San Diego Personal Trainer

Optimal Fitness // Category

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25 Jun


I’ve worked in the fitness industry for a long time and if there is one thing I know to be one hundred percent true, it’s this; the fitness industry is filled with thousands of people, wasting millions of dollars who will never achieve their goals. Why? What quality is it that determines the success of a client? Pretend for a moment you are a football coach. What determines whether an athlete makes your team or gets cut? The superstar athlete with the most talent is not going to be the only one to make the team.

There are going to be many other players that are successful at making the roster. How is the selection going to be made, and what qualities as a coach would you look for? I am guessing you would probably look for the athlete that is coachable and gives 110% percent all the time. Now let me ask you the most important two question anyone has probably ever asked you as a training client:

#1. Is there any reason you would select a player to be a part of your team who isn’t coachable or willing to put in the work?

#2. How much time and effort would you be willing to devote to that athlete?

Successful athletes know exactly what is required of them and they would never dream of telling their coach no or get caught dead not putting in the work, knowing they otherwise would not make the team. Unfortunately, this is not the case in the fitness industry because in the complex client/coach relationship, the “athlete” pays the coaches salary.

I will be entirely honest with you; the fitness industry is extremely difficult to be successful working in. So much so, that the average career life of a personal trainer is less than a year. Let me tell you something; trainers quickly become experts at assessing a client’s coachability and willingness to put in the work. If you show your trainer that you’re going to be an un-coachable athlete, unwilling to put in the work it takes to be successful; they will gladly take your money in exchange for chatting with you for an hour and making you feel a little bit better about yourself because you regularly go to the gym to “workout” with your trainer.

Those clients usually do not last long. They do not see any actual results and question why they are spending thousands of dollars on something that isn’t working. They then move on to try Pilates, or barre, or spin, or some other group fitness fad. They stick with it for a brief time, do not see results, and continue the cycle. DON’T BE THIS CLIENT!!!

The purpose of this article is not to tell you how rough trainers have it. Rather, to reveal to you how to get the most out of your training. We understand what it takes to make the team and the same drive that was in our coaches, it is in us. It is a rarity when God reaches down, and hand delivers a personal trainer a coachable client with the same willingness to succeed as an athlete desperate to make the team. After thanking their lucky stars, they take all our effort and pour it in to that client. That client is the reason trainers become trainers. It is fun and comes natural for trainers to push that individual to be successful.

I have seen those clients be successful working with great coaches and with coaches who have hardly any idea what they are doing. If your struggling to see results, before blaming your trainer, ask yourself how much effort you are putting in. If you were an athlete wanting to make the cut; would you? Are you showing your coach your willing to do what it takes? Trainers do not sign up expecting every client to be a superstar athlete. Your abilities have absolutely no impact on the effort your coach is willing to put into you.

If your mind went straight to that excuse, then that is a problem and you are probably the un-coachable, unwilling to work client I am talking about. If you want to get the most out of your training, tell your coach. Start by having a conversation with coach, letting them know you are willing to put in the effort it takes to achieve your goals. Tell your coach you want to be pushed and that even when you do not want to do something, if they ask, you will.

More importantly, show them! You will immediately notice a difference in the training you receive, the level of engagement, the positive energy, results will soon follow. If you do not want to get the most out of your training, trust me, they will gladly take your money as long as you are willing to give it to them.

29 Oct

Interview process of hiring a personal trainer

We are going to discuss the interview process of hiring a personal trainer.   The decision that should not be taken lightly for it only does it affect your hiring a personal trainer health but also your state of well-being.

Hire a Personal Trainer

Do you want to be happy, healthy, and functionally fit well into your coming years? Are you noticing that it’s increasingly challenging to find the motivation to stay physically active? The good news: you don’t have to do it alone. A qualified Defined Personal Trainer can help you achieve your goals in more ways than you may have considered! Below are my top ten reasons why every person should hire a certified personal fitness trainer.

Reduce injury risk

Ignorance and poor execution are common catalysts for injury. A knowledgeable personal trainer will improve your exercise execution and skill so that you reduce your risk for injury and get the most out of each activity.

Personal trainers are inexpensive

It’s true! Most trainers will charge between $60 and $80 per session and many offer discounts if you buy a package of sessions. And what’s this worth to you?

Let’s say you purchase a four-session package at $70 per hour, which amounts to $280. Say you do one session per week, so your package is good for one month. Now, add up your luxury “feel good” monthly expenses for items such as clothes, shoes, cigarettes, dinners, alcohol, entertainment, etc. Is it more than $280? Most likely! Try cutting down a little (not completely) on some of these expenses and put some of your savings towards your health and future!

Long-term guidance and motivation

As we age, it gets harder to stay motivated towards exercise, so having a trainer guide and motivate you can keep you going. Certified personal trainers can provide structure and do the thinking for you so you can focus on the “doing” rather than the planning. Initially, you may need to see your trainer more often to get on the right track; however, once you have learned what to do and how to do it, you can spread your sessions out to every 3-4 weeks. Consider these sessions your “review, revise and revitalize” check-ups.


Your personal fitness trainer is there, waiting for you to show up. You can’t just find excuses not to go to the gym when someone is expecting you! Plus, your trainer reminds you of your reasons for wanting to exercise, and helps you understand why it’s so important even when you feel as though you could talk yourself out of it!

Variety and creativity

Trainers are professionals who are well versed in making exercise “fun” and more interesting by offering a wide variety of creative exercises. Too many of us get bored with our gym routines and start finding reasons not to go. Keep it interesting!

Learn life-long skills

The role of a personal trainer is to provide you with the right knowledge, resources, guidance, training and skills so that you can do “it” for yourself!  He or she is there to support you as you work towards enhancing the quality of your life now and in the future. Let your trainer guide you and teach you how to be your own personal trainer!

Put the “personal” in your training

A skilled trainer will assess your specific needs, injuries, health conditions or training goals (that 10km race you’re dreaming about, for example). The trainer will then develop a personalized plan with clear timelines and short-term achievement goals that will safely and effectively enable you to succeed.

Learn effective and efficient techniques

Spending too much time at the gym with not enough results? Personal trainers can save you plenty of time and energy wasted doing inefficient workouts. They show you how to maximize your efforts and your results.

Lose stubborn fat

It can become increasingly challenging to lose fat as we age. Why? Four main reasons: loss of calorie burning muscle tissue, increase in caloric intake, decreased activity levels, and changes in hormone balance. A trainer can help you build and maintain muscle mass, increase caloric expenditure and refer you to the proper specialists to address any medical issues such as hormonal imbalances that may be impeding your success.

A trainer is a great resource

A good trainer usually has a network of other specialists in the areas of nutrition, naturopathic medicine, massage, and more. Your trainer can refer you to the right specialists for all your non-exercise health needs.

Set the stage for a healthier future

There is little any physician, personal trainer or pill can do for you, other than what you can do for yourself. Being willing to make real long-term changes in your life is an inside job. Hiring a qualified trainer, even temporarily, can set the stage for a healthier, happier and more functionally active future.

We all want to be healthy and happy well into our senior years. Why not let a qualified and certified personal trainer get you started in the right direction and spark your internal drive to continue your health and fitness program on your own with “revitalizing” check-ups every 3 to 4 weeks. After all, while our top ten reasons to hire a trainer are important, the number-one reason will always be your health and vitality!

19 Oct


How Long Should You Train for Optimal Muscle Growth?

Optimal Training Duration – When talking about building muscle, many people have some dissent on how long a workout should last for optimal muscle growth.

Similar to the discussion about whether you should take your protein before or after exercising, there is and always will be divided opinions.

So, is it 30 minutes? 45 minutes? 60 minutes? Or even longer?

What’s the optimal training duration?

If we travel back in time and would ask some of the most iconic bodybuilders like Arnold Schwarzenegger, their answer certainly wouldn’t be less than 120 minutes.

As you may notice, I am referring quite often to Arnold, and I really have to say that in my opinion, he is just one of the most motivational personalities on this planet.

If you haven’t listened to one of his speeches by now, I can only recommend you to do so. I mean this man’s actions speak louder than many words.

One of the most successful bodybuilders of all time, Governor of California and thriving actor.

How different can lines of occupations be?

Just astonishing what this man achieved. And that is exactly what he tries to convey to all the young people out there.

Everything is possible. Envision your goal and work for it.

Work hard. Every day. Never ever give up.

Anyway, without further ado let’s examine the optimal training length.

On the contrary to what many of these old-school bodybuilders believe in, nowadays more and more people seem to be convinced profoundly that workouts should be kept as short as possible.

After 45 minutes of strength training, it is believed that the level of the stress hormone cortisol increases and that of the muscle-building testosterone decrease.

This study shows that there is a relationship between cortisol and testosterone, however further research is necessary to come up with a clear conclusion.

Thus, longer workouts can even exert counterproductive influences.

Especially busy people are wondering if it’s not equally viable to make progress with just 30-45 minutes of training instead of lifting weights for two hours straight.

What speaks for shorter workouts?

Let’s start with the short training sessions.

Can you achieve the same progress and results with literally half the effort?

To put it shortly, it depends on your individual goals but generally speaking yes, it is possible.

If we take a look at the development of the fitness industry, particularly fitness trends and programs like Tabata, CrossFit, Freeletics or HIIT gained momentum amongst our society.

People are as busy as they have never been before.

Time is a rare commodity.

That’s one of the main reasons why there are so many programs and coaching out there that promise lightning-fast results.

But of course, only if you purchase and follow THAT particular program.

So, we can put on record that society moves the fitness trend closer and closer to shorter workout times.

And inherently, there is nothing against it because the quantity does not say anything about the quality of your workouts.

In other words, if you train with high intensity over a shorter period of time it is even more efficient than spending two hours in the gym doing things by halves.

One thing’s for sure, the longer a training session, the lower the intensity.

Let me illustrate that by giving you a simple example.

Assume you’re doing squats.

With your own body weight (low intensity) you can certainly do quite a lot reps until you are exhausted (long duration).

But if you take a barbell pre-loaded with some weight plates on (high intensity), your legs will already get tired after a few reps (short duration).

Therefore, the shorter training exposes your body to a correspondingly higher intensity.

Furthermore, the fact that our body’s energy stores, the so-called glycogen stores, have been depleted after usually an hour of intense strength training, also speaks for a crisp, fast workout.

This not only makes the training from a certain point on ineffective, because apparently you lack the necessary power, but can even end in over-training.

Because as your body has no energy available to its disposal, it just looks for yourself and attacks your hard-gained muscles.

Moreover, the longer the workout goes on, not only the physical energy drops but also the psychic.

Your motivation goes down, it becomes more difficult to maintain clean execution and oftentimes results in half-hearted sets.

As a result, the effectiveness suffers from that and in worst case that can also lead to injuries.

In addition, as already mentioned, several studies have revealed that from about the 45th-minute, strength training causes a decrease in the anabolic hormone testosterone and on the opposite stimulates an increase in the catabolic hormone cortisol.

To put it simple, the hormone situation shifts from muscle building to muscle depletion.

What speaks for longer workouts?

After we investigated what speaks for shorter workouts, let’s take a closer look at the other side of the coin and the reasons behind why so many people still believe in what Arnold did back then.

Literally living in the gym. Training several hours daily.

But how is that possible? What’s the point behind it?

While it’s true that the longer your training lasts, the more cortisol and the less testosterone is released, yet measurements show that the hormone levels normalize about 60-90 minutes after exercising.

There is no scientific evidence for the exact effect of the short-term unfavorable hormonal condition on muscle building.

The only certainty is that a chronically increased cortisol level or chronically low testosterone levels can inhibit or even reduce muscle growth.

But this condition only lasts for a short time – and that’s the case with longer training sessions!

Hormone status has no significant effect on muscle breakdown.

Additionally, what’s great about longer training session is that it allows you to incorporate one or the other isolation exercise into your training schedule.

The less time you have, the more important it is obviously to focus on the basic compound exercises such as deadlifts, squats, shoulder presses or bench presses. These build the foundation of your training program.

But if you have some more time to spend in the gym, you can, of course, attach a biceps exercise, no question.

However, only by virtue of the longer duration, it is not reasonable to kid around and waste time on your phone or any other distracting thing.

Keep the main thing the main thing.

Get your ass on that bench and lift.

Needless to say, how long you should train for optimal efficiency, depends on your particular goal.

Do you want to build strength? Do you want to become more aesthetic? Or just purely driven by muscle-building?

I think it’s pretty clear that you need more time in the gym when preparing for a competition or in general when doing bodybuilding as your profession.

Should we take bodybuilders routines as a guideline?

Here’s a popular “training rule”:

“Your strength training should take about an hour.”

It is a rule of thumb that has been proven in practice. But not set it stone.

With both longer and shorter workouts, you can achieve great results.

Many people are confused because they get completely different recommendations, lasting from 30 minutes to 3 hours a day.

Anyone who has been involved in strength training for some time will sooner or later encounter icons like Arnold Schwarzenegger.

In his first autobiography “The Education of a Bodybuilder“, he wrote: “At first you will train for at least one hour and eventually for two hours.”

In his peak phase, Arnold trained for three to four hours a day, divided into two training sessions of two hours each.

And if professional bodybuilders work out several hours a day, then it’s probably necessary in order to maximize muscle growth, right?

Nope, not necessarily.

I mean it is quite obvious that a lot of the professionals can only sustain such a workload because they

  • have above-average genetics
  • use anabolic steroids and other performance-enhancing substances

In other words, most professional bodybuilders that you’re seeing on Mr. Olympia (the most important bodybuilding competition) stage, are walking pharmacies.

External hormones and performance-enhancing chemicals can deliver unnaturally high levels of performance and boost your regenerative capacity.

At the same time, we as ordinary people were recommended not to train for more than 45 minutes at a time.

As bodybuilding and weight training went through the development from niche to grassroots movement at the end of the last century, things got even more complicated.

Business people scented morning air and launched “groundbreaking” training programs on the market.

They promise easy weight loss, maximized muscle growth, and that of course, with less effort and time.

Sometimes in just “a few minutes every day”. With this, they proclaimed the exact opposite of the old-school era of the Schwarzeneggers of this world.

And that is where we are still today:

Anyone who starts with strength and weight training does not have a clue about what to believe.

Even experienced athletes wonder if they have been training too long, or too short all these years.

How to determine your optimal training length? Key aspects to consider

“It depends.”

That’s not only one of the most favorite and common answer of my docent, but also very frequent to most questions about proper strength training.

And it applies here as well because how long your optimal workout should last obviously depends on many factors.

As you can see, there are sometimes quite contradictory arguments about how long you should train.

No wonder, because it’s truly not easy to answer that flat rate.

You need to consider certain factors individually if you want to know how long YOU should exercise to reach your specific goal.

In the following, I’ll give you 8 important variables that you should determine for yourself first:

  • Training volume

The training volume refers to the total load that has been carried during a session.

You can calculate it with this formula: sets x reps x weight

For example, if you do 3 sets of 10 reps with 80 kg bench press, the training volume is 2400 (kg).

If you train 3 sets of 15 reps and 60kg bench press, the volume is 2700 (kg).

The higher the volume, the shorter your training should be.

Think about it. It’s pretty logical.

A higher load cannot be sustained as long as with a lower load.

  • Intensity

To increase the intensity, there are various techniques such as supersetsdrop sets or full-body workout instead of split training.

Also, reducing the breaks between each set can be used as an intensity technique.

The higher the intensity, the shorter you should train.

  • Diet

How much protein do you consume daily?

Are you currently on cutting or bulking?

Do you supply sufficient vitamins and minerals that your body desperately needs to recover properly?

Do you drink enough water?

As a rule of thumb, the better your nutritional status, the more intense you can train.

Nutrition is anything but not merely black or white. As long as you ensure sufficient protein intake (2g per kilogram of body weight), eat enough fruits and vegetables to get all those required vitamins, minerals and trace elements, you’re probably good to go.

There is no such thing as “the perfect diet”.

Equally, as it applies to how long to train or when to take your protein, it depends on your personal goals and preference.

If you cannot sustain a certain approach in the long-run, then that it is definitely not the right way for you.

  • Regeneration

Are you sleeping enough?

Do you have a lot of stress alongside training, either mentally or physically?

Do you have to be active in your job or are you just sitting in the office for eight hours?

Last but not least, genetics also plays a major role in how the individual regeneration ability turns out to be.

The worse your regeneration, the more your performance will suffer.

That consequently leads to:

The worse your regeneration, the more relaxed you should train.

Therefore longer units with low intensity.

  • Training experience

Are you a bloody beginner? Do you already have some experience with strength training?

Particularly everybody who just got started training should limit their sessions to longer duration and (relatively) low intensity.

This will allow you to get used to proper technique, execution and of course, to the new strain on your ligaments, tendons, muscles, and bones.

  • Available time

Do you have a full-time job? Or a part-time job? Are you a student and have more time?

Especially your occupation and the many other hobbies or commitments need or want to require a lot of time for friends and family.

Since long units do not match into your agenda, yet still seeking for the best possible results, you have to make your short units even more intense and efficient.

Of course, there are those people who would train for two, three or four hours a day, as long as they knew it would help them.

But most of us go to work, maybe have family and somehow get the workout in line with everything.

That’s why there are more and more workouts for busy people.

If need be, you could be squeezing an effective workout in 30 minutes.

For visible muscle gain results, around 60 minutes a week divided into two intense 30-minute workouts is the lower limit.

However, every minute of training is better than nothing.

But at the end of the day, you have to ask yourself how bad do you want it?

You make the call. Let me be clear about something: nobody is going to do the work for you.

  • Goal

Depending on your goal, you have to train longer or shorter. Bodybuilders need a lot of isolation exercises, so more time.

For losing weight you should make short breaks between the sets and keep your heart rate up.

For strength, you take longer breaks and accordingly long sessions.

  • Motivation

Can you get your ass up for high intense units? Or is that really too much for you?

Then you may need more relaxed and longer training.

However, motivation is one of the most significant factors that, especially for beginners, decide if you’re going to win this game or not.

Now, let’s get into more specific numbers.

The following rule of thumb has prevailed and takes into account the 8 factors mentioned above.

90% of people can achieve their goals with 45-60 minutes of strength training per workout.

BUT, granted that you use these 45-60 minutes meaningful and do not monkey around in the gym.

Professional bodybuilders, fitness models and performance-oriented strength athletes usually invest a little more. They spend about 60-90 minutes in each session.

Based on the studies and practical experience, it can be said:

If you want to maximize your muscle-building progress, you should schedule at least 4 hours of strength training per week.

For a limited period of time, for example in a diet, even 5 hours a week can be useful.

This could be implemented with 3-5 training sessions of 45-60 minutes each.

Thus, there is plenty of scopes to adapt the exercise duration to your current lifestyle without sacrificing progress.

Whether it’s six times a week for only 40 minutes or its four times for 60 minutes each, that’s individual preference and depends on your goals.


To round off this article about the optimal training length, let’s recap the main take aways.

How long you should train is highly dependend on your progress and time available that you want to dedicate for this purpose.

The goal of your training is to set a growth stimulus.

So getting better week after week by moving more weight or doing more reps. How you’re going to achieve that varies individually.

There isn’t just one way of doing it.

I know this is another quite vague “come on” answer. But that’s exactly what I want to convey you of.

At some point, the moment comes when you stop working on dull prefabricated programs.

This is the moment when you learn more and more to listen to the signals of your body and to align your training accordingly.

If you train for 90 minutes, feel great and also make good progress, why should you change that?

Just because someone tells you it’s the “right” workout duration?

On the opposite, if 90 minutes of training are torture and you’re not getting anywhere, then that is a sign for you to try a different approach.

I hope this article gave you a good impression that once more, fitness is not merely a black or white topic.

Don’t stress too much about all those discussions throughout the fitness society. As long as you’re making progress, stick to that.

How long do you train on average? What’s your experience with the optimal training duration?

Strength Training Duration

Leave a comment below!

Thanks for reading,