A Review of the Online Trainer Academy: A Year in the Life of a Workout-At-Home Mom and Online Trainer

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Two years ago I became a certified personal trainer, and I was beyond excited (that's an understatement), to start my journey of helping women learn how to love their bodies in a way that didn't create shame or added stress.  I had a picture of what my ideal day as a personal trainer would look like, who I would help and the work I would do.  However, there was a minor hiccup in my plan: I was seven months pregnant at that time, and I had no idea who was going to hire me and then allow me to take my 6-12 weeks of maternity leave directly after being hired.  That's when I had a brilliant idea: to start training women on my own, and that's exactly what I started doing.  

As soon as my tiny human made her arrival, I was back to helping women and gaining a following.  My clients began to lose weight, decrease their back, hip, and knee pain, and started to see an increase in energy to do things that they enjoyed.  It brought me great joy to do the work that I was doing each day, but as people like to say, all great things must come to an end. Seven months into working my dream job, we decided to move more than an hour away from my clients and network I had begun to create.  I was at a loss of what to do.  I debated keeping my clients and making the 2-3 hour trip every day, or completely wiping the slate clean and starting fresh in my new location.  

Right about the time that we were packing and getting ready to move, I somehow stumbled onto Jon Goodman's Personal Trainer Development Center (probably because of one of his awesome articles he writes) and the Facebook group that introduced a new concept of training clients online.  It took a few days to wrap my head around the concept, but I realized it could give me the missing link to keep helping my clients progress without actually having to see them for each one of their sessions.  Suddenly, my concept of personal training just blew wide open, and I decided to start my business with this model as the primary mode of helping many women and moms, because I found it to be more cost effective and allowed busy moms and women the accountability they needed to push forward toward their goals.  

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This introduction into online training led me to Jon's online training certification that had just came out.  For those of you who don't know what the Online Trainer Academy is, it's a comprehensive certification program designed to show fitness professionals how to build and grow an online training business for more income and freedom in a smart and strategic way.  I had a new business: Cr3ation Fitness.  I had a somewhat jumbled system of how to help my clients, but I was exhausted by having to keep track of all my clients, my leads, and my clients' progress manually.  A job that I had so looked forward to had become something that was draining the life from me and taking time away from my tiny human. What intrigued me about the information in the certification was the additional information about setting up legal systems, something I had no knowledge about as a personal trainer. 

What I found, though, was an entire book that helped me revolutionize how I helped my clients.  It helped me create even better systems that allowed me to do a better job as a personal trainer.  It helped me understand how to reach people that could truly use my expertise and guidance.  Best of all, though, Jon's methods allowed me to take his information and create a unique set of systems that benefited my personal style and goals that I had for my business and for my clients.  

The information found in the certification wasn't about getting rich quick or setting up marketing systems that had no personal touch or relationship building.  It was truly about building better relationships with not only my clients, but the people I was already in contact with, about being a better trainer and coach to my clients that I had, and about giving quality information that could be used in a variety of different ways. 

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It's been a year since I've gone through the certification and I have been given the tools to focus on helping women and moms love their bodies well.  I was enabled to figure out where I needed to start and how to go about reaching these women and moms: moms who were experiencing back pain and pelvic pain during their pregnancy, new moms who wanted to feel amazing in their new bodies, and moms who needed someone to keep them accountable to self-care and learning how to realistically reach their goals.  In the past year, I have learned how to speak truth to women about who they are as a person, and I now do that confidently knowing that what I offer is something unique and worthwhile.  

Best of all, I rarely get stressed out or exhausted from working in my business now.  I get to focus on what I enjoy: helping my AMAZING moms and women reach their fitness goals and learn how to love their bodies in the process.  I get to enjoy pushing them to do new things and bettering themselves, and I get to focus on creating new workouts that would benefit each of my clients individually.  The stress of always having to find new clients or remembering if I have checked-in with a client is no longer there. My systems guide me, and remind me what I need to do and when I need to do it.  This is a large part in thanks to the Online Trainer Academy. 

For all of you personal trainers out there who want to help your clients become the best versions of themselves, I would strongly suggest joining the OTA and taking the certification.  This program is beneficial to helping your clients in-person, online, and a mix of both, in which I use all three variations depending on what my clients need.  You will learn how to be a better trainer to your clients, how to set up systems to help you excel, and gain the freedom to live the life that best suits you. 

To learn more about the Online Trainer Academy and sign up for the certification, click the link : https://pts.samcart.com/referral/kcDxjKMw/143055

In addition, you can now save $400 on the Academy and take part in a FREE mini-course through this link as well: https://pts.samcart.com/referral/free-intro/143055

The Necessary Recovery Workout and Why It's Important

As an athlete growing up I only knew one thing: I needed to train as hard as I could and as much as I could to get better, faster, and stronger.  Usually by the end of 2 months (or 3), I was in better shape, but I was also worn down and just plain tired.  I always thought I had to work hard all the time to reach my goals, which is true for the majority of the time, but there's also a small portion of your weekly routine where it's necessary to slow it down and take it easy.  Over the course of the past few years of finishing my college career, being pregnant, and now having a beautiful child, I have learned the art of active recovery and why it has made reaching my goals that much easier. Who knew that resting, and resting well was actually good for your body!?

What is the purpose of active recovery?

Active recovery is meant to get your body moving just enough for you to then stretch it out and get it prepared to work hard for the next workout.  It is more than simply taking a day off, which can actually be worse than going full speed ahead!  When you take a day off and do nothing but sit and lay around, your muscles get tight and this may further any imbalances you have in your body.  Doing a hard workout the day following your rest then furthers these imbalances and creates a vicious cycle that can lead to injury. This being said, active recovery lengths your muscles, helps to diminish your imbalances and weaknesses (think correcting bad posture), and puts your body in a great position to safely crush the next workout ahead.

My Favorite Active Recovery Workout

The first part of my workout includes walking or jogging with intervals for 10 minutes.  

I decided to walk for 1 minute and jog for 2 minutes.  I did this 3 times and then walked for the last minute.

  1. Walk 1 minute, Jog 3 minutes
  2. Walk 1 minute, Jog 3 minutes
  3. Walk 1 minute, Jog 3 minutes
  4. Walk 1 minute

Notice that I did not run.  I merely jogged.  I wanted to loosen up my muscles and increase my metabolism by jogging, but I didn't not put an excessive amount of stress on my body by doing so.  

For your own intervals, the first minute should be easy.  You should be able to talk through it with no problem. 

The more intense part of your interval should be fast enough that you can talk purposefully if you wanted to. If you can't talk while you go into your higher interval then you are going too fast. 

Yoga and Stretching

For the second half of my recovery workout, I chose to do yoga.  Yoga works my muscles and also stretches them at the same time.  I completed each exercise for 45 seconds and rested for 15 seconds. 

 

1) Warrior 1 Pose

Push through your back leg, bending your knee at 90 degrees.  Keep your back straight and arms reaching up toward the ceiling.  Tighten your core and focus on deep breathing.  Do this on both sides. 

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2) Warrior 2 Pose

Push through your back leg, turn one leg and keep your hips open.  Keep your arms stretched out parallel to your hips and allow your knee to bend to close to 90 degrees.  Do this on both sides.

 

 

3) Triangle Pose

While keeping both legs straight, bring your hand down your leg to your ankle. Hold your other arm straight in the air. Do this on both sides. 

 

 

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4) Lunge

Lunge forward with one knee bent at 90 degrees and your other leg straight out behind you.  Place one hand on the ground on each side of your knee.  Complete this on both sides. 

 

5) Half Pigeon

Bring one leg in front of you, bending your knee.  Bring your other leg straight out behind you, toe pointed away from you. Keep your core tight and back as straight as you can to feel a stretch. Complete this on both sides. 

 

6) Child's Pose

On your bent knees, extend your arms all the way out in front of you.  Go as close to the ground as your body will let you.  Allow your head to relax.  If this hurts your knees, try putting something soft underneath to help.  

 

7) Child's Pose Reachers

This is the same concept as Child's pose except you will be reaching one arm all the way under your body with your palm up.  You should feel the stretch on the outside portion of your upper arm and shoulder. Complete this on both sides. 

 

Putting it All Together

Your recovery workout doesn't have to look exactly like this.  For some of you it may look like jogging for 10 minutes and stretching it out.  For others it may look like a nice walk and yoga.  Find something that you enjoy doing as a recovery workout and make sure to get that in at least once a week.  

Need help coming up with a plan or ideas for your own recovery workout?  Email us at cr3ation.fitness@gmail.com and we will be happy to help.  Until then, workout hard and rest well!

A Guide to Pre/Post-Partum Fit Moms: Best Exercises By Trimester

I didn't know I was pregnant with my daughter until I was about 7 weeks along. I had been recovering from a concussion, prior to the revelation, which meant my workout regiment included:  not doing anything, resting, or very, very low-impact exercise.  Needless to say,  "fit" was not where I was. Discovering I was pregnant pushed me to change.  I wanted to get back in shape and I didn't want to stop there. I wanted to play volleyball through my entire pregnancy.

Let me preface this by saying I was in the best shape of my life leading up to the concussion. I had returned from tryouts to play professionally in Europe (which I participated in despite a sprained ankle,  story of my life). Even though 2 months had gone by and I was extremely limited, I was still in relatively good shape. I was very aware of what my limits were, when and how to push myself, and the warning signs that would come from my body to keep my growing baby safe. 

That being said, the key to working out during and after pregnancy is to listen to your body. If you are coming from a place where you don't run on a regular basis, I would not suggest beginning your exercise routine by trying to run more than 10+ miles a week while you are pregnant. Start slow and build up.  However, if you already have an exercise routine, simply check with your doctor to make sure it's safe for the duration of your pregnancy. 

Below is a list of abs that are safe to do for every trimester.  I also included a bonus "fourth trimester", what most doctors call your three month postpartum period, to help you recover and get back on your feet faster. 

First Trimester Abs: Choose Your Favorites

During the first trimester, any and all abs are allowed as long as your doctor also agrees. I had a friend who had such strong abs that it was going to crush the baby, so she was restricted from exercise after she reached about 6 weeks. I cannot stress enough how important it is to check with you doctor before doing any physical activity.

For the First Trimester I have included 3 ab exercises that will most benefit you in the long run and help prevent diastasis recti.  These are merely a guide for you. Chances are you may not be feeling too hot as you deal with all the new hormones, so make whatever workouts you do fun and enjoyable.  What are you favorite ab exercises?

1) Flutter Kicks

Laying on your back, lift both feet 6 inches off the ground. Alternate bringing one leg about a foot higher than the other. Continue for 30 seconds or for 40 kicks each side. This exercise will work your lower abs.

 

2) Plank

The Plank will work your entire core, including your back and hip muscles, which are going to experience a lot of strain as the pregnancy goes on.  Keep your hips level with the rest of your body as you do this and hold for 30 seconds.

 

3) Superman Hold

Laying on your stomach, lift both arms and feet off the ground. Hold for 30 seconds. This exercise will work your middle and lower back .

 

Second Trimester: Stay Off Your Back!

Doctors recommend that you stay off your back when you reach about 20 weeks, because the pressure from the baby can cut off the main blood supply to it. Up until 20 weeks you can do the exercises listed above, but after 20 weeks you should stay off your back and at this point your stomach as well (if it is uncomfortable). For the 2nd Trimester I have included 3 ab exercises that are safe and effective for you and your growing baby.

1) Cat-Camel

This exercise will loosen your hips and back from tight muscles. Start on your hands and knees with your back flat. Contract your abs and round your back toward the ceiling. Return to neutral.  Then tilt your hips toward the floor and return to neutral.  Repeat 20 times.

 

 

 

 

2) Standing Bicycle Crunch

This muscle will work your obliques, as well as your upper and lower abs.  Standing with your feet shoulder width apart, take your right knee and touch it to your left elbow. Alternate sides for 20 times on each side.

 

 

 

 

 

 

3) Glute Bridge

Your glutes are an important part of your core.  This will help keep your hips in line with your body and take some of the pressure off of them. Laying on your back, feet shoulder width apart, bring your hips up as far as you can. Hold for 30 seconds.  *After 20 weeks do this exercise by resting your upper back on a yoga ball or something to prop you up.  When you lift your hips, your head should still be above your hips and that's OKAY.

Third Trimester: Better to Stay on Your Feet!

By this point, if you haven't been put on bed rest, the majority of your exercises will be conducted sitting or standing. Any type of crunching or bearing down motion will be advised against since it puts more pressure on your stomach and could cause a greater gap. I would also advise against any exercises you do from your hands and knees that let your stomach hang, because it also puts more pressure on splitting your abs. Use discretion here: if your stomach isn't that big, then go for it with your doctor's permission. I had a smaller stomach until about 8 months, so I actually stopped doing anything on my hands and knees right about the 8 month mark. For the Third Trimester I have included 3 ab exercises that will keep you safe and help prepare you for childbirth.

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1)Pelvic Tilts (You can do this inclined, sitting, or standing.  The motion is the same!

This exercise will loosen your hips and lower back while working your inner most abs - something that will come in handy for childbirth and recovery.  Sitting with your back against the back of the chair, turn your hips up toward your head, which will make your back flatten out against the chair. Return back to neutral, where you may have a small space between the small of your back and the chair (that's perfectly natural). Tilt your hips toward your feet, which creates a larger gap than in neutral. Repeat for 20 times of each.

2) Side Plank (Left and Right)

This exercise will work your obliques and help close the gap from diastasis recti.  Starting on your side, come up onto your elbow. Your feet should be staggered. Hold for 30 seconds on each side.

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3) Standing Side Crunch

This exercise will also work your obliques.  Standing with your feet shoulder width apart, touch your right elbow to your right knee. Alternate sides for 20 on each side.

 

 

 

 

 

Fourth Trimester: After Birth and Recovery

My body frame was small and my stomach grew pretty large by the end of my pregnancy, so my diastasis recti ended up being about 2-3 inches all the way up and down my stomach. From this (and having to recover in awkward positions with a newborn), I had pelvic pain and lower back pain to go along with it. I knew my body well, so I began doing a few simple exercises before my 6 week appointment. I started about a week after birth when my body started feeling better. Talk to your doctor about what you are allowed to do immediately after birth. I would suggest waiting until you and your doctor have a plan before doing any type of physical activity. These 3 exercises will be good for whenever you do start getting back into the swing of things.

 

1) Reverse Toe Taps

This will work your lower abs and inner most abs and help repair diastasis recti, pelvic pain, and lower back pain.  Laying on your back with your feet on the ground and knees bent, bring one knee up to 90 degrees. While you do this, your back should stay firm against the ground. Alternate for 10 times on each side to start.

 

 

2) Core Braces

You can do this from any position you'd like. With your back firm, contract your abs to make them hard. Hold for 5 seconds. Release for 1 second. Repeat for 20 times.  This works your inner most abs.

 

 

 

 

 

 

3) Modified Bird-Dog

This works your entire core. Begin on your hands and knees. Lift one arm up to shoulder length while keeping your core tight and back flat. Alternate for 20 on each side.

 

These are just mere options of what you can do while you are pregnant and recovering! Having strong abs will help you have a speedy childbirth and recovery. Remember, always consult with your doctor before beginning any new exercise routine, including abs. And try your best to have fun and enjoy yourself.  Your time is too precious to do anything but.

As always, if you have any questions or would like a more in-depth personalize exercise program, you can contact me at Cr3ation.Fitness@gmail.com

The Forgotten Middle: 3 Ab Exercises to Strengthen and Tone Your Abs

           As a long time athlete, I used to push myself to do ab exercises that were new and extremely difficult because it felt good to challenge myself and work hard.  As often as I did these exercises, I still always found myself with a small "pooch" where my lower abs were.  Like most people would do to combat this, I started doing more lower ab exercises to help target and strengthen the area, but to my surprise the pooch never went away.

           As I began my fitness coaching journey and training, it became evident that I was missing something when it came to abs. After going through pregnancy and childbirth and earning my Prenatal/Postnatal Certification, I began to realize that there was a crucial part of our abs that the majority of us have been neglecting: our transverse abs.

What are our transverse abs? 

  • These are the innermost abs that hold in our organs.
  • Their function is to stabilize the spine and pelvis, and they are commonly known as the "corset muscle". 
  • Working these muscles will SIGNIFICANTLY improve your lower back pain and create a flatter stomach.

3 Ab exercises that will work your transverse abs:

1. Core Braces

       Core Braces are exactly what they sound like: bracing your core. Laying on your back with your spine in neutral (there may be a small space between the floor and your lower back and that's OKAY), tighten up your stomach and hold for 5 seconds. You should be able to breathe through this normally.

Do this exercise 20 times and repeat 2 times.

2. Pulsing Braces

        Pulsing braces use the same concept as core braces. Laying flat on your back with your spine in neutral, tighten up your stomach and hold for 3 seconds. Instead of releasing all the way, release halfway and tighten up your abs again.

Do this 20 times and repeat 2 times.

3. Pelvic Tilts

Begin by laying on the ground with your spine in a neutral position. Bring your belly button toward your head, which will cause your hips to tuck under and your back to lay flat against the floor. Return back to neutral position.

Next, bring your belly button toward your toes. Your hips should tilt forward and bring your back further off the ground. Return to neutral.

Do this exercise 20 times and repeat 2 times.

Where can you do these exercises?

        I would begin these exercises while laying on the ground, but once you understand how these exercises work, these exercises can be done anywhere!

                        - Sitting at your desk while at work.

                        - Standing in line or while cooking dinner.

                        - Driving in your car.

   These exercises, while they may seem easy, are very effective at drawing your stomach in.  Who knew that working your abs could be so effortless!