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Thursday, July 28, 2011

Attention All Ladies...This Just In...It's Okay to LIFT HEAVY WEIGHTS!

Attention All Ladies!
This Just In.. Its Okay To LIFT HEAVY WEIGHTS!

Female Client:            I am not satisfied with the way that I look and want to lose some weight, as soon as possible.  What should I do?
Rich Mejias:                LIFT WEIGHTS
Female Client:            But I don’t want to get big. Shouldn’t I be doing a lot of cardio?
Rich Mejias:                NO, LIFT WEIGHTS
    The typical mindset of the general population, not just women, think that the solution for losing weight is cardio. Some think by spending countless hours on the treadmill, the pounds will simply melt away. Change your way of thinking, because it is WRONG.
    Reason #1: Women do not include weight training in their program for a fear of becoming “bulky”.  Ladies, this is IMPOSSIBLE.  You will never lift enough weight to become the “Incredible Hulk” or have arms like Hulk Hogan.   Choose a lifting program that is based on “Timed Sets” and you will see that you will not only decrease your body fat, by decreasing your body composition, but also completely change the way you look.
    Reason #2: This happens to be my biggest pet peeve when training female clients. "I just don’t want to lift heavy weights."  
This line dumb founds me every time!
    Some Fitness Professionals in the industry have mentioned that women should lift light weights, and complete up to 15 repetitions. My belief is in the opposite direction. I believe in having women lift 8-10 reps or until they reach a level of fatigue, while maintaining correct form.  This will not only increase the amount of lean muscle, but also help boost metabolism.
    So ladies, take it from me and get in the weight room. Take charge of your “Weight Loss Quest”. Include a solid full body routine into your workout and you will not only see the unwanted pounds drop, but it will also get you that much closer to your goal that you have pictured of yourself in your mind of how you want to look. 
    Most males have a primary focus for increasing lean muscle. It can take anywhere from 12-15 months to put on 10 pounds of muscle. In order for this goal to become reality, you must participate in a program that requires lifting a lot of weight with a low number of reps. So, if it takes a male about a year to gain 10 pounds by lifting heavy weights with a low number of reps, why are woman so concerned with their type of workout and associating it with “getting too big”?

Friday, July 22, 2011


“You’re either getting better or your getting worse…there is no staying the same.  If your doing the same shit you have been doing for the past 5 years…YOU SUCK”
Robert Dos Remedios

    Wow…I really could not have said it better myself.  One of the things that I like to do as a Strength and Conditioning Coach/Facility Owner is to head out to different facilities all over the country and check out what other physical therapists, trainers, and gym owners, etc are doing.  If there is one thing, good or bad, I can take away from the facility, I am happy.  I am not afraid to come back to Leverage Training Center and say…I think we need to tweak this or completely change that. 

    For example, I went to a local gym in New Jersey last week and as I was foam rolling in the corner (P.S.  I had to take my foam roller from the car and bring it in to use because they didn’t have any…REALLY???), I saw a client walk through the front door. The trainer greeted the client with a great welcome and smile. The trainer then lead the client to the treadmill where they spent 10 minutes reading a magazine, while doing a pace slower than my 90 year old grandmother with a replaced hip.  Come on! Can this trainer possibly say they help contribute to the fitness industry? This is the reason why we get the bad rep as we do. Your clients are paying you for your expertise, and you have the dignity to plop them on a treadmill for 10 minutes? Get off the computer and Facebook, and give your client the service that you promised them when you first met them, meaning… HELP THEM REACH THEIR GOAL! Don’t forget about the important things such as Foam Rolling, Activation, Exercises, Dynamic Warm-up, etc. 

    So finally, back to the sorry story, the clients’ personal trainer finally decided to come out and get her… Yes, the trainer walked away. I knew that after I saw the beginning, I had to keep an eye out for what wonderful things were to come. Exercises performed and directed are as follows: Seated Chest Press, Seated Row, Seated Shoulder Press, Leg Press, and Hip AB/AD.  Now I don’t know the specifics or background of the client, but I can bet you that she spends most of her day sitting in a car or at a desk, or being completely inactive.  Now we can go on forever about exercise selection for your clients, which is not where I am going to go in this post,  but I really felt like yelling… “GET HER UP AND MOVING”, but unfortunately it was not my place to say anything.

    Lastly, and the best part, “Core and Recovery”. The trainer had his client perform incline sit-ups with a 20lb medicine ball. REALLY? This woman could not even plank for 15 seconds, never mind do any type of weight bearing exercises.  As for recovery, he walked her over to the computer to schedule for their next appointment.

    I would like to apologize to every trainer that this does not apply to, but when you question whether you should invest in that seminar, book, or DVD, that you feel will make you a better trainer…DO IT! These are the people that you are competing against for future clients. If you are one of those trainers that are training their clients like this, I say this with the utmost respect, but read a book, buy a DVD, go to a seminar, Make Yourself Better! If you don’t, your time in this industry will not last too long.

    I have now been in the fitness industry for 12 years, and every day in every way, I  look to become 1% better than I was the day before. Just in the month of August, I will be visiting Cressey Performance and Mike Boyle’s Strength and Conditioning, attending a seminar by Robert Dos Remedios/Joe Dowdell, a Kettblebell Seminar with Jason Brown, a goal of reading 1 hour a day, and watching 1 DVD on a fitness topic…all while training my clients and running a facility. 

You don't have time?..COME ON!..Make it work!
Make time to make yourself better! 

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Secret Of Reaching All Of Your Fitness Goals

My business card reads...Rich Mejias, Strength and Conditioning Coach
I think it's time for a change...

Rich Mejias, Life Changer.

The reason for the change of title is not to boost my self-esteem, but to really describe what I do for my clients.  I am not hired to help someone increase their bench press numbers, improve their 1RM in their squat, or decrease the time in their 40 yard dash.  I was put on this earth to change lives, to help a father play soccer with his child, help a mother get into the dress of her dreams for her daughter's wedding, or help an elite athlete get a scholarship to a school that their family may not be able to afford.  That's what I do.  That's my passion and what pushes me to get out of bed at 5am every morning, with no thought or hesitation to hit that snooze button.

What's my secret?
Training + Nutrition + Recovery = DREAMS
Let's take that formula and break it down to it's basics.
#1 Training
I don't care how you want to label the type of training that I do, but the one thing that I can tell you is that when you are at Leverage Training Center...
You better be ready to give everything that you have into the session.  Most of the time I am only able to see a client 2-3x's per week, and those sessions have to have maximum effort.  The way that I know whether you are giving me 110% is if you ask yourself within the first 20 minutes..."Why did I come here today?"
#2 Nutrition
I am not a nutritionist.  I do not give my clients a nutrition menu to follow, but I do make excellent suggestions.  I am with my client one hour a day.  That means they have the capability in the other 23 hours to reverse what we just did in that one hour.  If I do not give them the information to become successful during those 23 hours, then I am now decreasing my chances to get them to their goal.
I recently attended the Peak Performance Program Design and Nutrition Seminar with presenting speakers:  Joe Dowdell and Dr. Mike Roussell.  I picked up many key points that I know will help guide my clients to get great results.  I immediately started to add these points into my training.

The first thing I implemented was Dr. Mike's "6 Pillars of Nutrition".  Every client will get this on the first day they train with me.  The Pillars will be discussed at some point in every training session.
The 6 Pillars of Nutrition:
1.  Eat five to six times a day.
2.  Limit the consumption of sugar and processed foods.
3.  Eat fruits and vegetables throughout the day.
4.  Drink more water and non-calorie drinks.
5.  Focus on consuming lean proteins throughout the day.
6.  Save starch containing foods until after a workout, or for breakfast.
#3 Recovery
Recovery is an overlooked topic by many clients that is not stressed upon enough.  I cannot stress to my clients enough about the importance of rest.  It is often very difficult to help your client obtain all of their fitness goals when they only get about 4 hours of sleep the night before.  Whether the excuse is work, partying, or stress, it is not part of the recipe for creating a "Fat Burning Environment".  I always stress to my clients the importance of getting 8 hours of sleep, supplementing with the right products such as BCAA and protein shakes, and training every day.

Your Body Is Your Temple...Now Treat It Like One.

These 3 things create a guaranteed recipe for success if you are looking to lose weight, increase lean muscle, or increase sports performance.  If you are not doing one of these things, what are you waiting for?  It is not too late...GET TO WORK!!!

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

"Real World Fitness"

  One common obstacle that I constantly run into when dealing with clients that are looking for weight loss is the inability to find time to workout.  My job is to make sure that the client gets everything that they are looking for and more importantly everything that I know that they need in their fitness program.

   After my initial assessment, which includes FMS Screening, VO2 Max Test, measurements, and body fat percentage...I then look to find a way to include foam rolling, correctives, dynamic warm-up, 1 major lift, core, and conditioning. This is all done in 1 hour. Sound like I have to be a miracle worker?...NO WAY ...I have to be prepared and ready to motivate my clients to achieve their max potential during every session that they have with me.
   The secret to my ability to get all of this work done is something called "Timed Sets".  Timed Sets are workouts designed around a set amount of work and rest.  Instead of prescribing the typical workout of 10 repetitions, you may look to set a certain time to perform as many reps as possible and then allow a certain period of time for rest.  The times can be adjusted depending on the fitness level of your client. In most cases, the more fit your client is, the more work:rest ratio you can prescribe. 
   With an advanced client, I would normally set them up with a 2:1 ratio or 40 seconds of work/20 seconds of rest, 30 seconds of work/15 seconds of rest, or the dreaded 20 seconds of work/10 seconds of rest.  On the other hand, a beginner would not be very successful using these work:rest ratios.  
   A beginner's time can be set at 15 seconds of work/30 seconds of rest, 20 seconds of work/60 seconds of rest, or basically at least double the amount of rest compared to the time of doing work.

So now that we are all done with this fancy talk...let's get right down to business. I utilize the "Timed Sets" in two parts of my programming for my clients: the Dynamic Warm-up and Conditioning. 
   First of all, I always take about 10-15 minutes focusing on their foam rolling and correctives.  These two things are not the most glorious things to do, but definitely an important factor that I know most people are missing from their programming.  After the foam rolling and correctives, we will go right into our Dynamic Warm-Up. I usually recommend 3-4 exercises with a time of 30 seconds of work and 15 seconds of rest.  This will of course depend on the fitness level of the client.
Here is an example of a "Timed Set" Dynamic Warm-Up for a beginner client:
30 seconds of work/15 seconds of rest
1.  Frankenstein Walks
2.  Knee Hugs
3.  Backward/Forward Lunge with Lateral Flexion
4.  Inch Worms
This will last for a total of 3 minutes, plus an addition minute for transitioning to and from this phase, bringing our total time of the workout to about 19 minutes.
   The next piece of the puzzle is our main lift. I will usually recommend to do one major lift for 3-4 sets of anywhere from 6-15 reps. This should take no longer than 6 minutes, now bringing our workout time to about 25 minutes.
   Time to bring back the fun...CONDITIONING TIME!!! I must say that this is definitely my favorite time to bring out "Timed Sets" back into play.  Again the key is to look at what work:rest ratio suits your client the best. 

A "Great" workout does not include killing your client and having them scream your name for the next 3 days. 

A "Great" workout is something that pushes your client to achieve all of their fitness and athletic goals, but still leaving them in a positive physical and mental state. This will allow them to be able to come back and train again within the next couple of days.

Here is an example of a "Timed Set" for a beginner client:
20 seconds of work/40 seconds of rest. After all exercise are complete, you will be allowed an additional 1 minute for recovery. We can start with 2 cycles and eventually move up to 4 cycles.
1.  TRX Suspension Trainer Chest Press
2.  TRX Suspension Trainer High Row
3.  Stability Ball Hamstring Curls
4.  Battling Ropes-Alternating
5.  Planks 
Now bringing our workout to about 37 minutes, I will then allow my client to relax and let them know that all of their hard work is behind them...for today. Once their heart rate is back down to a resting state, the client will be instructed through their static/manual stretching for about 8-10 minutes. 

So there you go! A complete workout from head to toe that involves not only what the clients wants, but still allows us time to add to the program.  This is the key to a "Great" training session, and getting the most bang for your client's buck. 

Someone once told me that if you want to get to your goals, you need to get 1% better every day, in every way. This goes for your clients as well. Help them become 1% better in every way, every session. This means not just coaching or training them, but helping them lead a healthy, motivating, focused, and pain free life.

Fitness Professionals out there....GET TO WORK!!!