photo credit: Jim Mullowney Photography

15 years ago was the first time I got paid to say “drop and give me 20” (or something to that effect). The idiom time flies when you’re having fun couldn’t be more appropriate. 

Artist Teiko Reindorf

I was working in my last co-op work term at a fitness studio in Vancouver called Symmetrix when I got my first client. I was almost done my Kinesiology degree and wasn’t sure what I was going to do next. I did my first co-op term at a different gym in Vancouver where I signed up new members, cleaned equipment and folded towels. I worked as a brace fitter and managed the front desk at a pedorthic clinic. I also worked at a physio clinic teaching exercises prescribed by physios. 

Funny enough, at the time I graduated from SFU, I said to myself I didn’t want to “do” personal training. Fast forward 15 years and I can’t picture myself doing anything else. It’s true that I love my job but what I love more is positively changing people’s lives through fitness. With that said, to celebrate 15 years in the biz, here are 15 fitness tips that you may find useful:

1️⃣Any kind of exercise is good exercise. I used to be a snob and judge people on what type of exercise they did, but I’m long past that.💦

2️⃣Don’t be attached to any particular exercise. You don’t HAVE to squat, bench press or deadlift or do any exercise the majority of people do to have a good, effective workout.🤯

3️⃣If it hurts, stop.🛑

4️⃣Just because someone does an exercise one way, doesn’t mean you have to perform it the same way. Do what works for your body.🙌🏻

5️⃣There is no such thing as a fat loss workout. Nutrition trumps any workout you can do to lose fat.🥦

personal training gym st. john's

6️⃣Spot reduction doesn’t work, but spot enhancement does.😅

7️⃣If you want bigger arms, you have to do isolation exercises for your biceps, triceps and delts, contrary to what many coaches or articles say (compound exercises like chin ups, bench press and rows are not enough).💪🏼

8️⃣Most people cant overhead press with ideal form due to restrictions in mobility. Steep incline shoulder presses or landmine presses are a better option.👊🏼

9️⃣Training 2-3 hours a week is not enough postural correction work to improve your posture. You need to look at the other 165 hours in the week and make adjustments there.🙂

🔟Every single new client I’ve ever had said they did planks in their workouts but never did them correctly. Remember “ribs up” and “bum in” the next time you try a front plank.😃

1️⃣1️⃣Circuit training is not strength training. Boot camps and circuit training focused workouts/gyms are a great way to combine weights and cardio, but it’s a subpar method at building strength and muscle.😅

1️⃣2️⃣Hip mobility is super important if you have low back pain. Core strength and excess abdominal fat are also important factors that should be addressed.🧘🏻

1️⃣3️⃣Most people go too heavy when they exercise. Learn how to connect with the muscle better by lowering your weights when building muscle. Similar suggestion goes for building strength. Learn how to coordinate your muscles better when squatting, bench pressing or deadlifting (or doing any other compound exercise).👍🏼

1️⃣4️⃣Use internal cues (feel biceps contract to bend elbow) when building muscle and external cues (push floor away when deadlifting) when building strength.💪🏼

1️⃣5️⃣Most people have weak feet and are disconnected from feeling the ground. Your feet have muscles too, which also need to be strong. See if a minimalist-type shoe could work for you.👟

Hope you found these quick tips useful. If you want more info on training, you know where to find me and the rest of my team. 💪🏼🐲

~Jon🏋🏻‍♂️

Jon-Erik Kawamoto, MSc, CSCS, CSEP is a Strength and Conditioning Coach, Co-owner and Founder of JKConditioning. With 15 years in the industry and over 10 years as a freelance fitness writer, Jon has helped many change their lives through fitness. To inquire about coaching, workshops, presentations or writing, you can contact him through our Contact Us page. (photo credit: Jim Mullowney Photography)

I’ve always been a gym rat, but was getting tired of the same ol’ routine. My better half was attending JKC and encouraged me to try it out. My favourite part of JKC is that is isn’t a gym – it’s a community. Jon and Thomas are awesome, and I love that every time I go I know who’s working out with me and we can socialize while working on our health. Everyone is supportive, encouraging and genuinely looks out for one another. It’s an upbeat and positive experience and I can honestly say that I look forward to each and every workout.

log overhead press

I had tried JKC based on the recommendation of a parent of one of my students. I originally started by attending Saturday drop in classes. I was hooked. I decided to join full time when I I had taken a year off from teaching and it was the best thing I have done for myself.

First and foremost the trainers at JKC are extremely knowledgeable. I feel like they are as dedicated to my success as I am. The workouts are tailored to me, my skills and my goals. This is important. Jon and Thomas truly want the best for their clients no matter what level of fitness they are starting from. I also like being able to book a session at a time that suits my schedule. This also helps keep me accountable. Once the session is booked I am not likely to cancel!

I originally chose JKC to help me rehab following back surgery. JKC was the first gym where a trainer took the time to help me identify my goals and tailor my workouts to achieve them in a safe and doable manner. 🏋🏼 Jon & Thomas are both highly professional and knowledgeable. 👨🏼‍🎓 With their guidance and informative explanations 🗣 they have enabled me to reach my ever evolving goals. At JKC I’m guaranteed fun 😆, interesting 🙃 and diverse workouts, with Jon & Thomas forever supportive and encouraging. 👏🙌👍👊

sumo deadlift

I had always wanted to start lifting weights and get stronger, but didn’t know where to start. I was looking not just for a gym, but for training on proper technique to prevent injury and a program designed for my specific goals. I also wanted a fun and supportive atmosphere to keep me coming back. JKC delivered on all of this and more.

Jon and Thomas have a wealth of knowledge that help their clients get the most out of their time in the gym. Programs are continuously modified to keep the workouts challenging. Even through everyone’s program is unique, you always have the coaches and other clients cheering you on and pushing you to achieve new bests.

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