Benefits of Tire Training

Here’s some great information about Tire Training from our VP of Sales, and workout guru Michael Ritter.  He’s even included a great TireFlip 180® workout for you to try.

The Benefits of Tire Training 

Over the last couple of years, you’ve probably seen truck or tractor tires popping up in a ton of health clubs, gyms, boot camps, races, etc..The reason is pretty simple, tire flipping is a fun and different total-body workout. Great for building muscle and getting your cardio work in at the same time – Win-Win! 

Tire Flipping is also a great way to work the posterior muscles, like your hamstrings, glutes, and back. Also, this a terrific exercise for your core muscles. This can be especially beneficial for those of us who sit at a desk or log a ton of miles in our cars. 

Unfortunately, tire flipping with a truck or tractor tire has some major down-sides as well. They are loud, damage floors, mark-up walls, and are dangerous especially in a fitness center. Additionally, traditional tire flipping requires a ton of space in the gym. Even if you have a large turfed area, do you really want to waste 50 yards or more on one exerciser and disrupt the other members? 

The answer is obviously no, however, The Abs Company has your solution!  Now, you can achieve all the benefits of tire training yet in a super compact design that will not damage your facility and is completely safe. The Solution is The TireFlip 180! 

I have included below an awesome workout that can be performed on The TireFlip180: Give it a try! You will love it!! 

Stay tuned for more workouts including partner workouts in future blogs. Also, please feel free to reach out to me with any questions about designing your own workout with the TireFlip180 at [email protected]

The TireFlip180 Workout

– Warm up with a 10-minute run/walk followed by light stretching

All nine exercises equal one round. You may take a rest after every third exercise, if needed. If not, power through until you complete one full round. Then, take 1-2 minutes rest.

TireFlip 180 Circuit: 3 Rounds

  • Box Jump (On Tire) 20 reps
  • Decline Push-Up (On Tire) 10 reps
  • Toe Taps 15 reps each leg, optional rest
  • Flip and Broad Jump Over Tire 10 reps
  • Triceps Tire Dips 15 reps
  • Back-and-Forth Tire Flip 10 reps, optional rest
  • Bicycle Abs or double knee-ins (while seated on the TireFlip180
  • Step-Ups 15 reps each leg
  • Battle Rope waves/slams using battle rope anchors on TireFlip180 – 45 seconds duration


What is Culture?

One of the hottest words in business today is CULTURE. Nearly every business article and post talks about culture and the effects it can have on a company. As with many things that become so popular, sometimes the meaning can be distorted. So what exactly is Culture? Who is responsible for maintaining Culture? What effect does Culture have on a business? Let’s dig in!

What is Culture?

At its core, culture is a common set of beliefs that guide behavior within an organization. Often time’s people mistake culture with perks or work environments. We hear about casual Fridays, flex schedules, open work spaces on and on. These are all great things and can certainly attract and retain talent. However, they are not culture. Culture defines behavior and behavior defines performance!

Put another way, culture is what we refer to as CORE VALUES. You can tell a lot about a company by looking at the values they hold dear and how well they uphold them. Sometimes written core values are evident when you discover a company. They may be written on the walls or presented clearly on the website. That’s great but you know a culture is strong when you observe the behaviors in the people that work there. Imagine observing everyone behaving a certain way within and organization and THEN discovering the core values. Seeing that alignment is powerful and if the company’s values align with yours most likely you will have a great experience working there or doing business with them!

Who’s responsibility is Culture?

The simple answer is EVERYONE!  Referring back to the definition that culture defines behavior, then upholding and monitoring this behavior is the responsibility of everyone within the organization. At The Abs Company our core values are non-negotiable. Whether you are a team member, customer, or vendor you must uphold the values or the system falls apart. You don’t get to pick and choose which values are important to you and you don’t get to decide which ones you will abide by. It’s all in or all out! 

We like to say that everyone here is a Chief Culture Officer! That means we are constantly aware of the values and how they are being upheld. When they aren’t being upheld it is everyone’s responsibility to point that out and get the behaviors back in line. The true power in the values and the culture only exist if we are living them!

What effect does culture have on business?

Looking back again at our definition, Culture defines behavior and behavior defines performance.  The effect is obvious. Performance Mirrors Culture! A company with a strong culture (one that upholds and lives by its values) attracts people who believe the same things and who behave the same way!  From a team perspective this is invaluable because a group of people who are consistently rowing the same direction will always go further than one that has members rowing against the current. This does not mean there will never be conflict within the culture. In fact companies with strong cultures invite conflict! Conflict is a very healthy thing in business as it challenges everyone to look at things with fresh eyes and new perspectives. What it means is the  conflicts are never mean spirited and are always contained within the 

framework of the values. In essence the values become the north star which guide behaviors and decisions. 

From a customer stand point, companies with strong cultures attract customers who believe the same things. All of us want to do business with companies  we like and trust. Having a shared sense of values enhances that trust. Companies without a strong culture often operate on a transactional basis. They move from sale to sale and are constantly trying to get that next customer. Conversely companies with a strong culture foster relationships. When you form relationships with your customers you insulate yourself from competition and create lifetime value which is a much stronger way to operate!

Thinking about culture in this way will cause you to evaluate how you run your business and who you want to do business with! At The Abs Company it is our sincere desire to work with people who share our values and to do so for a very long time! Check them out HERE and see what we’re all about!


Equipment Selection

In today’s fitness market there is no shortage of choices when it comes to selecting equipment
for your facility. Granted much of it lives in similar categories like treadmills, selectorized strength,
platforms, etc. but the options from manufacturers continues to grow. As a facility looking to
make decisions that are best for your business, how do you decide? At The Abs Company we’ve
been making equipment for over 20 years and in that time we’ve boiled it down to 3 steps
which will help you optimize your selections: Effectiveness, Safety and Space.

Check out this article by Abs Company CEO, Sean Gagnon that outlines each step.

Equipment selection


Copy of Interview - MUV Fitness

Here at The Abs Company, we believe that to be a great company we must have great RELATIONSHIPS. We are grateful to partner with so many dedicated and inspiring people that believe Fitness Change Lives. Together – We Change Lives from the Core.  Here’s a great interview our VP of Sales, Michael Ritter, had with Don Murphy from Gold’s Gym Middletown, NY last month.   Don shares the importance of having a Core Zone in every club and what he’s doing to not only raise the bar “but BECOME the bar”.

“Core Area! Gotta Have a Core Area with The Abs Company!” Says Don.

Mike: Don, tell us a little bit about your club and the experience you’re going to provide to your members here at Middletown NY

Don: We are literally creating something that has never been seen before – that we believe in the world of health clubs—with your stuff and what we are building out, this is going to be a huge Core Zone because core, obviously, is something that is important to a lot of people; and we think that this in it’s own stand alone space—is going to be a really attractive part of what we are offering for our members.

Mike: Our purpose at The Abs Company is We Change Lives From The Core.  After taking a tour around this amazing facility, that is what you are going to do here right? Change lives, no matter where they are at on the fitness spectrum. Like you said, they will have this specific Core Zone, for all ability levels.

Don: Yes. So, it is multifaceted, catering to all demographics, all ages, all levels of fitness and providing people with the environment and fitness experiences that they’re going to enjoy- rather than ‘oh, I HAVE to go to the gym today”. We are creating a place where people will say ‘I don’t want to leave here’. ’I just love the community based energy- I love the vibe that I get in this space’. That vibe is different from one area to the next- all being in a wide open space.

“We didn’t want to raise the bar, but BECOME the bar.”

Mike: Why is it important for you to have a dedicated a Core Zone or Abs specific area in your club?

Don: Obviously, there are a number ways to train your core. For a lot of people, theres a mindset of ‘I gotta take care of my stomach, I want the abs, I want to get rid of my gut’ – so if they know there is a Core Zone, that in itself, is a feature that people will say ‘SIGN ME UP!’

It’s that component of dedicated space, for the core, and equipment, for the core, that people go ‘sign me up, I’m in’—then we get them in there and can gravitate them to the other things that are going to really bring them to where they want to be—combined with core, classes and all of the training and programs that we offer. They feel like they are being successful.


Check our Core Zone packages available here, or customize your own Core Zone. To get more information about a Core Zone contact us.


Success Planning

It is no secret that many people start out each new year with the age-old New Year’s Resolutions.  It is also no secret that by the end of January most of these resolutions have gone by the wayside. People have reverted back to their old ways and have lost the motivation for whatever new thing they were going to accomplish this year. Though we are all capable of change, the fact remains that change is hard and takes a tremendous amount of discipline.

Personally, I take a different approach at the start of each year. I don’t start by sitting down to make a list of business and personal goals that I want to accomplish. I start by creating what I call my annual success PLAN. This is simply a set of 3-5 principles that I will live by this year that will help me to accomplish my goals - whatever they may be. 2019 was no exception. At the start of the year, I implemented a simple 3 step process and am now slotting my business and personal goals into it. The steps are, THINK, PLAN, EXECUTE.

1. Think

It sounds simple. The fact is that it is, and it isn’t. Thinking is actually hard work which is why people don’t make the investment of time and energy that it requires. Too often we jump to what we want to accomplish but we haven’t really put the time in to figure out WHY. As with most things, a strong why will be the thing that pushes us through the tough times when it doesn’t seem like we are making progress towards our goals. It is also important to put thought into the specifics of what we want to accomplish and the time frame by which we want to accomplish it. For example, a common resolution at the start of every year is to lose weight or to get in shape.

Our minds can’t get behind goals like this because they are vague and not linked to a specific outcome. We’ve all heard that goals must be specific and measurable but we must also tie them to something bigger. If you are working with clients this year that have these goals encourage them to THINK deeply about them and get to the root of why they want to accomplish them. Is it to have more energy so they can be active in their children’s lives?

Perhaps they have a vacation coming up and they want to feel confident as they walk down the beach. Whatever it is, creating the link between the goal and the why is powerful and will keep them motivated when the inevitable road-blocks appear. To summarize, when setting goals in the new year, or at any time, put in the time to really THINK about the specific outcomes, potential obstacles and the true reason behind WHY the goal is important. The investment on the front end will pay off big down the road.

2. Plan

Once we have put the proper thinking in place around our goals it is time to make a PLAN. This is the next reason most people fail. They simply don’t have a solid plan. It sounds good to say you will accomplish this or that but specifically HOW are you going to do it? What are the 3 -5 things you must do every day in order to reach the goal? What is preventing you from accomplishing the goal right now? Time, money, effort, will power?

If you can identify the obstacles to success you can put a plan in place to overcome them. It is also important to plan the time frame that you will accomplish the goal by. For example one of the members on my team had a goal to write a book last year. Anyone that has set out to accomplish such a task,   or even just write a blog, will tell you that it’s daunting to open up your computer and see a blank screen staring back at you!

Once he got clear on the what and the why he laid out a plan for the how. Five days per week he was going to write 500 words. That is the equivalent of 1 page per day which turned into a book with over 250 pages by the end of the year. Had he not been so specific in his plan, his chances of success would have been greatly diminished. Significant accomplishments do not happen by accident. They require a real plan but the plan is what makes them manageable.

3. Execute

The final step in the process is to actually go out and do the work! Undoubtedly this is where the majority of people will fail. Accomplishing our goals is hard work. It’s supposed to be. That is largely where the satisfaction comes from. If you’ve ever set out to accomplish a goal and reached the finish line I’m sure you can remember the feeling of looking back and remembering all that it took to get there. The journey in many aspects is as rewarding as the destination.

Needless to say, you can put in the time to think through your goals. You can put together the best plan in the world but if you don’t go out and put in the work, it simply doesn’t matter. It simply won’t happen. Too many people will make the excuse that I don’t know how to do this or that. Or I tried before and it didn’t work out. Recognize that these are simply excuses to avoid the work. Get to work! Other people will start out doing the work and then start to cut corners, start looking for the quick fix. People who do this ultimately fail. Get to work! At the end of the day, one of two things will happen. You will accomplish your goal or you won’t. What  I can guarantee you is that if you really put in the hard work, you will be further down the road than if you just sit around talking about it. GET TO WORK!

There you have it. A simple 3 step approach to accomplishing your goals this year. One word of caution. Do the steps in the order they are written. Think. Plan. Execute. Often times people want to jump right to execute before they have a plan. Other times they just want to sit around thinking and never take action. Follow the system, it works. Cheers to your success in 2019  and beyond!

 

 


Training…the other kind

It’s no secret that this time of year new members of all types flood into fitness centers around the world. Every year improving health and fitness or losing weight remains the top resolution world wide. Unfortunately making the resolution and sticking to it are often two very different things. Fortunately every January we are given the opportunity to help people change their lives through fitness. With a little planning and forethought we can capitalize on this opportunity, help our members and grow our businesses. The answer - TRAINING!

In the fitness community when we hear the word training we immediately think about personal training, or small group training. These are excellent and valuable facets of our business but that is not what I’m referring to here. I’m referring to training your TEAM! You can have the best marketing department in the world to drive potential customers into the most beautiful facility in the world but if they are not met by highly trained professionals when they arrive, it’s often a lost opportunity.

As business owners and leaders it is imperative that we are consistently investing into the training and development of our teams. The key word there is investing. It takes time, effort and occasionally money. You may not see an immediate return but that is why it’s called an investment. If you stick to it, the results will be far greater than the investment. The great news is that you can develop a world class training program for your team in just a few simple steps.

Make it Realistic

One of the hallmarks of a great training program is to mimic the things that your team member will actually encounter on a daily basis. This includes being cross trained and educated on other departments and roles. Often times we train our trainers on fitness techniques. We train our sales people on sales and so on. However anyone that has worked in a club knows that team members are always asked something outside of their area. A front desk staff may be walking trough the facility and a member asks them how to adjust a seat on a machine. Often the response is let me get you a trainer. Wouldn’t a better reply be - let me show you? And then then introduce them to a trainer for further instruction and a connection? A trainer might be asked when the next Group X class is. Instead of saying, you can ask at the front desk, they could immediately know where to find that information and satisfy the member. This type of service increases the professionalism of your organization and makes the member feel welcome and safe. They know they can ask anyone in the facility for help and get it. That keeps members coming back! This type of training through role playing also makes your team members feel confident that they can handle any situation. When a team member feels like this, they too are more likely to stick around!

Focus on the Fundamentals

Too often in training we want to focus on ‘higher level’ tasks because they seem more exciting and we don’t want to bore anyone. There is a time for this but regular training must focus on the fundamentals not the outliers. You can never review enough how to properly answer an incoming call. You can never review enough the proper way to do a sales tour or to ask for a referral. You can never review enough proper program design for trainers and instructors. Every role in your facility should have at least 5-7 basic fundamentals that anyone in that position should be able to master. Only once they have should you move on to more advanced aspects of the job. Without mastery of the fundamentals, the things they will see most often, advanced tactics are worthless!

Repetition

Often times when we think about training our teams we think about the on-boarding process or the training system for new hires. Yes this is critical but it is also critical that we are constantly training our existing team members. One of the biggest mistakes in leadership is thinking “I told them that”. You probably did but once is never enough. We need to plan repetitive training that reviews the fundamentals but also pushes people beyond the levels that they are currently at. The training must push them beyond their comfort levels because that is where the growth takes place. Best practice is to set up a cadence for your training. Some departments train daily, others weekly an so on. Whatever you decide, make a plan and stick to it. Consistent, repetitive training is where the magic lies!

As January comes to a close there are still many new and existing members that are coming to your facility every day. Ensure that your staff is highly trained to serve them. It’s a privilege to do so. Providing your members with a world class experience will keep them coming back and they will probably even bring their friends! At The Abs Company We Change Lives from the Core! Like you we believe that FITNESS CHANGES LIVES and we look for ways to do this every day. A well trained staff is just one more step in this direction and remains at the CORE of what we believe!


The Abs Company Announces Owner Buyout

(Chester NJ) The Abs Company  announced that long time president Sean Gagnon has purchased the company from his partners and co founders. The Company was founded in 2007 by industry veterans Don Brown, David Augustine and Sean Gagnon. Brown is the inventor of the famous AB ROLLER - one of the best selling fitness items of all times with well over 10 million units sold. Augustine was also an integral part of that team serving on the legal and strategy side. The three had other business ventures together including health clubs and a company which helped inventors bring their products to the market. In 2005 the concept for the Ab Coaster was brought to the team and they immediately saw the potential to recreate the success they had with the Ab Roller.

They decided to follow the same path: make a version for health clubs while simultaneously launching a world wide TV Infomercial for consumers. They worked on the concept and got to the point where they were ready to show the world. What better place to do that than IHRSA? In 2007 the 3 showed up to San Francisco with 2 prototypes and a roll up banner!  Gagnon recalls “At that show IHRSA had 2 halls in the Moscone Center. One was for the ‘big guys’ and the other was for everyone else. We were in the other hall! We had a small 10 x 10 booth but the excitement and interest in our product was off the charts! We knew we were on to something.”

People loved the innovation and Ab Coaster was born. The team simultaneously launched in the commercial markets and put their infomercial on TV. 10 years later the product still sells well and has generated in excess of $100M in worldwide sales.

Over the years Ab Coaster realized they had carved out a niche in the core training space and started to expand their offerings to other innovative Ab Products. Under Gagnon’s leadership the product portfolio grew to over 10 skus and the company changed its name to The Abs Company in 2012. They were able to forge relationships with nearly every major brand worldwide providing customers with a comprehensive Ab and Core training portfolio of products that members want. Gagnon states “The Ab Space still remains extremely relevant in health clubs today. Even with the shift in focus towards functional training people still love to train ABS. A dedicated Abs area gives members a place where they can feel comfortable and win in the clubs. Not everyone is ready for the more advanced movements often found in group  and functional training classes. Making people feel comfortable keeps them coming back!”

The Abs Company was not blind to that changing market and continued to work hard to to expand its offerings to their loyal customer base. Gagnon and his long time friend and college roommate Mike Ritter created their next product  - TireFlip 180® and launched it to the market in 2014. They patented it around the world and have since sold this popular item in over 40 countries. This launched them in to the functional arena as well and allowed them to become leaders in the space they now call core based functional training.

In 2017 Gagnon and his partners decided that they were going to take their relationship in different directions and entered into an agreement for Gagnon to purchase the company. The trio had been working together for nearly 20 years and ultimately decided they had different interests long term. The deal was closed June 11, 2018 and Gagnon took full control of the Stock and Intellectual Property of the company. As a part of the deal Gagnon and Ritter agreed to fold Ritter’s ownership in the TireFlip 180® product into the company and Ritter became a minority shareholder in the entire business.

Gagnon states “I am extremely proud of what my team and I have been able to create here at The Abs Company. I am forever grateful to Don and Dave for giving me my start in the industry and for teaching me from their vast experience. We remain friends and I’m sure our paths will cross again. The Abs Company was founded on innovation and it is that innovation mindset that will carry us the next many years.  We’re just getting started!”


INTRODUCING EMILY CARRARA

The Abs Company is excited to introduce Emily Carrara and welcome her to The Abs Company team! Emily will be joining us as our new Social Media Manager, but also brings with her a wealth of fitness experience. With her knowledge in both Social Media and Fitness, she will be able to provide effective workouts, nutrition tips and other valuable content to support you, or your members, on their fitness journey. She's excited to join us and ready to help Change Lives from the Core!

Questions for Emily?  Feel free to contact her at [email protected]

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PRESS RELEASE

(Chester, NJ July 19th ) The world is continuing to go social and The Abs Company is keeping up. The company maintains a presence on the major platforms including Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter but has now hired a full-time social media professional to join the marketing team. Fitness Industry Social Influencer Emily Carrara (@emilycarrara_) is now responsible for growing and maintaining the company’s social properties.

Emily is a graduate of James Madison University where she studied Marketing and Business. As a lifelong athlete she has always had a love for fitness. In her sophomore year of college Emily was diagnosed with a thyroid condition which motivated her to go all in on her fitness journey so she could better understand the relationship between fitness, nutrition and health. After graduation she began working in the industry for companies including Equinox, Lifetime Fitness and Nutrition Zone. Her roles varied but her focus was marketing and social. She is now working towards her NASM certification and will combine her skills to continue to bring value to The Abs Company’s social community.

Cindy Ramos, Director of Marketing, said “We are excited to add Emily to the team. Her experience in both fitness and social will be a great asset to our social and educational programs. I’m looking forward to seeing the benefit she will bring to our community as we continue to Change Lives from the Core.”

The Abs Company specializes in core and functional training equipment and their products can be found in over 15,000 facilities in 40 countries worldwide.

 

 


The One More Approach - Change Your Mindset in Your Fitness Business

For 10 years I volunteered as a coach for my son’s youth sports teams. I coached his baseball and football teams from kindergarten until he went off to high school last year. It was a big commitment, but an invaluable use of my time!

Not only did I get to spend quality time with my son but I made many lifetime friends with the other dads in the program. A few of them were entrepreneurs like me and I think I was naturally more drawn to them. There is a group of us that gets together a couple times per week to play racquetball…at the one guy's HOUSE!

These are some big time business owners with businesses well into the 9 figure range. I am by far the smallest business in the room so when they talk business - I shut up and listen. They don’t know it but I’m in what I call a “racquetball mastermind group”!

The teams are always the same and the games are always competitive. I think the competitive nature of entrepreneurs at this level is off the charts. We had a game today and the lesson I learned was one that we can all apply to our businesses and yield immediate results!

We lost game one by 2 points. We won game 2 by 2 points! Game 3 was tied 13-13 (Game to 15). We won the serve back and I said to my friend “2 more”. He looked at me and said, “1 More”. I thought he had his math wrong. I said, “It’s 13-13…. 2 more.”

He stopped, picked up the ball and walked over to me and said, “I know the score. You can’t get 2 points at once. 1 MORE.”

I’m sure he was talking about the game and he didn’t know he was teaching a lesson but he was. When it comes to our businesses there is always so much to do. Sales, marketing, personnel, finance, it goes on and on. It can be downright overwhelming! The principle of ONE MORE can relive this pressure and put you on the path to success. It can certainly be applied to all areas of your business but let's look specifically at how to apply it to SALES and OPERATIONS.

 

The One-More Approach to Sales

It’s no secret that sales is the lifeblood of any business. That’s not to say that it’s the most important part as I believe in an integrated system that must all work together. However, without sales, without cash flow, businesses die. Most owners know the monthly revenue target they need to hit in order to sustain operations and move towards profitability. At any stage of business, this can be overwhelming on the first of the month when the ‘register’ is at $0!  Faced with this large gap we often fall prey to manipulation instead of purpose.

To get people to take action many times we offer discounts, specials, and devalue our services just so we can ‘make the sale’. Though this may work in the short term it does not create LOYAL customers.

To get people to take action many times we offer discounts, specials, and devalue our services just so we can ‘make the sale’. Though this may work in the short term it does not create LOYAL customers. When a better offer comes along your customer can be easily swayed to the shiny new thing. Loyal customers are ones that stick with you and continue to bring you business regardless of what your competition is offering. They give you great testimonials and refer you to their friends! The way to get LOYAL customers is to remember WHY you got into the business in the first place. When you can convey this purpose to your customers and you can connect on this level you will attract customers who are aligned with you and your purpose. Not customers that are just looking for a deal or the lowest price!

Don’t be overwhelmed by the number of sales you have to make. Get ONE MORE of the RIGHT customers and then get ONE MORE and ONE MORE after that. This is how you eliminate the transactional nature of your business and create a strong, profitable and sustainable following.

 

The One More Approach to Operations

The other side of business is operations. Finance, maintenance, marketing and on and on. Most fitness entrepreneurs got into the business to focus on FITNESS not these other areas.

However, these other areas are also critical to the long-term success of the business. The principle of ONE MORE applies equally here as well. If you are faced with monthly maintenance of your facility don’t try to tackle it all at once, break it down into pieces. Today cardio, next week strength, after that facility - ONE MORE. If you are faced with financial tasks break it up - today is receivables, next week payables, after that reporting… ONE MORE. If you are working on the marketing make ‘buckets’. This week the social plan, next week direct mail, after that email marketing and newsletters….ONE MORE.

Being overwhelmed is simply a state that we allow ourselves to fall into. In actuality, it’s not real at all! When we try to ‘do it all’ we end up really doing nothing well and instead spend our time ‘checking boxes’. Ultimately to grow you need to build a team and we will discuss this next month. However, for the next 30 days apply the principle of ONE MORE to all areas of your business and I suspect you’ll be much further down the road when we meet again.

Oh - what happened in the game? We got ONE MORE…. then ONE MORE. 15-13…. WE WIN….and so will you!

 


Take Your Fitness Business to the Next Level

If you want to grow your business it’s no secret that you have to keep growing your skill set and that of your team. The skills that got you here will not get you there! It is imperative that we keep learning and progressing as businesses really have only 2 fates - they grow or they die.

When you think about your fitness business there are ample opportunities to keep learning. There is a huge range of education levels within the industry and even more options for certification. Some trainers have advanced degrees, others have no degree at all. Some have multiple certifications and specialties, others have entry-level certification. Wherever you or your team are on this spectrum it’s clear that learning options are limitless.

If you are looking to grow, where should you focus? If you are looking to hire new trainers or instructors what skills should you be looking for? The answer might surprise you! In a recent interview with LinkedIn CEO Jeff Weiner said that the #1 Skill Gap is COMMUNICATION. According to Weiner people are lacking interpersonal skills!

LinkedIn conducted a survey of over 4000 professionals across many industries and the results pointed overwhelmingly to the importance of communication even over technical skills. In fitness, technical skills are clearly important. Fitness professionals must know about anatomy, biomechanics, nutrition, recovery, on and on. Each individual we train or serve in our facilities comes with a unique profile and serving up a one size fits all exercise prescription is a recipe for disaster. It’s alluring to look for trainers who have the biggest technical toolbox but if they can’t COMMUNICATE the information clearly to their clients is it really an advantage?

Additionally, it’s important to remember why your members come to your facility, why they stay, and why they leave! Most people coming into a fitness facility for the first time are nervous and uncomfortable. They are not sure what to expect and they are often self-conscious. One of the biggest things that will make them decide to join is whether or not they feel welcome, safe and comfortable on their very first visit. Much of this will come down to the communication they have with you or your staff. Do you take the time to really understand their needs? Do you start rattling off ‘trainer jargon’? Do you try to impress them with your technical knowledge? This may work for a select few but the majority of new members will be turned off as you’ve simply reinforced their greatest fear - they don’t belong!

As you look to grow your team or increase the skillsets of yourself and your existing team, start with communication, not technical skills! Here are some tips to do just that.

 

Say Hello

If I were looking to hire a trainer or instructor today for my facility the first thing I would do in the interview is ask them to go out and meet 3 new people at the facility. I’d take their resume and certifications and place them neatly on my desk. They are supposed to have that stuff! Then I’d tell them to go out and interact with my members and come back to me and tell me what they’ve learned.

Immediately upon making this request I’d learn a lot about the communication skills of my potential hire. Watch their face when you give them the task - do they look excited or scared? Do they look uncomfortable with this idea or do they embrace it? This reaction will tell you all you need to know about how they will interact with your members after you’ve hired them. If they don’t pass this simple test you have to ask if they are the right fit for your team. Looking to level up your existing team? Give them the same test!

Listen

Communication is a 2-way street. You must listen first, then respond. Often times though people confuse hearing with listening. They are not the same thing. Hearing is the reception of sound. Listening is an understanding of what is being said.

Far too often people are not really listening, they are considering what THEY will say next! Like anything else listening is a skill and to become a good listener you have to practice. Nothing makes people feel more comfortable than feeling their concerns and needs are understood. That can only happen through listening. Here are a couple tips to improve listening skills.

 

  • Be Present - put your phone away and eliminate distractions.
  • Be Empathetic - put yourself in the shoes of the person speaking. For example, remember your first time in the gym!
  • Pick up Key Points - listen for a few key things the speaker said and reiterate them in your reply. For example, I heard you say you’re a new grandparent - congratulations. One of your goals is to have more energy to keep up with your grandson. Is that correct?

 

One of the best ways to test listening skills with your team is simple role-playing exercises. Be the client and give them a scenario to work with. Not only will you get an idea of how well they listen but you’ll also get a peek at their technical knowledge as well!

 

Story Time

After you’ve worked on your listening, you have to work on your speaking skills as well. Effective speaking requires you to be clear and concise in getting your message across. Many trainers try to impress clients by using technical words and fancy terms. Know your audience. Often times this type of speak will have just the opposite effect. People won’t be impressed, they’ll be intimidated and will miss your well intended message! Know your audience and don’t over explain! Like most things - keep it simple. If you want to get an idea of the type of communicator someone is, have them tell you a story about their very first client. Give them only 60 seconds to do it and at the end see if you have the full story!

 

In the business of fitness, we will constantly have to grow our technical knowledge. After all, we are dealing with people’s health and well being. However, if you want to keep them as members for life, really learn to communicate with them which will make them feel comfortable and welcome. That’s why they will stay!


How Often Should I HIIT?

It’s no secret that HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) is one of the hottest trends in fitness today. According to the American College of Sports Medicine HIIT has been one of the top trends for the past 3 years! In short HIIT training involves shorter bursts of high intensity exercise followed by periods of rest. Participants aim to get their heart rate above 85% of their age predicted max (220-your age) and maintain this for 30-60 seconds. This is followed up by a similar period of rest and the cycle repeats. The theory is that you do more work in less time thereby making your exercise more efficient!

Though plenty of guidelines exist for traditional exercise few are available for HIIT. Recently  education and programming provider Les Mills set out to get some answers. Specifically they wanted to know how much HIIT training should a person do each week and was there a point of diminishing returns - where more exercise does not equal more results. The answer may surprise you.

The CDC,  Center for Disease Control and Prevention, has set the guidelines that healthy adults should aim for 150 minutes of moderate exercise or 75 minutes of vigorous exercise each week. For additional benefit adults should increase these amounts to 300 minutes of moderate exercise or 150 minutes of vigorous exercise. Moderate is defined as exercise where ‘your breathing increases but you are not out of breath’ or ‘ you can carry on a conversation but you can’t sing’. In general this correlates to 50-70% of Max HR.  Vigorous exercise is defined as ‘your breathing is deep and rapid’  and ‘you can’t say more than a few words without pausing for breath’. This correlates to 70-85% of Max HR.

Thankfully the Les Mills Study put some real numbers behind HIIT guidelines which are easy to obtain given the prevalence of heart rate monitoring in today’s fitness landscape. According to the Study  the amount of time one should spend performing High Intensity Exercise is just 30-40 minutes per week! For the purposes of the study High Intensity is defined as a heart rate over 90% of Max.  So if 30-40 minutes is optimal, more is better, right? Wrong!

The study went on to find that after 40 minutes of High Intensity Exercise your body may not respond positively. The body may become chronically fatigued and injury prone. This is commonly referred to as overtraining - a condition prevalent among high intensity exercise participants. Essentially the positive effects of exercise are diminished.

The natural question would be, if we are supposed to get 150-300 minutes of exercise per week yet only 30-40 of it should be High Intensity what should we be doing the rest of the time? This is the time we should spend performing, moderate intensity cardio, along with  strength and core training exercises. An additional 3-4 workouts of this variety per week will ensure that you hit the recommended guidelines.

At The Abs Company we believe that Fitness Changes Lives! The facts are undeniable. Understanding the types of exercise what will give us these benefits is the key. Additionally you have to find what works best for you and make sure that you enjoy it!  We’ve been CHANGING LIVES FROM THE CORE for over 20 years and we’d love to help you along your fitness journey as well.


Healthier at Home

I am the classic definition of a road warrior! Last year I traveled 170K air miles and this year I have already hit 75k! I travel all over the world promoting our brand, meeting with customers and exploring fitness trends. It’s a lot of travel but I love what I do! For the next 3 weeks I have no scheduled travel and I have to say it feels good. I get to sleep in my own bed, go to my own gym, not have to eat out! As I was leaving the gym today after a great workout it hit me - I’m healthier at home!

I’m not new to travel  as I’ve been doing it for years. I’ve worked hard to develop good road habits but the change in geography and routine often proves challenging. I’ve lumped my habits in to 3 buckets, Nutrition, Exercise and Sleep. Lets take a look.

NUTRITION
Ask any traveler and they will tell you that eating healthy on the road can be difficult. You are often in a new time zone, eating out, and socializing. On top of that planes and airports offer many ways to make bad food choices. Here are a couple tips to keep your nutrition on track while on the road.

  1. Pack HEALTHY SNACKS  for the ride! As you walk through the airport it’s easy to be tempted by all of the quick food options like pizza, candy, burgers etc. On the plane, if you get a meal, its often balanced but it still tends to be high in sodium and fat. On top of this, depending on the time of day, it’s often temping to enjoy a cocktail to relax pre or mid flight. I’ve found that  by bringing healthy snacks like almonds, cheese sticks and buying a large bottle of water after security really helps to keep me on track.
  2. Start with a SALAD. When you are on the road you are often eating out. It’s exciting to try new restaurants and to enjoy the cuisine of where you are. However it’s also easy to indulge. When I am out for lunch or dinner I always start with a salad. The fibrous vegetables fill me up and help to prevent over eating for the rest of the meal. I also am sure to start each morning with a high protein breakfast. This will keep me full longer through the day and prevent snacking opportunities that may present!
  3. Drink WATER. Needless to say drinking water throughout the day is best practice regardless of if you are home or away. However on the road it can be extra important. In the air you tend to get dehydrated so I try to have at least 8 oz of water per one hour flight. Business travel generally also entails socializing where you may be enjoying your favorite wine or cocktail. If your normal routine is to not drink during the week, socializing can throw this off. Make a deal with yourself that after each drink you will have glass of water. You will significantly reduce your alcohol in take and feel much better in the morning. Worried that you will stand out? Ask the bar tender to pour you a club soda and put it in a cocktail glass. No one will know the difference!

EXERCISE
For any number of reasons it can be often to keep your exercise routine on the road. However the reality is that it is getting easier and easier.

  1. Workout Facilities. Healthy travelers today are looking for ways so keep fit on the road and as a result more and more hotels are providing excellent workout facilities. If they don’t have one, they often have a reciprocal relationship with a local club. Just this month I was in Phoenix and across the street from my hotel there was a 20k SQ state of the art health club. When I checked in the young lady at the front desk told me I could use it for just $5! I couldn’t wait to go. So if you don't like the facility at your hotel ask if they have such a relationship with an outside club.
  2. Time. Change in time zones and hectic schedules often affect your workout time. This can result in you skipping your workout all together! Don’t stress if you can’t get your full workout in. Commit to at least 20 minutes of training to get the heart pumping and burn some calories. Looking for great ideas on efficient training? See our post on INTERVAL TRAINING.
  3. Explore the City. One of the most exciting parts about travel is seeing the sights! Why not do this while getting in your exercise. Last week I was in Cologne Germany and before work each morning I took a run through the beautiful city. Sure my intensity may have been a bit lower as I was taking in the view but I got my training in! In the mountains? Go for a hike. Many hotels now offer group or guided runs or hikes to show off their beautiful city. Ask, explore, enjoy!

REST
You just check into your hotel after a long journey and the first thing you see is the beautiful, inviting bed. The thick fluffy comforter, the stacks of pillows. Who wouldn’t want to jump in and stay in that bed?! My tip here is simple. Keep your sleep schedule. Try to go to bed at the same time as home and most importantly wake up at the same time! Fight that urge to black out the room and sleep in! This will keep you on track, give you the time to work out and maximize your trip!

Travel is fun, exciting and rewarding. It’s easy to get off track on the road as the opportunities and excuses are plentiful.  Stay healthy by following my tips from the road and you’ll enjoy travel more, be more productive and ease back into your normal routine with ease.


Don't Roll Over

When I started out in the health club business I was a personal trainer. As any trainer will tell you, the hours are less than regular. I had clients at 5AM and 5 PM. You train when your clients are available, not when you want to! All those years of early morning training got me to be an early riser and it’s something I still do to this day. There are many people who will tell you that getting up early is a key to success. I’m not so sure about that because it’s less about the time and more about what you do with it!

When my training days ended I continued to wake up early to do my own exercise. I love to start my day with a workout because I figure that no matter what else happens that day - I’ve done something positive. It works for me! I can tell you however that I’m human too. When the alarm goes off at 5AM there are certainly days I don’t want to get out of bed! It’s warm under the covers and maybe I can just train later! It’s easy to fall into this trap - especially as you are still trying to rub the sleepy’s from your eyes.

However, years ago I made a commitment to myself to not ‘roll over’. I promised myself I would do 2 things when that alarm rings.

  1. Get up and brush my teeth.
  2. Go and do just 10 minutes of my workout.

If after these 2 things are done, I still don't feel like training I’m free to come home and jump right back under the covers. I can tell you that simply getting up and brushing my teeth usually does the trick. Not always - especially here in the northeast where it can still be freezing cold at 5am! However what never fails is that first 10 minutes. The body starts to heat up, the blood is pumping and you remember why you made the commitment in the first place! I can tell you that I’ve never done the first 10 minutes and turned around and went home. Not once!

You may be thinking - that’s great but I like to train at lunch time, or after work. The same rule applies to you. Commit to doing just 10 minutes of your routine. Don’t worry about the rest of it. Just get through that 10. I suspect you will find the same thing that I do. You won’t stop!

What I can promise you is this - regardless of the time you train you will never regret finishing a workout! Too often we lose our motivation because we are thinking about the 30 minutes or the hour of hard work in front of us. Take the pressure off - just do 10 minutes. I suspect the rest will follow!

At The Abs Company we believe in constant improvement! When you take small, consistent steps to improve your health amazing things start to happen. We’d love to take the journey with you. Let us know how we can help!

 


Post Pregnancy Fitness - Part 2

In the last post I shared some general tips about post pregnancy fitness and getting those pre-baby abs back. Now it’s time to get a bit more specific and take things up a notch to flatten that tummy and strengthen the core.

When it comes to exercise, routines can be as simple or as complex as you like to make them. Personally I believe that exercise should be simple, fun , and efficient to ensure that you will stick with it! Here is a simple core training program of 4 simple moves that you can follow and wont require you to do a single crunch! I call it the Core 4!

Exercise 1

Targets the Transverse Abdominus. The Transverse is a deep abdominal muscle that basically acts like an internal girdle to help pull all of the core muscles in tight. Either standing or lying only the ground simply take a deep breath and draw your navel in toward your spine. As you feel your abs begin to tighten, hold that position for about 10-15 seconds and release. Breathe normally the entire time – don’t hold your breath! Repeat 3-5 times working up toward 10 repetitions.

Exercise 2

Targets the Oblique muscles which are located on the sides of the stomach. Sit on the ground and bend your knees with your heels touching the ground. Lean your upper body back slowly until you feel tension on your abs. If you feel a strain on your low back, sit up straighter. Clasp your hands in front of your chest and slowly rotate side to side moving your hands toward the ground as you twist. Twist all the way to the right and all the way to the left and return to center. That is one repetition. Shoot for 10-12. As you get stronger, lean back further, lift your feet off the ground or hold a light medicine ball for resistance.

Exercise 3

Works the “lower abs”. There really is no such thing as the lower ab but I am referring to that “pooch” area all women want to eliminate. When you work your abs from the bottom up the resistance is closer to the lower portion of your abs and consequently more of the work is being done there. To work from the bottom up lay on your back and bend your knees to a 90 degree angle with your shins parallel to the floor. Slowly roll your hips up ward off the floor bringing your knees toward your chest and return to the starting position. Perform 10-15 slow repetitions.

Exercise 4

The Plank for core stabilization. The plank is a great exercise to strengthen the entire core. Simply lie face down on the floor. Then prop yourself up on your forearms and toes lifting your body off the floor. Gently pull your navel in toward your spine to create a straight back. Maintain normal breathing and try to hold this position for 10 –15 seconds. Add time with each workout until you can hold the plank for 60 seconds.

You will note that these 4 exercises work the entire core through both stabilization and movement. There is a great piece of exercise equipment on the market called the Ab Coaster which allows you to do all of this on one simple machine. The Ab Coaster mimics the hanging leg raise exercise which is considered to be the gold standard in core training because it requires you to stabilize the core while moving through a range of motion. The problem is that most people don’t have the strength to do it. Now they can with the Ab Coaster. Check it out at HERE


The human body is amazing and it will begin to recover from pregnancy within days. Noticeable change will begin to take place 4-6 weeks postpartum provided you are following a sensible eating and exercise plan. The key is to get started and begin to build momentum. Start with a couple days a week and go from there. Don’t put pressure on yourself to be perfect, but takes positive steps daily. Your body and your baby will be glad you did!


Post Pregnancy Fitness - Part 1

It all started about 20 years ago. I was fresh out of school and had just landed my first job as a personal trainer at a local health club. My first client was a young lady in her early 30’s just looking to “get in shape”. There I was, my very first workout, with my very first client on my very first day! I was so excited. About halfway through the workout things were going great, she was working hard, feeling the exercises in all the right places and having a good time. I was so happy. Then it happened – we finished a set of lunges and she turned to me and said “I don’t feel so well” and she ran into the locker room. I felt terrible. Had I pushed her to hard, was the workout not appropriate, what happened? She came out of the locker room looking green and told me she had enough for the day and was going home! I couldn’t believe it – I thought I was so well prepared and I blew it on my very first day. I was so dejected.

That night I went over the workout again and again in my head trying to figure out where I went wrong. After a long night of thoughts racing through my head I finally fell asleep and woke up the next morning to try again with another client. Just as I got to the gym, I got a phone call from yesterdays client and she told me she found out she was PREGNANT! That’s why she had gotten ill the day before during our session. I thought to myself – phew – it wasn’t me after all! Thus began my career as a trainer in which I worked with many female clients both during and after pregnancy.

Working out while you are pregnant is generally very safe and in fact recommended in most cases. Of course it is always best to check with your physician for the proper guidelines. The same is true of post partum fitness routines which will be the focus of this article. Most of the women I have trained or spoken too want to get back in shape quickly after pregnancy and especially want to flatten those ABS! In this article I will share my top 5 tips and then in part 2 we will get more specific about those ABS! So Here we go.

1. Patience

Every client is different and every pregnancy is unique. However the most common concerns post pregnancy are losing that ‘baby weight’ and getting the stomach back in shape. The good news is that both of these concerns are attainable with some patience, dedication, and hard work! It is important to remember that your body went through 9 months of changes and you aren’t going to get it back overnight. It is a time to enjoy your baby first and foremost and then to begin a sensible routine of healthy eating and exercise.

2. Understand What Happened to your Abs

During pregnancy your abdominal muscles (rectucs abdominus) separate. The basic purpose of this to allow the growing fetus to come forward, not backwards which can cause strain on the low back. Though it sounds like a big deal, this is completely normal and in most cases the muscles return to their normal state post partum. This separation is known as diastasis and is generally detectable after about month 5. The problem occurs when the muscles separate too much (generally caused by weak abdominal

muscles) which can lead to low back, pain, sciatica, inflammation etc…. The great news is that this separation begins to close within days after delivery. A sound core training plan will have those abs back in shape before you know it – though you should allow at least 6 weeks for a full recovery.

3. Start Slowly

Generally speaking the best way to tone up post baby is with a routine consisting of cardio vascular exercise, total body strengthening, and proper nutrition. Depending on your pre-pregnancy fitness level and how well you maintained it during pregnancy you should begin with a low to moderate cardio-vascular exercise program (walking, elliptical, swimming) 3-4 days per week for 20-30 minutes. Total body strength training should also be performed using moderate weights and repetitions 2-3 days per week. There are also several “mommy and me” routines available which allow you to tone up while spending quality time with baby!

Speaking specifically about the core it is important to perform exercises that not only strengthen the superficial muscles that you see (rectus abdominus and obliques) but also the deep core muscles such as the transverse abdominus and the low back.

4. Regain Control of your Nutrition

Often during pregnancy women become a bit more lax about their diets. They may have cravings for something salt or sweet and within moderation its generally ok to indulge. It’s never a good idea to restrict calories during pregnancy buy now that you are trying to drop that baby weight its some to get a bit more disciplined. It is always best to check with your physician, a nutritionist, or a registered dietician for the eating plan that is best for you. Generally however, I would recommend a diet that is high in fiber, and rich with whole foods such as fruits and vegetables. The meal plan should also consist of moderate carbohydrates for energy, protein for muscle building and be low in fat. There are so many theories out there on nutrition but ultimately we all have to find what works best for us as individuals.

5. Have a Well Rounded Routine

Once you have clearance from your physician to begin exercising its best to start slowly and focus on all components of fitness. Many women want to jump right back into the cardio routine but don’t neglect strength training and flexibility. Start with 3x per week and increase from there.
As mentioned above Cardiovascular exercise should be performed for 20-30 minutes at a moderate intensity. This could include walking, elliptical machines, swimming etc. Basically anything that will moderately increase your heart rate and keep it there for 20-30 minutes. If this is too much in the beginning you can break the 20-30 minutes up into 10 minute segments to reach a total time of 20-30 minutes. As you get in better shape strive for continuous exercise and gradually increase the intensity.

Next perform some basic strength training exercises to tighten and tone the muscles. You can start with basic body weight exercises such as push ups, squats and lunges. Try for 10-15 repetitions for 2-3 sets. A routine might look like this. Start with 10 reps of body weight squats. Rest 30 seconds. Move to the ground and perform 10 push-ups (on your knees is fine to start with). Rest 30 seconds. Perform 10 alternating lunges. This sequence is one set. Rest for about a minute and repeat 2-3 times. Once you can complete this routine 3 days per week you can increase the intensity and complexity of your strength training with the help of a certified personal trainer.

Round out your routine with the Core 4 program described in the next post and some gentle stretching.


Enjoying life with your new baby is one of the greatest experiences in life. However, its also important that you take care of you so you have the strength energy and vitality to keep up with your growing bundle of joy. The tips above will get you stared and in the next article we will get a bit more specific. Now go play with your baby!


Small Space. Big Impact.

Small Space Big Impact

One of the biggest challenges facing the fitness industry is SPACE. One of the single largest fixed costs for a fitness club or studio operator today is rent. Because space is so expensive we have seen a shift in the way many clubs are designed. Every square foot is carefully planned to maximize efficiency and eliminate waste. In fact, this was one of the key drivers to the rise of the Studio Market! Operators figured that if they could eliminate low usage areas and include only those that produce the most profit, it would be a win! They were right! In fact, according to IHRSA, since 2010 boutique studios have become the fastest growing segment of the industry.

Ask any fitness equipment manufacturer what one of the most common objections they hear is and they will tell you “I dont have the SPACE”. However it’s not about the space - it’s about the space for the RIGHT THINGS. If you knew that a piece of equipment or program was what your members wanted, you’d find the space - or they will go somewhere that did!

In the last 5 years or so the industry has also been overtaken by the FUNCTIONAL TRAINING movement. Functional training is supposed to mimic activities of daily living and provide exercisers with the strength and mobility to be more active and productive in their everyday tasks. It’s certainly great exercise, but because of the dynamic nature of functional training, it requires a lot more of that precious SPACE! Examples include Medicine Ball Throws, Tire Flipping, and Battle Ropes. When exercise is done on stationary machines the space requirement is fixed and predictable. Functional training throws all of that out the window and the space needed can be massive.

The payoff can be there, but you have to consider the amount of space you are giving up for one or two people to do one movement. For example, if you have members looking to flip tractor tires - a very popular exercise - you might have to devote 30-40 yards of space to ensure that they can get an effective workout and not endanger your other members who may be using the space for stretching or core work. Battle Ropes can pose the same challenge, requiring 20-30 feet of distance for just the rope! This type of training is certainly EFFECTIVE but from a space perspective it certainly is not EFFICIENT! What’s a club to do?

Fortunately for the industry certain manufacturers, like The Abs Company, recognize this dilemma and are focussed on equipment and programming that addresses these critical issues. In short they are focussed on equipment that requires a SMALL SPACE but makes a BIG IMPACT! Additionally such products solve the three biggest issues surrounding functional training: SPACE, SAFETY and FACILITY DAMAGE.

Space
Exercisers have been flipping tires for decades. This type of training is extremely dynamic and provides users with strength, power and aerobic fitness in one exercise.
It’s one thing if you have the ability to use tires outdoors but when you bring them inside it’s another story. The TireFlip 180 and TireFlip 180XL require a space that is only 5 feet wide and 4 feet long! In less than 20 square feet you can perform all of your Tire Flipping movements! That is a huge space saver! Additionally the anchor points on either side of the unit allow you to perform battle rope or elastic resistance exercises allowing you to set up a 3-4 person circuit training workout in a fraction of the space you would normally need. Finally, the ability to add plate loaded resistance eliminates the need for multiple tires in a facility by giving you a training range of 100-240 lbs !

Another innovation from The Abs Company revolves around the ever popular Battle Rope exercise. Again this dynamic workout is extremely effective but you have to devote 20-30 feet of floor space just for one person to train! The all new Battle Rope ST® solves this issue with its revolutionary design (see inset)

Safety
One of the biggest challenges with functional training is safety. The moves are not typical for the average user and without proper instruction, injury can occur. Tire Flipping is no exception with most injuries occurring when the unstable tire starts to roll away from the user. They can get injured as their body ends up in an awkward position trying to regain control. Additionally there is always risk to the unsuspecting exerciser who can have the tire fall or roll on top of them while they are simply lying down to stretch! Again, the TireFlip 180 solves this issue by moving in a defined and fixed path of motion. Safer for both the user and the exercisers around them!

Facility Damage
Finally, many of the functional moves today put the actual facility at risk for damage! When tires are leaned up against a wall or continually flipped onto the floor it can’t help but damage the surfaces, leaving your beautiful facility looking worn! The TireFlip 180 solves this issue because the tire never hits the floor, instead landing on the raised bumpers which also help users get a comfortable grip on the tire for more effective flipping. When members are launching the medicine balls into your walls and onto your floor damage ensues. The Ab Solo allows users to fire the medicine balls into a padded return for a fun safe and effective functional core workout!

It’s no secret that today’s members are looking for something different. They want functional movement and they want an experience. Whether you own a big box club or a boutique studio it’s imperative to find a way to give them what they want while keeping the realities of the business and facility in place. Products that require a SMALL SPACE but make a BIG IMPACT are the answer!


Efficient Equals Effective

Efficient Equals Effective

We recently had an article published in the National Fitness Trade Journal that really highlights our core concepts when designing a successful fitness space.  Take a look at the full article here Efficient Equals Effective

 


Are You Listening?

Over the weekend I was at a party and was talking with a friend of mine who is in sales in another industry. He was telling about his frustrations from a recent meeting with a prospect. As my friend learned more about the company and their needs he shared with him some possible solutions. The prospect was looking at them and admitted that his customers would benefit from them but kept saying “But I don’t like that.” I could easily see why my friend was frustrated. After all, there is NO I in Customer!

As business owners and managers, the path to victory is actually quite simple. Listen to our customers and solve their problems! If you can solve their problems better than your competitors, you win. The issue is often that we let our own opinions or ego cloud our judgement. We simply aren’t listening. Let’s take a look.

What is listening? To truly listen we must understand the information we are receiving. This is very different from hearing - which is simply the reception of sound! It’s important to also understand that listening is not solely audible. We can listen through our eyes and our observations. It’s no secret that some of our customers are much more vocal than others. They have no problem telling you their opinion, or letting you know about this problem or that one. Often times, because they are vocal, their opinions become magnified and can blow a situation or need out of proportion.

A common example in the health clubs is hearing from a member or even a trainer things like, “EVERYONE is asking for more open space”. “NO-ONE is using the machines any more”. Most times such statements of extreme are a clear indication of bias. Sure there are trends that we need to be aware of but that’s why its important to rely on observation and data. I’ve been in the industry for over 20 years and for the last 10 I’ve been hearing how no-one is using selectorized machines anymore. However data shows that over 40% of members incorporate these machines in every workout! Simply looking around the fitness floor will confirm that they are used regularly by a large portion of the members at any given time.

The other common issue in today’s fitness industry is the bias towards catering to the personal and small group training segments of our membership. Understandably, this is an area clubs want to focus on because there is more revenue per member here. With the proliferation of low price memberships clubs have to make up that revenue from non-dues sources. This is where classes and training really come in. So once again, if we are hearing the business need for increased revenue as opposed to listening to the data, we could make short term decisions that can negatively affect the long term result. The data tells us that the average club has training penetration rate of 8-12%. That means that only 8-12% of the membership uses training services. Or that 88-92% DO NOT! So should your club offerings ignore these members? I hope not. If you keep this segment of the membership happy and successful, they keep coming back. If they keep coming back you have a greater opportunity to turn them in to training clients!

Finally lets take a look at what YOU like. We all have our biases toward things that we personally like, or things that work for us. Often times part of our job is to use our expertise to help guide the direction of the club. However, we are not everyone. We can can't pick only what we like, as we may be at a very different place in our fitness journey. If we are going to be in charge of equipment selection and programming for a club that has thousands of members then we have to try and think like thousands of members. It’s never wise to try and be everything to everyone, but if you are opening the doors to all, then they all need to be considered. You have to put yourself in the shoes of the new member, the scared member, the intimidated, not just the super fit and lifelong exerciser!

Remember, the beginner only becomes the intermediate and the advanced if they stick with the program and make fitness a permeant part of their lives.

At The Abs Company we believe that FITNESS CHANGES LIVES. I’m sure that you believe the same thing or you wouldn’t be so passionate about the industry. To truly change a life we have to meet people where they are and then guide them along the path. It’s not about US - It’s about THEM and if we take the time to really listen we can help them WIN. In turn we will also.

We have a complete selection of core based functional training equipment to server your members wherever they are in the fitness journey. We are LISTENING and here to help. Just ask!

 


HIIT Me!

You can’t read an article about fitness today without seeing something about HIIT training. What is it? Is it good for you? Do you have to do it? Lets take a look.

HIIT stands for high intensity interval training. Basically it’s the concept that you do shorter periods of work but at a much higher intensity. Then you rest and repeat. There are several protocols to choose from but some common ones include 30 seconds of work with 30 seconds of rest, 20 seconds of work with 10 seconds of rest (Tabata Style Training) or 60 seconds of work with 60 seconds of rest. You get the idea. The typical HIIT workout lasts about 30 minutes. The key is that your work periods are at a higher intensity than if you were to just sustain exercise for 45-60 minutes.

HIIT Training – though surging in popularity is not new. It’s been around since the 70’s and has been used by elite athletes for decades. Like many things in fitness, the concept is being recycled with the growing popularity of Cross Fit, Bootcamps, and Small Group Training. The benefits of HIIT Training are real and when compared to longer steady state exercise include:

  1. Shorter, more efficient workouts.
  2. Improved Cardio Vascular Fitness.
  3. 2X Increased VO2 Max (Cardio Vascular Capacity)
  4. Decreased Insulin Resistance which significantly aids in weight loss.
  5. Increased Body Fat Oxidation
  6. Increased Cognitive Function.

Sounds pretty good right?! So the conclusion many fitness experts are coming to is that everyone should be doing HIIT Training. But should they? The benefits are undeniable but there are risks to be considered as well.

Beginners or people just returning to exercise have shown an increased risk of coronary events (heart attack or stroke) due to high intensity exercise. There is also increased risk of musculoskeletal injury due to the intensity of the exercise. All exercisers, new and experienced, should receive physicians approval prior to beginning a HIIT protocol – or any exercise routine for that matter.

One of the factors that is not spoken about often enough is the enjoyment of the exercise. Studies tell us that if we are to achieve long term adherence to any exercise program then we have to enjoy it. One of the risks of HIIT Training is that, due to the difficulty of the training and the discomfort experienced by many exercisers, they just don’t enjoy it. In general most people simply don’t want to work that hard and many beginners who start a HIIT Training routine too soon, simply quit.

So the best recommendations seem to be this: Develop a baseline fitness level and exercise routine. This would include 3-5 sessions per week of 30-60 minutes doing activities you enjoy. Yes it’s important that you elevate your heart rate and include all components of fitness (Strength, Cardio, and Flexibility) but the key in the beginning is to establish routine. It’s easier to do this with activities you enjoy!

Once you have done this and exercise is becoming a regular part of your life, start with one HIIT Session a week. Work up to 2-3. Keep in mind that due to the increased intensity of the work, your recovery time increases as well. Make sure you give your body adequate time to rest in between HIIT workouts (generally 48 hours). Employ some active rest – lower intensity workouts and some actual rest – no workouts!

In a later post we will discuss some of the common HIIT Protocols but for now keep it as a PART of your fitness routine. At The Abs Company we believe that Fitness Changes Lives. It will only change your life if you do it! So find what you enjoy, make it a habit and then experiment with different types of exercise and training routines. Remember – there is no BEST way to train. We are all different, physically and mentally, so you have to find what works for you. We are here to help….. just ask!


Fast Weight Loss?

Intermittent Fasting

This time of year people around the world make resolutions for improvements in their life. Not surprisingly the number one resolution year after year is to lose weight. Studies show that over 24% of New Year’s Resolutions revolve around weight loss. It’s well documented that what we really want is FAT loss which is where the true benefits lie. For the purposes of this article, let us agree on that simple point.

The greater debate revolves around the best way to achieve this fat loss. Some people will tell you it’s exercise as simple as walking. Others will tell you about interval or high intensity training. Many experts will tell you that nutrition is the key and there is no shortage of new diets and diet advice coming out all the time. The reality is that the best recipe for long term health is the combination of diet and exercise. Diet alone doesn’t strengthen your muscles and bones. Exercise doesn't provide your body with the nutrients necessary for health and energy. Therefore it’s obvious that the combination of the two is best.

In this article we will focus on the nutrition side of the equation and the popular topic of Intermittent Fasting. If you are not familiar with the term it simply refers to a pattern of eating that involves periods of feeding and periods of fasting. It is much more about WHEN you eat, not WHAT you eat. It’s not a new concept as humans have been fasting since the dawn of creation. At that time it was often out of necessity because there simply wasn’t food to eat as readily as it is today.

Intermittent Fasting has been studied for years and the benefits are numerable and undeniable. Here are a few key benefits:

  • Increase in Growth Hormone up to 5x. This is beneficial for both fat loss and muscle gain.
  • Decrease in Insulin levels. When insulin is lower the stores of body fat become more accessible for energy. The less times you eat, the less insulin in your system.
  • Fat Loss - because you are taking in less calories your body starts to burn fat. On average people have seen decreases of up to 8%.
  • Increased Metabolism - studies have shown increases of up to 15%
  • Reduced Inflammation - Inflammation is a key driver of many Chronic Diseases.
  • Reduced Risk of Heart Disease - Studies show as reduction in LDL (bad) Cholesterol and Triglycerides.
  • Reduced Risk of Certain Cancers
  • Improved Brain Health by increasing certain brain hormones. This may be beneficial in the prevention of Alzheimers Disease

That list of potential benefits is powerful but keep in mind that research is constantly evolving so there will be more evidence to come as the studies become longer and more detailed in Intermittent Fasting. The bottom line is that the benefits come from the reduction in calories. If you eat massive amounts of food during you feeding periods you may not see the benefits. At the end of the day there is still no getting around the simple equation of calories in vs calories out. If you are burning more than you are taking in you lose weight - period.

So if the benefits of Intermittent Fasting sound good, the next question is HOW do you do it? Keep in mind that before starting any new diet or exercise program you should consult with your physician to be sure its appropriate for you. That being said, here are a few of the common protocols.

16/8 Method:

This is the most common protocol for Intermittent Fasting and where it is recommended that most people start. Simply you are eating only 8 hours during the day and fasting for 16. For example If you have your first meal at noon then you would have your last meal by 8PM. If you can’t wait til noon and have your first meal at 10am then your last would be at 6PM. In general you would eat 2-3x during this 8 hour period. You can drink non caloric drinks at any point in the day and this will often satisfy feelings of hunger.

24 Hour Fast.

This approach is a bit more demanding but very effective. As it sounds you are taking complete 24 hours periods where you don’t eat anything at all. So if your last meal is at 8PM on Monday, you don’t eat again until 8PM on Tuesday. It’s challenging to go for this long at first with no food but you do get used to it. Again - non caloric liquids are recommended. The 24 hour fast is particularly beneficial if you know you are going out socially and don’t want to watch your diet at the event. For example if you know you have a party Saturday Night then make your last meal Friday Night so that you can indulge a bit more at the party.

Warrior Diet

This plan has been around since the late 90’s and basically allows for a 4 hour feeding period and 20 hours of fasting. Typically you are eating one large meal each day and perhaps a few small snacks if needed during the 4 hour period. Typically the meal is at the end of the day. The upside of this is that you are typically taking your 1500 -2000 calories in one meal so you have a bit more latitude on what you are eating. In general it should be healthy but but you can binge a bit more here on carbs and possibly even a sweet.

 

There are several more methods of Intermittent Fasting available but the key is that you maintain the periods of eating and fasting. The results are real, both from a fat loss and health perspective. If you think it sounds like something for you give it a shot. Research more and then start with 1-2 days per week on the protocol that fits you and see what you think. There is a little discomfort at first but that is true with any area of improvement. I suspect however that it could become a new way of life for you!


WHY this year will be different

WHY this year will be different...

This time of year there is no shortage of articles around goal setting, motivation, and resolutions. It’s no secret that people who have a plan of action on how to actually achieve the goal they set have a better chance of success than those who don’t. This is true in finance, personal development and of course fitness!

Most people set a blanket goal and leave it at that. “I’m going to get in shape this year.” “I’m going to eat healthy.” These general statements, though well intentioned, give no clear path to success. Those willing to go a bit further and THINK about how they will accomplish these goals not only make the goal more specific but put some daily action steps behind them. For instance they may say “I’m going to get in shape this year and lose 10 pounds by exercising for 30 minutes per day and by bringing a healthy lunch to work each day”. You can clearly see how person 2 will have a greater chance of success. They have some actionable, measurable steps and a definition of what success actually looks like.

When you look at the study of goal achievement however, one thing stands above the rest when it comes to success. That one thing is figuring out the WHY. WHY do you want to accomplish this goal? What is the true motivation? If you can really dig deep and find the WHY, the HOW becomes very clear and you will not lack the motivation to put in the work.

Let’s take our person above who started out just wanting to ‘get in shape’. Then they progressed and made the goal measurable and actionable. They are going to lose 10 pounds by exercising for 30 minutes per day and by bringing a healthy lunch to work each day. Now lets add the WHY. At first they may say they want to feel better. Perhaps they want to look better. Two good reasons but generally they will fade quickly. However, what if they said they wanted to accomplish this goal because they just became a grandparent and want to have the energy and vitality to keep up with their new grandson? That’s a powerful why!

The more powerful your WHY, the more likely you will be able to overcome the feelings of doubt that may set in while trying to achieve your goal. When laziness or procrastination rear their heads, you will remember your why and cast them aside. WHY is an extremely powerful force and one that can help you to crush your goals!

So think about the goals you set for yourself this year. Go back and attach a WHY, and then a HOW. This simple formula will start you down the path:

This year I want to XXXXXXXX.

WHY I want to accomplish this:

HOW I will accomplish this: (List 3 steps)

Once you achieve your goal, go back and do this again for your next goal. The momentum you will create will make you unstoppable! Best of luck and let’s make 2018 the year you truly change your life from the core!

 


Lifecycle of a Member - Part 3

KEEP MEMBERS ENGAGED!

This is the third and final blog post in our series about the “Life Cycle of a Member.” As we know, our clients and customers do not join the gym or the studio at the same fitness level as everyone else. It is important to appeal to members who are at the beginning of their “life cycle” in fitness - with equipment they can master and succeed with, such as selectorized machines, treadmills, and Ab equipment. After they achieve some level of success from the beginner level, you can take them through the “life cycle” to more advanced training.

Certainly the holy grail in fitness today is non-dues revenue. With the proliferation of low priced high volume clubs, owners need to find ways to generate additional and ongoing revenue to achieve profitability. But how do you induce the member who joined your club for $10-20 to now spend $50, $75, $100 or more per month? Take your offerings up a notch! Gone are the days where a person will shell out $50+ per hour to have a trainer stand next to them while walking on the treadmill or count to 10 as they exercise. Trainers and training programs need to provide a “wow” experience to justify the investment. Most importantly they need to deliver RESULTS. This is where cross training, high intensity and functional training become critical. At some point, even the beginner, who starts at the lowest level in the life cycle of training, will be interested in pursuing these more intense programs.

Along this same line of thought, there are other ways to keep members interested and engaged at your facility. It is important that facilities offer unique equipment and expertise that is special and unique, and not easily accessible to members on their own. Many such products exist today including the TireFlip 180, Battle Rope ST, Woodway Curve and Vicore TerraCore. These items deliver that WOW factor and truly stand out in the facility. Getting a good workout on products like these are things members talk about, things that keep them coming back for more. Just type one of them into your social media platform to see what I mean! How cool is it to see your member posting about the awesome workout they had on the latest piece of equipment YOU offered them? That is the best kind of “advertising” -- it’s real and you don’t need to pay for it!

If we are to reach our goal of operating profitable facilities while helping as many people as possible to achieve their fitness goals, then we need to think about ALL our members and prospects when designing our clubs and ordering equipment. Let’s not rush to eliminate this thing or that just because it’s hot and exciting right now - just because it’s what WE would use or the trainer said so. Think like your customer -- whether the beginner, the moderate exerciser, or the elite -- Let’s keep the entire “lifecycle” of the member in mind -- and make sure we accommodate them all.

Health truly is our greatest asset. As fitness professionals, facility owners, and equipment manufacturers we can work together and make a difference in people’s lives!


Life Cycle of a Member - Part 2

THINK ABOUT THE BEGINNER

This is the second blog post in our series about the “Life Cycle of a Member.” As we know, our clients and customers do not join the gym or the studio at the same fitness level as everyone else. There are a myriad of levels, and our job is to help clients succeed at every level.

Most fitness professionals get into the business because of a desire to help others. We want to help others succeed, to feel better about themselves, and to help them improve their most valuable possession - their health. However, if we truly want to accomplish this goal, we must think not only about the fitness enthusiasts but also beginners. For example, beginners are typically intimidated by the latest and greatest high intensity program. Beginners will hopefully grow to appreciate these programs later in their “life cycle” as a member, but that appreciation typically occurs much later in the process.

Unfortunately for beginners, the growing trend in gyms today is LESS equipment and more open floor space for functional movement. There is no denying this type of space is important but it’s also fair to say it doesn’t serve everyone at every stage of their cycle as a member.

Think again about the beginner. Many are not confident when they join a gym or studio. They overcome fears and insecurities and muster up the courage just to step into your facility. Their feeling of intimidation is real. You try to make them feel at ease, ask them a bit about their goals and most likely you hear the common answers. They want more energy. They want to feel better. They want to look better. They want to do something about ‘this area’ (patting their belly!).

At this point the enthusiastic trainer or salesperson tells them about all of the great offerings in the club from nutrition, to functional and cardio and cross training programs. They take the prospect over to the ‘turf’ area and see the “expert” members jumping around, hoisting kettle bells and launching medicine balls. Whoa! How does a beginner feel when they see these sophisticated movements? Do they feel like they could do that too? Perhaps. But most likely this beginner sees something they don’t feel they could be successful doing, and their feelings of fear and insecurity come rushing in. Have we increased the likeliness that they will join our club or studio? Quite the opposite. The beginner can feel intimidated and overwhelmed by the prospect of doing all these types of activities that they feel are “beyond them.”

What if instead this same member was taken to an area where there were selectorized machines. Just select a comfortable weight, sit down and push. Or walk on a common treadmill and push START. Or visit the ABS area where they could try a user friendly machine that helps them work ‘this area’ (see above). How are they feeling now? Encouraged. Empowered. Like they could be successful and fit in here. Have we increased the chances of them joining? You tell me.

Now we have a member who can WIN in our facility. We have areas where they can come to the club and be successful. When we have a member who is successful and fits in, guess what else we have? A member who keeps coming back! A member who truly becomes part of our ‘club’. After a member truly feels he or she belongs, then we can introduce them to all the other incredible things inside the facility. Offer them other services, ranging from classes, to group and personal training. Some people may be ready for this from day one but clearly not the majority as evidenced by the fact that PT penetration rates in clubs struggle to top 12%.

We will finish up our discussion about the “Life Cycle of a member” in our next blog post, so stay tuned!


Life Cycle of a Member - Part 1

ARE YOU CONSIDERING THE LIFECYCLE OF A MEMBER?

The Abs Company founders have a combined 40+ years of experience in the fitness business as personal trainers, health club owners and exercise product developers.  Our experience has helped us to see how a typical health club member or personal training client changes over time as they use our services and gain better health.  We call it the “life cycle of a member,” and we believe it is important to keep this concept in mind when building or designing a gym or personal fitness studio, and especially when purchasing exercise equipment.  We will explain this concept over a series of blog posts, and this is part 1 of the series.

As fitness professionals, we love to work out. We love going into a new club for the first time and seeing what they have to offer.  We love attending industry events to check out the latest offerings, and we’re guessing by the fact that you’re reading this blog that you feel the same way!  We are fitness geeks and we love it.

Unfortunately, most of your members and prospects do not feel the same way. Sure there are the hard-core fitness enthusiasts that share our passion -- the passion of a committed professional -- but many of your members are stepping into your club for the first time in a long time - or ever!  What are they feeling?  What are they looking for? How often do you stop and think about their experience and what it is like for them when they arrive at your club?  As an experienced fitness professional, sometimes it’s not easy to remember what it’s like to be a beginner.   But it is important to try to recapture this feeling so that we can better understand what our clients and customers are going through when they come to our facility.

Most likely these members are nervous, intimidated, or feeling uncomfortable.  They are probably unfamiliar with fitness and training.  It might be hard for us to understand this kind of cautious feeling, because we love fitness so much.  But surely everyone knows how it feels to be in an uncomfortable situation.  It’s something you tend to avoid, and you are not enthused about repeating it!

These are very real feelings and when it comes to our appearance or physical ability, these feelings tend to become magnified.  It’s personal, not business.  And when it’s personal, it becomes emotional.  It’s no wonder that the majority of people don’t exercise and certainly no surprise that over 50% of those who do start, tend to quit in under 6 months.

If we can get new members to overcome the problems that so many of them face when first joining a club or studio, we are sure these dismal statistics can be reversed. Our goal is to keep members coming back for more, and to find continuous success and good health by using our services.  More on how to do this in our next blog post - Stay tuned!


What About Me?

Imagine that you’ve decided that this is going to be your time to finally take charge of your health. You’re going to drop those pounds and get your energy back. You’re going to trade in your old habits for healthy ones. This is going to be your year!

You’re not sure where to begin so you decide to check out your local health club. Surely they will have what you need and you’ll be on your way. You muster up the courage and head down to the club to start your new life! When you walk in the door you’re nervous as you’re really not sure what to expect but you are hoping the club staff will show you the way!

After a short discussion about your goals the well intentioned staff member takes you over to the turfed are and you see things going on that you’ve only ever seen on TV! High energy, fit bodies are jumping, sprinting, hoisting weights and launching medicine balls. This, they tell you, is the path to fitness. Its called Small Group Training. As fun as it looks and as fit as the participants are, you cant help but ask yourself…. Can I do that? Am I ready for this? What about me??

This is the exact experience many of health club members face when they first decide to join a club. Sure the training methods of today will get you fit – perhaps more fit than you’ve ever been. However you have to stay in the game long enough to realize those results! The problem – as the industry data confirms – is the the High Intensity Training methods that are so popular today, often turn people off from exercise after they have tried it. The reason is obvious. Most people don’t want to work that hard and most people do not want to experience the discomfort that this type of training subjects them to.

In business its important to meet people where they are and then show them the path to where they want to be! If you jump right to the end, the majority of people just wont be ready. And even if you convince them to start, most wont finish. It’s no surprise that still today 50% of new members will quit within 6 months of starting a fitness program!

At The Abs Company we believe in the Lifecyle of a Member! This simple concept has guided our innovations for the past 10 years. We have equipment that will appeal to the beginner as well as the advanced exerciser. The facts are indisputable that the majority of people don’t exercise – period. The true path to success in the fitness industry is going after this group – not the hard core dedicated exercisers that will show up no matter what. If you can convert the non-exerciser to a lifelong fitness enthusiast not only do you help them change their life, but your business thrives as well! A win win. Lets get together and talk about how we can help you Change Lives from the Core!


Do Supplements Matter?

We’ve all heard the adage that Abs are made in the kitchen not the gym. Here at The Abs Company we certainly believe there is truth in this statement though we also strongly believe in training variety for maximum results. This is the reason we offer many types of Ab and Core training machines – to keep those muscles guessing and improving. More on this in future posts.

When it comes the the nutrition side of things one of the hottest topics is, by far, supplementation. People ask me all the time – should I be taking supplements and if so what should I be taking?

I am a firm believer in getting as much of our nutrition as possible from whole foods. Fresh fruits and vegetables should be the staple of any healthy diet and are key to staying lean so you can have that flat, strong and sexy waistline you desire. However, it’s also no secret that our foods today don’t contain the nutrients they once did so I also believe there is a place for supplements in the typical western diet.

When people ask me what they should be taking, I keep the list very short. I know there are tons of choices on the market but I think

THIS SHORT LIST OF 3 WILL COVER THE NEEDS OF MOST PEOPLE.

1. VITAMIN D

A daily multi will fill many of the holes left by the typical diet. Especially important are adequate levels of Vitamin D. This is perhaps the area most people are most deficient and it can lead to many of the ailments we commonly see including osteoporosis, high blood pressure and certain cancers. New research is even showing promise in aiding in weight loss for those that are Vitamin D deficient. The common recommendation is 400IU per day though most research today shows that intake of up to 1000IU can be especially beneficial.

2. PROTEIN

Throughout time there have been many recommendations as to how much protein we need. They have varied from .5 grams per pound of body weight all the way up to 1.5 grams per pound. For the average person I like to recommend 1 gram per pound of body weight. This level of protein intake will ensure adequate amounts to maintain and increase lean muscle which is the key to fat loss. Muscle is more metabolically active than fat so the more muscle you have, the higher your natural metabolism will be. However, taking in this amount of protein without supplementation can often be difficult especially for those leading very busy lifestyles. I find that adding one shake per day containing 25-35 Grams of Protein (I prefer Whey) will dramatically help most people reach the desired levels.

3. CREATINE

Creatine is an organic acid that occurs naturally in the body.It is our body’s main source for explosive energy – up to about 10 seconds of work. Moreover it has a vasodilatory affect on the blood vessels – helping them to dilate and increase blood flow to working muscles. Sure the body will naturally replenish the stores of creatine but this takes time and thats where supplementation can assist. By saturating the muscles with ‘extra’ creatine, the stores will stay high allowing you to work harder longer. For anyone that trains, and that should be everyone looking to achieve that lean waistline – this is a huge benefit. There are several types of creatine on the market but most of the positive research has been done using creatine monohydrate. Typically a dose of 5 grams per day is sufficient for most people and the loading phase is not necessary, especially for people looking to use the supplement long term. There has not been research showing that cycling your use of creatine (starting and stopping intake) is more beneficial than regular supplementation.

There you have it – 3 supplements to aid in your quest for a strong, flat and defined midsection, and more importantly your long term health!


What Super Bowl 51 Can Teach You About Your Fitness Routine

This past Sunday we witnessed what will perhaps go down as the greatest Super Bowl of all time! Going into the game the stakes couldn’t have been higher. Not only was the world championship on the line but a win for the favored Patriots would make Coach Belichick and QB Tom Brady the winningest tandem of all time!

It wasn’t going to be easy though. The Atlanta Falcons were coming off a 11-5 season and their QB Matt Ryan was the NFL MVP! They were coming to play!! Right from the opening drive they showed that and by halftime they were leading 21-3. With 8 minutes remaining in the 3rd Quarter they extended their lead to 25 – 28-3! Most thought the game was over and New England had no chance for victory. In fact, no team had ever overcome more than a 10 point deficit in the SuperBowl.

So what does all of this have to do with fitness? After the game there were countless interviews of all of the players and coaches who all recounted the night’s events. When you boil all the comments down, 3 themes emerged and it is these themes that you can apply to your fitness goals to get the results you are after.

1. Evaluate and Adjust:

When the Patriots found themselves down by 25 they had to change their approach or they were going to lose! They changed their play selection, protections, coverages etc. When you are pursuing a fitness goal you must do the same. Look at what you are doing and objectively evaluate whether or not it’s working. If you aren’t getting the results you are after, make some adjustments. If you always do steady state cardio, try intervals. If you always lift free weights, try machines or body weight. If you always eat 5 meals a day, try intermittent fasting. Just like with the Patriots, small adjustments can make a BIG difference.

2. Focus on the Details:

Anyone successful will tell you that one of the biggest keys is to consistently do the little things well. It’s not about the big moves and there is no secret recipe. It’s the consistent execution of the small details that will lead to success. At the end of the game they asked Coach Belichick how they did it and he said “We just kept grinding it out!” The same is true of your fitness routine. There is no secret. Stay consistent. If you plan to work out 3x per week then do it. If you need to stretch daily to improve your flexibility – do it! If you commit to not eating past 7pm – do it. Whatever your commitments are to your fitness goals, consistently honor them and you will see results – period!

3. Never Give Up:

When you are starting out on your fitness journey the end result can seem so far away! You may be doing well for a while and then you hit a setback, you get injured, or you just plain fall off the wagon. It happens. You will also hit plateaus and feel like you will never get there. Good news – You will if you just keep going! One thing is for certain, if you give up, you’ll never reach your goals!

As the game got more and more out of hand many people stopped paying attention or flat turned it off. However, those that stuck it out were treated to one of the most improbable comebacks they will ever see. It was indeed the greatest comeback of all time. However, when you break it down, the recipe for success really wasn’t that difficult! Adjust, Focus on the Details, and Never Give Up! Apply these same principles to your fitness goals and you too will come away with the victory!

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TIREd of your training routine?

We all have, at some time or another, decided to make our way down the path of exercising but seem to hit a block when it comes to really targeting the tummy area. At times it seems like all the cardio and ab exercising just doesn’t seem to be working and you are at a loss as to why you are not getting the desired effect. One important thing to remember is that the body – especially the tummy – is built in the kitchen too, not solely in the gym. The right diet is imperative, in addition to exercise, to really getting the flat tummy you always wanted. Here are some simple diet tips that will be extremely helpful to help burn belly fat.

Eat all natural foods – the body does give out what you put in it and eating highly processed foods can slow the body down. Processed foods give the organs a more difficult job because the body has to work twice as hard to break down the compounds in these foods. In general stick to foods that are as close to their original source as possible.
Eating More Protein – Protein is one of the most important foods needed to help in losing weight. In addition to helping to replace damaged cells in the body, protein is also responsible for cutting down your appetite as well as boosting metabolism. The other great benefit of eating protein for weight loss and especially stomach fat is that proteins like fish are filled with omega three fatty acids which boost metabolism. Studies have shown that for the average person 1 gram of protein per pound of body weight is sufficient. This equates to roughly 30% of your daily caloric intake.
Cutting out sugars – Sugars in the diet are very unhealthy for the body and hinder the burning of belly fat. Sugary drinks like sodas and artificially sweet drinks have glucose and fructose components to them and this actually slows down the body’s metabolism. In essence, adding sugar to the diet actually helps to increase belly fat! The liver is also susceptible to damage from the overworkit gets from breaking down sugars for the body’s use.
Cutting out Carbs – Similar to sugars, carbohydrates break down to a sugar and as mentioned earlier added sugar may cause belly fat. Reducing Carb intake will cause the body to more efficiently learn to rely on fat as a fuel source. In general keeping your carbs to around 35-40% of your daily intake is a good recommendation. This may vary depending on activity levels.
Eat fiber rich foods – Foods rich in fiber help you feel fuller longer. The “soluble” type of fiber, which absorbs water, forms a kind of gel inside your stomach, slowing the absorption of sugars into your bloodstream. Lower blood sugar levels mean lower insulin levels — and that means your body is less likely to store fat.
Belly fat is very stubborn, but it is not impossible to burn, making simple changes to your diet. What we eat is very important to how the body reacts. The Abs Company has you covered when it comes to Core training. We have all the products you need to tone and strengthen your core in a safe and effective way. But also try making a change to the way you eat and see if this doesn’t make a drastic difference in how you look and feel. Let us help you find the right combination to get the abs you deserve!


Healthy Tips to Burn Belly Fat

We all have, at some time or another, decided to make our way down the path of exercising but seem to hit a block when it comes to really targeting the tummy area. At times it seems like all the cardio and ab exercising just doesn’t seem to be working and you are at a loss as to why you are not getting the desired effect. One important thing to remember is that the body – especially the tummy – is built in the kitchen too, not solely in the gym. The right diet is imperative, in addition to exercise, to really getting the flat tummy you always wanted. Here are some simple diet tips that will be extremely helpful to help burn belly fat.

Eat all natural foods – the body does give out what you put in it and eating highly processed foods can slow the body down. Processed foods give the organs a more difficult job because the body has to work twice as hard to break down the compounds in these foods. In general stick to foods that are as close to their original source as possible.
Eating More Protein – Protein is one of the most important foods needed to help in losing weight. In addition to helping to replace damaged cells in the body, protein is also responsible for cutting down your appetite as well as boosting metabolism. The other great benefit of eating protein for weight loss and especially stomach fat is that proteins like fish are filled with omega three fatty acids which boost metabolism. Studies have shown that for the average person 1 gram of protein per pound of body weight is sufficient. This equates to roughly 30% of your daily caloric intake.
Cutting out sugars – Sugars in the diet are very unhealthy for the body and hinder the burning of belly fat. Sugary drinks like sodas and artificially sweet drinks have glucose and fructose components to them and this actually slows down the body’s metabolism. In essence, adding sugar to the diet actually helps to increase belly fat! The liver is also susceptible to damage from the overworkit gets from breaking down sugars for the body’s use.
Cutting out Carbs – Similar to sugars, carbohydrates break down to a sugar and as mentioned earlier added sugar may cause belly fat. Reducing Carb intake will cause the body to more efficiently learn to rely on fat as a fuel source. In general keeping your carbs to around 35-40% of your daily intake is a good recommendation. This may vary depending on activity levels.
Eat fiber rich foods – Foods rich in fiber help you feel fuller longer. The “soluble” type of fiber, which absorbs water, forms a kind of gel inside your stomach, slowing the absorption of sugars into your bloodstream. Lower blood sugar levels mean lower insulin levels — and that means your body is less likely to store fat.
Belly fat is very stubborn, but it is not impossible to burn, making simple changes to your diet. What we eat is very important to how the body reacts. The Abs Company has you covered when it comes to Core training. We have all the products you need to tone and strengthen your core in a safe and effective way. But also try making a change to the way you eat and see if this doesn’t make a drastic difference in how you look and feel. Let us help you find the right combination to get the abs you deserve!


Functional Training with the X3S Bench

While there are many types of workout routines designed for different kinds of athletes, an overall workout regimen that targets functional fitness should be at the core. When functional training is the foundation, focused workouts become easier, and whole body strength is magnified.

What is functional training?
Functional fitness exercises are designed to both develop individual muscles and train them to work together. The movements mimic things your body does naturally on a daily basis, and expands on them to create a stronger, more stable core and body.

Doing functional exercises as a base of your workout routine teaches all of your various body parts to work together smoothly. This helps to make you more efficient in your activities of daily living. A simple example would be a shoulder press movement. Many machines would have you do this while sitting down. However, is that how you would generally lift something in real life? No. Typically if you had to lift something overhead you would typically perform this while standing – as if putting something away on a high shelf. This requires all of your muscles to work synergistically to accomplish the task.

Another great example would be the squat. When you sit down or get up from a chair, dip to pick up something from the floor, or crouch down to speak to a child, you are working the same muscles that squats train. Therefore regularly performing a squat as opposed to a leg press would make you more efficient at the movement!

A simple way to incorporate functional training into your routine.
The X3S is an ideal machine for this kind of workout, since it already operates on the principle of full body workouts. It doesn’t take much tweaking of your exercise routine to thoroughly exercise every part of your body, adding strength, flexibility, and muscle mass.

Using the X3S Elite or X3S Pro  can help you blend a variety of functional exercises into one smooth motion, exercising your legs, abs, and core. You can add weights or dumbbells to enhance focused exercises, and workout with a trainer or without.

By using upper and lower body muscles at the same time, you build core stability, promote strength and flexibility, and increase endurance. This can have a terrific effect not just on your hours at the gym, but in your day to day activities.
People across the country are getting great results with the X3S. We’d love to help you get the same amazing results.  If we can be of assistance please contact us anytime!


Functional Training with the X3S Bench

While there are many types of workout routines designed for different kinds of athletes, an overall workout regimen that targets functional fitness should be at the core. When functional training is the foundation, focused workouts become easier, and whole body strength is magnified.

What is functional training?
Functional fitness exercises are designed to both develop individual muscles and train them to work together. The movements mimic things your body does naturally on a daily basis, and expands on them to create a stronger, more stable core and body.

Doing functional exercises as a base of your workout routine teaches all of your various body parts to work together smoothly. This helps to make you more efficient in your activities of daily living. A simple example would be a shoulder press movement. Many machines would have you do this while sitting down. However, is that how you would generally lift something in real life? No. Typically if you had to lift something overhead you would typically perform this while standing – as if putting something away on a high shelf. This requires all of your muscles to work synergistically to accomplish the task.

Another great example would be the squat. When you sit down or get up from a chair, dip to pick up something from the floor, or crouch down to speak to a child, you are working the same muscles that squats train. Therefore regularly performing a squat as opposed to a leg press would make you more efficient at the movement!

A simple way to incorporate functional training into your routine.
The X3S is an ideal machine for this kind of workout, since it already operates on the principle of full body workouts. It doesn’t take much tweaking of your exercise routine to thoroughly exercise every part of your body, adding strength, flexibility, and muscle mass.

Using the X3S Bench can help you blend a variety of functional exercises into one smooth motion, exercising your legs, abs, and core. You can add weights or dumbbells to enhance focused exercises, and workout with a trainer or without.

By using upper and lower body muscles at the same time, you build core stability, promote strength and flexibility, and increase endurance. This can have a terrific effect not just on your hours at the gym, but in your day to day activities.
Clubs across the country are getting great results with the X3S Bench. We’d love to help you bring the X3S Bench into your facility, or talk about other Core and Functional Training options. If we can be of assistance please contact us anytime!


As Fitness Gets Smarter, People are Getting Fatter. Why?

The fitness industry has been exploding with innovation in recent years. Advances in the areas of Wearables, Artificial Intelligence Training programs, Smart Devices, Fitness Apps and  a range of new training methods such as Cross Fit, HIIT, and functional exercise have taken the industry by storm!Screen Shot 2016-08-06 at 1.57.05 PM

With all these advances, you would think Americans must be losing weight and obesity rates are going down.

Sadly, the reverse is true.  Recent studies show that American obesity trends are holding steady for men, while obesity trends are actually growing for women.

The million or billion dollar question obviously is WHY? How can there be so many advances in fitness and fitness technology yet the collective results are worse?

As with most research you have to look at it with a critical eye. The major issue – as always – is that most people are simply still sedentary. They aren’t using the advances and therefore are not getting the results.

So much of the fitness industry is dedicated to chasing the minority percentage of people that actually enjoy exercise, enjoy sweating and really are motivated to obtain results. These people are the ones drawn to the HIIT Training, fitness wearables and the latest forms of group training.

What about the beginners, those that feel uncomfortable or self conscious in an exercise setting? What is being done to help these people. Far too often fitness facilities don’t treat them any differently than the seasoned exerciser. They show them the same equipment, or worse yet , the same classes and training routines.  Research from the ACSM (American College of Sports Medicine) clearly shows that when beginners are exposed to HIIT type training, the majority quit within 3 months. Why? Quite simply it wasn’t enjoyable and in most cases it was just too difficult.

Another solution that is popular today is the growing trend of Small Group Training. This is evident in the explosive growth of the fitness studio market. Whether it be strength training, group cycling, or yoga, you can find a new studio on virtually every street corner. Many health clubs are also starting to put separate studios within their facilities. There is strong evidence that the group dynamics can lead to increased adherence but there is no getting around the fact that if a person doesn’t feel comfortable within the group, they won’t stay.

At the end of the day fitness professionals need to decide what business they want to be in. Are they in it to help all people change lives through fitness? Or do they want to specialize in the ultra fit and highly motivated? There is nothing wrong with either approach but the evidence is clear that trying to live in both worlds with no distinction is failing!

At The Abs Company our purpose is to Change Lives From the Core and we firmly believe that Fitness Changes Lives. In order to accomplish this we offer solutions that are appealing to the beginner and advanced exerciser alike. It is important to give all exercisers the chance to ‘win’ and be successful regardless of fitness level and allow them to progress along the lifelong journey to fitness. By doing this we hope to play our small part in reversing the obesity trend. We’d love to show you how our solutions can help your facility or you personally. Reach out and we’d be happy to discuss your needs!


Core Essentials

Foundation Building for a Stronger, Happier You

Your core muscles form the flexible, sturdy connection between your upper and lower body. Weak or inflexible core muscles can impair how well your arms and legs function, and will result in a lack of strength when it comes to moving, lifting, pushing or pulling. A strong core enhances balance and stability, increases strength, and reduces the chance of injury or falls. Nearly every typical daily motion moves through the core, even if you don’t realize it.

In the Home

Getting out of bed, taking a shower, putting on your clothes, and bending down to tie your shoes all involve movements that travel through your core. So does loading the dishwasher, mopping the floor, or taking care of children.

At Work

Physical jobs that involve bending, reaching, lifting and pushing obviously use your core muscles. However even desk jobs involve your core; muscles in your entire body are engaged even while sitting, answering phones, typing, or filing.

At Play

A game of Frisbee can engage your core; so can a romp with the family dog. Playing with the Wii can use all kinds of muscles, and so can simply spending time in the garden, weeding or fertilizing.

Sports

Obviously those who are athletically inclined depend on a strong core to help them excel. Running, swimming, cycling, rowing, hiking, tennis, golf, baseball, basketball, football and bowling all require the use of muscle groups that are connected through your core. (insert following image)

Drawbacks of an Underdeveloped Core

Lack of core conditioning can lead to muscle soreness, strains, back pain, and more. It can also slow your response in times of emergency, keep you from doing the things you want to do, and cause you to become tired too easily when you are having fun.

How can core training equipment like the X3S Bench Help?

Dedicated core training equipment can be instrumental in developing a strong core, especially a multi-functional unit like the X3S Bench. The X3S is designed to give a complete, no-impact core workout that also involves your abs and legs. No matter what your current lifestyle is, you can enhance your strength and flexibility, reduce the chance of falls or injuries, and improve your health and fitness level simply by using the X3S Bench to work on your core.