Category Archives: Personal Training

Final Results

I have been having computer problems for the last 3 weeks or so and I haven’t had consistent computer access so I haven’t been able to keep up with the blog. Regardless I did my last weigh in on Sept 8th and was at 211 pounds.  So I only lost 4 in my last week and didn’t reach my goal by 1 pound.  Oh well, still came very close and lost 29 pounds, and about 6% bodyfat.  I did really kick butt in the last week with my nutrition and exercise but it just wasn’t enough.  Once again, I am 100% positive that I would have easily reached my goal if not for the injuries.  I probably took approximately 14 days off from exercising because my injuries (left knee, both elbows, achilles tendon, and lower back) over the course of the program.

After the program was done, I took a full week off from exercise and wasn’t as strict with my diet.  My knee and elbow were still bothering me, and during the next two weeks I ran a couple of times, got a gym membership and lifted weights twice.  That’s about it.  My nutrition was mediocre at best and the  temptations of football season certainly didn’t help my waistline.

Now I have 4 weeks left until park and rec basketball starts and my goal is to generally kick some butt over the next 4 weeks.  When I weighed in at the beginning of this week I was at 220 pounds.  When I did my final weigh in I was definitely slightly dehydrated and had lowered my calories for the final 2 weeks of the program.  I probably, realistically, put on about 7 pounds in the last 3 weeks.

My goal is to get back below 210 pounds.  I also want to lift a lot of weights, increase my vertical, speed, quickness, and endurance.  With a gym membership, I will definitely put on muscle as long as I lift.  Lots of squats, deadlifts, pull-ups, bench presses, shoulder presses, and abdominal exercises.  I won’t be doing as much distance running, and more of my cardio workouts will be focused on sprints and plyometric exercises.  I need to play basketball at least 2X per week and include various basketball drills.  Lastly, I need to do my morning warm-up exercises and do lots of stretching and icing.  About 2 weeks before the season starts, open gyms will begin and I should be able to play basketball 3-4X before the season starts.

Phase I is complete and phase II will go from October through an alumni basketball game which is the first weekend after the new year.  My goal is to be able to dunk a basketball by then and get my bodyfat under 20%.  After that I will have playoffs for the park and rec league in early February and my goal is to win the league.  Looking forward from there I have my 20 year high school reunion this summer and I want to have my bodyfat in single digits by then.  It won’t be easy but as long as I hold myself accountable to workout hard, eat right, and keep my lifestyle in check, I should be able to reach my goals.

If you need accountability and the best information on how to exercise safely and effectively, check out our website at and check out our accountability services.  Thanks for reading and do something active today!

The Home Stretch

Crunch Time, a week and a couple of days before my final weigh in where my goal is to be under 210 pounds.  I’ve got 10 days left to lose over 5 pounds, I’m currently at 215.

The last couple of weeks have been tough.   First of all it’s gotten really hot after a very  mild summer.  Overall, the heat helps with weight loss, but it’s still miserable.  I sweat buckets when I’m running which is good because sweating is the ultimate way to detoxify.  Forget about stupid, restrictive diets to detox, just sweat everyday (the more the better, within reason!) and cut the junk out of your diet.  That’s how you detoxify and it doesn’t cost you a penny!

I have really picked it up with the running and have run everyday for the last 12 days.  Unfortunately this increase in running has riled up my left knee.  It’s pretty sore everyday and it hurts every time I stand up or sit down.  The pain isn’t unbearable, but it’s definitely there.  Luckily it rarely bothers me when I’m running or sitting still.  My elbow and Achilles tendon issues are still present.  I feel the Achilles when I’m running, but not always and it seems to be getting better.  As for my elbow I still feel it when doing pull-ups (still keeping pull-ups to a minimum) and occasionally when I’m lifting something heavy away from my body.  I’ve been icing (knee, elbow, and Achilles) at least 2X per day, and have been religious about icing  after running. I’ll keep up with it, it’s summer and the ice is kinda nice sometimes.

Here’s my biggest hurdle, 5 tough pounds left to lose and I’ve ran for the last 12 days straight.  It’s no wonder my knee is ailing and I hope it doesn’t limit me the last week.  Also, I’ve cut back my calories and I think my body is in starvation mode.  It’s not actual starvation, I’ve still been eating 1500 calories or so per day.  What I mean is that my body has lowered it’s metabolism in response to a decrease in calories.  I think if I stay the course, take a day off then really kick it into high gear and grind out the last week I’ll lose the last 5 pounds.  Time will tell and there are certainly no guarantees.  Either way I’ll have lost at least 25 pounds which isn’t bad in 3 months.

If you need guidance/coaching from a professional, send us a e-mail at:, we’re here to help.  Thanks for reading and do something active today!

Week 8 Complete

The basketball tournament is over and I have 4 weeks left.  We took 3rd place, I was happy with how I played and it was a lot of fun.  I met my weight loss goal to be 223 by the tournament.  I weighed in at 221 pounds at the beginning of week 9.

I’ve been very good with my eating, the only meat I have eaten was planned.  The next time meat will cross my lips will be the first NFL game of football season.  I’ve also been very solid about cutting out all animal products and consuming a plant based whole food diet.  I’ve also cut out alcohol during the week completely.  I was having 1-2 beers on occasion during the week and I think it hurt my progress.  I drink strong beer that is usually 180-210 calories per bottle, which adds up quick.  Two beers, 400 calories=not reaching weight loss goals

I will need to average about 3 pounds per week to hit my goal of being under 210.  On the upside, no injuries from playing basketball however I did have another back problem that occurred early in week 8.  I was doing plyo’s (jumping exercises) and I landed funny.  I felt pain shoot up the right side of my back and woke up the next morning very sore.  Each day it got a little better, but I had to cut back my activity significantly.  I countered the reduction in activity with a decrease in calories which is why I was still able to hit my weight loss goal.  The pain continued for 3 days, but luckily I felt really close to 100% the day before the basketball tournament.  Thankfully I didn’t aggravate the injury while playing.

Going into week 9 I’m feeling better physically than I have since beginning the program.  My elbow is better but still not at 100%, same with my Achilles.  My back feels ok (which is about the best it feels generally) and my knees have been good.  I did a lot of icing last week in the lead up to the tournament and I think that helped.  I feel good about where I am at, and I think that as long as I can keep my body healthy, I can reach my goal.  Time will tell and an important point to remember is that it gets harder to lose weight as you progress.  I’ll keep at it and hopefully it will be enough to reach my goal.

Thanks for reading, and if you NEED to make a change, please contact us at Body Balance Healthy Living, we’re here to help.  Have a great day and do something active!

The Healthy Lifestyle Plan-Weeks 6 and 7

I am currently in week 7 of The Healthy Lifestyle Plan and things have been going relatively well. I’m down a total of 13 pounds from the beginning of the program and I have drastically improved my nutrition and activity level. I have set some pretty lofty goals and haven’t met them, however I am losing an average of 2 pounds per week. I have really stalled after losing 10 pounds relatively quickly (about 3 weeks). Since then I’ve only lost about 4 more pounds in 3 weeks. This is very common, losing weight fast at the beginning then plateauing. It’s very frustrating, but it’s important to remember that the goal of losing 2 pounds per week is an average, and the even more important thing to remember is that you are improving your health.

In terms of nutrition I’ve been very good.  The time I have trouble with is at night, around 1030 or so I get hungry.  I’ve done a good job making healthy choices though, and the times when I’ve eaten poorly, it has been planned.

The basketball tournament is next weekend, which will be during week 8.  At that point I will be 2/3 of the of the way through the Healthy Lifestyle Plan, and my overall goal of being under 210 is still realistic, but it will be tough to hit.  I’ve upped my activity level with a little more resistance work, and a little more running.  My right elbow is still sore and continues to give me problems.  The knees are feeling better and my achilles has been better too, but not 100%.  I faced a severe setback during week 6 when my pelvis was out of alignment.  This commonly happens 3-4 X per year and this time it was bad and very painful.  My chiropractor got me back in alignment with 2 visits, but I did have to take 3 days off because it was just too painful.  Fortunately my back has been feeling good this week, and my goal for the end of the week is 223 pounds.

There you have it, I’ll try to post again before the basketball tournament.  Don’t forget, if you’re looking for some guidance, check out our website at and don’t hesitate to contact us.  Thanks for reading and do something active today!

Cardiovascular Workouts

There are 3 components in a comprehensive fitness plan.  They are: Cardiovascular exercise, Resistance Exercise, and Flexibility.  All 3 components have different risks, and injuries that can happen, but, fortunately, when a well thought out and intelligent approach is used following a fitness program is very safe.  Lets begin by discussing cardiovascular exercise and the best way to do it.

When you are doing cardio, you are trying to do 2 things.  #1 you are strengthening your heart, lungs, the rest of your cardiovascular system, and improving how your body utilizes oxygen.  #2-you are burning calories.  The key to your cardiovascular workouts is to do intervals.  Why intervals?  Let me use an example to illustrate.  Picture yourself driving down the freeway.  The speed limit is 70 and you’re crusin.  In terms of gas mileage you’re getting highway miles, right?  Your car is running efficiently, so it’s not using a lot of gas.  The same thing happens with YOUR body when you are doing cardio at a moderate, constant intensity.  Your body hits what is called your steady state heart rate.  This is where your body is running efficiently.  You’re up to speed and your crusin, generally, it’s a comfortable spot to be.  Training in this fashion is better than doing nothing, but there are better, smarter, more effective ways to spend your time exercising.  So if you were to go back to our theoretical drive down the highway and instead of crusin at 70 you were to speed up to 70, then slow down to 35, then speed up to 80 then slow down to 35 then speed up to 90, etc. you’d use a lot more gas right?  This is the perfect illustration to show why intervals are the smartest, most effective way to do the majority of your cardiovascular workouts.

For my next post, I will give some more specific information on how to use intervals to get the most out of the time you spend doing cardio.  The reality is that most people who exercise do too much cardio.  More on that in my next post, thanks for reading!

The Top 5 stupid things I see people doing at the gym

I know a lot about exercise, fitness, health, nutrition, and motivation,  I know my stuff!  It’s no wonder that when I go to the gym to workout I see people doing stupid stuff.  The scary thing I see is Personal Trainers doing stupid stuff with their clients.  If you ever see a Personal Trainer doing behind the neck pulldowns with a client, steer clear.  Some practices are more dangerous than others, and I’m trying to list the most common and dangerous things I see people doing at the gym.  Check it out!

1. The first stupid thing I see people doing at the gym is not dangerous, but it sure is a waste of time.  It is very common however.  It’s doing long duration, moderate to low intensity cardio in the belief that it burns more fat because if you up the intensity you’re only burning sugar.  Hogwash!  Only do 1 long duration (40+ minutes) workout per week, and do 2-3 moderate duration (20-30 minutes), moderate to high intensity cardio workouts per week.

2. Using too much weight or not enough weight.  Men generally use too much weight, and women don’t use enough.  Never sacrifice proper form to complete repetitions, doing so is asking for injuries.  You do need to push yourself though.  Keep track of your repetitions and try to do a few more reps each workout.

3. Not warming up.  All it takes is 5-10 minutes of cardio to warm-up which will greatly decrease the chances of injuring yourself.  Always warm-up prior to resistance training, stretching, and doing any type of high impact activity, believe me, your joints will thank you in the long run.

4. Doing pointless isolation exercises-some isolation exercises (exercises that primarily work only 1 muscle group) have merit for various reasons, examples are: rotator cuff exercises, transverse abdominis contractions, calf raises, and rear delt exercises.  Instead of wasting your precious time on isolation exercises such as bicep curls, and tricep extensions, make the most of the time you spend resistance training and train the big, functional muscles.  This requires doing compound, multi-joint exercises such as squats, pull-ups, and push-ups.

5. Doing too much when beginning a program.  Making yourself so sore that life is, quite literally, miserable is no fun and pointless.  Excess soreness is associated with high dropout rates, so it is best to avoid it.  Start slow, do higher reps, work on your form, and only do 1 to 2 sets per exercise for the first few weeks.

It is always important to remember that if you hurt yourself while working out, you won’t be able to workout.  If you can’t workout, you won’t reach your goals.  Be smart, and avoid these mistakes and you will be on your way to leading a injury free healthy lifestyle.


Body Balance Healthy Living’s Top 5 Outdoor Activities for Winter

Oftentimes winter can mean weight gain and inactivity for many individuals.  It’s too cold to exercise outside is a common excuse.  Actually there are many fun outdoor activities to enjoy and if you bundle up it won’t be too cold.  Part of The Healthy Lifestyle Plan is to do a fun activity for an hour (preferably with friends or family) each week, even in the winter.  Yes it’s more challenging to exercise outdoors during the winter, but with a little knowledge and a few purchases you can enjoy the great outdoors, even in the winter.  Here are Body Balance Healthy Living’s Top 5 outdoor activities.

#1-Skiing-You can try downhill or cross country skiing.  A work of caution, skiing is hard work.  You will need to be in decent cardiovascular shape to try it.  Downhill skiing (or snowboarding, which is more challenging for beginners) is a blast, but can be dangerous, so be careful and know your limits.  Downhill skiing can be expensive as well, it will cost your around $30 or so for a lift pass and rentals vary (usually $10-$30).  If you plan to consistently downhill ski, buying skis will save you $ in the long run.  Body Balance Healthy Living recommends buying used skis because you’ll save a ton of money.  The second option is cross country skiing, which is an amazing workout and not for beginners with low levels of fitness.  Find trail by using google (simply google cross country ski trails) and, once again, it is recommended that try to buying a pair of used skis or rent.  Lastly, you can take classes for both types of skiing, give it a try!

#2-Ice Skating-Most cities have a recreation center that will have open skating and rentals.  If you have your own pair, try outdoor ice skating, it’s a lot of fun.  Take the whole family, it’s sure to be a good time.  If you are a good skater, try playing hockey.  All you need is a pair of skates, a hockey stick and a puck.  Even if you’ve never tried hockey, give it a try, it’s fun and the whole family can participate (please, no checking).

#3-Sledding-Isn’t sledding for kids?  Well of course it is, but it’s also a great workout walking up and down the hills.  Sled’s are relatively cheap, just go to a local store and pick one out.  Take the family out, and have some fun sledding!

#4-Snowshoeing-Do you enjoy hiking when the weather is warmer.  Do you know where a few good trails are?  You can use those same trails in the winter to snowshoe on.  Otherwise, google snowshoeing and where you live (for example google snowshoeing Rochester Mn) to find good areas.  Also, you can snowshoe virtually anywhere, it’s fun and a great workout.

#5-Walking/Running/Hiking-who says you can’t go for a walk or a run in the winter.  Sidewalks and roads can be icy and dangerous, but you can buy a pair of YakTraks (for about $20) that go right over your running shoes or boots.  This product gives you extra traction to prevent falls on icy sidewalks or roads (they are perfect for runners).  You can also go tromping through the snow for a great cardiovascular workout.  Many hiking trails are cleared during the winter, give them a try too!

There you have it, 5 activities to try during the winter.  Try to schedule a different activity each week to find one or two that you and your family like.


Top 5 exercises to do at home

While it’s nice, and recommended, to have a gym membership it’s not a necessity if you want to be more active.  There are plenty of exercises you can do with little to no equipment.  Here is a list of the Top 5

1. Some type of Squat-there are a variety of options, and ANYONE can do them.  You can do wall sits (lean up against a wall, squat down as far as you feel comfortable and hold), sumo squats (just squat down and hold it), standing squats (put your hands behind your head), chair/couch squats (just sit down and stand up, and dumbbells squats where you place the dumbbell between your feet.  Start with 1-2 sets and try to do a little more each workout (do squatting exercises 1-2X per week)

2. Walk you Stairs-a great way to get in some cardio and work your legs.  Start at the bottom and walk up, then down your stairs.  That’s one trip.  Keep going until you are winded.  Keep track of your time and how many trips you took.  You can try to go faster (be careful), or you can add trips as your cardio improves.  I do stairs with ALL of my in-home clients.

3. Push-ups-a simple easy exercise you can do anywhere.  You can do wall push-ups, knees down push-ups, or knees up push-ups depending on your upper body strength.  Perfect Push-ups are highly recommended when you are doing push-ups (go to for Perfect Push-ups) because they take a considerable amount of pressure off of your wrists, elbows, and shoulders.

4. Pull-ups-this is the only exercise that requires equipment.  I recommend a removable doorway pull-up bar (go to for doorway pull-up bars).  Most people aren’t capable of doing a full pull-up.  You will have to use a chair or bench to do your pull-ups.  Your legs will assist.  Shoot for 10-15 reps.

5. Planks-No list of exercises to do at home is complete without abdominal exercises, and planks are the bomb.  Most people will have to start out with a front plank.  You can make it harder by using a exercise ball or balance disc’s (go to for both), and by doing a side plank.  Planks are among the best and safest abdominal exercises you can do and require no equipment.

There you have it.  You don’t have to go to the gym and deal with driving, parking, waiting for equipment, and confusing contracts.  You also don’t have to spend a ton of money on a home gym.  The only piece of equipment you really need (to work all the major muscle groups) is a removable doorway pull-up bar, and there are plenty of pieces of exercise equipment that you can get for cheap.  If you’d like to learn more, please send me an e-mail at ian@BodyBalanceHealthy Living, I’m here to help!

3 more benefits of hiring a personal trainer

While there are literally unlimited benefits for hiring a personal trainer, the most important one is that you will, without question, improve your health.  You will look better, feel better, and you will have a higher quality of life.  In many cases your change will often inspire others to follow suit.  So take the time, do a little research and find a personal trainer that’s right for you.

1. Variety – If you keep doing the same workout over and over again, you will plateau and become bored with your routine.  A Personal Trainer can help you stay interested by always coming up with fun, new, challenging exercises for you to do.

2. Results – If you are haphazardly resistance training without a plan or program, chances are you won’t get reach your goals. Your Personal Trainer will make sure you are getting the most out of the time you spend working out.

3. Accountability – Your Personal Trainer will record every workout to make sure you are making progress and assign additional workouts for you to do on your own.  Your trainer will ask about the assigned workouts and if you did them which will hold you accountable.

Right now (around the holidays) is the perfect time to hire a trainer.  Avoid putting on that holiday weight by exercising more.  Then, when the New Year rolls around you will have already developed the habit of exercising regularly so it won’t be as hard.  If you are in the Rochester, Mn area, please contact Body Balance Healthy Living @ 507-313-0248 to set up a free consultation.


Top 3 reasons to hire a Personal Trainer

Anyone who wants to exercise more, and learn how to do it correctly and safely is the perfect candidate for a Personal Trainer.  If you need to lose weight for your health, then you are the perfect candidate for a Personal Trainer.  Lastly, if you have, or are at a high risk for a lifestyle disease such as heart disease, adult onset diabetes, or cardiovascular disease, then you are the perfect candidate for a Personal Trainer.  Remember, the single most important thing you can do for your health is exercise regularly.

You will need to decide where you will want to workout with your trainer.  Many trainers will train you right in your home, or you can join a gym and hire one of their trainers.  A in-home trainer will probably charge $50-$80 per session, and trainers at gyms generally cost $40-$60 per session plus your membership costs.

There are many good reasons to hire a Personal Trainer, here are the Top 3.

1. Guaranteed Workouts-When you hire a Personal Trainer you are virtually guaranteeing that you will workout.  It’s easy to come up with excuses to skip workouts when you’re doing it on your own, but when you hire a trainer you will be much less likely to skip workouts because Personal Trainers work by appointment.  If you have an appointment that you’ve paid for you can’t just skip the workout unless you want to forfeit your hard earned $. 

2. Motivation – It’s quite difficult to work out as hard by yourself as you will with a Personal Trainer. A good trainer will push you when the time is right and always expect you to give a good effort.  A good trainer will also use motivational techniques such as goal setting to keep you motivated.

3. Safety – If you are exercising improperly, you are likely to get injured, which means you can’t workout and reach your fitness goals.  A first-rate trainer will constantly watch your form and make sure you’re doing an exercise properly.  Additionally, they will work you out at the right intensity for your current fitness level, and will educate you on dangerous exercises you should avoid.

If you think hiring a trainer might be right for you, take a look online and see what your area has to offer.  Do a little research and begin interviewing trainers.  Most trainers will offer a free consultation where they will go over pricing, policies, and paperwork.  Choose the trainer you are most comfortable with and schedule your first session.  If you live in the Rochester, Mn area contact Body Balance Healthy Living at 507-313-0248 and set up a free consultation.