How to Smash Someone’s Exercise Mojo

How to Smash Someone’s Exercise Mojo

I felt like the trash man. Every new fitness trend I tossed in the garbage.

Nowadays, there are SO MANY options when it comes to being involved in a fitness program.

I see a new fitness trend popping up every month.

And being in the fitness industry, my first reaction to these new trends is to scrutinize.


But mostly criticize.

It’s seems like the popular answer to fitness is “new” rather than “better.”

So, instead of working on moving better (which leads to looking and feeling better), fitness has found new ways of moving badly in repetitive patterns…

All in the name of burning calories in a novel way.

And that’s the trend.

How many calories can I burn in a given amount of time in a way that I’m not yet bored with?

The fitness snob in me sneers at this idea with a smug and audible “pfft.”

And then I really think about what’s happening, taking myself out of my position within the industry.

And I feel like a demotivating POS for being that kind of snob.

If fitness Trend A motivates someone who needs fitness in their life to START, then that’s a wonderful thing.

Moving is (almost*) always better than doing nothing.

Condemning someone for starting the “wrong”

fitness program is like faulting someone who is trying to clean up their diet for buying the wrong brand of almond flour.

The point is, a change is being made, and that should be encouraged.

If the exerciser sticks with it, they will likely filter out the trends for something more substantial down the line.

So I’m done with the wholesale trashing of new fitness trends.

And now this side note:

IF YOU ARE CONSIDERING beginning a new fitness program, I do ask that you consider one thing.

Exercise should have a purpose.

Is the SOLE purpose of your exercise routine to burn calories? And if so, consider this

  1. A very intense “cardio” style workout will burn about 500–600 calories per hour.
  2. Two slices of pizza has the same calories.
  3. It takes 10 minutes to smash 600 calories.
  4. The calories game, Movement v. Food, is almost impossible to win.

So why exercise?

Move with a clearly defined purpose.

A smart exercise plan improves lives through:

1)increasing strength

2)improving posture and movement

3)improving looks and “tone” of muscle tissue

4increasing energy and vitality

5)Which leads to a greater propensity to move more, which BURNS CALORIES!

Like I’ve said to so many clients over the years, “if you’re just here to burn calories, I’ll strap you to the treadmill and come get you in an hour.”

Most decide they want a little more than that.

It’s your turn. Emerge.

Matt Pirtle MA CSCS

1st Annual Gateway Responder Competition Event

Below are listed the events for the Gateway Responders Competition! There are five events that we will be using to accumulate each person’s scores. In some of the events, there are differences between the competitive and recreation divisions, such as the amount of weight being used, to make sure that this competition is something that everyone can participate in, no matter your fitness level!  In the event of a tie, there is also a tie breaker event. The weights of tires and sledgehammers are still to be determined and we will make this known as soon as possible. Pay attention to the Emerge Facebook and Instagram pages as demonstrations of each event are posted to help you prepare! Good luck and may the most fit responder win!


Events for Gateway Responders Competition

  1. Bench Press

Competitive Division: AMRAP Men: 100% bodyweight on bar, Women: 50% bodyweight on bar. Score based on how many complete repetitions are completed before failure.

Recreational Division: AMRAP Men: 75% bodyweight on bar, Women: 25% bodyweight on bar. Score based on how many complete repetitions are completed before failure


The lifter must lie on his/her back with shoulders and buttocks in contact with the flat bench surface. The lifter’s hands may grip the bar with a “thumbs around” grip.  Note: The use of the “reverse grip” or a thumb-less grip on the bench is strictly prohibited. The lifter’s shoes must be in contact with the floor. This position shall be maintained throughout the attempt. The head may rise off the bench or move during the performance of the lift. To achieve firm footing, the lifter may use flat surfaced bumper plates to build up the surface of the platform. The spacing of the hands shall not exceed 81 centimeters between the forefingers. In other words, the index finger must completely cover the 81 cm. ring. The bar will not be allowed to bounce off the chest and must be controlled to touch at the sternum. Each repetition must conclude with arms fully extended to be counted.


  1. Pull-up

Competition Division: AMRAP Men and Women: bodyweight

Recreational Division: As long as possible dead hang, Men and Women: bodyweight


The pull-up must be performed as a strict pull-up, beginning in the dead hang position, palms facing away (overhand grip), arms fully extended. The top of the movement must conclude with the chin above the bar. No kipping will be allowed. For those competing in the recreational division, the dead man hand position must be performed with arms fully extended and palms facing away, in the overhand grip position.


  1. Tire Deadlift into Max Box Jumps

Competition Division: AMRAP of tire deadlifts within a minute, moving instantly into as many box jumps until failure. The number of deadlifts and jumps will be combined for the score. Tire weight for the men and the women are to be determined, and heights of boxes as to be determined.

Recreational Division: Same procedure as competitive division with the weights of tires and the heights of the boxes scaled appropriately for the men and women.

Rules: Each repetition of the deadlift must be completed with the knees in a locked, straight position and the shoulders back in order to be counted for the score. Jumps must be concluded with each foot landing on the box or landing platform and the individual standing with knee locked in a straight position and shoulders back.


  1. Tire flips and sledgehammer slams.

Competitive Division: Flip a tire 10 yards and then complete ten sledges to the tire (five on each side of the body). Repeat the tire flipping and sledging for two minutes. Score will be based on how many yards the tire had been flipped. Weight of tire and sledgehammer to be determined for the men and women.

Recreational Division: Same procedure as the competitive division, with the weight of the tire and sledgehammer scaled appropriately for the men and women.


  1. Run and Tourniquet

Competitive Division: Run a full lap around Emerge (about 400 meters), drag a dummy 10 yards, and apply a tourniquet to the dummy correctly. Men: Sub 3 minutes and 15 seconds=15 points, above 3 minutes and 15 seconds=5 points. Women: Sub 4 minutes= 15 points, above 4 minutes=5 points.

Recreational Division: Run a “half” lap (about 150 meters), drag a dummy 10 yards, and apply a tourniquet to dummy correctly. Men: Sub 1 minute 30 seconds=15 points, above 1:30= 5 points. Women: Sub 2 minutes= 15 points, above 2 minutes: 5 points.


Tie breaker: In the case of a tie, the competitors involved will compete in a full lap sprint around the Emerge Fitness facility. This distance is slightly longer than 400 meters (1 lap around a track).


If you have any questions about the event, contact

If you have any questions about Emerge EveryOne, contact

How to Smash Someone’s Exercise Mojo

One word. Two letters. “N” and “O”. Why is this so freaking hard?

Blending fitness and real life.

In my writing, that’s what I try to do.

And to be honest, it’s usually not that hard.

There are A LOT of parallels.

Which leads into the topic of this post.

So, here we go.

My name’s Matt, and I’m a recovering people pleaser.

I think a lot of us are.

I have a ridiculously hard time saying “no,” and I have spent an equally ridiculous amount of time pondering why this is.

And I believe, for me, it comes down to this.

I have a responsibility to several groups of people.

  1. My kids
  2. My wife
  3. My business
  4. My co-workers
  5. My family
  6. My friends
  7. My community
  8. My workout/ hobbies/ free time

You say “no” to your own needs when you say “yes” to everyone else’s.

And they are equally as entitled to every minute of my time.

At least that’s how I’ve been handling it.

Almost a first come , first serve all you can eat buffet of my time.

And if anyone leaves the buffet hungry, OR I think they may be hungry, I get that heavy, hard-to-shake, ruin your day guilt.

The problem with that is that the world has a voracious appetite.

As soon as one is full (for a brief time) the next one is in line for seconds.

It’s a never ending story that guarantees you will not be able to focus on what is most important to YOU.

The underlying problem?

When you say yes, you are specifically saying no to something else. There is never enough of your time to feed the masses until satiety.

Forget feeding tour own needs.

So you toil in a futile task, putting your resources in directions that are distant from the things that are your priorities.

The scary part of this lies in ACTUALLY knowing what YOU really want. When you’ve walked a long road of other people’s desires, you end up in a place far away from yours.

If you’ve been doing this for a long time, it’s actually pretty tough to even come up with the specific desires that are YOURS anymore.

Try it. It’s a bit frightening.

This is not a new topic. There has been dozens of books, blogs and podcasts that have touched in this problem.

The answer for me so far hasn’t really been an answer. It’s been a baby step in the right direction.

I’ve prioritized a couple of things in a long list and have made them absolutes.

Attending my kids sporting events and saying “yes” every single time one of my kids asks me to play in the yard.

There is no question when it comes to these two things. There is no gray area here.

And I’ve THOUGHT ABOUT a game plan for the rest of the list.

  1. I try not to say “yes” as soon as I’m asked, instead opting to consider my time when I have time to think about it.
  2. Boundary setting with the folks who repeatedly request my time. (Hard for me)
  3. An understanding that once I get some reps of “no” under my belt, it will become easier.
  4. Have a list of priorities that I personally benefit from and stick to those first (workout, time to read, yard work, etc.)

Understanding what’s happening is easy.

Implementing a plan to change it is hard.

Again, like anything, being artful with your “no” comes with practice and dedication to a game plan.

If you’ve had success, let me know what has worked for you.

“It’s only by saying “no” that you can concentrate on the things that are really important.”

-Steve Jobs

Matt Pirtle MA CSCS

You’re making the same mistake athletes have been making for decades

Everyone knows it.

Almost zero do it.

No matter what your sport, you need it.

If you want to improve your performance, you have to step away from playing and practicing your main sport for a short time during the year.

Runners run. Golfers golf. Soccer players practice soccer.

It’s seems obvious.

In order to get better, do that one thing over and over.

And that does work, to a point.

The non stop practice mentality has three main flaws;

1) Repetitive movement breeds injury. If you ONLY move in one pattern over and over, eventually something will give.

2) The Law of Diminishing Returns. At some point, the value of practicing ONE MORE swing returns very little benefit.

3) Becoming a better athlete will improve your performance in any given sport. To become a better athlete, you have to be proficient at moving in all patterns (not just the patterns of one sport).

This not advocating doing nothing.

Time spent on activity outside of your main sport, like resistance training, can relieve stress on your body and increase performance.

Getting stronger and more mobile WILL improve athletic performance for any athlete where unending, repetitive practice all year long probably won’t.

This goes double for kids.

What a kid needs, especially before high school, is to become a better athlete, not a better (enter your sport here) player.

Even if your ultimate goal is to go as far as you can in one particular sport.

Despite piles of research and tons of anecdotal experience and information, parents and kids continue to completely ignore this.

Time away from a sport could be spent on a different sport with different movement demands, strength training, or simply playing.

Specializing in moving in the demands of one particular sport too early will lead to injury, burnout, and possibly missing out on a “calling” in another sport.

Spend some time in your offseason becoming a stronger, better athlete.

You’ll reap the benefits of more durability and better performance next season.

It’s your turn. Emerge.

Listen to what Jackie Pirtle-Hall, accomplished distance runner, had to say about this…

Jackie Pirtle-Hall talks about cross training in the off season.

It’s your turn. Emerge.

Matt Pirtle MA CSCS

Live in the Gym if you Want to…but Know you Don’t Have to

It’s way, way past due.

The conversation must be had.

Here goes.

You don’t have to train yourself into the ground to make gains in the gym.

You don’t have to load your system with the latest supplement stack to ensure results.

You don’t have to make your fitness regimen your one and sole priority in life to enjoy the benefits of exercise.

You don’t have to eat ONLY to fuel your body. Eating can and should be pleasurable, and foods that aren’t nutritious are ok too, sometimes.

As a matter of fact, this extreme end of the fitness spectrum is the opposite of fitness. It will
most likely lead to injury, downtime, and for most people, burnout.

And, it often leads to anxiety when a person thinks that missing ONE day in the gym will curb their results.

It can keep possible new exercisers from even starting, with the message that your life must be devoted 100% to your exercise regimen.

The fact is, amazing results can be had with moderate exercise, given the time you spend on your fitness is;

A) smartly programmed
B) intense and deliberate

I know by experience that this is true.

Ten years ago I spent an average of $200/ month in various dietary supplements.

I worked out 6 days a week for 90 minutes a workout.

I had no tolerance for a missed meal or a meal that didn’t represent the “perfect” ratio of macronutrients.

And I looked and felt good.

Now, I spend about $70/ month on a good protein shake.

I work out 4–5 days a week for 50 minutes each time.

I actually enjoy meals and don’t obsess about the EXACT macro content.

And I look and feel great, AND I’m ten years older with 4 kids.

I’ve seen this with clients and family members and friends and so on.

Don’t let social media and popular gym talk convince you that getting in shape has to be life-consuming.

Hey, if you like to work out for hours a day, 7 days a week, more power to you. It’s something you like to do. Are you getting exponentially better results than someone who takes a more moderate approach?


You’re just getting some extra time in the gym because that’s where you like to be.

It doesn’t have to be torture to get in, and stay in, good shape. It just has to be an intelligent combination of moderate (but intense) exercise and reasonable eating.

Any coach that’s been doing this long enough to try many different approaches to fitness will attest to this as well.

So, have someone help you put together a smartly designed fitness program, spend the time it takes to complete it with some intensity, and enjoy the health benefits AND your extra time.

It’s your turn. Emerge.

Matt Pirtle MA CSCS

Your Squat Form Sucks…or Does it?

What is good exercise “form.”

Having an arbitrary movement pattern performed exactly as the book described?

Is it ONE movement prescription designed for every single human being, despite obvious anatomical differences and physical limitations?

An exercise as defined in the 1962 guide to strength and conditioning?

I say absolute no.

A good exercise with good “form” is a loaded movement that:

A) has a functional benefit to the lifter
B) doesn’t injure the lifter

So, a squat is not ass-to-floor. So what?

A partial range squat still fits the aforementioned criteria (for good movement) for SOME people SOMETIMES. Ass to floor squats are for some people, sometimes, too.

But not all the time.

It really comes down to identifying good movement, that’s useful for certain functions, for the right people. Call it whatever you want. Not every exercise has to have a freakin label.

It’s not as easy as saying “that’s bad form, that’s not a real squat!”

To identify movement that benefits a single individual is hard. It takes some real thought. Its much easier to make a universal rule and stick to that.

Yes, good form. No, bad form.

It’s a little more complicated than that.

If you haven’t yet, have a skilled coach look at your movement. He or she can help prescribe exercises designed specifically to achieve results (as defined by you).

Don’t let the “form” nazis be the judge of whether or not an exercise is performed well. Without a thorough understanding of an individual and their movement capabilities, it is impossible to make a judgement.

Matt Pirtle MA CSCS

The World Doesn’t Care About Your Strengths

I’ve had countless conversations with hundreds of fitness professionals over the last 20 years.

Most of these conversations, predictably, are on the topic of fitness and the fitness industry.

Working along with, and managing fitness pros has allowed me time to speak with and basically study the prevailing mentality in the business.

I’ve touched on aspects of my observations in previous writings. I’m going to do that again here.

I’m just gonna say this bluntly and straight up.

The world doesn’t care about your personal strengths.

If those strengths don’t match a customer need, your strengths are irrelevant.

There are many “core competencies” every fitness pro needs to succeed at a high level. You need them whether or not you’ve been naturally blessed with them or not. If these competencies are already strengths, great. If they’re not, you need to make them strengths.

Just a couple of examples.

If you can’t connect with a diverse group of potential clientele, your strength of exceptional fitness knowledge won’t matter much.

If you can deliver incredible amounts of information on nutrition, but can’t program a descent strength workout, you will fall short of your potential.

If you aren’t strong at a skill that’s important to finding success in the fitness world, you aren’t a victim of that deficit. You either can’t see that deficit, or you don’t care to WORK ON IT.

It reminds me of the scene in “Office Space” where a useless worker being fired complains that;

“I have people skills. I’m good at dealing with people. Can’t you understand that, what the hell is wrong with you people?”

Ok. How do your set of strengths make you useful to your client?

It’s like that.

Great. You have a skill. It means nothing to success in this business. Go get good at something that matters.

People have strengths and weaknesses. The fitness business demands competency in certain skills for success. Whether or not it’s a god given strength is irrelevant.

Identify (or get help from a mentor to identify) your weaknesses and work on making them strengths. Otherwise, don’t be surprised when you struggle.

Cause nobody cares about what you can’t do. They only care about whether you’re skilled enough to help them, or not.

It’s your turn. Emerge.

Matt Pirtle MA CSCS

Every Crappy Trainer I’ve Ever Known was a Repairable Leaky Bucket

“Your smile is your logo, your personality is your business card, how you leave others feeling after having an experience with you becomes your trademark.”

-Jay Danzie

The personal training industry has changed a bit in the last 20 years.

Once upon that long ago time, personal trainers were for celebrities and for the very wealthy. Having a personal trainer was an uber luxury, and you’d be hard pressed to find someone who employed one.

Slowly, that changed. As folks began to really understand the benefits of fitness and especially strength training, the interest in working out increased. A new group of people were willing to pay someone to show them around the gym.

And during this time the “fitness professional” was born. Among the group of trainers that simply showed the masses the new machines at the gym, filling out a pre printed workout card, were a few that knew a little more about exercise and how to program it for a variety of clientele.

These trainers stood out for their knowledge. They knew more than the average person (and trainer) and they were compensated to share this knowledge with people who didn’t.

And fitness continued to grow in popularity.

At this point, maybe 10 years ago, was the beginning of the shift in what was expected from a professional trainer.

The idea of hiring a personal trainer was more of a mainstream idea with more and more people budgeting for and putting value in professional fitness instruction.

The expectations of what a fitness professional delivered also changed. With more people involved in fitness, there were also more folks providing fitness service. More professionals equals more competition for those in the industry.

Now, it took more than book knowledge, more than knowing how to “work out” with ones own goals in mind to be a successful trainer.

This is when the idea of a fitness service “EXPERIENCE” became more important and it was the barometer of success and failure in the personal training world.

As a trainer and a training manager, I saw this happening. What once was passable as good service became a good way to lose a client.

In the last 10 years, what started as a slow movement has become an absolute expectation as far as fitness service goes. Professionals are expected to deliver a complete experience, not to mention results and knowledge that are always assumed as part of the client contract.

Sarah and I have been fitness co-conspirators for over 12 years.

THE MOST SUCCESSFUL fitness professionals deliver a complete experience.

You want to be successful in this industry?

You must have the ability to motivate , and an understanding of human behavior and how to give advice based on that.

You have to have a keen understanding of where your client is coming from, with empathy for their struggle.

You have to show up on time and be there for their appointment EVERY time. No excuses, you must be reliable.

You have to listen and actually care about what your client is telling you. When a trainer uses a client comment as a transition into a personal story about his/her own life, you’ve got a problem.

You must continue to learn and understand how that knowledge can actually benefit your client. Being a well informed professional tells your client you are invested in their progress and goals.

Laser focused attention, extra session time when needed, special study just for your client, and motivational texts. They are all part of, but not an exhaustive list of, what should be included in a wonderful fitness experience.

I’m am not one to promote myself. I’m actually very self conscious about that idea. But I’m going to say this. I do know how to deliver a pretty descent client experience. Over half my clientele have been training with me for 10+ years, and if I took every client that was directly referred to me, I’d be training over 70 hours a week.

I’m not bragging. I’m not special. I just understand how to deliver a good client experience.

Leaving you with some food for thought…

You can’t hide behind certifications and education. This WILL NOT matter if you cannot deliver a valuable experience to your client that includes all the aforementioned points.

So, you decide. You’re a fitness professional. Do you want to be a leaky bucket, losing clients faster than you can get them? Or do you want to be a provider of exceptional service, a master of the fitness experience?

It’s your turn. Emerge.

Matt Pirtle MA CSCS

Back Pain Sucks. My Fitness Empathy.

Many trainers and coaches have an empathy story.

This story is one that connects the coach to the athlete or client through a shared experience.

Oftentimes, the story is of weight loss. The trainer has been through the trials and tribulations of losing weight, and has sustained that loss, arguably one of the most difficult things to do in all of fitness.

This experience helps the trainer empathetically connect to a client he or she is coaching. The “I know how this feels” connection can be powerful. Coming from someone who’s been their and has struggled and eventually won, the advice can become real and more believable.

“If I can do it, so can you. And here’s how.”

My story isn’t that one. If anything, I’ve struggled to maintain weight. I can offer some good advice to those seeking to lose weight, but that’s never been my struggle.

My struggle came later, after becoming a fitness professionalLike so many athletes and weightlifters, I ran into the injury bug.

What began as an irritating pinch on my lower left side of my back has become a somewhat serious issue for someone who likes to exercise and shows other people how to do it for a living.

I’m dealing with the ever so common lumbar disc injury. Sometimes it flares to the point that I have trouble walking. Other times its in hiding, waiting for the right time to scream again.

It sucks.

I like to lift, run, and generally feel limitless when moving.

But I’ve learned to navigate the reality of this nagging injury. The fact is, this type of injury is never going away.

For some, this would be too much shear force for the spine to handle. That’s why the programming is nuanced to consider the many factors involved in strengthening without causing pain.

So, like with so many of my clients over the years dealing with this issue, I manage the reality of it.

I spend time targeting my strength training to my posterior chain (glutes and hamstrings primarily). I take time with the fundamentals of building a solid, stiff core to protect my lumbar spine. I pay special attention to the contributors to lower back pain, like weakness in the upper back and forward posture.

And, I know my current limitations.

I know because I’ve stubbornly tested them over and over with the same result.


I know what exercises to do in what order, and when to avoid running after certain lifting days.

I see it with my clients, AND I experience it myself.

My personal experience with back pain has heightened my empathy for those suffering from it, and has fine tuned my training protocol.

I knew how to coach it before, but my connection to the condition has made me a much, much better coach for those with the same struggle.

It’s my fitness empathy.

If you would like more information on restorative strength for back pain, or if you are experiencing pain, email me at

It’s your turn. Emerge.

Matt Pirtle



The Fitness “Info” Paralysis Effect

Once upon a time on January 1st….

It’s that time of year.

The magical, almost mythical time when resolutions are made with conviction. Conviction that, “this time, I’m gonna see it through.”

And that’s the end of the story. You all know the typical end.

Fitness and health (weight loss) are probably the most common goals set as a New Years resolution. They are also, like most others, abandoned after a short time of high motivation followed by a realization that “this goal is going to take some real work to achieve.”


Real, consistent, hard work on something that is new to you.

Out of your comfort zone.

The uncharted territory.

Confounding this situation is the over-abundance of fitness messages that bombard you non stop during this time of year.

“Do only this. Don’t do that! You thought avocados were healthy, think again!”

So not only are you going on a journey into unknown lands, all the maps tell you to go in different, sometimes opposite directions.

It’s enough to stop a journey short, or worse, before it even begins.

I know I have my philosophies on health and fitness and I am not afraid to share them. But my thoughts are not the end-all-be-all of fitness.

I know there are many roads leading to the same place. Some roads are more comfortable to some people. Some roads are longer but have a pleasant, scenic drive. Some are short and intense.

But there are many roads, many ways to your ultimate goal.

Choose a path and go. Don’t be paralyzed by competing fitness “knowledge.”

Ask yourself, “What am I most comfortable with right now?” Is it a living room DVD yoga session? Jumping in with a buddy at his CrossFit gym? Hiring a personal trainer or just taking a few laps around the block at work?

Pick something. And do it. Just start to move.

The route you choose may be exactly right for you. Or you may change it to suit your needs.

Just move.

Don’t let conflicting fitness messages that can be overwhelming at this time of year keep you from doing something that could change your life.

It’s your journey. Pick a path and begin.

Matt Pirtle MA CSCS

You’re Right Sometimes, but You’re Always Wrong

I’m not Mr. Right. I’m Mr. Right Now.

You’ve heard that phrase before.
You’ve heard that phrase when it comes to finding the perfect relationship, job, house and so on.
It’s not perfect, but it will do for now.
It will do for this moment in time… but not in the future.
That’s a true understanding of your position in the world and the current state of who you are.
And that’s exactly where I’ll always be. At least, as far as understanding health, fitness, and wellness goes.
I know what’s right, right now.
Three years from now, my right will inevitably be wrong. And that’s how it should be. In this industry, which is relatively young, new research is coming out every day. Today’s right is tomorrow’s wrong.
And that’s absolutely ok, as long as what you’re teaching represents the current understanding of what’s happening with the research.

Although a cool picture, I rarely use this go to exercise anymore. Most can’t do it well, and the benefit usually isn’t worth the cost.

You must know that things can and should change. Don’t become married to an idea because you’ve become comfortable teaching it.

Normally, you won’t have to wholesale trash everything you’ve learned in one fell sweep. Usually, it’s just tweaking and refining ideas so they become better ideas.
When I look back at some of the articles I’ve published 5 years ago, I realize how far I’ve come in getting a little better at understanding the human body and fitness.
By today’s standard, I was wrong. But I was right then.
Continue to learn. You’ve never arrived. Don’t be afraid to take a stand and don’t be afraid to change that stand. That’s how it works.

It’s your turn. Emerge.

Matt Pirtle MA CSCS

How much time should you spend prepping for your workout?

“I’ll see ya in a half hour, I have to prep myself for our workout!”

How much time should you spend prepping for your workout?

Once upon a time, like 5 years ago, you couldn’t get ANYONE to do any targeted warm up for their workouts. Outside of a little treadmill walking, folks didn’t want ton”waste time” doing this.

Now, in the age of prehab and mobility, you can’t get people off the stretching table or foam roller to actually work out.

So, in a busy world where workout time is at a premium, how much time should you spend preparing for exercise and what is actually effective at doing this?

Preworkout stretching?

Stretching in general has been a controversial topic in fitness over the years. As far as static pre workout stretching goes, you’re not going to increase the length of a cold muscle effectively, and you may actually be reducing the potential strength of that muscle. Further, any added length is temporary so permanent increased range of motion usually doesn’t happen.

Worth the time? NO

Preworkout foam rolling?

Foam rolling does a terrible job at removing adhesion. It can inhibit a muscle if enough pressure is applied (aka make that tissue feel better temporarily). Ibuprofen does that too. The danger is a damaged tissue that feels better “for now” is not fixed. Loading that tissue with resistance is not a good idea just because you’ve made the pain response go away for a while.

Worth the time? NO

Dynamic stretching?

This is actually movement performed fluidly through a range of motion. Hops, skips, jogs and variations of these dynamic movements are utilized to encourage good range of motion through joints like the hips, knees, shoulders and ankles. These movements increase blood flow to the muscle and encourage a better neural connection to the muscle involved.

Worth the time? YES

“Activation” exercises?

T spine extension with a “T” is a great isometric activation exercise for the upper back.

These are moderately resisted strength exercises designed to increase blood flow and neurally “juice” a specific muscle/joint. These include planking exercises, band exercises, or lightly loaded strength exercises.

Worth the time? YES

With all of this said, over the years I keep coming back to one thought.

If pre workout mobilization is temporary, and foam rolling only temporarily masks uncomfortable spots, then why don’t we just warm up with LIGHTER VARIATIONS of the EXERCISES we plan to do that day???

If you’re planning on squatting, warm up with several sets of light load squats.

If your working on upper body pulling, warm up with low load rows.

And so on…

Just the sum of my experiences and my two cents. Thanks for spending a couple minutes reading!

It’s your turn. Emerge.

Matt Pirtle MA CSCS

But, But, But…the Research Says So!

“Science, my lad, is made up of mistakes, but they are mistakes which it is useful to make, because they lead little by little to the truth.”

-Jules Verne (A Journey to the Center of the Earth)

Yeah, but the research says……


After 10,000 hours or so in the lab (working directly with clientele) you’ve done an impressive amount of research all by yourself.

A question:

What if published, popular research doesn’t correspond with your own experience with your clients?

What if…what you do works better?

That’s not a question to encourage doing things deliberately counter to popular research.

But, if you consistently witness something with your clientele that makes you question the norm, you should test it.

Dip your toe in the water and test it.

Does that little dip blow your theory? Then trash it.

But did that small dip do good things? Test it a bit more.

The resisted plank for short bursts are great for lumbar stiffness and are a part of creating a strong core.

I’ve dipped a lot. I’ve trashed a lot of ideas. But I’ve also stumbled across some pretty interesting modifications to common exercise protocol BECAUSE I’ve not been afraid to test something I felt had some merit.

Even if it was unpopular. Even if the book said “no.”

Some ideas have brought me well past the dipping stage into full blown cannonball in the deep end stage. The cannonball worked.

Not a lot, but an important few ideas worked.

After all, how many of the currently accepted norms where once unpopular ideas? All current “yes’s” were once “no’s.”

Do your research. Read all the books. Keep yourself updated with current industry info.

And use your head.

If it makes sense, and you see real life results from an idea, test it and use it. The next big thing might as well be your idea.

For more information or any questions, email me at

It’s Your Turn. Emerge.

Matt Pirtle MA CSCS

The Power of Believing in Someone

Once upon a time, a researcher named Robert Rosenthal conducted a study. In that study, he gave a disguised IQ test to children in an elementary school in California.

Following the test, the teachers of these students were informed by Rosenthal that some students performed exceedingly well, and should be expected to “bloom” and exceed academic expectations in the upcoming year.

The “bloomers” were actually chosen at random, without regard to their actual test scores.

The “bloomers” names were made known to the teachers.

At the end of the year the test was administered again.

As a whole, the group of children showed an average gain in their test scores, but the “bloomers” tested with significantly greater gains than the “non-bloomers.”

So, what happened here?

In what’s known as the “Pygmalion Effect”, higher expectations from a leader, coach, or teacher lead to greater performance by the student.

By expecting more from (and probably giving more positive attention to) a student, the student actually responds with an increase in performance regardless of innate skill, intellect, or natural capability.

Conversely, in what’s known as the “Golem Effect” those students with low expectations, regardless of skill or capability, performed lower.

This study has since been replicated, and the Pygmalion Effect confirmed, in countless research.

Now for the coaching and training application.

In what should now seem a pretty obvious assumption, the Pygmalion Effect can be witnessed very easily in the coaching and personal training arena.

In the training world, expecting more from a client from the very beginning sets the tone of expectation. It also says “I believe in you” enough to hold you accountable to a higher standard.

Korey Toomer went from practice team to NFL starting linebacker in the course of one off season.

By setting lofty (but attainable) goals and not allowing feeble excuses to derail a clients progress, a trainer is re-asserting that belief in their client’s capabilities. Higher expectations lead to higher performance.

The takeaway?

Set your expectations high without being unreasonable. Demand, in a way that shows belief in a client’s potential, that the appropriate amount of effort be put forth to achieve the client’s set goals.

Treat your clients in a manner that shows that reaching their goals is a forgone conclusion because you already believe it will happen.

Simply stated, your belief that they can do it significantly increases the chances that they will succeed.

Those clients will more often than not raise themselves to the level of your expectations because you show that you believe they will.

As always, any questions or comments can be sent to

It’s your turn. Emerge.

Matt Pirtle MA CSCS

9th Annual Get Fit for Fido

This year marks our 9th Annual Get Fit for Fido, and we are doing it differently this year!
Get Fit for Fido will only take place on December 9th at 9 am.
There will be an adults class and a kids class, so we encourage you to bring your whole family and friends to come get a great workout!
It will cost $10 per person or if you have family of 5, it will cost $40. We will also be selling black long sleeves shirts for $15. 100% of all the proceeds will go to the Lucky K9 Rescue animal shelter.
We will also be serving hot chocolate, coffee, and doughnuts after the class.
Can’t make the class, but still want to donate to the Lucky K9 Rescue animal shelter? You can stop by Emerge Fitness Training anytime before December 9th to drop off your donation or to purchase a long sleeve shirt!

Emerge Everyone

We just finished our first training class for our newest fitness program, Emerge EveryOne today, and we want to tell EveryOne about it!
What is Emerge EveryOne?
These classes are specifically designed for adults with intellectual disabilities, and you do not need to be part of any organization to come workout. We are inviting EVERYONE with an intellectual disability to come enjoy a workout. At each workout, we will have multiple trainers from Emerge Fitness and DASA (Disabled Athletes Sports Association).
When is Emerge EveryOne?
Our next classes will be on November 18th, December 2nd, December 9th, and December 16th. Each class will begin at 11 AM. If you are coming for your first time, we ask that you show up 5-10 minutes prior to the workout, so you can sign a release form and familiarize yourselves with the facility.
How much does it cost for Emerge EveryOne?
The best part of Emerge EveryOne: thanks to Brian Norton and Andrew’s Hugs, these classes are FREE to attend! There is NO cost! We will also be providing complementary T-shirts for each participant.
Where is Emerge EveryOne?
Emerge EveryOne will take place at Emerge Fitness Training, which is located at 920 Hemsath Road, Suite 100, Saint Charles, MO.
Special Thanks
We also want to thank Jason Davis for imagining this program, and BCI and Community Living supporting this idea.

Thank you to Emerge and DASA trainers: Toma Ghattas, Kimi Kemp, Tyler Martin, Beth Pirtle, Kee Russell, Ben Serangeli, Alyssa Speckhals and Kody Welker for their continuing help.
What if I have other questions?
You can direct all questions about Emerge EveryOne, Emerge Fitness Training, or anything else to Ben Serangeli at
Image may contain: 8 people, people smiling, people standingImage may contain: 4 people, people standingImage may contain: 2 peopleImage may contain: 1 person, standing

I got a chance to do something special

I got a chance to hear from 7 of the most influential fitness minds in the St. Louis area.

I asked these 7 trainers six straightforward questions about fitness, the industry, and their role in all of it.

I didn’t expect some of their answers, and it has put the fitness industry in a better perspective for me.

First, an introduction to the Coaches:

Jaime Rothermich- Owner and Coach at Functional Elements

With over 15 years of personal training and nutrition, Jaime Rothermich has worked with a wide variety of clients with a wide variety of needs.
A graduate of the University of Missouri, Rothermich is married to wife Jennifer, and lives in St. Charles with their three kids. He is one of only four dietitians in Missouri to be a Board Certified Specialist in Sports Dietetics.

Nick Dudas- Owner and Coach at Dudas Fitness

In 2007 I graduated from Central Methodist University with my B.S. in Business and Accounting. After my first year as an accountant at Williams Keepers, LLC I knew I couldn’t sit at a desk for the rest of my life. Taking a leap of faith, I decided to follow my passion and became a personal trainer in 2008.

I grew from working at a corporate gym, to being contracted at a private studio and finally opened up a studio with my wife.

Matt Wirth- Coach at Emerge Fitness Training

In November 2008, I left 24 Hour Fitness and the corporate gym atmosphere to train independently at a private studio where I trained an average of 40 plus clients week. I decided to take another step forward in my career and become a business co-owner of an exclusive studio called “UBX”. I opened the studio to not only have a place of my own to train my personal clients, but also a place that elite trainers could train; they could graduate from the corporate world and get rewarded with no restrictions to do what they love best. After selling my share of the studio, I decided I wanted to take on a bigger, more aggressive role and train athletes at Emerge.

Beth Pirtle- Coach at Emerge Fitness Training

I have worked in the personal training industry for over 12 years. I have trained a diverse clientele with diverse fitness goals. I’m not your typical personal trainer. I am 62 in an industry where the average age is probably 30.

John Farkas- Owner and Coach at Blue Ocean Fitness

After working in the fitness industry for 9 years, John opened Blue Ocean Fitness in 2011 to create an experience that put the focus on the client.With just a dream and no real business plan, John has grown Blue Ocean Fitness into a 3,000 square foot training gym servicing over 200 clients on a weekly basis with a team of 4 coaches.

John and his team specialize in meeting clients where they are at and creating custom solutions to help them achieve their goals.

Brendan O’Neil- Owner and Coach at KOR Komplex

Angie Nation-Pirtle- Owner and Coach at Emerge Fitness Training

Inspired by her earlier experiences at Wellbridge Athletic Club and 24 Hour Fitness Angie is driven to raise the bar in fitness and sport training. Developing the highest levels of client rapport and success guides all her actions and agendas as both an Emerge Exercise Specialist and Co-Owner of Emerge Fitness Training.

Those are the coaches, here are the questions and anwers. Straight, unfiltered responses from the experts.

Question 1: What got you into fitness?

Rothermich– “Around the age of 13 to 14 years old my brother introduced me to strength training. I saw immediate results, but a few years later I began to realize the importance of nutrition, leading me into the field of dietetics in college.”

B. Pirtle– Initially, many years ago, it was all about weight loss and diet. I started out working for Weight Watchers because I lost weight on the program and I wanted to help other people, primarily women, understand that they could eat plenty of healthy food, lose and maintain weight loss. Exercise was not the critical fitness component back then that it is today.”

Wirth– “I got into fitness when I was younger, growing up with friends with older brothers who spent a lot of time in the gym. My friends and I just followed along.”

O’Neill– “Originally I got into fitness and bodybuilding when I was 15 after my brother had open heart surgery because of a heart defect he was born with. The doctors told him to start exercising regularly for his health. I became his workout partner from there.”

Dudas– “After graduating CMU with an accounting/business degree, my first job out of college was a tax accountant. I quickly relaized I was not meant to do taxes for the rest of my life. Suddenly, I didn’t know what I was going to do. I loved the CMU football strength and conditioning program and when I reflected about what I was truly passionate about, I realized how much passion I had for lifting weights and being fit. I couldn’t sit behind a desk everyday, so I began to pursue education to become a Certified Personal Trainer.”

Farkas– “When I was 15, I started working out in order to gain muscle for sports in high school. By the time I graduated, I enjoyed working out more than I did the sports and I was hooked. I loved being in a gym and couldn’t spend enough time there. When I was 18, a friend of a friend asked me to help them get stronger and the rest is history”

A. Pirtle– “I have played sports my entire life from baseball in the backyard with my brothers and neighbors to team sports through high school. After high school I went to WIU and studied business and marketing and realized quickly enough after the first semester I missed being active. I changed majors to exercise science and nutrition my sophomore year and have not steered from the industry since.

Question 2: Why do you do What you DO?

Rothermich– “I have witnessed and understand the power, strengthening, and healing effects of proper training/exercise coupled with proper nutrition. Through my own journey, along with all the people I’ve counseled and educated, I’ve seen these effects countless times. It brings me so much joy seeing others succeed in reaching their individual goals. Whether it is reducing the risk of or reversing disease, or becoming stronger, leaner, and more confident, helping a person in their own journey is very fulfilling.”

B. Pirtle: “I became a personal trainer because I realized that to be a truly healthy, fit person I needed to adopt all the components of fitness, which included exercise (cardiovascular and strength), flexibility, etc. I knew that the ageing population did not necessarily understand how functional strength training could translate into a much better quality of life. It empowers me to pass this on, especially to older clients.”

Wirth: “I do this because I like to see people improve their quality of life. I also love pushing clients to achieve things in strength that they thought wasn’t possible.”

O’Neill: “Because I truly love helping people better their lives, and empowering them by giving them the tools to do so.”

Dudas: “The only reason I get out of bed every morning at 3:40 AM is to inspire someone to move better, push farther, and live better. That’s why I do what I do. What I do is truly worth it. Doing someone’s tax return could never be as rewarding as a client reporting they can finally get up the stairs pain free or that they made a select sports team that they got cut from a year before.

Farkas: “I don’t believe there is anything more important than your health and I believe fitness is the best way to manage it. Rich, poor, married, single, kids, etc… in my opinion, regardless of your situation, none of that stuff matters if you don’t have your health.

I love helping people and few things are more rewarding than watching someone improve and accomplish things they might not of thought were possible when they started. As a coach, you can truly change someones life for the better in ways that nothing else can.”

A. Pirtle: “I love sharing what I know about nutrition and strength training with clients and seeing them make changes and accomplishments in their life. Not only do I witness physical changes but improvements in mental health and positive energy.

Being a business owner for the past 10 years I have found myself being pulled to the business side of Emerge which in turn took me away from time with clients. This past January I made a decision to get back on the floor and do what I am really good at and that is sharing my passion and knowledge with people.”

Question 3: How did you know fitness was your “calling?”

Rothermich: “As I began my college career in nutrition/dietetics, then eventually training, it was the only educational area I truly felt passionate to learn.”

B. Pirtle: “I didn’t. I’ve spent most of my adult life committed to bettering my diet, eventually incorporating exercise and ultimately becoming a runner — my love.”

O’Neill: “After I rehabbed myself from a back injury when I was in my early 20’s. I was told by a surgeon that I was 20% disabled and was told that I should live an inactive lifestyle to avoid being in pain and injuring myself more. I took control of my own situation and persevered to become a fitness professional.”

Dudas: I knew this was my calling the first time I helped a client achieve their goal of becoming a better version of themselves. The feeling I get when I change someone’s well-being through health and fitness is more rewarding than anything I’ve experienced.”

Farkas: “I honestly can’t recall a single moment where I “knew” this was for me. While it has been a bumpy road with many setbacks, there isn’t anything else in the world I would rather do.”

A. Pirtle: “24 hour Fitness. My first year out of college I started as a trainer at 24 not knowing a whole lot about working with people but fell into it quickly. Within 3–4 months of training I had a full schedule of clients and it soon became my career.

Question 4: Where do you see the training industry going in the next 5 years?

Rothermich: “One area I feel will advance is in our older population. Our total population is becoming older with greater risk of disease due to poor food quality, environmental pollutants, and an increasing reliance on medication. Education and guidance in the areas of nutrition and exercise training will become imperative in this group to reduce the need for medications, reduce disease, and improve overall quality of life. And I believe they are realizing this fact.”

B. Pirtle: “Focusing in on whatever will assist people in our country to get healthy and disease free. We’re overweight, out of shape and sick and it’s costing our country a fortune. Getting people to understand what “healthy eating” is and the impact it has on staying well is going to be critical (food is medicine) along with exercise and activity is necessary.

I think we are going to see more and more the importance to catering to seniors in the fitness industry. We’re planning on being around along time, we’ve got money and we want to feel good.”

Wirth: “I see the fitness industry moving towards getting sedentary people or persons with specific muscle imbalances feeling better through movement.”

O’Neill– “I see it developing into more dynamic functional training focused around sports and outdoor athletic events and recreation.”

Dudas– “Hunching over computers, phones, steering wheels and dinner tables will continue to demand that trainers be excellent at clearing range of motion and building stability where needed in the body as a part of their training expertise. I also see more mental well-being playing a role as well with yoga and meditation growing. Facilities that offer high intensity group training will continue to make their way into the industry but I don’t see that ever replacing a good coach because a program truly needs to be individualized.”

Farkas-”I think culture and community will be more important than ever before. People want to be part of something, they want support, encouragement and a place where they leave feeling better than when they arrived. We live in a busy, stressful world and it’s more important than ever before to have an outlet for that stress. A place where for at least a short period of time, you can forget about all the other stuff going on.”

A. Pirtle:-”Our industry is only on the up and up. This industry will never die and the good trainers will keep it thriving. I think fitness will keep trending towards personal trainers not just being rep counters but movement specialists with understanding of pathology and of the body.”

Question 5: What do you think is the most important attribute of an exceptional coach?

Rothermich:- “Tough question! I’m not sure if there can be only one. I believe there needs to be a solid foundation of education or knowledge of the field as well as passion for the field of nutrition and exercise. Passion, lacking education, may provide a misguided program. Education, lacking passion, will also lack in client motivation. So, in my opinion, equal amounts of both will lead to an exceptional coach.”

B. Pirtle:- “Good coaches have very high client retention rates because they have compassion and the ability to listen and connect to clients of all ages. They understand the importance of ongoing reading and education in the field of fitness and human beings. They know that connecting and talking with other coaches enhances their ability to motivate clients to wellness & fitness. They believe in what they coach and teach so much that they actually do it themselves.”

Wirth:- “Some of the most important things I see from an exceptional coach is a person with a drive for continuous education on how to better their training and having the ability to get through to their clients and athletes in order to help them achieve what they are capable of.”

O’Neill:- “Tried and true experience in what is taught, and truly wanting to help others.”

Dudas:- “In my opinion the most important attributes of a good coach can have is the ability to listen and communicate. Athletes/ clients will have obstacles arise. Their goals may change. A trainer needs to be able to hear exactly what their client is asking for or what obstacle they are running into in order to come up with a plan of action to get them there. Then, the coach needs to be able to communicate clearly and effectively so that the client can shine.”

Farkas:A relentless desire to continually improve. There are many variables that go into helping clients succeed and an exceptional coach is constantly working to better help clients achieve the results they desire through sustainable and efficient methods.

Not only does it take time and repetition to build the skills necessary to provide a well balanced and effective session, you also must be able to guide clients to make behavior changes, work around injuries, learn how to appropriately set goals, and navigate many of the other hurdles that life throws in the way. All of these skills take time and constant tweaking to develop.”

A. Pirtle:- “ The most successful trainers I have worked with have an undeniable ability to give great customer service and to connect with people.

Question 6: One piece of advice for aspiring trainers/coaches?

Rothermich:- “You are the expert in your field but you will never know everything within your field. Don’t let your ego stop you from learning. Your knowledge and education must always continue to grow. Once you stop learning you also stop being an effective coach.

(Side note: I’ve been a Registered and Licensed Dietitian and Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist for almost 20 years, and a Board Certified Specialist in Sports Nutrition for the past 5.5 years…and over the recent 5–6 years, after throwing myself deeply into a couple new areas of nutrition and nutrition research, I feel like the more I learn, the less I know. It’s amazing how much more I can and need to learn…and that will never end!)

B. Pirtle:- “Dive in and keep growing and learning about the changing world of fitness. It will help to keep it fresh and avoid burn out.”

Wirth:- “Stay humble,be a constant student of fitness, and listen more than you speak when it comes to your clients. I think it is then that you can truly understand people and are able to get the outcome you desire from them.”

O’Neill:- “Knowledge isn’t power. Applied knowledge is power- Paul Chek. Practice what you preach, and never stop educating yourself in all aspects of health and fitness.”

Dudas:- “Surround yourself with people better than you. Being around coaches that continue to learn and grow will only up your skill level.”

Farkas:- “Fitness is hard. We are selling a service that people don’t really want. What I mean is, people want the results that come from exercise but in large part, they don’t enjoy the process- the effort, the time, the lifestyle changes.

You have to keep that in mind when helping clients. Not everyone is going to buy into everything you tell them from day one. You have to be able to meet clients where they are at on their journey and gradually take them to where they want to be.”

A. Pirtle:- “Get as much experience in the field understanding people and different personalities. The more you can listen to and understand people the more successful you will be. If you are person that is passionate in the field, knowledge will come and you will learn from good coworkers. The ability to communicate with people is key.”

So, there you have it. These are the thoughts of some of the most experienced, accomplished trainers in the area.

Stay tuned. I plan to have more specific discussions with these experts about all topics health, fitness, and wellness. I hope you enjoyed the read.

Feel free to comment on suggestions for future discussion.

Matt Pirtle MA CSCS

Finding Balance Can Break You

It’s popular advice.

“Find a balance in life” to be truly happy.

It’s good advice, but it leaves a lot to decipher on your own.

For example, what’s a “balance?” Is that balancing the exact same amount of “me” time with work? It leaves me imagining a teeter totter with the exact same load on each side, the plank balancing exactly in the middle.

Then you add in family and friends. This adds another teeter totter crossing the first. Must all four ends (and in reality, there are many more crossing planks) of the teeter totter be perfectly balanced to find true peace?

That’s a lot to manage. Taking away a little off one side and adding it on to another side to find perfect balance is work in itself.

And sometimes, if you’re like me, taking away from any side leaves you feeling like you’re letting someone or something down. So you add load back to that side, and the balance cycle continues.

Until the boards break.

It’s something I have struggled with as a father, a business owner, a family member, a friend, and someone who likes to sometimes be alone.

For me, the trick has been finding, and being comfortable with, my threshold.

My threshold is the amount of load I can place on the proverbial teeter totter and still breathe.

Even if the planks are unbalanced.

My teeter totter has an unbalanced look, with some planks higher than others. Some sides are prioritized.

And that has to be okay.

I’ve tested the threshold, and I know what happens. Too much load here means neglect here (usually my free time) and you end up in a bad place.

Balance can mean adding more or taking away on one side and not the other.

I’ve learned my threshold is different than others. I’ve often taken on new responsibilities because I see others doing the same. If they can, I can.


They are different people with different variables in their life. Their threshold is theirs. Mine is mine.

What about health and fitness?

When I see the “suck it up, buttercup” style motivational fitness post, it’s irks me a bit because of this.

It can be motivating to some, but to most, this just becomes a catalyst to add load to your teeter totter, or to feel guilty for not.

This is absolutely not saying that you shouldn’t add routine fitness to your lifestyle. You should smartly add fitness to your board with an understanding of your balance threshold.

Don’t break your teeter totter because someone else is bragging about going to the gym 7 days a week at 5am.

Finding a balance means knowing your threshold, and more, being comfortable with that place.

For me, I’m still battling. I know the threshold, now I need to stay consistently true to it. I do know that when I do, I am a better all around me for it.

It’s your turn. Emerge.

Matt Pirtle MA CSCS

Bend Iron to Your Needs

When a coach or trainer is writing a client’s program, he has decisions to make.

Those decisions are based on what that client is attempting to achieve, in a given amount of time.

Other variables factor in too.

  1. Injuries– what do we have to work around or avoid completely
  2. Muscle imbalances– what movement patterns have to be addressed before an all-out strength program can be implemented, and then identify what muscles need “special attention.”
  3. Genetics– some folks are simply more, or less, inclined to benefit from certain exercises. This includes squat stances, grip widths, and so on.
  4. Coordination and balance– Some exercise may be contraindicated at first because your client’s coordination will not support the complex movement.
  5. Client commitment– how often will your client be working out when they are not with you, and how will those workouts (or lack of) affect the program?

These are just a few examples. There are many more to consider. This is the science of program design.

Once you’ve addressed all of these variables, the art of program design kicks in. The trainer gets to focus their attention at this point on their “tool box.”

Something to keep in mind, one trainer’s tool box may be vastly different than anothers. A trainer who has extensive education in weightlifting will have a different looking set of tools from a trainer that has focused more on post rehabilitation training.

Back to the tool box. In a trainer’s minds eye, she can see all of the tools available to her. She knows the clients goals, she knows the clients unique circumstances, now she gets to choose the tools the get the job done. From the tools available to her, she gets to decide which ones would best suit her client right now.

But the art of program design doesn’t stop their. The true craftsman ship is in the molding of the tool (exercise) to fit a particular client. It’s not enough to drag and drop a squat into a program. That’s a rookie mistake.

Use your experience and creativity to mold exercises to fit your clients needs.

An effective squat for one person (a squat that actually gets someone closer to their unique goals) can be radically different from someone elses. Depth, foot width, bar placement, load, tempo and movement mechanics themselves can differ person to person depending on what the client is wanting to accomplish.

That’s one reason that I can’t stand the “if you’re not squatting ass to floor, then you’re not squatting” argument.

A person lifting with a disc herniation wouldn’t be lifting anymore if they squatted this way, and some lifters anatomy simply doesn’t allow for this range of motion without nasty compensations.

Tools can be manipulated to fit your needs. What matters, more than the exercise, is strengthening a movement pattern that will benefit your client. Take a squat, bend it to your client’s needs, and call it whatever you want. It doesn’t matter what the tool is called if it helps your client.

That’s where the creative manipulation of your tool box comes into play. Throw out absolutes. Instead of having one tool at your disposal, you now have 20 variations of the same tool.

Now the exercise fits the client, versus forcing your client to fit an exercise.

That’s why, when I’m at the gym and I witness a trainer with a client doing an exercise “wrong” I try not to judge to quickly. They may have found a variation of an exercise that is perfect for their client.

Make sure you have a sound understanding of human movement and your client’s unique needs, then enjoy the creative part of program design.

Matt Pirtle MA CSCS

Talk the Talk

It’s so common as to be a stereotype in the fitness industry.

Trainers are fit, ripped, energetic ambassadors of the fitness lifestyle. They can lift the big weights and perform awesome feats of athletic prowess.

As a matter of fact, most trainers were doing this since they day they started training professionally. And most much before that.

Most trainers, especially the kind mentioned above, started by knowing how to train…themselves. They most likely have come from an athletic background, and entered the fitness field because they loved working out. Most are above average genetically and are self motivated fitness machines.

These folks, as they say, walk the walk.

Which is important in its own right. When asked what clients value most in a personal trainer, a trainer who is fit themselves is a top answer in almost every survey I’ve seen on the topic. This can be motivating to a client, and it sends a message that the trainer lives what they preach. They walk the walk.

Part of talking the talk is sharing the thought process behind your clients program. The “why” of the workout.

This being said, walking the walk is not enough.

In my 16 years as a professional in the industry, I’ve seen TONS of trainers and gym influencers walk the walk, but can’t talk the talk.

It’s one thing to train yourself, the one person who you know more intimately than anyone else on the planet, to reach your own fitness goals.

You, who love fitness so much you spend the majority of your free time engaged in fitness related activity, and have chosen it as a career.

The thing is, as far as fitness goes, you are not the average. You definitely aren’t the typical client.

The coaches and trainers that have been the most successful in helping people reach their fitness goals are trainers who can do both. It’s expected that they walk the walk, but how many can actually talk the talk…

With that noted, what is talking the talk?

It starts with a fundamental understanding of anatomy and kinesiology. It’s understanding physiology and basic human movement. It’s identifying when movement is off, and understanding why.

It’s being able to empathize and understand people who are not you. People who are motivated by different drivers and have different associations with the word “fitness.”

But most of all, it’s being able to communicate these things in a way clients understand and can relate to. It’s really about taking the right information, catered for the right person, and teaching it effectively.

This is the difference between the 90% of coaches who simply walk the walk, and the outstanding 10% that do both.

This requires, first, a lot of experience. Observe coaches and trainers who do this really well. You’ll see that these professionals have developed the ability to really listen to what their clients are telling them, and then devise fitness strategies appropriate for those people.

Live the lifestyle.

Set the example.

And be able to talk the talk.

Matt Pirtle MA CSCS

How Not to Suffocate

There are lessons to be learned everywhere, sometimes found in arbitrary, seemingly unrelated situations.

If you’ve flown on a commercial airline, you’ve heard (or ignored) a flight attendant giving the run down on what to do in an emergency situation.

An important part of those instructions include what to do in case the cabin of the airplane loses pressure. When the oxygen masks descend from the ceiling above your seat, passengers with children are to make sure THEIR masks are on and secure BEFORE they begin to assist their children.

This, on a knee jerk reaction, seems completely counter intuitive to a parent. Your parental instinct says protect children at any cost, first.

The truth is, you won’t be ANY help to ANYONE if you aren’t physically equipped to do so. AKA, if you’re dead or unconscious, NOBODY gets help.

This is true in everyday life.

I’ve personally fallen victim to this.

I’ve missed workouts, personal study and development time, time with my wife and friends, and alone time in the name of giving every last second and ounce of energy to my children and work.

When this happens, feelings of suffocation start to creep in. Anxiety and a lack of personal fulfillment can begin to choke you. Your ability to help others and to be productive in work endeavors diminish.

Here’s how it goes:

Your “airplane” has been compromised, it has taken on way too much weight.

The seconds start to tick, 5…

You make sure that email you’ve forgotten to get to during the day gets written and sent, 4…

You promised your kids you’d help them with homework, 3…

The garage has been unacceptably cluttered for a week, 2…

The dog hasn’t gone on her walk because you were busy doing other chores this morning, 1…

0. Game over.

Nobody wants to be around you in game over mode, and you are in no condition to help, anyway.

Take the advice from the flight attendant, make sure YOUR mask is secure, first.

It is really tough to break this cycle.

I’ve had the narrative in my head (that many people do) that I don’t deserve to be comfortable until all the other external responsibilities I have are taken care of.

This doesn’t work. There is NEVER enough time. Your needs will never be met unless they are prioritized in the name of personal fulfillment and for the benefit of all of those in your life. When your needs are met, you are much better equipped to help others.

This isn’t a call for selfishness. Actually its quite the opposite.

When you prioritize the things you need, the really important needs, everyone around you wins.

Take care of the inner circles before you reach too far.

So, grab your mask first.

Take some time to make sure it fits and you’re receiving oxygen.

Then enjoy being your best you for your family, work and friends.

It’s your turn. Emerge.

Matt Pirtle MA CSCS

Captain Morgan and Squats

“Posture not only shapes the way we feel, it also shapes the way we think about ourselves — from our self-descriptions to the certainty and comfort with which we hold them. And those self-concepts can either facilitate or hinder our ability to connect with others, to perform our jobs, and, more simply, to be present.”

Amy Cuddy, Presence: Bringing Your Boldest Self to Your Biggest Challenges

If you’re involved in fitness at any level, you’ve most likely heard of the importance of “being in alignment” or having and maintaining a “neutral spine.” Most of these terms are just dolled up terms for posture.

Like so many topics in fitness, this one has come roaring to the forefront of the industry in the form of some good research, infomercials, ranting trainers and magazine articles.

But why?

Why is this topic championed by so many in the fitness world today?

Let’s knock out a few of the obvious reasons.

  1. Good neutral alignment of the body helps stave off sports related injuries.
  2. Good neutral alignment allows for much better physical performance in sports and daily activities in general.
  3. Good neutral alignment looks good.
  4. Good neutral alignment feels good.

But there is something else. And it’s big.

Posture can affect your mind.

Consider William James when he said, “I don’t sing because I’m happy, I’m happy because I sing.”

What he is saying, in essence, is that the mind is waiting for cues from the body to know how to feel.

People who smile, even forced effort-driven smiles, report feeling better and happier.

That’s a smile telling the mind what to do.

Now back to posture.

How does your body or posture affect the mind?

Amy Cuddy has been involved in research that examines what “power positions,” or posturing in power stances (think Wonder Woman, chest up, hands on hips, feet wide) can do for confidence, poise and intellectual performance.

She maintains that, holding these power positions for a couple of minutes prior to a stressful situation (a job interview, public speaking, etc.) can have a marked carryover effect in the performance during these situations.

Hers and others research has demonstrated that power posing just before a so-called stressful situation increases the performance and delivery fluency in that situation greatly.

Powerful posture gives a message of confidence and control to your mind.

The body tells the mind “I got this” by posturing in a classic power position, and your mind performs as powerfully as your posture.

What are some components of a classic power pose?

1) head up and chin retracted

2) shoulders back and chest up

3) wide, neutral and confident stance

Also known as…really good posture.

So, as I’m reading this research, I’m thinking why “fake” it?

What if you can be “power posing” all the time in the form of a natural, neutral posture?

What if you didn’t have to consciously pause to power pose? What if you were power posing ALL THE TIME?

What if your natural posture was a power pose?

Wouldn’t the benefits of a power pose be with you naturally, perpetually, if you had perfect “power posture?”

I think so.

To sum it up…

Improve your posture with specific strength and mobility training.

Your body now shouts to your mind “power!”

Your mind listens to your body.

And you wow the world.

It’s your turn. Power pose.

Matt Pirtle MA CSCS

One today is worth two tomorrows

“One today is worth two tomorrows.”
-Ben Franklin

This is a great quote, and one I try to remember everyday. I would change the two to ten, but the meaning would be the same.
So much of life is lived in anticipation of some maybe future event.
“Next year, I’ll be in a good place with my job.”
“Ten years from now, we’ll be able to afford the place we really want to live in.”

This is the formula; if I can endure THIS, then someday I might get THAT.

That is a big risk. You’re risking years, months, days and hours of your life that are meant to be lived and enjoyed right now.
Wanting and working and sacrificing for something is one thing, but when the whole of your life is perpetually being weighed against what MIGHT happen in the future, you’re wasting a lot of guaranteed happiness right now.

At some point, it has to end. At some point, you’re there.

People live by this philosophy in health and fitness.
Many health professionals will tell you to LIMIT activity based on the idea that when you’re a senior citizen you’ll be thankful that you did.
Do less now, and in 40 years you’ll be comfortable doing less.
That’s the payoff? Really?
Core stability and hip strength can go a long way in facilitating the kind of activities you like to do outside the gym.

Personally, I cannot imagine the regret I would have 40 years from now if I didn’t use my body to its full potential during those years.

Again, it’s sacrifice now, and sacrifice perpetually, forever, and maybe you’ll get some loosely defined reward down the road.
No thanks.

Here’s a nice perspective on the subject by Tim Anderson;

“If you know things are happening to your body that shouldn’t, don’t accept them or settle for them. Know you are designed to heal. AND, open your eyes. Are you missing something? Are you seeing the real causation? Or are the world’s normals simply trying to corrupt your mind to keep you from living the life you were meant to have?”

Does Aging Cause Us To Break Down?

by Tim Anderson | Jul 10, 2017

Be smart. Obviously, don’t ABUSE your body. Make sure you eat a clean diet, take time for recovery, and avoid certain activities that continuously cause you pain.

You’ll undoubtedly have setbacks along the way. Time to retire from life? Nope.

Outside of that, move. Find an exercise program that will facilitate the kind of life activities you like to do. You’d be amazed at what some targeted strength training can do. It can get you doing (again) some things you’d not think possible.

Enjoy what you are capable of right now. Have fun conquering new physical feats.
Decide to enjoy being active.
Hike, lift, dance and so on, and so on…

It’s your turn. Emerge.

Matt Pirtle MA CSCS

Never Stop (un)Learning

Man, 16 years ago I knew it all. I came into the fitness world on fire, ready to turn every client I had into me, an amateur bodybuilder with a love of the bench press.

But seriously, 10 years ago I had the fitness industry figured out. Every single exercise was to be done on an unstable surface and tire flips were the key to performance. No more isolation, only full body unstable integration.

Well, actually, 5 years ago is when I really got it. Corrective exercise was all about foam rolling and stretching. The core was the main (and only) component to movement and function, and anything unstable was bad.

And now here I am. I know what I’ve known. And I realized, many times, what I knew wasn’t what I know now. And in five years, I’ll realize that again

That’s the beauty of being involved in the relatively young fitness industry. There are almost no absolutes. The world we work in is organic. Parts of the last 16 years surface, then resurface again, then get modified to meet my current level of understanding of health and physical fitness.

It’s great.

I can be, and have been, wrong. But at the time it was cutting edge according to the latest research in the strength and conditioning field. I look back at some of my writing over the last 10 years (that’s the problem with writing and publishing, it stays with you, lol) and I see that I have done complete 180’s in some aspects of my fitness philosophy.

The fitness world is a dynamic one.

The tough part is learning to unlearn. Most people become comfortable with specific philosophies. They have become accustomed to talking about and presenting them, and find it difficult to even entertain ideas that oppose the status quo. Letting go of ideas that you believe define you as a professional is hard.

But the alternative is worse. You’ll become a fitness dinosaur and will be left in the dust by your contemporaries.

So, do your research.

Test what you learn and use it until you realize it doesn’t work the way you thought, or it becomes obsolete.

Then research again, repeat, and enjoy the evolution.

It’s your turn. Emerge.

Matt Pirtle MA CSCS

The Disney World Workout

The Disney World Workout

I just got back from Disney World.

And if you didn’t know, Disney KNOWS service. The experience can be pricey, but the place is spotless and caters to your every need.

Except one.

And to me, its a big one.

Disney sucks at fitness.

I’ve been to Disney 5 times in the last 6 years, staying in a different on-site resort each time. Some have had small, outdated weight and cardio rooms. The one I went to last had nothing available.

The old as shit Holiday Inn off of highway 70 has a room with a cable machine in it. That’s something.

The place we were staying advertised a “jogging trail.” What this turned out to be was just an existing sidewalk with some faded spray paint that labeled it a New Balance running trail. My wife and I ran this trail and ended up in a random commuter parking lot because there was no identifiable signs that showed where this “trail” was supposed to lead.

I ended up doing in-room workouts (instructional video attached) to get some semblance of a resistance training workout while I was staying there.

4 exercise using on a strength band you can do in a hotel room.

What was interesting, in talking with some other patrons and some Disney cast members, was the thinking of most that the movement around the parks was more than enough exercise for those vacationing there. The 12–17K steps (at most)that most park goers will achieve were viewed as strenuous exercise.

So go ahead, splurge, have that extra Mickey waffle or two. You’ve earned it. You’re exercising!

By the way, the ONE Mickey waffle will cost you about 1800 steps, and that’s one of the most calorie controlled offering on the breakfast menu. And that’s NO SYRUP bud.

Let’s get real.

You won’t see too much of this at Disney World.

This “park” exercise is a series of 4–5 steps in a 45 minute line at about 1/2 mile an hour. Then you navigate crowded pathways inside the park, at a pace to avoid colliding with others, with similar starts and stops, lets say you’re up to 3 miles an hour. At the end of the day you walk to the bus at weary pace, then back to your room. That’s a long day of intermittent slow walking.

Really, this isn’t about Disney at all. Its about the hall pass that many of us give ourselves day after day when rationalizing our activity versus our food intake.

Just because you’re moving RELATIVELY more than you’re used to doesn’t make that movement functional and useable exercise. It’s just giving you a taste of what you should be doing incidentally every day.

Vacation can be a time to relax, but for me (and many others out there) part of relaxing is continuing a fitness routine while on vacation. Slow walking isn’t an exercise routine. It’s life.

The sound of this reality check is harsh, but it’s true. Walking around Disney World shoudn’t be strenuous exercise. Strenuous exercise is strenuous exercise. Doing Disney World is fun.

If you want to have more fun at Disney, exercise more…and maybe put some pressure on the Happiest Place on Earth to include fitness in their list of amazing service offerings.

Matt Pirtle MA CSCS

It’s your turn. Emerge.

Let’s play a game. I bet you lose

The game is, don’t say “I” or “me” for 10 minutes.

This,of course, means 10 minutes in a social situation.

Try it, it’s freakin tough.

Most folks, whether inadvertently or outright blatantly inject themselves into other peoples stories. There seems to be a primal need to share a similar, perhaps even MORE impressive version of a story anyone else is telling.

On top of this, the need to give advice or “fix” peoples problems or situations gradually turns the listener into the talker.

Which usually fixes nothing.

In the fitness industry, this can run rampant.

Fitness can be a “me” driven endeavor to begin with. Selfies and personal records and tales of the hardest workout Golds has ever seen dominate social media.


Sadly, this runs into the service part of the fitness business as well. Personal trainers can drop I and Me bombs like pros. Most of the time, it’s a narcissistic assumption that people want to know about your workout, or your diet, or your girlfriend problems, etc.

9 times out of 10, they don’t want to know.

They want to tell YOU about their lives, and rightfully so. They are paying you, and you have dedicated yourself to helping them achieve THEIR goals.

When involved in a conversation with a client, and you’re busy considering how to inject yourself into the conversation, stop. And don’t.

Just listen.

This is often the most important part of a training session…The time for your client to communicate.

It’s hard to do, but folks will notice when you become a listener versus a talker. People, especially clients, want you to simply listen, not necessarily solve every problem they have on the spot.

Pause, and listen.

You’ll hear things you’ve not been hearing before.

Matt Pirtle MA CSCS

It’s your turn. Emerge.

How to be Selfish, the selfless way

“It is the individual who is not interested in his fellow men who has the greatest difficulties in life and provides the greatest injury to others. It is from among such individuals that all human failures spring.”

Dale Carnegie, How to Win Friends and Influence People

I read a book called “How to Win Friends and Influence People” 25 years ago because I was told to. I had no interest in the subject matter. It was an assignment.

I was 16 and cared only of one thing…my own interests.

I’m re-reading that book today and have had several small epiphanies as I have progressed through about half the book.

Over the course of my 41 years, I have realized this; I have to be READY for the information or learning experience that presents itself to me.

If certain, potentially wonderful information doesn’t meet me where I currently am, it’s lost.

But very often, over the course of time, that information will resurface and BAM! I’m stopped in my tracks by the relevance it has to my experiences and my world view.

The SAME information with a wildly different impact.

One of those moments came when reading and really trying to understand the aforementioned quote. Here it is again.

“It is the individual who is not interested in his fellow men who has the greatest difficulties in life and provides the greatest injury to others. It is from among such individuals that all human failures spring.”

I have to confess, this meant nothing to me and was almost insulted when I read it the first time. Coming from an objectivist philosophical background, where strict individualism is championed, my main and only responsibility, I thought, was to myself.

That responsibility was realizing and nurturing my innate abilities and developing and honing the best Matt Pirtle that was possible. I had a responsibility to do this. A covenant with myself. No one but myself.

And I believed everyone else had this responsibility too.

So, I had NO responsibility to them.

And, they had NO claim on me.

I thought that if everyone did this everyone would be happy. Or at least, I would be.

Only, I wasn’t.

There is a key human component left out of this equation… genuine care for the welfare of other human beings.

Developing a keen focus on only yourself and your personal success may improve your status, but it will not improve your contentment. It may improve your bank account, but it will not fill your soul.

Is this the secret to happiness? I think for me it has a large part to do with it.

Now, and for almost 16 years, I have the opportunity to help change folks lives. Being in the fitness industry as my profession means it’s my job to help, but there is extreme satisfaction in doing that. It’s a chance to focus on somebody’s else’s happiness every day.

This is not intended to be a guideline for other peoples lives. This is just my account of my own experiences and life reflections.

I still believe in the responsibility to yourself to become your best you without relying on or expecting help.

But along the way I got help nonetheless, and it carried me in certain phases of my life.

It’s time to pay it back.

Be driven. Be responsible. Be compassionate. Be human.

It’s your turn.

Matt Pirtle MA CSCS

YOU! Listen up! Motivated yet?

Jack and Jill went up the hill…


Because they had a goal!

And would they let a little hill stop them?

F*** no!

They wanted some water, so they CRUSHED that hill!

Yeah, this is pretty much where we are right now in the fitness business. At least as far as the fitness motivation material that gets popular circulation goes.

Most of our “experts” deliver passionate speeches and blogs packed with bad info and corny messages because this is what gets attention.

Have you ever heard an f bomb laden rant from one of these folks? I must admit, I do get a bit riled up by listening to these tirades.

Then I think about what they said.

I recount the words their mouths spoke.

And I hate myself for falling for this obvious pandering for my attention. Most of the time, there is almost zero intelligent substance, and if there is, it’s PAINFULLY unoriginal.

Motivation is a huge part of fitness, for both getting started and then maintaining a fitness program. And if you’re into passionate speeches, that can be great for motivating you to move.

Motivation, both from internal and external sources, is helpful in sustaining a focus on your ultimate goal.

But can’t you have that AND solid, usable information, too? Is it that you can be passionate, or knowledgeable, but not both? Is it possible to be original and inspiring at the same time?

Based on most of what’s out there, it makes me wonder if the answer is no.

I have encountered, on rare occasions, extremely heartfelt and relevant and smart motivational fitness (and life) speeches and articles. I believe the fitness industry needs more of this.

I need more of this.

A handful of people who already work out 5 days a week may be motivated to work out 6 days a week from a bro-style rant. The other 90% of folks who really need the motivation to change their lifestyle will be offput by this…a reverse motivation affect.

While it is true that different folks are motivated by different things, I believe AT LEAST the information should be original, relevant, and intelligently delivered.Here is a good example of this:

Emerge client and adaptive fitness inspiration also has some good stuff out there:

These are my opinions and observations. Nothing more. Thanks for reading, as always!

It’s your turn. Emerge.

Matt Pirtle MA CSCS

12 Weeks Unlimited Class Pass

Classes can be attended without limit from May 29th until August 19th!
There will be dedicated measurements days for the 3 measurement periods- beginning, middle, and end. For the beginning, the measurement days will be Tuesday, June 6th from 6 pm to 7 pm and Wednesday, June 7th from 7 am to 8 am.
Measurement days for the middle and end of the 12 weeks will be posted 2 weeks prior to each week.
The measurements, that will be taken, will include body fat, waist measurement, and scale weight.
The available classes that can be attended include all Emerge Boot Camp, Strength 101, and Tabata classes.
Existing class packages can be frozen until the end of the 12 week promotion, or the balance can be credited toward the 12 week unlimited class package.



  • 6:00 AM – Strength 101 With Kathryn
  • 11:30 AM- Tabata with Ben
  • 5:30 PM – Boot Camp With Keelin


  • 6:00 AM – Boot Camp with Keelin
  • 7:00 AM – Strength 101 with Kathryn


  • 6:00 AM – Strength 101 with Kathryn
  • 11:30 AM- Tabata with Ben
  • 7:00 PM – Strength 101 with Keelin


  • 6:00 AM – Boot Camp with Keelin
  • 5:30 PM- Boot Camp with Kim


  • 6:00 AM – Strength 101 with Kathryn
  • 11:30 AM- Tabata with Ben


  • 9:00 AM – Strength 101 with Keelin

Underpants + ? = Profit

Southpark had a great episode years ago that featured the “underpants gnomes.” Underpants gnomes were mini entrepreneurs who had a three phase business model.

Phase 1: Collect underpants

Phase 2: ?

Phase 3: PROFIT

This is not a business plan.

So, really all they had was a product nobody wanted, with no plan to create demand or satisfy a need, and they expected to magically make a profit at the end of the day.

It’s funny.

It’s ridiculous.

It’s accurate.

I see this EXACT mode of thinking in the personal industry all the time.

The business side of fitness and personal training (on the whole) needs some serious help.

A little back story…

Emerge opened it’s doors ten years ago with a plan. We offered premium training, with elite trainers, at a premium price.

We knew our market. We knew our product and we knew there was a demand for it.

We knew we had to be able to supply enough of our service to meet that demand, so we began recruiting the best training talent around.

We knew that a nice, but not a world class facility was necessary to deliver our service (our market valued the training more than the equipment).

We knew what we had to service to make a profit, and how to adapt to a changing industry to stay relevant.

We knew what was trendy, and what was worth paying attention to in the ever evolving fitness industry. We focused on and became experts in the right specializations.

We knew the value of our service, and that what we offered was truly premium service. We didn’t give it away or run sales.

Those general guidelines have kept us growing every single year for 10 straight years.

We did a lot of things wrong, but we did more things right, and that’s why we grew.

It wasn’t an accident. It was a plan.

Emerge has been in business for 10 years, but our trainers began marketing their own services before these doors opened.

Today, I don’t often see organized or even well thought out approaches to growing personal training business, both at the level of the individual personal trainer and whole companies that provide personal training.

At the very least, a trainer or training business should;

  1. Know who you are and have a mission statement. What are your core values?
  2. Know your market, and know if it’s a good/viable market to target your service.
  3. Have a specific plan. Training + ? = profit will not cut it.

The training industry is relatively young and so are most of its personnel. There have been no clear templates or business strategies that have become the accepted norm, so most of us are left to figure it out on our own.

Many of the recent college graduates I’ve spoken with know training and exercise physiology but are relatively clueless about the business side. Some figure it out by trial and error, but most don’t and leave the industry because “there is no money in it.”

I’m imparting my two cents and 16 years of experience in the business in this brief article. These are the very surface level considerations when developing a business plan.

There is so much more to consider, like others in the fitness industry who you can partner your brand with that may enhance your brand appeal and ultimately increase your profit. The question is, how do you choose those people or businesses and how can they help you?

One, among many more questions to ask yourself.

If you’d like to chat on this subject more with me, email me at

I’d love to share with you some of my experiences. Like I said there is no template and the approach will differ from business to business, but there are a few common and very avoidable pitfalls, you just need to know how to anticipate them.

It’s your turn. Emerge.

Matt Pirtle MA CSCS

Train like an athlete, then train like a football star (because you’re neither right now)

Wanna be an all star football player?
Got your eyes set on a deadlift record?
Is one of your goals to perform acrobatic exercise like you see on YouTube?

All very solid goals.
Admiral goals.
Goals that take time to achieve.

So, when training with the goal of being an all star football player (or any lofty goal), what’s the first step?

If you’re looking at it from a strength and conditioning perspective, it means starting where you are. It’s who and where you are RIGHT NOW.

And where you are isn’t where you want to be.

Right now, you’re a human with athletic potential who needs to be functionally stronger.

So, knowing this and applying it to your strength program, you probably shouldn’t be copying a pro athlete’s training program. (Honestly, they shouldn’t be doing most of the things they’re doing, so…)

To build something impressive, you’ve got to start with a foundation. Then you build on that solid foundation.

Variations of the carry should be part of base strength training.

Thomas Kempis explained it best when he said “the loftier the building, the deeper must the foundation be laid.”

This applies to any goal. Before you start specializing in a single movement or exercise or sport, be proficient at being an athletic and well moving human being.

Move in all planes of motion well. Have mobility in the joints that need it. Be stable in the joints that require stability.

Have a good base strength.

All of your basic movement patterns should be on point, including:

1)the squat
2)hip hinge
5)carrying variations

Do these things extraordinarily well. I see circus tricks every day, but I see these patterns done beautifully only rarely.

You’ve got to spend your time EARNING the next level.

And when you’ve earned it, it feels good. You’ll feel strong, and you’ll be better able to avoid injury.

For right now, focus on being a stronger person and a more dynamic athlete. Then take that strength and apply it to your specific goal. I promise you its worth the time to do it right.

It’s your turn. Emerge.

Matt Pirtle MA CSCS

This for that.

Everything has a cost, but not necessarily a benefit.

Every time you decide to do something, you are deciding not to do something else.

When you decide, for example, to work specifically on strength training, you are by default deciding to sacrifice some muscular endurance, and vice versa. Every potential benefit comes with a cost.

That means, you should have a clear definition of what you are attempting to do with your fitness program.

Take the whole mobility-stability idea. You hear A LOT of hype about mobility drills, in general. When you mobilize a joint, you are in turn destabilizing it to a certain degree. Like the scales of justice, you can increase the range or increase the stability but you can’t do both to the same degree at the same time.

Like the scales of justice, you can increase the range or increase the stability but you can’t do both to the same degree at the same time.

So, you have to decide. Would better mobility benefit me in this particular joint? Or would increased stability help more?

Consider your sport? Does it require more, say, shoulder stability or mobility? Is your performance being limited by one of the two?

You can see that there are many things at stake when you choose to add or delete an exercise from your program.

You can start by asking yourself these questions:

  1. Is this exercise worth the time I’m spending on it? (and not on something else)
  2. Is what I’m giving up as a result of performing this exercise outweighed by the potential benefit?
  3. Do I really even need what the exercise intended to do? (mobility sounds awesome, but do you really need it?)

Using the topic of mobility once again. I had a conversation with a deadlifting enthusiast that inevitably led to the popular topic of mobility. He referenced the toddler who could sit in a deep squat effortlessly and play with his toys, and how we have regrettably lost this mobility over time.

It is a nice thought. Witnessing a child in this pose looks fluid and almost beautiful.

But that child isn’t going to be tasked with lifting and stabilizing hundreds of pounds attached to a bar. To be a great deadlifter (or powerlifter, in general) you have to be pretty stiff. Even a recreational lifter MUST HAVE the stability it takes to bear the torque of big lifts like the deadlift.

There is a balance. You give some here, to get some over here.

So, again, mobility or stability? Long slow distance versus intervals? Bodybuilding or weightlifting? Strength or endurance?

Or, some compromised combination?

It depends on your fitness objectives, the demands of your sport, and/or the daily demands of your lifestyle.

For more information, email

Matt Pirtle MA CSCS

It’s your turn. Emerge.

“Take this box of corrective exercises and get to work on your broken body.” -Everyone in fitness right now

So, you’re doing corrective exercise to help with an injury? Or bad posture? Or because your trainer or chiropractor says you’re “out of alignment.”

To know whether or not you’re truly engaging in exercise that is correcting something, you should have an understanding of the concept of corrective exercise.

Is a plank a good choice for exercise.? Yes. No. Sometimes…

This definition, according to Robert Camacho, a strength and conditioning and physical therapy specialist, works well:

A corrective exercise by its simplest definition is a movement or exercise chosen to correct a specific dysfunction.

I think that most everyone agrees upon and can understand the value of corrective exercise as a method of correcting dysfunction. Muscle imbalances, relative weakness, bad movement patterns that lead to discomfort are all dysfunctions that can be addressed through corrective exercise.

What stands out about this definition is the word specific.

What I have been witnessing recently from the fitness industry is a fundamental misunderstanding of THIS part of the definition.

Corrective exercise is prescribed to address SPECIFIC dysfunction.

So, an exercise in and of itself cannot be labeled as “corrective exercise.” What can be considered corrective exercise for one person can be useless or even detrimental to another. Physio ball Y’s aren’t inherently corrective exercise. Neither are certain kinds of band walks or planks.

These exercises can be corrective. For some people. Sometimes.

The “some people, sometimes” part of this equation becomes tricky. Do ALL people have weak scapular stabilizers. Does every single client have weak glutes? Can every person perform a simple forearm plank precisely?


I think corrective exercise has become synonymous with warm up. For a general warm up, all people can benefit by moving themselves through movement patterns likely to be involved in their sport or exercise. It’s general and universal.

Hip thrusts can be hugely beneficial for many people. But not all.

Corrective exercise, on the other hand, is specific and targeted strength training for weak or inhibited muscle. It is not universal. It is SPECIFIC.

There are a wide variety of exercises in the corrective toolbox. As a matter of fact, any exercise can potentially be a corrective exercise given the correct application to the person who needs it.

Emerge coaches are known for their rehab and corrective exercise prescription. If you know you need this type of workout, and you are navigating the exercises on your own, it would be worth a visit to an Emerge trainer for expert guidance.

As always, any questions regarding this topic or any other fitness topic can be sent to

It’s your turn. Emerge.

Matt Pirtle MA CSCS

Exercise programs should be designed around MEDs. Seriously.

When exercising, think about MEDs.

The MED, or minimum effective dose, is the LEAST amount of something (a drug, supplement, training, exercise) that one needs to get the intended benefit from using or doing it.

For exercise specifically, the MED is the least of amount of prescribed exercise to get the maximum benefit without side effects or wasted gym time.

More exercise equals more gains…to a certain point.

Most exercise routines have a benefit curve that resembles the classic bell shaped curve. As exercise time goes up, benefits increase…to a certain point. After that point, returns (or gains) come far slower, and detrimental side effects start to increase in frequency. These side effects include:

  1. Wasting time that can be used more efficiently on something else that needs attention in your life
  2. Potential injury from overuse of a given joint
  3. Hormonal fluctuations due to overtraining
  4. Burnout on exercise given the time demand

In a world filled with messages that encourage MORE exercise and LESS rest, advocating for doing less is tough.

The key is to devote time to quality exercises. Quality exercise is the kind that gives you maximum return per minute spent performing it. Defining quality will depend on your ultimate goal, so for the sake of this article, let’s assume the goal is INCREASED STRENGTH.

Increased strength comes from the progressively applying resistance to a given movement pattern that someone wishes to strengthen.

Assuming the movement is free of compensations and bad mechanics, applying a progressively increasing load will increase the force production in that pattern. So, getting stronger in the squat pattern (a highly functional human movement) requires time spent squatting. Usually, 4–5 sets a week with a 5–12 rep range will do the trick. More sets will burn more calories, but so does running on a treadmill.

Deadlifting once a week is perfect for adding hip stregth.

Squats are for strength training, not calorie burning.

Too much squatting on a fatigued tissue and nervous system will invite compensatory movement, possible injury, and strength losses. But you will burn some extra calories, so…

The same goes for all of the big movement patterns. Upper body pushes and pulls, hinging and squatting and full body stability exercises. These exercises should be done 1–2 times per week, maybe one day with max effort, and one moderate load day. There will always be the big gym dude who will tell you otherwise, but there are probably some other variables at work there (freak genetics, vitamin s, youth, lack of a life outside barbells).

The point here is, for MOST people with busy lifestyles who love exercise but also value time spent on other aspects of their lives, the MED is efficient and it works.

Here is a basic 3 day split using the MED for these exercises.

Day 1:

General warmup-air squats, hip bridges, band lateral walks

Barbell hip bridges 2 sets of 12

Barbell Deadlifts 4 sets of 6

Goblet squats 4 sets of 10

Split squats 3 sets of 10 each leg

Walking lunges 3 sets of 12 each leg


General warmup- push ups, dumbbell ys, t spine extension on foam roller

Bench press 4 sets of 8

Overhead press 4 sets of 8

Pull up of Cable pull downs 4 sets of 10

Lateral dumbbell raises 3 sets of 12

One arm dumbbell rows (on bench) 2 sets of 12 each

Day 3:

General warmup-band lateral walks, forearm planks, PVC shoulder dislocates

Farmers carries with dumbbells 4 sets of 40 steps

Suitcase carry Kettlebell or dumbbell 3 sets of 20 steps each side

Barbell Push Press 4 sets of 10

Push up with rotation 3 sets of 8 each side

Stir the pot (plank on ball) 6 sets of 12 seconds

Some of these exercises are not household names, I know, but try googling them for a reasonable explanation. They have been chosen for their safe, big bang for your buck value.

For a more detailed and personalized MED strength plan, contact me at

Matt Pirtle MA CSCS

It’s your turn. Emerge

No matter how you look at it, it’s a solid, unmovable, REAL brick wall

You can sprint at it. You can hit it sideways. You can jump, hop, or skip into it.

It’s still a freakin brick wall.

You can eat a banana, not eat a banana, or change your pre-workout supplement.

Morning. Noon. Night.

Then crash into the same old brick wall.

Sometimes, an exercise, or a sport, or any number of other physical activities just aren’t for you.

They are your brick walls.

How many times will you test that wall?


“I REALLY want to keep the barbell snatch in my workout, but my neck blows up the next day every time.” Despite mobility drills, corrective exercise, and targeted core strengthening, the same brick wall presents itself.

Now the choice.

Continue to smash yourself into the brick wall until you can’t anymore (usually an injury will prevent you from even trying).


Find yourself a ladder to go OVER that wall.

I’ve found that, in my many years in the fitness industry, there are ladders everywhere if you’re willing to look for them. You’ll get to where you’re trying to be, you just have to change the path a bit.

If you can disconnect yourself from the novelty of the barbell snatch being the end-all-be-all, the single dumbbell snatch can be a great (if not superior) alternative. It’s a perfect ladder for most.

Back squat doesn’t agree with you despite making all the necessary changes in form and mobility? The goblet squat is a solid ladder. It’s also a phenomenal replacement for the leg press.
The goblet squat.

Running on a treadmill giving you (fill in the blank) issues? Try the rower instead. Or bike. Or elliptical.

Sit ups and v-ups giving you back awareness? Try planks and various core holds instead. If you need to have the “burn” associated with abdominal work, try the swiss ball curl-up.
Curl-up on a swiss ball.

The point is to identify and use the ladders available to you. Don’t expect that wall you’re running yourself into to suddenly crumble.

It won’t.

You will.

There will be some brick walls that have no obvious ladder. If you like to run half marathons but a structural injury wont let you, then that’s that. The smart move at this point would be to go AROUND the wall and pick another distance, or sport, that doesn’t require the same repetitive movement pattern.

If you have specific brick walls of your own, and are having trouble finding the ladder to fit that wall, email me at

Matt Pirtle MA CSCS

It’s your turn. Emerge.

The Magic of T- Spine Extension

Shoulder pain sucks.

One hundred percent of those involved in athletics or a fitness regimen experience some level of shoulder discomfort over time.

The pain can be acute and stabbing or dull and nagging, either way it can stop a person from doing what they want to do.

Shoulders are also tough to figure out. The best part about the shoulder joint (huge range of motion) is also it’s greatest weakness (huge range of motion requires great stability).

Allow me a quick digression…

I’ve become a hip and spine guy over the last couple of years.

I’m good a fixing and strengthening muscles that affect these areas to:

  1. Decrease back pain
  2. Increase performance
  3. Improve aestehtics

In that order of priority.

It started with an influx of folks who were referred to me for strengthening just to alleviate the pain of everyday life.

After years of study, practice and practical experience, I’ve got a pretty solid protocol that I use as a framework for clients suffering from back (usually disc) pain.

And I can modify, even to the smallest joint angle, to increase the effectiveness of this protocol for an individual.

To me, it’s become EASY compared to issues involving the shoulder.

So, my next area of intense focus has been the shoulder.

What I have found, through my own anecdotal experience with my clients and myself, is an 80/20 fix that seems to work wonders.

80 percent fix, 20 percent effort.

Here’s where the thoracic spine comes in.

The thoracic spine refers to the upper- and middle-back. It joins the cervical spine and extends down about five inches past the bottom of the shoulder blades, where it connects with the lumbar spine.

Most folks, due to the forward nature of regular activity (driving, eating, sitting at a computer, working out, aka LIFE) have a forward trending head and rounded upper back, or t-spine. This can contribute to a host of problems including:

  1. Limited shoulder range of motion overhead
  2. Pain in the lower back
  3. Pain in and around the shoulder joint
  4. Diminished athletic performance (especially in throwing sports)
  5. An unappealing forward posture

The fix?

First, mobilizing this area of the spine. Encouraging extension, or flattening the curve, is the place to start. I use t-spine extensions over a foam roller for this purpose.

Now that the t-spine has more movement capability, the key is to train the muscles that hold you in extension. Without this part, you’ll just be temporarily adding mobility instead of making it a sustainable fix.
Make sure you pull with only the upper back. You SHOULD NOT feel this in the lower back.

Thats it. Just these two exercises. Two sets each. Everyday.

This is not an all encompassing shoulder fix, and it is oversimplified, but it does make a huge improvement MOST of the time.

With a more neutral curve in your upper back, the shoulder will be able to move more efficiently. You’ll see less compensations in overhead movement, and your humpback-in-training posture will start to diminish.

Give this relatively quick fix a try.

Let me know how it goes.

Send any questions to

Matt Pirtle MA CSCS

Opportunity or Misfortune

It’s your Choice.

You have a choice to make.

These things happen:

Your job, kids, social life, and relationships take up much of your time, and you are struggling to find “you” time.

Over the course of time, you have let your health slip and have gained some extra, unwanted weight.

An injury has sidelined you from doing your favorite physical activity.

These things, or some of them, or one of them, may be a fact of life for you.


Whether you like it or not. The fact that these (and other potentially negative) things exist isn’t up to you to change.


You can change how you perceive them. You can change how you think about them. You can change how you let them dictate FOR YOU what you are going to do.

As the stoic philosopher Epictetus said, “Everything has two handles, the one by which it can be carried, the other by which it cannot.”

Take your imperfect situation for example. That situation has “two handles.” Two ways to perceive it.

You can grab the big, easy handle that relieves you of responsibility and work…and ultimately the satisfaction of successfully doing something. That handle gives you temporary relief.


You can look for and identify that small, cumbersome handle that asks you to reconsider your situation. It will require of you work and tenacity. But it comes with a reward. By grabbing that handle, you’ve chosen not to see limitation, but opportunity.

You have a choice to make any obstacle an opportinuty.

When you start looking for and grabbing that handle, it becomes contagious. It feels good to be able to control your situation by doing what IS in your power to control.

So, you have obstacles in your way to your fitness goal. What are you going to do? Which handle are you going to grab?

Once you’ve grabbed the handle that can be carried, Emerge can help show you the path to carry it along to your goal.

Matt Pirtle MA CSCS

Feats don’t fail me now!

I’ve been working out for a long time.

I’ve been a trainer/coach for a long time.

I’ve coached and personally performed 10’s of thousands of squats, presses and pulls.

And I’ve seen great results as far as strength increases and body transformation both in myself and my clients alike.

But, like I’ve mentioned in my article “Try a Little Less,” there are only so many biceps curls and chest presses that one can perform in their life before just the thought of doing another one becomes almost unbearable.

Workouts like this can soon become an OBLIGATION, not a time of personal fulfillment like it should be. That’s not a place you want to be. This is when many workout plans die.

So, I started doing something about this inevitable motivation mud pit.

One day a week, I work on “The Feats.”

The 3 med ball push up for reps was a “feat” I choose to add to my workout.

The Feats are a list of mostly arbitrary feats of strength that I want to be able to do (or get better at). They don’t have to be “functional” or useable in my real life in any way other than they make me happy when I can do them or get better at them.

And that happiness and sense of accomplishment in your workout can take you a long way in staying motivated to do all the OTHER things you need to be doing to stay healthy.

I look forward to Wednesdays. That’s the day I get to retest the exercises I labeled as “The Feats.” I feel good when I do them. I feel GREAT when I get better at them. And then I change my list…

I do the same with my clients.

I ask them to tell me some physical feats they would like to accomplish that may have nothing to do with the main reason they are working out.

And then we work on them systematically until they achieve what they set out to do. Its a lot of fun, and gives another sense of purpose to the challenging weekly workouts.

I highly recommend, if you’ve arrived at the inevitable workout-burnout stage, to add a “Feat” or two into your weekly workout program. It’s a great way to breathe life into a stale, repetitive workout routine.

Examples of “Feats.”

  1. Turkish get up (left and right arm)
  2. Pull ups/ jumping pull ups/ weighted pull ups
  3. Split jerks
  4. Farmers carry
  5. Bottoms up kettlebell press
  6. Handstand pushups
  7. Medicine ball push ups (2/3/4 balls)
  8. Overhead squats
  9. Rope climbing
  10. Sprinting

This is not an exhaustive list, but it’s a good start. Just pick one or two to work on at a time.

Something to keep in mind, feats don’t have to be so circus-tricky. Just pick a lift, or movement pattern, or running time, etcetera that you want to improve. Work on that one thing specifically once or twice a week.

If you have any questions, or would like any clarity on this or any article I’ve written,

Email me at

Matt Pirtle MA CSCS

The Golden Mean

Dealing with the reality of injury when you want to be active.

You have goals and aspirations.

You have the motivation and resources to achieve big things.

It’s just… your body doesn’t share your enthusiasm.

No, it’s not fair.

Over time, the wear and tear of life takes its cumulative toll.

All the workouts, practices, runs, and long days at a desk are rearing their collective ugly heads, and it’s time to pay the activity piper.

It sucks, and what’s more, you get conflicting messages on how to manage this situation.

“Don’t do anything and you’ll be safe. You’ll have a pain free, ridiculously unfulfilling life.”


“Disregard what your body says and attack with barbells until you puke or break.”

To me, neither one of these is an option. The answer lies somewhere in between these obvious extremes.

Getting stronger and respecting the “no no” exercises will help you manage injury.

I don’t care how “good” I feel if my next 40 years of life consists of cautiously navigating the world, constantly worried about what may overload my body, missing out on the very things that make me feel alive. I would rather hurt.

On the other hand, completely ignoring physical realities and injuries that are a fact of life, and having no caution or thought about what stress you are putting on your body is a recipe for a bad future. You will hurt. A lot. For a long time.

I can speak on this issue through personal experience. I have a disc injury in my back.

Besides for all the other slow wear and tear my body is dealing with, the disc is my claim to pain.

To be honest, most people do have disc injuries, they probably just don’t know it…yet.

Having a bulging disc or a herniation is so common an injury that it almost feels like its in style to have one these days. The en vogue physical ailment of the time, but I’m getting off topic.

Dealing with a disc that is painful will force a person to change things a bit, but it shouldn’t sideline a person altogether. And this goes for the vast majority of overuse or common activity injuries.

Most injuries will have their own “no-no” lists. This is a list of physical activity or exercise that will increase pain or further injury. The physical reality of the injury will prevent a person from performing these activities without pain. It doesn’t matter how bad you want it, you’re arguing with a reality that doesn’t care.

This fact shouldn’t keep someone from enjoying being physical, though.

As I tell my clients, if you’re willing to compromise, there is always a way.

I’ve witnessed people who were/are dealing with pain do some pretty incredible things. Its all about understanding what you’re dealing with, and a willingness to compromise.

I cannot perform heavy deadlifts and then go running. But I can deadlift on Monday afternoon and then run on Tuesday night. A client of mine can’t have a long car ride followed by squats at the gym, but if he puts a day between his business trip and his squatting workout, things work out a lot better. Those with hip or back injuries probably should never do leg lifting exercises or leg press on a machine, but they can work their core with planks and perform goblet squats with success. Ass to floor squats will no longer be a pain-free reality for some, but modified range of motion box squats can be an excellent substitute.

These are just a few examples of “living in the middle” when dealing with injury or pain. Everyone is different and every injury presents itself differently, so the compromises will be different from person to person.

The point is, given the reality of injury, you should not disregard nor lie down to your situation. Given some modifications you’ll be surprised at what you can still do. I’ve seen this happen literally hundreds of times.

PS Note:

Modification isn’t simply doing less. Depending on the nature of your pain or injury, there is a specific set of exercises and movements to avoid, and a specific set of exercises to focus on. In addition to exercise therapy, soft tissue work from a qualified practitioner will hasten your recovery and give you a better shot at managing your injury. I recommend Dr. Matthew Lytle from Precision Health Group.

For more information, or for help with your specific situation, contact me at

Matt Pirtle MA CSCS

How many of my top 5 and bottom 5 exercises are you adding to your workout routine?

I thought I’d take a break from the fitness soapboxing and delve into a more practical arena for a post or two. This post will break down my TOP 5 and BOTTOM 5 strength and conditioning exercises.

These exercises are ranked based on their potential for injury, effectiveness, functional usability, and bang for your buck efficiency.

I’ll start with my BOTTOM 5 so I can finish the article with a more positive vibe.

  1. Taking the number one worst spot is the torso twist in a v-up position. This exercise puts a ton of shear and torque on the low back, THEN adds spinal twisting to boot. If you have a lower back issue, this one is actually hard to even witness. If you don’t, and you’re doing these (especially with extra weight), you’ll probably soon be in the ranks of those with back pain. The little ab work you get isn’t worth the cost.

2) Coming in at number 2 is forced range of motion squats, aka going “ass to floor” when your form clearly doesn’t support that. In the fitness world, its not uncommon to hear “if you’re not squatting all the way to the floor, you’re not squatting.” Ninety percent of those who prescribe to this notion don’t have the mobility to perform these, and the resulting squat looks like a combination of a good morning and a slight knee bend. The lumbar flexion, or “wink” often seen at the bottom of this movement loads the lower back tremendously. If you cant stay vertical with a neutral spine throughout your squat, you shouldn’t be squatting that deep.

3) The leg press. As far as functional movement goes, this exercsie is about as dysfuntional as they come. Lying on your back in a lounger pressing up? Along with this obvious limitation is the fact that full range of motion leg presses almost always flex your lumbar spine at the bottom. Under a load. That’s bad. Also, if you’re an athlete, this one does not match your athletic needs…Let’s hope you aren’t spending too much time on your back during your games. The leg development that you’ll get with this one isn’t worth the strain on the back and hips.

4) The upright row. This exercise puts the lifter in a pronated, internally rotated shoulder position. That, along with a typically flexed upper back creates a poor movement environment for moving the shoulder. Meaning, you’ll likely feel some impingement in the joint and will slowly wear away at your connective tissue with repetitive use. There are too many other great shoulder exercises to waste your time grinding your joints with this one.

5) Back hyperextensions. Training the muscles of the lower back to forcefully extend the lumbar spine from a flexed starting position is stupid. The muscle, including the core muscles that surround the low back are designed to work in unison to create hoop tension around the lower back, effectively creating a tense “girdle” to limit movement. To specifically train these muscles to move against the weight of your body will create back problems for you. Let the glutes and hamstrings do the work that you’re taxing the lower back with.

Honorable mention: burpees, supermans, and sit ups.

And know for the TOP 5.

  1. The deadlift. It’s hard to imagine a more functional movement pattern than the deadlift. Lifting kids, getting in and out of cars, exploding off the line in football, going to the restroom all require deadlift style movement patterns. The main feature of a deadlift, the hinge of the hip, is a must train muscle group for athletics and a requirement of normal, everyday walking. The combination of core work, upper back work, and your entire lower extremity makes this a very efficient, effective exercise. The deadlift may not be for everyone. Deadlifting from the floor with a back issue will exacerbate the issue. Even most of those folks can safely deadlift from an elevated surface, though.

2) The pull/chin up. In my opinion this is the king of upper body functional strength training. Done well, this exercise blasts the core, upper back extensors, lats, biceps and shoulder stabilizers. If you can’t do body weight pull or chin ups, use a long strength band to assist you.

3) The goblet squat. People who can’t squat can almost always goblet squat. This squat variation keeps the weight close to the chest, putting some awareness on the upper back extensors. The result is a very vertical, counter balanced squat that is typically performed deeper than most bar squats. The core is involved and quads, glutes, and hamstrings are allowed to provide the horsepower.

4) The farmers walk. This is nothing more than a functional, unilateral, walking core exercise. You’re whole body is involved, from your traps, shoulders, lats, core, biceps, single leg hip stabilizers, glutes, hamstring, quads, and ankle stabilizers. This is a huge bang for your buck exercise. If you want to test how functional all of your other strength training is, see if you can farmers walk with half your body weight (plus) in each hand.

5) All medicine ball throws. For training functional power, this group of exercises is a good bet. Power training often entails learning difficult, body and joint taxing exercises. The relatively light loads and joint friendly movement patterns of these throws allow even novice exercisers a chance to train powerfully. Overhead throws, rotational throws, slams, and presses are all great variations that involve powerful movement and awesome core stability training.

Honorable mention: The overhead kettlebell press, the hip bridge/thrust, planking variations.

If you have questions on these, or any other exercises, email me at

Matt Pirtle MA CSCS

It’s your turn. Emerge.

Why not you?

“You’ll Never Realize Your Fitness Goals.” -You

Take a step forward.

“It’s not time. Remember when you tried to start an exercise regimen in January last year? Let’s wait until March when things aren’t as hectic. You’ll be ready then.”

“You need to get into better shape before you make it back into the gym. You should run outside for a few weeks, THEN go back.”

“Dieting has never worked for you. You need to find time to pick up that fat-loss supplement. That will be the difference. That’s when you’ll make the change.”

“It’s cold outside. It’s hot outside. You’re too fat. You’re too skinny. You’re too old. You’re too busy.”

Your own mind can tell you some pretty shitty things.

Author Steven Pressfield, in his book “The War of Art,” calls this toxic inner dialogue “resistance.”

Resistance is fear. Resistance asks us to postpone action and to rationalize our current, comfortable situation. Resistance will incessantly whisper in your ear that “its not time,” or will conjure up any possible negative consequence of action.

According to Pressman, you should ask yourself “Are you paralyzed with fear? That’s a good sign. Fear is good. Like self-doubt, fear is an indicator. Fear tells us what we have to do. Remember one rule of thumb: the more scared we are of a work or calling, the more sure we can be that we have to do it.”

Resistance won’t go away. Whatever story it’s telling you now will be there next week, and next year. Resistance will invent new stories to keep you from action.

Resistance will remind you of past failures. It will give you countless reasons NOT to act, and it can be convincing.

Resistance can come in the form of binge TV watching, excessive drinking, or other activities that can temporarily distract you from doing what you know you need to do.

If you allow it, the fear that resistance instills into you can stop you from doing the EXACT thing you need to do. You already know that, otherwise resistance wouldn’t be talking to you so loudly.

And I’m not talking about a one-in-a-million Rocky Balboa story. This isn’t an invitation to up and climb Mount Everest. This is about doing what people do hundreds of thousands of times every day.

Just start something, and then keep going.

Every single person who has ever had a fitness success story has started with resistance, and has eventually disregarded it in favor of action.

Why not you?

Unlimited Class Pass

Classes can be attended without limit from March 6th until May 27th!
There will be dedicated measurements days for the 3 measurement periods- beginning, middle, and end. For the beginning, the measurement days will be Tuesday, March 7th from 6 pm to 7 pm and Wednesday, March 8th from 7 am to 8 am.
For the Week 6 measurement days, they will be on Tuesday, April 18 from 6 pm to 7 pm and Wednesday, April 19 from 7 am to 8 am.
Measurement days for the end of the 12 weeks will be posted 2 weeks prior to each week.
The measurements, that will be taken, will include body fat, waist measurement, and scale weight.
The available classes that can be attended include all Emerge Boot Camp, Strength 101, and Tabata classes.
Existing class packages can be frozen until the end of the 12 week promotion, or the balance can be credited toward the 12 week unlimited class package.



  • 6:00 AM – Strength 101 With Kathryn
  • 11:30 AM- Tabata with Ben
  • 5:30 PM – Boot Camp With Keelin


  • 6:00 AM – Boot Camp with Keelin
  • 7:00 AM – Strength 101 with Kathryn


  • 6:00 AM – Strength 101 with Kathryn
  • 11:30 AM- Tabata with Ben
  • 7:00 PM – Strength 101 with Keelin


  • 6:00 AM – Boot Camp with Keelin
  • 5:30 PM- Boot Camp with Kim


  • 6:00 AM – Strength 101 with Kathryn
  • 11:30 AM- Tabata with Ben


  • 9:00 AM – Strength 101 with Keelin

Relax and Enjoy Everything

Train hard. Eat good. Move More. Live a Little.

Ive come to something of an epiphany as of late concerning my own health and fitness philosophy.

Truth be told, this thought has been incubating for some time, ive just been hesitant to fully accept it.

We have all been inundated, especially in the last five years or so, with the ultra healthy lifestyle message. Social media, mass media, gym selfies and billboards reinforce the message.

At first, it was a good message. Eat clean most of the time. Eat a lot of clean protein for strength. Eat a lot of veggies for health. Drink a lot of water. Use supplements to add to your diet what you’re deficient in.

The message was to move more. Do some resistance training. Walk or do something to elevate your heartrate a few times per week.

Those are pretty good messages, but they weren’t sexy enough.

Since then, the message has morphed.

Don’t poison your body ever with less than perfect health food. Don’t eat for taste. Don’t drink calories. Enjoy that bag of celery and accept your bland fate because its healthy.

Also, do more than more. Never take a day off. Winners don’t quit, they do more. Your friends are your lifting buddies. Your favorite hangout should be the gym. Your world should be devoted to your next workout.

Your enjoyment in life should be training, eating for training, sleeping and recovery so you can train again.

For what?

Most of the time, training is done with a goal in mind.

Sometimes, it’s to better your performance in a sport or recreational activity.

But most of the time the goal, in my opinion, should be to increase the quality of your life.

I’m going to say it.

Eating is more than fueling your body. Eating is and should be pleasureable. Sometimes, that should include things you like. I mean things you REALLY like.

Training is rewarding and fun, and sometimes its grueling and difficult.

Here’s a secret, you can love training AND love other things, too. Even BAD things, sometimes. You may even like to do somethings that aren’t getting you any gains in the gym.

So what.

The whole idea of fitness, again, is to IMPROVE the quality of your life. Even if that means looking and feeling better when you’re being occasionally “bad.” Fitness is a supplement, a way to a better life, but its not an end in itself.

Take days off. Occasionally, take a week off. Have some “light” days in the gym.

Ignore social media and the pressure to be “always on.” No matter what people try to project, nobody is always on.

Training your body and eating healthy are just components of a happy, quality life. Enjoying other aspects of what life has to offer, even if they are on the proverbial “bad” list keeps life interesting and enjoyable.

Train hard. Eat good. Move more. Live a little.

Emerge Class Schedule

The Teacher’s Boot Camp is available to non teachers; we do ask that you contact us first for more information about it. If you have any questions, please give us a call at 636-757-3726 or email us at!


  • 6:00 AM – Strength 101 With Kathryn
  • 11:30 AM – Tabata with Ben
  • 5:30 PM – Boot Camp With Keelin
  • 6:00 PM – Insanity with Jaime


  • 6:00 AM – Boot Camp with Keelin
  • 7:00 AM – Strength 101 with Kathryn
  • 4:00 PM – Teacher’s Boot Camp with Kim*


  • 6:00 AM – Strength 101 with Kathryn
  • 6:00 AM – Insanity with Jaime
  • 11:30 AM – Tabata with Ben
  • 7:00 PM – Strength 101 with Keelin


  • 6:00 AM – Boot Camp with Keelin
  • 4:00 PM – Teacher’s Boot Camp with Kim*
  • 5:30 PM- Boot Camp with Kim


  • 6:00 AM – Strength 101 with Kathryn
  • 11:30 AM- Tabata with Ben


  • 9:00 AM – Strength 101 with Keelin

Try a Little Less

This can be counter-productive, so…

Don’t be afraid to try different.

I was brought into the lifting world with a bodybuilding message.

At the age of 14, I was inundated with “information” from bodybuilding magazines.

“Lift for 3 hours a day, ideally splitting the time between two workouts.”

“If you’re not puking at the end of your leg day, you haven’t worked hard enough.”

“Pick two body parts per day and destroy them with as many sets as possible.”

“Any day off is a day you’re not making gains and someone else is.”

Etcetera, etcetera, blah blah blah.

I did all of this, and it worked.

Then, I did the opposite, and it worked.

At first, I worked out for 2 hours a day 6 days a week.

For years.

And I had good results. I was strong and had gained the muscle that I was after.

I competed in 5 bodybuilding shows and did well.

Then it got…old.

Let me tell you, you can only do so many “chest days” before the whole thing becomes stale.

Then I tried something else. I focused on Olympic lifting for 2 years.

This was a departure from the reps, sets, and bodypart training I was used to.

More rest, less total volume, generally heavier loads, and less training days.

And it worked.

I kept my physique and learned some new lifts to boot.

Then 4 kids caught up with me and time became more precious than ever. Every minute spent in the gym meant I was sacrificing a minute in some other aspect of my life.

So I decided to bring my training time per day down to 45 minutes. I added a few runs of 2 miles in per week. I focused on 4 large movement patterns for strength (push and pull, squat and hinge) and did a handful of single joint accessory exercises to round out the workout.

I’m lifting 4x per week, and its working.

I’m keeping my physique up and feel generally less achy.

Moral of the story, it’s hard to change what you’ve always done, especially if what you have done in the past worked. The thought often is “if I spend less TIME lifting, or if I change what has worked, my gains will go away, or I’ll stop improving.”

I’ve come to understand, at least for my workouts and most of the clients I’ve trained over the years, that a few QUALITY workouts with a sharper focus work almost as well as more, much longer, less focused workouts.

Think of it like this: the first 40 minutes of a workout gives you 95% of the work you need to make gains, the rest of the time gives you relatively small return.

If it takes me another 40–50 minutes to add only 5% of benefit to my workout, I’d rather spend that time on some other aspect of my life that can benefit more from that time. For me, the same applies to training days after 4 a week.

Try different. Try less.

The fitness bible is mostly unproven dogma with no real substance, anyway. What works best for you may be something you’re nervous to try because “that’s not the way its always been done.”

Give that something else a try.

It may give you equal or even better results, possibly save you some time, and can reinvigorate your workout motivation.

Matt Pirtle MA CSCS

Simple and Effective

Basic is Beautiful.

Knee surgeons often perform the same surgery, the same way, hundreds of times a year. They perform it the same way because it’s the best, most effective way to do it.

They don’t change the protocol because it’s boring.

They stick to the routine because it’s effective.

Trainers (and trainees) often get caught up in changing workout routines just for the sake of change. This is done to combat boredom or to “confuse” muscle into getting stronger. Most of the time, this just ensures you don’t really get better at anything, and sub-par exercises are often chosen simply because they are different.

A goblet squat performed by Ben Serangeli.

Sticking to a routine, often a basic routine, is the best way of tracking change and encouraging progressive gains.

It’s rare to see the “basic” exercises done very well. There is simply no reason (when improvement is the goal) to move on from a basic exercise when it cannot be performed with precision.

Stick to what works.

Progress when you are ready, but know that improving your basics will get you further, faster.

Plus, doing the ordinary extraordinarily well feels really good, and it’s obvious when you see it.

The Basics:

Lower body push pattern: front or goblet squat, back squat, split squat.

Lower body pull pattern/ hip hinge: RDL, kettlebell swing, hip bridge.

Upper body press pattern: overhead press, push up, chest press.

Upper body pull pattern: pull up, row.

Progress to single arm or leg versions. (single leg squats or single arm presses)

Progress to dynamic versions. (walking lunges or push press)

Progress to powerful versions. (jumps and throws)

Have questions or want to see demonstrations?

Email me at

Matt Pirtle MA CSCS

Tell me one thing

And shut the f**k up!

Rapid firing movement cues to your client during an exercise is dumb.

The desire to see a movement pattern performed PERFECTLY is understandable. After all, as a coach, your job is to ensure the safety and effectiveness of your clients strength training program.

Choose the most important cue and have your client focus on that.

The squat, as basic as it seems, has so many intricacies that, if you were to explain them all at once to even a novice lifter, the information would be overwhelming.

That’s when prioritizing the cueing process comes in.

Take the squat for example again. What about that squat, for that person, needs urgent attention. A flexed spine? Diving forward on the way down? A shift to one side? “Caving” knees? A reminder for core bracing?

Imagine if you mentioned all of those, plus more, to a client in the middle of a squat set.

I have to confess, I’m guilty of this often. The need to correct and sometimes just TALK leads me to overwhelm a client during a set with a barrage of feedback.

Sometimes I tell myself to just shut up and watch during a set, saving my simplified feedback for after the set when the client can pay closer attention.

So, if a fix has to be made on the spot, pick the most important thing that can be fixed with a simple cue. Let the client focus entirely on that one thing until they don’t have to focus on it anymore. Then pick another one.

Throwing up information all over a client during a complicated exercise will only hinder their ability to improve the movement. And they might just get annoyed.


Something else to consider is whether or not a cue CAN fix the movement on the spot. Cueing someone with poor thoracic mobility to simply “keep their back straight” wont fix the problem on the fly. Most fixes require some specific strengthening, which takes time to correct. Cue only the aspects of movement the client is CAPABLE of improving, and has simply lost focus on.

Matt Pirtle MA CSCS

Your Gap is Showing

“I dunno, she’s got gaps, I got gaps, together we fill gaps.”

Sylvester Stallone- Rocky

Listening to a popular strength and conditioning personality speak about his fitness and performance philosophy, I heard something that resonated.

Examine your fitness routine, and then fill in the gaps.

What does that mean?

You can take any athlete, or any weekend warrior, or senior citizen training to improve the quality of their life and apply this idea.

Spinning enthusiasts will spin.

Runners will run.

Lifters will lift.

Soccer players will play soccer.

But with gaps in their resistance training regimen, performance and fitness will suffer.

So how do you identify gaps in your program?

Dan John, the aforementioned strength and conditioning expert, identifies 5 basic movement abilities that should be emphasized in anybody’s training regimen. Because you’re a moving human being, you need these.

The Hinge:

Hip Bridge

Examples are deadlifts, RDLs, kettlebell swings, hip bridges, etc.

The target here is the posterior chain, glutes, hamstrings, and core.

The Squat:

Goblet Squat

Examples are back squat, front squat, split squat, and lunges.

The target here is a combination of lower body muscle including quads and hips, upper back and core.

Upper Body Press:

Overhead Push Press

Examples are bench press, overhead press, med ball presses and various angles of push ups.

The target is shoulders, chest, triceps, and core.

Upper Body Pull:

Band Assisted Pull Up

Examples are pull up variations, rows, and dragging by pulling.

The target is back, biceps, posterior shoulder, and core.

Loaded Carries:

Farmers Walk

Examples are farmers walks, asymmetrical farmers walks, and overhead loaded walks.

The target is the integration of the whole body with emphasis on core stability.

These are just example exercises that emphasize a movement pattern, definitly not an exhaustive list.

This group of movement competencies represent the basics, the fundamentals of human movement, and they should be included to some extent in everyone’s training program.

After that, a persons sport or specific fitness goal can dictate an emphasis specifically on one movement over another, or on other exercises that would benefit specifically that persons needs.

The idea of “gap filling” can apply to other aspects of fitness and well being, too. The person who has perfected their workout regimen, but is limited based on iffy nutrition has a gap. The person who has a perfect diet and has a regular routine of physical activity, but has terrible sleep habits has a large gap to fill. Gaps limit potential.

Fill your gaps.

Matt Pirtle MA CSCS

Questions, as always, can be directed to:

Want a quick workout?

Emerge is going to be starting a Lunchtime Tabata class! This class will be a complete full body workout in just 25 minutes! No need to hang out in a gym for hours. Instead, you will do it in 25 minutes. The class will feature explosive, power movements, core conditioning, and isolation movements. We will HIIT it all!
Starting January 20th, classes will be Monday, Wednesday, and Friday at 11:30 AM and 12 PM!
Sign up now by clicking on the link:

How to become a great trainer; a step by step guide.

I’ve been in the fitness industry as a trainer, a manager, and a business owner for over 15 years now.

I’ve chatted with and interviewed and occasionally hired hundreds of aspiring personal trainers.

I’ve taken time to talk with college seniors in the exercise physiology department at local colleges, and have provided internships at my company, Emerge Fitness Training.

I’m often asked for “one piece of advice” for the aspiring personal trainer, and am asked to share some of my experiences (both bad and good).

It’s tough to give just one piece of advice.

So instead, I’m going to provide a step by step guide to personal training success for the potential personal trainer.

This information is a reflection of my own experience in the industry. Unquestionably, another successful trainer will have a different list.

But this is mine.

Here goes:

  1. Love fitness. If you don’t, don’t even start. The trainers that do will be obvious and it will be obvious that you don’t.

2. Look at personal training as a potential CAREER. You’ll hear ex personal trainers tell you that there is no money in training and it’s too hard to make a career. They probably sucked and couldn’t make it. It’s harsh but true. Like any other profession, if you’re good, it will reward you financially and otherwise.

3. Get a job at a big box gym. You’ll be fed clients, and you’ll get to see if you even like training. Contrary to the beliefs of many, personal training can be an exhausting, very competitive business. Build some experience and learn from your mistakes there.

4. Find a niche. After a couple of years dabbling in all aspects of fitness and reading everything you can get your hands on, start to specialize your fitness offering. Make sure your specialization is relevant to your customer and begin educating yourself with a narrower focus.

5. Find a mentor that can help you. When I first started training, the training industry was relatively young and trainers, especially great ones, were few and far between. Now, its much easier to find a local mentor who has had success in training. Ask them for advice and study what they do. There is no harm in emulating someone else who has figured it out. In fact, it’s a great way to get better, quickly.

6. Find a place to work with colleagues that have a similar mindset as you. At large gyms, you’ll likely be part of a training staff that has more than a couple of trainers who are bad. Trainers that are just putting in their time until an insurance job presents itself. Trainers that clearly don’t love what they do. You will only go so far in this environment.

Find a place to work that makes you better just by being there.

7. Educate yourself in fitness AND business. No offense to the training community, but in my fifteen years as a trainer, I never cease to marvel at the sheer bone-headedness of many in the profession. Know your customer. Offer them a relevant product. Understand pricing and seasonality and alternative ways to market yourself. Shirtless selfies in the gym are shit. Business classes should be a mandatory part of an exercise physiology program.

8. Learn that, at the end of the day, if you can listen and empathize with your clientele and really make their EXPERIENCE with you valuable through exceptional service, you will eventually be successful.

This is not an exhaustive list, but it’s a good start. I love talking business and about the training industry as a whole, so if you have any questions, email me at

Matt Pirtle MA CSCS

Stop Trying to be a one-stop Fit-Mart.

Stop trying to be Fit-Mart

One of the key “moments” I’ve had over the span of my involvement in the fitness industry was the realization that I should stop trying to be a one-stop fix all for my clients.

I was trying to be the Wal-Mart of fitness.

It’s convenient, but ineffective.

What I really needed to do was build a network of experts I could rely on as part of my team.

I had my hand in everything, not really having a true expertise in anything.

I obtained certifications in nutrition, performance training, corrective exercise and post rehab strength training.

I studied massage, stretching, manual muscle release, sprinting form, bodybuilding prep and Olympic weightlifting among other things.

I realized there wasn’t enough time in my life to become exceptional at ALL of these things.

So, I picked a couple that I liked (and had a little success with) and immersed myself in those.

For the others, I referred to “my guy” (or girl) in the field. I had my massage therapist, my soft tissue expert, my physical therapist, and my performance specialist.

These people became my team, and I was part of a group of individuals who were the best at what they did.

And my clients appreciated it.

Instead of getting average work (and spending some of their session time to get it) they received 100% of their time getting what I’m best at.

It makes you look smart and trustworthy, and you’ll have better results with your clients. And if you’re great at what you do, your network will refer their clients to you.

Moral of the story,

  1. Spend some time exploring everything.
  2. Identify what you like and are best at.
  3. Spend the bulk of your time getting great at those things.
  4. Build a network of experts who do everything else.

Any questions?

Email me at

Matt Pirtle MA CSCS

Meet Strength 101

Check out our new class, STRENGTH 101.
The focus is on classic strength and conditioning through simple, but not easy, lifts.
No frills. No skills.

Move better. Get stronger.
It’s your turn. Emerge.
Monday @ 6 AM
Tuesday @ 7 AM
Wednesday @ 6 AM & 7 PM
Friday @ 6 AM
Saturday @ 9 AM

Sometimes, a Long Journey Starts With Penguin Steps

“We acquire the strength we overcome”

-Ralph Waldo Emerson

In late August this year, Brooke and Susie moved to St. Louis from Destin (Florida) and Chicago, respectively.

They both underwent a surgical procedure called a periacetabular osteotomy, or PAO for short, here in St. Louis.

This is a rather invasive hip surgery that involves cutting bone and screwing it back in a new position with large 3–4 inch screws.

Nine days after surgery, they were in Emerge to begin their post-op reconditioning.

The process at Emerge is accelerated as far as therapy goes, but can feel very slow to the person learning to walk without crutches again.

One of the first exercises to strengthen and ready the hip for walking is called “penguin steps.”

I can try to explain it, but this works better…

Client spotlight: Duane

If pictures tell a story than this one has a lot to tell. A year and a half ago Duane was extremely out of shape, unconditioned and on the verge of a double hip replacement. In the beginning he was unable to squat his own body weight with half range of motion without experiencing severe pain. After a year and a half of training, after many other hurdles that have come up along the way Duane is stronger and leaner than ever before. Today was a huge accomplishment for you and I both and I’m extremely happy with what you have been able to achieve. I am very lucky and privileged to be your trainer and friend. I look forward to your continued success. #EmergeStrong
Taylor D.

Sports aren’t Fitness

Sports have inherent physical risks. You take those risks knowingly for the enjoyment of the physical activity.

Fitness involves training with specific physical improvement in mind with minimal risk.

Sports: You’re sacrificing you’re body to win a game or to improve performance.

Fitness: you’re sacrificing only your energy to improve your health and movement quality.

These athletes use a specific exercise routine to both increase sports performance and lower the risk of injury.

Sports: put wear and tear on your body, an increase in health or fitness is not guaranteed, and is often decreased.

Fitness: the controlled wear and tear is offset by a greater return in health and fitness.

Form doesn’t matter in sports, performance does. If you win with compensatory, ugly form, you still win. Athletes will often “gut it out” to continue competing even though it is damaging their body.

Fitness will improve sports performance but sports often won’t improve fitness.

There is also some bad news if you’re using the sport as a method of burning calories. The better you get at the sport, the less calories (per minute spent) you’ll burn. Increased efficiency equals decreased “workout.”

With that said, many modes of “working out” are actually just competitive sports labeled as “fitness.”

They aren’t fitness. They’re sports.

The physical risks far outweigh the incidental increases in health or fitness.

If you’re involved in a sport, you should have a separate exercise program designed to enhance performance AND to minimize the injury risk of that sport. The sporting activity alone won’t do this for you.

Know why you’re spending your time and energy on an activity.

What is your goal? An improved performance in a particular sport (or specific movement patterns) or health and fitness?

Matt P.

Essential Exercises for the Hip and Core

From time to time, I will post a series of exercises that I consider “essential” for efficient and productive movement.

This post will be the first of a few targeting resisted movement from the hip while remaining neutral and stable in the core.

Hip Thrust

Rigid Robot

Reverse Skater

Reverse Railroad Tracks


Anti rotation

Walking deadlift

Email me at with any questions

Matt P.

Best Fitness Center and Best Coach in Saint Charles County

Thank you for voting Emerge Fitness Training the best fitness center in St. Charles County, 2016!
And congrats to Emerge coach Keelin Russell for being voted best coach!
We are looking forward to serving you into the future with exceptional service and innovative fitness.

It’s your turn. Emerge.

Social Unintelligence

I’ve spent some time in the fitness industry both managing and observing personal trainers and strength coaches. Over the years, I’ve come to recognize the common characteristics that separate the good trainers from the standout trainers.

Far and away, at least in my experience and by my judgement, the most important trait in a very successful trainer is something called “social intelligence.”

“Social intelligence develops from experience with people and learning from success and failures in social settings. It is more commonly referred to as “tact,” “common sense,” or “street smarts.”

Sounds obvious. I thought it was. I thought this was what you learned early in life as a way of coping and getting what you want from your environment.


What seems so glaringly obvious to some is a puzzle to others. It started me thinking, “were some people born with this intelligence, or were they taught, or did they just observe it and assimilated?”

What I am certain of is this; the absolute best of the best (that I’ve had the privilege to observe) know the following…

1. Verbal Fluency and Conversational Skills.

Look people in the eye and say hello. Be able to carry on a conversation with all types of people. Be direct and articulate. Don’t bog people down with industry jargon, nobody wants to hear that. Can you just comfortably talk to many different types of people? Look for cues early in your conversation that may key you into talking points relevant to your client’s interests.

Learn how to carry on conversations with anyone.

2. Knowledge of Social Roles, Rules, and Scripts.

Understand what is important to the culture of your business environment. Fighting the culture doesn’t make you a rebel, it makes you unintelligent. When I was a much younger trainer at 24 Hour Fitness, I stuck it to the man by wearing name tags with names other than mine. I showed them!

Actually I was just showing them I was unable to work within the parameters of company norms. Young and dumb. Adjust to or change your current situation if you feel you cannot adapt to your company culture.

Understand your companies culture.

3. Effective Listening Skills.

Read body language, it tells you the real story.

Listen attentively without having to chime in with your personal experience. Nobody cares, and trainers are notorious for this.

I would sit at a desk in the office at my previous employer and hear a trainer absolutely own a conversation with a potential client. Literally a barrage of “I’s” and “me’s.” I would literally shake my head and cringe.

Stop talking. Listen.

4. Understanding What Makes Other People Tick.

Read people and their true emotions, what motivates them. Again, let them speak. Read their body language. Are they intimidated? Excited? Skeptical?

Why are they in front of you?

Listen and allow them to feel comfortable enough with you to share their REAL motivation behind getting fit. Don’t talk too much, their experiences are not likely to be the same as yours.

Even if they don’t divulge their true motivations, try to read between the lines. Have they mentioned one single point multiple times? How do they react to your suggestions and advice?

Understand what makes people tick.

Matt P.

for more information, reference:

Just one of our amazing clients

Every year Emerge client Carin Oliver donates the most amazing quilts for us to raffle off and she did it again this year! Stop by Emerge to purchase tickets for your chance to win!

New to Get Fit for Fido: Royal Canin

Royal Canin is a new donor for our gift basket raffle! They came in huge with a gift bag and three month supply of Royal Canin food!
Tickets are available Til December 14th

The “Normal” Workout

I realized something today. I was training Jimmy Sansone, owner and founder of the Normal Brand line of clothing. His idea with his company was to offer “normal,” durable, versatile fashion for those that appreciate those qualities.

Less flash but solid fashion.

Great looking with great function.

I compliment him on his perfect planking form pretty much every session. Its normal, but rare.

I am blown away when someone can do a “basic” exercise with precision. And I begin complimenting my client excessively when they can be that precise.

No matter how long they’ve been training or how athletic a client appears to be, I’m truly impressed.

My greatest praise directed towards a client comes in these moments. When basics are done exquisitely well.

A perfectly executed squat, plank, deadlift, or kettlebell swing makes me compliment with enthusiasm.

An example of a good squat. Neutral spine from neck to lower back, heels on the ground, and only a slightly pitched forward trunk.

Folks are so quick to progress the basics that they don’t spend enough time mastering them. I don’t care if you can stand with one foot on a BOSU and dumbbell press with one arm if your spine is flexed and you’re compensating like crazy to do it.

Exercise prescription should stay more “normal.”

That’s an ironic description, because normally this type of exercise is done badly.

The drive to add resistance or other progressions races a lifter through the basics, and years later, it is VERY evident in their form (and sometimes through injury and terrible posture).

Spend time on the subtleties of a movement pattern. Make sure your timing is correct. Have a keen awareness of spinal neutrality and where your rib cage and shoulder blades are positioned. It feels GOOD to do it right.

From there, progress to more resistance or unilateral versions, but always keep the basics somewhere in your program.

Even with years of experience, the basics should be the mainstay of your program. And the basics should be done with exquisite precision.

In other words, be more normal.

Matt P.

How big (or tiny) is your tool box?

Olympic lifting is a helpful exercise option for athletes and weekend warriors alike.

Beware the trainer who wholesale rejects, or exclusively embraces any one mode of exercise.

One word. Lazy.

They are too lazy to spend time to understand how elements of almost any exercise would help their clientele. If you really study a method of exercise, something can be taken from it for almost every goal.

Or, they may be too lazy to think outside of the limited benefits of only one style of exercise.

Sometimes, they are just trying to brand themselves, for example, as “the kettlebell guy” or “the Olympic lifting trainer.” It’s “the kettlebell way, or no way.”

A trainer should incorporate elements of all styles of training into a unique toolbox that he/she uses to get their clientele to their goals.

Matt P.

Three Dog Bakery wants you to Get Fit for Fido

Three Dog Bakery is an annual donor and who doesn’t love their treats! This gift basket is FULL of goodies for your pup!
Be sure to get your raffle tickets before December 14th!
Tickets are $1 each or 6 for $5

Get Fit for Fido Raffle Tickets

Check out our items we will be raffling off for Get Fit For Fido! Are you or your kids fans of the popular Ninja Warrior? This year we have a $200 gift certificate to KōR Komplex for a Birthday bash! Up to 10 people get to test their skills on Ninja obstacles for two hours. This would make a GREAT Christmas/Birthday present!
Raffle tickets are $1 each or 6 for $5
A big Thank You to Brendan O’Neil and KōR for the donation and for being a sponsor of our shirts!

Doggy Bootcamp at Purina Farms

Thank you to everyone who stopped by Fido Fitness Bootcamp at Purina Farms yesterday! It was so much fun helping people see how easy it is to exercise with their dogs. This was our fifth bootcamp in a row and hands down the busiest! Can’t wait until the next one!
Purina is also a huge supporter of Emerge’s Get Fit For Fido bootcamp series so be sure to mark your calendars with the December dates as we help raise donations for Five Acres Animal Shelter and get in a great workout at the same time!

Get Fit For Fido Dates:
December 1st, 6th, and 8th at 6:30

The new “functional exercise” is “corrective exercise”

The next concept/ buzz term in the fitness industry has arrived, with no clear definition of what it means.

That’s actually convenient for most coaches, because ANY program they offer can be labeled as corrective simply because they say it is.

These terms have been thrown around with such disregard that a person now would have no idea what they are actually going to get from a workout program with one of these labels.

I think that most can agree that corrective exercise is supposed to correct something that has gone wrong with the musculoskeletal system.

Muscle imbalances, strength discrepancies, range of motion issues, and pain resulting from these things being some of the common offenders.

The real issue comes from the prescription of exercise to correct these problems.

Corrective exercise comes down to one word, sustainability. If the changes you make with your corrective exercises aren’t sustainable, it isn’t corrective exercise. Its advil.

Advil makes you feel good, which is hard to argue with, but for a limited amount of time.

The downside to this? Have you ever had a back or knee issue that you masked with advil, and then proceeded to squat or deadlift on those joints? It usually ends up bad.

So, you didn’t correct anything, you made it worse.

Common pre-workout advil includes foam rolling, stretching, taping and actual advil…

These modes of exercise have there place, but not as pre-workout corrective exercise (or fixes within themselves).

I have a story. I have a client who I’ve been seeing for 8 years. He has tightness and discomfort in his hips and IT band that he asks me to foam roll for him every week.

He opts out of the strength training for the transient fix of the foam roller.

For 8 years.

The End.

That is NOT sustainability.

Now that leaves the question, what is sustainable corrective exercise?

Targeted strength training.

The identification of weak or inhibited muscles and the development of a strength program for those muscles is corrective exercise. The changes will be measureable and sustainable, without the temporary fix of the aforementioned corrective exercises.

*Something to think about, if you’ve dealt with a problem stemming from injury, you’ve likely built up a fair amount of adhesion (your body’s protective mechanism to avoid further injury).

It is difficult to lengthen or strengthen adhesed muscle, so a trip to a soft tissue specialist (ART or MAR) is advisable before beginning a strength training program. I recommend Dr. Matthew Lytle at Precision Health Group.

Matt Pirtle MA CSCS USAW1

Shout out to Barbara!

Barbara has been coming to 6AM Bootcamp for a year now and the amount she has changed is astounding!
We got to talking this morning about her commitment to bootcamp and she simply said “To miss is not an option.” She balances a full-time job that she commutes to from Emerge to downtown Saint Louis, going to grad school, studying for the CPA exam, and all other things life throws at her, but she never misses. Without her health, without taking care of herself to improve the quality of her life, none of the other things would matter.

So yes, Barbara has lost quite a bit of weight and gained quite a bit of muscle, but more importantly she has become so much more CAPABLE.
You can join Barbara at 6AM Bootcamps on Tuesdays and Thursdays, for only $11 a class!

Sport Injuries Prevention

Every single high school athlete knows a teammate who is recovering from an ACL or another sports related injury.
That athlete didn’t plan on it being that way. But it happened.
Sports injuries are common. Way too common.

Sports injuries can also be PREDICTED when a qualified movement specialist observes an athlete move within the demands of their sport.
Why wait for pain or injury to do something about faulty movement and impaired performance?
An Emerge performance and movement specialist can help screen and correct movement that could lead to injury, which will also increase PERFORMANCE.
Email to schedule a free consultation with a specialist.
#getatuneup #knowbeforeyougo #itsyourturn #emergefitness #letswriteyourstory

Nothing but hard work!

With a collective loss of over 300 lbs, congratulations to Emerge clients, Shelley and Sean!
You two have worked your butts off and look absolutely fantastic!!!

2016 Turkey Challenge

On Saturday, November 19th at 10 AM, we will be having 2nd annual Turkey Challenge. Compete against the clock in a 10 station strength and endurance challenge. Whether you sign up for the beginners or advanced course, you will be guaranteed a great workout. You’ll not only burn some calories but help stock the O.A.S.I.S. Food pantry just in time for Thanksgiving! Cost is 1 frozen turkey per person.

Client spotlight: Bill

Bill came to me just under a year ago searching for relief due to back pain, sleeplessness, and nutritional guidance. During our first initial meeting I could tell there was a lot of hesitation on Bills face, due to the fact that this was the very first time he has ever walked into a gym. When we met we discussed a plan that would incorporate strength, flexibility, nutritional guidance, and let’s not forget relief from pain that he accrued from 4 back surgeries. The night we met I remember Bill wanting to think about it, but it was shortly after that we got started. I can’t even begin to tell you the exercises we did to get him mobile at first compared to where he is today it is like night and day! I wanted to take a minute and give him recognition not only because he’s 30lbs down, or pumping out 30 push-ups in a row without stopping, but I want to thank him for putting his trust in me and giving me the opportunity to work with him to get him where he is today! This past week alone he trained 1:1 with me twice and came to 2 bootcamps!! We have more ground to cover but it’s amazing that I get to work with people and see change in their lives in and out of the gym! Thank you Bill! Keep working hard and soon enough there will be more to brag about!

Tyler M

Client Update: Susie

I want to recognize client Susie N. on yet another awesome and successful month! I give 100% of the credit to Susie because from day one she has been completely bought in to this program with no doubts or reservations. We have been training for exactly 3 months now and to date she is down 25 3/4 lbs, dropped 15% body fat and shed off 16 1/4 inches. I could not be any happier with the success you have reached so far and I look forward to helping you continue your transformation!!!! Awesome job Susie.
Taylor D.

Halloween Bootcamp was a success!

Thanks everyone who came out to our BOOtcamp! Sefton and I had a blast leading it, and we are looking forward to making this a frequent class/event! Keep your eyes posted and we will have another one right around the corner!
-Tyler M

Division 1 Bound: Sam

It is of great pleasure and excitement that I get to announce my client Sam C. has committed to play division 1 soccer at the University of Iowa. Sam and I have been training together for the last year and a half and I have never seen an athlete push herself as hard as she does. Between her time in the gym, long hours of practice and many long hours on the road traveling the country to compete, all while maintaining a 4.5 gpa. It is no surprise to see your time and dedication pay off. I am so proud of you and your accomplishments.
Taylor D.

Age won't slow Mary down

Happy birthday to my client Mary G! Today is Mary’s 70th bday and we have been training together for 3 1/2 years now. Mary has been the perfect example of not letting ones age determine what they can and cannot do in the gym. There’s not a single thing this lady can’t do inside of the gym and has been fearless with everything I have put her through these last couple of years. She’ll be the first to admit that she has the mindset of a 30-year-old when she is going through her program every single day and won’t let anything slow her down. You have been so much fun to train and I look forward to your continued success! Happy birthday!
Taylor D.

15 Years

I met my wife 15 years ago today.
I also started my training career exactly 15 years ago today.
Two really big things happened on October 17th, 2001.
Angie and I met at 24 Hour Fitness, on our first day as fitness professionals, on the first day the club was open for workouts.
We also met our good friend, Brendan O’Neill (owner of the Kor Komplex) on that day, too.
We were hired by Debi Turner (Westhues) that summer, in the pre-sale trailer, to be part of the inaugural team of personal trainers at the St. Charles location.
Fifteen years ago.
Some things have changed.
I remember my first client ever. He wanted “core and functional training.” I gave him hack squats and biceps curls.
Jeff, if you’re out there buddy, hit me up, I owe you a re-do!
At the time, it was impossible to imagine the direction Angie and I would take. Fitness seemed like a stepping stone to something else, not an end in itself. Personal training really wasn’t considered a career, more of a young persons job they have fun with until they get serious and find a “real” job.
And then we realized something. Waking up for work was really easy, and this kind of “work” was invigorating.
We also realized we were pretty good at it.
Some years passed. I managed the personal training staff at clubs in Arnold, Chesterfield, and Overland Park, Kansas, before returning to the St. Charles club in 2006. Angie had built a large, loyal clientele and stayed true to her training roots while I moved from club to club.
In January of 2006, at a dinner at Grappa Grill, Ang and I started talking about our future in fitness (or if our future even involved fitness at all). The idea of a career change came up for both of us. That thought lasted about 30 seconds, both of us knowing what our true vocation really was. Fitness was where we belonged. Emerge Fitness (or at least the concept) was born at that moment. The change we needed wasn’t a career change, it was just a new direction within the field.
We opened the doors to Emerge 1 on July 9, 2007, 9 days after we were married.
Fast forward to October 17th, 2016. Three Emerge locations and 4 kids later, things couldn’t be better. I get to work with and see my family every day. We have made many good friends in the form of clients and co-workers.
Fifteen years of living the dream.
Angie and I love what we do. To all of our family, friends, and clientele, thank you for letting us do it.
Matt P.

Nothing but progress

Chandra trained for her first full marathon over two years ago. During her training she encountered hip and low back pain which did not stop her. She completed the race but was out of commission for the next two years and left with chronic back and hip pain.
She spent some time doing physical therapy and found no relief. This past May she started seeing Dr Lytle for soft tissue work and started a strength training program at Emerge in August.
Today she performs a stationary reverse lunge, which seems simple to most but for Chandra a huge accomplishment.

Chandra trained for her first full marathon over two years ago. During her training she encountered hip and low back pain which did not stop her. She completed the race but was out of commission for the next two years and left with chronic back and hip pain. She spent some time doing physical therapy and found no relief. This past May she started seeing Dr Lytle for soft tissue work and started a strength training program at Emerge in August. Today she performs a stationary reverse lunge, which seems simple to most but for Chandra a huge accomplishment. Our focus from day one was learning what it meant to keep a neutral spine and braced mid section while strengthening her glute, core, and hips. Today she is pain free for the first time in two years. Every week is a new progression from what we did the week prior. First week was glute bridges off the floor, standing planks, and light band walks. Now her workouts consist of heavy step ups, front squats, lots of hip hinging, and the list goes on. Our #1 main focus is strength with neutral spine. We have recently dove into nutrition and made some big eating changes that has helped with reducing inflammation in her back and increased energy. Chandra has slowly introcused running back into her schedule and doing it pain free. There is no stopping her now! Our hopes are to first train for a 5k and keep on a running program while forever keeping strength training a huge part of her routine. This is one of Emerge’s strongest areas of fitness. If you enjoy running or any activity that is causing you chronic pain, schedule a free consultation with us and we will help. We are experts in the area of identifying what is causing pain and teaching you how to strengthen and get back to what you love. #EmergeStrong#Nowitsyourturn#RunStrong#BuildAnArmor#PirtleStrength

Posted by Emerge Fitness Training on Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Our focus from day one was learning what it meant to keep a neutral spine and braced mid section while strengthening her glute, core, and hips.
Today she is pain free for the first time in two years. Every week is a new progression from what we did the week prior. First week was glute bridges off the floor, standing planks, and light band walks. Now her workouts consist of heavy step ups, front squats, lots of hip hinging, and the list goes on. Our #1 main focus is strength with neutral spine.
We have recently dove into nutrition and made some big eating changes that has helped with reducing inflammation in her back and increased energy.
Chandra has slowly introduced running back into her schedule and doing it pain free. There is no stopping her now! Our hopes are to first train for a 5k and keep on a running program while forever keeping strength training a huge part of her routine.
This is one of Emerge’s strongest areas of fitness. If you enjoy running or any activity that is causing you chronic pain, schedule a free consultation with us and we will help. We are experts in the area of identifying what is causing pain and teaching you how to strengthen and get back to what you love.

What does Emerge do?

Emerge specializes in personal training. That’s what we do.
Every single day, for hundreds of hours a week.
Our attention is 100% focused on being extraordinary at this one thing.

We don’t have our hands in 100 things because we focus on standing out in one thing; personal service that yields results.
It’s Your Turn. Emerge.
#emergestrong #thisiswhatwedo #comeseethedifference

Danielle is a lot of things

Danielle is a nurse, a mom of 4, a soccer coach, and a competitive former college athlete.
She also recently rehabbed and recovered from 2 hip dysplasia surgeries.
These videos show her lifting and moving awkward weight, something that she has to do in life every single day.

Danielle is a nurse, a mom of 4, a soccer coach, and a competitive former college athlete. She also recently rehabbed and recovered from 2 hip dysplasia surgeries. These videos show her lifting and moving awkward weight, something that she has to do in life every single day.From getting her kids in the car seat, to moving patients at work, this kind of training is functional for her. Plus, it's just hard exercise that burns energy. #itsyourturn #tellusyourwhy #formandfunction #emergefitness

Posted by Emerge Fitness Training on Tuesday, October 11, 2016

From getting her kids in the car seat, to moving patients at work, this kind of training is functional for her.
Plus, it’s just hard exercise that burns energy.
#itsyourturn #tellusyourwhy #formandfunction #emergefitness

Shout out to Carter

Here is another Emerge client showing how hard work inside the gym, on the baseball field, and in the classroom will pay off! Carter entered his senior year of high school this year and has already committed as a scholarship athlete to Longview! We started working together over a year ago and the amount of dedication I see from him is outstanding! I am very proud and thankful that I am able to work with Carter and watch him grow!

Cross training you should try it

The payoffs of cross training are outstanding, no matter what your sport!
Emily is a swimmer for the Rec Plex Sharks and Incarnate Word Academy. She started training with me a month and a half ago, focusing on strength, explosiveness, and flexibility. This past weekend she competed in her first meet of the season and has already dropped 5 seconds off her 200 meter butterfly, and has obvious improvements in the underwater portion of her swim and her stamina!
I cannot wait to see all the improvements in her performances as the season progresses throughout the Fall!

Shoutout to Jolee!

Jolee is an elite figure skater who is heading into her championship season looking and feeling amazing! She just completed her last competition of the regular season and placed 4th out of a huge number of participants, despite coming down with the stomach flu just hours earlier than she skated!
We like to keep Jolee’s training fun and interesting, so her workouts include standard weight training, Pilates, speed and agility, gymnastics, and restorative movement patterns. This variety not only keeps it fun, but ensures that she is a well-rounded athlete capable of so much more than skating.

Regionals is just three weeks away and she’s more than ready!
Checkout Jolee’s latest workout-
-Kee Russell


Persevere And Overcome
Yesterday, a woman who began her rehab journey at Emerge brought me a bracelet that says “PAO” on one side, and “Persevere And Overcome” on the other.
I have been working as part of a team in the rehabilitation process following hip procedures, particularly periacetabular osteotomy (PAO) and hip replacements for the last 4 years.

PAO’s are a major hip surgery for hip dysplasia which involves a fairly invasive operation to correct.
Nine days after surgery, I meet for the first time with the rehab candidate, who, on crutches and with help, make their way into Emerge
Dr. Matt Lytle and I have together brought over 20 recipients of the surgery from crutches to a return to activity with an accelerated rehab protocol.
The work has been some of the most rewarding and challenging in my 15 years as a health professional.
I love it.
For all the incredibly brave work by all of the rehab participants, and for anyone who has faced BIG adversity and has persevered, keep going.
It is not easy.
Thank you for letting me be a part of this incredible process!
Matt P.
#PAOwarriors #persevereandovercome #emergestrong #inspireawe #overwhelmingthanks

Get stressed out!

Not all stress is bad.

DISstress is potentially harmful physical stress that can cause injury.
EUstress is physical stress put on the body to encourage POSITIVE changes.
That’s the difference between Smartfit and a poorly constructed workout program.
Work hard. Get better. Repeat.
If you haven’t yet, come try out a class and get some positive stress!
SmartFit Class Schedule:
MWF 6-7 AM
MW 7-8 PM
TR 7-8 AM
R 7-8 PM
Sa 9-10 AM

Always a way

It’s a terrible moment.
The moment when you think you may have to stop doing something you enjoy due to injury.
Sometimes, it’s a hard fact of life.

Many times, there are other options…
Here, Drew performs a landmine RDL.
Performing an RDL with a barbell would leave Drew VERY uncomfortable for days.
This version is a fantastic exercise for those dealing with lumbar disc issues (for example, bulges and herniations).
With a strong core brace, Drew pulls the weight from the floor with his hips.
The path of the weight on the landmine delivers the load CLOSER to his body. And, the plate resting on the floor at the bottom temporarily unloads the back, relieving some of the shear on the spine.
Classic barbell RDLs are the thing of the past for Drew, but this variation works for him.
There is usually a way. Let us help you find it.
#itsyourturn #emergestrong #changeofperspective #findyourway

Results speak for themselves

This weeks training spotlight is with client Jeremy B. Jeremy and I are just a couple days shy of training 2 months together and so far his results speak for themselves. Jeremey has followed a very strict diet and lifting program that I have altered a couple times as his body has been changing and responding to. In just 7 weeks Jeremy has lost 22 lbs, dropped 4% body fat and shed off 12 1/4 inches. I couldn’t be happier with your results so far and look forward to seeing the continued success. Great job buddy.
Taylor D.

Thinking about Smartfit

“I’d love to try the SmartFit class, but I don’t think I’m able to do some of the Olympic lifting, I don’t think I’m ready for that.”
That may be true.
No problem.
Those lifts aren’t for everybody.
We will assign you a comparable, safe lift designed to get you to your goals.
#smartfit #procoaches #itsyourturn #emergestrong

One month in

I want to give some much needed recognition to my client Susie N. Susie came to me a month ago with a goal of losing weight. Susie is no stranger to macro nutrient based dieting which is what I put her on and it was very obvious she was disciplined since day one. Between her perfect diet, strong workouts with me at Emerge as well as following her cardio program outside of Emerge Susie had one hell of a month. To date, she is down 15 3/4 lbs, down 13% body fat and lost 6 1/2 inches. Awesome job Susie! This is just the beginning for you. I look forward to your continued success.
Taylor D.

Client update: Theresa Sextro

It’s time for a client update… And this one keeps trimming up. Theresa Sextro is at it again as she hit her big goal to achieve One-derland! She is now down to 199lb as she has lost over 53lbs while gaining some great muscle and losing 33 inches. That’s an additional 12 lbs and 10 inches since her last client post 6 months ago.
It hasn’t happened overnight as she is now going on a year and a half of starting her program. A word of encouragement for those in a similar position of where she started, she says “You are so much stronger than you think,” and “this is not a sprint, it’s a marathon!”
Hard dedicated work and the correct approach have certainly paid off. Theresa you are dominating this and you are an inspiration to those watching! #proudcoach – Adam K

What does it mean

“What does it mean to be a human animal?”
-Kelley Starrett
-Moving in multiple planes of motion.

-Running. Jumping. Throwing. Carrying. Crawling.
-Training in the full spectrum of potential human movement.
Plan at least part of your fitness routine to include some of these basic, primal movement patterns.
Incidentally, children move like this every day for FUN.
Give it a try, you’ll remember.
#basichumanmovement #primalexercise #itsyourturn #emergefitness

One special Hall of Fame client

Orlando Pace was part of the Class of 2016 Pro Football Hall of Fame a couple weeks ago. Orlando was inducted with some phenomenal players and coaches, and it has been amazing having him at Emerge!
Congrats to Emerge clients Orlando and Carla Pace, and their entire family.
We were honored and humbled to be part of an inspiring and memorable night in Canton, Ohio. The experience was beyond what was expected.
‪#‎HOF‬ ‪#‎emergestrong‬ ‪#‎inspiration‬ ‪#‎chaseyourdreams‬

Family Friendly Workout

Families can be active together at Emerge Fitness! We had a blast at our family-friendly workout this past Saturday morning powered by FIT4ME FOODS. If you missed this morning, be sure to stop by FIT4ME FOODS in store for their FIT4KIDS menu launch! And if you haven’t checked out Tyler Martin on Fox 2 Now, you can do so by following this link:

Speed and agility for youth athletes

Too often coaches focus on their athletes performing drills because it’s what they see others doing or because of the certain drill’s “wow factor.” Unfortunately, if the athlete does not possess the basic muscle strength and stability to perform the drill efficiently, and when over the top movements are encouraged over accuracy, the athlete is at a high risk of being injured and never truly progressing.
Tommy and Becca utilize a mix of stabilization, strength, and postural movements as well as agility progressions based on accuracy and efficiency to help them build the correct speed and power needed for their sports. Check out Tommy and Becca’s workout by clicking on the link:

For more information on speed and agility training contact Keelin Russell.
-Kee Russell, Ph.D., Head Cross Country and Track and Field coach, USAW-1

Keep It Up Danny

I wanted to give some special recognition and big congrats to my client and friend Danny D. Danny is a nationally ranked professional table tennis player and 2 time state champion (hopefully soon to be 3 time). Danny came to me as a referral back in January looking to shed some unwanted weight that he had put on the previous year that was limiting his high level of performance. I told him from day one as long as he listened to exactly what I told him he needed to do that he would be successful both in the gym as well as on the court. I knew from day one I was training someone special. He has put in great amount of work in my program both during sessions and outside of here with his own workouts I had assigned him. It is by no accident that Danny has seen a significant change and improvement in both his body as well as his performance during competition. Danny’s level of speed, strength, agility and endurance have gone through the roof since implementing a program designed just for him. To date Danny has shed roughly 13 lbs. of body fat, dropped 6% body fat, added roughly 6 lbs of muscle and dropped inches everywhere that he has needed to. You have been a great joy to train and I am proud to call you my friend. When you get back to in the fall we will pick up where we left off and you will continue to get leaner, quicker, faster and stronger. Best of luck at your next competition in Vegas big guy!

Taylor D.

2016 Emerge Olympics

The 2016 Summer Olympics may be in Rio, but they are also happening right here at Emerge! Starting Saturday, August 6 and lasting until Thursday, August 18, clients will have the chance to be in the Emerge Olympics!
It will be broken into 3 “classes”: SmartFit, Bootcamp, and Personal Training. Within each class, there will be a Men’s and Women’s division. Each “class” will have a specific decathlon of events to complete before the “closing ceremony” on Thursday, August 18th. The 10 events DO NOT need to be completed in a single day; however, if all 10 events are not completed, then you will not qualify.
Each event will have a specific qualifying time or amount of weight to lift to complete the event. An event may be repeated in order to receive a better score. Once you have completed and qualified all 10 events, you will be entered into the Emerge Olympics drawing. The drawing will be taking place Friday, August 19th. We also will be keeping track of 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place in each “class”.
You do not need to sign up for the Emerge Olympics, nor do you have to participate. All of the exercises for each “class” are designed for everybody, and they are designed to be treated as a friendly competition. If you are wanting to do it, tell your trainer.
For questions, you can contact Kimberly at or Ben at
Are you ready?
‪#‎emerge‬ ‪#‎itsyourturn‬ ‪#‎emergeolympics‬ ‪#‎emergestrong

9 years and counting

Happy 9th anniversary to Emerge Fitness Training!
Thank you to all of our clients, present and past!
And thank you to the stellar staff that has made Emerge what it is today!

It’s been an amazing, beautiful 9 years. We look forward to serving you for the next 50 years to come.
It’s your turn. Emerge.

Al is hitting goals

Another awesome success story! Al texted me right before Memorial Day stating he wanted to try and accomplish the bench press, dead lift, and squat and reach 1,200lbs on all three lifts combined. I was up for the challenge and told him we would test after the holiday weekend. Well to both our surprises he tested on all three lifts that following week and sure enough hit 1,200lbs!! I stated to him “well, looks like we have a new goal”. We have only had 3 short weeks to work on his lifts to shoot for 1,300lbs minimum working off percentages each week due to him leaving for vacation. Therefore it’s easily stated he had his work cut out for him. What’s amazing is we tested this week starting with the squat, which we both believed to be the most impressive. We worked off a projected max of 450lbs on his squat, after he accomplished 400lbs on his test day! Not only did Al improve, he crushed it by hitting 520lbs on his squat!!! With the other two lifts we were able to reach 1,360lbs. Can’t tell you enough how much this pumps me up as his trainer/coach! Very proud of you my man!
Tyler M.

Different Thoughts on a Close Finish

“The great barrier is the mental hurdle.”
– Roger Bannister, first to run a sub 4 minute mile.
According to a South African scientist, if you don’t win, you’ve simply decided to lose.

Some interesting, but largely unproven, research by Tim Noakes basically says that fatigue is “governed” by the brain. It is nothing more than an emotion. An ILLUSION constructed by your mind.
Basically, fatigue and weakness are mindsets, and they can be overcome by deciding that these things do not exist.
Noakes says that,
“My unproven hypothesis is it is that in the case of a close finish, physiology does not determine who wins. Rather somewhere in the final section of the race, the brains of the second, and lower placed finishers accept their respective finishing positions and no longer choose to challenge for a higher finish.
According to this model, the winning athlete is the one whose illusionary symptoms interfere the least with the actual performance.
The winner is the athlete for whom defeat is the LEAST ACCEPTABLE rationalization.”
What do you think?
‪#‎itsyourturn‬ ‪#‎strongmind‬ ‪#‎strongbody‬ ‪#‎emergefitness‬ ‪#‎decidetowin

Mike Is Ready To Rock And Roll

Want to give a special shout out to my client Mike! Mike is easily one of the hardest working people I have met and have the privilege of training. Every time we train I ask him how he feels and he is always feeling great and smiling; ready to rock and roll for our workout. When I ask him if he feels if he could add weight to a particular exercise, his response is always the same, “if you think I can do it I will do it!” Not only has Mike completely changed his lifestyle but I have had the honor of having his little girl on a couple Saturdays train with us, and from what I see she is a future personal trainer! She always pushes her dad to do more! It’s amazing seeing him turn to fitness and how it has reflected into his family! Even though there are obstacles in our way or things that may want to hold you back Mike has kept pushing and he is winning! He has dropped 30lbs and most impressive an overall 10% decrease in body fat percentage! WOW! Truly amazing! He never says no, and he always strives to accomplish more. I feel that the picture of him pulling and pushing the sleds indicate how hard he has worked to achieve his success! Honored to be called your trainer!
Tyler M.

Take Me Out to the Ballgame, but Leave the Calories at the Stadium

Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in August, 2010 and has been completely revamped and updated for accuracy and comprehensiveness.
If the song Take Me Out to the Ballgame was written today, it may sound like:
“Take me out to the ball game,
Take me out with the crowd.
Buy me some peanuts and cracker jack… and a hot dog, and loaded nachos, and a pretzel, and a beer, and ice cream”


Finger Licking Ballpark Foods: The Dieter’s Nightmare

Busch Stadium may truly be a dieter’s nightmare in disguise. You can have the intention of going to the game and sticking to your diet, getting nothing but a bottle of water, but we all know that this kind of willpower is rare.
Before the game, ballpark food may not even sound that appealing.
But suddenly, it happens:
You are overcome with uncontrollable cravings for greasy ballpark food… Something draws you to the concession stand, despite knowing that this choice is going to throw your diet out the window for the day.
You’re in line looking at your best “healthy” option, justifying what you’re going to order. The next thing you know, you’re walking away with the loaded nachos and a beer (at least you sprung for low cal).

The Ugly Truth: The Reality of How Quickly Those Ballpark Calories Can Add Up

So, my plan is to prepare (or guilt) you into what not to eat at the stadium. Below are the cold hard facts, the nutritional facts on your favorite baseball stadium foods.  I’m not going to say “eat this, not that”, because frankly, you’re adults, you can choose what you want. HOWEVER, don’t come crying to us when all of a sudden your jeans are a little tighter (and don’t blame it on the dryer, it didn’t shrink them).
Hot Dog (6.4 oz)
Calories: 464
Total Fat: 21g
Sat. Fat: 7g
Cholesterol: 45mg
Total Carbs: 50
Dietary Fiber: 2g
Sugar: 7g
Protein: 16g
Small Popcorn (9 cups)
Calories: 573
Total Fat: 35g
Carbs: 56g
Protein: 8.6g
Large Popcorn (15 cups)
Calories: 951
Total Fat: 58g
Total Carbs: 93g
Protein: 14.3g
Soft Pretzel (5.5 oz, no cheese)
Calories: 488
Total Fat: 3.4g
Sat. Fat: 1g
Sodium: 557mg
Carbs: 101g
Dietary Fiber: 5.5g
Sugar: 30.2g
Protein: 12.4g
Cheeseburger: (8.3 oz) (not the Angus burgers from Hardee’s)
Calories: 450
Total Fat: 23g
Sat. Fat: 7g
Cholesterol: 40mg
Sodium: 1250mg
Total Carbs: 33g
Dietary Fiber: 2g
Sugar: 7g
Protein: 23g
Nachos (40 chips, 4oz cheese)
Calories: 1101
Total Fat: 59g
Sat. Fat: 18.5g
Cholesterol: 58mg
Sodium: 1580mg
Total Carbs: 131.5
Dietary Fiber: 7.5g
Sugars 1g
Protein: 23.6
Peanuts with shell (4 cups)
Calories: 1280
Total Fat: 96g
Sat. Fat: 16g
Sodium: 1680mg
Total Carbs: 56g
Dietary Fiber: 24g
Sugar: 7g
Protein 7g

How Can You Avoid the Dieter’s Disaster at the Ballpark?

My best advice to avoid this disaster, is to come to the ballgame prepared:
Bring your own healthy food and drinks in a soft back cooler. It will be easier to combat those cravings if you aren’t starving. Plus, you’ll save a lot of money this way.
*Nutritional information from
**The nutritional information is based on the average ballpark food and isn’t necessarily an exact reflection of the food at Busch Stadium
~ Kimberly, Emerge Fitness
For more of the latest nutrition and exercise tips, like us on Facebook
If you are ready to take the next step in your fitness journey, contact us and we will get you there.
Learn more about Kimberly, the author of this post.

Meet Carin

She tries every task at hand with a smile! Suffering from pretty severe arthritis in pretty much in every joint, she is able to move with less pain and stiffness because of her workouts!
As always, keep it up Carin!

Why are you box jumping, exactly?

If you’re jumping on tall boxes to be better at jumping on tall boxes, keep doing what you’re doing and enjoy being a skin donor from time to time.
If you’re jumping on boxes to improve athletic performance, you should follow these simple tips.

1) What matters most is the movement of the center of mass, not the height of the box. All you’ll need is a few 18, 24, and MAYBE 30 inch boxes.
2) The rule is simple. Jimmy Radcliffe said it best; “jump and land from the same position”. This means that take off and landing should look identical. If you jump from a ½ squat, land in a half squat.
3) If you’re jumping to a very high box, all you’re really doing is testing how fast you can lift your feet up (hip flexion). The point of a box jump is to test explosive hip extension. Your knees should be only SLIGHTLY bent upon landing.
Know what you’re actually accomplishing when jumping to a box.
Easy as that.
‪#‎itsyourturn‬ ‪#‎emergefitness‬ ‪#‎boxjumptips‬

Emerge Athletes Raising the Bar

A huge round of applause to Emerge athletes Rachel Beaudoin, Aimee Freiner, and Mary Freiner for proving how hard work in the offseason leads to championship level results!
All three girls trained with me in the off and preseasons to make sure their senior year of track was their best and all of them represented Christian High School this weekend at the Missouri State Track and Field Championships.
Rachel earned All-State honors in the 100m, 4x100m relay, and the 4x400m relay. Mary and Aimee were also part of the 4x100m relay and Mary joined Rachel in the 4×400.

In addition to their All-State honors, the girls finished their final high school season with many school records: Rachel with the indoor 55 and 60m, and the outdoor 100m and 200m, Aimee with the 300m hurdles, all three on the 4x100m relay team, and Rachel and Mary on the 4×400!
I am beyond proud of the level of dedication each of these girls had to improving themselves and contributing to their team and it was an honor to watch them at State!
USATF-1, USAW-1, Head Cross Country and Track and Field coach, Speed and Agility Specialist


Elmer Is Just Getting Started

I want to give a shout out to one of my clients Elmer. Elmer’s hard work and dedication has given him not only results on the scale and body fat percentage but also his strength and overall energy levels through his day to day routine! Elmer has dropped 13lbs in just 6 weeks! In addition to his weight loss he has also dropped 4% body fat! Numbers are great to see change, but the major change I see in him is his ability to continue to improve each workout! Nice work Elmer!
Tyler M.


What does Fitness look like?

So many people have their opinions of how you should look because you workout. We are constantly shown by the media what is considered healthy.
I’m here to tell you exactly what fitness looks like. It looks like a soccer mom, a grandma, an athlete chasing after their dream, someone who still has 100 lbs to go but has already lost 50, the person using the gym to help their mind become healthy, a dad, a quilter, a chemist, a computer guru, a nurse…..

Fitness and health have so many different shapes, sizes, genders, body types, careers, and ages.
THE BEST PART?!?! YOU fit in. You are a part of something awesome, no matter what your journey is!
Moral of the story: never judge a person who is trying to better themselves! You are all awesome! And I’m so proud!
‪#‎itsyourturn‬ We would love for you to join us!

Hiring a Fitness Professional?

Considering hiring a fitness professional to assist you in achieving your goals?
I have been in the fitness training business for 15 years both as a trainer and as a training manager. Ive found that the most successful trainers have some things in common.
When searching for a trainer, be sure to consider these things.

1) Does the person LOVE fitness? Is fitness their career choice, not just a “for now” job.
2) Does the trainer live the brand? They don’t have to be a professional runner or Mr. Olympia, but if you’re hiring a professional mentor, fitness should be a huge part of their own lifestyle.
3) Does the trainer map out a plan for you and explain the “why” for that plan? Every good plan (and exercise selection, really) should have a solid “why”. Otherwise it’s just arbitrary movement that will only burn a few calories at best.
4) Is your trainer on time and accountable to your scheduled time with them? A trainer must be INVESTED in your goal, and a true professional is reliable and dependable.
5) Is the trainer well-rounded? Most trainers will have specialities, but every trainer should be well educated in basic nutrition, program design for a variety of goals, and exercise modifications for a diverse clientele.
6) Does your trainer get excited for you and put energy into your session? Enthusiastic service shows the trainer is pumped for you and your progress.
This is not an exhaustive list, but as a trainer and a person who his hired and developed some of the best, I have seen these things in common in the most successful fitness pros.
I hope this list helps when searching for and choosing a trainer.
Matt Pirtle MA CSCS
Emerge Fitness Training


Shout out to Robert!!

I wanted to give some much needed recognition to my client Robert C. Robert came to me several months ago looking for someone to help him continue and progress his already very successful weight loss journey. The first day Robert and I met he looked me in the eyes and said there were two goals that he wanted to accomplish. One was that he wanted to be able to dance with his wife again. The second was to be able to play golf again. He wanted to accomplish both of these and get rid of the pain and discomfort that his body was experiencing. I told him as long as he listened to exactly what I told him that he would be able to walk out of this place and do anything that he wanted. As he continued to lose more weight you could definitely see the excitement with the way he composed himself and walked. Robert began to get leaner, quicker, faster, stronger, toner. His balance improved, mobility improved, stability improved. When he finally came back in the gym one day and told me he was moving all over the dance floor and that he felt great playing golf, I knew that I had done my job and he had done his job as well. To date Robert is now down 150 pounds. Robert you have been an absolutely phenomenal student of the gym and I have much respect for your accomplishments. You have been so much fun to train and I can’t wait to see what your future has in store for you and your wife. You inspire me and many others. Great job!
-Taylor D. CPT, CES, PES

Congratulations Kasey!!

Meet Kasey, she has been training with me for a little under 2 years and last spring she came in with wonderful news that they were expecting baby #2!!
We continued her program with a shift in focus, get as strong as we can to make delivery as easy as possible. She stayed with it until 3 weeks before her due date, and I can assure you she was glad she did!
Labor was a breeze (well as much as it can be). From the first contraction to meeting little Leighton it was just under 3 hours!!! The crazy part? Due to how strong she stayed,Kasey only had to do 2 rounds of pushing that lasted only 4 1/2 minutes!!!

Kasey looks better than ever and we are back at it, gaining strength and endurance to be able to chase these 2 little ones around and to help keep all of us protected as a police officer!
Amazing job Kasey! I’m more than impressed with you, and cannot wait to see where we can go from here!! Congrats again!

15 minutes a Day

People who exercise as little as 15 minutes a day have a 14 percent lower mortality risk than people who don’t exercise at all.
That statistic covers all causes of death, which translates at age 30 to a three-year increase in life expectancy. When it comes to cancer, those who work out 15 minutes daily are 10 percent less likely to die of it than those who don’t exercise at all.
Every additional 15 minutes of daily exercise reduces the all-cause mortality risk by another 4 percent and the cancer mortality risk by another 1 percent.

C. P. Wen et al., “Minimum Amount of Physical Activity for Reduced Mortality and Extended Life Expectancy.” The Lancet, 2011, doi:10.1016/S0140-6736(11)60749
‪#‎itsyourturn‬ ‪#‎emergefitness‬ ‪#‎just15minutes‬ ‪#‎emergestrong‬

One Step at a Time

Sometimes, you celebrate walking 4 feet.
Especially if you do it less than a month after major hip surgery.
Lindsay is on her way to lunging across the turf, check back VERY soon.

Emerge (and their clients) do some pretty amazing strength and reconditioning on a variety of injuries.

‪#‎backtolife‬ ‪#‎emergestronger‬

Keep Going Sarah!

I want to give a shout out to one of my clients, Sarah Riley. We have been training for over a year and a half, during that time she has dropped 65 lbs and countless inches, but not only has she gotten smaller physically, she has also become so much stronger mentally. Starting off she was afraid to get out of the pool for aqua and now we are powerlifting. She has since been promoted and is just all around a stronger person. She has thanked me many times for her success, but every time I remind her it’s not me it’s HER.

I tell her all the time all I am is the road map that tells her how to get where she is going on her journey, but she’s the one driving the car. There may be detours on the way and sometimes you may get lost, but all you have to do is look at the map and it will steer you back in the right direction.
Sarah I’m proud of everything you have accomplished, and I know with your NO LIMITS outlook you can do anything you set you mind too. -James
It’s your turn.
#‎emergefitness‬ ‪#‎emergefit‬ ‪#‎nolimits‬ ‪#‎goforit‬ ‪#‎itsyourturn‬ ‪#‎weightlossmotivation


Thinking of making a change to a healthier lifestyle?

The task can seem daunting at first, and it’s tough to know where to begin. Some become paralyzed with indecision about where to start.
Maybe you need to severely overhaul your nutrition, and you haven’t strength trained in 5 years, but you HAVE been good about taking walks every night.
This is the time to focus on what IS working, and figure out how you can do MORE of it.
Make your ten minute walks 15 minutes.
If your nutrition hasn’t been perfect but you’ve found time (and maybe even enjoyed) short cardio sessions, be determined to do that without fail.
Focus on a BRIGHT spot.
Make it a habit.
Then focus on ONE more bright spot.
It’s the first step in effecting a long term change.
Matt Pirtle MA CSCS
#emergefitness #itsyourturn #findthebrightspot #oneatatime

Meet Shelli!

These pictures are just over a year apart. When Shelli came in she was the classic case of the more time I workout the smaller I will get. Suffering from RA she was waking up every morning in pain. We immediately pulled her back and taught her how to maximize her time in the gym so she would not only shrink and get stronger but also she has more time to spend with her 2 sweet kids and to spend on her wedding planner business! Mornings are getting easier, and while the RA is not gone it is more manageable!
I’m so proud of you and all that you have accomplished!! Great work!


Drew and Carter Mize prepare for the baseball season

Meet Drew and Carter. Both brothers who play baseball for Zumwalt West. They both play for great organizations during summer ball as well. Drew plays for the Gamers and Carter for the Prospects! Both came to me looking for strength and power. Drew has trained just about 2 months longer than his brother but both have had extremely great results. Drew has put on 16lbs and has decreased his time in his 40 yard sprint. Carter has put on 12 lbs and also has decreased his 40 yard sprint as well. Drew being 15 years old is competing with players at the 17u level with his bat speed and Carter has been scouted by several colleges in his Jr year, being asked to attend different showcases. With several sessions under our belt together we have definitely made headway going into their upcoming try outs and season for high school. I love seeing results and the intensity from these student athletes! Keep up the great work guys!


What does foam rolling actually do for you?

Like stretching, there is a lot of ambiguity surrounding the use and efficacy of foam rolling as a fitness tool.
So, what exactly does foam rolling do?

Emerge Fitness Training's photo.

Before a workout, foam rolling can:

TEMPORARILY inhibit a muscle by stimulating an autogenic inhibition of the rolled muscle. That means, for a short period of time, the muscle being rolled will be “on vacation”, allowing fo the more effective strengthening of the surrounding and opposing muscles. So, for this cause, roll your OVERACATIVE, shortened muscle.
Break up surface level adhesion (scar tissue) allowing greater extensibility (stretch) and contractability (shortening). Again, this is a reflexive response, giving you a relatively short amount of time to enjoy the greater function of the muscle.
For these benefits, it is important to know that foam rolling should really be called foam smashing. When you roll onto a spot of discomfort, the idea is to pause on that spot for 30-60 seconds EACH for the desired inhibition to take effect.
After a workout, foam rolling can:
Relax shortened muscle tissue.
Increase circulation to the tissue.
Increase venous and lymphatic drainage,
AKA make you feel good.
Something to remember, foam rolling as a corrective exercise tool is NOT AN END IN ITSELF. It is a necessary step in helping the ensuing strengthening exercises work better.
Foam rolling causes changes in the muscle tissue that are REFLEXIVE, aka TEMPORARY. Its your strengthening exercises that really do the correcting.
If you are foam rolling to “release” muscle tissue and trigger points, you’re largely wasting your time. Do yourself a favor and find a good soft tissue professional. You’ll notice a huge difference in your range of motion and strength.

Emerge and FIT4ME Foods team up!

best of saint charlesTwo of the Best in Health and Fitness team up at Emerge!  Come to Emerge to find varied weekly selections of these delicious, healthy meals.
Emerge and FIT4ME foods were both voted “Best in St. Charles”for fitness facilities and health foods, respectively.


SmartFit now has 6 classes
throughout the week, including a much asked for Saturday 9AM class.
Strength, conditioning, and camaraderie.

Led by USAW certified strength coaches.
It’s your Turn.
M/W/F: 6am
T: 7am
W: 7pm
Sat: 9amtire flip

Congrats Rachel!!

Congratulations to Emerge athlete Rachel Beaudoin who officially signed to run for Missouri Baptist University next year!
Rachel has been training with Keelin since this summer to prepare her for her senior year of track and moving on to the college level. Her training improved her skills in basketball this winter and during the indoor track season she has set a new personal record in the 60 meter!
Rachel is going into the spring track season ranked in the Top 10 100 Meter runners and we cannot wait to see how she performs! Way to go Rachel!!!

Great Job Alyce!!

Shout out to Alyce! In the past nine months Alyce has lost close to 30 pounds, 30% body fat, more than 30 inches total over her body, has gained muscle, strength, and energy, and has learned so much in how to make healthy choices outside of the gym!
Alyce is a fantastic example of someone who understands that health is a lifetime of dedication and we are constantly learning what works best for her in her busy lifestyle. With a whole new set of goals for 2016, I cannot wait to see where her success has taken her in another nine months!
‪#‎emerge‬ ‪#‎emergestrong‬ ‪#‎itsyourturn‬

Quest Products are Restocked!!

Restocked! Stop by Emerge to pick up your favorite Quest Bars! Also check out our newest product, Quest Protein Powder! (Available in canisters and individual packs)
quest bars quest protein powder

Teaching the Young Ones about Fitness!

Emerge in the community. Emerge was at Borromeo Catholic grade school educating about nutrition and fitness today. Emerge trainer Sefton Hale delivered an interactive presentation.
sefton a borrmeo 2 sefton at borrmeo 1

Way to Go Susan!!

The journey to health and fitness is not always a smooth path. Many start out the new year with a goal or resolution, convincing themselves that “this will be the year I make it happen.” But shortly, they find the old habits of every day life reeling them back in.
Here is a piece by Susan Reschetz Gordon; evidence that with the right mindset, you can make it happen.
-“Being overweight since high school, I’ve tried many different programs and after a small amount of success with weightloss, I would find a way to sabotage my progress and ultimately gain it all back.

After my son started seeing Sefton for rehabbing a knee, I took a huge step and asked if he also worked with clients on weight loss. He sure did!
I was skeptical and nervous if he could actually help me get further than my past attempts, but am proof that Hard Work, Determination, and a great trainer can make it happen. Sefton’s my teacher, cheerleader, therapist and friend, always pushing me further than I thought I could go – and laughing with me on the way.
When I hit a plateau for over a month it would have been easy to stop with the success I had thus far. Sefton helped me understand that it’s not all about the scale and provided ideas for food and exercise to move me past that hump.
While I still have a ways to go to reach my goal, I now have life changing habits and truly feel that I can accomplish anything I set out to do!
THANKS SEFTON for always being there to push me further.”
susan gordon

Kids Camp Returns!!

You asked for it! We’ve had such a positive response from our Kids Camps, so this February, Emerge will be offering a 4 week class that will be held every Saturday at 9am. The cost is $40 for all 4 weeks.
Parents, don’t feel left out, because while the kids are doing their thing, we are offering our SmartFit class to you at the same time!
What better way to start your weekend off with a family workout! Cost is $100 for one parent and one kid for the entire month!

Contact for more information
kids camp2 2nd kids camp

There's No Better Day than Today!!

Every year we make a resolution to get in shape, to get fit. We say this is the year, this is when I’m going to do it. I’m going to join a gym, I’m going to eat right, I’m going to get that body I’ve always wanted. Then the days go by and nothing happens, no action is taken. Days turn into months, and months turn into the next year…. I’ll do it next year, but let’s be honest, next year never comes!
No more next year, no more next month, no more tomorrow but now! Now! Is the time to take that first step, to put yourself out there and become healthier, fitter, to become that person you want to be.

Anyone out there willing to take that first step come see me at @emergefitnesstraining and I will give you a complimentary session on me to get you started on your journey. – James
‪#‎itsyourturn‬ ‪#‎emergefitnesstraining‬ ‪#‎emergefitness‬ ‪#‎fitmotivation‬ ‪#‎dowork‬ ‪#‎youarealpha‬ ‪#‎renegadefitpro‬ ‪#‎newyearnewyou‬ ‪#‎letsdothis‬


Help us welcome Emerge’s newest coach, Jeremy Bauer.
He’s new to Emerge but has been training for over 10 years!
“I came to physical fitness through a personal desire to lose weight and get in shape after struggling with childhood obesity.”

Prior to entering the fitness world I weighed over 300lbs. With hard work, dedication and committing myself to research and fitness education I lost over 100 lbs without assistance.
Once I lost the weight, I traveled to Florida where I studied at the National Personal Training Institute where I completed 500 hours of training including nutrition, exercise design, anatomy and physiology.
After which I returned to St. Louis and began training at 24Hour Fitness.
My desire is to teach people that there is no magic to achieving their fitness goals; only the willingness to change their lifestyle. Using a well designed holistic fitness plan, that includes nutritional advice, they can see success with hard work, commitment and a little bit of fun; a desire that stems from my journey.
My personal experiences drive me to constantly research new techniques that allow me to tailor unique workouts for each of my clients. While weight loss is certainly a professional strength, I have excelled at training a variety of clients from child athletes to clients looking for post physical therapy and chronic pain management.
After 10 years, over 10,000 sessions and achieving Master Trainer status I decided to leave the corporate world and join the Emerge team.
jeremy bauer


Emerge clientele and fans, thank you for your support and the opportunity to serve you in 2015.
To thank you, we are offering the chance to win a $100 Smartfit Class gift card. Just share this post to enter to win.
Incidentally, you will also be entered to win a $100 gift card from FIT4ME Foods. FIT4ME Foods offers convenient, delicious and healthy meal options packaged and ready to go.
‪#‎emergefitness‬ ‪#‎fit4me‬ ‪#‎bestofstcharles‬ ‪#‎fitin2016‬
best of saint charles

Christmas Eve Bootcamp!

Tomorrow is Christmas Eve! Sleep in til 8, stay in your pj’s, and come to Emerge at 9am for our Pre-Christmas Pajama Boot Camp! Kathryn and Kimberly have a calorie kicking workout planned for you! Cost is $10
*We understand some of you sleep naked, but for the sake of other boot campers, please refrain. Squats are not a “clothing option” exercise 😉

christmas eve bootcamp 2015

Great Job Marilyn!

Marilyn is in her 70s and is determined to challenge herself to being the strong active woman she is.
She has lost 12 lbs and feels like a new person.
Outside of just her weight loss, she continues to amaze me every workout I see her. She takes on any exercise I ask with a smile. I’m so proud of you, keep it up! – Beth
marilyn hoops

Special Shout Out to Theresa!!

It’s Friday! AND we are due for another client spotlight that demonstrates both hard work and the correct fitness formula.
Theresa Sextro, come on down! You are the next winner in the world of fitness!! It has been one year since Theresa walked through the doors of Emerge with pain in her shoulder that had her contemplating surgery. After getting her functional rehab program started, and all but eliminating the original shoulder pain, she decided it was time to work on her overall health. So in March, the program switched up to emphasize on weight loss. After 9 months of hard work – coming in 3x a week, complimenting with walk/running at home, and sensible nutrition – she has lost over 40 lbs and 25 cumulative inches!!!!

She now RUNS in 5k races when they first seemed intimidating just to participate.
She considers mediums when out t-shirt shopping.
She has grown to enjoy and look forward to her tough strength-based workouts, when she initially loathed them.
You have truly evolved during this time Theresa to represent success in fitness, I’m proud of you!
We all look forward to your next update. But for now, it’s back to work…
theresa sextro before theresa sextro currently

Team Training!

It’s never too early to start strength and conditioning training as long as a few things are at the forefront of the training program. Proper programming, variation, and technique are some of the most important things to consider when training any client but especially a younger client.
The last thing I focus on is having FUN.
For more information on team training, contact me at 314-775-6111

– Kathryn BS, CSCS, CES, PNL1, USAWL-L1
team training 1 team training 2

Never Too Early to Start!

So impressed with our SmartFit young athletes!
Everyone who attends these classes has a different background in sports and range of experience in the gym, but the work ethic and desire to learn is the same across the board. To see how proud they are of what they’ve accomplished in such a short time is truly rewarding!
Next class is Wednesday at 7 PM, come join us!

Mondays: 7 PM
Wednesdays: 7 PM
Saturdays: 10 AM
young smarfit 1

Toys for Tots Was a Success!!

Emerge family!!
You have all been so wonderful in your contributions to Toys for Tots and I cannot wait to take what we have so far to the BRRBASH drop off event tomorrow night! This has been one of the best collections I’ve seen at the participating St. Charles County businesses!

I’ll be collecting the toys tomorrow about noon so bring any last donations to Emerge by noon Saturday!
Thank you all again!
toys for tots

Fun Conditioning!

“Strong moms make stronger daughters.”
Sometimes lifting and flipping a really heavy tire is fun.
Conditioning can be so much more than running or hopping on the elliptical. Try pairing two exercises together for a short and high intensity circuit. Nan completed some tire flips and push-ups for her conditioning and was completely gassed by the end of it.

– Kathryn BS, CSCS, CES, PNL1, USAWL-L1
tire flip

Even Stars Train!

This past weekend the Saint Charles Stars Volleyball Club began their preseason training at Emerge!
It was a huge turnout and the girls worked hard in both strength and conditioning! The teams will be putting in work throughout the winter so they’ll be more than ready when season starts!
Show the girls support as they get ready for their season by liking this post!

Keelin, Kathryn, and Corey
stars volleyball 1 stars volleyball 2

100% Sales Goes to Five Acres!

They have arrived! Come by Emerge to get your super soft 2015 Get Fit For Fido t-shirt! We have adult sizes Small-2XL and Youth sizes Small-Large. Shirts are $20 and thanks to our wonderful sponsors (they are on the back of the shirts) 100% of the sales goes to Five Acres!
Get fit for fido 2015

Fit4Me Here at Emerge!!

The cooler is stocked with this weeks menu and some new entrées listed below.
We had over a 100 entrees sold in the first two weeks. These go fast so make sure to pick yours up today.
Fit4Me food

College Smartfit!

SmartFit for High School and College Athletes has already seen boys and girls training for basketball, volleyball, football, wrestling, track and field, soccer, and general fitness!
Come join us tonight at 7, Wednesday at 7, and Saturday at 10 AM so your youth athletes can take their fitness to a new level!
College Smarfit

Get Fit For Fido This Week!

Tomorrow night kicks off our 7th Annual Get Fit For Fido! Get in a great workout, purchase some raffle tickets for some great gift baskets, and pick up this year’s shirt! Fido runs thru Dec. 10th!
Fit for Fido 2015

Come Check Out Our Smartfit!

Curious about what our SmartFit classes have to offer?
SmartFit is a combination of strength training and conditioning with modifications and progressions for all fitness levels. There is also a strong focus on form and technique to ensure all clients are injury free.
Come try your first class for free!

– Kathryn BS, CSCS, CES, PNL1, USAWL-L1
#smartfit #emergestrong #kathrynstgeorge #saintcharlespersonaltraining #ItsYourTurn
kathryn st george smartfit

Emerge's Turkey Challenge!

Last year’s Turkey Trot 3k donated over 25 turkeys to O.A.S.I.S. food pantry. This year, we’re kicking it up a notch and we’re wanting to make it bigger and better… Are you up for the challenge?
#turkeychallenge #emergefitness #O.A.S.I.S #ItsYourTurn #upforthechallenge #saintcharles
turkey challenge 2015

Congratulations Korey!!

Congrats Emerge athlete Korey Toomer who is now an Oakland Raider!
Korey came to Emerge in August fresh out of ankle surgery.
Korey worked through rehab, into strengthening, and then speed and agility, progressing quickly to his current game-ready status.
The two Matts (Matt Wirth and Matt Pirtle) shared training responsibilities with Korey during the process.
Another Matt, Dr. Matt Lytle, worked hard with Korey keeping his tissue healthy while he strengthened.
#ItsYourTurn #emergestrong #Toomerisaraider #hardworkpaysoff #emergefitness #saintcharles
korey toomer 1 korey toomer 2

Spooktacular Savings!

Spooktacular Savings at Emerge! 20% off of the Smores, White Chocolate Raspberry, and Double Chocolate Chunk Quest bars! Sale ends November 1st.
#savings #questbar #emergefitness #stcharles
spooktacular savings

Corporate Training

Thanks Coach Jess for setting up a great table at United Health Care’s wellness event. Jess will be Emerge’s corporate training coordinator, let us know of any corporate events that we may be able to participate in!
#jessbaker #corporatetraining #emergefitness #ItsYourTurn #stcharles #personaltraining
jess corporate fitness

Come See Us if You're Ready for a Change

Emerge isn’t about training.
We are a company who makes change.
Our tools are barbells and medicine balls, but our product is CHANGE.
When you make a change, you FEEL different.
Feel happy.
Feel accomplished.
Feel GOOD.
Emerge is here to help you make the change.
#ItsYourTurn #takethefirststep #emergestrong #emergefitness #stcharles
emerge change

7th Annual Get Fit For Fido

December 1st, Emerge Fitness will be kicking off our 7th annual Get Fit For Fido. This is a very large fitness event that benefits Five Acres Animal Shelter.  Five Acres is a 501(c) no-kill animal rescue. They received no government funding and solely run on private donations and grants.
Our Emerge trainers volunteer their time to give you a one hour workout that will have you leaving with a sense of accomplishment (and  sweaty too)! We just ask that you bring an item to donate to Five Acres. If you have a family coming, don’t worry about bringing multiple items, a big bag of dog/cat food works great!
This year we are hosting Get Fit for Fido at our new facility: 920 Hemsath Rd, Suite 100, St. Charles, MO
We also have some GREAT gift baskets we will be raffling off and this year we have some very awesome Get Fit for Fido t-shirts to purchase. Thanks to some local sponsors, they have covered the costs of the shirts so 100% of the proceeds goes to Five Acres! (They are pretty awesome shirts this year, I won’t lie).
Are you looking for a dog to adopt? Five Acres will be bringing by a dog each night to greet everyone.
For more information, or if you are a business who would like to get involved, please contact Kimberly at (636)345-3324 or
Fit for Fido 2015

Shout Out to Alex McKamely

Congrats to Emerge client Alex McKamely! Alex and the IWA Red Knights (softball) made it all the way to the state quarterfinals, ending an amazing season. Watch out for this young team in the coming years
#emergestrong #ItsYourTurn #IWApower #hardworkpaysoff #softball
IWA softball 1IWA softball 2

Come Check Us Out!

Today I have been a professional coach/ trainer for 14 years. So has my wife, Angie.
In fact, I met her the first day on the job.
On that note, Emerge has 4 trainers with 10+ years experience (of actually training clients).
The average years of training experience at Emerge is 7.
That’s about 6 years longer than the average in the personal training industry.
We are learning from each other every day.
Come see what the Emerge difference FEELS like.
#itsyourturn #emergestrong #TheEmergeDifference #BornToDoThis
Albert einstein saying

Keep It Up Rickie!

Rickie has been working hard for her upcoming basketball tryouts at Incarnate Word Academy.
If you’re from St. Louis and you’re familiar with basketball then you know that IWA is the powerhouse of basketball.
Throughout Rickie’s training over the years we would occasionally discuss what her goals are and how she was going to achieve them. We both agreed that it would take hard work, dedication, commitment, and sacrifice.

Rickie has done all of those things and more.
To attend and play for IWA has always been one of her goals. The amount of pride I have for her cannot be put into words. I know Rickie is going to do amazing things on and off the court with her nitty-gritty work ethic.
Awesome job, Rickie! ‪#‎emergestrong‬
Show Rickie your support by “liking” this post!
– Kathryn BS, CSCS, CES, PNL1, USAWL-L1
#emergestrong #IWA #basketballgains #workhard
rickie IWA basketball

Come Eat to Support!

Hello everyone!
I am happy to say that there will be another Dine to Donate this October at Texas Roadhouse in Saint Charles off of Fifth Street and next to Bass Pro Shop. Come eat anytime between 3:30-10:00pm Thursday, October 22 and while you are enjoying some delicious food you can know that 10% of your bill will be going to a great cause. 10% of sales that evening will be going to my mom to help her with her medical bills as well as treatment expenses. If anybody doesn’t know what I’m referring to then please message me for details. Last year was a HUGE success and we look forward to another great evening. Please share this with any and everybody you know who loves Texas Roadhouse and donating to great local causes.
#supportacause #emergestrong #saintcharles #dinetodonate #

Smartfit Buddy Edition!

This Saturday, October 17th, at 9 AM, grab your favorite workout partner and join us for SmartFit: Partner Edition!
This special strength and conditioning class is only $25 per duo and is open to people of ALL fitness levels.
See you Saturday!
#smartfit #bringafriend #ItsYourTurn #emergestrong #saintcharles
smartfit bring a buddy

Come Support Our Furry Friends!

Two months from today we kick off our 7th Annual Get Fit for Fido!
#GetFitforFido #furryfriends #emerge #ItsYourTurn #personaltraining #saintcharles
Fit for Fido 2015

Special Shout Out to Eric!

Just like his shirt says, Eric never gave up and persevered through another contest preparation. He will be competing in his second physique competition this Saturday!
#emergestrong #nevergiveup #hardworkshows #ItsYourTurn
Eric Physique

Ladies Night!!

Have an injury and still want to join a class? We work around various injuries in the ladies small groups on Tuesday and Thursday nights.
5:00pm tonight! Come and join us!
#ItsYourTurn #emerge #jessbaker #ladiesgroup #personaltraining #saintcharles
Jess Small Group

Come See Kathryn for Some Fun Work!

Looking for an affordable and fun workout? Grab some friends and come see me at Emerge!
– Kathryn BS, CSCS, CES, PNL1, USAW-L1
#kathryn #emergefitness #saintcharles #funwork #ItsYourTurn
kathryn smartfit

Preseason Gains!

Danny’s preseason strength and vertical test day. Successfully increased bench press, deadlift, back squat, and vertical.
#emergefitness #basketballstrength #saintcharles #ItsYourTurn #gains

Keep Up the Great Work Jackie!

Client Jackie Kauffmann has Emerged! She has successfully completed a new Personal Record on her deadlift and will continue to strive for more! Keep up the hard work Jackie!
#emergefitness #ItsYourTurn #saintcharles #personaltraining #workhard
jackie kauffmann

Important Event? We Can Help!

Congrats to emerge client Lizzy Morrison for her big day yesterday! She has worked incredibly hard for this dress and it showed. Lizzy you were stunning yesterday!
#jessbaker #emergefitness #wedding #workhard #ItsYourTurn #St. Charles Personal Training
wedding with jess and client

Here that thunder roar!

Skills exhibited by the U6 girls soccer team “Thunder” at Emerge on Thursday night!
#emergestrong #soccergirls #Thunderpower #emergefitness #St. Charles
Thunder Soccer

All the Kids Are Doing It!

Our Second Kids Camp was a big hit! Thanks to all of the kids who attended and for our staff for another successful class!
#emergetraining #St. Charles Personal Training #kidscamp #emergefitness
kids camp 1

It's Only a New Beginning!

We said our last good bye to Emerge2 today. I hope we never have to move another roll of rubber or dumbbell ever again.
#emergefitness #SaintCharles #ItsYourTurn #newbeginning
old emerge 2

Want to run faster or jump higher?

Strength training and conditioning are two of the most overlooked aspects of any athlete’s practice regimen. Not only will strength training and conditioning help an athlete achieve optimal results, it will also help prevent injury.
For more questions about performance training, contact me at

– Kathryn BS, CSCS, CES, PNL1, USAWL-1


Today, we can add “World Cup Champion” to our Emerge client resume. Congrats to Becky Sauerbrunn and Team USA! You can see Becky’s signed jersey at our new location!11052872_10153449408019824_308996987615452161_n

The Leg Press‎

This is a machine that should be used judiciously with very specific clientele with very specific range of motion.
Besides for its limited functional transfer to real-life need, this VIDEO demonstration shows the lumbar flexion (under load) at the bottom of the movement.

NO GOOD for the lower back.
I’ve had many clients with lumbar problems flare up because of this machine (and they can’t understand why)…this video does a good job of illustrating it.
Your best bet for leg strength and development? Save your spine and modify the squat to fit your capabilities.
‪#‎emergefitness‬ ‪#‎ItsYourTurn‬ ‪#‎UseWithCaution‬


We have a new location, yay! But now you need to know where it is!
The address is
920 Hemsath Rd
St. Charles, MO 63303

It is off the road a bit so here is a visual of what lane to turn off.
Some have asked how far this is from major highways:
5.3 miles from our current location via Muegge to Hwy 364
4 miles from our current location via Muegge to old 94/94
3.7 miles from South 5th at at I-70 via Arena Pkwy
1 mile from Westbound 364 via Arena Pkwy
Are you coming up from the Katy Trail? We are only a quick .7 miles away.
If you have any questions about directions, just let us know! We hope to see you there soon!

Corey Parr

What do you do with exceptional interns at Emerge?
Develop them into next generation rock star trainers!
Congrats Corey Parr! Welcome to the Emerge trainer team.

Lindenwood University
B.S. Exercise Science
Minor in Nutrition
Emerge Fitness Training
-Shadowing, learning, and acquiring exercise knowledge from highly experienced trainers in sports performance, restorative strength, and weight loss.
USA Weightlifting Level 1


A special shout out to Emerge client Alyce!

After memberships at several other gyms failed to produce results, and a hectic work schedule made fitness and nutrition control difficult, Alyce decided to start personal training at Emerge about two months ago. Starting with 30 minute sessions to help build up her stamina, Alyce has been working hard, always with a smile on her face and never a complaint. When something is difficult, she always says, “I can’t give up, I know the end result will be worth it.”

Two weeks ago the results started to become obvious. She no longer craves fast food, she feels stronger, she’s happier, and she’s doing things she never thought she could (Running!). Most importantly, for the first time in her history of working out, she wakes up in the morning excited to get back to the gym and get her workout in! The inches she’s losing no longer matter to her. She’s in love with how she feels, not with a certain number on a scale or a particular clothing size.
Thank you so much Alyce for reminding us that health and fitness is a lifestyle, not a number! Can’t wait to see what you accomplish next!
~Coach Keelin
11250203_10153393617369824_4536447024999571701_n 11401081_10153393617384824_20871070421164220_n 1795509_10153393617404824_3463218501119156500_n

Tyler Martin!

We are thrilled to announce the latest addition to the Emerge trainer team!
Welcome Tyler Martin!
“Being involved in athletics my entire life, exercise and health started to become more than just what you read in a magazine or what you pull up on YouTube – it became a lifestyle. I always believed that athletics and being part of a team atmosphere can help you grow and develop in many different aspects of life. Sports played an intricate part in my life growing up – I played many sports throughout my childhood and continued to grow and develop as I got older. Baseball became my true passion and I played throughout high school and worked hard to continue playing in college, where I was a starting pitcher and scholarship athlete.

Not only did athletics help me focus on my physical health, but playing sports also allowed me great success in the classroom. After graduating from Quincy University with a BS in Physical Education and an emphasis in kinesiology, exercise physiology, and athletic training, I started my journey as a personal trainer with 24 Hour Fitness in St. Louis.
With 24 Hour Fitness, I moved through the ranks very fast and was a full time trainer within my first three months. In 2012 I was the top trainer in the Midwest region. After having great success as a trainer I then turned my attention into management and became a Fitness Manager for 15 months, in which I was accepted into the CMT program (Club Manager in Training). I then was promoted again to Club Manager at the Arnold location. During my time being the Club manager I came to realize that I missed my passion for training, my reason for entering the Fitness industry in the first place, and I decided I wanted to get back into training one-on-on to help people accomplish anything they set their minds to. I also knew I wanted a change in environment and that I wanted to focus on a professional setting in Fitness Training with Emerge!
My experience playing sports through the years sparked my interest in helping others accomplish a goal or change their life. Through personal training, I have been able to encourage many people over the years through accomplishing goals they had set out to achieve for years, sometimes their entire lives. I have serviced over 5,000 sessions from athletes to weight loss clients. Focusing on personal goals and achievements and living the values of a healthy lifestyle helps me get my clients to their goals, no matter if they have been working out for years or are just starting out. My main focus is to continue to push people to reach new heights in their personal day to day lives. No matter what goal they set, we can work together to accomplish anything!”
‪#‎emergefitness‬ ‪#‎itsyourturn‬ ‪#‎StellarStaff‬ ‪#‎teamEmerge‬11390243_10153373358244824_8336655918472889546_n

Emerge Running & Triathlon Team

So excited to announce that the official Emerge Running and Triathlon Training Team will launch this June!!!!
The team is designed for all of our Emerge runners and triathletes, from the experienced racers to the very beginners, to have an environment where you can train, meet, and race with people of similar minds. We will have scheduled group runs, meet at the track for speed work, and have various clinics with your top notch Emerge Fitness trainers to help you not only race, but race healthy and have a good time!

Anyone who is interested in a customized training program for whatever style race you have as a goal, please contact Coach Keelin Russell, who will meet with you and help you develop the right training plan for YOU! As summer races pile up and training for fall races begins soon, be sure to schedule your consultation today!
Stay tuned to the Emerge Facebook page as updates for the team are posted! LET’S GO TEAM EMERGE!
-Coach Kee Russell11008638_10153313718234824_5422528664407790969_n

All about the balance

It is so important to have balance in your workouts! No matter how strong and powerful you are, you need to have control, stability, and coordination.
Chris has been introducing core control exercises into his workouts that have improved his overall strength and performance. This was his first attempt at a TRX exercise for improving core control in headstands and shoulder stands! So impressed!
-Coach Kee

Saturday SmartFit!

8am Saturday morning SmartFit. Where you at?! These ladies started their weekends off with a bang!! Today was a lung burning workout designed to wake the entire body up!!!! Make sure to check out the SmartFit schedule so you don’t miss our next class.
10917030_10153300382449824_3199092267378379823_n 11233505_10153300382324824_5199716712751739054_n 11259507_10153300382234824_7077284133715093973_n 11065870_10153300382154824_7057839914746183895_n

It's not always about the scale

This is the difference only 8lbs can make. Picture #1 was taken at our fido event in December, picture #2 was last night at small group training. Many times people focus so hard on the scale to see/feel results of hard work and cleaner eating. Kristen is a walking example not to forget non-scale victories as simple as comparing 2 photos or how your clothes fit. She’s now not only stronger and healthier, but is needing to buy new clothes (according to her, none of pants fit)! Kristen, you are an absolute joy to train and have in small group! Keep it up! -Jess

Determination > Age

Just another day at the gym with 68 year old Mary G. She is a perfect example of not letting your age determine what you can and cannot do. We have been training for well over a year now and day by day, week by week, month over month she has gotten stronger, leaner, more stable, And more confident with what her body can do. Today she made 80 pounds worth of dumbbell lunges look effortless. Keep it up Mary G!!
Taylor D.10982412_10153297957939824_4229018555062241712_n


Summer is right around the corner and it’s the perfect time to get ready for your upcoming season in the fall. Don’t miss out on your chance to build a foundation of strength and conditioning!
– Kathryn BS, CSCS, CES, PN1, USAW-L1
11062735_10153295633899824_5454292611518695725_n 11266451_10153295633854824_3608829431639769934_n

Be Extraordinary!

Do the “little bit more” it takes to be extraordinary. Usually, the difference between mediocre and something much more is a relatively small amount of effort.
It’s Your Turn. Emerge.

Inside Emerge: Meet Corey!

*Name: Corey Parr
*Job Position: Intern/Front Desk Representative/Prospect Trainer

*Hometown: Fenton, MO
*How Long Have You Worked at Emerge: 1 1/2 years
*Favorite Exercise: Bench Press
*Least Favorite Exercise: Running
*Biggest Gym Pet Peeve: Not cleaning up your weights when finished
*Best Part About Working at Emerge: The environment and the trainers- all great people that are really focused and motivated.
*Most Memorable Thing That Happened at Emerge: Meeting David Backes at the Trail for Tails. And training Orlando Pace.
*Favorite Healthy Meal: Grilled Buffalo Chicken Salad
*Something Random About Me: I am an Eagle Scout

Shout out to Emerge client Dinal!

Dinal went through intensive abdomen surgery a few months ago in order to donate over 65% of her liver. As soon as her body had recovered enough to train, she came to Emerge to regain strength in her core and improve her overall fitness and health.
In just a few short weeks, Dinal’s combination of personal training and boot camps has led to a huge improvement in her core and overall strength and an increase in energy levels! Her hard work is such an inspiration to her family, friends, and myself! Keep it up Dinal!
-Coach Kee

What is true strength?

You may remember Jessica from a previous post. She rehabbed from hip dysplasia surgery at Emerge. From learning to walk again to deadlifting 165 pounds, to conquering difficult exercises like this one, she’s come a loooooong way.
Jessica has gotten seriously strong.

Here, she performs a full body, multi planar stability exercise.
The first part of the exercise involves stabilizing with movement, the second part requires a hold with a change in resistance.
It’s Your Turn. Emerge.

Emerge at Karen 4 A Kause!

Great morning with cool weather for a 5k, 1mile, and Kids Mad Dash at The Karen 4 a Kause, at St Charles Frontier Park. Emerge represented well with PR’s and 1st and 2nd placing in age groups from Corey Parr, Beth Pirtle, Kathryn St George, Dorothy Holtzwarth, and Nan Lammers.
1908182_10153285585204824_5672285170245013706_n 11109491_10153285583879824_40896361296057837_n 11209670_10153285583709824_6977385826646206707_n 11210503_10153285584119824_3255154661999628311_n

First 5K ever for emerge client John!

Words cannot even express how proud I am of my client, John! He finished his first 5k ever, ran the entire time, AND finished 5 minutes faster than his goal time! John and his wife Theresa, also an emerge client, completed today’s race with their 3 daughters to promote exercise and healthy self image in today’s young women! What an amazing event! I couldn’t be more proud of you and your family John, such an inspiration!
-Jess Baker

Shame on "Shamers"

There has been quite the buzz about an incident involving a trainer at a St. Louis fitness facility. He was sitting behind a woman at a Cardinals game and decided that because of her size, he should exploit her and do some “fat shaming” on social media. The remarks he made were soon followed by more comments defending his thoughts. This has caused quite the uproar across the nation.
Soon after, the woman who was in the photo spoke up. In such a classy way, she wrote about how she is actually in the process of losing weight. She had started at weighing 400lbs. She was finally fed up with her weight and she began to take steps in the right direction to change. She began eating cleaner food, walking more, and even hired a trainer. She is currently down 150 lbs. and she’s very proud of her progress (as she should be!) and she’s as determined as ever to continue her journey.
Conclusion: Woman-1, Fat Shamer-0.
I heard a lot of talk about this in the gym this morning. Even my clients as well as my coworkers engaged in conversation about it. And we all had the same question: “Why?”
Why does “shaming” of anyone have to happen? We hear people fat shaming, hating on thin girls, hating on people with too much muscle, hating on people with not much muscle. Frankly, it seems exhausting and time consuming. Most of the time when we come across these type of comments, we can generalize that the person saying them has some sort of self-conscious issues and they “shame” to make themselves feel better.
In this case, the guy is just a prick.
He calls himself a trainer and he’s in the fitness industry? Why? Why would you have a profession where your NUMBER ONE objective is to HELP PEOPLE ACHIEVE THEIR GOALS and yet you put down the very people who need you the most?
When we sit down with a potential weight loss client the VERY FIRST thing we hear is “I don’t want to work out in an intimidating place.” I get it. Who really wants to be in a place where you feel like people are staring at you or secretly making hurtful comments from other members? Nobody does. Unfortunately these places exist. Obviously, this trainer’s gym is one of those places.
People are their own worst critics. No one gives them a harder time than themselves. If people are overweight or underweight or not in their “ideal shape” they already are aware of this. They don’t need others pointing it out. And when they are tired and fed up of feeling that way, they will make steps in order to change. THAT is when a real trainer comes into the picture. We’re here to help you and guide you and pretty much set up a game plan for you to reach your goals.
To the woman in the picture: You’re doing everything right. And I commend you for having such grace and class in how you handled all of this. There’s no way I could have kept my composure like you did. You inspired me this week. Keep that head up and keep kicking ass.
To the “Trainer”: I’m so sorry I have to be considered your colleague. I’m sorry that people will hear this story and now have a little resentment towards all trainers. I’ve read other comments you have made on your Facebook page and I’m sorry you have to pride yourself on being such a jerk who is obviously in this business for the wrong reasons.
To the Readers: You don’t have to like where you’re at right now and that’s ok. But it’s not ok for someone to tell you they don’t like where you’re at right now. If you want to make a healthier lifestyle for yourself, AWESOME. Great trainers are out there who will help you (ahem, Emerge Fitness) and will encourage you, motivate you, and you won’t just leave with a healthier image, but a stronger confidence as well.
It’s Your Turn. Emerge.
Kimberly Renoud,
Emerge Fitness Training