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