personal trainer buffalo

Do You Need a Workout Plan?

Here's a great answer to the question Do you need a workout plan? 

It depends.

That's the truth,

If you need structure, maybe you do.

Or you crave variety and being surprised then having no set 'plan' may work better for you.

Either way, you need to show up and work your ass off consistently.

You can be one of those guys with the little notepad, writing down every set, weight and exercise. Or you can go into the gym and wing it all the way from your warmup to your workout and cooldown. You do a cooldown right?  I didn't think so.

I've had great training plans and made progress. I've also had no real plan and made progress.

Depending on what you want to get out of your training, you may need to track your workouts and stick to a plan. There's some flexibility here too. The best plans allow for changes to be made over the course of the weeks/months.

There are a million ways to structure a workout/plan so I won't get into that here.

I'll leave you with this.  You should try a program at least once. Stick to it for 3-4 months. If you hate it or just don't like being tied to a single program then you've learned some valuable information.

You don't always have to have a goal with your training. Fitness is good enough on it's own without a specific goal, but if someone has a burning desire for a goal, then I say go for it with all you have!

Rules are Made to be Broken

When you are running a fitness business you absolutely must have a presence on social media.  Or so they say. Who are "they" anyway? What else do "they" say?

You must have your post-workout shake within minutes of your last set or else all your lifting will be wasted and you will not grow any muscle... so they say..

"They" say a lot of things. Full range of motion. Compound movements first. Machines are worthless.. squat ass to hardcore, hustle.. Most of which I have learned. Then I learned to forget them.

I've been doing this all my life.

Whenever I didn't do this and I did what I was supposed to do, my results were average at best. It doesn't matter what I was doing. And more importantly, I am not happy when I go according to the "rules"..

What does this have to do with you and your fitness pursuits?  Glad you asked.

You have to learn the basics first. Of nutrition and training. The most effective ways to lift weights, burn fat, gain muscle and strength..

Once you learn your way around and you achieve some results you can start to tweak to your own design. Eventually you may break every rule.

I'll use myself as an example-  I ate every 3-4 hours, decent amount of lean protein, small amount of carbs, very small amount of fats. I saw some results.

I also made sure to focus on the "most important meal of the day"- breakfast and the post-workout shake. I got some results.

Eventually I started to break those rules. And guess what,  I got results that way too.

So yes, you need to learn the tricks of the trade. Gain some discipline and make some progress. Then you will hit a plateau. This is normal.

Then you start to experiment. Find out what really works for you. What speaks to you. What do you really enjoy and know that you will be consistent with?

Maybe one exercise is not effective for you or makes you feel too much pain in a joint. Or maybe it's one specific food you think you're supposed to eat, according to the rules, but you can't stand the taste of it and dread packing it in your lunch..

Break the rules. Find your own way.

As Jim Morrison once said "Learn to forget"..

That's what we need to do. In fitness and in life.  There's only one you and I believe that within each of us there's some sort of wisdom, an instinct and knowledge that we can align with, that will give us great strength and lead us to evolve and adapt as we go through life.


That Damn Snooze Button

How did you start your day today?

Did you hit the snooze button?

That damn button is no good!

I know you don't want to be preached at. To have someone tell you to "do this, do that" or "stop doing this, stop doing that"..  I get it. I don't want anyone telling me what to do or what not do do.

It needs to happen on your own terms. On your own time. When you are ready. When will you be ready to change your life?

What will it take to make you decide now is the time? Today is the day I change my life for the better...

I can't be the deciding factor for you. No one can except the man in the mirror.

What I can do is tell you the benefits of changing your life with weight training and fitness.

You will have more energy. When you feel drained at work, or after work when you get home to your wife and kids or home to your girlfriend. It may seem counter-intuitive that by working out you will generate more energy but it's true. 

You will notice your body change on the outside. Looking in the mirror you will see your muscles pop, your belly shrink.. your shape will take on more of a masculine, attractive look.

When it comes time to work in the yard, or to move furniture, you will be more confident. Up and down the stairs you will have more air, you won't be out of breath as easy.

You'll sleep better. Eat better. You're standard of living will improve. Yep, all this from lifting weights on a regular basis.

Get on a program today.

Do something daily.

Don't do it for anyone other than yourself. Or if you find your motivation comes from wanting to be strong for your kids or your wife or whatever, then use that as fuel for your fire.

Whatever it takes, find a way to just do it. Morning, on lunch hour, after work, late at night in the garage.. etc.. Find a way, not an excuse.

Most people find an excuse.

But not you.

Be different. Be strong.

What gets you out of bed in the morning?

I remember it clearly.

It was the first day of my new life. My new work.

Work as a personal trainer and coach.

I could barely sleep. I was too excited. But I had no problem getting up at 5 a.m. when my alarm went off.

Of course, this doesn't last forever. No one gets up every single day like this, no matter how much they love their job, their passion etc.

But it makes me think of an important idea.

This idea about being excited. What motivates you to change your life?

I'm sure it's not seeing pics of models on the cover of men's health. Or some big gym sending you a flyer saying "get fit, get healthy!"..

But what will get you to change? What is the catalyst that can drive this difficult transition?

It's not for me or anyone else to know. No one can tell you what will drive you to get up at 5 a.m. and go train, when all you want to do is sleep another hour in a nice warm, cozy bed.

Only you can find that reason that will propel you when you get home from work and you are exhausted and stressed and hungry and just want to lay on the couch and watch sports center.

But what will it be? Is it to be healthy for your kids? And then grandkids? Is it to get lean so next summer you aren't embarrassed to take your shirt off? Maybe it's to prove to someone that you can do it.

The more the reason can resonate with you, the better the chance you will stick with it when things get tough. And they will.

Everyone can start and go a few weeks/months.

This can be tough enough and part of the barrier to being consistent with fitness is the fear of failure. That you will give up eventually. Go back to your old ways. Your will-power will run out of gas.

But if you have a powerful reason, that comes from deep within yourself, you will have much much better odds of sticking to it.

So if you don't know your reason yet or have lost your way, do some soul-searching. See what resonates with you. It may be totally different from the last time you committed to a fitness regimen.

If you're 45 years old and working long hours in a white-collar job, you're motives will be different than when you played high school baseball and wanted to be a better athlete, stronger and look muscular for the chicks. (maybe the last part is still the same)

This exercise of looking within to find what drives you to change into a better version of yourself, is so crucial. It's easy to overlook it. Many do.

Don't be one of them who think they can just will themselves into the gym when they sign up for a year at a big commercial gym. Thinking that because they pay $30 a month that they will automatically go and results will come.

Find what compels you, what drives you. And make this your best month ever.

NOT another "TOP 10 Tips" Post

Back when I was starting out writing on the interwebs some 5 years ago, I remember "experts" saying you had to do TOP 10 Tip articles. I did a few. I tried to follow what I was supposed to do. What others were doing who were successful in the blogging world and specifically in the fitness blogging world.

But like all things, I eventually go off the path and do my own thing. You gotta follow your own heart, listen to your own drumbeat and other such sayings..

So I've grown to dislike the "Top 10" posts. Or top 5, 20.. Mostly because, you don't need any more tips.

You know what to do. But you aren't doing it. Or not enough of it. 


The biggest excuse I hear is lack of time, and rather than just scream at the top of my lungs "MAKE TIME!"  I choose to offer up something more helpful, in my opinion.

Here's what I want you to do. This is your action-plan.

Go to a store that sells t-shirts and shorts/sweats/workout clothes. It doesn't have to be fancy or expensive or colorful.

More basic the better, in my view but if you like to mix it up with fancy colors then have at it.

Also, while you're out, buy a gym bag. Seriously. It can be a no-name brand, doesn't matter.

Now before you go to bed I want youto pack the gym bag with your gym clothes. Set your alarm for an hour earlier than you normally do.

You will be doing a 30 minute workout. Depending on how far your gym is (it could be your garage or basement) you will have to adjust for time, obviously.

Even if you have weights in your garage I want you to perform this routine. It seems so simple and ridiculous, I know. But it's important.

The act of buying gym clothes and packing your bag can make a huge difference. And the repetition of this act, over and over for weeks, months, years will pay off in big-time results. (along with hard work in the gym and proper diet, of course)

If you have yet to cement your fitness habits this is a great way to start.

Just do this. Don't worry about packing your lunch every day or anything else just yet. Do this 3 times per week for 2 months. If you have found it hard to get to the gym and only go sporadically, this will help.

No "TOP 10 Tips" here. Just actionable advice. Now do it.

If you need someone to help you stay accountable send me an email. I will do my best to help you get over the hump.


Everyone Knows Everything

On the one hand you have fitness experts who say the general public is clueless about health and fitness.  The other hand says people know what to do, they are just lazy and don't want to work hard. 

Which is it?

If I was trying to sell you a program I would choose one side and cherry-pick some studies to back that program up (there would be plenty on both sides) and voila, here's the answer for you.

But I don't work that way.

I know that life isn't so black and white. There's plenty of grey area.

But for the sake of this post let's talk about the person who knows what to do. Generally speaking.

Let's say you have a decent grasp on eating right for your body, what kind of exercises to do, how to structure a workout, a week/month of workouts etc.. you have a basic understanding of supplements and which ones are a waste of money and the ones that may help a bit.

But you don't do it.


Are you just lazy?   Can't find the time?  Have too much fat to lose and you know how long it can take?

Maybe it's just your MINDSET.

You don't take your fitness seriously. It's not a priority.

So what will it take to get you on track? For good..


Find a friend that you can go to the gym with. Drive together if that helps. Pick days/times and stick to them. Hold each other accountable.

If that doesn't work for you, try an online forum. Check in daily to post about your workouts, meals, progress, struggles etc.. it doesn't take as long as you may think. You're already on a computer anyway aren't you? Make a few internet friends and comment on their training logs. They will comment on yours. When you don't post, they will ask where you are.

If that doesn't work for you, find a coach/trainer. Search your area, ask around, post on your facebook.. get a referral. Talk to someone who has a trainer and get a recommended name.

This is huge. And it's often overlooked.

I've done each of these three methods and they all work.

Try one. Any of them!  They are better options than what you're doing now aren't they?

You can search the internet all day long for new diets, workout ideas and fun things to do but until you actually starting taking action CONSISTENTLY, you will stay stuck where you are and it will only get worse.

So start today. You know everything, I know.  But when you start taking action on this, you will find that guys will have tips for you that you wouldn't have found out yourself just from reading.  It's a whole new level when you have someone there to check on your form, assess your movement, and push you beyond the level you'd push yourself.


You Got Hurt Again?

I remember thinking I needed to catch up to the bigger guys at the gym as fast as I could. I didn't want them seeing me benching the light dumbbells for too long.

So I got injured lifting too heavy.

The injury healed up and soon after I could bench again with no pain I did it again.

With dumbbells on an incline.

A lot of coaches out there will tell you to use dumbbells if you have 'bad shoulders' and that the incline is often easier on the shoulders also.

But even if that is true, you can still mess your shoulders up if you lift improperly.

And what do I mean by improperly?

I mean lifting in a way that is not suited for your body. It will wreck your joints. Maybe not that day. Maybe not that month.. but eventually.

So you can do things 'right' according to others on the internet or a trainer/coach but only you are inside your body. Only you can feel the movement, the range of motion, the resistance, the stress, the pump, the stretch and the strength of the muscles and joints.

Don't be afraid to try different ranges of motion. Mix in various exercises. Try all kinds. If you find a handful that work for you and you don't desire more variety then go with that.

It's empowering to know that your strength and fitness plan is really up to you. There is no right or wrong, no matter what anyone says.


Resistance Training- All That You Control

I was fired up.

Maybe it was the little extra calories I had the day before after being in a caloric deficit for a few weeks.

Maybe it was my first few clients that came in before the sun was up and worked their rear ends off.

Maybe it was just one of those day.

I was all set to squat a thousand pounds. Hit the weights with a passion and aggression.

Then I started feeling a little kink in my shoulder. Even with a good warmup. For a moment I got mad.

Again..? Come on! 

So I said ok, it's not my day for putting a bar on my back and squatting so I did some variations instead.

Worked the legs. That was the point anyway.

I had my mind set on doing the squats a specific way but I've learned to listen to my body as it gives clues to what is feeling right and what isn't.

In previous years I would just push right through that little pain and maybe nothing came of it...or maybe it got worse. That has happened many times over the years and I think maybe (finally) I have learned to take the signals and adapt on the fly.

Live to fight another day.

One of the only things we have control over, our fitness. And at my nice young age of 37, with almost 20 years in the gym and many years before that playing baseball, football, hockey.. I think it's a good idea to train in a way that builds my body/mind up, rather than snap up the joints.

So get in the gym and get crazy. But have the awareness to listen when you should hold back, or switch it up or adapt in some way to make progress rather than regress.