Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Personal Training Knows No Boundaries

I know personal training would help me live a healthy lifestyle, but I just can’t get to the gym for a scheduled appointment. This excuse actually does sound reasonable because most personal trainers are affiliated with one or two gyms or fitness centers, which can be a challenge for the client who is constantly on the go or maintains a highly inconsistent schedule. Just ask anyone in sales when was the last time s/he was in the same town on a twice-weekly basis. 

The last WordUp! article focused on co-working as a means to bring together people in similar professions from different companies to share ideas and work on their own projects in a community forum in conjunction with social media. 

Personal training also takes on a combined physical/virtual model. Social media-savvy personal trainers, like Julie Costa, ACSM Certified Personal Trainer and IFBB Bikini Pro, and founder of JC Fit, have cultivated  full-service program bundles that include exercise, nutrition, and ongoing individualized  email support as well as packaged articles, e-books, and blog posts to accompany each plan. These offerings bring together the concepts of one-on-one customized training with group personal training for accountability and peer support with the added convenience and flexibiity of being able to complete the workouts anytime, anywhere. 

I asked Julie about the delivery and effectiveness of this model in the following interview. 

Julie, tell me a little about the typical JC Fit client. What’s the profile, and what are his/her fitness goals? 
There is no typical JC fit client. I love helping others to reach their own health and fitness goals!  My current clients range in age from 18 to 60 with a wide range of fitness goals. Most clients' fitness goals are geared towards weight loss however I also train clients with goals of putting on size/mass, clients who wish to get stronger, clients who are enlisting in the marines, clients who are going away on a week long ski trip and need to work on their endurance, clients who are competing in bikini and fitness competitions - as you can see there is no typical client. I'm here to help everyone reach their health and fitness goals.

How do you use social media to find new clients? 
Social Media makes it super easy to promote your business. I promote a lot of my online training via Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. I have my own personal Facebook page and I also have a business training page for JC fit where I include workout and nutrition tips, and all things health and fitness. I post weekly challenges to get everyone excited about a new week as well as healthy recipes, workout tips, nutrition tips, etc. I also promote my online training programs and e-books on Facebook for people who are looking for a little more personalized attention. Social Media has made it so that I can work from anywhere and train clients from anywhere.

Do most of them complete your program successfully? 
The key to sticking to an online training program is checking in with your trainer/coach. When I don't hear from some clients for a prolonged period of time, I know that they are not being accountable on their end so I'll send a quick email to check in with them. By checking in weekly with me via email, clients can tell me what's working for them, what's not working, and what we can do moving forward to have success. My most successful clients are those that check in.

How have your clients reacted to the online and social networking aspects of the programs as opposed to 1-1 or group training they’d receive in a gym? 
I have just recently moved from Boston to Miami. In Boston, I had a handful of 1 on 1 personal training clients and taught a handful of bootcamp classes every week. For a lot of my clients, it's difficult to cut ties completely so enrolling them in my online training programs was ideal. Online training programs hold the client more accountable as they physically have to go and do the workout on their own, but each workout is written the same as if I were there training them in person. I really connect with my clients and my friends, they respect me and trust me so online training is the next step for them. I'm still having interactions with my clients weekly, it's working out great

What advice would you give to someone just starting out on a fitness and nutrition regimen who needs a little boost of motivation? 
With anything that involves change, it is best to start slowly. Most health and fitness programs fail within the first 2 weeks simply because we start off too strong, lose motivation and quit. A simple way to overcome this is to start off slowly and to actually enjoy the process. As we become more emotionally attached to our workouts, our new eating style, and our personal health and fitness goals, it becomes much easier to push ourselves harder. Remember that with every new journey, in this case a health and fitness journey, you must take baby steps to get there. Enjoy it and think of it as a new lifestyle adventure.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Bringing Social Back Into the Physical Realm through Co-Working

Online social networking has become all the rage in recent years as a way to build brands and communities and to engage on pretty much any topic you can imagine, from dating to radio, enthusiast groups, religion, politics, customer forums, etc.

The corporate office setup has become more virtual as well, with more progressive companies recognizing that they can eliminate geographic barriers and hire wherever the talent resides simply by adding “strong ability to work effectively on remote teams” to their list of desired skill sets. 

The remote workforce is a win-win endeavor. It saves the company in operational expense and ease recruiting challenges through access to a broader applicant pool, and it adds convenience, balance, and flexibility for the employee. Both enjoy the added productivity that comes with having upwards of 2 hours or more in commuting time each day re-allocated to work, networking, etc. 

But what about the employees who thrive on in-person office structures? Are they out of luck? Not at all. Co-Working facilities, such as Cambridge Co-Working Center earn their profits by facilitating the collaboration and camaraderie that many relish from sharing ideas in-person. This concept is not new, but it has traditionally been limited to people working for the same employer. Co-working in 2012 brings together entrepreneurs, engineers, artists, etc from different industries and companies to inspire and motivate one another. Many employees choose to split their time between co-working  locations and their home offices.

And of course, it didn’t take long for clever people to merge online social networks with in-person co-working. Meetup  groups have been emerging in various cities, including New York, Boston, LA, and Chicago, which gather people together for co-working opportunities that they create themselves. So now, freelancers and other self-employed professionals are taking advantage of co-working. 

The bottom line is that people are most productive, happy, and creative when they can work in the manner and style to which they can achieve the greatest success. Carry on.

Photo Credit: http://bit.ly/ORAwyR

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Want to Burn More Calories This Summer? Start in the Bedroom

That’s right. You can start your fitness regimen without even leaving your bedroom. 
According to a December 2011 Study by Sarah Jio (NY Times Co), Americans have sex 127 times per year --that’s an average of 2.5 times per week. 
With the continuing trend toward technological automation, leading to more and more ways to be sedentary and American schedules becoming busier and busier, it has grown increasingly difficult to squeeze in a couple hours per day for the gym so many people skip it altogether. This is a shame because many fitness and health professionals have found ways to achieve an efficient workout even despite time constraints. It is possible to achieve a meaningful workout in far less time.
You’ve likely heard many say that 20 minutes of exercise per day is better than none at all, and that you should work it into your daily routine. True story. You can park further away from your office, do butt clenches at your desk, walk during lunch, etc. And...you can work on your cardio and muscle endurance and...umm..stamina...while enjoying a universal pastime in the boudoir. 
A few fun factoids* about calorie burn to help get you motivated:
  • Kissing: 68 kcal/hour
  • Massaging: 80+ kcal per hour
  • Having Sex: 144+ kcal per half hour
  • Making Out: 238+ kcal per half hour
Of course, getting a good workout shouldn’t be the only reason you engage in sexual activity, but it is certainly an added bonus. So if you’re at or below the national average of 2.5 times per week, try bumping up (no pun intended) your amorous activity. 

And then, take your partner by the hand and hit the gym together. 
Photo credit:http://www.idealflickr.com/romantic-sms/

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Social Networking Lessons From Grade School Children and Their Teachers

No more pencils, no more books....OK, that little sing-song is revealing just how long it’s been since I was in school. And another academic year comes to a close. Over the past year, I’ve spent the majority of my free time in the company of grammar school teachers, and have drawn some key lessons about social media from them and from their students that I apply to my dual professions- integrated marketing and fitness/lifestyle. 
Social Media Lessons For Corporate and Fitness/Lifestyle Marketers From Schoolchildren and Teachers:
  • It’s not about having the most toys or even the most expensive toys; it’s about having the best toys and convincing everyone else to want them.
  • It’s not about having the most friends (or customers or fans or followers); it’s about devoting your energy to those who are most relevant to you.
  • There are many ways to share what you’ve learned. The best way is to tell people with a few clear words and a loud voice.
  • If you boast about something great you can do (i.e. on the playground, bench press, or in a data security algorithm), be prepared to deliver or you will be like the boy who cried wolf.
  • Digital media is great but it doesn’t replace the ability to see, touch, hear, taste, and smell simultaneously. Play to all the senses.
  • You never know what a child (or customer, or training client) is dealing with outside the classroom. Be gentle. 
  • You may be good at baseball but fall short in gymnastics. Ask someone who is talented in gymnastics to help you. And then you help him in baseball. You both improve. That’s how it works.
  • If your parents do your homework for you, how will you ever learn? 
  • Your idea of “good” or “better” may be different from someone else’s. Understand what your students, teachers, clients, managers, etc. think is “great.” Perception is reality.
  • If you offend someone, say you’re sorry. If someone offends you, accept her apology. We’re all human.
  • Social forums are not just for complaints. If you like something, tell everyone you know. You may even wish to draw a picture. 
  • We can measure a lot of things: grades, revenue, member retention, etc. But some things--such as true causality for a purchase decision or enjoyment of phys ed and music classes--do not have established metrics. Yet, their benefits are substantial and lasting.
  • Misunderstandings and miscommunications happen despite our best efforts to avoid them. We’re human. It’s never just one person’s fault. Hug it out and move on. 
  • Share your snacks. You may be hungry yourself someday. 
  • You can succeed without someone else having to fail. We’re all better off if we just help each other. 
  • If you focus on the task at hand, you can complete all the major work before 2:00PM. 
  • If you hear it as a song, you’re more likely to remember it.
  • Along with titles such as Classroom Monitor, Prefect, Vice President of Marketing, and Personal Trainer come great responsibility across the entire matrix. Don’t just manage up. 
  • A group of like-minded people uniting for a common goal is extremely powerful. Want to know just how powerful? Ask any teacher who has tried to keep 32 second graders calm on a field trip. 
  • We are always learning, always growing, always improving. Enjoy the process.
And to all my teacher friends--any chance you could use your social media influence to convince corporations around the world of the value in having summers off? My thanks in advance. Oh, and one more thing--I really need a new sing-song. 
Photo credit: http://frontier3.wordpress.com/

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Etiquette Snafus- From the Office to the Gym

As over 1/3 of US adults are obese*, more and more companies are allocating funds to wellness programs and health education to prevent illness that can result in high costs associated with absences and reduced productivity, not to mention increasing health insurance costs. These companies encourage--and some even fund--employees’ efforts to work fitness into their daily routines.

We’ve seen articles about office etiquette don’ts and a whole slew of pet peeves at the gym. And naturally, as more office dwellers are permeating the fitness clubs, there will be some commonalities. Just a few consistent sore spots:

-Cell phone use - People answering and actually taking calls during meetings, in the locker room, and on the treadmill. I actually witnessed someone have an entire conversation on a mobile phone in the middle of a group yoga teacher training workshop. Even my loudest “Ommmm” didn’t drown out the sound.

-Failing to clean up your messes- There’s nothing like climbing onto a step machine and placing your hand into a pool of sweat. Wipe down the machines. And when you inadvertently leave someone off a meeting invitation or throw someone under the bus in a widespread email distribution (I’m sure you’d never do it intentionally), correct the error and offer a genuine apology.

-Loud or strong-smelling food- Chomping on gum, crunching on chips, and exposing people to the smell of tuna fish or egg salad in any close-quarters environment is in poor taste. And yes, people have been spotted doing this at the gym as well.

-Unruly children- While it may seem to you to be a child’s dream come true to sit quietly in the guest chair at your office for 8 hours or on a bench in the locker room while you shower, change, and chat with your friends, it’s not. Ask your kids. And when kids are bored, they find ways to entertain themselves, which are often disruptive to others. Can’t blame the kids.

-Temper tantrums- No, this one is not about the kids. Stressful situations occur all the time- sales and revenue take a downturn, the club makes an error in billing your dues, office politics become problematic, you have to wait to get onto a cardio machine. How you behave in these moments can be very telling of your character.

There’s nothing wrong with holding people to basic rules of common courtesy. And you will get the best results if you do so with compassion and understanding--we all have bad days. Try a simple “excuse me, could you take that call outside please?” or even a comical (but not sarcastic) quip that pokes fun of the situation, not the person (i.e. “Carol Brady made it look so easy but she had a full time nanny”). And keep pumping iron. A fit and healthy lifestyle has been known to improve mood and ability to manage stress.

Photo Credit: Pure Mobile
*Source: http://www.downtoearth.org/health/nutrition/obesity-america