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 was referred to JKC by my sister-in-law and had heard good things about it from many people in the running community. I also saw Jon’s picture on the wall at lululemon years ago! I really like the personalized training and the variety the guys provide. I started for strength training for running. I love cardio and do tons of it but wasn’t motivated to do much strength work on my own. Jon mixes up my strength work week to week so I don’t get bored but also lets me work in a hard circuit for the last 20 minutes of most sessions to get my cardio fix 

I’m 43 and started at JKC just over a year ago. I started at JKC because of multiple recommendations from existing clients. There are 2 main elements that distinguish JKC for me. Firstly the sense of community. I’ve been to multiple gyms in multiple cities/countries, you just  can not manufacture the sense of community and support you get from other gym goers and the team. It’s very motivating and happy to say I’ve made some friends at JKC.

The other major distinguishing factor for JKC is the expertise and passion of the team. Jon, Thomas and Craig craft highly personalized programs based on my fitness goals and know how to push me best without being pushy. They pay close attention to ensuring my form is solid before encouraging me to take on more weight for the exercise. Plain and simple they love what they do and it shows.

I chose JKC originally to help prevent rowing injuries. I’m a rower and we won the St. John’s Regatta in 2019 but I rowed through a rib stress fracture and missed significant time in the boat during the racing season. Training at JKC consistently since the pandemic helped me stay injury free this year and made me the strongest I’ve ever felt, which helped me help my team win the 2021 St. John’s Regatta! Jon adds variety and mixes the exercises up well so that the workout goes by quickly and strength is gained. The gym is very personable and I like the eclectic mix of people that are there. JKC is much more intimate and personal than other gyms.

JKC is different from other gyms/fitness regimes I have tried in the past because of my level of comfort with the facility and other JKC clients and the amount of knowledge both Jon and Thomas demonstrate through personal attention to form, core development and overall strength is outstanding. JKC is by far the best training hands on attention that I’ve experienced period and I have experienced many over a lifetime of activity and playing various sports. The facility has everything you require plus, as you will learn there are many ways to use every piece of equipment and Jon and Thomas are very creative! There are many age groups and professions who attend this gym from elite athlete’s to the rest of us and the casual but focused atmosphere in the gym makes each visit interesting, friendly and challenging at all levels.

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