Archive for exercise research, tips for trainers, What We Love This Week, workout tips

Sleeping In: Extra ZZZs in the AM Benefit Motor Learning

by Meaghan posted October 3, 2017

As an educator, I’ve been doing quite a bit of reading lately on learning – including morning learning – and I recently came across some interesting findings from the latest sleep research.

We’ve known for quite some time that sleep is important for physical recovery, cognitive function and motor unit firing – but it turns out there’s much more to it than that. In addition to sleeping in 90-minute cycles (read more HERE), it seems that motor learning, especially, is solidified in the hours just prior to waking. Retention of facts, etc. happens in the hours just after falling sleep, but it’s those last couple just prior to waking where sleep is lighter that seem to make or break improvement in motor skills.



What does that mean for us? Well, most trainers are up quite early for work and may be missing out on the most precious sleep for maximizing certain types of training (e.g., Olympic lifting, gymnastics and other technical skills) if they don’t adjust by going to bed earlier. The same holds true for our clients, especially our newer trainees who are still trying to master basic movement patterns.

Bottom line: Make sure you and your clients don’t skimp on sleeping in! If you need to get up early, make sure you go to bed early as well so you don’t miss the most important phase of sleep for motor learning.

How To Become an Industry-Leading Personal Trainer

by Meaghan posted August 8, 2017

Today we have a guest post from Tyler Read, creator of a great site for personal trainers and aspiring trainers called


Hey everyone and welcome to my infographic on how to become a personal trainer. I will be going over all of the major points that you need to check off in order to become a qualified personal trainer. Overall, there are essentially nine steps that you need to accomplish  in order to begin your  career in one of the most sought-after jobs in the world.

Before we jump right into the infographic, I would like to touch upon the importance of the step #6: Get hands-on experience. As a person that has seen countless personal trainers begin their careers, this is one of the things that is significantly lacking in the traditional exercise education process. I have seen dozens of people get off to a bad start due to the fact that, although they may have exercise science degrees, they have little to no practical experience working with clients. All they really have at this point is the book knowledge they have obtained through study and perhaps a certification.

There are a variety of ways to gain practical experience before you train your first real client but, in my opinion, the best way to gain real-world experience is to attend a live personal training school.  Here you will be working with industry-leading professionals that will mold you into a fantastic personal trainer before you work with your first client.  You will learn how to avoid all of the beginning personal trainer mistakes without having to go through them yourself when there is money and your job on the line!

The personal trainers who graduate from vocational personal training schools are much more prepared for real-life situations than people who have simply studied for a certification exam. This is why I recommend vocational schools such as Focus Personal Training Institute (FPTI). They not only teach you what you need to know to pass the gold standard of personal trainer certifications (NASM) but also provide you the practical hands-on experience that will put you above the rest right from the start. If you want to become an elite-level personal trainer, starting off on the right foot is more than crucial.

For the “tl;dr” folks, here’s the infographic (click to enlarge!):

Pro 173 The Ultimate Guide on Why and How to Become a Personal T


You’re Probably Foam Rolling Wrong

by Meaghan posted July 18, 2017

First, has anyone tried this new contoured foam roller? It looks AMAZING…





More importantly, did you know you’re probably foam rolling wrong? I know, I know. For years we said there was no real right or wrong – before a workout, after a workout, on your off days: ALL good. Personally, it always made more sense to me to foam roll before working out to get your body through the necessary ranges of motion in training and prevent compensations that could lead to injury. We didn’t have much research to back this up (or refute it), but it certainly made logical sense to me.

Good news: We actually have some research on foam rolling now. Granted, it’s new and still not abundant by any means. BUT, it’s starting to suggest that the effects of foam rolling are largely neurological in nature – AND extremely short-lived. Not like a few hours short-lived, but a couple of minutes. That is to say, the release of tension we get from foam rolling may already be diminished by the time we even START our workout – especially if we do a full-body foam roll. The mobility effects in the lower body could be gone by the time we finish foam rolling the upper body!

SO, perhaps we need to rethink our strategy when it comes to foam rolling. We seem to see the best LONG-term mobility effects when we follow up our foam rolling with static stretching (PNF seems best), and then it’s up to us to immediately gain stability and strength through our newfound range of motion if we want lasting change in structure and/or pain relief. That said, it may be best to intersperse both foam rolling AND stretching for specific areas strategically throughout a workout rather than doing it only at the beginning or end.

Food for thought!

3 Ways to Never Prospect Again

by Meaghan posted April 24, 2017

As our second semester Master Course students get underway with their internships, the dreaded challenge of “prospecting” in the commercial gym setting is starting to surface as usual.


(Note: For those new or outside of the personal training industry, the term “prospecting” refers to approaching and conversing with members working out on the gym floor in attempt to turn them into clients.)

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Get Better at Preventing Falls

by Meaghan posted March 15, 2017

Hope everyone enjoyed the snow day off! Might as well run this again. Be careful on the ice!


After last week’s snow storm, NYC was left with not only a snowy mess, but also some pretty slippery sidewalks due to the rain that followed this weekend, in conjunction with the erratic bouts of warm and cold temperatures we’ve been experiencing lately. Sheets of ice still coat the city in several areas and, needless to say, we’ve likely experienced a recent rise in the rate of falls…


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“Hypertrophy” Training Protocols are Kind of a Myth…

by Meaghan posted January 24, 2017


That’s right. Much of what you thought you knew is wrong.

8-12 reps for muscle growth, right? Not necessarily.

30-90s only of rest to recruit more muscle fibers, correct? Nope.

Moderate intensity is best? All wrong.

These are ALL myths.

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Fitness in 2017 and How to Get Up to Speed

by Meaghan posted January 17, 2017

Those of us who have been in the fitness game for more than a decade now have seen a host of trends come and go – thankfully, for some… – and the evolution that has taken place these past several years, especially. The “functional” movement characterized by stability balls and bands that plagued the field in the ’90s is now officially a thing of the past, and these tools have been mostly replaced by the barbells and bumper plates required to perform functional movements at high intensities. The term “functional movement” is, therefore, still quite prevalent in fitness; it has just been largely redefined with the rise of CrossFit and other barbell-focused training methods.


So why the shift? Well, believe it or not, exercise science research is actually starting to catch up and become useful (not completely, but more so than before). And while society becomes more plagued with chronic disease, musculoskeletal dysfunction and weakness brought on by sedentary behavior, we finally have enough good evidence that working at high intensities improves physiology faster and to a greater extent than low-intensity training, and that being strong and able to perform daily “functional” activities is perhaps the greatest predictor of longevity. (Shout out to the Starting Strength movement!)

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Meet the Veterans of FPTI’s Advanced Concepts Class!

by Meaghan posted November 11, 2016

In honor of Veteran’s Day, Men’s Fitness interviewed 8 of FPTI‘s current Veteran students.

Now that Focus offers funding through the GI Bill, we’ve welcomed an increase in Veterans looking to start the next chapter of their lives. Check out THE ARTICLE to learn more about how our Veteran students are taking to the Master Course program, their career aspirations, and experience transitioning back to civilian life.

Interviewing 101: What to Do…and NOT to Do

by Meaghan posted October 27, 2016

It’s about that time of the semester again: Next week, FPTI students will get the chance to network with many of NYC’s top fitness employers as they gather on our training floor for the quarterly FPTI Career Fair. They’ve been working hard with our faculty this week to get their resumes organized, with the goal, of course, being to set up interviews for internships or jobs in the weeks to follow.

That said, we figured it’d be a good idea to reinforce some essential interview dos and don’ts.





After all, a polished cover letter and resume may get you an interview, but a solid interview is what ultimately lands you the job.

So, here are a few important things to consider when preparing for an interview in the fitness industry:

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Alumni-Turned-Employer Spotlight: Ryan Heffernan

by Meaghan posted October 4, 2016

Today, we have an interview with FPTI alum and Focus Integrated Fitness Personal Training Manager, Ryan Heffernan.


When did you graduate from FPTI?

I graduated in December 2012 and was immediately hired by Focus Integrated Fitness.

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