Hi Brenda, thanks for taking the time to let us know more about yourself and your company. Could you give us a little bit of your background as a fitness trainer and also how you got into the business of running your own studio?
I grew up in a sedentary lifestyle and was never an active or athletic child. By the time I was nine years old, I was significantly overweight. In my twenties and thirties I lost 50 lbs. three times and gained it back within a year each time. At the age of 42, I experienced what I call my metamorphosis. I reached deep inside myself and made the decision to become permanently healthy and fit no matter what it took. I joined a gym and lost 65 lbs. over the next two years. I have maintained this weight loss now for 15 years! The other women at the club were continually asking my advice and secrets of success. This is when I made the decision to become a certified personal trainer and weight management consultant to help others change their lives as well.
After doing some research, I decided to obtain the National Academy of Sports Medicine (NASM) personal training certification and the American Council on Exercise (ACE) lifestyle and Weight Management Consultant Certification. The all-female gym where I was a member hired me as a personal trainer and I began working with overweight women and women who just wanted to get in better shape. My client base immediately grew and I had a waiting list. Within a year, I was beginning to see so many ways we could improve our facility and our programs to better serve our clients and make them more comfortable in what is often an intimidating environment to beginners and those who are obese or out of shape. This is when I decided to open a private studio called 4EverFit Personal Training Studio. That was eleven years ago. I now own a larger facility in Saratoga where 12 personal trainers work a variety of shifts to meet our clients scheduling needs. The trainers I choose for the business have always been top notch certified trainers with a variety of specialties such as post-rehab re-strengthening, sports specific training, weight loss, prenatal/postpartum, yoga, etc. We work with clients from as young as nine to as old as 90, each with a program designed to meet their specific goals. Our clients are each unique in their own way and so there are no cookie cutter workout programs for anyone at 4EverFit. The clients appreciate having the private environment without the crowded memberships. Yet, they can drop in for cardio at any time. My work now is primarily the management and marketing of the studio as well as lifestyle and weight management counseling. I offer a complimentary consultation for all potential clients to discuss their goals, offer advice, or recommend a trainer from our team that would best suit their style, personality and scheduling needs.
2. What are some of the things that “work” with older clients? I’m thinking Boomers and Seniors. Are there certain workouts that they like or ways to motivate them that you really like?
Baby Boomers are our largest population at 4EverFit. They have raised their children and are now focusing in on themselves. By this time, many of them have gained weight; have had injuries, arthritis and a variety of other complications that must be factored into their workout program. The trainer carefully assesses their individual goals and challenges and offers a variety of exercises based on their current capability, then baby-stepping them to a stronger, fitter body. For some of our luckier baby boomers, plyometric workouts, TRX and other types of dynamic movement are appropriate and fun yet challenging. For most, however, careful movements with lighter resistance are the correct starting place. The trainers assess for muscle imbalances and include special exercises in the program to bring the body into better balance and to avoid future injuries. Our geriatric clients may need to have balance work as part of the program; in their case the main goal may simply be to walk without a walker.
3. Do you see a lot of children or teens at your studio? If so, what are their main concerns? Is it sports performance, weight issues, or just fitness?
We do see children, mostly young teens whose parents are concerned about their weight and self-esteem. These children often feel in adequate in team sports and need 1-on-1 help to become fitter and more physically fit and self-reliant. Additionally, we see youngsters who play a sport that they wish to improve such as tennis, water polo or football. We also work with two special needs young men. Their programs include coordination skills as well as strength and cardio to their ability.
4. One of my main philosophies is that kids should be an “athlete for life”. How athletic are your seniors and do you do anything to encourage them to be athletes?
Most of the older people we see have not been athletic or it’s been many years since they were involved in sports so the goal is more often just having more strength and energy to enjoy activities, day-to-day life and slim down. However, we do also see clients who want to improve their golf, tennis or racquetball game. 4EverFit is a safe environment for those who want to get in shape without the perceived judgment of those more fit, but it can also be a haven for those occasional athletes to work on specific athletic improvement goals in a more focused and clinical environment.
5. How often do you recommend your clients workout? Do you have them workout mostly at the gym or at home?
Our clients meet with their trainer on average of twice per week at our 2,300 square foot fully equipped gym in Saratoga. However, some train as often as 5 times per week. The number of sessions chosen is often based on the clients time and budget constraints. When a client can only come in once per week, they are taught a program to do on their own at home or in a membership facility on their own at least one more day. Over and above their time spent working out with their trainer, our clients are taught and motivated to do meaningful cardiovascular workouts solo. They can drop into our facility and use one of our seven cardio machines if they prefer our more private and safe environment.
6. Going through your website, it looks like you do a lot of functional training. Could you go into that in more detail?
Weight training machines are great for placing the client in a safe position and loading the resistance to the highest appropriate weight for the individual. However, more and more we have learned in exercise science that when a person strengthens their body using the body’s own natural path of motion (functional movement), it is extremely beneficial for improvement of strength and mobility in day-to-day activities. Most of the trainers at 4EverFit do a combined workout of both machines and functional exercises using a variety of tools such as dumbbells, resistance bands, TRX (suspension training system) or even the body’s own weight against gravity. When using functional movement, the core muscles in the trunk of the body are also stabilizing so the outcome of functional training versus machines means a stronger foundation in the athlete.
7. A big part of my website is family fitness. How do you encourage families to workout?
Activities that are fun to do together often are not considered exercise, and yet they are! Taking walks, hiking, playing outdoor sports, bicycling, skiing or snowboarding are all great group activities. Snowshoeing in winter is another outstanding way for families to workout together. It is excellent exercise and does not require a specific skill or talent. Even the youngest family members can often keep up. We have found that families enjoy doing yoga together as well. What better way to work on fitness than yoga? At the end of the session the whole family and is at peace and harmony with one another.
8. Is there anything else that you’d like to add?
I am deeply concerned about childhood obesity in America. I am so pleased to see parents making exercise a priority in their families and more and more these days. I am still worried about the American diet and what we have come to accept as a culture with regard to meals and snacks. My hope is that more and more parents of newborns will start them from their very first bite of solid foods to accept and enjoy nutritious foods that are low in saturated fat, processed sugars, preservatives and additives. As parents, we need to set the example and lead the way. It is one of the most important things we can do to raise healthy, happy children. We need to feed them appropriate portion sizes and keep deserts, chips, soft drinks and other unhealthy foods for special occasions rather than stocking them in our homes. I often have overweight parents tell me it is difficult to avoid these foods because they have to have them in the house for the kids. That statement breaks my heart because these children will grow up to have similar problems as their parents including; Type 2 Diabetes and other dangerous conditions. I am now working on two more certifications: NASM Weight Loss Specialist and NASM Fitness, Nutrition Specialist. The more information and education I can bring to the table when counseling our clients, the more successful they will be. Learning is a continual process in fitness and nutrition. Staying up to date on what is new in these areas will help us all live healthier happier lives.
Brenda, thanks so much for taking the time to let us know about your approach to fitness for adults and families. You have an exceptional facility in Saratoga, California and if any of my readers are in the Bay Area, you need to check out their programs. Thanks again, and have a great New Year!
To get in touch with Brenda, contact her a:
4EverFit Personal Training Studio
12361 Saratoga-Sunnyvale Road, #D
Saratoga, CA 95070-3073