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 ben@emergefitnesstraining.com

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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