Learn about the science of fitness

Get the science-based weekly newsletter that makes learning about fitness simple.
I most want to see changes in my
Your information will never be shared or sold

Example insights

Why it's okay to skip workouts...

If you're getting ready for a wedding or thinking about looking good for spring break in a couple of weeks, this advice isn't for you. But, if you're focused on finding a source of stress relief and building some physical resiliency, you need to hear this.

You can miss workouts and maintain most if not all of your fitness gains.

Muscle is a lot easier to maintain than it is to gain. If you can only make it once a week for a while, you'll be fine.

For nerds - One of my consulting colleagues, Pak has published on "minimum effective dose".

I love this for obvious reasons. Strength training is a source of stress relief and connection for peeps at the studio but they get busy too. They have kids (read random, poorly planned school events), work deadlines, and school projects. They travel to see family. They go somewhere fun to climb things.

If you're meeting a scientific minimum - you only need to hit each muscle group twice per week to make some progress.

How do you reset?

As a busy professional, it's hard to find space to workout. Balancing work, parenting, and self-care feels like a trap. You can't "do it all".

Exercising is typically seen as a numbers game: perform cardio 3-4 times per week, lift weights 3-7 times, and don't forget to stretch! I've never felt right about this because it's a bit much and who has time?

We got pretty amazing results when I played football at the University of Missouri in small groups training 3 days per week. So I’ve always spent a lot of time and effort trying to bring clients that same quality of strength training. We ultimately see people two or three times a week in the studio, but everyone gets in better shape from the moment they start coming nearly every time.

Working out so you can have more energy might sound normal to some people and counterintuitive to many others.

But fitness is counterintuitive like that. Here's are a bunch of benefits of exercise to prove it:

  • Increased metabolism
  • Increased low and high-speed strength
  • Building and maintaining muscle
  • Improved coordination and balance
  • Decreased joint stress during physical activity
  • Reduced lower back pain
  • Lowered risk of injury
  • Improved aerobic capacity

It doesn't have to be my definition of exercise. You could dance, get some steps in, or dust off the old family Wii.

Insights sourced from Strength Training for Beginners and email.

How to Motivate Yourself to Workout

In How to Change, Katy Milkman teaches us about what her research has coined the "fresh start effect";

"Fresh starts increase your motivation to change because they give you either a real clean slate or the impression of one; they relegate your failures more cleanly to the past; and they boost your optimism about the future."

Bullets from the article linked below that you might find helpful:

  • Get clear on your reason for starting. Reflect on what you’ve done before.
  • Reward yourself while you work to internalize your habits.
  • Realize that you need to be flexible to reach your goals.
  • Revisit your goals at Realistic timelines, have they changed? That’s okay.
  • Relax, there’s no one way to reach a goal.
    • There will be challenges, you may have just found one way that doesn’t work for you in this current context. (That can change too) - Ex. Kids go to school, you got a new job, divorce, getting married, etc.)

Insights sourced from How to Motivate Yourself to Workout [Science-Backed Advice]

Red flags to look for when hiring a Personal Trainer 😳

“I've never seen my shoulder move like this.”

I stopped at 8 of the 10 assigned sets of overhead presses, “You can stop. It's your hour.”

That was when I realized I shouldn't be trying out CrossFit.

I wasn’t asking them to agree with me. I was asking them to defend their exercise selection. When I work with a coach or trainer, I’m looking for a team of experts with science-based decisions.

I added this experience to my mental list of trainer-hiring lessons learned. This list is something I’ve developed over 7 years as certified strength and conditioning specialist who has worked with coaches training professional and Olympic level athletes.

And now I’m sharing some of my best questions with you.

This is a list of 4 red flags I look for in my evaluation process, and it includes suggested questions so you can weed out trainers that aren’t up to snuff.

  1. Why should I not work with you?
  2. Do you have clients who aren't focused on changing their appearance?
  3. Do you encourage clients to get out of the gym?
  4. Have you ever had to fire any of your clients?

(Get my answers to the above and find other common questions to ask in the article.)

Insights from email and 4 Counterintuitive Questions to Ask a Personal Trainer - Before hiring them

Get weekly fitness insights

I most want to see changes in my
Your information will never be shared or sold