!  So on that note, I went and bought myself a real blender so that I “can” make all these super healthy drinks that my BFF has been trying to get me to do for ohhh….say…maybe 2 years. I can’t I said before, I don’t have a blender.

Second I have been basically lazing about with my fitness program. I can’t train there because I don’t belong/it’s to far/it’s too late. Turns out I can train however I want and I don’t have to belong anywhere…and maybe it’s NOT to late! Maybe I need to get some fresh ideas and stop with my own brain dead routines!

True confessions are not easy, especially when it’s to ourselves. It’s nothing but justification to defend the mindset we create for ourselves to dismiss self-responsibility. I hear it all the time, I can’t eat right because I don’t have time to grocery shop. Except, you have time to go out to dinner 5 nights week? I don’t have time to exercise. It’s expensive…but you can go out drinking/eating 3 times a week? I challenge you to be GREAT…Get real evaluate all thoughts.

I feel pretty good right now, I have taken down some detour signs and roadblocks I put up out of fear and complacency.  I am going to move ahead with my training and my life’s work. It won’t be perfect, it may not even be what I planned and quite frankly I don’t care. I trust the process that life will treat me right when I dial in and participate and stop excusing and defending myself.

I hope you have a GREAT day


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Yoga …Hot or Not…




My best friend Denise, she thinks she wants to try some hot yoga. Knowing that I did Bikram Yoga for a year, she has been asking me to sort of give her the 911 on the heat deal.  Lets do some background information first on the BFF. She is extraordinarily fit, a fitness professional of …oh let’s err on the minimum side and say 35 years.  Flexible…you bet…strong…oh yeah…endurance…for sure. Now lets do some background on myself. I am moderately fit, fitness professional and stiff as a Quaker. When I was conceived God said “Hey grab some 2X4’s, some hinges and call it Patty”. In my entire life I have never been able to do a simple backbend, and the rare ones I have semi accomplished looked more like a end table…no graceful arch of the back.  The other thing to understand is I am a VERY lazy stretcher, it’s just too boring for me. Of course it’s also the reason I have a back that sounds like fireworks and hamstrings that could play in the orchestra…first string.  Many years ago I was at a Sprint Triathlon with my other flexible friend Kristen, and they had this free yoga class. Let’s go she says….of course no worries for Kristen, she was a collegiate gymnast!  Me….I hail from 84 Lumber…great. So there we are in some pose I cannot accomplish because my hips are tighter than my dads wallet…and the instructor looks me dead in the eye and says “Honey, You have problems! “ NO shit Sherlock!

Damn yogi’s.

Over many years I have attempted yoga, knowing that it is exactly what I should be doing. I quit because I suck at it and I hate sucking at anything.  I look tall but in reality I am only 5’6”…my legs belong on someone 5’8” and my torso on someone 5’4”…you can hardly see my head when I am driving that’s how short my upper body is. YEAH…try touching your toes when your legs are the length of a foot long sub and your torso the length of a saltine cracker. Okay…I digress…anyway…so a couple years ago I had a client that wanted me to do Bikram Yoga with her.  Some guy named Bikram Sumthin created Bikram Yoga, it consists of the SAME 26 postures in a nice toasty room of 105 degrees and lasts 90 hellish minutes. You know I was dedicated to this client because I actually went and then I did this for one year straight.  Denise wants to know my experience so here it is:

The first time I went I had no idea how HOT it was, I mean I run in 90 degree heat…so big deal.  So there I am and within the first 10 minutes I had that weird my ears are ringing I am going to face plant on the floor feeling…so I left the room. You should know you are NOT SUPPPOSED TO LEAVE UNLESS ITS CARDIAC ARREST…oh yeah…I got scolded. The next time I understood that Hitler Yogi was not going to be silent if I left the room, so I paced myself by sitting down every minute or so. You’re allowed to sit or lay down your just not allowed to LEAVE THE ROOM.  Okay so there is the heat…and then there is the bright glaring light and mirrors that surround you. It’s hot so it’s not like you can drape yourself in clothes to cover up parts you’d rather keep under wraps, and for me that’s my short torso. I confess…there is no six pack under my workout tops. So there I am standing in my 2 piece hot yoga clothes and with every fold I get to glimpse the folds of my stomach rippling with sweat, not pretty. So there was that…and the fact that I could not fold over in half to my toes…and the fact I can’t stand on one leg without falling over…and the fact that I can’t do a bow pose as I am composed of wood. One year…I did this for an entire year thinking at some point it would get better. I gave it my best and I still sucked. And lest I leave this out…there was one day when I had put some Icy Hot on a quad I strained in the morning. I washed my leg prior to going into Bikram, but you know what? It didn’t matter because 15 minute into the class I was having a severe chemical burn on my legs…THEY WERE ON FIRE. By this time I was so indoctrinated that I actually poured my water onto a towel and threw it over my legs so I could stay in class.  Don’t call me a quitter.

One would think that after a class where you lose half your weight by sweating it out on the floor, I would have been svelte after that year.  Well…the thing is…if you replace the fluid with wine it kind of equals out.




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The Perfect Myth


I am by nature a researcher, a planner and a perfectionist. All three of those things have the potential to lock my thoughts and actions down like Sing-Sing. We all have a way of being in this world and many times it works against us not for us. Personally I think its just habit gone wayward. The intention is good it’s just we get wrapped up in all these scenarios we like to create in our minds. Some examples of this might be: I can’t start exercise until after the first of the year because I might not have time and if the time I have isn’t perfect then I must wait for the perfect time which we all know miraculously appears after January first with the appearance of the exercise fairy.  OR: I might as well just eat whatever I want because it’s the holiday season and I might as well enjoy every morsel shoved my way, I mean everyone is doing it and if I wait until that magic day of January 1st my life will be back to perfect order and I can eat right then because the diet fairy will magically appear and with one wave of the wand I will instantly change all my habits in one month. And then of course there is that big, big problem of FEAR. Fearful of looking stupid in Boot camp, fearful of falling off the diet wagon, fearful of appearing selfish, fearful of “not having enough”, fearful of creating an expectation you may not live up to.

So…this is my 2 cents of advice. Relax. If you are waiting for the perfect day, with the perfect amount of money, with the perfect amount of time, with the perfect amount of self-motivation…you are going to be waiting for Utopia, a fictional society written about in 1516.  You can go buy the book but you most certainly cannot actually ever find a place that does not exist.  As a Floridian I get asked all the time “ How do you run in that heat and humidity?”  And my answer is “ If I waited for the perfect day, I’d never run”. I just deal with it and so far I haven’t passed out or missed a run other than the occasional hurricane, getting hit in the head by flying debris is not a smart idea. I don’t have a perfect diet, I don’t have a perfect exercise schedule, I don’t have the perfect amount of time…I just have the perfect intention of making my health a priority. Most significant changes we make in our lives are usually done one small goal at a time.  Today is going to be as perfect as tomorrow will ever be .

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Mindful Movement



Mindful movement is what happens when your brain and your body are in the same place at the same time, it’s not your body flailing about in an effort to mimic an exercise. Mindful movement happens when you’ve taken the time to train a movement with integrity and efficiency. Most of the top athletes look effortless because they have spent many hours perfecting movement. Their training has a plan and a progression. And with that training comes an efficiency of movement.  Athletes generally spend a great deal of time getting tune-ups before they head out for a test drive.  Oddly enough right now in the fitness world the general plan is to send everyone out for a test drive regardless of the worn out tires and sputtering pistons.  The general public is out of shape but being trained like they have a master’s degree in movement.  And then you get hurt and you stop, discouraged and disappointed. Not a good plan for either the trainer or the client.  I blame this on “The Biggest Loser” mentality,  if your not killing yourself it must not be good. If Jillian isn’t screaming at you to move through the exercise even though your back is arching like a cat and your shoulders are up to your ears….JUST DO IT.  The mindset is unless you punish your body , you won’t achieve that magic 5 pound weight loss a week shown on TV. Guess what folks…it’s Reality TV that is about as real as Cher’s face  or The Kardashians.  Some facts here that needs to be acknowledged, you can lose weight in a rigorous fitness program, provided your diet is equally rigorous. The problem as I see it is many people who are engaged in these intense fitness programs completely lack any of the basic skills needed to get the results they are after. It’s a general statement, I am well aware that there are also some really great fitness professionals that require it’s participants to finish fundamental classes before they start the more intense program.   In the personal training profession we are well aware that our clients come to us to improve their lives through fitness, our goal is  personal training should enhance your life both physically and mentally. The old mentality of training was based on the “ Bodybuilding”  where all the focus was pieces and parts of your body not your body as a unit. I think the latest styles of training such as boot camp have removed the focus off bulging biceps and back to training the body as a unit. What I am trying to do is to make sure you have the basic building blocks you need to move your body as a unit, and that means training movements not muscles. My approach to fitness has been based in function since 2002, which means I train movement that helps you on the golf course, at boot camp, as well as trimming your hedges!

Mindful movement starts with knowing the how’s and why’s of your exercise plan.  How do you stand to engage your core? How do you flip a tire without flexing your back and putting your spine at risk? How do you swing a kettlebell using your hips and not your back?  My career as a personal trainer has spanned through every trend there is, I know what works…I know what hurts.

Basic Movement Workshop…it’s free…it’s designed to help you succeed. I educate first…and train second…just like your an athlete…because you are.

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What’s In A Name ?


When I was a child back in the days of milkmen and 3 television channels,  I came home from elementary school with a note from my teacher. She wanted documentation that my name was now indeed Mary Ann and no longer Patricia Anne. That’s correct…I went to school and told my teacher my name was now Mary Ann.  Don’t ask me why, I have no idea. The only reason I know this fact is my mother still has the note from the teacher.  I have my theories, one of which was as a child in the Moore family no one ever was able to actually retain their birth name, but instead bestowed some totally different name by my father.  My brother Tim was Joe, I was Tricia or Sue, and my sister Katherine was Rinner. My brother David had a host of names I mostly recall the meanest one which was Bozo.  We still call my sister Rinner, which is better than the original Barfy.  Later in life my mother began calling me Pat, a name I HATE and my dad now calls me Trish. When I began working in hospitals everyone called me PA because there was another Patti working there already, hence began my lifetime of being known as a set of initials. Years later when I remarried and my last initial turned into a T…I was now PT. I don’t mind PT, I actually like it and in the New Smyrna Beach community if you ask about “Patty”, they will look puzzled and say “OH ! You mean PT “. The other confusing part of my name is it is officially Patricia, which throws people off. All my certifications and degrees are in that name but if you call me Patricia I feel like I’m in trouble. Patricia Anne…go to your room!

I admit that I have carried on the tradition of changing people’s names. I do this mostly because I have a really sucky memory for names.  I am really good at visualization so I started calling people by how I visualized them. This is how I kept all my gym rat friends organized in my head. There was Packerman (he always wore a Greenbay packers hat), Poof-a-do (he had some super coiffed hair), wheel polishing Mike ( he owned a store that did chrome wheels ), Cement Joe ( he owned a cement company), Jane Fonda ( some chick who like to pose around the gym on the floor like Jane Fonda), and Nasty Girl who wore shorts with no undergarments and was generally gross. Then there was Helga (a “trainer” who just seemed like she left Communist Russia and went straight to Gold’s Gym ). My most recent name placement is Bosu Boy.  I don’t rename people to be mean, it’s just how I see them.  I should mention that before I really knew Phil, he was Buff Dude.  Please note once I actually know you, I stop calling you these visualized reference names…mostly.  Phil works with a guy who has a son, from day one I called him Scooter…I have no idea what the kids real name is.

What does any of that have to do with fitness you may be wondering?  Well think about it, when you choose a exercise facility or a class how much of the name influences you? We visualize through words, words have power and when used in a manner to instill confidence or inspire some emotion the word can sell the product or service before you even see it. Boot Camp brings to mind intensity…it sounds challenging and strict. Body Combat sounds tough and ShBam sounds like a night at the disco.  I really have no clue why or what P90X inspires other than a big question mark in my mind. I know what it is and it still makes no sense to me.

I happen to be in the process of creating a fitness program designed for small groups of 6-12 people.  The components of this class will encompasses some movement skills, strength, basic ol’timey floor work and some metabolic movements to get your booty moving.   What I am offering  is a chance to engage in a program that is coached by me, much like a personal training session without the cost of a one on one session. I just don’t know what to name it, which considering how adept I am at renaming humans is a stumper. Maybe PT circuit…yawn…The PT PowerPak?

I could use a little help here…!

Please stay tuned, I will be presenting a FREE Movement Basics workshop at Impact Fitness in October. If you ever felt like a dork at a Boot Camp you need to attend, if you want to really understand how to manage those body weight exercises, you need to attend. It’s FREE… expert advice that you can take with you and incorporate immediately into any workout program. And it’s FREE!! Did I mention it’s FREE???

PT…Patty…Trish…PA…and mom ( my favorite )

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Release The Rail!


      Yesterday I found myself at the gym due to Isaiah…the tropical storm. I don’t mind running in the rain, but I do draw the line at gail force wind and rain.  So there I was forced to run on the treadmill and endure 4 miles of going nowhere.  There were quite a few other people walking nowhere as well…and this is when it hit me. Every single person was holding onto the rails for dear life. I tried to see…did they have an inner ear problem maybe some balance problems, maybe a fresh hip replacement? But not a single person came into the gym with a walker, so why were they now using the treadmill like a walker? I mean they all seemed able bodied? What is it about those handrails that inspire people to hold on with a death grip, and then when they get off they seem perfectly capable of walking without holding onto anything!  This is my confession…this is a pet peeve of mine, poor form on cardio equipment. I even had a fan page on Facebook titled “ Your Form on Cardio Equipment Sucks”.  I know…I know…it was my pet even if it was ugly and mean, I released that pet into the wild. And then today…there it was purring at me from all those treadmills.

       So lets move onto the “why” you should not be holding on those hand rails unless your 90 or a klutz.  Walking is a movement that not only involves the legs, but the upper body as well. When you are walking your arms naturally swing to your side, unless you’re an ape or Tyrannosaurus Rex or Cee Lo Green.  Researchers have been studying the effects of walking on the lumbar spine, and while with some individuals walking reduces back pain with others it increases it. Most of this disparity involves the speed at which the participants were walking. When you are walking slow (strolling) the shear forces and compressive loads on your spine are actually higher than if you were walking faster. The reason for this is because when you are walking at a faster pace, you are also increasing the muscle activity in your trunk and arm motion.

Researchers found that at a faster speed with the arms swinging vigorously, there is an increase in the trunk musculature activity reducing lumbar spine stress and spinal loads by 10%.  The swinging action of the arms increases the muscle activity in the trunk musculature improving energy transfer efficiency and load sharing. The study results indicate that the benefits do not occur with a slower walking pace because there is less trunk muscle activity and an increase of static loads on the spine.  In other words swinging your arms redirects the energy off your spine, we call this “unloading”.  I found an article in a Science magazine (Cosmos Magazine) and yes…I am a science nerd…the article was a story about robots and the study of motion.  The robots without “arms” …tended to spin and fall down, and when he added arms VIOLA they moved like humans!  Holding onto handrails is not a natural way to walk, that’s why you rarely find handrails winding around through your neighborhood, mall or Mt. Everest. Holding onto handrails ruins your spinal alignment and actually teaches your body an unnatural gait pattern. And if all of that is not reason enough for you to let go, how about the fact that you are burning fewer calories when you have the death grip AND it’s raising your blood pressure!  Release that grip and you will burn 20-25% more calories. You think that walking on the treadmill at a 15% incline is doing wonders for you…think again.  If your are doing the death grip on that incline you are cheating your legs and butt from doing most of the work. And by the way the bigger the muscle the bigger the calorie burn. Not to mention the stress you are putting on your back. If you can’t walk on an incline minus the handrails without falling over, reduce the incline. If you can’t walk at 4.2 without handrails, then reduce your speed. You’re only fooling yourself and killing your back.

Let go…you can do it. Release The Rail!!








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Magical Thinking

Disney…the epitome of Magical Thinking.  Nothing is more magical than taking your child there for the first time and just watching them enjoy all that expensive fantasy. I admit by the 3rd, 4th and 5th time the magic does tend to fade, that’s when you go to the other magical place, EPCOT that serves “adult “ beverages. Walt Disney and his executive dreamers were very, very smart people. They knew how to engage the child, the child within us, and the adult that was sick of princesses and flying elephants by putting a giant bar (EPCOT) in the middle of the whole complex.  You know who the other magical genius is? It’s Steve Jobs, I mean who could have imagined carrying around a computer the size of a deck of cards? I still find my iPhone magical, my iPad magical and my iNano thingy magical. I threw out my old giant cell phone from 1995 but kept my old Sony Walkman that was less than magical but okay back in 1995.  Who could have ever dreamed that one day we would run with a postage stamp device that stores a jillion tunes, and not some lunky cassette player strapped to our backs in a neoprene fanny pack?  I think there is a strong defense for magical thinking, as long as it’s not so magical you start referring to yourself as King or Queen of the Universe.

Your probably wondering why am I blabbering about Magical Thinking? What does this have to do with fitness? It has everything to do with fitness, because being fit is so magical…okay not really, but it has everything to do with thinking you can achieve a state of health and wellbeing that you currently don’t believe in.  Maybe you just have convinced yourself that being overweight is some destiny handed down to you by a genetic relative named Helga. Maybe you have convinced yourself that exercise sucks more than a rerun of Full House.  Maybe you tried this stuff before and failed, maybe you went to a gym full of bodybuilding posers and felt stupid and MAYBE you use every negative thought you have to avoid the possibility that your wrong.  Cause I think your wrong…you just need a little magic in those thoughts.

Magic…really PT? Yes. What if Steve Jobs never actually had one magical thought that he could overtake the computer universe? What if Walt never thought about building a giant imaginary empire? I read somewhere that Mr. Apple really did have magical thinking, that he actually thought he was super special and while it appears that this caused him to be a rather arrogant man, I’d say it worked for him. It’s pretty hard to picture something you don’t believe in.  Which leads me into the concepts of desire and intention.  Without getting all Deepak on you, I’ll try to keep this simple.  Desire is a wish…I wish I was model skinny, I wish I had a BMW, I wish I had those Jimmy Choo’s . Intention is desire with a plan. I wish I had those Jimmy Choo’s so my plan is to save $50 every pay period for a year or until I have a spare$1,000 lying around.  Intention has an action plan and a goal, but no attachment to every single little detail that might make it happen.  Life isn’t a static rigid thing, there are always going to be adjustments made to accommodate the bigger picture.  There is real science behind this intention stuff and it’s called Michael Bratman’s Theory of Human Practical Reasoning. This theory is also called the BDI (Belief- Desire-Intention) Model, which is used in computer programming of all things!  I’ll spare you all the egghead details, just do a Wikipedia search and go ahead and bore yourself on your own.  But what I found really compelling was the statement that “beliefs” are stored in a database (we store ours in our minds) and I quote” Using the term belief rather than knowledge recognizes that what an agent believes may not necessarily be true and in fact may change the future” !!! So…if you really believe your destiny is to be an overweight, out of shape human then you may in fact be shaping your future to match that, even if it’s not remotely true.

Maybe you need a little magical thinking to replace all those negative belief’s you’ve grown so fond of. And by the way, an excuse is nothing more than some negative belief you’ve convinced yourself to be a convenient truth.  Usually this is the part where I get into a “discussion” with a client, and let me tell you people will hold onto an excuse tighter than Mariah Carey’s spandex.  Today why don’t you dare to dream for just a minute that change is possible, matter of fact it could be magical. Take that wish and turn it into an intention, take that intention and build a plan. Set yourself one small goal and don’t be too attached to how you’re going to get there. No one path to health and wellness is the same for everybody, and your goals and desires should be what matters to you not some image put out in a magazine.  My goal as a fitness professional is to be your guide, mentor and coach. If you need a magic wand…call me…I’ll help you create some magic in your life.






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