Thursday, September 11, 2014

A Long Overdue Blog Update: Feeling Blessed Among Chaos

Wow, it's been a long time since I've updated my blog site! My last post was in November of 2012 and how time has FLOWN with all sorts of changes! Here's a short update.
  1. Our family grew. She is now almost 14 months old and the cutest, sweetest little blessing God could have ever bestowed upon us.
  2. I'm so fortunate to be a stay at home mom (minus the mom jeans of course). Between my husband's job and my home-based nutrition coaching business, we don't have to put our baby in daycare :)
  3. We recently moved from Central Florida to Woodstock, GA
  4. We are crazy enough to be knee deep into a major renovation of the home we purchased. ...And with a very curious baby--what were we thinking???
For the routine freak that I am, this year and this move has not been an easy one. As I look around our slowly-transforming-construction-zone-of-a-house and makeshift baby barricades, I find myself in prayer more often as I reach out to the One who knows my heart, understands my fears and helps me delve through the things I classify as challenges.
As I take a shower one more night to the light of my cellphone flashlight because we can't figure out what is going on with the electricity to that room, I trust He will provide for all our needs.
As I wait up for Troy to arrive home after a long day at work, a ridiculous commute and piles of physical therapy paperwork, I trust He has a plan for my husband.
As I rock and nurse my baby girl to sleep and lovingly gaze into her sweet face, I know that right here, right now is where I'm needed and I feel thankful and incredibly blessed.

More to come as I get into the habit of writing again.

© Copyright Chandra Jones

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Working Outside the Big Box (gym)

31 things I’ve learned as an independent personal trainer.

This year has been a journey of intense learning, awesome relationship-building, entreneurship, and a step outside of what I used to know as my comfort zone. In early 2011 I took a step of faith. I left a secure personal trainer position where I was #2 in training sales volume in a massive Fitness Center and began an independent personal training business in an 8500 square foot Anytime Fitness gym in Davenport, FL.
I have a lot of gratitude to the big Fitness Center and all of the great clients I had there for helping me develop my training philosophy and allowing me to practice my progamming. If I had tried to strike out on my own immediately upon obtaining my CSCS, I'm certain I wouldn't have the experience and be where I am today. The sheer volume of clients that the Fitness Center sent my way was absolutely paramount to my success. It was there I was also able to work part time while finishing up my master's degree in Exercise Science. I am grateful for not having to meet a sales quota at that time to cover my bottom line.
Training as an independent fitness professional over the past two years at Anytime Fitness has been very rewarding, challenging, and a definite (and sometimes humble) learning experience. My heart is chock-full of gratitude to the owners, Todd and Bruce and the manager, strongman Alan Colley, for allowing me to gain more entrepreneurial experience under their roof.
Thank you to all of my clients, my husband Troy, Linda my tax professional, and everyone else who has had a role in me becoming a better fitness professional/business person or held my hand in guidance when I needed help.
I've listed 31 tips (in no particular order) on things I've learned over the past couple of years that have helped shape my fitness coaching philosophy and improved the way I do business. I'm looking forward to adding to it all the time.

1. I’m really in the marketing business. Read just as many, if not more, books on business as you do on training.
2. Get in front of the community as often as possible. 99% of the time you will not be directly compensated for this.
3. Clients WANT you to hold them accountable, remember their birthdays, give them homework and coach proper technique-- not just make them sweat.
4. Selling sessions by the package is dead. Recurring monthly (or every four weeks) billing is not only more affordable, it requires consistency (use it or lose it) which gets better results.
5. Set client expectations up front. Tell them in writing about your cancellation/late/reschedule policy, how they are expected to pay for sessions, how they can contact you outside the gym, if you expect them to arrive early to warm up on their own, what kind of nutrition compliance they must stick with for the best results, and any “homework” that is to be done independently. They will respect you for it and get better results.
6. Giving clients homework and “extra credit” to do when they’re not with you is necessary, especially if you only see them 1-2x/week
7. There is a place for static stretching before a training session.
8. Sometimes asymmetries are not caused by tight muscles but by postural positioning. Educate yourself to recognize and understand the difference.
9. Weekly nutrition journal review combined with motivational interviewing are powerful tools for results.
10. Know why you are having your client do each exercise in their program and be prepared to explain it quickly, and thoroughly in layman’s terms. If you can’t do this, don’t assign the exercise!
11. Be consistently upbeat and greet your clients every day like they’re your best friend who you haven’t seen in a year.
12. Interact with all gym members like they are your clients. We are in the relationship business and you never know when they may decide to work with you.
13. Once in a while, actually perform a workout you prescribe in its entirety
14. In regards to program design, be realistic on the parameter of time. Understand how long it takes to complete the workouts you write including tempo, sets, reps, rest periods and bilateral exercises.
15. Inconsistent training clients don’t need programs, but intelligent workouts are paramount.
16. Consistent training clients, sport athletes and physique athletes need programs and a built-in deloading period every 4-6 weeks.
17. Reverse crunches are useful.
18. I STILL don’t know what a BOSU is for! Please don't try to perfect this at home...
19. A mistake is something that happens when you don’t learn from it.
20. If a client or athlete progresses to the end of your knowledge or expertise, referring them to a more seasoned coach to further their progress and growth is the respectful and professional thing to do. Your first objective is to give the client/athlete what they need to get better, even if it means losing business.
21. Network and keep in touch. You never know how you can help someone else find what they need through your diverse connections. It goes full circle.
22. If an initial assessment of your client or athlete brings to light a condition out of your scope of practice, refer to a qualified professional. Whether it is medical or dietary, it is your ethical and professional obligation as a fitness professional to “first do no harm” that precedes any programming objectives in the gym.
23. A bit of gratitude and humbleness go a long way; so does giving credit where credit is due.
24. Everyone will do better on a program, but not everyone wants personal training. Offering program design opens up an additional market of potential clients that among other reasons can’t afford personal training or whose schedules may not allow them to train when you’re available.
25. Using evidence-based research, be able to back up supplement recommendations for each individual client/athlete before suggesting they use one.
26. Find and use a good accountant/tax professional. She will save you time and money.
27. Schedule your time wisely. Poor use of time lends itself to spreading yourself too thin, procrastination, unpreparedness, losing your professional and passionate “edge,” and trainer burnout.
28. Take before pictures and measurements of every client. You never know who your superstars will be.
29. Recognize when a client/athlete has worked exceptionally hard and praise the effort with well-timed, specific feedback.
30. It’s okay to discuss nutrition with your clients up to a point. The information in the Precision Nutrition Coaching Certification is top shelf. Prescribing therapeutic diets is not within a trainer's scope of practice, but discussing healthy nutrition and how to shop for it is. Refer out to a dietician when in doubt.
31. Invest in yourself with continuing education seminars, books and DVDs. Don't be too proud or shy to ask for help with your business or training systems. Having a mentor to bounce ideas off of or ask advice is invaluable and helps you grow as a fitness professional and business owner.
© Copyright 2014 Chandra Jones

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Interview with a Figure Athlete: Cynthia Aponte, IFPA Pro

Cynthia Aponte and her hardware

Chandra: Cynthia, I appreciate you taking the time for this interview. Your husband, brother and sister-in-law were all here to watch you compete in the OCB Southern States figure show last weekend (May 12, 2012). You walked away with your IFPA pro card in figure Master’s division and second place in figure Open tall. You were also awarded best stage presentation. That’s a lot of hardware; Congratulations!!
Fill us in on your background. Where are you from and how did you get interested in physique competitions?

Cynthia: I'm from San Juan, Puerto Rico most commonly called "La Isla del Encanto." 
I became interested in sports because I used to be a little over weight. Not much, but enough for not feeling comfortable with myself and insecure. I start to do weight lifting since I was 15 years old because I wanted to lose weight, but I never imagined that it would become my favorite way of exercising. For a lot of years I had been doing weight lifting, aerobics, spinning, kick boxing and any kind of exercise that always kept me motivated to pursue my goals. Little by little I’ve become interested in learning about different types of training. I’ve been using heavy training, super sets, intervals, explosive training and it has become really great to see how my body is continuously changing in this journey.  I started to watch competitions so I said if I can pursue my goal, why not try to do a competition to help me challenge myself even more. So I start to learn about really healthy eating habits. It was not easy but I challenged myself to learn how to eat well. The journey really started the day when I decided to go for it and I competed for the first time in Puerto Rico in a competition call Mr. and Ms Puerto Rico of Gustavo Badell classic in 2010, named after a famous bodybuilding competitor. To my surprise, I won first place in figure and again competed in the same year and won 3rd place in figure. I didn’t win the title, but this didn’t stop me from trying to pursue my other goals.  After these two competitions I took a big rest. The time-off lasted almost two and a half years. During this break, I moved to Orlando Florida and started training again to get back on track.  At that time, I was a little confused with what I really had to do to get focused.
I met my current coach, Chandra Jones, and told her everything I had in mind to get back in shape and pursue my goals to be someone in this sport. I wanted to make it more of a lifestyle. Now I'm sure this is what I wanted for myself; to be in this sport and condition in a different way. I wanted to prepare in a more healthy way, both physically and mentally. I start training with my coach from January 2012 to the present. The rest is history. I recently competed in the OCB Southeast Natural and won first in Masters, first place in Best Presentation and second place in Open and earned my pro card naturally, I can’t be happier than I am right now. 
Because I know when you believe, be patient, practice discipline and focus, any dream came come true. Now I'm more motivated to continued competing in other competitions to continuously be better every day in this sport and be a motivation to other people. You can do it. No matter what, you just have to "believe" and "never ever give up" ;)
Chandra: It sounds like you’ve really found your passion. You are a mom and a long-distance military wife as well. Being apart from your husband for long periods of time has to be pretty hard sometimes. How do you find balance with family, life and training?
Cynthia: Well being a military wife has not been easy because most of the time I’m alone with my 8 years old daughter. I have to be strong for her and demonstrate that doesn’t matter if daddy isn’t at home. We have to share things that keep our mind off of it, so we find active things to do like running, biking, skating, playing in the backyard or simply sitting at the table and talking about future plans or what happens during the day at school. We make some good healthy recipes together in the kitchen. I always take time during the day to do my workouts when my daughter is at school. 
As soon we know that daddy is going to come home [on leave] we try to do things together like going to the pool, the beach or dining out as much as possible before he has to go back to duty again as a military man!
It's not easy, but never impossible; the workouts have been an important part in this process because I can focus more. What I really love to do that helps the most is to work out. 
Chandra: As with every physique competition, a lot goes into the preparation. Everything has to be right on target with the training, diet, cardio and posing practice. What was your preparation like for this show?
Cynthia: Regarding the nutrition, it’s not a big deal for me because I’m used to eating healthy food all the time.  It’s different when you have to prepare for a competition because you have to be sure that everything you put in your body is the correct amount of nutrients combined in every meal. I have to prepare most of my food ahead of time to get everything organized around my other responsibilities and be disciplined to get in all my daily meals.
About the training, I used to always train myself. I realized if I wanted to get back on track and improve my physique I knew I’d have to find the services of a coach to see what I would really have to improve upon and prepare my body for a competition. I couldn’t do it alone. Someone with the education and background in this area can help me with programming and understand how to improve my body. That’s how I found my coach, Chandra Jones. She takes care of programming for my training, what type and when I do cardio, and she schedules everything related to training depending on what she thinks I need to improve to be the best I can be on stage.
With posing, I did the same thing.  I needed to find a coach to practice my posing routine and learn how and what to practice every day with the posing. Chandra referred me to a posing coach, Jeannette Jarnes, who is a WBFF pro.
Chandra: Well now that you have this big accomplishment in the books, what is next for you? What goals do you have for your future in this sport?
Cynthia: My next step is to keep competing and challenging myself every day in this sport. I would like to stay in the line of natural figure federations and be example for others girls… that no matter what, you can keep dreaming big. You can make your dreams come true. This is not the end; I just started my journey in this sport.
As far as goals for the future, I know it’s all related to focus, discipline and believing in what I want-- to keep accomplishing greater and greater goals. Of course I want to be in the Olympia [] one day. I just keep in mind to believe in myself and never ever give up; just keep going!
Chandra: Well good luck to you in your journey. It also sounds like inspiring other women is part of the process. What advice do you have for other women who may be thinking about competing or taking their training to the next level?
Cynthia: First be willing to make that change; second, make a commitment with yourself and then base it on your lifestyle; once you have those three steps be clear on your objective that will take you to your goal. For example, if you want lose weight, gain muscle, have better health or compete and develop in this sport I recommend to find a professional person in this area to help you to accomplish your goals. Find a recommended nutritionist and fitness coach. But always be clear with the professional coach what you are looking for and what you really want. And never go back; when you are consistent in your goals, then you will start to see a big difference physically and mentally. Always keep in mind that this is a partnership of both you and your coach!! This will bring you to success. Good luck and never ever give up—believe.
Cynthia and her proud family
Chandra: Is there anyone you would like to thank for their support?
Cynthia: I want to thank God first, because without him this cannot be possible.  God gives me the strength, health and drives me the right way! Second, my lovely coach, Chandra Jones, who since our first meeting believed in me and committed to my ambitions by designing a special program based on my goals. She is always there for any questions, addresses doubt, and even when I think sometimes that I can’t continue, she always gives me the support I need to be successful. So Chandra, my awards are your awards too because I said you’re the best coach for me!!!
Thank you, Coach from the bottom of my heart.
Cynthia and her brother

My family is an important part of my life: My husband, Orlando, who always supports me.
My brother Eliezer -- wow! It's hard to describe how excited I am about your unconditional support! love you bro!
My sister in law (cuñis) Nikki, thank you giving me motivation so many times to keep going. Te quiero!
And course my little princess, who every day, gives me the desire to push myself more and more to be a better mom and a good example to her. Love you Ailish.  And a big thank-you to the universe... 
Cynthia with her proud husband and daughter
I also want to thank my friends who support me in this process and always have a smile everyday at the gym and good words for me: All my friends at Anytime Fitness [Davenport, Florida].
Jeannette Jarnes, WBFF pro--my posing coach!! Thank you girl for all your hard work with me!
Tami Kalstek, thanks a lot for your encouragement, wonder woman momma!!!
Christine Richardville, thank you girl for your support at the competition—it meant a lot to me! 

 After taking a week off to recover, Cynthia will hit the gym again this next week in preparation for her next show mid to late summer (TBA) and the Yorton Cup in Arizona this fall.

You can follow Cynthia on her facebook page: Cythia Aponte IFPA Pro Figure.
One proud coach!

© Copyright 2012 Chandra Jones

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Abs are Made in the Kitchen

You have probably heard that a solid nutrition plan contributes to about 80% of fat loss success and I tend to agree with that statement. 

Several times in a week I get approached by a gym member or random person in the grocery store who questions, "what exercise will get rid of this?" (while grabbing a handful of flesh on their "problem areas"). Healthy eating is something I love to discuss with clients. It's true; you can't out-exercise an inappropriate diet because abs are made in the kitchen. Think of a good nutrition program as the behind-the-scenes approach to fat loss.
I'll soon be a Certified Nutrition Coach with the best nutrition coaching program in the world, Precision Nutrition. The approach with "nutrition coaching" is different than just getting a "diet" or following some low calorie plan in a magazine. Coaching helps you create an attainable action plan, evaluates your confidence in doing it, and holds you accountable for it. Unlike programs like "Jenny Craig," coaching helps you understand the why behind the what, helps you develop practical, life-long habits you can use in the "real world,"and keeps you accountable to someone other than yourself.

Some amazing results are happening within just one month with nutrition coaching alone! Exercise just accelerates the progress.

© Copyright 2012 Chandra Jones

BodyMedia FIT weight management system has been clinically proven to help you lose up to 3X more weight.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

TRX Suspension Training Workout #2

Take your bodyweight workout to the next level

This workout is 30 minutes of intense cardio-strength exercises. You will need an interval timer such as the Gymboss or Workout Muse.

If you are a beginner, set your timer to repeat continuously for 30 seconds of work and 30 seconds of rest. If you are more advanced, set it to 45 seconds of work and 15 seconds of rest.

With single-side exercises, perform half of your interval on one side then switch for the rest of the interval.

Perform each work interval to your maximum intensity. Perform one interval of each of the 10 exercises. Rest for two minutes and repeat the sequence two more times.

Gymboss, interval timer or Workout Muse soundtrack
  1. TRX crossing balance lunge (single leg)
  2. TRX push-up
  3. TRX alternating reverse lunge
  4. TRX row
  5. TRX lateral lunge (1/2 the interval one direction then switch)
  6. TRX abs crunch (either from forearms or push-up position)
  7. TRX hip press
  8. TRX triceps press
  9. TRX biceps curls
  10. 180 degree burpees (perform a burpee, jump 180 degrees so you face the other direction and perform another burpee, repeat for duration of interval)
Cool down and stretch
  1. TRX chest stretch
  2. TRX lat stretch
  3. TRX figure 4 hip stretch
  4. Wall hip flexor/quadriceps stretch

© Copyright 2012 Chandra Jones