I’ve literally sat down in front of hundreds, maybe thousands of prospective clients and gym-goers. I’ve gotten a lot of people started on fitness programs, some fee-based and some free. I’ve also gotten a lot of excuses over the years … excuses and rationalizations are my favorite! Someone who is ready to start is exciting but, showing someone who isn’t convinced the true value of fitness – now that’s awesome. It’s like showing someone who’s never heard of electricity a light switch… they don’t believe you until they flip it on and boom!

My favorite excuse for not getting started with a custom program or a fitness professional is the “I already know what to do…” No you don’t! Because if you did you’d being doing it. My follow-up question to this excuse is a bit snarky and purposely so, “So how’s that been working for you?” At this point I get one of a few responses – anger, embarrassment, frustration, or genuine humility (not humiliation – that’s not the goal at all). The person usually stammers out an answer like, “I just need to do cardio.” News flash – you don’t need a gym to do cardio – you can go for a walk, ride a bike, or jog outside.

My follow-up question to the cardio comment is to ask, “What type of cardio burns the most fat?” Typical answer, “Running.” So now we’re at an awesome point in the conversation. This is where I get to be a teacher for a few minutes and explain some fun stuff.

“Although running is a great way to improve your cardiovascular system, it’s not the most effective way to burn fat. If losing body fat is your goal, then we need to a multifaceted approach. As for cardio, just running taps into the stored sugars in our liver and muscles. When we only utilize sugar as a fuel we don’t burn any fat. This’s because our heart rate is usually too high. Also, when our heart rate is too high our body produces excess cortisol which can make our bodies store fat. We need to teach our body to be more efficient.”

“Ok, how do I do that?” he asks.

“I’m sure you’ve heard of interval training. It’s a really simple way to trick your body into being a fat-burning machine. The problem is not everyone’s intervals and heart rate during those intervals are the same. There are some assessments we can do to find out what your heart rate should be during those intervals. And then, based on those results, we can put together a cardio program that’s right for you. There’s only one problem … cardio won’t build any lean mass or strength. If you want to build lean mass then we have to do strength training, and not all strength training is created equal. What kind of strength training would you be doing on your own?”

“Probably one body part a day…”

“This works pretty well once you have really good movement and have lost the body fat you want to lose. Unfortunately, when you have more weight to lose it’s not going to do much. We want to turn your body into a fat-burning furnace! And this can be done with compound movements and combined movements, which can be a little complex so we need to make sure you don’t have any movement distortions then you can move efficiently and get the most out of your workouts. If you want to learn how we can help.”

It’s here where most people start to understand why universities have degreed programs for exercise science. I know I got into this field to help people, to teach them how to be healthy and self-sufficient. Fitness shouldn’t be a competition or ego-based. We’re all in this together and when I can help someone to realize the benefit of collaboration and how to ask for help it’s a great feeling!

Joshua and Elyse Buchbinder are the owners of B-Strong Athletics and have over 30 years combined in the fitness industry, hold degrees and advanced certifications in the field, and are passionate about helping others. For more info call 410-967-9699 or visit Bsafit.com.