Personal Trainer Certification

A True Expert on Hip Mobility

Did you catch the video I posted last week about hip and spine mobilization from Jeff Cubos? I really thought it was a great refresher and reminder of treatment and training ideas for a key body area. There’s no doubt that the hips are one of those areas we could likely make a career out of. Here’s the post if you missed it.

Today here’s another great video from Dean Somerset. Dean likely doesn’t know this because we don’t know each other well but I am actually a tremendous fan. Dean has amazing knowledge and ability to assess and evaluate biomechanics, he’s a true master in our field. Here’s a really awesome video on hip mobility that I also shared with my training team.


If you like the content in this video there’s no doubt you’ll want to check out the product they offer for core and spinal health, it’s a phenomenal resource that will undoubtedly benefit your clients.

Core & Spinal Health

Increasing Client Hip Mobility

I’ve always told both my training clients and upcoming trainers in the certification courses that I’ve taught that as trainers we could easily focus our whole careers on three key areas, hip function and mobility, the stabilization of the shoulder girth, and of course core function.

Here’s a great short little video that was forwarded to me from a friend and colleague Rick Kaselj on assessment and mobilization of the core and spine. I felt it was informative, I immediately shared it with my whole training team and I thought I’d post it here for you as I figured some of you would benefit from it as well.


If you like the video you might want to check out Rick and Jeff’s product, it’s very well done, highly informative and there’s no doubt in my mind that you’ll gain tools that will immediately benefit your clients and ultimately the growth of your business.

Core & Spinal Health

Small Group Personal Training with Boomers and Yes Seniors Too!

Welcome back Dr. Dan…

dan-ritchieThe Boomer and senior market will be the fastest growing “niche” if you can call the soon to be dominant market a niche in the fitness industry.    Boomers are turning 65 every day at an alarming rate!   10,000 every day!!   I won’t bore you with stats on how this population segment is exploding, since for this post I want to focus on how small group personal training is very successful currently in our studios for clients over age 55.

I often get the question from younger clients, ones in their 30s and 40s…..”So how do you train people of different levels and you aren’t going to stick with me with old people are you?”   I try not to laugh, but can’t hold back a smile when I say I tell you what we will put you in training groups appropriate for you, and then as you are ready to move up we will look at moving you into more challenging groups.   Then I ask so do you think you can do 30 pushups on your toes, with good form and no rest?   One of our 82 year old….and female clients in small groups can do that?    The reality is our small group clients in their 60s, 70s and beyond are inspirations to all the clients younger than them, and actually create a more relaxed non-threatening environment for all those younger women who honestly are terrified of a gym, a bootcamp or a training facility.   They see women older than them and realize good grief if they can do it, and kick my butt doing it…..I gotta get going.

Small Group Training for older clients works very much the same as for younger clients.   Now we do have to be selective on some groups and it is more beneficial to put several over 70 clients in a group together at their pace.   But we certainly have many clients in their 50s and 60s that can hang with the younger crowd just fine.

The biggest difference is simply being a little more aware and a little more prepared with modifications.   With a small group made up of all clients over 60 you are bound to have some knee, hip or shoulder issues so you have to be prepared with several modifications.   Burpees, Squat Jumps, Mountain Climbers will probably not be your go to exercises with these groups.   But there are many great exercises you can do and incorporating some more balance and mobility focused ones works well also.   Lunges and Squats are still great, Total Body Extensions (Squat Jumps without the jump), Step Ups, many different forms of pushups ranging from on the wall to a bench to on your knees to the full toes can all be incorporated.

Of course for our facilities our entire focus is on the 50-65 year old female client, so small group training is what we have designed and planned with them in mind.    Do we occasionally get a new client in that isn’t ready for small group because they have too many joint issues and too much deconditioning, yes that does happen and then we require they go through 1-2 months minimum of 1-1 training to be prepared for small group training.   Of course this is at a much higher price point.   And we do still offer 1-1 training long term if people really want that, but we try to steer most people into small group training since it is much lower cost to them and much more profitable for us.

We have found that by being singularly focused on the 50-65 year old female we attract men 50 and over easily because we simply don’t have the no-pain, no-gain, yelling and screaming testosterone pumping environment.   It also immediately becomes a place where women 30-50 feel comfortable with their weight loss struggles.   Do we struggle to attract the super fit, super buff young males and females…..yes we do, but that is okay because we don’t want them anyway!

The final benefit is the small group training to the older clientele fills ups your days.   We have group training at 9am, 9:30, 10, 10:30, 11am, 1215, 1, 130, 3, 3:30, 4, 4:30…..and of course all your early morning and evening times for the younger working folks.  These older clients allow us to have a group training schedule that keeps trainers training all day long.    If you aren’t thinking about the boomer and senior market it is time you woke up to the next big thing in the fitness industry.   These older clients have the financial resources and the physical need; they will be the dominant force in the fitness industry.

Dan M Ritchie, PhD, CSCS, HFS-ACSM

Dan Ritchie, has a broad background in the fitness industry including training and management in commercial and university/hospital-based fitness, for-profit, not-for-profit and educational facilities. His primary areas of expertise are in personal training for special populations (pregnant women, those with chronic disease and/or disorders such as Parkinsons, multiple sclerosis, cerebral palsy, Fibromyalgia and Alzheimers, etc.). He has participated in state funded research on exercise for Alzheimer type severe dementia and regularly presents at national and regional conferences. He is a past Board member of the Midwest American College of Sports Medicine and was nominated for the ACSM National College Board of Trustees in 2008. He has been the Enhance Fitness Master Trainer for the State of Indiana since 2007. While at Purdue, he received a Lynn Fellowship and a National Strength and Conditioning Association research grant, and in 2009 his Ph.D. in Health and Kinesiology, with a minor in Gerontology.


His experience also includes:

  • FallProof Instructor Certified, from California State, Fullerton, 2006-present
  • 2005 Thesis of the Year Award from University of Wisconsin-Whitewater
  • 2004 Graduate Student of the Year, American College of Sports Medicine, Midwest Chapter
  • 2005-2007 Student Affairs Committee, ACSM
  • 2005-2007 Board Member Midwest American College of Sports Medicine,
  • 2008 Nominated for ACSM Board of Trustees
  • Enhance Fitness Master Trainer for State of Indiana 2007-current

Presented at Amercian College of Sports Medicine, National Strength and Conditioning annual meetings, Athletic Business Conference, National Council on Aging annual meeting, World Congress on Physical Activity and Aging



Biceps and Business

Biceps and Business

As trainers we never stop learning, you can’t, there is simply too much to know. Even things you’ve done a certain way for years can suddenly take on new meaning, like a normal barbell bicep curl for instance.

This blog post isn’t about business, marketing, lead generations or pushing profits into the stratosphere. Yet if it get’s you thinking and improves your skill as a trainer (or mine, or someone else’s) then it is absolutely about business, clients success, retention and industry longevity. All are inclusive of exactly what the Profitable Personal Trainer is all about.

So let’s have some fun, let’s talk about bicep curls. (And for the record I can’t even mention the word bicep without thinking about Pumping Iron and good old Arnold and Franco training back in the day.)%image_alt%

Barbell bicep curls are for me a product of an era gone by, my bodybuilding days. When I think about bicep curls I can’t help but think about one of my major mentors and role models from my younger days, you might recognize him. When vanity was my primary objective and having those big hanging biceps was part of the job description I did a lot of bicep curls. Over the years as I evolved as a trainer their use faded, as truly for most it’s not a movement that serves for much of a variety of purpose. We know that many of our clients will often present with rounded shoulders, the sign of a deteriorating upper shoulder girth, shortened pecs, internal rotators and quite often shortened biceps.

In its simplest form the bicep curl doesn’t really seem like a logical choice dealing with someone with rounded shoulders and deteriorating posture. In no way am I disputing this but then sometimes the most difficult part of working with a client as actually physically getting them to perform, activate or use the actual muscles that you want them to. I’m sure like I have, you’ve found scapular retraction/manipulation to be one the most common, and often difficult, focal points of improvement for clients.

Recently I’ve taken a keen interest in Serratus Anterior and it’s role. I’ve always found it interesting that if we removed all the muscles from our shoulder blade it’s basically only attached to our skeleton at the end of the collarbone where it meets the sternum. Without the muscles holding it in place it could move all over the place, yet containing the shoulder joint it’s a major stabilization point for our arm and many of its movements as well as our head. It’s easy to see through our life, with most of our life spent moving in front of us, why the muscles of the shoulder girth could become unbalanced and dysfunctional. To me it’s even more frightening to think about how bad it really could get with the only structural anchor point for the shoulder girth to be at the sternum, this creates a broad range of displacement for a lot of muscles involved in a lot of movements.

Anyways, serratus, as you probably know the serratus originates on the back side of the shoulder blade, it wraps around our torso attaching to a number of ribs on the front side of our body. In conjunction with other muscles of the shoulder girth one of the big things it can do is flatten the shoulder blades (scapula) against the rib cage. Because of the convenience generally of our lives this is typical point of dysfunction. Our lives are typically not physically demanding enough to encourage efficient, regular neurological recruitment of the serratus to flatten the shoulder blades.

If you Google or search YouTube for improving serratus function you’ll undoubtedly find modified versions of push ups and presses, all of which I am a fan of and use extensively. However from a pure coaching standpoint recently I have had tremendous success with my clients using a light barbell bicep curl.

When my client is performing the barbell bicep curl I will stand behind them cuing them to flatten the shoulder blades and squeeze the bottom of the scapula together. I ask them to try to maintain this position while performing the bicep curl. I then place my hands on top of the shoulder with my thumbs sitting just below the ridge separating supraspinatus and infraspinatus so I can detect any movement.

Just about everyone moves a little, and this greatly decreases the efficiency of movement of the bicep curl. But what it does do is give them an immediate sense of what their scapula is doing, feeling the activation of lower trapezius and serratus as the attempt to keep the scapula from moving or stabilizing by elevating the traps with their upper fibers. This ineffective bicep curl has proven to be extremely beneficial in establishing the mind to muscle connection for better serratus activation and postural improvement.

The best part is your clients can see and feel an immediate difference. We all know with great results comes great client retention, increased customer referrals, and the development of your brand. Just maybe bicep curls can find a place into your business building strategy afterall.

The Profitable Personal Trainer Workshop - April 2011

The Profitable Personal Trainer Workshop – April 2011

What a weekend!

Well if you missed out on Saturday’s Profitable Personal Trainer Workshop I wanted to give you a recap.


Bedros Keuilian is one of the world's leading fitness marketing experts and has been my personal coach for over 3 years.

We were very fortunate to have North America’s top fitness business coach Bedros Keuilian in Calgary; not only an extreme privilege but the guy barely made it, for some reason Canadian Immigration seemed to think the information he was bringing was so valuable that it was barely legal! (Well no not really but he always has some rather amusing experience at the border and secondary inspection. 🙂

So here’s how it went…

We started off with something critically important to you, your business and your clients…recognition.

Throughout the day 4 of my superstar coaching clients were recognized for their successes over these last months. Humairah & Faraz have learned so much about sales and client attraction it’s crazy, Chas has continued to streamline her facility from the depths of a monthly burn rate to reaching profitability, Tim has paid of 10s of thousands of dollars in debt in just month and Sean basically went from zero to nearly $100,000 in program sales in just 4 months, talk about action takers! (And silly me forgot to make sure we got pictures to save the moment, perhaps the individuals mentioned will proudly provide some with their award. J)

Bedros Keuilian killing it at Cabel

Bedros Keuilian killing it at Cabel's Profitable Personal Trainer Workshop

On to content…I started off by sharing the 5 key things that trainers need to understand and do in order to quickly reach the 6 figure mark and beyond, this applies whether you’ve been in the industry for years or were certified last weekend.

1) Don’t be afraid to fail, simply keep taking action!

  • This means imperfect action is better than waiting too long to make it perfect.
  • This means don’t screw around because you are afraid which leads you to being “busy” and kills action and all momentum.
  • This means be 110% committed to your business but any new idea only needs to be 70% ready to put it into action, the best place to see and fix the problems is when they arise not sitting around guessing what they might be.
  • This means success loves speed, outsource where possible so you can be doing more things

2) Identify “Your Most Likely Customer”

  • This means completely describe them with a word picture as completely detailed as possible. And by that I mean try to explain exactly what you seen to your best friend if you drove by your customer standing in their own backyard watering their lawn. What type of clothing, what they enjoy, and every possible detail. Your marketing, promotions, everything needs to appear where your prospects frequent and in language that will both appeal and make sense to them. This is the basis of grassroots marketing and how you make a limited to no marketing dollars maximize their efforts.

3) Build a list and they will come.

  • Seminars and strategic alliances with local businesses work amazingly well to quickly build a list and a reputation offline.
  • Kijiji, Craigslist, Facebook and Adwords dominate for cost effectively finding new customers in your area, experimenting with these mediums can lead to quick and massive success.
  • Leverage technology, use email software and the ability to schedule content delivery in advance to chunk tasks and make your day more efficient.

4) The More you give the more you get.

  • This was the biggest take away in the 5 basics. After many years I didn’t get it either but there is one thing that has proved true over and over again, the most profitable and successful fitness professionals are the ones that get busy the fastest. The easiest way to get busy is to train people for free. Think about it your biggest immediate obstacle is no one knows you or your ability (and you may even doubt yourself) but even with that if you offerred 5-10 sessions free most people are likely to accept. You now have 5-10 opportunities to show them how great you are and why they should pay to continue, I think there is a far better chance in communicating this message in a free session than there is in a printed ad, a radio campaign or other generic marketing medium, don’t you agree? The bonus is that the people around you that suddenly see that you are really busy naturally assume you must be good at what you do because you suddenly were busy over night.

5) Nothing matters if you don’t take action.

  • I know sounds repetitive but most people leave a seminar like this so inspired to wind up the next day feeling so overwelmed they don’t know where to begin, this point of fear (essentially or old same limiting mindset) prevents them from taking any action at all. So here’s what you need to do, go through your notes if you were there or pick 1-2 things from this article if you weren’t and write it on a small piece of paper. Make that your top tasks to start tomorrow, it’s only 2 things not much you can procrastinate on or avoid you must begin with one or the other. If you simply did this every day just imagine how many great things you could accomplish.

Next Bedros took over and really knocked it out of the park with helping you to understand and shift your mindset. Even though him and I have spent a great deal of time talking about these things and I’d even heard this content before for some reason this time it really hit me differently. The underlying message is that we will at some point always revert to our “scarcity mindset” or whatever that starting point is that proves to be the toughest obstacle when it comes to reaching our goals and dreams. It’s important to find away to continually develop your mindset of “abundance” by surrounding yourself with people you wish to emulate while limiting your exposure to people and situations that would have you return to your “scarcity mindset.”

%image_alt%If this all sounds like gibberish to you, you need to check out the audio/book Bedros highly recommended; Psycho Cybernetics by Maxwell Maltz. (Trust me it is captivatingly interesting and will change your life.

Once afternoon hit we took things in a more serious direction, I gave everyone a look at the in depth systems behind our million dollar training studio. How we manage everything from recruitment to compensation, automatic billing, planned and controlled growth, client retention, trainer retention evaluation, sales, marketing and so much more. The best part I explained how we can analyze the performance of our business in 10 minutes or less from anywhere in the world and then coach our team as needed.

I noticed a number of people experiencing the signs of mass writing cramp as they tried to document each detail, though for some this lead to confusion it illustrated the importance of defined systems as you grow and that the ceiling of your growth will only be dictated by the systems you apply.

To wrap up the day Bedros took everyone through his specialty, the path of ascension and how we go about attracting prospects and leads and the exact steps to convert them to paying clients. Not just scripts, tactics and ideas were shared but the exact breakdown and mechanics of building a full sales format system

I think all attendees would agree that it was impossible to have been at the Profitable Personal Trainer Workshop and NOT taken at least one thing away that could potential double, triple or massively blow up their business.

You guys are so awesome, what an amazing day I appreciate you all so much! Look forward to more, I’m currently looking to schedule 1-2 more live workshops before the end of 2011.

The first thing I did today was...

The first thing I did today was…

Bedros Keuilian killing it at Cabel

Bedros Keuilian killing it at Cabel's Profitable Personal Trainer Workshop

Ok it’s Monday, it’s where the rubber hit th road. Everyone in attendance last Saturday was challenged with “Taking Massive Action” with renewed confidence, enthusiasim, knowledge and power. Now I’d like to know what was the first thing you did Monday morning? Where has your vision stretched? What do you see on the road before you and the future of your business?

Please post your comments below.