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Pamela Hernandez



5 Rookie Fitness Mistakes You Can Correct Today

Would it surprise you to learn I was once an unfit mess? Not that I am perfect today, but about 14 years ago I started a journey to fitness and a quest to reclaim my life and health.

I was a poor college student who didn’t even know what a personal trainer was, much less had the spare cash to afford one. I started with a very inexpensive gym membership and two books: Weight Training for Dummies and Body For Life. Both are great books and I still recommend them today. But they leave a lot of room for interpretation, especially for someone as headstrong as I am.


Needless to say, I made quiet a few mistakes in the beginning of my journey. Let me share a few examples of my early missteps in hopes of saving you the time I wasted and the frustration I experienced.

1. Lifting weights like a guy. I had no idea how to train for fat loss vs. muscle gain. There is nothing wrong with a body part or upper/lower split, like the workout plan in Body for Life, it just isn’t the most effective for ladies trying to lose fat. This is especially true in the beginning. It took me quite a while to learn the value of a well-designed full body workout full of multi-joint compound movements like push ups and squats.
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5 Ways to Say No to Food This Holiday Season

We all have that one person in our life who refuses to take no for an answer. Perhaps it’s the office baker who simply can’t understand why you turn down her famous chocolate peanut butter pie. Or maybe it’s Great Aunt Helen who ends every visit with a care package of cinnamon rolls, somehow still warm yet you never saw her turn on the oven.

We all have a food pusher in our lives. They love us but don’t understand us. For them, food is the ultimate expression of love. For us it’s fuel, nothing more and nothing less.

This conflict is never as pronounced as it is during this festive time of year. Not only is food love, it’s tradition. It’s a gift. And it’s not easy to say no to a gift.

But to stay true to who we are and to keep our hard-earned fitness we have to learn to say no. You need to have a holiday defense strategy that includes ways to say no politely but firmly. Here are my top 5 ways to say no to food:

No, thank you. Simple and quick. No need for a detailed reason on why you refuse cake, just move on to the next topic of conversation.
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5 Things Your Personal Trainer Should Stop Doing Immediately

Let me start this post with a disclaimer:

I am not perfect.

I am, however, a professional. I take what I do, as a personal trainer, very seriously. If someone has trusted you with his or her health, fitness and general well being you absolutely should take it seriously.

The problem is many personal trainers do not.

I can’t speak for every gym, but I know the big gyms where I live don’t treat or pay trainers well. When you’re not treated well it doesn’t translate to the best experience for your client. Or many personal trainers are training while they learn to be something else. This isn’t a bad thing, however, it can affect the trainer’s focus. And then there are athletes and body builders who train to support their sport, using their training techniques on clients who have very different goals.

If you’re currently working with a personal trainer, or are considering working with one, here are the things you need to know that a personal trainer SHOULDN’T be doing.
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Saturday Morning Drills: 5 Medicine Ball Exercises

When I first started as a personal trainer I didn’t have a studio. I worked in my clients’ homes. I had many clients with rather impressive selections of exercise equipment. However, they needed me to hold them accountable to actually use the equipment.

Others had nothing. I brought with me any tools we might need. I quickly learned how to design programs using body weight, bands and other simple pieces of equipment. One of my favorites was the medicine ball.

A medicine ball can be used in many exercises like a dumbbell, but also provides a new level of versatility because of their shape and their ability to be thrown or bounced. You can use them for strength or cardio. Check out my favorite medicine ball exercises to see what I mean.
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Fit in Five: 5 Off-the-Ground Core Exercises

By Pamela Hernandez

Recently I had a client do bicycle crunches. Her teammate looked at me and said, “That’s the first time I’ve ever seen you ask anyone to do crunches.”

She’s right; crunches are not a big part of my ab repertoire. Much like running isn’t always appropriate, I think crunches are something you have to work up to. Many clients come to me with challenges that make crunches a poor place to start for developing core strength. For some, the act of getting on the ground for core exercises, like planks and cobras, can be off limits initially. I often need off-the-ground core strengthening and stabilizing exercises to help my clients achieve their fitness goals.

Here are my top 5 core exercises that don’t require a mat or getting off your feet.

Wood chops: I like these best with a cable machine but they are just as effective with resistance bands, a medicine ball or a dumbbell. Start high and chop by pulling diagonally across the body. The hips should not flex but instead stay straight and the body tall.
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