personal training

Diet and Nutrition, Mental Health, The Fitness Academy

How To Set Yourself Up For Inevitable Success On Your Health/Fitness Journey


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Most of us have been on some sort of fitness, health, or weight loss journey. Unfortunately, the majority of us feel like we’ve been on this never ending road of dieting and working out without ever really reaching our destination. Chances are, if you’re reading this, you feel this way too. Have you ever asked yourself, “what is my destination?”

If you’re setting off on a health/fitness journey, whether it is to lose weight, tone up, gain more confidence, or just feel healthier in general, you need to have a specific, measurable, and achievable goal.

The following steps will help you DEFINE and ACHIEVE the specific outcomes you’re looking for out of a new health/fitness program or any change you’re making in your lifestyle.

Step 1: Think about what you want and why you want it.

First, what do you want? What is the outcome you’re looking for from this new program or lifestyle changes? In other words, if you could wave a magic wand and get anything you wanted, what would that look like? Be as detailed and specific as possible with your goal/s, while also making sure it’s realistic. If your goal is to lose 20 pounds in a month, you’re not being realistic, or healthy, for that matter.

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Secondly, ask yourself “what will having or achieving this goal do for me? How will it improve my life?” You may have to ask yourself this question a few times before you land on something really important to you. Often times, the initial goal (i.e., losing 50 pounds in 10 months) is not about the weight itself at all but about something much more meaningful, such as being confident enough to do something you’ve always feared doing (i.e., starting your own business or going on a trip to your dream destination.) If you’re a parent, you may want to set an example for your children by leading a healthier lifestyle. Knowing the WHY behind your goal is just as important as the goal itself. It is your motivation.

Step 2: Write it down.

Once you have your specific goal and the why behind it, write it down on paper. It has been proven that writing things down works. In a study done by Dr. Gail Matthews, a psychology professor at the Dominican University in California, on the science of goal setting found that you become 42% more likely to achieve your goals and dreams, simply by writing them down on a regular basis.

Step 3: Anchor your motivating factors.

An anchor is something physical in your environment that will remind you WHY you’re doing all of this and putting in all of this effort. It should be something that uses one or more of your five senses. For example, a favorite song you like to hear, a piece of jewelry you can touch, a note or picture you can look at, or a specific candle or essential oil you love the scent of.

Your anchors will act as little daily reminders and they come in quite handy when you’re lacking in motivation. Anchors can act as pattern interrupters, something that stops you when you’re tempted to make a choice that may not be in alignment with your goals. Having an anchor will also give you an influx of positive energy from time to time by making you proud and excited to make good choices, no matter how small these choices may be. They all add up to help you eventually reach your desired outcome.

Step 4: Find someone to keep you accountable.

Having someone by your side to help guide and motivate you, as well as hold you accountable, throughout this journey will not only make it more enjoyable and fun, it will make you 10x more likely to achieve your goal. Sure, this can be a workout buddy, friend, or family member, but having a good coach by your side would be your best bet. Depending on your goals, find a health coach, personal trainer, nutrition coach, or someone who does it all. Why? Because a knowledgeable and caring coach will not let you quit on yourself. We will make sure you stay motivated, consistent, that you feel comfortable and confident with every changes you’re making or the exercises you’re doing, that you’re always progressing towards your desired outcomes, and that through all of this, you’re having FUN!

We know this field can be very confusing and saturated with conflicting information about what to eat, what not to eat, what workouts to do, when to do them, what diets work, etc. Skip the google search and the failed attempts at cookie cutter diet plans. All of this will only deter you from your goals and make you feel defeated until you finally throw in the towel. Having a coach will remove the guesswork so that you can focus on doing what you have to do to reach your goals.

Before you set off on your next health/fitness journey, follow these steps and you WILL be successful. It’s easy to be excited about starting something new and maintaining it at first, but then as the weeks pass by and you begin to lose motivation and patience, it is inevitable that you will fall off track. And as we all know, getting back on track is no piece of cake. This is just human nature. However, if you set yourself up for success by clearly identifying what it is you want, why you want it, writing these down, setting up little reminders (anchors), and having an accountability partner/coach to support, there is no room for failure!

The Fitness Academy

My Fitness Journey


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Hello all, welcome back!

Someone had suggested I speak a little bit more about my own personal fitness journey that I have been on since 2005. I have to start off by saying my first inspiration from the fitness world came from my father. I can remember growing up in our small apartment in Hoboken, NJ. In the corner of the master bed room he had one of those all in one gym stations. It was a flat bench that could raise up for incline with dip handles behind it. It even had a cable attachment for lat pulls and leg extensions in the front of it. He was a true mans man at the time. Metallica blasting, no shirt on, constantly going over to the mirror to check his “gains.” He even had a camcorder and started filming his workouts. This was WAY before Facebook and Instagram. The energy in that tiny bedroom was infectious. I didn’t realize it at the time, but I was hooked. I wanted to feel like that! I wanted to lift heavy weights and build a huge chest! However, I came to realize in my early teen, overweight years that it was not as easy as it looked. “You mean to tell me one day of bench press won’t give me the chiseled pecs I’m looking for?” “Is it supposed to be this difficult to lift 15 pounds?” “What is this soreness!?” Needless to say I didn’t last very long with that mindset. I went through the rest of my teenage years including high school very quiet, self conscious, insecure, overweight, etc.

Fast forward to 2005, I just graduated high school and got a job at a local gym where I started out as a life guard for their swimming pool. I wasn’t even old enough to workout there without a chaperone. When I finally turned 18 they allowed me to workout by myself. This was my first time showing any consistency working out and boy, did my body adapt quickly. I saw and felt my chest getting bigger and stronger by the month, my arms were starting to show definition, my confidence was through the roof. It was not controlled, I was downright cocky. I also knew nothing about nutrition or how the body worked. This will come back later in the story.

So over the course of about 7 years working at this gym I ended up working in every department. I worked the front desk, I became and online certified trainer (which is a joke and a disservice to the fitness industry if I’m honest), I headed over to the sales department and even had my hand in the marketing department. At some point this gym I was at started to rent out space to a personal trainer trade school, this will also come back later. At around 21 years old I tore 2 ligaments (ligaments attach bone to bone) in my right ankle playing basketball. I had no health insurance, my uncle had to pay out of his own pocket for me to get an MRI. No health insurance meant to surgery, no rehab. My ankle is currently being held together by scar tissue. I had crutches and stayed off that ankle for months, testing it each month to see how it was healing. This was a dark time for me. Unable to work, I stayed home all day, every day taking prescription pain medication and eating all day long. Hello, weight gain and depression! As soon as I was able to start putting weight on that foot, I did and I returned to work against their wishes. I started to rehab myself, picking the brains of anyone that seemed like they knew what they were talking about. I wanted to play basketball again, I started to work on my cross over, slowly and painfully. I can remember still being on crutches, hobbling over to the bench press and getting in as many sets as I could during the 30 minute lunch break I had. The soreness had never felt so good.

As my ankle got closer to 100% I started to work with a personal trainer that free lanced at this gym. It changed my life. I had never been stronger and the education on lifting that I received from him is a huge part of what I apply to my business today. After working with him for over a year I eventually had to discontinue due to the fact I had decided to go to school to become an RMA (Registered Medical Assistant). I was working at the gym during the day and going to school at night. Finding time to workout became difficult and remember when I said diet would come back into this story? Well, here it comes.

Your body will talk to you. It will send you signs that something is not right. I never put much thought into what I was eating or how I was living. So that meant late night diner trips after spending a few hours at a local bar. There is about 3 different fast food chains within a 1 mile radius of my town, I even had picked up smoking cigarettes! I had asthma, I literally could not leave my house without a pack of tums due to acid reflex and I was taking 4 – 8 Advil every single day due to stress headaches. Side note, pain medications do not work for stress headaches. I felt horrible every day, I was getting sick every few months. My wake up call came when I went to the doctor for a check up. My BMI told me I was obese, he wanted me to fill prescriptions for a daily asthma inhaler (I had only had an emergency pump to this point), he wanted me to see an orthopedist for all of the pain I was in (my body aches were terrible when I was sick) and a neurologist for my head aches. I did none of what he asked. I refused to accept this as my new life. I stopped smoking and got my obese @$$ on a treadmill for my heart and lung health. I changed my diet which amazingly stopped my antacid use and I quit my job, I woke up the very next day headache free. I also started taking zinc to help boost my immune system. Thanks, doc.

From that point on I never looked back. I had realized that between rehabbing my own injury, putting myself through school (and graduating) and doing an complete 180 with my health that I could do anything I put my mind to. Anything. So, that’s what I have been doing ever since. From owning a dance studio to driving trains for the HBLR. Putting myself back through school to become the best fitness professional I could be. The school I am referring to of course just so happened to be the personal trainer school that was located inside of the gym I started working at when I was 17. Now if that’s not full circle then I don’t know what is! The Fitness Academy will be turning 1 year old in few months and none of this would have been possible if not for all the pain I had to endure both physically, mentally and a  whole slue of other wild stories not mentioned in this blog.

So, that’s my story, or at least part of it. The message behind it? Embrace your pain, never fear change and believe in yourself. Let your heart lead you, it’s way smarter than your brain.

Peace & Love,

~ Matt G.

The Fitness Academy, LLC

If you’re seeking change in your life and need help to get started feel free to reach out to me. Change starts within the mind and your first session is always on me!

FitnessAcademyNJ@Gmail.com

@FitnessAcademyNJ on Instagram

201.983.3510 (call/text)

Bodybuilding

Booty Building 101


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Yes, finally… The post you’ve all been waiting for! Ladies….. and gentlemen, welcome to booty building 101

Hello again my fit fam and welcome back,

Imagine how well Sir Mix A lot would have done today had his song “Baby Got Back” came out (almost) 30 years later. Having a big strong booty is all the rage nowadays. I’m not going to dive into how this came to be or how your Instagram feed is setting you up for extremely unrealistic goals. Let’s just focus on doing everything you can to work your booty to it’s full potential. I will however, spend some time explaining the actual physical benefits of building a strong booty that goes beyond aesthetics.

So, why should you actually want to build your booty? Well, there are actually three muscles that make up the booty. Gluteus maximus, gluteus medius and gluteus minimus. These three muscles work together to abduct, rotate and extend the hip. Strengthening your glutes can help improve posture as well as improve your athletic performance. The glutes help assist us in standing up, walking, picking up objects from the floor (parents think about how often your picking up your children) and climbing stairs to just name a few examples. There is a lot of power located back there and strong glute muscles are vital for sprinters, volleyball, tennis and basketball athletes among countless other sports and activities. So from you everyday desk job worker, stay at home mom or athlete you can confidently say; everyone can benefit from a strong backside.

Here is how it’s done. First and foremost you’re going to want to build up some strength and (muscle) endurance before focusing solely on size. Exercises like squats, glute bridges and reverse planks are great for beginners. (Keeping in mind that your core is stable and strong enough for these exercises) Train smarter, not harder. A smart newbie should try all of these exercises with no extra added resistance and a good coach near by to check for proper form! It’s important for you to know how to progress your workouts through adding resistance and changing little things in your form to keep the tension where we want it as well as which exercises are actually going to target the glutes most effectively. When you finally make it to the world of dead lifts, hip thrusts and sumo squats, then you’re really cooking! But of course the most important part again, is progressing safely.

Once you’ve properly developed your strength and muscle endurance you will graduate to hypertrophy training, this is where the biggest impact for size is made (if that’s what you’re looking for). You’ll have to do some research during your workouts to figure out what percentage of your 1RM (1 rep max) to hypertrophy train at. It could be anywhere from 50-75%, also figuring out how many times per week you want to target glutes to get the most out of your hypertrophy training. I suggest sticking to a hypertrophy program for about 6 weeks. Stick to the program, eat your protein and carbs and watch the size pack on! I highly suggest taking a measurement or taking pictures to tangibly track your progress.

If you would like to dive even deeper into this topic with me you can always e-mail me at FitnessAcademyNJ@Gmail.com

If you would like to schedule your complimentary 90 minute consolation, feel free to e-mail the address above or call/text 201.983-3510

Best of luck on your fitness journey!

Peace & Love,

~Coach MG

Follow me on Instagram @coachmgnj and @fitnessacademynj

Mental Health

Get Out Of Your Own Way!


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All too often potential clients will sit in front of me during their free consolation and tell me about how they feel on a daily basis both physically and mentally. How they feel tired all the time and can even acknowledge that they just don’t care enough to be active on a weekly basis (never mind a daily basis). I’m here to tell you to get out of your own way before your pity party becomes a hospital visit or another trip to the pharmacy to pick up your insulin or worst of all a funeral. Fitness professionals are in the business of health care prevention. You know somewhere in the back of your mind you “need to do this” because I hear it all the time. Yet, you still can’t commit. You still can’t get yourself to love yourself enough to take care of yourself.

Basically one of the only things I retained from my 3rd grade teacher was this simple quote; “It’s easy to be bad, it’s hard to be good.” Such a light bulb moment for me even at such a young age. I realized this quote extends itself to every single area of life. Will you choose consequences or rewards? It’s easy to be lazy and eat whatever you want, their will be consequences to this life style and no rewards. It’s hard to dedicate your efforts to bettering yourself through nutrition and exercise. But the rewards, I promise you, will blow your mind.

You will struggle, get over it! This society tells us everything can be done with a quick fix; a magic pill, a simple juice diet, a 30 day workout plan and it’s all good. Well, I call B.S. you need to change your lifestyle and 30 days will only be the beginning. Believe me when I say it’s okay to struggle because everyone does. It’s totally normal, I still struggle to this day. Why? Because it’s easy to be bad and it’s hard to be good. You show me someone who says they don’t enjoy pizza and cupcakes and I’ll show you a liar. Here is where the amazing part happens. When you dedicate yourself to becoming the best version of yourself you will either no longer crave foods that you know negatively affect your body or if you decide you still do want to indulge in pizza and cupcakes, you can! Because there is no point in driving yourself crazy feeling like you can’t enjoy any of the foods you are used to eating. The trick is being smart about when you allow yourself to indulge.

So, to wrap this up. No, nothing about this will be easy, accept it. “Nothing worth having comes easy.” Just repeat that to yourself until it sticks. If you feel totally lost and don’t know where to begin, find yourself a fitness professional and let them lead you. I didn’t do it on my own and you don’t have to do it alone either. One day at a time. Since it may takes months or years (yes, years) for you still find a steady stride don’t beat yourself up and think you’ve ruined all of your progress because you had a bad meal, day or even week. Life is hard and a lot of us turn to food for instant satisfaction. It’s okay in the beginning, just keep your eyes on the prize and get back on the horse ASAP!

Sending much love and peace your way,

~ The Fitness Academy

Schedule your free 90 min consolation today!

E-mail – FitnessAcademyNJ@Gmail.com

Or call/text Matt at 201.983.3510

Mental Health

Overcoming Depression and Anxiety


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Hello again and welcome back,

So, it’s 2018 and words like depression and anxiety get used so often we have become numb to the true meaning of these words and the impact they have on our lives. Fun fact I want you to think about as you continue to read along; The only time an animal (monkey, lion, elephant, even your house cat/dog, etc) feels stress or anxiety is when it becomes prey. An animal does not sit there and stress over the present day, the future or the past. It just lives its life as each day passes by. So, why do we allow our brains to completely take over and cause us unnecessary stress, anxiety and depression? Do we truly know what these words actually represent? Or are we just victims of the media and a society that constantly tells us every time we turn on the TV that we have depression and anxiety and with this pill all your worries and troubles magically disappear!

Depression – “Feelings of severe despondency and dejection.”

Anxiety – “A feeling of worry, nervousness, or unease, typically about an imminent event or something with an uncertain outcome.”

Stress – “State of mental or emotional strain or tension resulting from adverse or very demanding circumstances.”

Let me be clear by stating, I am not saying you should never feel these emotions. I’m simply saying you have more control over them than you think. Look at it this way, when you were younger you spent hours with teachers or coaches to master a craft, whether it be writing and spelling or dribbling a basketball. The more you practiced, the better you got. Arguably, the muscle of the mind is stronger than any muscle in the body and we’ve all heard of muscle memory. So, when you constantly live in a state of depression or anxiety you are actually “practicing” how to be depressed and anxious!

So, first things first. Acknowledge and accept that your subconscious is incredibly powerful and this is where the thinking begins. This is where, on your Sunday afternoon you start to feel uneasy and nervous that Monday is coming and it’s back to work for the week at a job you’re not in love with. Before you know it it’s 2:00 in the morning and your counting how many hours you have left before you have to be up and ready to start your day. I believe life and the mind is like a very delicate day of fishing. It’s all about balance, knowing when to fight and take action, and when to relax and not try to control everything. Sound complicated? Well, that’s because it is. I love old cliche sayings because they have been around forever and they almost always hold true, so in this case I will say, “Nothing worth having comes easy.”

Alright, you have now accepted, acknowledged and shown respect to your subconscious. That’s step one, treat your subconscious as if it’s another entity living within your being. Sounds crazy, I know. What’s next? Practice, practice, practice! Here is a method I have used with some clients in the past; write down a list of all the things in your life that cause you any feelings of negativity. Then, write down another list on a separate piece of paper of all the things in your life that bring happiness to your life. The first list you acknowledge and accept that these are areas of your life that you are working on. It will take time but you will overcome all of these things that you feel are weighing you down. Now take that first list and shove it in a drawer somewhere, we’ll get back to it. The second list of happiness you carry around with you everywhere you go. Anytime you feel any negative energy or sadness coming over you, take that list out and give it a look over. Spending time on each one to feel the joy it brings you when you’re doing it. Show gratitude for each and every one. This is just one technique to rewiring your brain for positivity. Now, as for that second list. As you continue to work to improve your life for the better, once you feel you have overcome any one of those hurdles you can now cross it off of your “negative” list. This will give you a sense of accomplishment which is huge for your subconscious to acknowledge and accept. Do you see how we have flipped the dynamics. We are no longer allowing the subconscious to dictate towards us, giving us things that we need to register and deal with. Now we are creating things for the subconscious to acknowledge. This will in-turn cause the subconscious to expect positive things to happen in our every day lives.

Crawl before you walk. This is just one method I give my clients. If you would like to know more or go into further detail feel free to reach out to me at FitnessAcademyNJ@gmail.com

Follow me on social media @FitnessAcademyNJ (Instagram)

To get the full effect, you can always schedule your complimentary session with me at The Fitness Academy.

Just call or text 201.983.3510 or email at FitnessAcademyNJ@gmail.com

Peace & Love,

~Matt G.