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Trainer Knowledge Sharing - The Alexander Technique

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Trainer Knowledge Sharing - The Alexander Technique

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The Trainer Knowledge Sharing, or TKS, is an opportunity for DIAKADI trainers to create and informal information session on an an area of their expertise once a month. In April, Trainer Rachel Stallman discussed The Alexander Technique. Interview and summary by Alicia Ruth, Movement Intern.

When and why did you decide to study this method? How and where did you go about it?

I learned of the Alexander Technique in New York City in 1998 because I landed an administrative job in an office for a school that trained Alexander Teachers. The way the Alexander Technique refines the mind/body connection struck me. The hands-on work and discussions with my first teachers affected great positive change in my movement and breathing, not only in performance and specific physical pursuits, but in all aspects of life - like mindfulness.

I was able to solve a chronic knee issue and lower my anxiety levels considerably. I continued private sessions with various teachers for five years and then started the teacher training program myself in 2003. The training to become an Alexander Technique Teacher is 1600 hours over 3 years.  I began at The Mathews School in NYC and completed at The Centre for the Alexander Technique in London.

What type of individuals do you work with using this technique? Who do you find benefits the most from its application?

My Alexander Technique clients have tended to be performing artists and people who have found the Technique to deal with chronic pain or repetitive stress issues. Since I am also a personal trainer, I have worked with runners and martial artists looking for new ways to deepen the quality of their physical practices. The Alexander Technique benefits anyone who is interested in refining their mind/body connection and developing more physical awareness.

The Alexander Technique and its history.

Developed by F.M. Alexander (b. Australia 1869 – 1955) in the 1890’s, the Alexander Technique is a form of body awareness education designed to recognize and correct reactive, habitual limitations in movement and thought. Motivated by vocal problems which were hindering his ability to work as a professional actor and speaker, Alexander conducted an in-depth self observation by which he discovered optimal anatomical/physiological relationships in the body. His method teaches a way of changing physical habits and unnecessary tension patterns that can get in the way of natural postural ease and function, resulting in natural ease and improved coordination of movement and breathing. It can be applied to any activity.

Basic Concepts

Optimal Relationship of the Head Over the Spine, which Alexander called  “the primary control.”  This head/neck/back relationship or pattern in the body stimulates an effortless upright or “anti-gravity” response in the spinal extensor muscles and organizes more dynamic movement of the limbs.  Rudolph Magnus (1873-1927), a pioneering Swiss physiologist and author of several books on posture and functional neurology, describes this pattern from a neurological perspective: “… in the brain stem, from the upper cervical cord to the midbrain, lies a complicated central nervous apparatus that governs the entire body posture in a coordinated manner. It unites the musculature of the whole body in a common performance.”

Recognition of the Force of Habit: Develop a non-judgmental awareness of postural habits in all aspects of one’s physical life.

Inhibition: Stop or pause before an automatic reaction occurs. Use the window of time between a stimulus and response to consciously choose a new pathway or way of moving.

Direction: Apply conscious intentions or cues to direct the body into a more optimal state of functioning. Some examples might be to “release unnecessary tension from your neck, jaw and shoulders, allow your rib-cage to move in breathing, widen your feet and think about the weight going through the arches and distributing evenly.”

Alexander moved to London in the early 1900’s where he maintained a thriving practice and opened the first school for training teachers in his technique. Over 100 years later, movement practitioners of all kinds continue to find relevance in his work, studying and teaching the Alexander Technique around the world.

Further Reading

Body Learning, An Introduction to the Alexander Technique by Michael J. Gelb

Body Awareness in Action by Frank Pierce Jones

Master the Art of Working Out by Malcolm Balk and Andrew Shields

Master the Art of Running by Malcolm Balk and Andrew Shields

The Use of the Self by F.M. Alexander

Feel free to email Rachel with any further questions at: stallman.rachel@gmail.com

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DIAKADI Presents | A Report on Trainer Tom Armenta's Ropes Course

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DIAKADI Presents | A Report on Trainer Tom Armenta's Ropes Course

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Author | DIAKADI Intern Alicia Ruth If you want to know the ropes at DIAKADI, just ask Tom Armenta. His recent TKS session offered a fun and informative explanation of this powerful, unique, and challenging training tool. Tom, who is a seasoned ropes fan, explained the benefits of ropes training, demonstrated training techniques (from simple to complex movements) and threw in some less-commonly seen uses for ropes like using them for resistance training.

Ropes training can be a great addition to programs, to increase the intensity and add variety to routines while also offering unique physiological and psychological adaptations. These include increased oxygen consumption and cardiovascular endurance, as well as neuromuscular adaptations. Movement patterns while working ropes create a meditative state and increase mental toughness: imagine intense focus and effort performed to a hypnotic rhythmic motion. As Tom attests, "if you do this for a while, you'll be a badass."

Various grips and rope diameters can be used while training, as well as numerous wave techniques and body positions. To start Ropes redonesimply, wrap the rope around a pole or other fixed object, grip the ends of the rope, and in a static or dynamic mini squat, position the arms at ninety degrees. Move the arms up and down alternately and continuously, creating waves in the rope that go all the way to its point of attachment. Different standing positions, kneeling, or even supine postures can modify the workout making this method good even for people living with disabilities or injuries, since ropes training does not require use of the legs and there is no need to run to increase the heart rate.

With that in mind, it is important to wisely incorporate ropes into a workout and be judicious about their frequency of use. Tom suggests working them into circuit workouts for anaerobic endurance (rather than using them for a full hour), and closely moderating their frequency and intensity of use. When he first began with ropes years ago, he was so excited about their versatility and hypnotic effects that he wanted to train with them all the time. But he quickly discovered the excessive strain this can put on the shoulders and the havoc it can wreak on the teres major and minor, which he charmingly calls the chihuahua muscles: "They're small, but they think they can do everything!" This is especially true if improper technique is used. He sees even a lot of experienced ropers work the upper arms too much. Instead he suggests relying on the mobility of the elbow joint to conduct power from the core, glutes, and legs. "Use your booty,"  he advises.

Small dogs excepted, ropes can be good for a variety of athletes. But for those new to exercise, save them for later, as well as those with weak core musculature and shoulder or low back concerns.

Watching an experienced athlete work the ropes seems simple - even beautiful - but Tom warned us, "you'll see, just after five minutes, it's hell." Sure enough, after trying a few drills, all of us were feeling the fun intensity fast.

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Fitness Career Spotlight | Ryan Allen

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Fitness Career Spotlight | Ryan Allen

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The interview below was featured on the website Exercise Jobs. By Sarah Koszyk

Meet Ryan Allen, independent personal trainer, who has found his niche and his passion in providing excellent service to people while shaping their lives for the better.  - Sarah What attracted you to the field of fitness and exercise?

A number of things attracted me: the affect of exercise on my confidence, being able to provide a service to others that could shape their lives and the potential to work for myself.

Your Job Title?

Independent Personal Trainer

Company you are with now?

I work for myself but I train my clients out of DIAKADI (the best place to be a trainer in SF).

Website | www.allentraining.com

Describe a typical (or not so typical) day-in-the-work-life for you:

My work day starts around 6am and ends around 7pm with clients which are training for events, weight loss, muscle building or rehabilitation. It’s a pretty mixed bag when it comes to the type of client I train and even more varied in the shape they will be in on a given day. I am always working with a plan but that plan needs to be flexible because clients are often coming in to the session stressed or sick or injured in some way.

How did you get your current job in fitness and exercise?

I was working in an unrelated industry but I was unhappy there and decided to take a pay cut to assist at DIAKADI and mentor under the amazing group of trainers there.  Once I had my certification I slowly began building my clientele and furthered my knowledge base. I now have a thriving business and continue to learn and grow.

What skills were you born with and what skills have you learned along the way?

I am a fairly happy person by nature but also by choice.  I find it important to have a positive disposition when working with clients. I have learned to become much more organized since I don’t work with anyone else and must keep my own records and tracking.

What advice do you have for others wanting to be just as successful and fulfilled as you?

Take time to learn from people whom you admire, humble yourself and understand that the process takes time and dedication. Be thankful for each step, client and experience.

If you could be paid for your job with something other than a paycheck, what would it be?

Hhhmmm, paychecks are pretty great but I love popcorn quite a bit…

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Fitness Career Spotlight | Shelby Corkern Jacquez

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Fitness Career Spotlight | Shelby Corkern Jacquez

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The interview below was featured on the website Exercise Jobs. By Sarah Koszyk

Finding passion in your profession is key to Shelby Corkern Jacquez’s success as a personal trainer. Read on to learn how to make a living doing what you love.

What attracted you to the field of fitness and exercise?

Someone once told me that I should not make my passion my profession… I thought about that advice for one small second and I did the opposite. I followed my heart and turned my passion into my profession.  I am happy to say that 11 professional years later, health, fitness and holistic living are the cornerstones of my vitality.

My attraction with fitness started at the age of 15. When I was 13, I auditioned for a competitive dance company. At 14 I received a full tuition scholarship. At 15 I nearly lost my scholarship because I was put on a 5 lb weight probation. The weight probation was a real mind (you know what), but it turned out to be very positive experience for me. The probation sparked me to hire Mr. Jim Ptack, my very 1st personal trainer. My experience with Jim was absolutely AWESOME! So at the age of 15, I fell in love with health and fitness, and at 33 the love affair is still going strong.

Your Job Title: Personal Trainer

What company you are with now?

Independent contractor at DIAKADI

Website:

www.diakadibody.com

Describe a typical (or not so typical) day-in-the-work-life for you.

  •  5:30 wake up call
  • 6:35 ride my bike to work
  •  6:50 arrive to work
  •  1st client at 7:00
  •  2nd client at 8:00
  •  9:30 ride my bike to dance
  •  10:00-11:15 dance at O.D.C.
  •  11:20 ride my bike to work
  • 11:30 take a shower
  •  11:50 eat
  •  3rd client at 12:00
  •  4th client at 1:00- 2:00 – 5:00 Long break
  •  During break I may workout, go to pilates, and for sure EAT- 5th client at 5:00
  •  6th client at 6:00
  •  7:05 ride my bike home
  • 7:20 at home with my loving husband
  •  Phew

How did you get your current job in fitness and exercise?

I got a lucky break from an independent gym owner named Phil Chen. Phil was the owner of APEX health and fitness. APEX was a small one on one personal training studio in San Francisco. Phil hired me to be his personal assistant. He paid me next to nothing in return I was allowed to shadow him training each and everyone of his clients. After 4 months of taking notes and paying close attention, he gave me my very 1st client. Again I was very lucky to find Phil, he gave me a very rare opportunity. Thank you Phil!

What skills were you born with and what skills have you learned along the way?

I suppose I was born with the skill of movement. I dance effortlessly, I have rhythm and hear music quite well! I was also born with a strong work ethic, Along the way I trained myself to became psychically strong. Snowboarding, running, kick boxing, swimming, biking, yoga and Pilates are all art forms in which I have learned to achieve and excel.

What advice do you have for others wanting to be just as successful and fulfilled as you?

I guess for me I would say “make your passion your profession”.

If you could be paid for your job with something other than a paycheck, what would it be?

Dance Classes and Winter lift tickets 100%

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Fitness Career Spotlight | Nate Miyaki

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Fitness Career Spotlight | Nate Miyaki

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The interview below was featured on the website Exercise Jobs. By Sarah Koszyk

As a personal trainer, fitness writer, and fitness app designer, Nate Miyaki masters the diverse field of health and fitness by successfully optimizing all his endeavors.

What attracted you to the field of fitness and exercise? The spandex, the women, the fortune, the fame etc… :) .

I guess it was that I have been some kind of an athlete for most of my life: football, track, martial arts, pro wrestling and stunts (what, you’ve never heard of the Kamikaze Kid?), and natural bodybuilding (I don’t know if I would call that an athletic endeavor, more like a male beauty pageant, but nonetheless…)

I have had the fortunate opportunity to work under and learn from a variety of top-notch coaches. I experienced firsthand what type of an impact a good coach can have, not only on an athlete’s training and nutrition program, but their life in general.

I felt I had the right combination of science and practical experience to successfully transition into being one of those types of coaches. It seemed like a very rewarding career.

Plus: (1) I’m good at, but get bored with, crunching numbers and tasks of such nature. (2) White Goodman (Ben Stiller) from Dodgeball is my idol.

What is your Job Title? True to the stereotypes of my heritage (Japanese and Irish) I am a workaholic and have 3 jobs in the industry:

1. I have my private training and nutrition consulting business. 2. I am a freelance fitness writer. 3. I am a consultant with a fitness start-up company — GainFitness — that has a fitness app and specializes in mobile workouts and program design (sort of like a digital personal trainer).

What company you are with now?

Nate Miyaki LLC (pretty cool huh?) GainFitness

Describe a typical (or not so typical) day-in-the-work-life for you.

Depends on the day, I really have two types of days.

On my in-gym days, I usually arrive at DIAKADI Personal Training Studio (SF’s #1 training studio, gotta’ give love to the peeps who helped me along the way) at 6:30am. I train clients from 7-11am, workout myself around lunch, eat, check emails, get back going again around 3pm, and train clients until 6 or 7pm.

On days outside the studio, I usually work on content for my blog, an article for the magazine column I write for, or on whatever other project I’m pursuing (I finished my ebook, so right now I am currently working on formalizing my training and nutrition philosophies into a complete system).

Then, I might shoot into GainFitness to create content for their blog, work with their marketing team, or work on data analysis and crunching: i.e., working with their software team to transfer principles of physics, biomechanics, and exercise physiology into their computer algorithms. We’re nerds like that and geek out on that kind of stuff.

I think I have a slight case of A.D.D., and get bored easily, so this variety works well for me.

How did you get your current job in fitness and exercise? Just like many Hollywood celebrities, I had to bribe people and sleep my way to the top. I’ll write a book about that some day. Nah…

Honestly, I’ve always just shared my passion for this game with everyone and anyone who was interested. And from there, I just took advantage of the opportunities that presented themselves along the way, at least the ones that felt right to me.

What skills were you born with and what skills have you learned along the way? I was raised in the small beach town of Half Moon Bay, CA. I never surfed, but I certainly adopted the laid-back, beach bum, be flexible like water, don’t take life too seriously-mentality. I think that has helped me naturally deal with people, and with the stresses of career pursuits and life in general.

Other than that, I have no special skills. I truly believe that passion for something can make up for any genetically or socially inherited advantages or skill sets.

What advice do you have for others wanting to be just as successful and fulfilled as you?

I think one of the keys to being happy in both your life and your career is authenticity. You have to make choices based on what you feel is right for YOU, not based on what anyone else thinks, or society deems, is the Right Way. In other words, don’t just do what you are SUPPOSED to do. Do what you WANT to do. You’ll have better stories to tell.

But in general, I don’t think people should take life advice from me. I’m one, weird, mixed-up dude.

If you could be paid for your job with something other than a paycheck, whatwould it be? I don’t know man? I’m a simple guy with simple pleasures. I’d certainly take a small, beachfront condo so I could live out the rest of my days with my beautiful, Hawaiian Queen.

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Exercise Jobs Spotlight | Gina Gutierrez

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Exercise Jobs Spotlight | Gina Gutierrez

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The interview below was featured on the website Exercise Jobs. What trainers do you know report for work at 10:00 am? Night owls rejoice. Sarah interviews the very successful night owl Gina Gutierrez, MS, General Manager and Holistic Lifestyle and Fitness Coach at DIAKADI. I truly enjoyed her interview and it got me day dreaming about perfectly blending your passion, your true self, and your work. Hopefully it will stir something in you as well. Enjoy. – Stacey

Incorporating skills in biomechanics, personal training, public relations and marketing are some amazing features that Gina Gutierrez has excelled in. Read on to find out what it takes to be a general manager of a successful training facility with over 60 trainers. – Sarah

Sarah Koszyk: What attracted you to the field of fitness and exercise? Gina Gutierrez, MS: I grew up in a life full of sports. From a young age, I was in ballet and a gymnast. I loved the competitive, healthy aspect of it. I loved feeling strong as a young girl … I remember surpassing all the boys in the President’s Fitness Pull Up Challenge in grade school. Oh yea!! But really, I thank my parents for empowering me at such a young age.

Following that ten years of my life, I started to play soccer and volleyball throughout grade school, high school, and club. In college, I was always active with intramural sports and that is when I started to focus more on weight training and running. My freshman year I was enrolled in pre-med studies and sophomore year is when I became more intrigued with movement and biomechanics. I switched my major to Exercise Science at that point. As challenging as it was, I knew I made a smart decision. I loved my classes.

Interest also sparked with my grandfather being a pharmacist and my mother working in a hospital. I was always around the medical field and found it so appealing. At the same time, my grandfather battled heart disease quite a bit and because of that I learned so much about the body and cardiac medicine. I wanted to get into a field that would care for such pain. I took on several internships in hospitals surrounding cardiac rehab. As rewarding as the job was it was treating patients after the diagnosis and surgery. That particular internship made me realize that I wanted to work with individuals that wanted to move and take care of their bodies and in the long run, hopefully never encounter heart disease.

Sports and movement was what I knew, was good at and enjoyed. I figured doing this everyday would be fun, fulfilling and worth sharing. To this day, I haven’t regretted what I do. I will always find myself creating new challenges and goals, trying new sports and sharing the goodness that I feel and live.

Your Job Title? General Manager and Holistic Lifestyle and Fitness Coach at DIAKADI

Company you are with now? DIAKADI | Fitness. Performance. Life. www.diakadibody.com

A typical (or not so typical) day-in-the-work-life for you? It’s amazing how many trainers and clients are up and working out at 6am. If you know me, you know that will never happen! Haha! I applaud them. I’m a night owl. I love getting my consistent eight hours of sleep and waking up in the 7am hour. At that point, I wake up and prep breakfast with coffee and get ready for the day with the TODAY show, an audio book, or Pandora in the background. I enjoy my luxurious, easy-going morning and head into work between 930am -10am.

The beauty of my job is that every day is a bit different! I am always busy, always learning, and always having fun. My main priority is running our facility which consists of general operation, customer service, marketing, PR, recruitment, sales, design, you name it! At the same time, I do have three wonderful clients that I work with throughout the week. I love the hands on work with clients, but I have found my passion shift towards the creativity, organization, and management of building the brand and providing service that is DIAKADI.

One particular day may consist of three meetings in a row – checking in with a trainer about client referrals, finalizing an agreement, and spending time with a prospective trainer in a business development session. Following those meetings, I’ll catch up on some email and then plan for lunch. Usually, I’ll bring in my lunch because I like to save eating out for times with friends and family. During this time, I’ll catch up with some of my favorite blogs (right now I LOVE: www.daniellelaporte.com) or take notes on how I want to design my apartment. Following lunch, I could be diving into a website plan, brainstorming with co-owner Billy Polson, or assisting our staff and interns with projects.

At the end of the day I like to workout. I have a great fitness facility in my apartment complex. It’s peaceful, it’s my escape. Other nights I may go to a dance class or hike the Presidio. Then, the night owl I am … I will make dinner, watch a little TV, scribble down some design ideas, and maybe even read. Yea, my mind never rests!

How did you get your current job in fitness and exercise? I moved to SF from Milwaukee, Wisconsin to work on my Master’s Degree in Sport Management in 2004 from the USF . While in school, they were incredible at filtering job opportunities to us and I was always on the look out for something. DIAKADI had a connection with a professor in the program and posted a position. I saw it, interviewed, got it! It was right up my alley with my previous work experience. I have been very lucky to start off part-time as a business assistant right when DIAKADI opened and since then I have worked my way up in hours to full-time Operations Manager and now General Manager.

There’s a quote I love: “You are the average of the five people closest to you.” | Jim Rohn

Billy and Mike (co-owners of DIAKADI) have been amazing to work with as they have taught me so much and together we put a lot of hard work and heart into DIAKADI. We are so proud of the business.

What skills were you born with and what skills have you learned along the way? Tough question! I think I was born with great organization and creativity skills. An eye for detail. The ability to juggle a lot at once with grace (breathe!).

Along the way, I have learned to be more assertive, confident, ask questions, put ideas out there even when you doubt yourself.

I love the fact that you can learn so much in school – biomechanics, calculus, marketing, sociology – but what I have always taken away with me is what I learn in LIFE. By actual doing and learning in the field. By having great role models to learn from. My parents, caring brothers, lifelong friends, encouraging coworkers and passionate people you meet along

the way.

What advice do you have for others wanting to be just as successful and fulfilled as you? Find your passion and do what you love. Surround yourself with people that inspire you. With that, success will come to you.

If you could be paid for your job with something other than a paycheck, what would it be? Travel … to have the opportunity to explore and relax in beautiful places around the world!

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Exercise Jobs Spotlight | Billy Polson

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Exercise Jobs Spotlight | Billy Polson

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The interview below was featured on the website Exercise Jobs. By Sarah Koszyk

Own your own personal training gym with an incredible team of personal trainers working with you. Yes, it is possible. Read on to find out how Billy Polson is living his dream job at DIAKADI.

What attracted you to the field of fitness and exercise?  Fitness was something that I loved and feared as a child. Luckily my parents let me try tons of different sports and there were several that were a great fit for me: competitive swimming since 5, middle/high school soccer, college cheerleading. But there were also sports that no matter how hard I tried, I sucked at them! Altogether everyone – BASKETBALL! Ugh! I was horrible… I am mildly less horrible now. And of course I hit puberty early and was the tall guy for a year or so, and naturally that would mean that Billy liked hoops, right? Just to clarify to all parents out there, NO it really doesn’t. Annual basketball tryouts became a HUGE dread for me. I can still remember the stomach cramps I had doing ball control drills through folding chairs in the old elementary school gym in front of all the rec league coaches.

I am totally serious when I say that I was horrible! Anyway, other than basketball, athletics were usually very fun for me and I continued to consistently try new sports throughout college and after graduation. Receiving a BS in Statistics, trust me that a career in sports was the last option in my head. There really were not personal trainers at that time and I could not imagine a life in polyester shorts as a PE coach. So I did the sensible thing and started computer programming for work and luckily my job moved me to the most amazing athletic and outdoor city of San Francisco! I was living an incredibly healthy and active life but then sitting behind a computer and desk all day… for 7 years…I was bored out of my mind with the work and knew I needed more out of life! So I took a self assessment course and the results over-whelmingly said, ‘You love fitness and health, you are good at it, DO WHAT YOU

LOVE and the money will come.’ So I started studying and received my personal training certification. I soon began training and it has been the most incredible decision of my life. I get to work with people really wanting to make changes in their lives and walk with them down these amazing paths on rewarding journeys and I feel so fortunate to do what I love and teach people every day! I also get to help tons of people with fears and insecurities around exercise and fitness. Just like the basketball phobias I had as a kid, there are so many people with fears of being the last one picked, shirts and skins, climbing that damn rope in PE class, getting low scores on that horribly designed Presidential Fitness Test! These are the folks I love to work with and watch them discover the athlete they have had inside this whole time!

What is your job title and what company you are with now?

Fitness Performance and Lifestyle Coach. I’m the Founder and Owner of DIAKADI Fitness and Performance in San Francisco (My husband Mike Clausen is my co-owner and business partner).

What’s a typical (or not so typical) day-in-the-work-life for you? Mike and I get up every morning at 5:40 am and have a full meal for breakfast (lately we have been having a slice of meat loaf, arugula (grown in our garden) salad with avocado and brown rice for breakfast) before seeing our first client at 7a. I usually work with 4 clients for an hour each before lunch time. Midday I usually have a 3 hour break where I eat lunch (my latest favorite lunch is a grapefruit, spinach and avocado salad with grilled fresh salmon from The Plant Cafe in downtown SF – check it out!) and then workout. Currently my workouts have been what I call a ‘functional beach’ workout- a perfect mix of some functional movements for summer sports (swimming, kite surfing, biking) and some body building to look good on the beach. Then each afternoon is a little different for me. 2 days a week I have 4 more hours of clients in the afternoon. 2 days a week I have a study session with another trainer for practicing neuro-muscular manual therapy and then write for the DIAKADI blog. And then this summer I have started spending one afternoon a week learning to kitesurf. For me it is all about balance. I love doing LOTS of things, so I am careful to make time for these things in my life. Mike and I come home, water our garden and have a healthy dinner (luckily we have an amazing organic chef service for clients at DIAKADI, so we get to take advantage of that for our dinners in the evenings). And then after dinner we may watch a little TV or take a walk around the neighborhood. And around 9p we get in bed and read before lights out around 940p. Currently Mike is reading a book about the San Francisco 1904 Earthquake and I am finishing Tina Fey’s auto-biography and started an amazing book called ‘Learning to Breath’ by Alison Wright.

How did you get your current job in fitness and exercise? In 2003, Mike and I were both personal trainers in a small basement training facility for independent trainers in SF. The gym was great for beginners but there was definitely a ceiling on how far you could advance your business as well as your clients there. (Literally and figuratively.) The ceiling was so low in the basement gym that clients could not even jump rope!) So I spent 2003 writing the business plan for DIAKADI, looking for a space, and gathering my resources so that in April of 2004 we opened DIAKADI. People always ask me what was the toughest part of opening a business and I always say right off, ‘finding the right space’. We bid on several spaces before finally getting the amazing space we are in now. And the bidding game was incredibly stressful, filled with the highs of getting excited about a space and the lows of getting shot down by the landlord before having to go out again and find a new space to get excited about. Every time I would get turned down on a space I would go and get a chocolate milk shake and cry to let it all out. (Yes! Trainers can drink a milk shake every now and then when it is vital to our survival and coping!) And then the next day I would be out searching for the next perfect space again. But it was all meant to be, 2 of the spaces we bid on would have been horrible mistakes and the business could have really suffered. And the space we have now is simply incredible. It is a 9000 square foot, open loft style space with floor to ceiling warehouse windows and an incredible feel and flow to it. It is inspirational home to both our trainers and clients.

What skills were you born with and what skills have you learned along the way? Man, who can say where we gain our skills? I would say the most valuable skills I learned as a child were to be confident in exactly who I am and to have compassion, humility and understanding for the people around me. I was lucky to have parents who taught me these ideas as well as gaining some incredible insight into the world as a camper and a camp counselor for an amazing youth summer camp called Camp Kanata in NC. These basic ideas are create a strong foundation for any direction you head in life. In athletics, your confidence will give you the strength to try different activities, discovering which fit you best. In business, humility and compassion will make you a caring, connected leader, while confidence will give you the drive to surpass limits and excel!

What advice do you have for others wanting to be just as successful and fulfilled as you? There are several mantras that I live by and I feel like each of them has helped lead me to where I am today: – ‘Do It All and Do It Hard’ – This is actually the start of where the name DIAKADI came from. (DIAKADI is an acronym for ‘Do It All and Kick Ass Doing It’.) For me, I am a 7 on the Enneagram chart. For those of you who have no idea what that means, a Enneagram 7 is someone who wants to experience everything this life has to offer. I mean heck, WHY NOT? I had to know what it felt like to jump out of a plane, so I jumped out of one! I needed to know what my mental and emotional experience would be if I spent 4 days in silent meditation so I went to Spirit Rock in Marin and discovered a completely new level to the power of quiet. And I had to know what I looked like with a mohawk. So the day before Thanksgiving in 2001, when I was meeting Mike’s parents and extended family for the first time, oh yes, I got a mohawk. (I told them it was in honor of my Dad’s Cherokee tribe and that each year my Dad and I would give one another mohawks before we sat down to our Thanksgiving meal.) So if there are curious thoughts in your head about a new career, a new sport, a new relationship, or even a new haircut – then take the plunge and feel the experience. The day we stop trying new things is the day we give up and throw in the towel. – ‘Never make any decision based on fear.’ – This one actually ties a lot into the idea above. Do not let fear run your life, let confidence run it. I was scared as heck to walk away from a safe (read ‘boring as he’ll) career of computer programming and begin working for myself as a personal trainer, but I did my research and planning and figured out a way to be smart about the change and it was a decision that improved my life in every way. (And funny enough the ‘safe’ company I was doing computer programming for crashed a few years later due to unfair customer market practices. Things that make you go hmmm.) The one thing I see people most frequently do in fear is staying in relationships that you are unhappy in and scared to leave. We all deserve to be happy, loved, respected and safe. And none of us needs a relationship to find these things. Find all of these things within yourself and your relationships will come.

If you could be paid for your job with something other than a paycheck, what would it be? Time off and travel expenses! I am a Type 7, a ‘Do It All, Kick Ass Doing It’ guy, and that includes seeing as much of the world as possible, experiencing different cultures, being the minority whenever possible, doing crazy outrageous things just so you have the story to tell and laugh about later! Things to do and people to see! All tickets on Virgin Airlines please!

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Keeping Shoulders Pain Free and Correcting Shoulder Posture

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Keeping Shoulders Pain Free and Correcting Shoulder Posture

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If you are having pain in your shoulders when you lift weights, sleep, or even just performing daily tasks, chest tension and weak shoulder retraction may be the culprits. In the attached video, DIAKADI owner Billy Polson discusses posture testing, stretching techniques, and muscle work which should be performed for individuals suffering from kyphotic posture (aka desk posture: rounded shoulders, tight chest, weak back) and/or shoulder/upper back pain. [youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gl5MuxE5yu4[/youtube]

 

To find a large selection of advanced educational videos on exercise, nutrition, and lifestyle advice, check out the DIAKADI Youtube page (SFDIAKADITraining).

 

 

 

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Featured DIAKADI Health Practitioner | Lynne Anderson

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Featured DIAKADI Health Practitioner | Lynne Anderson

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DIAKADI Health Practitioner Name | Lynne Anderson Born in Canada, Lynne's study of movement began as a figure skater in the early 1970's and has evolved over the years through her practices of yoga, martial arts, and Pilates.

As a personal trainer she works across various modalities of training to help her clients reach their health and wellness goals, always with a focus on proper movement patterns, core engagement and posture.

AREAS OF SPECIALTY

  1. Total core fitness utilizing principles from Pilates
  2. Tone and Strength Training
  3. Flexibility incorporating Yoga for better performance of day-to-day activities
  4. Boxing and Kickboxing for cardio and stress reduction
  5. Weight Loss and Management with nutritional support
  6. Posture and Back Health
  7. Pre and Post Natal Pilates and Yoga

Lynne is a certified personal trainer, earning the most sought after certification in the industry from the National Academy of Sports Medicine (NASM).

She has practiced yoga in Canada and in California for over 10 years, obtaining her teaching certification with James Burkhardt at SomaYoga in San Francisco. She is a registered Yoga teacher at the highest level (500) with Yoga Alliance.

Lynne is a Certified Pilates Mat instructor with a specialization in Pilates for Athletes (equipment-based). She holds a black belt in one style of Karate and then again a brown belt in another style, and has also extensively trained in Western boxing, Thai-style kickboxing, and jujitsu-style ground fighting.

Learn more about Lynne Anderson.

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Featured DIAKADI Health Practitioner | Susan Sullivan

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Featured DIAKADI Health Practitioner | Susan Sullivan

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Health Practitioner Name | Susan Sullivan Susan’s goal with clients is to create their own unique path to fitness, which is rewarding, progressive and yes, fun! Each client is assessed and their program designed. Workouts are a synthesis of corrective stretching, core training, resistance work and balance. Alignment and good form are part of the training process, so that each client learns the safest way to move. Susan often uses circuit training to maximize session time. She believes the only "miracles" in training are consistency, focus and work.

AREAS OF SPECIALTY

  1. Work with adults new to fitness, to establish healthy habits in and out of the gym.
  2. Teach well-rounded workouts that include the components of fitness: cardio, resistance, flexibility.
  3. Develop long-range goals to prevent training in a habitual rut and avoid over-use issues.
  4. Establish "homework" in core, stability and stretching as a support to training & overall posture.
  5. Address issues of whole-person wellness: fitness, stress reduction, nutrition
  6. Yoga Coaching and Practice

Susan’s background is 35 years in dance, 25 years in resistance training, and 14 years in yoga. She discovered dance as an overweight teenager and feels fortunate to be in the movement arts. A healthy, useful body is a joy and an integral part of who we are.

Susan currently practices yoga, weight-training, dance, and teaches movement and rhythm to families. She leads groups in a process called “Taketina,” which is a meditative exploration of rhythm.

Her certifications are National Academy of Sports Medicine (NASM),  National Council on Strength & Fitness (NCSF), CHEK Institute Nutrition/Lifestyle Coach, Level 1, Yoga Alliance 200Hr. Cert. & Group Exercise Leader with the American Senior Fitness Association.  Susan is currently enrolled in the Adaptive Fitness Program at Foothill College, Los Altos.

Learn more about Susan Sullivan.

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Featured DIAKADI Health Practitioner | Tara Rota

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Featured DIAKADI Health Practitioner | Tara Rota

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DIAKADI Health Practitioner Name | Tara Rota Tara Rota began her career as an exercise physiologist 15 years ago, managing exercise programs for physical therapy patients. In 2000, she opened her own personal training business and began working with clients holistically in 2005. Rather than focusing solely on a standard exercise program, Tara also pays close attention to a client's lifestyle, nutrition, hydration, workload, stress levels, sleep quality, down time and thought patterns.

AREAS OF SPECIALTY

1. Postural Correction & Restorative Exercise 2. Functional Training & Primal Patterns 3. Pre & Post Pregnancy Fitness 4. Nutrition for Pregnancy & Breastfeeding 5. Back Care 6. Core Conditioning 7. Nutrition & Lifestyle Coaching 8. Metabolic Typing

Tara conducts personalized assessments with each client before designing a training program. A movement and flexibility assessment determines areas in need of strengthening and stretching. A food log helps clients evaluate and improve their nutritional intake. A Metabolic Typing Questionnaire identifies a client's genetic dietary requirements and determines the levels of carbohydrates, fat and protein specific to each metabolic type. Finally, a Nutrition & Lifestyle Questionnaire examines a client's food habits, stress levels, digestive function, detoxification systems, and sleep/wake cycles.

Understanding the interrelatedness of all of these factors, Tara helps clients make long-term lifestyle changes and achieve a level of vitality that enables them to achieve their goals.

Degrees and Certifications B.S. Exercise and Sport Science CHEK Holistic Lifestyle Coach Level 3 CHEK Exercise Coach CHEK Practitioner Level 1 NASM Certified Personal Trainer Nutrition and Detoxification - 100 hours of continuing education Student : CHEK Personal Professional & Spiritual  Master

Learn more about Tara Rota.

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Featured DIAKADI Health Practitioner | Kanako Kobayashi

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Featured DIAKADI Health Practitioner | Kanako Kobayashi

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DIAKADI Health Practitioner Name | Kanako Kobayashi, Nutrition Consultant I bring a compassionate and gentle approach to assist you on your journey to finding your ultimate healthy and radiant self.

I have been passionately exploring the ingredients to my own health and wellness for the last seven years.  I began this journey because I was feeling as if a cloud of nagging symptoms was hanging over my head and no matter what I did, nothing helped.  I wanted to take my health into my own hands.  This has lead me down many paths of learning and exploring what it means to be truly healthy, and has ultimately lead me to an abundant feeling of well being, and reclaiming my own power and vitality.

Areas of Speciality

  1. Nutrition Consulting
  2. Holistic Lifestyle Coaching
  3. Metabolic Typing
  4. Customized whole food supplements and herbs
  5. Digestive Issues
  6. Detoxification
  7. Natural Pain Reduction
  8. Hormonal Isssues
  9. Immune Support

As a holistic nutrition consultant and a lover of food, I can help you find your unique, delicious, and metabolically balanced diet; the most profound building blocks to health and wellness.

As a holistic lifestyle coach, I can help you utilize sleep, hydration, breath, movement and spirituality to discover the life you always dreamed of.

I am also a practitioner of AIT (Acupoint Integrative Technique), used to identify nutritional, hormonal, visceral, and digestive imbalances in your body.  I then create a customized whole food supplement protocol to bring about profound changes from the inside out.

Learn more about Kanako.

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Featured DIAKADI Health Practitioner | Rich Soriano

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Featured DIAKADI Health Practitioner | Rich Soriano

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 DIAKADI Health Practitioner | Rich Soriano Licensed Physical Therapist Richard’s introduction to working with others in health and fitness started as a personal trainer at the University of Southern California during his sophomore year. Since moving up from Southern California in 1999 after graduate school, Richard’s professional emphasis has been in the field of orthopedic rehabilitation & sports training. Before Action Sports Medicine, he worked at Northern California Physical Therapy in Pacific Heights & CMPC. During his tenure at CPMC he also served as a Clinical Instructor for UCSF graduate students.

AREAS OF SPECIALTY

  1. Physical Therapy
  2. Sports Medicine
  3. Rehabilitation

His passion for helping others achieve their full potential in their sport or endeavor inherently comes from his lifelong commitment to stay on the cutting edge of sports medicine in order to continue enjoying the great outdoors.

Professional Licensure & Affiliations
  1. Licensed Physical Therapist
  2. American Physical Therapy Association
  3. International Mountain Bike Association
  4. NORBA Licensed Racer
  5. Fried of Tamarancho
  6. Sierra Buttes Trail Stewardship

Learn more about Rich Soriano.

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Featured DIAKADI Health Practitioner | Joel Banuelos

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Featured DIAKADI Health Practitioner | Joel Banuelos

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 DIAKADI Health Practitioner | Joel Banuelos Certified Massage Therapist Joel a California native with over 8 years of massage and bodywork experience. As a perpetual student, education is an inherent part of his life and practice. He have completed well over 1000 hours of classroom training and has taught massage-based courses in three different states. Joel's practice draws primarily upon the bodywork and healing traditions of structural integration, myofascial release, cranial-sacral therapy, source point therapy and visceral manipulation.

Joel's interest in bodywork, healing and physical balance began as an adolescent in his studies of shotokan karate. For a period of 8 years he applied himself to this discipline and shared his lessons as an instructor to both children and adults. Joel's movement studies since then have led him to practice contemporary wushu, tai'qi and qi gong; as well as athletic ventures in cycling, distance running, resistance training and tennis.

Joel completed CEU coursework in Cranial-Sacral Therapy from the Milne Institute; Source Point Therapy with Bob Schrei, CAR; Visceral Manipulation and Muscle Energy Techniques from the Barral Institute;  Nerve Manipulation from Jon Martine, CAR; and functional anatomy with Mike Feldman in San Francisco.

GET STARTED

Learn More About Joel  Banuelos.

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Featured DIAKADI Health Practitioner | Michelle Wallace

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Featured DIAKADI Health Practitioner | Michelle Wallace

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DIAKADI Health Practitioner | Michelle Wallace  Michelle Wallace completed her classical pilates certification in New York City while interning in the Athletic Training Department at Hunter College. She has both a dance and athletic background and came to pilates after sustaining several debilitating injuries. She fell in love with pilates for the quality of movement that the method demands and for its effectiveness at helping her to heal.

AREAS OF SPECIALTY

  1. Pilates
  2. Flexibility
  3. Rehabilitation
  4. People with chronic illnesses

Michelle has been teaching pilates since 2004. Since then, she has trained professional dancers and competitive athletes (the UCB Women's Rugby Team, several tri-athletes, ice skaters, runners and swimmers). As well, she has learned to use the method rehabilitatively, especially to stabilize joint injuries. She has experience working with pre- and post-natal women, as well as with chronic illnesses--polio, cancer, lyme and fibromyalgia. While living in Costa Rica, she assisted with the teacher trainer certification at OmPrem Studio. She has also written for Pilates Style Magazine.

Michelle takes her students through dynamic workouts by setting a rhythm for each exercise and then keeping her students moving one exercise to the next. She weaves in cues and corrections to keep her students performing with precision. She loves teaching and seeing pilates effect the positive changes of strength, flexibility and awareness in her students.

Learn more about Michelle Wallace.

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Featured DIAKADI Trainer | Derrick Lee

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Featured DIAKADI Trainer | Derrick Lee

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Trainer Name | Derrick Lee As a personal trainer, Derrick's goal is to impart the knowledge and skills to lead a healthy, vital life in a sustainable method. His formal education began with chemistry and biology, but evolved into exercise physiology and biomechanics; he has always been fascinated in how the body works and functions. Derrick applies his knowledge to clients’ training program to figure out what exercises are very effective and efficient in promoting change, reaching goals, and getting results.

Areas of Specialty

  1. Postural Correction and Corrective Exercise
  2. Strength and Conditioning
  3. Advanced Back & Spinal Care
  4. Flexibility training
  5. Core conditioning
  6. Physiological Assessment and Individual Program Design
  7. Nutrition and Lifestyle Coaching
  8. Functional Strength

Derrick enjoys working with clients at all different levels of fitness, from post physical therapy to elite athletes, from all different age groups, young teenagers, baby boomers and 65+, with all different types of restrictions from diabetes to low back pain. Everyone starts out with a full orthopedic assessment to identify how their body is working and then a personalized program is developed based on the results and goals. With beginners and people starting to work out again he uses corrective stretching/exercises to rebalance the body; guiding clients through their program and having them feel their body work. Watching his client progress through their training program and attain their goals is extremely rewarding for him.

Learn more about Derrick Lee

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Featured DIAKADI Trainer | Tiffany Chag

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Featured DIAKADI Trainer | Tiffany Chag

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Trainer Name | Tiffany Chag Tiffany started training in 2005. A lifelong athlete, her interest in fitness and nutrition has evolved over time and continues to grow.

For Tiffany, the best part about training is being a part of the change her clients want to see in themselves whether that be a healthier diet, a more challenging exercise routine, or a first foray into fitness. Over the years, she has worked with competitive athletes; people struggling with obesity; women who want to stay healthy before, during and after their pregnancies; and individuals who simply want to incorporate exercise into their daily lives.

AREAS OF SPECIALTY

  1. Sport Specific Strength and Conditioning
  2. Female Specific Strength and Conditioning
  3. Functional Movement Training
  4. Pre and Post Natal Training
  5. Holistic Nutritional Counseling
  6. Lifestyle and Stress Management Coaching

Tiffany knows that one size does not fit all when it comes to fitness. As a college soccer player, she was sidelined with 2 torn ACL’s and spent a great majority of her time rehabbing, learning what the human body is capable of. She draws on that experience with each of her clients: nothing is impossible.

Since she began training, Tiffany has sought to further her education in both exercise science and nutrition, sharing what she learns with clients. A graduate of Boston University, she is a National Academy of Sports Medicine certified personal trainer and a CHEK certified holistic lifestyle coach. She is currently working toward becoming a clinical nutritionist.

Learn more about Tiffany Chag

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Featured DIAKADI Trainer | Will Thomas

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Featured DIAKADI Trainer | Will Thomas

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Trainer Name | Will Thomas Eleven years ago, no one could have imagined Will Thomas as a personal trainer. His pantry was filled with yellow cupcakes, potato chips and fruit punch. He hated exercising, and working out was never on the agenda. Overweight and feeling miserable, one day Will promised himself to spend the rest of his life giving his body the respect that it deserves. For the past ten years, he has changed his life and helped other people around him live healthier.

AREAS OF SPECIALTY

  1. Body Transformation using core and muscle strengthening.
  2. Weight loss and weight management
  3. Anti-Aging Specialist

“My entry in the EAS Body for Life Competition has not only given me a new body, but has given me the confidence that we are all capable of making changes in our lives and reaching our goals.”

Will now understands the challenges of making a lifestyle change because he has personal experience with overcoming his own weight problems. Will said his experience has also given him more faith in people's will to change. Will has been an ACE certified personal trainer since 2002 and continues to educate himself with new and innovative ways to train and motivate his clients.

Learn more about Will Thomas

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Featured DIAKADI Trainer | Mike Clausen

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Featured DIAKADI Trainer | Mike Clausen

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Trainer Name | Mike Clausen Mike is the co-owner of DIAKADI.  Mike takes from his athletic background and from the different certifications he holds to help create a balanced program for his clients.  By covering the different aspects that have an effect on fitness (nutrition and lifestyle) he has been able to update  his training style and been given a new perspective when it comes to working with clients.

AREAS OF SPECIALTY

  1. Improved Strength, Muscle Mass and Coordination
  2. Functional Sport and Movement Training
  3. Weight Reduction/Fat Loss
  4. Improved Postural Correction
  5. Holistic Life Coaching

Mike holds personal training certifications from American Council on Exercise, National Academy of Sports Medicine and most recently, he became certified as a CHEK Holistic Life Coach.  Mike has been actively involved in team sports all his life and lifting weights since he was 17.  Being fitness oriented was always a part of his life and by maintaining a career as a certified personal trainer, he is able to reap the benefits of living a healthy lifestyle and enjoys being able to instill that same sense in others.  Taking from his background in athletics and bodybuilding, and by using his thorough knowledge of the body from his training as a paramedic, Mike designs comprehensive programs and creates inventive workouts that help his clients set the proper goals and enjoy meeting them as well. Mike trains clients from all walks of life with each person seeking their own unique goals. He looks at personal training as a career where he can inspire people and help them do things with their bodies they never thought possible.

Learn more about Mike Clausen.

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Wednesday Reflections

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Wednesday Reflections

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Commit to Fit | Week 8

Author | Commit to Fit 2012 Winner, Karl Mason

It’s only Wednesday, but this has been an interesting week already, a bit of a rollercoaster ride mentally for me…

Mike and Billy are running some boot camp and are away from the gym this week. Mike sent me my work out plans and advised what I need to be doing. I miss Mike (…and of coarse Billy too…). I miss his motivation and energy he brings to the workout, which in turn motivates me. At this point, I do not have the greatest confidence that I could go a longer period of time without Mike.

I need to ‘report” to someone, need to be pushed hard. I need the structure and accountability Mike adds to this whole process. I need a Mike-fix! I have been completing my workouts without him and on my own and doing well, but it feels a little empty, definitely less sweaty and less entertaining. I continue forward though, always forward. I have always appreciated Mike, but this week has made me truly value him. Don’t tell him that though – the gym is NO place for emotions – and I need him to be his badass-trainer-self to push me to my Program goals and beyond!

I had my second weigh-in with Sarah at Eating Free last night (Tuesday). I was dreading it a bit because of last’s week’s small indulgences while I was traveling (Please see Blog Week 7 for recap – DAMN that steak was delicious!) I thought that even though I owned my behavior and was honest in my food journals I may have gained weight. But I wanted to face the scale, know the damage. But before I weighed in, I confessed to Sarah that last week and this week are actually break-thru weeks for me mentally. I was engaged fully in my process of getting healthy like I have never been before. I recognized triggers and how to deal with them. I was living with moderation and was not afraid to take the 3 bites of mac and cheese (or of whatever) and knew I could stop with just tasting it instead of devouring the whole dish. I possess an exercise and a food strategy. I am truly Eating Free and Committing to Fitness with success! My last weigh-in was 04.13.12. I was 317.8. What would stepping on the scale bring this week? Tears I thought. I was right.

I stepped on the scale and teared up but didn’t full on cry. I was amazed. The scale read 310.8. I LOST 7 lbs since my last weighing for a total of minus 17.0lbs since March 5 where I started off at 327.8. – 17! I met my first goal of getting down to 315…and then some! I am so happy! I kept thinking wow to myself. After my meeting, I went to Safeway and put 17lbs worth of potatoes in a plastic bag (it took 2) and walked around the store carrying both bags. I wanted to remind myself what that extra weight felt like to carry and feel what a small relief it was to put the bags down and get rid of that weight. I will never put that weight on again. I vow that now! I recommend everyone do this exercise as it puts the process and whatever your goal is into a real time perspective. Want to lose 20 lbs? Carry it around Safeway for 20 minutes and think about how you are impacting yourself and your life. If this becomes a fad, I will take full credit for it! Advanced apologies to Safeway! I am hoping that this time next year I will need to be carrying around a small calf to remind myself of the weight I will be losing over the remaining upcoming year! LOL. Next goal weight – 299. I want to SMASH through that goal! Watch and see….The ride continues but this time I am sitting in the front car of the coaster, screaming my head off, terrified some and thoroughly enjoying the experience.

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