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The Crucial Role of Resistance Training for Runners

Why Runners Should also Resistance Train

Runners are athletes.  As such, they should ideally train like athletes.   That means in addition to following your running plan, eating right, and getting adequate rest, you should think about implementing some resistance training into your routine.

Benefits of Weight Training

People often say: the sport of running is to run, right?!  So why would I want to lift weights?  I don’t run the course with weights.  I don’t want to be big and bulky; it will destroy my mile pace, not to mention cause me extra fatigue lugging around all that muscle mass?!  Runners are supposed to be lean, mean, striding machines!  Not bodybuilders! I have heard all these and more…, but it still does not change my mind. Here is why:

Resistance Training in Injury Prevention

Injury prevention: Nothing like resistance training strengthens connective tissue and bone mineral density.  The extra challenge of adding a load to an exercise stresses the body to adapt.  This means an increased rate of bone development and thicker, stronger connective tissue.  The body needs stress to adapt, which is exactly what resistance training offers. So running and the constant pounding on bones and joints can wear down the body.  Adding some resistance training will help combat those detrimental effects on joints and lower body ligaments. The Best trainer in Albion at Smart Strength adds an extra layer of assurance, offering the expertise needed to optimize your resistance training routine and keep your body resilient against the challenges of various physical activities.

Body Posture and Discrepancies

Runners are universally known for having poor posture and many muscle imbalances (think tight IT bands, psoas muscles, and shin splints, to name a few).  The reason is that they always do one activity in the same direction.  This causes our bodies to morph into a posture that best suits our activity (running) but doesn’t suit our desire to be balanced.

Diverse Movements in Runner’s Training

Consider, when is the last time you ran backward, laterally, jumped, or sprinted…? If you hear crickets, you are in this category.  Running is great, but if all you do is the same pace, in the same direction for miles at a time, your body will start to crystalize to that specific movement.  Your muscles and posture will adapt to only moving that way and tighten into being permanently in that position.

Addressing Muscle Imbalances

In addition, the muscles not being used will effectively “turn off” and become increasingly harder to fire when needed. And this shows itself over time.  Runners often have defined muscles used in running (calves, quads) but underdeveloped muscles not used in running (upper body, posterior chain).  This usually leads to injuries and overall aches and pains in those stressed areas, and poor posture and low definition in the areas not used.  

Break Routine Re-Introduce Muscle Confusion

Most runners are very dedicated and disciplined. To the point where it becomes a negative.  They have been doing the same running routine for years.  This is great because they have developed strong fitness habits, but it can also cause us to crystalize to a point where we are not seeing the benefits we should be seeing any longer.  Our bodies have an extreme desire to adapt to homeostasis.  If you are doing the same routine, day in and day out, even though you are exercising, the body has adapted to it.  This means less energy expenditure and less positive benefits from exercise.

Breaking the Crystalized Routine

Think about it… if you are running miles at a time, and you feel no soreness, and honestly, it is not that challenging anymore, you are crystallized.  Resistance training is the perfect way to bust up that routine, try different exercises and movements, and finally feel that soreness I know you have been missing.  Plus, it will be mentally rewarding to try something new and fun!

Athletic Progress with Smart Strength’s Strategic Training

Similarly, I want to inform you of the SAID principle.  So, this stands for Specific Adaptations to Imposed Demands.  This is a bunch of scientific jargon, but it simply means the body will adapt to your demands.  That is why and how you can increase the mileage you run as you progress throughout your running program.

Approach to Progressive Resistance

That principle explains how you add weight to your resistance exercises as you progress through a weight training program. So, the body is constantly adapting to its environment. Resistance training and good programming will ensure your body adapts to get stronger daily, not crystalizing and becoming stagnant.  This is one of our guiding principles at Smart Strength… Another example of working Smarter, not harder. 

 

We are What We Repeatedly Do…….

Transforming Acts into Habits of Excellence

Excellence, therefore, is not an act, but a habit…New research gives these qualities a different name… “Grit”.  It’s worth looking up when you have more free time from being so efficient.  And it’s the most critical indicator of success we have found.

Embracing Grit and Excellence at Smart Strength

So you know, only flash & pop can not create a successful life. Instead, it is through the ability to get knocked down and back up again.  Every Damn time! 

We are what we repeatedly do…

Excellence, therefore, is not an act, but a habit…

So many of us have seen this quote on walls in the classroom, in the boardroom, and sometimes even in the bathroom… but do we ever actually take it to heart? Do we ever commit to an excellent act and rep it out so often that it becomes a habit?  

If you have mastered this concept, more power to you; stop reading and enjoy your wonderful life; you have made it. If you have not been able to turn your acts and attempts at fitness into a habit of excellence, then personal training classes in Albion at Smart Strength can help. 

At Smart Strength, we make 3 commitments to you!

  1. Consistency
  2. Crush your goals, and have fun doing it
  3. Competency & Independence

When you begin your journey with us, you directly invest in your health and future. We will do everything possible to turn your one-off acts of fitness into a sustained habit of excellence through our 3 commitments to you. If you could benefit from these 3 commitments or know someone who could, click the link below and schedule your free assessment today.

www.smartstrengthprogram.com

Work Smarter, not harder.

Your Trainer,

Alex

So, a successful life is not created through flash & pop but rather through the ability to get knocked down and back up again.  Every Damn time! 

-Smart Strength

 

pelvic tilt

Revolutionize Your Fitness: Mastering Pelvic Tilt at Smart Strength

Anterior and Posterior tilt… The Most Important Movement

“Why, on Earth, am I doing this?!” ….I am sure many of my clients have had that thought cross their mind when I ask them to work on their “cat/cow” pose during one of our Strength training sessions… It is probably even more of a shock for someone who has never done this exercise.   This type of move belongs in a yoga studio or your bedroom…

But rest assured, there is a method to the madness. Let me explain:

What we are after is pelvic tilt and being able to activate and manipulate our pelvic tilt. Let’s make sense of this by addressing three questions, and hopefully, you, too, will agree the pelvic tilt is the most important movement we do at Smart Strength!

What is Pelvic Tilt?

Pelvic tilt refers to our hips and the direction in which they are pointed in our everyday posture.  Ideally, we would like no tilt at all or a neutral pelvis.  These images should paint a good picture of the 3 different tilts we commonly see.  Most people I have worked with fall into the Anterior pelvic tilt category.  The severity level differs, but due to the lifestyle most of us live, we are inclined to suffer from anterior pelvic tilt.  

Why does it matter?

Do you have low back pain… Do you want more muscular abs/ more definition? And do you want a better-looking butt/ toned and lifted?

When you do “core” exercises, do your hip flexors feel it more than your actual abs?

If you answered yes to these questions, Pelvic tilts matter to YOU!

Our hip tilting significantly affects the musculature connected.  That means specific muscles will be affected if we move away from a neutral position.  Reference the image below.  This image displays the affected musculature of an anterior pelvic tilt.

Reversing Anterior Hip Tilt

When we learn how to manipulate our tilt, we can start to reverse the effects of an anterior hip tilt. This means “turning on” the abdominals and glutes (my number one and two areas that we want to work on- as cited by clients during our goals discussions) and “turning off” / alleviating the lower back pain and tightness (my number 3 areas we want to work on- as cited by clients).

Now that funny-looking cat cow thing is starting to make sense, isn’t it?!…. 

What can we do about it?

At Smart Strength, we attack this issue in a progressive format. I must make a client aware of the tilts and how to feel/manipulate the hips through an anterior and posterior tilt.  We do this through supported exercises such as cat/cow and wall press abs; when clients master these supported movements, it is time to bring them to their feet, where gravity and body weight challenge the tilting motions.

Standing Pelvic Tilts and Resistance Mastery

Standing pelvic tilts and anti-rotation exercises are prescribed in the second level of the progression. After a client demonstrates sufficient strength and mastery of the standing pelvic tilts, it is time to add resistance to the movement.  We do this through many different exercises at Smart Strength… this is our secret sauce! 

Transformative Power of Pelvic Tilt

Training the pelvic tilt in a progressive overload pattern is one way we change our client’s lives. The whole game changes when a client learns how to manipulate their pelvis and gains strength in that neutral pelvis position. Not only do they become more robust, but they become healthier. Yes, pelvic tilt is that important…

Training at Smart Strength has been shown to improve Pelvic tilt… Side effects include:

-Stronger Abs

-Less back pain/aches

-Stronger glutes that are toned, firm, and looking good!

-Better posture, increases body awareness (constantly feeling the abs to make sure they are “turned on”)

-Able to move, lift, and experience a full range of physical activities daily.

Work Smarter, not harder.

Your Trainer,

Alex

 

SS Times- 35th edition. Welcome 2024!

SS Times

Welcome to 2024!  Happy New Year!  Look for some changes this year around the facility.  We will keep you posted!

December was a gentle winter month for us Michiganders, complete with easy holiday travel and lots of good cheer.  It was a very Merry Christmas, hope it was for all of you as well!

A very big Thank you to all our clients who brought us goodies and treats and cards.  You are the best!

Some may call me the Grinch, but if your anything like me, the travel, rich food and entertaining throw off your schedule and your workout routine and sleep habits dissolve to almost nothing.  That is what January is for!  Were back at it full go, and boy does it feel great!

We are here and ready for you!  With a gym fully stocked with weights, cardio machines and expert trainers, we are your one stop shop for all things health & wellness.

We always appreciate referrals.  Our business runs on them.  If you know someone who is looking to make a positive change in their habits and improve their mental and physical health, please mention us.  If you have had a positive experience with us, please let them know that too!

We applaud you for making fitness and health a priority.  We look forward to helping you prepare for all your winter sport activity.  Strength and coordination will help you have your best winter season yet!

Thank you all for trusting Smart Strength with your health and wellness.  We appreciate each one of our customers.

We have added 3 new members to the Smart Strength family in the month of December (Januari, James and Eric ).   Welcome! 

We now have 60 active keycard memberships and 31 small group training members.

**For new members- Treadmill Code is 1277.    Music is no longer available for clients to pick… sorry too many issues.

If you ever have questions about equipment or Pelotons, please let us know so we can give you an orientation.

Please be sure the door latches closed behind you when leaving the facility.  

Overall, I have been very pleased with everyone’s cleanliness and respect for the facility.  Cheers!  Keep up the good work.

REMINDER***  We have a 24 hour cancellation policy.  If you cancel within 24 hours of your session, you will be charged.  

**January 2024 we will no longer be selling monthly keycard memberships.  You will be required to purchase either a 6 month or year long membership for keycard access.  Thank you for understanding **

 December Recap

-We completed 165 total sessions for the month of December.  (141 total for December ’22)
-We averaged 41.25 sessions per week.
-We are averaging 173 sessions per month YTD. 
-5,407 total training sessions have been completed at SS since opening in November 2020.
-1,964 sessions 2023 YTD.  1,725 Sessions were completed 2022 YTD.  *Compared 1,718 sessions in 2021 YTD.
Erin sessions: 64 for the month of December *** 755 sessions YTD.

Eggs & Issues December ’23.  Thank you to all that came out to support, and special thank you to Caster Concepts for providing the chairs and tables for the event!
Thanks to the Chamber for running a smooth event and Galazio’s restaurant for catering.   First class.

Check out the speech Owner Alex Harris made here
https://www.facebook.com/100057221029090/videos/1126510645231349

Want unlimited access to the premier fitness facility in the state of Michigan?

Our keycard membership is right for you.

**** 6 month and year long specials for keycard memberships!  **** Ask us about it now, or purchase for a gift!

Save your basement and garage from becoming a storage shed for dated workout equipment and mismatched dumbbells.  Let us do the work.

In addition*** Keycard/ Drop in memberships include UNLIMITED access to Peloton Bikes and Treads!  A $2500 value!

Are you someone that needs direction in the weight room?
Do you need a plan?
Do you need the accountability of an appointment?
Do you want to develop a lasting routine?Our 21 day trial is right for you. 
If you or someone you know needs to get healthier, we are the place for you.

$200 for an assessment, 6 training sessions and your personalized workout plan.  It might just change your life…

Commitment and Attitude Are a Way of Life!

Commitment and Attitude are More Than a Choice

While reading my latest book, “Sell or Be Sold,” two chapters of the book hit me.  They addressed why commitment was so important and how a positive attitude is one of the most powerful traits in the world. Commitment is a difficult concept to master.  It is as hard for me as anyone else. It has never been easy for me, from writing blog posts to keeping my nose to the grindstone daily.  The harder the task at hand, the harder it is to stay committed for the long term.

Unveiling the Power of Commitment

But I know that nothing great can be done without commitment.  Committing is the first and essential ingredient to creating value.  It is how we stick our foot in the ground and change our direction for the better.  It is the thing behind the scenes of every fantastic accomplishment. But it is the never-ending early mornings that make a dream come true.  It is how a business is built and grown for a lifetime.

Excellence and Unmatched Service

Commitment takes work, day in and day out.  It takes a rock-solid mindset.  It takes effort, and I will not stop working until you have the best results from Smart Strength! Commit to clients, commit to excellence, commit to the best service and products in the fitness world.  This is my pledge, day in and day out. 

We all choose attitude daily, affecting how we see the world and how it sees us.  More than any other virtue, attitude touches every aspect of life.  Everyone appreciates a positive attitude.  The world opens up for those who exude positivity.  Likewise, the world is very gloomy for those with a negative attitude.

Unveiling the Influence of Attitude

Just think of your favourite people you encounter each day… I bet the one commonality they all have is a positive attitude.  And the people you avoid probably all share a negative attitude…. It’s important to recognize the influence of your attitude.

Attitude Shapes Health and Happiness

Attitude is so important it even affects our health.  Research shows that smiling, even if forced, releases dopamine (the happy neurotransmitter).  Likewise, negative attitudes cause stress, releasing cortisol (one of our stress hormones), which stores fat and releases glucose into the bloodstream, causing insulin spikes and making you feel less than optimal overall.  

Sometimes, I forget how important attitude is, and sometimes it goes negative. But I am so blessed to be surrounded by the best people in the world who constantly beam smiles and positivity my way. Embracing a positive attitude is crucial for personal growth and well-being.

As I navigate life’s challenges, I am grateful to have the support of those around me, especially with the guidance of the best trainer in Albion. It is a never-ending process, but commit to a positive attitude, and your life will improve.

Work Smarter, not Harder.

Your Trainer,

Alex

Dealing with setbacks

Overcoming Life’s Setbacks with Smart Strength

Dealing with setbacks

Everyone experiences it. It’s how we deal with it that matters.  I am talking about setbacks in life.  They come in all shapes and sizes.  They come in every conceivable area of life.  Work, love, finances, and fitness, to name a few.  

A wise friend once told me that the path to success is never a linear rise.  It is a million micro-adjustments, but it will trend upward if you do it right.  Continuous learning and adjusting will give you that upward trend.  

In the world of fitness, this is no different.  I have had many clients over the years who have had setbacks.  Sometimes, it’s a hectic schedule, sometimes an injury, and sometimes a significant life change that puts their fitness on temporary pause.  But the key is not to let the setback last.  At Smart Strength, I want to give you the tools to help you overcome these lapses and still bounce back into the fitness routine when the “dust” of a setback finally settles. 

That means that everyone goes through setbacks. Even the most successful, driven people go through setbacks… daily.  As I said, what you do after the setback matters. Especially in the context of strength training, matters.

These words are even more true now, as we have all had to deal with some setbacks.  Remember, it happens to all of us…. But it’s what we do after the setback that counts.

I am no different…. I have felt the burden of setbacks but chose to bounce back!  If you want to join me on the bouncing back journey, please get in touch with me.  

Work Smarter, not harder. 

Your Trainer,

Alex

Getting “Real” with yourself

Let Us be Honest, Getting Real With Yourself is Hard

Shoot, it’s downright miserable sometimes, and that is exactly why we avoid it.  But if we can’t be honest with ourselves, how can we expect to ever change? There are a million areas in which you can choose to be honest or dishonest with yourself, but for the sake of this blog, we are focusing on fitness and diet.  

Fitness

Most clients have no problem pushing themselves hard during a training session.  Once they walk through the door and hit the warmup routine, they know it’s game time. But what are you doing the other 23 hours of your day?  What are you doing the other 5 days of the week?

Are you constantly moving for work?  And you are chasing kids from point A to point B?  Are you taking a walk around the neighborhood or downtown?  Or are you sedentary?

Are you stretching and foam rolling on your days off?  Are you icing!?  Proper recovery is essential for growth and gains. Strength takes years to build and requires constant maintenance.  Atrophy begins in as little as 48 hours of inactivity.

Not fair but that is the reality.  

Diet

What you put into your body matters.  All of it.  Snacks, liquids, meals, etc. Only you can decide what your ideal body image is, and only you can make that happen through how you choose to fuel your body. Only you can decide how much of your diet are you willing to change.  How much you are going to alter your food and drink lifestyle to achieve your goals? Realize it is damn hard to earn and maintain a “fit” body image, and the diet component needs to be on point, day in and day out.  

Be honest with yourself, are you doing that?  

Action Item

Get yourself a journal and start writing your innermost thoughts in it.  This is a difficult habit to create, realize that, and do not beat yourself up if you happen to miss a day or two.  The point is to get used to being “real” with yourself, in a safe environment.  Practice writing out what happened that day or weekend.  Do it often, daily would be best!  There is no right or wrong, just flow. 

They are your thoughts, your opinions, do not write what you think others would like to hear… Be ruthlessly honest! After you have taken the courageous step of committing your thoughts to paper, read it over.  This combination of journaling and reflection creates associations and memories in your brain.  

Stick with it, it will get easier as time goes by.  Also, it will start to manifest itself in your daily life. You will realize some of your weaknesses in real time and catch yourself.

You will start to think about the future, and what it will feel like to have to account for your actions in your journal later. Getting real with yourself on paper will soon lead to getting real with yourself in real life! 

If you’re committed to mastering the powerful skill of honesty with yourself, small group training becomes a dynamic platform for self-discovery. And if you know exactly who you are, you can walk through life with the ultimate confidence. If you know exactly how hard you have worked… when you truly earn something, no one can take that away from you! 

P.S.  If you enjoyed this article, forward it to anyone you know who could benefit from the message.

P.P.S.  If you are interested in starting a journal, but do not yet have one, I have just the one for you!  Mention this to me next session to receive your free “Wealth Management Journal.”

Your trainer,

Alex

Safely Embrace the Summer Workout: Tips for Exercising in the Heat

Exercising in the Heat: At Smart Strength

Since we are still under construction here at Smart Strength, and our state has closed fitness clubs, many of us are returning to traditional modes to get our fitness fix.  Walks, jogs, swims, or even good old gardening are hot on everyone’s agenda this time of year.  The weather has shifted gears, and we need to take a few minutes to talk about how to exercise safely in the heat. 

Unveiling the Science of Summer Fitness

You should address a couple of physiological changes when exercising in hot environments.  Acclimatization is a simple yet essential rule when working out in the heat.  And we need to expose ourselves to the heat in increments.  Limit your intensity and time in the heat early on.  After a few days of training in the heat, you can increase your intensity and time and monitor your feelings.  After a few weeks, you will be fully acclimated and probably supporting a nice tan too!

Secrets of Hydration for Effective Heat Exercise

Hydration is key to working out in the heat.  It goes without saying that as we get hot, we sweat.  This is one of our physiological mechanisms to help cool us down through the evaporation of sweat from the body.  It’s the same reason you feel chilled after getting out of a pool and letting yourself “air-dry.”  What is not understood by most people is just how much sweat and water you need to replace the loss.  The best way to combat this is to drink water early and often throughout the day.  Don’t try and gulp it all down right before your workout.  That will make you feel bloated and won’t effectively hydrate you.

The Crucial Link Between Blood Viscosity and Summer Exercise

Another aspect of hydration that is especially important in hot environments is how it affects our blood and its viscosity.  Think of lava.  We have all seen two images: slow-oozing and fast-flowing hot lava.  That is a difference in viscosity.  As we exercise and heat up, our blood does similar things.  It becomes thinner and more fluid due to increased heat and flow.  We need water more than ever to help support this. Because of dehydration, our blood gets thicker and more challenging to push throughout our bodies, therefore not delivering as much oxygen to the tissues and waste removal from the tissues, affecting our performance… and making us feel ill.

Overcoming Challenges with Acclimatization and Hydration

Do not fear the outdoors and sunny weather, however. These topics can all be resolved with proper acclimatization and hydration. Plus, we all know and love the positive aspects of working out in the summertime sun.  We feel nice and limber and enjoy the long, beautiful days.

I can’t wait to see you in beautiful downtown Albion.  Next time, we can train inside with the AC running at the Smart Strength Growth and Conditioning.  

Work Smarter, not harder!

Overcoming Gym Intimidation and Weightlifting Fears with Expert Guidance

Removing Barriers of Entry to the Weight Room: Intimidation

An ongoing series (1 of 3)

If you are new to the Gym world and weight lifting, it can be intimidating, uncomfortable, and even scary at times.  This is normal. These posts will address the common concerns of clients and try to highlight the facts over fears of weightlifting at Smart Strength.

Gym Intimidation

I vividly remember the first time I entered the high school weight room as a husky, uncoordinated middle schooler.  In addition to my uncertainties, I had to face the “cool kids” of the school throwing around iron and looking Fly.  It was extremely uncomfortable and made me so nervous I was sick to my stomach.  I am guessing most of you have had a similar experience somewhere along your fitness journey.

Creating Fearless Entry into the Weight Room Culture

These scenarios often act as barriers to entry into the weight room.  We recently surveyed what people do and do not like about working out. 

The top 2 things people feared about working out were “working out in front of others” and “feeling judged.”  Simply put, almost everyone has these concerns about the weight room atmosphere. 

I have observed from my personal experiences. This is a common theme at every gym where I have worked, especially for newcomers to the weight room culture.  That is why I want to do it differently when building Smart Strength.  I wanted to eliminate as many barriers to entry as possible for potential clients.

Personalized Excellence

We have created a very intimate setting.  We only offer personal training or small group training sessions to ensure the most comfortable atmosphere possible for our clients.  Our coaching is the industry leader in being professional, personable, and respectful of each client and their abilities.  We are here to help.  We are here to do whatever we possibly can to see that you accomplish your fitness goals.

Building Trust Through Understanding

When I coach a client, I am responsible for being as welcoming, understanding, and relatable to them as possible.  I develop strong relationships with clients by working hard to get to know them.  There is no room for intimidation at Smart Strength, and we work daily to eliminate anything that might create an intimidating atmosphere for our clients.

From Middle School Awkwardness to Fitness Confidence

If I am ever the source of intimidation, please rest assured I do not mean to be.  All you have to do is think of that Chubby, uncoordinated middle schooler, and BOOM intimidated no more 😊  Oh. I also used to rock a Pineapple haircut with 3-inch bangs, so rest assured, no judgment here…

Uncomfortable

Not only are some lifts physically uncomfortable for some (Squatting with a barbell across the back immediately comes to mind), but they can make us mentally uncomfortable, too.

Redefining Fitness with Pain-Free Approach 

At Smart Strength, we do not preach or follow the adage, “No pain, no gain.”  We do not believe that it must hurt to be effective.  We do not even believe or prescribe Burpees…  We are not here to intimidate or make you mentally uncomfortable.  Our Strength training is all about making exercise fun and enjoyable.  There is always 2-way communication, so if you ever have anything on your mind, please let us know so we can accommodate it ASAP.

Adaptable Fitness at Smart Strength

We are educated in our fitness.  If a client does not like a particular lift, cannot perform the exercise, or does not feel like doing that sort of thing today, no problem.  We can always modify or substitute an exercise for something that accomplishes the same goal.  Variety is the spice of life!

Navigating the Uncomfortable

Something uncomfortable but, if programmed and managed correctly, can be drastically minimized is DOMS (delayed onset muscle soreness).  Every person has a different pain tolerance and perception of this pain.  Many newcomers are shocked at the feeling of soreness and pain of shocked muscle groups that have suddenly been brought back to life.

Smart Strength’s Guide to DOMS

DOMS is perfectly normal, natural, and to be expected.  In almost all cases, it will subside in a few days.  As we continue to train, the DOMS will become less and less severe.   Ice, Ibuprofen, a proper diet, and good sleep will help you overcome these initial bouts of DOMS.

Minimizing DOMS for a Painless Fitness Journey

To help minimize the harmful effects of DOMS, we continually assess new clients to see their current fitness level so we do not over-prescribe exercises or initially administer too much load on the muscles.  We respect each client’s susceptibility to DOMS and work tirelessly on our programming to ensure we deliver a great workout without causing extreme DOMS and pain.

Beyond DOMS – Embracing Consistency in Your Fitness  

Once you have committed to a workout routine for an extended amount of time, you will rarely experience DOMS, and it may even bum you out that you haven’t been sore in a while… I know it seems crazy, but I hear this comment a lot from experienced clients. 

Navigating Gym Confusion

Another source of discomfort is not knowing what to do in a gym.  We will call this Gym confusion.  Unfortunately, gym culture has taken on a life of its own, with unique jargon, acronyms, and clothing styles…..  We do not embrace the CrossFit culture here, we do not judge the style of clothing you wear, we do not endorse gym selfies, and we don’t even have mirrors in the facility. 

Scientific Education to Becoming a Weight Room Veteran

We offer scientific education on exercise equipment and take the time to orient you to everything you need to know to be a weight room veteran.  Your program may seem a different language to you initially, but after training and education with your coach, you can read, write, and speak fluently!  It may even spark an interest in you that you never knew existed…

Empowering Your Fitness Journey with Supportive Coaching

Scary- We all have fears.  They range in scope and severity.  Fear and anxiety in the weight room are things that we can and will overcome together.  This is why our gym trainers are here: to help you overcome any barrier you may encounter in your fitness journey.

Some of the most common fears I hear from clients are related to injury.  The ACSM (American College of Sports Medicine) and several other governing bodies have published findings regarding injury rates due to weight/resistance training.  

The ACSM has different categories (ranging from strain and sprain to catastrophic, including sudden cardiac arrest, injury requiring hospitalization, and death).

Understanding the Reality of Injuries in Fitness

Research shows that minor injuries are the most common. But we can reduce these significantly when a professional monitors the exercise session.  

Catastrophic injuries are extremely rare (even though they are often publicized).  The prevalence rate ranges from 1 in 50,000 to 1 in 1.5 million depending on which governing body you reference, which age group you analyze, and which gender (males are twice as likely to suffer a catastrophic event, and no, that is not due to having a smaller brain, but rather an increased likelihood of a cardiovascular event). 

https://books.google.com/books?hl=en&lr=&id=hhosAwAAQBAJ&oi=fnd&pg=PP1&dq=ACSM+resistance+training+injury+prevalence&ots=lkA7ZE0ZQz&sig=bGEaAv-iDqGmCGvJyqGCZxZkfmg#v=onepage&q=ACSM%20resistance%20training%20injury%20prevalence&f=false

Fearless Pursuit of Goals at Smart Strength

Another fear that clients experience is fear of failure.  Failure in the weight room comes in several forms.  Failure 1 is coming up short of our fitness goals, of failing to execute a lift properly or failing to hit or exceed a Personal record.  A good coach and a proper perspective can help remedy these fears very quickly.

Embracing the Challenge: From Goal Failures to Max Rep Triumphs

Failure 2 is a different kind of experience.  This is reserved for the moderate to advanced weightlifter.  It is the failure to complete a rep at maximum exhaustion.   Pushing your reps to failure is a learned skill. For example, falling while trying to attempt a barbell squat, failing to extend on a deadlift, or being unable to press the barbell from your chest on a bench press.  These are uncomfortable and scary when you first experience them.  However, these two are easily overcome with a spotter and an experienced coach who can walk you through and ensure your safety while performing maximal lifts.  I guarantee that Max Day will become your favourite day after you overcome the failure butterflies.

Smart Strength: Where Passion Meets Expertise

Smart Strength Growth and Conditioning was designed to make the fitness experience fun, exciting, and rewarding.  If you have any comments or reservations, please let us know, or feel free to make an anonymous suggestion.

This is why I earned a BA in Exercise Science from Albion College.

I also earned an MS in Exercise Physiology from Michigan State University.

This is why I worked in East Lansing, Ann Arbor, New York City

That is the reason I started my own company, Smart Strength

This is why I do what I do,

To help you

Your Trainer,
Alex

Lifting Weights Without Bulking Up

I want to Lift Weights, But I am Afraid of Bulking up…

This is a concern that many of my Female clients have when starting a weight training program.  If you are not one of these Females, more power to you… there are no right or wrong body types or images.  

Somewhere along the line, we have been told that this “bulking up” is an inevitable byproduct of weightlifting.  “People that lift weights, hefty weights, get bulky.”  That is an observation not founded in science.

This type of thinking is a significant deterrent to many females, and unfortunately, this false information prevents many women from participating in weight training.  This urban legend also keeps many strong females from engaging in some of the most productive and beneficial exercises, such as deadlifts, squats, and some pressing variations. 

Everyone wants to feel and move better, but we do not want our bodies to change into unrecognizable, bulky and “manly” figures.  Rest assured, it is possible to enjoy a robust weight training program and not turn into a muscle-bound hulk.

So How do We Weight Train Without Bulking Up?!  Proper Science and Application…

When Smart Strength designs a program, it is designed just for you.  We will talk about your goals and what you want to achieve.  From there, we craft a program to help you reach your desired outcomes.  

Throughout years of schooling and personal training experience, Smart Strength has developed a large toolbox to craft a workout routine to accomplish any goal.  Not only does Smart Strength have many “tools” (exercises and lifts), but it also has many ways to implement those “tools.”  Sets, Reps, tempo, and rest ratio are among other variables that will help the “tools” deliver the best results.  Combine this with our attentive and hands-on coaching; you have a recipe for success.

Any exercise scientist or health professional will tell you that lifting weights provides multiple positive health benefits when appropriately done with gym training.  When prescribed correctly, it can reduce fat mass, increase lean muscle mass, and create a lean, strong look… precisely what some of my female clients are after… 

Let the principles of Science and sound exercise prescription guide you to your desired results.  Not social media scientists, celebrities, or uninformed observers.  I look forward to scheduling an assessment with you and hearing your goals.  

Work Smarter, not Harder

Your Trainer, 

Alex