Work your body, Save your Spine!

There are a few exercises that I believe no one should EVER do. These are exercises that the cost (potential for injury) FAR outweighs the benefit (potential for improvement).
Three of these exercises are the loaded sit up, the “superman”, and a loaded roman chair back extension (or leg lift).
“The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) has recommended the lower limit of spinal compression to be 3300 Newton (336 kg force). In other words, doing exercises that have been scientifically proven to exceed 3300 Newton increases the chance of traumatic spinal compression.”
1 Newton is the force of Earth’s gravity on a mass of about 102 g = (1⁄9.81 kg).
Just to put it in perspective, a superman imposes at least 6000 newtons of compressive force on the spine, that’s 1,350 pounds of force!
These exercises either flex or extend the spine to the point of potential mechanical failure. Instead, focus on STABILITY exercise like the “stir the pot” or the “bird dog.”
Make smart decisions with your choices of exercise. Most exercises will make you a stronger person, but some have the potential to do the exact opposite.
It’s Your Turn. Emerge.

What Muscles are Actually Firing??

I’m a research guy. 
To me, well done research trumps anecdotal gym “bro science” any day. 
Show me some evidence in the form of good research, and I’m willing to test it in the lab (aka the Emerge workout floor) to see if it sticks in a real-world test. 
One of the most interesting research topics (for me at least) are the studies using EMG machines to measure the electrical impulses of muscle. (During rest and contraction). 
Basically, in these studies the EMG is recording what muscles are firing and to what extent. 
Here is a list of a few common exercises with the EMG activity (a summary) of the primary muscles involved. Of note is that many of these are considered “ab” exercises. It is important to minimize the recruitment of the hip flexors (especially the psoas) when attempting to train these muscles. The hip flexors are normally already short, over recruited muscles that, for 90% of people, need no extra work…
1) Side plank- 
Works the side of the hip (glute medius) as much or MORE than its works the abs and obliques. 
Glute Medius = Core 
2) Bent knee sit ups-
Works the hip flexors (psoas) equally to the abs. 
Hip Flexors = Core
3) Straight leg raises-
Works the hip flexors TWICE as much as it does the abs. 
As a matter of fact, a PUSH UP from the toes activates the abs almost equally to the straight leg raise. 
Hip Flexors > Abdominals
4) Bent knee curl up (crunch)-
Activates the abs SIX times as much as the hip flexors, and more so than the sit up. 
Abdominals > Hip Flexors
5) Dead Lift- 
a moderately loaded deadlift (150-250 pounds) activates the obliques, abdominals, and hip flexors equally (and at a relatively low level). The erector muscles of the back are activated SIX times as much. 
Spinal Erectors > Abdominals
These are just a few examples, and there are many more (many were a big surprise to me!)
I’ll be doing a brief article every week based on current evidence/research in the fitness field. 
It’s Your Turn. Emerge. 
Matt Pirtle MA CSCS

THIS is what training the CORE is about

I was pleasantly SURPRISED with this succinctly written article. I couldn’t have said it better myself….
I’ve been a trainer for almost 13 years. In that time, I’ve spent A LOT of time studying the muscles that collectively are known as the core. 
Understanding the true function of these muscles and how they perform their primary job of spinal and hip stability has been a product of years of study and practical experience/ practice. 
So, when I see any blog or article claiming to explain core exercise or function, my natural instinct (from experience) is to cringe. I’ve come to not expect much, at best, from these articles.
If you’d like to understand the true function of the core unit and how to TRAIN it, read this. 

Matt Pirtle MA CSCS
It’s Your Turn. Emerge.

Are you ready for the side plank?

The anatomy of a side plank.
A side plank is a very precise, very DIFFICULT exercise to master.
Most of the time when I witness a side plank, what I am seeing is an exerciser doing EVERYTHING they can just to stay off the ground. Most contort their body in an effort just to stay up.
Side planks, done well, are more than just staying off the ground.
When side planking, the body must be in perfect, neutral alignment. The ear in line with the shoulder, the shoulder with the hip, the hip with the knee, and the knee with the ankle.
When assuring this perfect neutral alignment, the challenge to the core is very high.
In addition, the hip muscles, especially the glute medius, are challenged to a great degree.
When adding to the side plank to your exercise regimen, make certain that you can hold a neutral position for at least 10 seconds. If you cannot, this exercise will be full of compensations. This will do nothing for performance and will actually encourage faulty
It’s Your Turn. Emerge.

Try this for glute and hamstring strength!

Click to view video:
Dusty performs a standing hip thrust on the Keiser cables. There are two advantages to this exercise versus the standard hip thrust on a bench:
1) the exerciser is performing the movement in a STANDING position. This is normally the position a person is in when they are using their glutes and hamstrings.
2) the resistance is coming from directly in FRONT of the exerciser. This means that even at the end of the movement (standing) the exerciser is under resistance (versus a bar that would simply be compressive resistance at the top)
Work this in with the standard hip thrust for a functional compliment to classic glute training.
It’s Your Turn. Emerge.

There are exercises for abs, and then there are exercises for the core

When training the CORE for performance, there are 4 core “abilities” that need to be addressed. All four relate to core/spinal STABILITY. They are;
1) anti flexion- stopping forces attempting to FLEX the spine
2) anti extension- stopping forces attempting to EXTEND the spine
3) anti side bending- stopping forces attempting to BEND the spine right or left
4) anti rotation- stopping forces attempting to ROTATE
By increasing the strength of the core muscles associated with these ANTI MOVEMENTS, you are effectively building armor around your spine that transmits force without leaking energy. If you are strong and stable in 3 of these, but not the 4th, you basically have a “kink” in your armor that may be exposed (through injury or lower performance).
The most effective way to train the core in these abilities is to expose the exerciser to forces that are attempting to do the very things that they are attempting to avoid.
For example, a planking exercise places the exerciser under forces that attempt to extend the spine (gravity), so the challenge is to stiffen the core muscle to NOT allow this movement.
Again, the ability to AVOID movement in the spine is true core performance work, as opposed to exercises that encourage spinal movement (crunches, chops, leg lifts etc.)
Loading the spine and then moving it is not recommended, and in many circumstances will lead to disc injuries among other problems. There are a FEW safe ways to perform these types of exercises. It’s a topic for a later post.
The four examples below are exercise examples of anti flexion, anti extension, anti side bending, and anti rotation.
It’s Your Turn. Emerge.

The WALKING DEADLIFT. A Big Bang-for-your-buck exercise.

Click above link to view video demo.
Anyone who has trained with me in the last two years has heard me reference, and has probably performed my “favorite exercise of all time.” This exercise is the Walking Deadlift. Much like the walking lunge, the exerciser strides across the floor.
The major difference is that the hip flexes as the front foot hits the ground. This change allows the exerciser to use the POSTERIOR CHAIN (including the all powerful glute max) to pull themselves into an erect position before the next step.
This is a functional strengthener, as it is a mobile exercise that utilizes the core for spinal stability (see that Corey’s spine stays neutral throughout) and uses the hips unilaterally (mimicking walking).
It’s Your Turn. Emerge
Matt Pirtle MA CSCS

Endurance Athletes! It's Time to Add Strength Training to Your Regimen

Endurance athletes!
By now you’ve probably heard of the potential benefits of strength training as part of your endurance training regimen. A stable core and powerful hips will help any athlete perform better by increasing speed and optimizing movement efficiency.
If you’re resisting adding strength training into your training, consider this.
Strength training is different from hypertrophy training (bodybuilding).
The goal of strength training is to get the most out of the EXISTING musculature. The change comes from the optimization of your NEURAL connection to the muscle you currently have. The more motor units in a muscle you have firing, at a faster rate, the stronger you will be.
So, unlike hypertrophy training (which aims at increasing the size of a muscle fiber) strength training won’t add a lot of unwanted weight that an endurance athlete has to carry with them.
It’s all about RELATIVE strength. That’s basically how much horsepower you have in your engine versus your total bodyweight. You can effectively increase this horsepower without adding to the weight of your “engine.”
If you’d like more information on how to construct a strength program geared at endurance athletes (or bodyweight dependent sports), contact an emerge coach at
It’s Your Turn. Emerge.
Matt Pirtle MA CSCS

Chicken and Broccoli and Brown Rice, OH MY!

Chicken and Broccoli and Brown Rice, OH MY!
Although this hasn’t been an isolated event (as I have experienced this same thing many times over the last 10 years), I am going to reference one particular incident that I recently encountered.
A client of a trainer at Emerge brought her nutrition plan that she had been following to that trainer for review. That trainer shared this information with me. This plan was constructed by someone else in the industry.
The client is not a fitness competitor, but she enjoys running and (like us all) wants to look good, too.
Low and behold, the plan suggested the ole chicken and brown rice and broccoli route. There were minor choices to be made (like fish or quinoa or a couple varieties of green veggie) but on the whole this was the same tired meal, over and over, every single day.
Chicken. And Brown rice. And broccoli.
Eating like this WILL get old. And that’s the best of the worst.
What is really wrong with this approach is the glaring omission of foods that supply macro and micro nutrients needed to maintain health and performance. She was getting the same handful of nutrients at every meal (the most obvious missing piece in a plan like this is healthy fats, which should make up a large part of a menu).
There are much better and effective ways to lose bodyfat than an approach like this. Eating a variety of healthy foods, including a wide variety of veggies and meats other than just fish and chicken breast is a good start.
In addition, avoiding fat is avoiding health. Our fat phobic society has villainized this macronutrient with the false idea that dietary fat = body fat. These healthy fats are wonderful for heart and brain health, and can be used for energy.
On a side note, the amounts of food (even the veggies) suggested in this clients nutrition plan were almost comically low. That is a topic for a future post.
Bottom line, calorie controlled plans are a must for bodyfat loss. What these plans are composed of SHOULD be a variety of nutrients, not just the go-to chicken and brown rice and broccoli. Nowadays, there are tons of recipes available that give representation to many of these forgotten healthy foods and nutrients (and include plenty of healthy fats).
Stay tuned to our Emerge facebook page and our website at for recipe and healthy eating ideas, as we post several each week.
In the meantime, here is a non-exhaustive list of healthy foods grouped by macronutrient.
Low glycemic fruits (berries, apples, cherries, oranges, grapefruit, pear, grapes, kiwi, plum, peach, necaterine)
Steel cut oats
Vegetables (a wide variety of colors)
Wild rice
Brown rice
Cheese and wheat free low carb crackers
Lentil Chips
Sweet potato
Avocado (guacamole)
Walnuts (or mixed nuts, no peanuts)
Almond butter
Cashew butter
Peanut butter (all natural)
Olive oil
Coconut oil
Dark chocolate
Almond milk
Sirloin steak
Strip steak
Filet mignon
Chicken breast
Pork tenderloin
Turkey breast
Whole eggs (some egg white, too) hard boiled or any prep
Whey protein

Trust Me, It's a CORE Exercise

Virtually every exercise performed in a standing position, where the exerciser is controlling the path of motion of a resistance, is a CORE exercise.
Your ability to brace your trunk while producing force through the hips and shoulders is almost always part of training this way.
Make sure you’re consciously BRACING during these movements to train your core to do this AUTOMATICALLY out in the real world.
It’s Your Turn. Emerge.
Matt Pirtle MA CSCS

All Horsepower and No Brakes = A Bad Day

SO many exercises focus on ACCELERATION. Thats a focus on moving forward as fast as possible. The problem? As you build your engine, the need for BRAKES becomes paramount. Building a 500 horsepower engine with no ability to slow down and stop will lead to a bad day eventually. Exercises focusing on DECELERATION must be included in a program to ensure an athlete remains safe and performs at his/her potential.
Here, Chris Givens of the St. Louis Rams performs a kettlebell step DOWN. This is challenging his ability to decelerate using his legs and hips, and his ability to stabilize his torso.

Almost EVERY Exercise is a Core Exercise

Virtually every exercise performed in a standing position, where the exerciser is controlling the path of motion of a resistance, is a CORE exercise.
Your ability to brace your trunk while producing force through the hips and shoulders is almost always part of training this way.
Make sure you’re consciously BRACING during these movements to train your core to do this AUTOMATICALLY out in the real world.
It’s Your Turn. Emerge.
Matt Pirtle MA CSCS

Rest is For the Weak

Rest is For the Weak.
At least, that seems to be the popular way of thinking in fitness today.
There are TONS of popular “programs” to choose from today that offer “intense” and brutal workouts sure to leave an exerciser a sweaty clump on the floor.
If they’re lucky.
Rest and recovery in between sets is crucial for optimal performance and injury prevention. Rest goes way beyond just catching your breath so you can brutalize yourself again.
Depending on your goal, the proper rest time is allowing you to train a specific ENERGY SYSTEM.
Why is this important?
First, most sports demand energy PRIMARILY from specific energy systems.
Football takes from very fast and medium energy systems that supply explosive energy, but take longer to refuel. Training this energy system requires much more rest to recover completely.
Marathon running on the opposite end supplies MOST of its energy through the slowest energy system, which refuels very quickly. Training this energy system requires less rest in between sets, sub maximal loads, and generally longer sets.
So training with these energy systems in mind requires an understanding of what energy system you want to IMPROVE, and how much rest it requires to make those improvements. The energy system you’re attempting to improve should be in line with your sport (or daily tasks) so improvements in the gym transfer to improvements on the field (or life in general).
An example:
An athlete performing an explosive hang clean for a 5 rep max would require approximately a 2.5 to 3 minute rest to recover for the next set (for optimal training of that explosive energy system).
Without that rest, the next problem in line arises, that of RECRUITMENT…
Faulty recruitment of muscle can happen when you’ve exhausted your prime movers to the point where they CANNOT produce force anymore. This is not a matter of willpower, it WILL happen at some point.
An example:
An athlete is performing a push press with a challenging load. After 5-8 reps, the large powerful prime movers are tapped, and begin to produce sub maximal force. For the remainder of the set, muscles that ARE NOT made for this lift increasingly take over. Further, coordination becomes impaired as the neurological component starts to fatigue. This leads to this same faulty recruitment pattern in the sporting environment of the athlete (because they trained the body to do it that way). They’ve actually trained their body to default to bad movement patterns.
But bad performance is actually the least of the worries for that athlete.
It may not happen right then, but if this continues and bad day for the lifter (in the form of injury) is all but ensured.
A BASIC guide to lifting for a specific goal:
A load that an exerciser can lift for 3-5 reps.
A rest time of 2 minutes.
5 total sets
A load that an exerciser can lift for 2-3 reps.
A rest time of 3 minutes.
5 total sets.
A load that an exerciser can lift for 9-12 reps.
A rest time of 45 seconds.
4 total sets.
For strength ENDURANCE
A load that an exerciser can lift for 15-20 reps.
A rest time of 30 seconds.
3 total sets.
This is a basic discussion of rest intervals and energy system training. For more details, contact Emerge Fitness at
It’s Your Turn. Emerge.
Matt Pirtle MA CSCS

"Yeah, but"

Client: “Dr. Oz said I need to take this supplement to reduce my cholesterol.”
Me: “You’ve never mentioned to me that you have high cholesterol.”
Client: “Oh I don’t, but I thought I’d do it anyways.”
Client: “I saw some workouts in a magazine I thought looked pretty cool. Can we do them today?” (shows me pictures of girls doing kipping pull-ups and clean and jerks)
Me: “You do understand that you are coming back from rotator cuff surgery, right?”
I get it. Diet and Exercise can be extremely confusing these days. One day it’s “Do this” and a week later it’s “Don’t do this.” Continuing education in fitness is always contradicting itself. One research study will show one result and in 6 months, the statistics completely change. It can be complicating, it can be frustrating. Why do you think so many people hang out on the cardio equipment this time of year? They feel “safe” sticking with the elliptical or treadmill.
Here’s the biggest piece of information I can give you about diet and exercise: It isn’t black and white. It’s a very blurred, color filled lifestyle.
A trainer can put together a workout with all of the latest exercises that will make you tired and make you sweat.
A great trainer will put together a plan, catered for YOU based on YOUR specific needs/wants that will get YOU the results YOU want.  See a trend here?
Also, as a client, you should get used to hearing the phrase “yeah, but.” Because everything you read in fitness has a “yeah, but” that is left out of the article.
For example: “Don’t do deadlifts”. Ok, what they mean is “Don’t do deadlifts with an insurmountable weight.” But most people just see “Don’t do deadlifts.” So they come to us and say “This article said not to do deadlifts.” ENTER “YEAH, BUT”: Do you pick stuff up off the ground? The majority of the time you are doing a deadlift movement. You aren’t going to stop picking stuff up off the ground, so I need to teach you the proper mechanics of how to pick it up properly.  It may be a tennis ball, or a 5-10lb weight, etc. but you still have to learn functional mechanics just to get thru the day without grabbing your lower back.
The next time you’re reading a magazine, a blog, or you see an interesting “Pin” on Pinterest, ask yourself if it pertains to you. Does it fall in alignment with your wants/needs? And by all means, bring it up with your trainer.  We’d rather you discuss it with us BEFORE you attempt it.
Kimberly Renoud, BS, ACE, NASM, CES, PESEmerge Fitness Trainingdumbbells

Meet Jenny

Kimberly Renoud
Emerge Fitness Training

AVOID this core exercise! And focus on these…

How much of your core work is actually hip flexor work with some isometric holding of the upper ab?
This type of “core work” is taxing your iliopsoas (large powerful hip flexor) far more than it is the core. The shear force this puts on the lower back (spine) isn’t worth the minimal abdominal work you get from this type of exercise.
If you have a disc injury (or want to avoid one), these exercises should be avoided.
Focus on core work that doesn’t include a “v up” position which selects the hip flexors as the prime worker.
Core stabilization exercises should focus on a neutral body position, with the challenge of holding that neutral position against resistance.
It’s Your Turn. Emerge.
Matt Pirtle MA CSCS

If I knew then what I know now…

I have been an athlete all of my life but the sport that I really excelled at was lacrosse. I played for five years at Lindenwood University. My fifth year was a bonus year due to the transitioning process from NAIA to NCAA. Looking back on those years, balancing lacrosse and school was like having a full time job and consumed most of my time. I spent a lot of time training to ensure I was in the best shape possible come January. Since I was a midfielder and my job mainly consisted of running all over the field, I did just that…I ran. I would do my assigned lifts from our strength packet but my main focus was on running.
If I could go back and tell myself one thing, it would be to focus more on strength and power movements and less on those long distance runs. Lacrosse is a complicated sport which requires a lot of power and also endurance depending on the postion. I’ve been training with Matt Wirth for a couple of months now and I know for a fact that I am in better shape now than I ever was in college. I am pulling and pushing a lot more weight than I thought was possible.
In October, I went back to Lindenwood and played in the annual Alumni game and I was able to keep up with the current players and even outrun some of them. I was out of breath, of course. Any athlete knows there is such a thing as being in “game shape”.
I loved my team and coaches like family but I think coaches get caught up in running the team for conditioning and punishment. I’m guilty of doing it to my summer team I coach. More focus should be on power and strength movements and that is not limited to the weight room. Uphill sprints, sled pulls/pushes, long jumps, etc are all great movements.
If you are interested in athletic performance training, contact Kathryn at kathryn@emergetraining.comimage


Are you all HORSEPOWER or all HANDLING?
Your body should do both…
If you’ve been a client of mine in the last year or so, you’ve heard me talk about strength training and functional training in a distinct way. The two concepts have a symbiotic relationship in fitness with one feeding and enhancing the other. In fact, one can’t exist (well) without the other.
I like to explain classic strength training as HORSEPOWER building. With this goal in mind, you are training your muscle to contract with other muscles to create max force. In general, I have clients in stable environments conducive to lifting max weight. The idea is to challenge the body in a place where you can see its full potential in force production, thus challenging it to adapt to the heavy load you are imposing upon it. This is building horsepower. Training this way gets you stronger,quicker. However, this is potential force production that may (or may not) be available to you in the real world. Whether or not you are able to use this strength gain functionally depends on your ability to train in many planes of motion simultaneously in a less than stable environment.
I call this LEARNING HOW TO DRIVE. This is the concept of taking all of your available horsepower and training your body to harness this force production and use it functionally. I often use the analogy that if you have a Corvette engine and you place it in the body of a Ford Escort, you are going to have some serious problems (it probably just wouldn’t go, and if it did, you’d blow the tires right off). This is akin to building massive horsepower in the gym with no time spent on stabilization and multiple movement patterns. Dr. Stu McGill (one of my mentors) tells stories of huge Olympic lifters who are strong and stable in the sagittal plane (straight ahead and directly backwards), but if you give a tug on their sleeve from the side, they topple over easily. This is an example of all horsepower and no function.
So, which one should YOU focus on?
It depends on how long you’ve been doing either of these. I almost always start a client off with a period of time where we work on absolute strength alone. We are building the horsepower necessary to move with max force. After that, I teach them how to drive with this newfound horsepower in more complicated, multi planar and unbalanced exercise patterns.
Identify what you’re lacking. Do you move very well, in a balanced and comfortable way but lack the power behind your movement? Spend some more time strength training, then back to functional training to learn to deal with your newly acquired strength.
Can you lift huge loads in the gym but it isn’t translating to athletic performance on the field? Spend more time learning how to manage your strength, directing it towards the activity you are trying to improve. Training functionally in the patterns that match your activity would help this.
For clarity on this or any other fitness related topic, contact
It’s Your Turn. Emerge.
Matt Pirtle MA CSCS

The Story of Emerge

The Story of Emerge.
Angie and I started our training careers over 12 years ago, on the same day, at 24 Hour Fitness.
On a side note, if it weren’t for 24 Hour Fitness, none of this would have happened. It was a great place to start and I thank them for that.
We opened Emerge Fitness almost six years later. …a week after we got married. We started pretty humbly. We had a modest 2300 square foot office space above a shop that sold balloon sculptures. The balloon lady didn’t like us. She would repeatedly beat our floor with a broom when we were too loud. The next door neighbor would complain about the music constantly.
We dealt. We started with 3 trainers. Myself, Angie, and Beth Pirtle opened the doors the first day. Very soon after, we had reason to celebrate as Jason Tokun and Debi Westhues joined us.
We had new equipment, but not a lot of it. We didn’t have anything resembling a reception area, and we had three small bathrooms. Our office could fit maybe three adults in it, and our rickety desk was purchased at target and put together by yours truly. We relied on our exceptional training skills and customer service to wow our customers. And it did. We added Adam Kulp and Kimberly Renoud within a year and a half. These two tried and true trainers helped grow the business quickly.
Our reputation began to be well known. We were a VERY strong, educated, well rounded training staff. We attracted the attention of the St. Louis Rams and began to train many of their athletes, and spent some time at the Rams training facility as functional training consultants. Three years later we opened a facility down the road that was approximately 3x as large as our original space. We added three skilled trainers immediately, including performance coach Matt Wirth, and continued to grow. Now, six and half years into business, we still rely on the same things that made us successful in the early days. Exceptional customer service and highly educated, career trainers and coaches are our focus. We have a few more toys at our disposal now, and our facility is much more impressive, but this is nothing compared to the strength of our staff.
Emerge is growing still. We are planning the next Emerge as we speak. We are developing the next generation of Emerge trainers through internship programs, and are attracting the BEST in the business to join our staff. We have partnered with some of the brightest in the fitness industry, like Dr. Matthew Lytle at Precision Health Group. The synergy of these partnerships continues to help Emerge service our clients with the BEST available resources. The addition of Taylor Dalby, Jess Baker, Kathryn St. George and Sophia Galati has made this the strongest Emerge team ever.
THANK YOU ALL for making this possible. It has been a wonderful 6.5 years, and this is solely from the support of our clients and our community. We promise to continue to offer the best in the industry fitness coaching, and hope to have the chance to continue to serve (or have a chance to serve) you and your fitness goals in the future!
It’s your turn. Emerge.
Matt Pirtle MA CSCS

Trainers: Remember Who You Are…

On the topic of fitness, I give equal time to articles from a clients perspective and articles from a trainers perspective. This one has a little of both.
It’s officially a trend.
In the world of personal training, many trainers have decided that mere strength and conditioning is not enough.
Instead of honing their craft and getting REALLY good at what they do, many have decided to broaden their scope of practice into some questionable areas. With that in mind, here is my top 5 “offenders” in the personal training world.
The Dietician:
Don’t get me wrong, diet advice and even some meal planning by a certified nutritionist is helpful and should be considered an important part of any training program. But when a trainer starts to spend 30+ minutes of EVERY session fine tuning the macronutrient ratio, you’ve got a problem. Yes, I know, almost every fitness goal is fueled by nutrition and this can account for 75% of your eventual results, but the minute details of a diet plan (if this kind of focus is actually needed) should be the job of an actual dietician.
The Soft Tissue Specialist:
This is a trainer that, like The Dietician, spends an inordinate amount of time doing something OTHER than strength and conditioning. In this case, it’s spending large parts of each session on a mat or massage table doing “soft tissue work.” The idea is nice, but what this is really accomplishing is minimal. It is difficult to remove adhesion even from an experienced and well educated soft tissue practitioner (like an ART specialist), and it is almost impossible to do without a targeted and very well educated hand. While a client may feel better from the brief inhibition of the muscle being worked on, this is largely a waste of time because the change is reflexive, short lived, and definitely not sustainable.
The Psychiatrist:
Again, as ANY trainer can attest to, there is a little therapy involved in what we do, it’s part of helping our clients reach their goal. However, the trainer that tasks themselves with being their clients psychiatrist is not only going far beyond their scope of practice, but could be doing some damage as well. A trainer should always offer an understanding ear for their clients, but remember that exercise is the therapy that we are experts at prescribing.
The Football Coach:
This is the trainer that forgets he/she is a strength and conditioning coach, and is instead a coach of a particular sport. We are in the business of creating better ATHLETES. Skill training and practice is better left to the actual sport coaches.
The Professor:
This trainer feels a compulsion to explain, in great and cumbersome detail, every aspect of every exercise the client is performing. This trainer will take long and unnecessary breaks in a training session to pontificate on general fitness topics to impress the client with their knowledge. The client’s time is better spent actually PERFORMING the exercise, versus sitting at a virtual desk taking notes for the next fitness exam.
I think all trainers are guilty of some of these, some of the time (I know I am of all of these, especially The Professor. As a matter of fact, to be a great trainer you have to do a LITTLE of all of these, and certainly be aware of the role of each of these in training a client well. The point is to stay on track, learn as much as you can about our craft, strive to be the best at what we are qualified to do, and apply it with precision. If a client is in need of supplemental help in reaching their fitness goal, make it your job to know the best specialist available to REFER them to.
We are an important part of the health and fitness equation. Let the experts at other crafts do what they do, and be the absolute best at what you do.
Matt Pirtle, MA CSCS

Get Fit For Fido FAQ…

We are less than a week away from the first night of Get Fit For Fido and we are having a LOT of feedback about coming! Here’s some basic information for you and some answers to common questions we are hearing.
1. Q: Do you have to be a current like at Emerge to participate?
A: No, Anyone can take a Fido class! All we ask is that if you are not a current client, please stop at the front desk and sign our waiver for the night.  If the
participant is under 18, they need to have a guardian sign for them.
2. Q: How old do you have to be to participate?
A: The minimum age is 5, but a guardian must be present with all participants between the ages of 5-12.
3. Q: Do we need to sign up in advance?
A: Nope! UNLESS you are planning on bringing a large party of 8 or more, then we’d like a heads up to prepare!
4. Q: Is there a maximum amount of participants who can take the class?
A: No, we are shutting down nearly the entire gym to make room for Fido. We are preparing for each class to have around 50 people.
5. Q: How many classes can we attend?
A: You can participate in as many as you want!
6: Q: If we donate a large item, can it count for our entire family, or for one person for multiple classes?
A: Sure! Honestly, we are just thankful for your generous donation and hope you have a fun time (And sweat a little too!)
7. Q: How long will the class be?
A: The Boot Camp is scheduled in a one hour time frame.  In that hour you will be instructed on how to do each exercise as well as you will get a few breaks
to catch your breath or get a drink of water.  Plan on 30-40 minutes of working out!
8. Q: I’ve never taken a boot camp before, will I be able to do it?
A: Absolutely! The key is to go at your pace.  Each exercise will be able to be modified for your fitness level. And if you’re feeling worn down, take a
moment to catch your breath.  There will be everyone of all ages and fitness levels, but you can make the workout work for you. That’s the great thing
about boot camp!
9. Q: What do I need to bring to Fido?
A: Just bring your friends, family, and a donation to Five Acres, and you’re good to go! We have towels available and Ameristar Casino has donated bottled
water for all of our participants!  We will have a LOT of people in here and a space for you to place your belongings, but we ask to keep all items in the
cubby holes or on the hooks.
10: Q: I am not physically able to partake in boot camp. Can I still come up?
  A: Definitely! Please do! We have vendors coming up each night as well as a lot of raffles.  Three of the four nights, Five Acres will also bring a dog that
available for adoption.

Body Building vs. Strength Training

Pound for pound, the biggest guy in the gym usually isn’t the strongest. Everyone has seen him…that guy with biceps bigger than my thighs and veins popping out of every inch of their body. If I had to decide who was “stronger” between the big guy leg pressing every 45 lb weight plate found in the gym or a smaller guy power cleaning or snatching his body weight plus some, my money would be on the smaller guy. There is a huge difference between strength training and body building.
Body building exercises generally isolate one joint and only a few muscles per repetition. Whereas, a power or Olympic movement involves more than one joint which results in greater muscle recruitment and strength gains. According to Eric Cressey, a very well known strength and conditioning coach, there are six main reasons why strength training beats body building nine times out of ten.
1. More time efficient
2. More useful in the real world
3. More motivating
4. A faster way to build muscle mass
5. Better for your health and longevity
6. A better way to build self confidence
For more information on why strength training is the better option, just ask any Emerge trainer.
Kathryn CSCS, CES

Think Squatting Deep is Child's Play?

A large, internationally known company recently posted this picture in their employee newsletter.
This should say, “so easy, ONLY an untrained baby could do it.”
Ideally, sitting in a deep squat to pick up something (or play with something effortlessly like a child) would be the expectation of all human adults.
Unfortunately, this is not reality.
Most of us spend A LOT of time sitting. In a chair. In the car. On the coach. At the computer. This keeps our hip flexors in a shortened position, affecting our posture by limiting the mobility of our hips.
Compounding this is the fact that most people have varying degrees of forward shoulder and head posture.
The result? A body that has NO CHANCE of squatting that deep, safely.
This in no way is trying to say that, ideally, that would be the best lifting and squatting position. What this IS trying to say is that reality won’t support this request of deep squatting for the masses.
This is not to say one can NEVER again squat safely to this depth. With very targeted mobility and strengthening exercises, over time this MAY be a reality. For the vast majority of people, it will never be.
So, when lifting, keep your spine in a neutral curve, get as much flexion out of your knees and hips (while keeping your neutral curve), and lift with the emphasis on your HIPS. Don’t worry about depth, think about keeping yourself locked in a mechanically safe position.
It’s your turn. Emerge.
Matt Pirtle MA CSCS

Wanna get Bigger and Stronger, Faster?

Train Eccentrically
Eccentric training produces results, period.
Eccentric training is training that focuses on the LOWERING phase of an exercise rather than the lifting (also called concentric phase) part of an exercise. Most lifters call this the “negative” phase.
Eccentric training has been known to increase concentric strength more effectively than concentric training can. For example, training on the bench press on the lowering phase can result in a bigger bench press than actually training the press.
So, why don’t more trainees utilize this method of training?
To do this kind of training well, you need to train with approximately 120% of your one rep max. This means more weight than you can lift one time.
Eccentric training ONLY works if you are attempting to lift the load, but the load is OVERPOWERING you resulting in a forced lowering of the weight.
It has nothing to do with lowering the weight slowly by design (as this implies you are just allowing the weight drop slowly, as if you are just slowing it down).
So…you need a REALLY strong spotter to do this, as every rep your spotter has to lift ALL the way up for you. That’s not practical for most trainees.
A good trick I’ve found to utilize this super effective mode of training is to do a pre-fatigue set of an exercise (like a barbell bench press), then perform 5 eccentric reps with the trainee in a fatigued state. This will allow for a lower weight for the eccentric training, making it easier on the spotter.
Another trick is to use a load supplied by the spotter, not just by the mass of the weight being lifted. For example, placing 135 pounds on the bar for a bench press, then the spotter presses down onto the lifter as he/she attempts to press up. This makes it A LOT easier for the spotter to lift the load back up (reference the pic that accompanies this article).
Eccentric training is an AWESOME method of increasing strength and size. It does typically produce more soreness (and muscle damage) than typical concentric training, so incorporating this method only once every two weeks or so is a smart idea.
For more ideas on the best exercises to train eccentrically, and how to program them in to your current routine, contact Emerge at 636-922-7559
It’s Your Turn. Emerge.
Matt Pirtle, MA CSCS

Ta-Ta Trans Fats!

trans fat
For the past week, it has been all over the news that the FDA is requiring all companies to discontinue the use of any Trans Fats in their products. Commissioner Margaret Hamburg said “that while the amount of trans fats in the country’s diet has declined dramatically in the last decade, they ‘remain an area of significant public health concern.’ The trans fats have long been criticized by nutritionists, and New York and other local governments have banned them” ( Even major food chains, such as McDonalds have taken initiative to remove the fats from all of their menu items. However, you can still find many items at your local grocery store that contain them, whether the Nutritional Chart states it or not. Here are some common questions people ask about Trans Fats:
What exactly is a Trans Fat?
Trans fat is a specific type of fat that is formed when liquid oils are turned into solid fats, such as shortening or stick margarine. During this
process — called hydrogenation — hydrogen is added to vegetable oil to increase the shelf life and flavor stability of foods” -FDA.Gov
Trans fats can be found in frozen pizzas, microwave popcorn, and refrigerated dough, among other items as well.
What can Trans Fats do to your body?
Scientists say there are no health benefits to trans fats, and they can raise so-called “bad” cholesterols, increasing the risk of heart disease — the leading cause of death in the United States.
“The Nutritional Chart says that there are no Trans Fats, so it’s good, right?”
Not necessarily.  According to current FDA guidelines, products can contain .5g of Trans Fats per serving and still be labeled as Trans Fat Free. The problem is when more than one serving is eaten, the number increases.  It’s not hard to consume 4g of Trans Fats without even knowing it.
“How can I find out if the product is truly Trans Fat Free?”
Check the ingredients.  Any time you see  the words “Partially hydrogenated” it means trans fat. Another way is to eat as many fresh and frozen foods as possible.
The FDA hasn’t given a deadline when all products must phase them out, however, it should be within the next 12 months.
Kimberly Renoud BS, NASM, ACE, PES, CES
Emerge Fitness Training

Baseball Performance Clinic at Emerge Fitness

Baseball/ Softball Fitness Class
Dates: November 9th and 16th
Time: 11am to 2pm
Ryne Seddon
About the Camp:
• Two week camp that will focus on baseball specific training
• Functional movements
• Rotational power
• Olympic movements
• Shoulder mobility
• Injury prevention
• Provided informational packet at end of camp containing:
• Workout programs ( in-season, off-season)
• Nutritional tips
• Injury prevention advise
• Do’s and Don’ts of baseball specific training
Contact Angie Pirtle at or Ryne Seddon at for more information
3839 Mexico Rd. St. Charles, MO 63303 (636) 922- 7559

Fitness Isn't Just About the Numbers

I’ll be the first to admit it. I can get fixated on numbers. I’m guilty of asking the majority of my clients, “How’s the weight?” or “Let’s do Measurements.” It’s my way of keeping them accountable. Even my own numbers can play mind games with me.
However, this isn’t the only route that leads to success.
I’ve been training in St. Louis for nearly 9 years.  In that time I have trained males and females of all ages. All have had different goals.  I have had clients for 8 weeks, I have had some for 8 years.  Each client is different and rewarding in it’s own way, but there are two clients that have had as big of an impact on me as I hope I have had on them.
8 years ago, I was introduced to a 12 year old girl who was scared to death to be in the gym.  At the time she’d never tell anyone that.  Instead, she came in with a wall up.  In fact, she told her mother that if she didn’t like me, “I’ll deck her”.  She was there for weight loss and nutritional guidance.  Honestly, I could have tried to beat it through her brain, but that isn’t what she needed.  12 year old girls don’t need to hear “numbers.” It was much more than that.  This girl needed some major confidence. She needed to know it was ok to be who she was and she didn’t need to change for anyone but herself.
Long story short, I got to see (and still weekly see) this girl do a complete 180 degree turn from what she was.  The girl who used to be timid, shy, and speak to no one is the girl who now waves to everyone across the gym.  She strikes up a conversation with a new boot camper just to make them feel welcomed.  This girl busts her butt every week for me.  Maybe she hasn’t hit the numbers she strived for when she was 12, but that’s ok. She still has lost a lot of weight and looks GREAT.  She is one of the strongest females I have ever worked with and she can pack a punch, literally (Don’t challenge her to a boxing match, my money is on her.). She confidently goes into a gym on her own and knows exactly what to do and how to do it with correct form.  She no longer shys away from people.  Her confidence has soared and in turn the rest of the world knows what I have for years.  She is one cool girl.
This past July I was approached about training another teenager: a 13 year old girl.  I was all for it, however what I forgot was how tough the first few sessions could be.  My client came in and said NOTHING.  She shrugged her shoulders a few times, I got a couple of “I don’t knows” or “I don’t like these”.  But pretty much for 4 weeks there wasn’t much conversation. We got thru the sessions, briefly talking about what she ate, if she did any exercising; everything a typical 13 year old girl doesn’t want to talk about.  I had asked her if she liked to play any sports and she said she didn’t.  I understand not everyone is into them, but I wanted to find a way for her to belong to a team; some sort of peer group that could keep her motivated.  I knew immediately this girl needed some confidence in herself before I could get any physical results out of her.
After a few weeks into the school year, her dad got ahold of me. He told me that she had joined the Volleyball team, as a manager so she wouldn’t be coming in as often and he had hoped.  I think I threw him off when I was ecstatic to hear this.  She had found a peer group, exactly what she needed.  About 4 weeks later, she came back in one evening to train and I was completely thrown off.  I heard the girl talk more in the first 15 minutes of our session than I had heard in the 4 weeks I had trained her over the summer.  She laughed, she joked, and she got thru exercises without too many dirty looks (dirty looks are given by all)! I was so amazed that I immediately contacted her dad.  As weeks continue this girl talks more and more and asks questions. Sometimes,  it’s just conversation over scary movies, but most of the time it’s fitness related.  We spend a lot of time talking about body image.  13 is SUCH a tough age and with social media these days, it has to be hard to be a teenager! I had told her I heard of the latest trend among teenage girls “The Thigh Touch Test” (Google it, it’s disturbing).  I told her how stupid it is and being skinny looks awful.  Having muscle definition and being strong are far more flattering on a girl.  I could see on her face hearing that from a 30 year old female trainer that this news was a reassuring.  We discussed the importance of eating healthy, and that cutting calories drastically doesn’t help the body.  (We also looked online at pictures of guys who only lift their upper body and they have skinny legs, but that’s a whole other conversation).
Each session I see her confidence grow and her true (awesome) personality comes out more. In fact, the other day, after telling her 3 times to stick her butt out on squats, she finally pointed at me and instructed me to “stick your butt out”. I couldn’t stop laughing.  I knew then that she was a different girl than day 1.
Sometimes clients don’t need to hear the numbers.  They just need to hear a little encouragement and know someone is there rooting for them.
I’m so proud of both of these girls and I am so excited to see them grow up… Because they are both on a pathway to be more badass than I know they already are.
Kimberly Renoud
Emerge Fitness Training

YOU Need Corrective Exercise! Why?……

Corrective exercise is the new trend in fitness training. It seems like all training businesses have begun to offer this service.
Corrective exercise is starting to be as confusing as the idea of “functional” training was 5 years ago.
So what is corrective exercise, really…
Is foam rolling and stretching corrective exercise? No. These are both potential tools to help prep for corrective exercise. They may or may not be needed based on the clients needs. If they are needed, they are targeted to very specific muscle groups. “General” full body stretching and foam rolling is not corrective exercise, and it may actually diminish a clients performance.
The process starts with a diagnosis. Finding out what hurts (from the trainee) and a movement analysis is a good start. Then, corrective exercise is a prescription STRENGTH workout. The workout is designed to correct posture imbalances and movement issues due poor muscular coordination and/or weakness.
This involves a very precise selection of exercises with the appropriate load.
There are no “corrective” exercises. An exercise may be corrective for one client and damaging to another. Identifying what is to be corrected is tough. The design and implementation of the program is really tough. Without respect to all the variables and moving parts, corrective exercise will not work and may do further harm.
There does seem to be a common need among those needing corrective exercise (everyone), and that’s core stability. Without stability in the trunk, it’s impossible to efficiently transfer force across the body. This normally opens the door to movement compensations and (eventually) injury. A great core stability exercise that’s tough if done WELL is the “stir the pot” exercise on a ball. Here is a video of that exercise done well with two other stability exercises.
Those in need if corrective exercise aren’t only the clients who are rehabbing. Almost ALL clients are in need of some form of corrective. If you’re a good athlete, you may be a great athlete just waiting to hit your potential. Corrective exercise can help an athlete realize that. Every athlete I have ever trained has been a corrective exercise candidate.
At the end of the day, the goal is to move optimally , being as efficient and pain free as possible.
For a movement analysis from a coach that truly understands corrective exercise, contact Emerge at 636-399-6748.
It’s your turn. Emerge.
Matt Pirtle MA CSCS

Tommy Won a 50 Freestyle Swimming Race Yesterday. He had his Hip Reconstructed 10 Weeks ago…

All they had to do was reshape the top of his femur, and regroove his pelvis.
All it took was breaking the bone and screwing back together in a better place.
The process left his hip flexor (psoas) muscle cut completely through and just to top it off, he had a labrum that needed repairing.
That was 10 weeks ago.
Here is a video of Tommy WINNING a 50 freestyle event at his most recent swim meet.
(This is a powerful race requiring rapid and powerful HIP FLEXION and EXTENSION)
Here is the behind the scenes story:
Tommy had surgery on August 7th.
Before the surgery, Tommy’s parents contacted Bill Knowles from isport in Virginia. Bill is a certified strength and conditioning specialist and an ATC. Bill flew to St .Louis and discharged Tommy from the hospital the day after his surgery.
At home with Bill, Tommy worked with a stim machine (activating muscle fiber without a load) and he got him up and moving immediately. Working on walking and gait right away, Tommy also spent a large amount of time in the pool where movement was free and only lightly resisted.
Dr. Lytle from Precision Health Group came next. Tommy had some nasty adhesion in the hips due to the procedure (and inactivity). Without precisely administered soft tissue work, that adhesion would all but stop the rehab process. Dr. Lytle made sure that didn’t happen.
Three weeks after surgery, Tommy was in Emerge twice a week. Hip strengthening and core stability began immediately, all working around the obvious instability in the repaired hip. Tommy progressed fast. He very quickly added loads to his exercises comparable to his pre op totals. His core is more stable than it’s ever been, allowing him to produce max force through a compromised hip.
All of this had to happen this way, in this order. The initial rehab, to the soft tissue work, to the strengthening phase all were a planned, TEAM effort.
I am very proud of what Tommy has done this far, and look forward to see what he’s capable of in the future!
It’s Your Turn. Emerge.
Matt Pirtle MA CSCS

Emerge Boot Camp Fall/Winter 2013-2014 Schedule

6:00pm-7:00pm Boot Camp with Kimberly
6:00am-7:00am: Boot camp with Adam
 5:30-6:30pm Boot Camp with Kimberly
6:00am-7:00am: Boot Camp with Adam
5:30pm-6:30pm: Boot Camp with Jason
Boot Camp Pricing:
1-10 classes: $11 each
20 classes: $10 each
30 classes: $9 each
50 classes: $8 each

Who Do You Respond to, Bob or Jillian?

There’s no doubt about it, I’m a Bob.
In the personal training world, there are Bobs and there are Jillians (of the Biggest Loser TV show) and combinations of both.
Both trainers are encouraging and genuinely want the best for their clients. The motivation they provide is different.
Bobs are a bit softer, focusing to a fault on what is happening that is RIGHT and minimizing the WRONG. Jillian’s are a bit more abrasive, with tough love being the prime motivator.
In the TV show, aggressive tough love works. In reality, this usually loses clients.
In my experience, focusing on the positive while keeping clients accountable for their behavior (in a reasonable manner) is the most effective strategy. Sometimes I’d like to shake a client and say “what the f**k were you thinking”, but at the end of the day, this really accomplishes zero (actually it can hurt the chances of success with a client).
Having a foot in reality also helps. Nobody can be perfect ALL the time. Trainers aren’t perfect themselves ALL the time. If a trainer tries to tell you that, run away. Working with reality, while attempting a LIFESTYLE change, is extremely effective.
So, I’m a Bob.
Sometimes I envy the Jillian’s and wish that I could be more like them.
All things being said, I feel leaning the “Bob” way is far more effective in attempting to change a clients habits.
What do you think? Which do you prefer?
Matt Pirtle MA CSCS

It all seems Impossible until it's Done!

My name is Erin I’m 25 and was born spina-bifida. I’ve spent most of my life struggling with this. Unfortunately, in my teen years I had an increased amount of nerve damage from multiple back surgeries. After the surgeries I lost almost all the muscle and feeling in both of my legs. The past 10 years or so I have had to use walking braces and dealt with all the frustration that goes along with them. While wearing the braces I became so dependent on them that my strength deceased greatly making walking nearly impossible without the braces. My doctor then prescribed me walking crutches, I held onto the script for months telling myself I was not ready for that and felt as it was saying there was no hope that I would ever get better just worse as most doctors had told me. So one day while I was shopping for shoes, which might be one of the most frustrating things for a girl wearing big plastic braces, I came across Emerge. I didn’t think much about working out I would join gyms and go a few weeks and get frustrated very quickly and give up. I made an appointment with Jess Baker and was pretty nervous that it was going to be a waste of time and money just like the other things I had tried. Walking somewhat “normal” was what I was hoping to gain since it was something I have so desperately wanted for so long. After my first session with Jess I began to believe that it might actually be possible. She was excited to work with me and help my dream become a reality, which I had never had anyone believe it was possible, including me. After the first session I realized the little muscle I had could actually work, unfortunately I realized this cause I couldn’t move for a few days. I have spent the past eight months striving to make my dreams come true. All thanks to Jess I have done things I never thought would be possible. She encourages and pushes me to do my best which is what I greatly needed. She has made me reach goals that I was never expecting to reach. There has been many times were I have thought that I couldn’t do it and slacked off some but Jess is always there making sure I don’t just give up. I made myself a goal in February that I was going to decrease my dependence on my braces or not need them at all in two years. Well thanks to Jess I am no longer dependent on my braces and succeeded my expectations by accomplishing this in only five months! I want to brag about a few other accomplishments I have made from training with Jess: for the first time in over five years I can curl my toes in my right foot; I have gained a lot of feeling back in my right foot and my legs (never thought I would be happy about shoes hurting); and I CAN JUMP! (this is my favorite because my four year old son has always tried to teach me and is very excited that I can now). My balance my not be the best yet and I still do have my frustrating moments but I know that things will get easier. I know Jess will always do her best to help me reach new goals. Jess is an awesome trainer and I strongly believe that this would never be possible without her and Emerge. Jess has changed my life and I am so thankful for that!
-Erin Neary

I Began Training 12 Years Ago, And Almost Everything Has Changed

12 years ago today I started my fitness training career. I also met my wife, Angie Nation, that day…and a good friend, Brendan O’Neil, who also owns a successful training facility.
The three of us started this day in 2001 at 24 Hour Fitness in St. Charles.
That has got me thinking about how much the fitness industry has changed.
In 2001, the only people hiring personal trainers (generally) where those intimidated by gyms or being out on the workout floor by themselves. There were an enlightened few who knew that they needed help and a professional could provide that.
The style of training was overwhelmingly bodybuilding. Most trainees designed their programs around body part days. Isolating a muscle was the goal, and machine training was very popular.
Core training meant crunches on the floor or an ab rocker, and performing a hundred or more reps was the norm.
Functional training meant training for the mirror regardless of movement or pain, and stability balls were only for those interested in physical therapy.
Nutrition for weight loss meant “stop eating” or just “eat less”,without regard to nutrients or health (or the ramifications of rapid weight loss). Eating for general well being wasn’t often discussed.
12 years later, it is clear that trainees are interested in more than just aesthetics. With the popularity of crossfit style programs, tough mudder obstacle courses and endurance events, it is clear that MOVEMENT and PERFORMANCE now (at least) equal the mirror.
Now, effort is made to create an unstable, uncomfortable environment to train in, mimicking life demands (versus a stable environment conducive to pushing max weight).
Corrective exercise has become popular. Done well, this can correct movement faulty patterns and make life feel better. Good corrective trainers are a smart bunch who know the body and how it works (not just how to adjust a seat on a weight machine).
Fitness has become more inclusive and far less exclusive. Most gyms and fitness facilities feature trainees of all ages and fitness levels, with most of them encouraging each other. With this diverse group comes a diverse group of goals, from strength to rehab to “just being able to keep up with the grand kids.”
Trainers of today are generally well educated, with college majors focusing on training as a CAREER, (not just a way to make money between jobs). This means the job market is more competitive with more and more qualified college graduates.
Most clients have come to expect more out of their trainers as a result, as they should. Nutrition guidance, movement correction, strength training, and instruction on functional application of their training efforts (how do I use this new strength?) are all expected parts of a training session.
Fitness is a dynamic and ever changing field. What was true 12 years ago is a prehistoric concept today. With the popularity of fitness programs and health in general, the speed of innovation in the fitness world is likely to move even faster.
A lot has changed since 2001, mostly for the better.
Looking forward to the next 25 years!
Matt Pirtle MA CSCS

5th Year for "Get Fit For Fido" is our biggest one yet!

imageThe 5th Annual Get Fit For Fido will be here in 6 weeks! Look for four nights of “kick butt” boot camp classes from the Emerge Staff! We also have added local pet and health related vendors to show off their health/pet related products and services.  We have also been asked to sell shirts again, as well as we will have a few other items available that benefit Five Acres.  New this year, we have some companies who have stepped up big time to donate items to raffle off.  We also have a few surprises up our sleeves that we will disclose closer to the event. A donation “wish list” will also be available at the 1st of November. Bring your friends, family, and coworkers to help such a great place!

Grab the Bell by the Horns

Are you looking for a change in your workout? Or maybe you only have 30 minutes to fit in both cardio and strength training.  Good news, both can be done with the kettlebell.
Next time you are in the gym, ask a trainer with prior kettlebell training (Emerge trainers do!) to teach you how to use them.  Your trainer will recommend the best weight and will show you the basic and PROPER mechanics needed when performing exercises.  The kettlebells can be a great asset to a workout, but without perfect form, they can also be very damaging to your body.
According to a study performed at the University of Wisconsin, 10 men and women between the ages of 29-46 performed a 20 minute kettlebell workout consisting of swings and lifts to a constant rhythm.
“The results showed that the average participant burned about 20 calories per minute during the kettlebell workout, which equates to 400 calories during a typical 20-minute kettlebell workout (ACE Fitnessmatters).
That’s pretty close to the same as running a six-minute mile or cross-country skiing uphill at a fast pace. Researchers credit the rapid calorie burn to the interval training format of kettlebell workouts.
Participants also achieved exercise heart rate and maximum oxygen uptake, suggesting that kettlebells provide a more intense workout than standard weightlifting.
Once you have the form, grab a kettlebell by the horns and get to it!
-Kimberly Renoud, BS, CPT, CES, PES, ACE
Emerge Fitness Training

Testimonial: Client- Abby (Schaffrin) Baker

Abby (Schaffrin) Baker Training Testimonial

I started training with Kimberly during her boot camps twice a week. As my wedding date approached, I came to her for some personal training. I saw a transformation in my body with my measurements and my problem areas immediately. She motivated me every step of the way and it was always a challenging workout. Kimberly even helped with a diet plan for a few weeks before the wedding to drop any remaining weight. I felt great on my wedding day and honeymoon, and I owe all of it to Kim’s classes/training! -Abby (Schaffrin) Baker

Meet Emerge's Intern Ryne Seddon

Ryne is a senior at Lindenwood University with an expected graduation date of December 2013.   He will be graduating with a degree in the Exercise Science program.   Ryne is completing his 150 hour internship at Emerge during the fall 2013 semester.  His 150 hours will include performing assessments on potential Emerge Clients,  designing corrective exercise programs, and management of the front desk.   Part of his 150 hours he will be hosting a baseball clinic November 9th and 16th.  The clinic will be focused on shoulder mobility, functional strength, and Olympic lifts for baseball players.  We will be posting sign ups on our website and Facebook page by mid October.   We will have 20 spots to fill with all age ranges.
Ryne’s experience includes
Assistant baseball coach for the Stallions Baseball club (pitching coach)
Physical therapist aide for Excel Sports and Physical Therapy
Ryne Seddon

A Family Journey

Proud moments in the trainer world:
Last night I received text messages from 2 of my clients children. Emma and Riley Langston took their moms phone to tell me about how great they did on their mile run test at school! Previously both of them had attended the summer kids fitness program here at Emerge and trained a few sessions with their mom for fun.
Emma, 11, used to tell me she hated working out and would complain about having to run in P.E. class (she used to tell me she planned on walking the whole thing each time). She also said she “hated” working out. So to hear how she beat all the girls and 8 of 10 boys (19 total students) in the mile run is huge! She not only finished with a time of 9:30 but she is proud of it!
Riley, 7, who couldn’t be out done by his sister also texted to tell me that he finished his 1/2 mile test in 5:02. According to mom, Riley is already choosing the healthy lifestyle. At dinner he always asks her, “hey mom is this healthy for you?” If she says yes he will eat it. He wants to choose healthy food already at the age of 6!
Here is proof that a healthy lifestyle can be something a family does together! I hear stories from Andrea, their mom, of doing lunges and mountain climbers in the living room together!
Way to go guys!
Jess Baker MS, BS, ACSM CPT

Sitting Down is Officially Hurting You…..

Sitting at your desk is probably hurting you.
The obvious: if you’re sitting you’re not MOVING thus you aren’t burning any energy, so this “activity” is counterproductive for weight management.
Furthermore, a rescent study has shown that, if you sit at a desk or in any chair for more than six hours a day your risk of heart disease goes up by 64%.
Sitting for prolonged periods of time has a LONG list of potential health problems associated with inactivity.
Again, for the most part, this is fairly obvious. Not really groundbreaking information here. Sometimes it’s good to be reminded, though….
Something more interesting and subtle is what sitting is doing to a muscle in your body called the psoas. The psoas is a hip flexor that has its origin on your lower back and inserts on your femur. This is a big, thick beast of a muscle that (with some smaller helper muscle) is primarily responsible for lifting the leg (like when running) and flexing forward at the hip (like a sit up).
When sitting for long periods of time, your body is flexed at the hip, shortening this muscle. When a muscle is chronically shortened, it has poor oxygen supply. Poor oxygen supply leads to spasm and muscle adhesion (which is basically glue not allowing a muscle to contract or extend). So, after sitting for long periods of time, repeatedly, you are effectively glueing this muscle in a shortened position.
The problem with a shortened psoas muscle is:
A) youre not going to be able to create much force with a glued muscle, so running, walking, LIVING will be more difficult
B) because the psoas attaches to all 5 lumbar vertebrae, a shortened psoas will be VERY noticeable via pain (and usually an excessive curve)in the low back
C) over time, this pressure on the low back will lead to chronic pain via disc and low back tissue damage
In my 12 years coaching and training, I can confidently say that this is the biggest problem muscle I run into, and the biggest reason for the problem is…..sitting.
The solution here? Obviously, try not to sit for too long. Get up. Move around. Stand and work if possible. You can at least stop further damage this way.
The long term fix involves strengthening the gluteals, especially the glute Maximus, which is a powerful hip EXTENDER (it does the OPPOSITE of the hip flexor). So, exercises like the stiff leg deadlift and hip raises (glute bridges) are good for this. I should note here that, if you have significant adhesion in your psoas, the corrective strength exercises listed above will be limited in their effectiveness.
Definitely consider getting some targeted soft tissue work to remove the “glue”(scar tissue) so the strength training can be more effective. (No amount of foam rolling will accomplish this, by the way.)
Check out a glute bridge here
Look for more information on corrective exercise for the psoas and a host of other “problem” muscles in the near future.
Matt Pirtle MA CSCS

Age isn't a limitation.

Big congrats to 67 years young Mary. Mary is down 8 pounds, 4% body fat and 6.75 inches since we have started. This month she was able to beat her strength and endurance goals as well! This is exactly why I love my job. When clients have full trust in your abilities to help them realize their true potential and see a physical change. Trust is something as a trainer that I rely on with my clients. Together Mary and I have built a partnership and will continue to see great success as she continues to progress to her long term goals. Great job again Mary!!
Taylor Dalby


Winners quit.
They quit because they know training smarter is WAY better than training harder.
It takes nothing to beat somebody down with a workout.
When training, the art of program design is in developing a workout that brings the trainee far enough to force an adaptation (a change for the better) while stopping shy of creating bad movement patterns and compensatory “cheating.” When you train, you’re body is learning. Teach it bad movement, and it will remember.
Every workout should be designed to train a specific skill (with a specific group of muscles). When you design a workout only to kick someone’s butt, you have taken the specificity out of the workout and allowed “free reign” for any form of faulty recruitment pattern(using the wrong muscle to do something it wasn’t designed to do). This is a bad way to train. You are training your body to default to the same bad pattern later.
Most of the time, “digging deep” to get those last few exhausted and sloppy reps are doing nothing but hurting you. If those reps are not performed with precision, with full awareness of the movement taking place, then you are just burning a few extra calories while putting your body at an injury risk.
When you lose motor control of your body, the set is over. Flailing around to finish a set isn’t training, it’s uncontrolled random movement. So please, quit. Winners quit. Smart trainees quit.
Train HARD. Train to your threshold of CONTROLLED movement, and understand that “training” means more than beating your body into an injury prone, faulty moving machine.
Matt Pirtle MA CSCS

Take a Step Back…..And THINK About it.

Want to learn more about strength training? Look to the Russians for the answer! From strength training and kettlebells, to powerlifting, to olympic lifting, Russia and other notable Eastern European countries have long been ahead of the curve.
While America took a decidedly aerobic shift in their fitness emphasis in the 80’s, these countries continued to hammer out some of the best strength research, and improved technique followed.
One of the most fascinating aspects of Russian system is the emphasis on mental imagery before performing a lift. Imagining which muscles fire, in what order, with a certain speed helps the athlete actually perform the lift with better precision. This does require a base knowledge of functional anatomy, but taking the time to acquire this knowledge pays off in improvement in exercise technique.
They actually took this concept a step further and had their athletes DRAW precisely, on paper, what happens step by step with a given lift. The more connection, mentally, the athlete has to a movement, the better adherence the body will have to completing that lift correctly.
I’m considering adopting this strategy with all of my clients, for movements as simple as a chest fly, to complicated movements like the clean and jerk. Don’t forget your number 2’s, class is now in session…..

That's not……Right

If you’re going to put that much work into a training program, make sure you understand the “why?” and “how?”
If you have a training program that includes a hypertrophy and a power phase in it, do you know what that really means? Do you know the mechanisms that are at work to get you to these goals?
How about strength? Most people, even those who have been training for decades, don’t really know what this term means, or the appropriate way to train for it.
I see trainers, even highly respected trainers in the industry, give programs with bad information (systematically using terminology and application of concepts incorrectly).
For the scope of this article, I will focus on three basic program design concepts: hypertrophy, strength, and power.
HYPERTROPHY is a program design phase that focuses on muscle fiber size increase as the main goal. AKA getting bigger muscles. A successful hypertrophy programs seeks to do ONE thing; create a hormonal environment in the body conducive to gaining size (increased testosterone and growth hormone primarily). There are specific workout variables that must be followed to do this efficiently. First, take less rest in between sets (45 seconds). Rep range should be to failure at 10-12. Isolating muscle groups and performing up to 12 sets per muscle group using supersets and compound sets are optimal for this. Following these variables manipulates your body’s hormonal environment to a place where muscle size gain is optimized. Bench pressing for 5 reps followed by a lengthy rest for recovery won’t do this. Neither will plyometrics or other low reps, high rest training protocols.
POWER is a widely misunderstood term. Power by definition refers to the RATE of force development, AKA SPEED. Power is not effectively trained with heavy lifts to muscular failure. Power is best trained with a weight equivalent to about 50% of your one rep maximum. The resistance is lighter to facilitate SPEED. Training power requires explosive movement, with relatively lighter loads, with about 2 minutes rest in between sets. A power set is over when the weight begins moving slower than it did on the first rep, not when you simply can’t lift it anymore. This term is often used interchangeably with strength,which is something completely different.
STRENGTH is basically moving mass from point A to point B independent of how fast this happens. Strength training is training the neuromuscular system to use the muscle you ALREADY HAVE to produce force more efficiently. This is accomplished by making better “connections” to motor units in the muscle. Firing more of them at a faster rate produces more force. Force production is the goal of strength training. You can get stronger without gaining an ounce of muscle, and this often happens. Think of the first month you ever lifted weights. All of your lifts jump up FAST. This didn’t happen because you put on 20 pounds of new muscle. It happened because you began using the muscle you already had more effectively. Strength training is best accomplished with a rep range of 3-5, a rest period of 2-3 minutes (to recover neurally as well as physically) using a load that can be lifted with good form to failure for those 3-5 reps.
You should always know the “why” behind a workout program. Understanding this will help you manage your expectations and keep you on track to achieving your fitness goal. Embarking on a fitness program with the intent of adding muscle size with a strength and power program will leave you frustrated and definitely underperforming.
If you have a trainer, ask tons of questions. The more you understand the mechanisms of how a certain program design works, the greater the connection and investment you have to seeing results.
Never take things for face value. If you’re going to put forth the tremendous effort to achieve a fitness goal, make certain that the path you are taking is the most effective one.
Matt Pirtle MA CSCS

THIS is How You Activate Your Core

When attempting to activate your core, the BRACE is far more effective than the HOLLOW. Bracing is the act of stiffening all three levels of the core simultaneously to create a 360 degree stabilization of the torso. Hollowing is an attempt to isolate a single muscle of the core (transverse abdominus), giving the exerciser a flexion response and very little overall stability. Think of a circus tent with a single pole in the middle (your spine). The guy wires that are attached to the pole at the corners and then to the ground give a buttressing effect that leaves the pole (your spine) stable. This is what happens when you brace. The muscles of the core work as a unit, giving equal amounts of support from all angles, resulting in superior stability.
Matt Pirtle MA CSCS

How "Functional" is Your Workout, Really?

When attempting to determine how “functional” your fitness routine is, start by asking yourself:
How much time do I spend sitting down or lying on my back when exercising?
What percentage of my workout is spent using machines?
How much time do I spend training in one plane of motion, typically this is the Sagittal plane (squats,deadlifts,cleans,presses,most pulls, curls etc etc…)
Function is the ability to see results in the gym transfer to real-life movement. If you’re doing too much of any of the things listed above, the functionality of your workout is limited.
Matt Pirtle MA CSCS

When Learning to Tread Water, Don''t Dive Headfirst Into the Ocean

When I write an article or give advice to clients, I do it it based on my 12 years experience as a professional in the fitness industry. I rely on this experience and the education (which is constantly being updated) to fuel the subject I am addressing. I do not re-open old textbooks or paraphrase others in the industry.

The point here is, at a certain point you rely on experience and intuition because you”ve seen what has worked (and what hasn”t) many, many times.

While my education has and continues to be a solid base for my programming and fitness philosophy, my experience and practical application of this knowledge has taught me volumes more.
One of the things I have learned to be true in my time in the fitness world is that “baby” steps is truly the way to go when making an eventual lifestyle change toward healthy living.
I tend to cringe (a lot) when I hear advice given out to completely change ingrained habits overnight in the name of health and fitness.
Hearing a constant barrage of ultimatums asserting that someone”s current lifestyle is atrocious and is killing them swiftly, and the only remedy is a steady diet of broccoli makes me shake my head and laugh.
Yes, change is good, and may in fact save a persons life.  A sudden 180 is not an effective way to make that change. It doesn”t work for 95% of us.
I have found that small changes add up. Over time, the cumulative effect can lead to the lifestyle change that can change a persons life.
Pushing someone to the edge of cliff and forcing them to jump off without a parachute is bad advice. I”ve seen it happen, and I”ve seen the failure that follows.
If you”re wanting to drop some weight, start by tracking or journaling EXACTLY what you eat. Being aware of what you”re doing is an eye opening first step in changing your diet. You can make changes based on this awareness.

Adding two days of exercise into your week when you are used to none is a feasible (and effective) way of improving your strength and cardiovascular health almost immediately.
While on a trip last week, I saw in a Golds Gym (painted on a wall) the saying “if you can”t tie your shoes in the morning, you”re doing something right”.

“The Biggest Loser” mentality rears its ugly reality (fallacy) head again.
This is exactly the wrong advice a novice exerciser needs.
Start slow. Make changes one at a time. Keep your fitness goals in mind and know that changing your life is a process. Adopt changes at a rate that will stick and don”t be fooled by the insistent fitness “do or die” commands that are so popular today in social media.
Do it right and those changes will come. Take on too much too fast and you”re likely to be overwhelmed.
Matt Pirtle MA CSCS

Ass Kicking vs. Training Smart

When I walked out onto the weight room floor as a rookie trainer 12 years ago, there was one thing I knew I could do for sure. Kick somebody”s ass with weight training.
It wasn”t too hard. I just arbitrarily combined several compound movements together back to back with little or no rest.
My thought was if they crawled, not walked, out of the gym I did my job. I did this well and actually built a solid clientele based on this philosophy alone (sorry circa 2001 clients, I”m better now….)
This way of training was easy, the programming was a cinch, and it required very little thinking outside of picking “hard”
It also sucked and did my clients a major disservice.
The challenge today is to deliver a tough workout while being smart about exercise selection and program
I know clients like to feel beat when walking out of the gym, and I personally love the feeling of being absolutely done after a workout.
That doesn”t mean the responsibility of solid program design based on a particular goal can be ignored.
Simply making a workout hard is not enough, and it is irresponsible. This philosophy of training will lead to, at best, a development of a faulty movement pattern that will
1)eventually lead to injury
2)keep you performing below your potential.
You see, after a certain period of time in an exercise set, the intended group of muscles to be worked becomes a DIFFERENT group of muscles. As the intended muscles fatigue, other muscles are “selected” to complete the job. These muscles may not be designed for this task, but they are the only ones available to finish the set.
Over time, these “back up” muscles will wear. Again, they aren”t designed to do the job, but the exerciser continually asks them to do it. Overuse injury is inevitable (if not an acute, catastrophic injury to a tendon or muscle).
Secondly, muscles require fuel to move in the form of ATP (adenosine triphosphate). There is a finite amount of this fuel available to a muscle, and it takes AT LEAST 30 seconds to restore. If rest time is insufficient, the muscle cannot produce force. Again, selection of a suboptimal replacement muscle is certain. “Teaching” your body to move this way hinders athletic movement and again leads to injury.  A recovery period between sets is a must, and sometimes (like when training strength or power) this rest MUST BE substantial. So please, recover between sets. (Yeah, I know you feel ready. You”re not)
Take a fitness goal like strength training. If you think you”re getting stronger by performing 50 training sets in a hour you”re wrong. The optimal rep number for strength is 3-5. The optimal rest time to lift the kind of weight needed to build strength is 2-3 minutes (you have to recover both PHYSICALLY and NEURALLY). The most you can hope for out of this kind of workout is just burning a lot of calories while wreaking havoc on your musculoskeletal system.
With this said, there are currently MANY popular training programs out there that adopt the “harder is better” ass kicking mentality. They are not well designed and will, given time, lead to an injury. Be wary of randomly designed workout programs designed only to kick your butt. They probably will, and will leave you ON your butt for days (not a good place to be if you want results from a fitness program).
If all you are looking for is being crushed after a workout, I”d be happy to strap you to a treadmill set at 10 mph and come get you in an hour. If you have specific goals you”d like to achieve in an injury free and intelligent way, find a knowledgable fitness professional who is willing to do more with you than beat you to the ground.
Matt Pirtle MA CSCS

People watching in the gym; holy bad form!

I”ve worked at a big box gym for over 6 years, and continue to work out occasionally in one.

One of the perks of time spent in a large corporate gym is people watching.
Being able to discreetly observe lifters and fitness enthusiasts in this environment offers some insights (and very often entertainment) into current fitness trends.

You also get to be witness to some atrocious form.
One of the more common “problems” I see with lifters in these facilities is substituting lumbar movement for a lack of shoulder mobility.
You can really see this in an overhead press. At some point in the lift, the shoulders cannot flex anymore so the lower back arches to “finish” the movement.  This is not only bad, but dangerous form, as the lumbar spine is not designed to be a mover (especially under a heavy load).  This form over time will produce an injury.
You can see this same faulty movement pattern in the incline chest press and wheel roll out among other exercises.

The solution?
A great start is to increase thoracic (upper back) mobility.
Besides the form issue, you can visibly see a need for this exercise if your upper back curves excessively forward. It probably does. Most people have different degrees of excessive upper back flexion (kyphosis).

Try this exercise and stay consistent with performing it (every day) and you will see a relatively quick improvement in your t-spine extension (and consequently better form on most of your lifts).


Matt Pirtle MA CSCS


You”re drinking the wrong protein shake.”

“You”re taking the wrong vitamin. “
“You”re performing your exercises all wrong. “
These voices can be overwhelming.

These voices can keep you from starting something that will change your life.
Mute these voices….for a while.
The most important part of starting a fitness program is just getting started. Simply MOVING.  The decision to move is the catalyst to something bigger.
Very often, the voices that are telling you that fitness has to be EXACTLY one way can keep a person from even starting their journey.
Just start.
Join a gym. Hire a trainer. Start walking in the park. Exercise in your living room to a DVD.
Whatever it is, just start. You can worry about refining your fitness routine later. There is definitely the OPTIMAL way to do things, but this is the last 10%. The 90% comes from just moving your body.
Don”t let the worry of doing every single thing the “right” way at first. Most people don”t know what the right way is anyway, and it can stop you from doing something great.

Matt Pirtle MA CSCS

YOU are not perfect.

YOU aren”t perfect. And neither am I.
We all have imperfections in our physique and movement patterns, and we share MANY of the same imperfections.
Chances are if you”ve been involved in an active lifestyle with any regularity, you will fall into the 90% category. This category of athletes and recreational lifters have spent some time developing their strength and skills in the gym.
With a single plane of motion dominating most exercises (SAGITTAL -front to back), the muscles that stabilize and produce movement in the other two planes of motion start to lag. This can predispose you to injury and at the very least slow your progress in the gym.
This article is assuming the GENERAL, the average problem for the 90%. It is in no way saying EVERYONE needs the exact same list of exercises.
But you probably do.
With that said, here is my list of exercises addressing the most common and shared needs.
1) The lower and middle traps oppose the neck and upper traps which are invariably tight on athletes. Strengthening these muscles will give you better posture and scapular (shoulder) stabilization.

The Prone Y is my favorite exercise to address this need

2) The gluteus maximus is a large and potentially VERY powerful muscle in the posterior chain. The problem is, for most this muscle is not hitting its potential, instead contracting out its work to the hamstrings and other synergists. If your glute max isn”t firing, you are not performing to your potential, period.
The glute bridge is my favorite exercise to target the glute max.
3) The gluteus medius is a muscle on the outside of the hip. It”s primary responsibilities are to pull the leg away from the body and externally rotate the leg. It also stabilizes the hip in all of the Sagittal  plane exercises (squat, deadlift, lunge, sprint etc). It”s important and usually weak. A great way to strengthen this muscle is the lateral band walk.
4) The anterior tibialis is the “shin” muscle. This muscle produces the opposite movement of the gastrocnemius (calf). The calf is a NOTORIOUSLY tight and shortened muscle. Strengthening this muscle allows for better ankle movement in dorsiflexion, which can stave of injuries such as ACL tears and allow for better performances in all of the Sagittal plane movements mentioned above. A quick and efficient exercise for the anterior tibialis is the ankle band pull.
This is not an exhaustive list. Nor does it apply to everyone (but for the 12 years I”ve been training clients, it has for most).
For any questions or an individual assessment, contact a corrective exercise specialist at
Matt Pirtle MA CSCS

The Pinterest Paradox

I love Pinterest.  I learned how to clean my shower with an “at home non-toxic” concoction.  I found new frugal ways to decorate for the holidays.  I even found some healthy recipes of my favorite foods.  So, of course, I look into the “Health and Fitness” category to see what kind of information people were “pinning.”
I have always found cute little motivational quotes that I”ll share on Emerge”s Facebook page.  Sometimes, I will see some stretches that help the hips and the lower back. Then I see a LOT of these:
“10 Best Exercises for 6 pack abs”\r\n”Get Carrie Underwood”s strong lean legs with the Cowgirl Legs Circuit Workout.” (I”m looking at the pin as I type this)
“8 moves to perk up your boobs”
Wait, What????
Ironically each of those “pins” were attached to a picture of a girl with 6 pack abs or a perky chest.  Of course, it would catch the eye of anyone wanting to achieve those things.  After seeing multiple pins such as these, I decided to look into them a little further to see how on earth these pins were valid.
The first thing I noticed is that most of the pins sent you to a link of a fitness magazine which does not always thoroughly research their facts OR they choose to leave out that in order to get 6 pack abs, you will have to not only do exercises, but cardio, as well as have a very strict diet, and EVEN THEN it takes time.  Ask any figure competitor.
The “Perk up your boobs” pin had me laughing just because I could picture women standing in front of a mirror checking their boob “height” every week to see if they had worked.
And to get the Carrie Underwood legs, for one, you have to be Carrie Underwood.  No two pair of legs are the same.  You can get lean legs too with hard work and great meal plan.  Exercises alone won”t do it.
What I hope people figure out about Pinterest is that it”s like the game “Telephone” we used to play as kids.  Facts gets twisted the more they are circulated and people hear what they want to hear.
Don”t get me wrong, Pinterest is a great concept.  I find many more pro”s than I do con”s.  However, like anything else, if something sounds too good to be true, it probably is.  And if you find something you question, ask an educated trainer.  They can separate fact from fiction and give you better advice how to get to your goals based on your criteria.
Happy Pinning!
Kimberly Renoud, B.S., CPT, CES, PES
Emerge Fitness Training

It''s Time For Change; Knowing When Your Way is the Wrong Way

The snake which cannot cast its skin has to die. As well the minds which are prevented from changing their opinions; they cease to be mind.”

― Friedrich Nietzsche
When I began personal training almost 12 years ago, I thought I knew it all. My training experience was based on a few years of training myself and a year of training with a bodybuilder in Texas. My physique looked good because my training was focused on that end, muscle size (hypertrophy). That is what I knew and that is how I trained my clients. I would scoff at the mere site of a stability ball or a foam roller, and corrective exercise to me was something for physical therapists or chiropractors.
Over the years, I began to read more, and began to experiment with different styles of training.  I studied core training, functional training, sports performance and corrective exercise intently. I tested what the current research suggested and found success in some areas, and a lack of results in others. I kept the stuff that worked, and discarded the rest.
As time went by, I was able to identify easier the sources of fitness information worth studying, as well as the Internet fluff not worth my consideration.

On many, many occasions I have been forced to question some of my fitness “truths” and often had to change entirely my paradigm on my training philosophy.
That brings me to the point of this blog.
The fitness industry is ever changing.  The current state of research will suggest one method of training, and evolve into something else months later. The key is to:
a) stay on top of the current information, as it is the best available information at the time and:
b) be able to trash your comfortable way of training and thinking for something that is a proven better way.
This is difficult to do, as training with a certain philosophy is comfortable. You know the routine exactly and can deliver the information impeccably. The problem is, if you”re not adapting to the current available information on your skill, you are dis servicing yourself and your clients.
With that said, I would like to offer two insights on fitness that will probably change in the coming few years, but are as true as the research is current right now.
1) Planks for time are a waste of time
Bottom line, after about 15 seconds, even the strongest core begins asking for help. More often than not, it”s from the the hip flexors. If you want to train the TVA and the core muscles as a unit, train the plank with a load for no more than 15 seconds.
2) Prescribing a predetermined squat depth can be harmful.
Squat depth is something that is unique to the individual and their unique capabilities. Forcing a deep squat depth usually ends with a host of compensations that can harm the trainee and burn in faulty movement patterns. It kills me personally when I hear a comment of “you need to squat deeper for a real squat.” This deep squat is usually achieved through massive hip flexion to make up for limited ankle mobility, loading the lumber spine extensively. It”s an ugly and harmful squat. Rule of thumb, squat to your “comfortable range of motion,” which may change as you correct some movement issues.
I”ll be addressing a few more fitness issues that current research has given us better insight into in future posts.

Matt Pirtle,  MA CSCS

Make sure you know your box before thinking outside of it.

I recently read a blog by a very successful strength coach in Boston named Mike Boyle. He made a statement in that blog that most are conditioned to immediately act negatively to. He said, about thinking outside the box, that “there is a reason there is a box.” His implication that he made very clear in the rest of the blog post is that the box created a boundary that you want to consider before stepping over. “Thunking outside the box” had been a saying universally championed in almost all facets of life. It sounds good and implies creative thinking. Fair enough. The problem comes from thinking outside an area that most people don”t understand in the first place. In other words, thinking outside a box when you don”t even understand the basics of that box. In fitness, and in personal training  , this can be a relevant  idea. The box is there for a reason.
The box contains the fundamentals that must be MASTERED before exploring outside into unchartered territory. For many, the time it takes to master these sometimes very complicated fundamentals is not appealing.  Some opt for the newest, seemingly innovative training ideas without regard to the “why am I doing this?” question crossing there mind. Thinking creatively and developing innovative training techniques is a great thing, but make sure that the base in which these new ideas are stemming from is strong.
Trainers and trainees, UNDERSTAND THE BOX, however small it may seem, before blindly venturing out of it.
Matthew Pirtle, MA, CSCS

Want to Get Big?

Trying to get big?
It’s actually one of the hardest goals to achieve in fitness.
What seems pretty obvious (lifting weight = bigger muscles) is not.
This is why many trainees struggle for years with minimal success.
Creating lean tissue from nothing is a tough thing to do.  There are a few training variables that, if followed, will maximize your effort to gain muscle.
1) Rep number- on most exercises, FAILURE at 10-12 reps is optimal for this goal. That means, find a weight where you can do 10, and not 11, without losing form. This maximizes the hormonal response from your body. Higher testosterone and GH levels equals bigger muscles.
2)Rest time- keep it short, around 45 seconds. You will want to start your next set before you are completely recovered from the last.
3)Set Number- you’ll want to perform at least 10 sets per muscle group to maximize the hypertrophy (size gain) effect of the workout.
4)Exercise selection – in general pick exercises that isolate muscle. Single joint exercises like the chest fly and lateral raise are good examples. Work in some bigger compound exercises like chest and shoulder presses and perform the single joint exercise back to back.
5) Eat- you must have extra calories (raw materials) to manufacture new muscle, so you have to take in more calories than it takes to maintain your current weight. If you can maintain at 3000 calories a day, a good place to be for muscle gain at first would be 3500. Eat as clean as possible but get those calories in or you’ll be wasting  your time in the gym.
Outside of this, try to focus on one or two muscle groups per day, training 4-5x per week. Make sure you allow time to recover (that’s when you actually improve, not in the gym.
For an example routine or any further questions, contact me at
Matt Pirtle MA CSCS

Beware of evolutionary 180s

A few weeks ago I wrote an article about the constantly changing face of fitness and how, as fitness professionals, we must be able to consider disposing of outdated ideas (and replace them with superior proven ones)
You have to be willing to test new theories and adopt something different if it proves to be a better way, and be ok with the change.
On the other hand, you have to be cautious of what I like to call “evolutionary 180’s”. This is an idea that suddenly and without merit attempts to turn upside down the accepted (and tested) standards in fitness.
 Evolution happens slowly. If a trait works in a certain environment better than its previous version, it will flourish and eventually become the standard.
The same thing should be true for fitness. Almost every week there is a “breakthrough” in fitness where some supposed fitness guru attempts to turn the fitness world on its head with the latest fad.  Fitness fads are untested 180’s.
New ideas and fitness theories are fantastic, but they must be tested and retested and then tested again before they can be labeled “the latest fitness breakthrough.”
Be open to the newest ideas, but attempt to DISPROVE them again and again.  If you can’t, you’ve got an idea worthy of adding to your fitness toolbox.
Some of the most obvious fitness fads right now:
1) extremely high volume and high intensity workout programs (with no intelligent program design)
2) (Dys)functional training. Following the advent of functional training came the dysfunctional nightmare of random “cool looking” exercises that match no clients need in real life.
3) Foam rolling and mobility exercises with no targeted purpose other than the thought that “stretching and foam rolling are good for you.” They are, sometimes, for specific areas on specific people.
Matt Pirtle MA CSCS

Rarely does moving ahead involve moving in a straight line

I hope that when you move, you move in a PERFECTLY STRAIGHT line.
…Because that’s how you’re training yourself, and that’s where you’ll be safe.
Unfortunately, life isn’t linear, or safe.
Neither are sports. In very few sporting activities (minus a few sprinting events) does the athlete compete in a straight line. This is an undebatable fact.
Yet still…Still 99% of power and strength training occurs in a straight line.
This straight line is called the SAGITTAL plane, and it divides the body into right and left halves.
Think about the “go to” strength and power exercises. The squat, the deadlift, the lunge, the bench press, shoulder press, push press, clean, snatch etc etc etc all occur in this ONE plane.
Imagine a drag racer. This machine is designed to go explosively in ONE direction, and if it stays straight, it works well. If it doesn’t, well, we’ve all seen these types of explosive crashes.
I AM NOT saying that there shouldn’t be a fair amount of time developing absolute strength (especially early in a lifting career) training with these exercises in this plane. These core lifts should be part of a yearly program for everyone.
The fact remains, if you train in only one plane of motion, you will dominate that plane and only that plane.
For a lifter looking to become more functional, or an athlete looking to up their performance, try training in multiple planes.
The multi planar lunge (striding to the side, 45 degrees, and straight ahead) is a great example of a traditional strength exercise with a more functional multi planar approach. Integrating rotations into presses, jumps at an angle, and core stability exercises in anti rotation are also great versions of traditional straight ahead exercises.
Be stable, explosive and strong in every available direction, because life is going to demand this of you either way.

Weight Lifting is Old School

Do you weight train or weight lift?

Because there is a huge distinction.
Moving weight from A to Z doesn’t take much thinking.
Grab. Grunt. Move weight. That’s about it.
I have worked with many clients that complain that the resistance (I give them) on an exercise is  light, and its a borderline insult that I assigned it to them.
Most of the time, they are right. They can move the weight without too much strain and complete the A to Z requirement of the exercise. Easy.
 The path they took there, however, was faulty.
Compensations are everywhere in resistance training (and just moving around in life, too). The body will find a way to get it done.  For example, instead of firing your glutes in a deadlift, your brain can just choose to fire hamstrings, lower back and adductors. That will lead to a problem in the future.  Furthermore, the more you do this with the faulty pattern, the faster your body will default to that pattern when you do it again in the future.
So why does it matter? If the job gets done, who cares?
The job gets done, true, if you define the “job” by how far a weight moved and not by the pattern or sequencing of muscle involved.  Did you train your body to perform optimally, or just how to compensate to get a job done?
Professional athletes are famous for this. Because they are pro athletes, they can get away with some pretty awful movement both in the weight room and on the athletic field. Because they are athletes, they can figure out (better than the average Joe) how to get a job done. The job may be a 40 yard dash or max effort squat or any kind of athletic movement. They may even do it very well. Sooner or later, though, things will go wrong. Declining performance and inevitable injury will follow these kinds of faulty movement patterns.
Compensations happen CONSTANTLY in resistance training. Whether it comes from a)fatigue -when your body starts to recruit any muscle it can to complete a movement, or
b)from a bad movement pattern that has been established long ago, like learning a deadlift wrong, or
c)from a structural problem, like adhesion in the hip flexor not allowing it to produce force.
A trainee needs to be aware of the subtleties of the movement being executed, and the EXACT muscle being recruited to get the job done.
This is easier said than done. It definitely takes a trained eye to watch for compensations and small movement deviations that could ultimately change the nature of an exercise.
My advice? If you have a trainer, don’t be offended if they tell you to regress an exercise or to lower the load.  Its with your best interests in mind. Going forward, you’ll be able to lift the heavier loads, the correct way, and avoid injury.
If you haven’t worked with a professional, find a GOOD one that understands movement mechanics  well.  One who can guide you with a solid corrective exercise program.
Better yet, if you are new to resistance training, hire that professional before you need a corrective exercise program and begin with sound movement patterns from the start.
Matt Pirtle MA CSCS

Charley's Training; Not Just for a 2.5 Year Old!

Charley’s training continued the last two weeks with a more structured, but still fun and movement driven design. When training a small child, the workout has to be engaging and interesting enough to keep the attention of a client whose average attention span is about 3 seconds. The exercises are 99% basic human movement based. Running, crawling, throwing, jumping, balancing, and climbing are all represented.


Many think of these kinds of exercises as “child’s play”, and they are…if you watch children at play, they are basically working out and exercising using all of these functional movement patterns.  So, while an “adult” exercise like a bench press has its place for gaining strength, it has a far lower functional turnover into real-life movement.
Training like a kid may be the best kind of exercise a human can do. When you get better at these exercises, you get better at LIFE, including sports and everyday living.
I need to exercise like a kid more often.
Matt Pirtle MA CSCS

If you think you're going to out-exercise your diet when looking to lose weight, think again.


I have clients that are dieters, and I have clients that are exercisers. The exercisers far outnumber the dieters. This group of clients (and people, in general) tend to rely heavily on long exercise sessions to make up for an imperfect nutrition.  Looking at the numbers alone, this is a bad strategy.
According to The Observer magazine;
“More and more research in both the UK and the US is emerging to show that exercise has a negligible impact on weight loss. That tri-weekly commitment to aerobics class? Almost worthless, as far as fitting into your bikini is concerned. The Mayo Clinic, a not-for-profit medical research establishment in the US, reports that, in general, studies “have demonstrated no or modest weight loss with exercise alone” and that “an exercise regimen… is unlikely to result in short-term weight loss beyond what is achieved with dietary change.”
Why is this so?
First and foremost, losing weight is about putting yourself in a calorie deficit below what it takes to maintain your body. This means, if it takes 2100 calories to maintain your current body weight, then you won’t realize any weight loss unless you eat less than 2100.
Performing physical activity will raise this maintenance number, modestly. For example, running at 5 MPH for 30 minutes will burn 288 calories (for a 150 pound woman).
That means your new maintenance number would be 2388.
When planning on weight loss, you have to keep in mind that it takes a 3500 calorie deficit per week to lose ONE pound of bodyfat. That’s 500 calories per day. So, with the running giving you 2388 maintenance calories, you still have to be at about 1900 calories per day to lose ONE POUND per week.
Conversely, 288 calories can be consumed in much less than 30 minutes with far less work. One BIG MAC hamburger is 560 calories, one small donut is 300 calories. Even healthy foods, like an avocado, pack a punch at 270 calories.
It takes time and effort to burn of a negligible amount of calories through exercise, and it takes SECONDS to blow a whole session of cardio on a snack.
This is in NO WAY saying that cardiovascular work should be avoided when losing weight. Studies have shown that people who lose substantial amounts of weight keep it off by performing a structured cardio routine, and the benefits of exercise and cardio go WELL beyond calorie burning.
The point is, if your intention is to lose weight, understand the role that exercise will play in directly impacting the number on the scale. It’s small. It should be part of your program, but the main contributor to your weight loss will be your diet. Exercise because it brings so many other health benefits.
When trying to lose weight, never try to out exercise your diet, the diet will win every time.
Matt Pirtle MA CSCS
Emerge Fitness Training

It's Time For Change; Knowing When Your Way is the Wrong Way

“The snake which cannot cast its skin has to die. As well the minds which are prevented from changing their opinions; they cease to be mind.”
― Friedrich Nietzsche
When I began personal training almost 12 years ago, I thought I knew it all. My training experience was based on a few years of training myself and a year of training with a bodybuilder in Texas. My physique looked good because my training was focused on that end, muscle size (hypertrophy). That is what I knew and that is how I trained my clients. I would scoff at the mere site of a stability ball or a foam roller, and corrective exercise to me was something for physical therapists or chiropractors.
Over the years, I began to read more, and began to experiment with different styles of training.  I studied core training, functional training, sports performance and corrective exercise intently. I tested what the current research suggested and found success in some areas, and a lack of results in others. I kept the stuff that worked, and discarded the rest.
As time went by, I was able to identify easier the sources of fitness information worth studying, as well as the Internet fluff not worth my consideration.
On many, many occasions I have been forced to question some of my fitness “truths” and often had to change entirely my paradigm on my training philosophy.
That brings me to the point of this blog.
The fitness industry is ever changing.  The current state of research will suggest one method of training, and evolve into something else months later. The key is to:
a) stay on top of the current information, as it is the best available information at the time and:
 b) be able to trash your comfortable way of training and thinking for something that is a proven better way.
This is difficult to do, as training with a certain philosophy is comfortable. You know the routine exactly and can deliver the information impeccably. The problem is, if you’re not adapting to the current available information on your skill, you are dis servicing yourself and your clients.
With that said, I would like to offer two insights on fitness that will probably change in the coming few years, but are as true as the research is current right now.
1) Planks for time are a waste of time
Bottom line, after about 15 seconds, even the strongest core begins asking for help. More often than not, it’s from the the hip flexors. If you want to train the TVA and the core muscles as a unit, train the plank with a load for no more than 15 seconds.
2) Prescribing a predetermined squat depth can be harmful.
Squat depth is something that is unique to the individual and their unique capabilities. Forcing a deep squat depth usually ends with a host of compensations that can harm the trainee and burn in faulty movement patterns. It kills me personally when I hear a comment of “you need to squat deeper for a real squat.” This deep squat is usually achieved through massive hip flexion to make up for limited ankle mobility, loading the lumber spine extensively. It’s an ugly and harmful squat. Rule of thumb, squat to your “comfortable range of motion,” which may change as you correct some movement issues.
I’ll be addressing a few more fitness issues that current research has given us better insight into in future posts.
Matt Pirtle,  MA CSCS

Charley's Training: Make Time For Fun!

This weeks training took a decidedly unorganized turn, with Charley basically running around EMERGE sampling her favorite exercises and equipment. At first, I tried to reel her in and direct this 2.5 year old to what I thought was the best course for her workout.
And then it came to me.  While I saw Charley take turns with Kathryn’s client going under a set of hurdles, then run “sideways” down the turf, then do hanging leg raises from the high pull-up bar, I realized that THIS is what training is all about, especially for a young athlete.
She was having fun, choosing exercises that were challenging AND developing the motor skills I spoke about in an earlier post. This “free play” time is important, and will become increasingly more important as Charley grows older and begins organized sporting activities.
Charley is developing positive associations with working out, athletics and healthy moving.
Young athletes can be driven so hard at a young age that they burn out both physically and mentally far before they hit their athletic potential. It’s a shame, because sports can do so many great things for a young athlete.
Keep sports fun, work hard, and enjoy the PROCESS.
Playing in the snow is a great way to exercise AND have fun at the same time….

Matt Pirtle MA CSCS
Emerge Fitness Training

Charley's Training: Emerge and Gymnastics

Charley’s training has been a lot of fun, coupled with  a lot of running around after her when she gets distracted.  That’s part of the process, I’m starting to understand this.  Charley’s sessions last anywhere from 18-25 minutes depending on a) what else is going on at Emerge and b) if what I am doing with her is interesting enough to keep her attention.
Bottom line, to get anything out of her training at this age the training must be engaging and FUN.
Charley’s fitness week begins with her gymnastics on Wednesday night for 45 minutes.  She is learning to take direction, tumble, climb and balance while cooperating with other kids.  It’s an awesome setup and I love watching her.  She is learning to move well and is having fun doing it.  As a matter of fact, many of the other children wave and pander to their parents for their attention.
Charley ignores me entirely.  I cant decide if I like this or not…
Charley’s training at Emerge started with turf sprints 2×20 yards.
Lateral turf shuffle: 4×20 yards.
Crab walk: 1×20 yards.
Turf hops: 1×20 yards.
Bodyweight squat to jump: 2×10 jumps.
Push Press: 2×10 (2lb dumbbell)
Ring hangs with knee raises: 2×10
Running around Emerge in and out of other trainer’s sessions for the in between set rest.
The kids training topic for this post is Multilateral development (training).
This concept is simply the idea of NOT specializing when young in a single movement pattern or sport but involving kids in many different sporting and movement activity to develop GENERAL movement skill.
Research shows many benefits to this kind of “training”, including not burning out early, athletically peaking later (when it matters most) and much fewer incidence of injury.
Instead of being involved in one activity every day as a kid, being involved at a lower intensity in many activities results in these benefits.  Specialization in training should be focused on much later in a young athlete’s physical and athletic development.
For more information on multilateral training and specialization, contact:
Matt Pirtle MA CSCS
emerge fitness training

Foam Rolling. Why Do It? How Does It Work?

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?
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.
With that said, three muscles that are “common offenders” and often need foam rolling are:

The piriformis:


The IT band:


The calf:

For more information on foam rolling or corrective exercise in general, contact:
Matt Pirtle, MA CSCS
Emerge Fitness Training

Emerge Corrective helps Conrad do what he loves to do again

Conrad Sansone was afflicted with a rare condition,
Defined by the Mayo Clinic:

Costochondritis (kos-toe-KHON-dri-tis) is an inflammation of the cartilage that connects a rib to the breastbone (sternum) — a junction known as the costosternal joint. Pain caused by costochondritis may mimic that of a heart attack or other heart conditions.
Your doctor might refer to costochondritis by other names, including chest wall pain, costosternal syndrome and costosternal chondrodynia. When the pain of costochondritis is accompanied by swelling, it’s referred to as Tietze syndrome.
Most cases of costochondritis have no apparent cause. In these cases, treatment focuses on easing your pain while you wait for costochondritis to improve on its own.
This condition was life-changing to Conrad, who enjoyed a lifestyle (with his family) of sports and resistance training.
The following video shows Conrad explaining his situation, and what he,with the help of Emerge Corrective Exercise, has been able to do.
Matt Pirtle, MA CSCS
Emerge Fitness Training

Charley's Training Week 2


Our second week of training went great!
Charley got a lot of good work in but also had fun with her rest time (time in between exercises to swing on rings, explore new equipment, or annoy Nick Dudas in the office).
With the 15-25 minutes of attention span, the idea is the hit the ground running and phase out the intensity towards the end.
Charley started on the turf for two 20 yard runs. She transitioned into a shuffle for 40 yards, a backpedal for 20, and finished with a crawl for 20.
We next went to staggered dots and jumped from one to the next.  She jumped from the ground to a Bosu and off to the other side.
She performed bar hangs with leg lifts, and a couple TRX pikes.  She also showed me a really cool suspended corkscrew swing on the rings.
This is a good time to touch on a common topic of discussion for kids and fitness.
Is resistance training safe for children, and will it “stunt growth?”
The answer is YES it is safe, and smart resistance training WILL NOT stunt growth. A young athlete is FAR more likely to hurt themselves or damage growth plates throwing, falling, or just practicing their sport (especially at the intensity that today’s kids do, with repetitive motion at a very young age).
Eric Cressey, a national authority in strength and conditioning, recommends strength training with kids as soon as their attention span will allow it.  These kids will be much better prepared to handle the tremendous forces their bodies encounter when simply sprinting and throwing, and will help stave of injury when playing their game.
Matt Pirtle, MA CSCS
Emerge Fitness Training

My Favorite Client

I just took on a new client.
Shes tough.
She hardly ever listens to me, has endless energy, and my wife loves that I’m working with her.
She’s my 2 and half year old daughter, Charley.
Starting last Friday at 9, and for many Fridays to come, I will be training her for a half hour (or for as long as I can keep her attention for that day).
This is a chance for her to develop her basic human movement patterns, gross motor skills, balance, strength and coordination early.  It also allows me to hang out with one of my favorite people for a half hour at work.
In all seriousness, early training like this can be extremely beneficial.  For now we will not be working on any specific goal but working on what is called “multilateral” training, a system of generalized training designed to improve coordination and proprioceptive awareness… AKA, running, crawling, jumping, pushing and throwing balls, and balance exercises.  Basically, fun playground stuff with structure.
Charley’s first week’s training consisted of dot drills in two planes of motion, turf drills consisting of running, crawling, backpedaling, and shuffling.  Bar hangs were Charley’s favorite, but she also liked Bosu jumps and overhead med throws (with a growl and serious game face).
I will be updating Charley’s weekly training with video and pics, touching on the training rationale and process.  This should be a lot of fun and a learning experience!

Local Running/Fitness Events 2013

Interested in running your first 5k or half marathon?  Maybe take on one of the new fitness challenges that have become popular? Listed below are some of the popular events going on in the St. Louis/St. Charles area. If you would like to add any, please email
Saturday, February 9th: Truffle Shuffle 4-Mile- Cottleville, MO
Saturday, February 23rd: Ultimate 5k & 1M– St. Charles http:
Saturday, February 23rd: SpeRunking Sandmine Challenge– Crystal City, MO
Saturday, March 9th: Celebrate Fitness 10k, 5k, 1 mile walk, fitness classes
Saturday, March 16th: Cottleville St. Patrick’s Day-Run for the Helmet 7k– Cottleville, MO
Saturday, March 16th: St. Patrick’s Day Parade Run– Downtown St. Louis
Sunday, April 7th: GO! St. Louis Marathon/ Half Marathon & Family Fitness Weekend – Downtown St. Louis
Saturday, April 20th: PSE Family Fun Run 5k/1 Mile– St. Peters, MO
Saturday, April 27th: Run. Live. Learn. 10k, 5k, Fun Run and Health & Wellness Expo. -Cottleville, MO
Saturday, April 27th: AM Fun Run 5 & 10k– St. Charles, MO
Saturday, April 27th: The Color Run– Downtown St. Louis (Sign up under Team Emerge!)
Sunday, April 28th: APA Fast and the Furriest 5k Run & 1 Mile walk– St. Louis
Saturday, May 4th: RUSH 5k and Kids Fun Run- St. Charles:
Saturday, May 11th: 8th Annual Karen 4 a Kause 5k Fun Run & 1 Mile Walk– St. Charles
Saturday, July 13th: 4th Annual Hope for Haiti 5K– St. Charles, MO
Saturday, August 10th: 3rd Annual Wounded Warrior 5K/1M Run– Carondelet Park , St. Louis
Saturday Sept. 14th, Sunday, Sept. 15th: Tough Mudder – TBD, Missouri
Saturday, September 28th: Warrior Dash– Wright City, Missouri

Emerge Fitness Boot Camp Schedule: Thanksgiving Week

Thanksgiving is a busy time for everyone and it is only a week away! As hectic as your schedule may be, you should not neglect your workouts!
Emerge has altered the Boot Camp schedule for that week so you can get  a head start on calorie burning before you consume that, big Turkey Dinner.
Monday, Nov. 19th: Kimberly is having a 5:30 boot camp only. It will be set up for all fitness levels.
Tuesday, Nov. 20th: Adam has his regular 6am boot camp.
Wednesday, Nov. 21st: Kimberly has her regular 5:30 p.m. class
Thursday, Nov. 22nd: Both Adam’s 6am and Jason’s 5:30pm classes are cancelled, however Beth will be having an 8am Thanksgiving Boot Camp.
All classes are $11 each. If you have family/friends in town, invite them to come along! It’s a great opportunity for them to see what Emerge is all about!

Get Fit For Fido 2012

Join us for

Emerge Fitness Training’s

4th Annual



Tuesdays: Dec. 4th, 11th, 18th

Thursdays: Dec. 6th, 13th, 20th

All classes are at 6:30 pm

Get Fit for Fido is a series of boot camps the Emerge staff volunteers to instruct.  The classes are free; however, we do ask you to bring something to donate to the Five Acres Animal Shelter (formerly St. Charles Humane Society), which is a no-kill animal shelter.

Call Emerge at (636) 922-7559 or email or  for more information!!!

Emerge Fitness Training

3839 Mexico Rd, St. Charles, MO 63303


Puppy/Kitten Food (Purina Brand Preferred)

Dog/Cat Toys

Dog/Cat Treats

Large jars of Peanut Butter (for Kong toys)

Trash Bags & Bleach

Also, Gift Cards to Petsmart/Petco are Accepted & Appreciated!


Emerge at the BI-County Institute

Emerge Fitness Training will be adding to the scholarship and professional development of the K-12 Community next week as Aaron Randolph will be speaking at the BI-County Institute for Randolph/Monroe Counties.
The Institute titled “Its A Common Thing” will be held on October 5th at Red Bud High School. Aaron’s presentation entitled “Infusing Scientific Methods Into Sport Coaching” will draw parallels between the importance of assessment for the K-12 educator, K-12 sport coach, and strength & conditioning professionals.
Aaron will also be demonstrating the Functional Movement Screen with volunteer Justiene, in order to demonstrate a basic tool of assessment with a solid scientific background that gym teachers and sport coaches can use on a daily basis.
Over the past two years while Aaron has been pursuing his Doctrate in Education and instructing in higher education he has become very passionate about the K-12 and higher education communities. He believes adding support and scholarship to the educational community both primary, secondary, as well as higher education is the future of our community’s success as well as our nation’s growth.
Aaron is in the submission process of completing his dissertation for the final fulfillment of the E.d.D Degree at Lindenwood University. Aaron will also be continuing to support the education of our community through teaching as an adjunct professor for St. Louis Community College’s Physical Education Department starting in Mid October.
Visit Aaron’s profile at
If you would like a Power Point Copy of Aaron’s presentation or would like any additional information please contact him at

Young Athletes: When is it Time to Start Specializing Your Training?

When making a decision on when to begin specializing a young athlete’s training regimine, consider a few things:
Most research on the subject has shown that;
1)Early specialization leads to rapid improvement, with performance peaks at age 15 or 16
2)Early specialization tends to lead to inconsistent athletic performance
3) Early specialization leads to burnout often by the age of 18
4)Early specialization often leads to injury because of rapid improvement without physical readiness (immature physique)
In contrast, what is termed “multilateral development” (Bompa, Periodization) or training involving no set skill or specialization, but  general athletic improvement through a variety of modalities and training methods, leads to:
1)Slower improvement, but peaks in athletic performance past the age of 18 when the athlete is physiologically ready for the adaptations
2)Consistent and progressive improvements in performance
3)A longer athletic career
4)Fewer injuries due to progress when the athlete is physiologically and psychologically mature
In summation, don’t rush specialization in the training program of a young athlete.  Focus on refining a variety of basic human movement patterns and generalizing the training program to improve in a wide scope of athletic movement.  Most successful college and professional athletes peak at the right time due to a background in training which involves a variety of sports and training methods as opposed to specializing in only one athletic endeavor at an early age.
For more information on athletic performance enhancement, contact Emerge Fitness Training and speak to one of the many certified strength and conditioning specialists.
Matt Pirtle, MA, CSCS

Lacrosse Takes Over North America

Check out Emrge’s fall article in the St. Louis Sport Magazine written by Aaron Randolph by clicking the below picture.
Over the past two decades, lacrosse has become the fastest growing sport in North America, with staggering growth at the youth level. As a result of that growth, there is a growing need within the field of strength and conditioning to understand the physical requirements of the sport and the proper techniques used to enhance performance.
Where most coaches go wrong in sports like basketball, soccer and lacrosse is to think that because the athletes may be moving around for longer periods of time versus baseball or football, this must mean the athletes need to have a great deal of aerobic endurance. This is absolutely not the case; sports such as basketball, soccer, volleyball and lacrosse are dominated by anaerobic power, meaning the athletes perform work in short segments of time at maximal or near maximal effort with approximately one or two times the rest at moderate to low intensities.
Typically, we see lacrosse athletes performing more than 100 work repetitions per game, lasting primarily between five and 30 seconds in duration with up to a minute rest between each repetition. With this in mind, coaches would be much better off utilizing sprint intervals, fartlek training or “gasser” type conditioning versus long slow distance. Aerobic training at longer distances and slower speed will only make your athletes slower. The key is to get the lacrosse player to utilize speed and quickness in a repetitive manner by allowing for sufficient rest between intervals so that each effort is at or near maximal intensity because this is similar to what they do during the game.
Additionally, lacrosse is highly dependent on athletes’ ability to create space, thus the ability to accelerate and decelerate trumps maximal speed more often than not. This simply means that it might be a good idea for a coach to spend more time working on acceleration drills such as a one knee start, falling start or even single leg plyometrics versus longer maximal attainment sprints like wind sprints or flying start sprints.
In addition to acceleration and deceleration focused drills, coaches might want to consider their athletes’ strength-to-mass ratio in determining acceleration or deceleration ability. Instead of being concerned with how much he or she can squat, be more concerned about how much he or she can squat when compared to his or her body weight. For example, take a one repetition maximum for the squat and divide it by their body weight. Anywhere below a 1.5 is suboptimal and anywhere above a 1.5 is sufficient. The higher the ratio, the better the athlete will be able to start, stop and move their body around the field.
Lastly, one would also want to consider utilizing a high degree of rotational power training. Trunk rotation around the spine is crucial for the athlete’s ability to manipulate the lacrosse stick while passing and shooting. Rotational power output can be increased essentially in two ways: developing a stronger core and a faster rotation. A coach, for example, would not only want to do heavy medicine ball training but also light and quick medicine ball training to maximize trunk rotation velocity.
When it comes to strength and conditioning, there are many avenues of investigation a professional can and should look into. For now, we have uncovered three of the main factors that need to be considered for training for lacrosse; the sport is highly anaerobic, creating space is the key to success for offenders and closing space is the key for defenders and when it comes to core training, focus on the rotational aspect. Keeping these ideas in mind will surely give the lacrosse athlete a heightened potential for success and performance.
For more information on performance specific workouts, go to

True Cost of Inactivity

True Cost Of Inactivity





Long Term Health Risks

Long Term

Cost Risk

Long Term Health Benefits

Long Term

Cost Benefit

Increased Risk For Developing A Chronic Disease: Chronic Diseases Account for 76% of total healthcare costs in the U.S.

+$330 in medical costs per year compared to active adults

Improves your chances of living longer and at a higher quality of living. Reduced risk of developing a chronic disease

Spend less in total annual medical costs by $330 annually

23% of all Deaths are associated with chronic diseases

+$1200 More to treat an obese adult for the same condition as healthy adult

Decrease Risk of Coronary Heart Disease, Stroke, Coronary Artery Disease

Spend less on procedures or conditions by $1200 annually

Increase Risk of Coronary Heart Disease, Stroke, Coronary Artery Disease

+$3074 in extra annual costs to treat your chronic disease

Decrease Risk of Cardio Pulmonary Disease

Increased productivity at work

Increase Risk of Cardio Pulmonary Disease

+$4672 in extra annual costs to treat two chronic diseases

Decreased Risk of Developing Diabetes

Less time off from sick days

Increased Risk of Developing Diabetes

More sick days per year versus active adults

Decrease Risk of Cancer

Aid the reduction of medical costs in the U.S.

Increase Risk of Cancer

$163 billion lost in the economy as a result of obese and sedentary adults

Decreased Risk of Bone Mineral Density Loss

Limit costs and associated with chronic disease

Increased Risk of Bone Mineral Density Loss

Cardiovascular Disease Costs the US $298.2 Billion/year

Increased Strength

Reduced cost toward prescription medications

Decreased Strength

Type 2 Diabetes costs the US $98 Billion/year

Increased Energy Levels

Limit chance and cost associated with acute injuries

Decreased Energy Levels


Increased Functional Mobility

Decreased Functional Mobility

Decreased Risk For Falls

Increased Risk For Falls

Decreased Risk of Injury and Broken Bones

Increased Risk of Injury and Broken Bones

Improved Mood

Improved Self Esteem


Increased Brain Function

Build and Reinforce BONE Through Resistance Training

backsquatBClick on the image for a squat demonstration with Dianne Garrison (Emerge client with a bone formation goal)

Of the many positive benefits of resistance training exercise, perhaps the least heralded is weight training’s potential ability to build and reinforce bone. Almost everyone understands by now the strength enhancing, metabolism boosting effects of a resistance training program, but most don’t know (or simply under utilize) the potential bone strengthening benefits. Resistance training can help build and reinforce bone in two basic ways: 1) by loading the body axially, pressure is applied to bones that literally cause them to bend at their weakest points. Simply stated, these weak points are recognized by the body and the bone is reinforced by bone mineralization at that weak point. Axially loading is loading the body through the spine, using multiple joint exercises like the squat, power clean, and deadlift. 2) By gaining strength and adding size to muscle fiber, you are increasing the force exerted on your bones. A bone has to increase its mass and strength to deal with this new force. Bone mineral density is then increased in that specific area (corresponding with the muscle being worked).
Some points to remember when exercising specifically to increase bone formation are to;
1) Vary the exercises regularly, using a variety of different joint angles
2) In general, use compound exercises like the deadlift versus single joint exercises like the biceps curl.
3) Use progressively resistance, continue to increase the resistance when you are able.
For more information on this fitness goal or any other fitness goal, contact any trainer at Emerge.
Matt Pirtle, MA, CSCS

Emerge Olympics 2012

We’re nearly half way into the Olympics, and Emerge is addicted to watching everything.  All three of our tv’s are on various channels to catch all of the events throughout the day. In fact, we are going one step further, and Kimberly has come up with “Emerge Olympics”- Boot Camp, Monday, August 6th.  Each class will be set  up with the typical 10-11 station format, however, each will represent an Olympic event (rowing, swimming, volleyball, etc).  Class size is limited to 11 a class, so spots are filling up fast! The 6:30 class is open for anyone who would like to participate!  Boot Camps are $11.  For more information to sign up, either comment on Facebook or email Kimberly at

EMERGE Fitness Training's Annual BBQ

Calling All EMERGE Clients!!!
We are pleased to have you as one of our clients and we would like to show you our appreciation and gratitude for giving us the opportunity to serve your health, wellness, and sport needs. Join us on August 11th, 2012 from 12pm to 5pm at  Wapelhorst Park 1874 Muegge Road  St. Charles, MO 63301 for our Annual BBQ!!

Please RSVP at the front desk next to the sign-in sheets or email us your RSVP at


Food Will Be Catered By Valenti’s Meat Market and Deli

Youth & Adult Beverages Will Be Provided

BYOB If You Have a Particular Taste Outside Standard Beer, Soda, or Water.

Music and Family Friendly Entertainment Will Also Be Provided

Round Robin Washers Tournament

Winning Team Receives 2 Free Sessions Per Player and the washers set.

Sign Up For Washers By Listing Your Team Name and Player Names When You RSVP

Socialize Playing Bags, Lawn Golf, and Frisbee While The Children Enjoy a

Bounce House, Snow Cones, Ice Cream Truck, and Balloon Artist

Let Emerge Show You How Much We Appreciate You As A Valued Client!!

New USA Weightlifting (Olympic Lifting) Services

USA Weightlifting, also known as Olympic Lifting consists of the Clean & Jerk and the Snatch. These two movements represent an essential training component applicable to all individual and team based sports. Interested in learning more about these two lifts and how they can enhance you performance, check out Emerge Fitness’s new USA Weightlifting Camps and One-on-One training at

Emerge Fitness Training Boot Camp Challenge

Earn your shirt!
Beginning Monday, July 2nd, Emerge Fitness will begin it’s first “Boot Camp Challenge”.  Every client who completes 20 classes between July 2nd and December 31st* will receive their own Emerge Fitness Boot Camp shirt. All regular boot camp classes count towards your total, which means you can earn 1,2,3,4, or even 5 days towards your 20 per week!
If you are currently a regular at any of the boot camp classes, you are already registered, however if you want to begin, just sign up with any boot camp instructors or with Ben at the front desk.
Shirts will be available in men and women sizes.  These shirts will not be available for purchase, you can only earn one!
View the design:  Emerge Fitness Boot Camp Challenge Shirt – Scroll down to see front and back. (Black Shirts with white print)
* “Get Fit for Fido” charity boot camp does not count towards the 20 classes.

Make Sure You Know Your "Box" Before Thinking Outside of It

Make sure you know your box before thinking outside of it.
sara h
I recently read a blog by a very successful strength coach in Boston named Mike Boyle. He made a statement in that blog that most are conditioned to immediately act negatively to. He said, about thinking outside the box, that “there is a reason there is a box.” His implication that he made very clear in the rest of the blog post is that the box created a boundary that you want to consider before stepping over. “Thunking outside the box” had been a saying universally championed in almost all facets of life. It sounds good and implies creative thinking. Fair enough. The problem comes from thinking outside an area that most people don’t understand in the first place. In other words, thinking outside a box when you don’t even understand the basics of that box. In fitness, and in personal training  , this can be a relevant  idea. The box is there for a reason.
The box contains the fundamentals that must be MASTERED before exploring outside into unchartered territory. For many, the time it takes to master these sometimes very complicated fundamentals is not appealing.  Some opt for the newest, seemingly innovative training ideas without regard to the “why am I doing this?” question crossing there mind. Thinking creatively and developing innovative training techniques is a great thing, but make sure that the base in which these new ideas are stemming from is strong.
Trainers and trainees, UNDERSTAND THE BOX, however small it may seem, before blindly venturing out of it.
Matthew Pirtle, MA, CSCS

How To Periodize Your Workouts to Hit Your Potential

Maximizing Potential through Periodization:
Nick Dudas CSCS
Have you ever gone to the gym and felt like you have hit a wall, and the progression you once experienced is gone. Most individuals have including myself before learning how to properly periodize. This is known as hitting a performance plateau.
When starting strength and conditioning program the physical adaptations and psychological adjustments can be tremendous. If the program is left unchanged the athlete or individual will experience decreased gains and possibly become over trained.
Periodization was introduced in the 1960’s by a Russian physiologist Leo Matveyev’s. His concept was to divide an overall training program into specific time cycles. The first of these cycles is known as a macrocycle, this consists of the overall program going from one year up to four years. The next is a mesocycle, which last anywhere from several weeks to several months. Last is a microcycle, this last anywhere from one to four weeks. It is detrimental for athletes to have a preplanned strategy consisting of all three cycles to promote long-term training and performance improvements.
As athletes go through out their sports careers the competition becomes more and more intense. Knowing when an athlete should peak in performance is everything. Over time this can only be done through proper periodization. As the microcycles begin you want to start with a preparation phase, it is important in this phase to establish a 1-repetition max on core non-power lifts. This would be lifts such as bench press, military press, back squat, and dead lifts. Once the 1 repetition max is established the preparation phase begins with hypertrophy and endurance. Hypertrophy refers to muscular growth from increasing the cross-sectional area of existing muscle fiber as well as increasing the myofibrils with in the fibers. This can be established from doing sets of 3-5 and repetitions of 10-12. It is important to have a diet that puts to athlete in a surplus of around 500 calories a day to be sure to increase muscle diameter. At the end of the week the athlete should gain a pound of muscle.
After 4-6 weeks of building muscle and endurance athletes want to focus on basic strength. The importance to building strength is to take the muscle the athlete has gained and be able to generate a maximal force at specific velocity. In the basic strength microcycle the volume will drop to 3-5 sets of 4-8 reps. Once the first two microcycles are complete the athlete will want to take a week of lower volume and intensity to recover and prepare for the first transition phase, this is know as a unloading week. Depending on the experience and conditioning of the athlete an unloading week may be used after the first microcycle as well.
Once the unloading week is over the athlete should be ready to begin the strength and power phase. This involves taking the strength gained in the last microcycle and making it explosive. The athlete here will exert maximal forces at much higher speeds. The power microcycle will include not only core lifts but power lifts as well, such as power cleans, snatches, and sports specific plyometrics. The athlete’s intensity will increase and the volume will drop to 3-5 sets of 2-5 reps for 4-6 weeks. This leads us right up to the competition phase where the athlete increases intensity and lowers volume one final time. Everything that has occurred during the training season leads to this point where we want the athlete to peak performance wise on the field.
As the competition period continues the athlete will want to train 1-3 times during the week to maintain strength and power gained in the training season. Athlete’s focus will be turned to more sports specific activities as well to sharpen skills. After the competition period is over it is vital to give the athlete 1-4 weeks of active rest involving recreational activity to allow them to recover from the long training season.
The goal of periodization is to improve the athlete’s overall endurance, hypertrophy, strength, and power throughout the seasons. This will keep the athlete focused at the task at hand, while maximizing their potential on the field. Properly transitioning throughout the cycles will keep the athlete’s workouts from becoming stale. Periodization will also keep them from overtraining or reaching the exhaustion phase. Remember that specificity and timing is everything for an athlete to reach peak performance.

8 weeks down and sprinting to the finish line

When I first thought about doing this diet, 60 days seemed like a very big challenge.  I started counting by the weeks, and it made 8 weeks seems so far away.  Today, I reached my 8 week mark, and I have 4 days left.  I’m not sure if I’m excited or scared about that.
Discipline is huge in the weight loss battle.  And you’re going to have temptations every day.  Someone is always going to want to go out to dinner, or have a drink, or there will be some kind of party, ball game, or BBQ.  It’s not going to be easy, and at times, its going to be really tough; but, it can be done.
Friday night, my parents came into town and they wanted to eat at Red Robin.  This is one of my favorite burger places. When I USED to go there, I would get a pretty basic gourmet burger with cheese on a wheat bun, and the endless fries, and I’d usually have a few onion rings as an appetizer.  I think my meal Friday night had fewer calories than the onion rings alone.  I had a bunless (and cheese-less) burger wrapped in lettuce.  Literally, it was a half a head of lettuce sitting over a plain burger.  I had a side of fruit.  My parents, who were eating burgers and fries looked over at me, and made a comment along the line of “that’s it?”  Yep mom & dad……  It was probably right at my caloric intake for a dinner for me, however, for the first time in my life, I left Red Robin still hungry. 
I was fully recharged Saturday morning when I woke up to see 2lbs down on the scale.  You get over the “I wish I had a real burger” pretty quickly.
That sums up my weekend. Whether it was the cookout or the movie theater, I had temptations, but when you know you don’t want it because you’d fail at the diet after 8 WEEKS, it’s easier to find a plan B.
I’m almost scared that my 60 day challenge is nearly over.  The blog has kept me very accountable on my actions.  I really hope to stick with this diet (after this weekend, and even then, I want 2 of my 3 meals to stay paleo). I have lost 10 lbs, and I FINALLY have a flat stomach… This is a first for me. Some people hold weight in their butt or thighs, others in their arms. I primarily hold it in my belly (thanks dad). I get my frame from him.  I noticed this weekend that my clothes do not fit right anymore, they are either comfortable, or just plain big on me.  Trying on last summer’s clothes is actually fun again.
I believe that my excitement over how I feel and how I look is trumping the fact that I can’t eat some foods I used to enjoy.  However, I do miss eating an actual burrito at Chipotle instead of the bowls.  And I was really craving pita chips and hummus the other day. So if I could keep things that simple and sporatically, I feel I would be ok.
It has been a learning experience the past 8 weeks.  And this time next week, I plan on getting back on track to see what my body can do over the summer…
By the way, I got my Vitamix last week.  I  made “Paleo Ice cream” over the weekend… VERY good… If you ever want recipes for the pancakes, ice cream, etc. Just let me know!
Emerge Fitness Training

Everything is good.

I think I have 11-12 days left of my 60 day Paleo diet challenge… I think it has been plenty of time for me to make a lifestyle change.  I feel too good not to. I’m not saying that I won’t eat a pizza or some fries here or there, but overall, I don’t need it.  (I will say though that between watching the Cardinals game and Blues game Saturday night, and the crappy weather, I EASILY could have gone for a delivery pizza… But I didn’t… Thought about it… But I didn’t…).
My weight is good, feeling good, sleeping REALLY well… All is good.
I had begun to think about what my “reward” for reaching my goal of this diet would be.  I thought clothes, shoes, a massage… Nada.. the clothes or shoes would be workout clothes.. Whoopie… A massage is something I do too regularly.. SO, I got something I’ve wanted for a while, yet will help me continue to this lifestyle of eating… I got a Vitamix.  If you don’t know what that is, google it… It’s like a blender/juicer/soup and ice cream maker, and several other things all in one.  =CONVIENENCE… Story of my life.
By the way, did you know that McDonalds has THE BEST unsweetened ice tea? I think it even gives QT a run for their money. 
Emerge Fitness Training

It's Simple: Do it or don't…

do it
I’m into week six.. By this time, I’m not only feeling a difference, but I’m definitely seeing a difference. I kicked up my workouts and the scale is dropping once again.  My new experiment in the kitchen this week were Paleo Pancakes… Almond Flour, eggs, Cinnamon, vanilla and I added raisins…It makes 4 pancakes, each containing about 18g of protein… I used a small amount of 100% pure maple syrup and they were amazing. I ate two each morning, and I froze the other two.  I’m going to try to pop them in the toaster on a morning that I’m in a hurry. They actually taste pretty awesome, especially without the guilt.
My Paleo diet has become such a normal thing now, that I really don’t think about what day I’m on, or that I’m “deprived” of anything.  It’s just a lifestyle now.  When I go out to eat, I still scan the menu and make clean choices, but I’ve never said that I can’t eat at a certain place because they have nothing for me.  It can be done.
The thing I’m noticing more and more is people are asking me how my diet is going because they see results.  They hear me tell them how great I feel.  It motivates them, and I have had a lot of people, especially when I started, say that they were going to do it too… I haven’t heard out of those people lately, so I’m assuming  they fell off the bandwagon.  Most people don’t like to report failure, only success.  Others have said maybe they aren’t going to try this diet, which is fine, but they are going to clean up their food choices because they want to lose weight. Again, two weeks pass, and not a word.  It’s a vicious cycle that we as trainers see continuously, and it has to be one of our biggest pet peeves… If you want to lose weight, and you’re serious about losing weight, then it is very simple… Either do it, or don’t.
When a client, friend, or even someone on Facebook mentions they are going to lose weight, I can immediately tell if they are going to succeed or fail.  I know in that moment if this “diet” is going to last a week, or even a day. It’s not a gift, it’s just a matter of listening to them.  I can sit for an hour with a client and listen to their “game plan” and hear how they are going to “get serious” and there are SO many times, I really want to reply saying “Not gonna happen.”  If I don’t believe them, how do I expect they believe in themselves that they can do it. Hence this is why trainers can have clients for years that either “yo-yo” with their weight or they just never change at all.
Let’s get one thing straight first… I’m a trainer.  I’m not a therapist and I’m sure as hell not a cheerleader. I can not personally drop the weight for you.  The best way I  can explain what I do as a trainer is that I’m your GPS for your fitness goals.  You tell me your goals, and I set up the best route for you to take to get there.  I can’t drive the car for you. I can’t be there with you 24/7 to tell you what to eat/not eat. 
Fitness goals are 90% mental. Until you’re mentally ready to start a path to your fitness goals, you’re wasting time.  Even with this Paleo Diet, I didn’t wake up one morning and say “I’m going to start this diet today.”  It took me months to mentally prepare for it.  When I go for something I want to go 100% at it.  No one is making me do this diet, I’m doing it for me.  And no one is putting a gun to my head telling me not to eat something off the diet.  I CHOOSE not to eat it because it’s not in my plan.  My “plan” is to succeed.  It’s not always easy.  It’s not always something I want to do at that moment, but I do it because I want to excel far more than I want to fail.
This past weekend Emerge trainers Nicole and Julie, and a few Emerge clients competed in a figure/bodybuilding competition, and they all did very well.  Over the past 16 weeks, if you have been in the gym, you could see their bodies transforming.  They were leaning out, they were showing more muscle definition.  I heard a lot of “I want to look like that” from other clients.  I’ve heard girls point out they want to be thin like me, or get as little as Angie, or be as strong and fit as Beth.  That’s all fine and dandy, but guess what.  If you want to look like that, you HAVE to “WORK YOUR ASS OFF FOR IT”.  We don’t wake up every morning having the gift of looking like we do.  We diet, we do cardio when we don’t want to, we eat things we don’t always want to.  There are some mornings we have to get up extra early to get in a workout, or stay late after work to fit it in, but we do it because we’re mentally set to succeed.  It’s our priority to reach our fitness goals. 
I love clients who are mentally ready to lose weight.  When they come in for their first session, you know they are serious and passionate about being there.  It’s so exciting because they give 100% and they are so proud to tell you of their diet accomplishments.  They want to work harder and push further.  They are on a mission, and I make sure I’m not in their way because they will plow me over.  To see someone so aggressive with something they want so bad is so contagious.  Even us trainers get on board and it pushes us even harder for ourselves. We truly love helping people.  But I won’t lie, I really love helping those who are ready to help themselves. 
The next time you see a motivating picture on Pinterest, or you see someone with the body shape you’d like to have one day, think to yourself how badly do you want it.  How much are you willing to work to reach your goals.  Are you mentally prepared for good days and bad days, and does succeeding weigh out failure? Have you accepted that it isn’t going to be easy? The greatest risks lead to the greatest rewards. Anyone CAN do it, you just have to make sure your own self believes that you can. 
Kimberly Renoud,
Emerge Fitness Training

Endurance Athletes: LIFT your way to a new PR.

Distance runners: LIFT your way to a new PR. 

Jackie Pirtle Hall runs. She runs alot. 
Because she is among the elite in her sport of marathon running, the demands her training puts on her free time can be overwhelming. 

Hall typically runs around 80 miles per week. Unbelievably, this number is dwarfed by some of her peers who run 120-130 miles in a week. 

Running that distance, even really fast, takes a considerable amount of time.

Even if you aren’t at an elite level, running the distances required of marathon or half marathon training can be tough with a busy schedule. 

Hall recognizes this, as she is a high school teacher and a mom of a 3 year old. The time she spends in training must be as productive as they can be. 

As Hall puts it, “every single extra minute I spend training has to yield results, and I only have time for the most productive minutes.”

That means, at a certain point in her mileage for the week, any additional mile run would start to give back smaller returns. 

So, minute for minute, what will give a runner like Hall, after a certain point in her running training, an increased return (in terms of running faster, longer)?

Strength training will. Strength training for endurance athletes has shown tremendous results as far as running economy (how fast energy is burned) and stronger kicks when needed in a race. 

If youve ever witnessed the end of a long distance race, you will notice how most of the runners come in slouched forward with very short strides. This is because the demands on the muscles that keep them upright were beyond the capability of the muscles to do so. 

This posture is not conducive to a comfortable or energy efficient run. In fact, it will drain energy from you, quickly. 

Hall recognized this posture in herself and began a training regimen that focused on the back side of her body, along with the 29 muscles of the core that work together to stabilize her hips and spine. 

Hall also performs some of the classic strength training exercises with strength-endurance in mind. Squats, deadlifts, lunges, and certain power lifts are no stranger to her weekly training regimen. 

The result? Almost 26 minutes shaved off her marathon PR. 

Matt Pirtle, MA, CSCS

5 weeks down… 3 1/2 to go… It's all downhill from here… Kind of.

It took me 5 full days to recover from eating dairy.  My allergies were insane all week.  Congested, sore throat, and I was coughing up phlem nonstop (gross, I know).  But Saturday I finally started feeling better.  I will admit though, my workouts were either crap or non existent the past week.  It was exhausting just doing daily stuff.  No excuse, I know.
Due to my lack of exercise, my weight plateaued for the week.  I’m ok with it. I know my sodium has been rediculously high and my activity was minimal.  It will change this week.
I have started to eat out more the past week.  I have stuck to my diet, but talk about temptation… I went to Outback twice.  And I had to stare at the bread twice… The hot, yummy bread.  I won’t lie.. I was hoping that those who were eating it “accidently” cut their finger while slicing the bread.  BUT> The main thing is, I didn’t eat the bread. I stuck to the diet. Yay me.
I went to Qdoba for lunch Friday.  I eyed the sour cream.  All I wanted was a little something extra on my “naked burrito”.  Nope.. Just meat, salsa, veggies, and lettuce… It was satisfying but OH SO SALTY…
Last night, I went to Texas Roadhouse in O’Fallon (It’s better than the one in St. Charles.. Just a side note).  For the first time in 5 weeks, I felt like crying at the sight of food.  I had to eye not only the scrumptious hot rolls and the dangerously amazing honey cinammon butter, but also fried pickles.. I had unsweetened ice tea and am empty plate in front of me while  I had to sit across the table and watch the rolls and pickles be consumed. I wanted to cry because I couldn’t eat any of it.  I watched baskets of those darn things keep going by… The smell was enough to make me want to crawl under the table and hide.  Luckily my food came quickly. The ONLY two things that kept me disciplined was #1… I kept saying to myself, “You’ll be in a calorie defecit rather than a surplus after this meal.” and #2… I looked around… I saw people eating baskets upon baskets of the rolls, and salads with cheese and ranch dressing.  I saw burgers go by and fries and desserts.. But I noticed that 80% of the people in the restaurant were overweight or obese… I had to tell myself that is the difference between me and them.. I could eat that too if I wanted to be overweight, but that would make me more unhappy much longer than this one meal would last.  So I survived. 
Today, I went back to Texas Roadhouse… I didn’t have the rolls.. But I split an order of the fried pickles… I won’t lie, they were very satisfying.  I was content afterwards… No regrets… But I don’t want them anymore. That one time is plenty for me.
Friday I went on a baking craze and  I made a few of my “regular paleo” recipes, but then I attempted a chocolate chip cookie recipe.  Now, I’ll be honest, they are no Mrs. Fields cookies, by any means, but they are soft and fluffy and they do give the satisfaction that I ate something to kill my cookie craving. 
Speaking of cravings, I thought by now, I’d crave pizza, or lasagna, or ice cream or something.  Not at all.  Today, I said of all things I wanted at this moment, was a diet coke.  Just a quick trip fountain Diet Coke with crushed ice… That’s it… I didn’t get it.. I went with unsweetened ice tea…
I booked the hotel for my trip to Kansas City which begins the day I conclude with my “60 day challenge.” It kind of recharged my batteries, making me focus on the fact that I only have 3 1/2 weeks… 25 days left… I can do this easily.  BUT> I need to work on cutting down on my “sugars” (I’ve been consuming a lot of honey and raisins) and nuts and sodium.  BACK to meat and veggies… And frankly, I’m getting tired of meat… I really am… I never thought that I would, but it’s getting old.  There were two nights last week that I skipped dinner altogether because I’d rather eat nothing than choke down another bite of roast or chicken… I’ll snap out of it…
Here’s to a new week, with better decisions…
Kimberly, Emerge Fitness Training

Be Careful What you Wish For…

Before I had begun the Paleo diet,  I had decided that I would make Easter dinner my first (and hopefully only) cheat meal in 8 weeks.  Easter was soon approaching and I was getting anxious over getting “normal food.”  I decided to weigh in Sunday morning (I caved.. I bought a scale for home) and I was another pound down.  My clothes I had put on were looser than they had been weeks prior.  I was feeling good! Knowing that I would over indulge while I was at my parents, I kept my breakfast and “light lunch” just that, very light.  Just about 500 calories, but I ate every couple of hours.  I started hydrating immediately, because I knew my sodium intake was about to quadruple.
I got back to IL, and the first thing I got to try were jelly beans.  The Starburst kind, AND they are so clever that they make “Only reds” bags… This has always been my weakness.  I had maybe 2 servings and I was already over it.  The sugar burned my teeth. 
We didn’t end up eating until 3pm and by this time, I was starving.  I sat down and I am no kidding, I did not carry a conversation the entire meal unless it was to say “Pass me the…” or “I’ll take more of the….” And I didn’t stop eating.  I took down ham, green beans, corn, a layered salad, Mac n cheese, homemade applesauce… I cleared the plate… Then I did it all again… Two servings… Then mom mentioned dessert and I was all over that. A dessert consisting of angel food cake, strawberries, jello, pudding, ice cream, and cool whip… I don’t remember eating it.  I knew it was a huge piece. and I stuck my fork in it, then I looked up and it was gone.  EVERYTHING tasted AMAZING (sometimes I wish my mom was a horrible cook.. It would help with portion control if the food wasn’t good).
Two things I did differently: I stuck with unsweetened ice tea ALL day.  Normally, I love sweet tea, but I’m so used to unsweetened that I didn’t want to change.  Two: Mom didn’t make her famous sugar cookies. This saved me 500-600 calories (and tons of sugar).
By this time, and after raiding some more candy I had hit a sugar high.  I even told my mom if I had on some running shoes, I could easily go run a mile in a couple of minutes.  I was ready to go… I felt skiddish and antsy. 
By the time I returned back down to St. Charles, I wasn’t feeling so hot.  I felt tired and heavy.  I wasn’t really hungry, but I brought home enough leftovers for one small meal.  I literally had to shove it down because I refused to have any of it in my apartment today. I had no problem falling asleep.
I woke up at 4 am this morning itching and sneezing, and then my nose was running.  My head was congested and I was puffy.  I finally got up and moving at 7am and I looked in the mirror and my eyes were black, my face was so swollen.  All over I felt awful.  The best way I had explained it was that I felt hungover from the chest up.  My allergies were in full gear to take control of me.  I ended up having to take allergy meds. I got on the scale, and I was 4lbs up.  I literally felt like a walking sponge.
The more I moved around this morning, the more I realized my knees were killing me.  I looked down and my legs were so swollen you couldn’t see much of my knee caps! Seriously, this was all from going back to eat dairy and grains?
By the time I got to work, my throat was scratchy and I had no voice, and I was sneezing, a lot. I feel as if I have no energy to work out.  My coworkers even noticed I wasn’t looking “normal.”  My immediate response was “I’m never eating ‘normal’ again.” 
Taking one “meal” off has me wondering how on earth I used to be able to eat like this so often?  No wonder I would drag my feet at working out, so the days I didn’t want to work out because I was thinking it was my seasonal allergies making me sick.  It was the food I was eating the entire time! 
I have never been so thrilled to go back on this diet.  I’m not sure if it’s the diet or just the allergy meds, but the sneezing has stopped and I’m not congested anymore.  I’m still swollen.  I have dropped one pound of water, 3 to go. 
I’m taking in so much fluids, and consuming so much fiber just to get my body “detoxed.”  I’m going to try to get in some extra “sweat sessions” just to get rid of some of this salt and water.  I’m just happy that there aren’t any more holidays in the near future so I won’t be enticed to indulge.
I will blog again this week once I begin to feel more like my healthy self. 
Until next time,
Emerge Fitness Training…

When is Adding a Trainer MOST Important to Achieving your Fitness Goals?

The answer may surprise you.
In answering this question, the first instinct is to answer “when you first start an exercise routine.” There is a lot of truth to this statement.  This is your chance to develop great movement patterns and to create habits that you can build on going forward.
becky website
I personally spend  A LOT of time un-programming bad movement patterns out of clients that have been lifting with terrible technique since high school.  This takes time and will inhibit the progression that a client could make should these patterns not exist.
Even when employing these sub-par techniques, a first time lifter will realize strength gains and will generally progress despite a well thought out program utilizing proper technique.  The brand new stimulus will force an adaptation even if the exercise is performed less than perfectly.  This is not ideal, of course, and bad habits will develop and possible injury may occur.  The fact is, the novice lifter will see results at first even with a shoddy program.
As an athlete or fitness enthusiast progresses from novice, to an intermediate level, and then to advanced, the subtleties of the training program become VERY IMPORTANT to ensure continued results.  Once the initial shock and adaptation of the beginning months of training disipates, program design becomes more important.  As a matter of fact, a very advanced athlete nearing his or her genetic potential must program there workouts with a precision that allows them the smallest gains.  Small gains can make a BIG difference over time.  The difference between a 4.4 40 yard dash and a 4.5 (although only 1/10 of one second) can mean the difference in scholarship money and record setting performances.  Even with a recreational fitness enthusiast, these small gains are important.  Let’s face it, when you work hard it’s important to see the fruits of your labor. Hardly anyone I know works hard just to spin there wheels in place.
In short, having a professional guide you at the beginning of your fitness routine is important.  However, as far as results and continued change goes, an exerciser or athlete at an ADVANCED level simply must have a precisely designed program.  The smallest fine tuning matters more at this stage of a training career than it did at the beginning when ANY stimulus would force a change.
Matt Pirtle, MA, CSCS

Goodbye 150's, Hello 140's…

What is that old rule that a girl should never be asked her age or weight? Hell, I don’t care. They are both just numbers, frankly.  I have 8.5 months left before I turn 30, yet I feel better now than I did in most of my 20s.  As for my weight, it was near my all time high in the 150s (weight, not body fat… I was once a lot thicker, but that’s another story).
Yesterday I went to get in some cardio at Golds. I hopped on their digital scale and I didn’t see a number with a “5” in it… I saw one with a “4” in it… I was officially out of the 150s.  I won’t lie, I was pretty thrilled.  It definitely put a little more “oomph” into my cardio for the hour. (yes, I did an hour. It was phases of speed and little resistance then elevation with a LOT of resistance.) Anyways, when you see the numbers on the scale go down, it really motivates you to eat even better and to work a little harder. I won’t lie though, I wasn’t fully set on the number on the scale because it wasn’t the “official” scale (aka, the one at Emerge).  I just came into work today and it said the same thing… Winner winner, chicken dinner.. Ugh, chicken… I still can’t stand the stuff.
This past week has been pretty easy.  I hadn’t had any cravings, at least that I can remember.  Papa Johns is ruthless and continues to send me daily emails on their specials.  Some days, I get multiple emails.  Papa Johns and I used to be pals.  They knew my order before I had to say anything.  Now, I just find them to be the damn devil.
I only went out to eat twice all week/weekend.  I had a steak/veggies/ and a salad one night. The other night I went to Chevys.  I hate ordering when I have a “not so good” waiter.  He was more worried about looking/acting cool in front us girls than getting our order right.  “I want steak fajitas-no rice, no beans, but extra cooked veggies”.  SIMPLE… At least I thought it was… I didn’t even get finicky to the point that I could’ve said “no tortillas, no sour cream, no cheese” since they all come to the side anyways.  My food comes out just as it is on the menu. The rice and beans were LOADED on the plate.. Really?? There’s a tip deduction right there bucko.  I’m glad that the chips and salsa were entirely on the other side of the table.  I caught a glimpse at them once… But I stayed away….
As for my “normal” food, I had steak, elk burgers, spaghetti squash with meat and mushrooms, some chicken (ugh) for my meals.  I had the breakfast bread every morning (I added raisins.. HEAVENLY).  And then I got gutsy.  I got a recipe for Pale0 Thin Mint Cookies… Just like the Girl Scout ones.  I’m not a HUGE thin mint fan, but I can eat one or two occasionally, so I thought this would be perfect for me.  I made a batch, about 14 cookies… I think I have had a secret gift that I’m an amazing baker, that I just didn’t know.  Ha, I’m kidding, but they were pretty awesome.  I have a request to bring some home for Easter.
EASTER…. Oh yes, it is this Sunday, and before I started this diet, I said that Easter would be my first cheat meal.  Yes, I said MEAL.. Not day… There are some things in life that one should not ever turn away, and one of them is my mom’s cooking/baking.  There was only one rule… I could eat whatever I wanted to at my parents house for dinner, BUT I COULD NOT bring anything home that wasn’t Paleo. My family was thrilled to hear this because I would have had some pissed off people if they had to eat everything “Paleo”.
My biggest concern is that I hope that I am disciplined enough to go straight back to the diet when I get home.  I hope that a bite of cheese or grains won’t set me into some mindset that I want to eat everything.  In fact, I kind of hope that it makes my allergies go out of whack so that way it will make me want to go back to eating Paleo.  I have never in my life felt so good being able to breath easily and not sneeze every minute of every day.
I’ve had people comment to me that they can tell I’m losing a lot of weight.  I don’t “see” a lot of weight gone based on the scale numbers. I can just now start to see it in the mirror… Cheekbones! Where have you been for so many months!
So, it’s 3 weeks down, and about 5 1/2 to go.  I pretty much see it as a 1/3 of the way to my goal date.  I’m pretty happy with how I look and I’m extremely happy with how I feel.  If it’s this good now, I can’t wait to see the difference 3 more weeks from now.
Until next week,
Kimberly Renoud
Emerge Fitness Training

Eating clean is now the new eating "dis-order?"

While getting in my cardio, I was reading an article in the latest edition of “Women’s Health” magazine.  Normally, I read short blurbs that are studies on nutrition, exercise, supplements, the normal “health” stuff.  I was reading a piece titled “The scary rise in Adult Eating Disorders.”  This interested me for the fact that I have never come close to having an eating disorder like anorexia or bulimia, yet I have come across clients with such issues.
I was half way into the story when I came to a side note in the article called “The new dis Orders”.  It involves a new catagory along side of anorexia and bulimia.  According to the magazine it is described as a disorder that “applies to patients who don’t meet the exact criteria for anorexia or bulimia but still have ber trouble relationships with food or distorted body images.”  I won’t lie, this intrigued me, just to see what their clarification is of this new “disorder.”  That’s when I read about “The New Dis-Order: Orthorexia.” Here’s is description:
“A fixation with healthy or righteous eating.  Orthoexics often eat only organic foods, eliminate entire food groups, or refuse to eat anything that isn’t “pure” in quality… Unlike anorexics, they don’t necessarily think they’re fat or strive to be thin; some are motivated by a fear of bad health, a fixation with complete control, or the desire to improve their own self-esteem.  Ironicially, severe orthorexia can lead to malnourishment” (clinicial psychologist Sari Shepphird, Ph.D.).
Needless to say, my heart rate was racing on the eliptical.
So this doctor is stating that a person who chooses to eat organic or “pure” fruits and vegetables, and grass fed meats, etc. AND they avoid processed foods or maybe a food catagory like dairy, that they now are “clinically” diagnosed with an eating disorder? SERIOUSLY???
I read this article again. And then I had another trainer read it.  And then I had a client read it.  Both of them agreed with me.  In fact, the trainer responded with “Are they trying to make fat people feel better?”
I understand the real “eating disorders”.  When people don’t want to eat, or they eat and then throw it all up. But when they classify someone who chooses to EAT and EAT NUTRIOUSLY, with a disorder, I find it offensive.  We are in an obese epedemic in the US.  Two-thirds of the country is overweight, soon to be obese.  However this article made it sound like those who do choose to make healthy food choices and remove processed foods are wrong.
As most of you know, I started a Paleo diet a few weeks ago.  It eliminates food catagories, grains and dairy.  As I have posted in my blog, I have intolerances to these.  Since eliminating them and eating organic/natural foods, I feel so much better. I don’t have the allergy reactions that I did when I consumed these foods.  Many people I know who are doing the diet as well, feel just as good.  Does that mean we have a disorder? Ridiculous.
My advice to those who are “dis-orderly” with Orthorexia, as long as you are in your proper caloric range, and protein/carb/fat ratio, keep eating the way that makes you feel good.
I would love to hear other thoughts and opinions on this topic.  If anyone wants to read the entire article, it’s in the April 2012 edition of Women’s Health Magazine.
Kimberly Renoud,
Emerge Fitness Training

Day 15: The Scale is moving to the left…

I waited to blog until I got on the scale this morning. I needed to decided if I wanted to celebrate or vent.
It has been two weeks today since I started Paleo.  I really didn’t know what to expect this time around. When I did this diet last year, I had dropped 9lbs in this time.  I know a lot of it was water and waste, however when someone sees 9lbs down, who doesn’t get excited.
Today I weighed in at half of that weight. I’m about 4.5lbs down since day one.  I’m actually pretty happy with it because my weight IS going down, but the better, more important thing is that I can see a difference. My clothes feel different on me (Thank you lord!!!) and overall, I feel much better! Anyone who is around me a lot knows I have battled with allergies for years. I was always congested and sneezing.  I would swell up and be puffy in the face and my eyes would be red and itchy.  I have none of it, at all.  I’m breathing so much better and sleeping like a rock. I’m waking up on my own around 5:15 every morning. On days I don’t have to get up early, I have no problems going back to sleep for a few more hours.  And I never get tired until 9 or 10 at night.  It is a pretty good feeling, I won’t lie.
What a difference meal planning does for a diet.  I did so much better this week preparing my meals.  I was really missing the “bread” element, whether is be bread itself, bagels, or muffins.. I just needed a “texture fix.”  I got online and looked around for some Paleo bread and I came across a breakfast bread.  It consisted of Almond Butter, honey, eggs, cinnamon, and a few other things.  I’m not much of a baker, but I figured that it can’t be THAT hard.  And I surprised myself, it was actually THAT good… Really good.  And not like “oh this is good for being healthy” crap either.  I could actually eat this on a normal lifestyle meal plan.  However, I could change it occasionally by adding raisins or maybe bananas, but for now, I will take it. It will definitely be made again this week.  As well as I have almond flour coming so I will be experimenting with some other “baked goods.”
I also cooked a little, and I mean a little.  I tried cooking a spaghetti squash once before in the oven, and it was awful… Too gritty.  But, being on this diet, I figured I’d try it again.  I got a small one and this time, instead of the oven, I nuked it in the microwave and it was FABULOUS… YES… FINALLY, Convience pays off!  I went to the store to find spaghetti sauce that was “paleo friendly”.  ONE… Only ONE sauce at Dierbergs has no added sugar or regular salt to it… And it was $9 bucks a jar… My frugal grandmother would roll over in her grave if she knew I paid that much for sauce… However, being that she’s still alive, I’m just not going to tell her, because I can guarantee I’d hear “You’re an idiot” from her.  Yup, that’s Grandma.  I will say, that $9 jar of sauce was some of the best I’ve ever eaten.  I put that with some farm raised ground beef and mushrooms, and it was pretty dang good.  In fact, I made enough for a few more meals out of it. So, if I broke down the price for them meal, it would be about $5 each.  Can’t complain about that, and I didn’t have to pay a tip.
Yesterday I grilled out for the first time this year.  A Ribeye steak, and elk burgers.  I only ate part of the Ribeye (which was sooo hard because I could have easily have taken down the 16oz steak, but I refrained) and the rest is for my meals this week.  I’m looking forward to it.
Workouts have been pretty good.  I took off a couple more days this week, which I know now, is what my body needed.  I hydrated a lot, and I got a massage, and I haven’t stopped peeing since.  I’m guessing some water weight shook off of me finally.
This week’s goal is to not eat out til the weekend.  I have plenty of food prepared so I have no excuses.  I hope to get outside to do cardio this week as long as the weather stays nice.  If anyone is wanting any of the recipes that I’ve tried, just message me or email me at .
Until next week,
Kimberly Renoud,
Emerge Fitness Training

Age is just a number: Testimonial from Beth Pirtle's client, Marcia Tiemeyer

Beth's Client-0001photo (2)“I started working out at Emerge about 18 months ago with Beth Pirtle.  Beth is a neighbor and friend that I have known since we both moved into our homes over 20 years ago.  Our children grew up together and we are in the same age bracket.
I was over weight and having various aches, pains, and problems that I was associating with age. I had some concerns about osteoporosis and knew one of the best ways to help eliminate the risk was to do weight bearing exercise.   I was also very conscious of my body image as a working professional dealing with clients on a daily basis.  I am facing competition daily with women and men half my age.  I know I bring more to the table with my years of experience and knowledge, and if given an equal opportunity to present my information, I generally can win the business.  But, getting that opportunity, to get my foot in the door, was starting to become a big problem.  I realized that part of it was a general image perception.  I needed to do something and make some changes. You must understand that “back in the day”, when I was young, women weren’t given the opportunity to compete nor were we encouraged to work out and build muscle and stamina.  I didn’t know how to really work out, or build muscle with weights.   With what little I knew, I could seriously hurt myself trying to help myself.  Beth came to mind as someone who might understand my concerns and situation, especially with her weight loss background and personal training experience.
After working with Beth for 18 months, I’m happy to report that I have lost 30 lbs.  I’m stronger and have more balance and stamina.  I have incorporated exercise (working out) and healthy eating into my daily life without much difficulty.  I have gone down 3 sizes and can buy and wear clothes that I wouldn’t have even thought about 2 years ago.  I look good in my clothes, and that gives me added confidence in my personal and professional life.  But most of all, I’m stronger and feel better.  Loosing the weight and working out on a regular basis has strengthened my back and knees.  I don’t have that constant lower back pain and my knees work for me again.  I can keep up with my 15 (soon to be 18) Grandchildren, and that is a considerable feat in itself.  I work with Beth twice a week for 30 minutes a session.  Some sessions are harder than others, but she is very careful to make sure I’m not over extending or hurting myself in any way.  I don’t always look forward to our sessions, but I miss them when I’ve been away for a couple of weeks. 
My Husband has noticed the difference and he has also started working out with Beth.  He only has the stamina for one 30 minute session a week, but he will tell you that it’s his schedule that won’t allow for more.  He used to be the family athlete, but now it’s my turn to take on that role. 
By the way, I’m 61 years old, with 5 Children and 15 (almost 18) Grandchildren.  You’re never too old to be the best you can be!!
Marcia Tiemeyer

Paleo: One Week down…

I’m officially on day 8 of the Paleo diet, and frankly…. It’s not too bad.  Of course I miss a few things, but the phrase “food is for fuel, not fun” keeps going thru my head. I had a lot of positive responses to my first blog and a few shoutouts from others who I’ve helped lose weight. It has all been motivating and it definitely pushes me to achieve my 60 day challenge.  Here’s a recap of my week:
Tuesday thru Friday: Breakfast and snacks have been wayyyy too easy.  Lunch and dinner have been tough.  I’m not a cook either, in fact, I hate cooking.  I think its because since I make food for one, whatever I eat, I have to generally eat for 3 or 4 more meals.  Another reason is because I have crazy hours.  3 days a week I’m up at 5am for work, and M-Thursday, I’m usually at the gym til 8-8:30pm.  When I get home at 8:30 and by the time I shower and eat (just eat, not cook), it’s 9. And this girl  needs her 8 hours of sleep. The last thing I want to do when I get home from work is cook and clean.  So> I have to do a better job at preparing meals.
My workouts have been very consistent, so no problem there.  And with the warmer weather, it was very easy to stay hydrated.  I was easily taking in over 100 oz of water.  Ha, that reminds me. For one of my meals last week, I went to Chipolte for lunch.  I got my usual, fajita burrito bowl, with steak, veggies, mild salsa and lettuce only.  I’m not sure what they did different, but my mouth was on FIRE! I took down over 80 oz of water trying to eat it! (I’m being serious about the water). I love spicey food, but holy cow… I was red in the face and I was sweating profusely.  I felt like my intestines just had a high intensity workout… Talk about curbing the appetite.. I didn’t want to eat for many hours later.
 After a late night at work, I used to pick up food from Lions Choice or Olive Garden.  Now it is harder. I went to McAlisters one night and I ordered a “Grilled Chicken Salad, No cheese, no croutons, no tomatoes no cucumbers (I hate tomatoes & cucumbers)”.  The guy behind the counter said “Seriously?”  So this is what my life has come to.  The McAlisters guy actually found humor in my order. I hope I made his freaking day.
I have found some relief in baked fish and some roasted chicken from the deli.  I picked up a roasted half chicken from Whole Foods and for anyone who doesn’t think there’s a difference between regular chicken and “cage free/grass fed” chicken, is off their rocker.  I can tolerate the latter by far.  It has such a cleaner taste, and it isn’t as dry.  And I feel better knowing I’m not putting chicken in my mouth that has been fed concrete, feces, and hormones (gross, but true).
I haven’t had too many cravings, but I do miss cheese.  I could eat nearly anything as long as it had cheese on it… I asked the lady at the Cheese Counter at Whole Foods if they had non dairy, and she pointed it out to me… She told me the brand that “tastes the most like cheese.” In other words, it was all crap, but this was the least of the worst.  Ugh it looks like rubber.  But I put it on Taco shell-less tacos and I couldn’t even taste it. 
Temptations have been pretty minimal.  I went to the Movies the other night.  I packed some almonds with me in case I was starving. As we were walking into the theater, I got the overwhelming smell of popcorn.  After being asked if I wanted anything and I gave a grumbling “No….” We made our way to our seats.  He didn’t get popcorn or soda either.  I think he was afraid to.  After we sat down, the previews were showing and all you could hear was people rustling in their bags of popcorn or the straws in their sodas moving.  To me, it sounded like all the snack eating was amplified… Jerks.
I went out to lunch at Ruby Tuesdays with my parents yesterday.  They have been eating healthier (not AS healthy as they should, but it’s progress).  I did well, I had a (1/2)sirloin, grilled green beans and a salad.  Mom had a burger without the bun and vegetables.  Pops went all out with a burger and fries… I’m glad my food was good or I probably would have caved and knocked dad over for his fries (my weakness).  And now, Ruby Tuesdays is giving out those biscuits, those oh so tasty biscuits.  Both of my parents each ate theirs, and then mine just sat there… Staring at me… I didn’t eat it…
The rest of my week was just fine.  One of my best friends has to go on a “Raw Food Diet” for 21 days, so, being that misery loves company,  I have someone to complain to who will understand (except I get meat… hahaha).  She’s going to be blogging to me  how she feels. BUT after 3 days, she already cheated.  I’m on date 8, and I have not… = Winning
After 8 days, I can already see changes.   I’m 3 lbs down,  that’s always a good thing.  By day 3 of my diet, my allergies were GONE.  No sneezing, no sniffling, no congestion.  Oh it’s fantastic.  I’m sleeping much better, except my body is waking up EVERY morning at 5:15… Not so cool.  My energy level is way up.  I was on the go all last week and I was all over St. Louis this weekend and it wasn’t until last night around 5, that my body said “slow…down”  I am seeing hormonal changes as well (I won’t go into too much detail there).  But my skin is clearing up. Not that I had bad skin, but it’s just not dull looking like it was.  I can also tell that I’m a lot calmer and I’m not so edgy or cranky, and I can focus better. 
It’s only one week down and about 8 weeks to go, however I’m pretty pumped to see what’s to come (or go, in my case).  I need to focus this week more on cutting down salt and changing from higher calorie cashews to lower calorie pistachios.  And I need to PLAN my meals better.  I have a client who has been doing Paleo for over a month and has seen great results.  He brought me Paleo Chocolate Chip Cookies today and it was the perfect reward for my first week.  And they were AWESOME!!!
I will probably blog a little more often than once a week because there’s so much information that I left out. 
Until Next time,
Kimberly Renoud,
Emerge Fitness Training

A Message For My Fellow Baby Boomers (Effective Exercise Training)

I’m currently working on an additional certification “Physical Activity Instruction of Older Adults” (50 – 100). Yes, I do fall into this category despite the fact that I do not feel the least bit old and am fitter and in better shape today than I was 30 years ago. Every day for the next 17 years, 10,000 Baby Boomers will turn 65 and despite the fact that the level of fitness can vary dramatically from person to person, as a group, we boomers are living longer and making quality of life a priority. This makes us one of the most significant groups in our population/economy and warrants our getting consistent, accurate information on what the most effective exercise training is for us as individuals.
“Effective exercise-training programs may prevent or reverse bone loss at the lumbar spine and femoral neck (hip) of pre- and postmenopausal women by almost 1% per year. For bone modeling to result from exercise, however, the intensity of the stimulus appears to be more important than its frequency. Greater loads and fewer repetitions result in greater gains in bone mass than lower loads repeated more times. Weight-bearing endurance exercise and resistance exercise have both been found to increase bone mass at clinically relevant sites (hip, spine, wrist) in older men and women, but only when the exercise is quite vigorous. Activities of low to moderate intensity have had mixed results in elderly adults; appreciable gains in strength but variable changes in bone density have been documented.
Exercises that introduce skeletal stress through ground-reaction forces (e.g., walking, jogging, and stair climbing) appear to be more effective for building bone in the femoral neck, a common fracture site, than those that introduce skeletal stress through joint-reaction forces (e.g. weightlifting and rowing). Both types of exercises, however, effectively increase bone density of the whole body, lumbar spine, and proximal femur.
Beth Pirtle

Vicki Rodell After 8 Sessions Working With an Emerge Trainer

  I am very proud of Vicki’s first 4 weeks of training and already reaching goals.   She has lost 7lbs, 8 inches and her body fat went from 32% to now 28%.  When a client has this big of changes in the first 4 weeks that tells me she has followed her program with out fail.  This involves some diet changes, cardio 5x a week and strength/functional training with me 2x a week.  One of my goals for Vicki when we first met was to get her running.  She has spent a lot of time in the gym doing cross training machines.  She has healthy knees and there is no reason for her not  to run.  Running is one of the best ways to burn calories and even better  you don’t need a gym to do it.  Anytime you can take exercise outside it makes it so much more enjoyable.  We have slowly been adding running into her cardio workouts 5 minutes at a time and doing lots of sprints during her sessions at Emerge.  On Vicki’s 45th bday she ran for 45 minutes!  Already achieving goals.  First four weeks have been a huge success and can’t wait to see the changes in the next four weeks. 
Angie Pirtle
Emerge Fitness Training

Taking on the Paleo Path…

It was almost exactly a year ago when I was at Emerge when one of MP’s clients was talking about a “diet” he had tried. He said he had lasted only 7 days, however he felt great and lost a substantial amount of weight while on it.  If one has read my random blogs over the past 3-4 years, I’m always up for trying a certain “diet.”  I’ve tried going sugar free, meat free (never again), among a few other things. I never felt good while on them. So, after talking with Josh, I decided to do some research on this “Paleo” thing and see if it’s something I could do.  Two weeks after my “start date” I felt amazing. I was 9 lbs down and I was sleeping so soundly, I always woke up before my alarm clock, my allergies were controlled without medication and I had so much energy. It was fantastic.  My lack of discipline and having a busy travel schedule had caused me to completely fall off the diet. I definately felt it, and so did my waistline.
February 2012:
I feel miserable. My diet has been awful, I’ve had sinus issues daily, and my energy level went kaput. I was swollen and bloated, and it was taking it’s toll on me. Immediately I knew what I needed to do. So, after weeks of mentally preparing and menu prepping, yesterday, March 12th, I went back to Paleo: this time for 60 days…minimum… 
Paleo, also known as the “Caveman” diet, is eating “off the land” like they did millions of years ago.  There are several versions of the food guidelines, but the one I found looked like this:
Foods you can eat:
Tree Nuts
Honey, Agave nectar, or Stevia
Foods you can’t eat:
Grains of any sort (wheat, oats, rice, corn, etc)
Peanuts or any legumes (beans)
Sugar or artificial sweeteners
Are you thinking “Seriously?? No way”.. Don’t worry, I did too.
So, after reading the food guidelines and some informational reading on the diet, I decided that it’s something I really should do…  I have a sensitive stomach when it comes to foods (I’m lactose intolerant and I get a bad reaction to grains and refined sugars) so I believed this route would be great for me.
Sunday, March 11th:
I had my final “hurrah” day. I ate everything I thought I’d miss on my diet. I ate a big cupcake… I ate a couple of cookies… And I ate half of a Papa Murphys pizza. And I felt sooo gross that night.  Ok, mentally, I was ready to start Monday.
Monday, March 12th:
I decided to track my food log on an app called “My Net Diary.” I wanted to make sure that my calorie intake was in a healthy range and that my carbs/proteins/fats ratio was on track. 
When I told people about this diet, the immediate response is “Oh, so you’re doing a no carb diet?” or “Isn’t this like Atkins?” And the answer is not at all.  We live in a society were people instantly think grains are the only way to get carbs in. However, we overlook fruits and vegetables. And the great thing is, I get to eat a LOT of both on this diet.  My carb intake averages about 40% of my diet, which is pretty good.
Another question was about calcium and fiber. Again, fruits and vegetables have quite a bit, but we instantly think of grains and dairy for these. And with all the fruit I’ve been eating, it’s a LOT of fiber…
Tuesday, March 13th:
I’m halfway through day two and I’ve seen immediate results.  I slept a full 8 hours last night and I woke up 10 minutes before my alarm went off (at 5:15am, mind you) and I wasn’t groggy or tired. I was really surprised with this, since the time change always throws me off. Secondly, I haven’t felt bloated.  That weighted down feeling always made me feel miserable and tired. I actually have a lot of get up and go energy.
I plan on posting once a week on my progress, and other changes I have felt due to the diet.
I do want to say that this diet isn’t for everyone, nor do I believe everyone should be on it.  Some people need grains or some forms of dairy.  Just like every thing else, is person’s body is different and can do different things. 
Also, I am working out an average of 6 days a week. I do weight/circuit training 3-4 days a week and I get in high intensity cardio 2 days a week, and moderate cardio 2 days a week. I will continue with this schedule throughout the diet. Keeping up with my workouts is just as important as the diet itself.
And if anyone has questions about the diet, feel free to ask! This is as much of a research project for me as it is research information for the readers. It’s a continuing learning process.
1.5 days down, 58.5 days to go!
Kimberly Renoud,
Emerge Fitness Training

Julie's Figure Competition Blog- Week 8

We are 8 weeks out!! I apologize for not getting any blogs up the last 2 weeks… Things have been very busy at work (which is a great thing!!!) Since I last blogged we have switched up a couple components in our prep. So, starting with diet since it  is the biggest component in preparation for a competition, we are now carb cycling. Basically this means we are consuming 3 days of low carbs (about 100g) and one day high (about 300g) keeping fat and protein the same each day. Our average  net calories come out to 1,700 cals for the day so that breaks down to 1,500 cals on low days and 2,300 calories on high days. By having such a huge jump in calories this keeps the metabolism running high and acts as a refeed keeping leptin levels high (see my previous blog about refeeds and leptin levels if you have not read it already). Before starting the carb cycling I was feeling a little unsure about where I would come in at for the competition and was starting to doubt myself that I would do as well as I wanted so we decided to kick it into high gear a week early just to be safe. This is a HUGE competition so I really want to place top 5 in open and novice categories 🙂 We took measurements before starting the carb cycling and I was 15.7% with a steady drop in body fat and keeping a consistent gain in lean muscle from the previous weeks. Now after 2 weeks of the cycling, I am feeling like I am close to where I was the week before my last competition except carrying more lean muscle and I’m 8 weeks out still, whoo hoo!! I will be looking forward to taking measurements next week to see exactly where I’m at now! One thing I will say about carb cycling is that I am starving on the high carb days!! I would have thought it would be the opposite…Goes to show you carbs make you crave more carbs even if they are “good carbs”! 
Now for cardio, I have switched It up to where if I am feeling good (let me rephrase that… If I am not feeling completely run down and sore) I am doing HIIT which stands for high intensity interval training. On the days that I am feeling  beat down I am doing 45-60min steady state cardio. I did a lot of research on the interval training verses the steady state and what I have found is that they are both good but for the purpose of doing cardio and my end goal in mind, the HIIT is going to be my best bet. Interval training is good because can be done in a shorter time frame, I do a  5-10 min warm up, then 20 minutes of 20-30 seconds all out as hard as I can go immediately followed by 40 to 60 seconds rest, then a 5 to 10 minute cool down. My favorite piece of equipment to do this on is the bike or step mill… The hardest is doing sprints on the woodway curve so that probably means thats where I need to be doing them the most 🙂 I can’t wait for the weather to finally get warm out so we can do this outside on a track! Anyways, HIIT training very beneficial for people, like myself, that have a greater amount of fast twitch muscle fibers verses slow twitch fibers. These types of fibers hypertrophy (grow bigger) greater than a slow twitch fiber and by doing the intervals at such a high intensity it stimulates these fast twitch fibers that the steady state cardio does not stimulate. By doing all steady state you can actually start to convert the fast twitch fibers in your body to more of an intermediate fiber type. Lastly, the statement that made switching my cardio to mainly HIIT a no brainer was ” why burn fat for 40 minutes when you can be burning fat ALL day?!”… I think that pretty much says it all! 
As for lifting, our intensity level is insane! We are going hard 6 days a week, still keeping our 2 leg days and 2 shoulder days. One of our shoulder days has been all Olympic (power) lifts that really bringing those fast twitch fibers in to play and the second shoulder day being more of our small joint movements like dumbbell shoulder presses, handstand pushups, lateral raises, etc. As for legs, we are going super heavy one day and more of a cardio/plyometric style the other day. On our heavy leg days we have set new records of 315lb top half barbell deadlift and also 495lb drop set leg press. I can really see huge changes in my shoulders and legs going into this competition so I am beyond excited about that! One thing here I will mention is how important it is to do corrective exercise and activation sets to prevent/avoid injuries to be able keep the intensity high! I’ll also give Dr. Lytle a shout out here… The Activation Release Techniques he performs at my visits have kept my body pain free and capable of lifting heavy loads 🙂

A Previous Shoulder Injury Won't Stop Emerge Athlete Josh Matejka From Pitching in Top Form This Season

Christian high school senior, Josh Matejka, pitches for his schools varsity baseball team. After injuring his shoulder during his sophomore year, Josh noticed decreased strength, endurance, and pitching velocity during his junior year. He started training with me after a year of not meeting his expectations. He wanted to regain the range of motion back in his throwing arm and build muscle and strength to come back at the top if his game for his senior year.

We started with 4 weeks of hypertrophy training; I had him super set push movements with pull movements. We would do 10-12 reps at 67% of Josh’s one reps max with a 30-90 second rest. Next I had Josh focus  on strength training for 4-5 weeks. We used more core lifts with some assistance moves. We would do 6-8 reps at 85% of his one rep max and a rest period of 2-3 minutes. Lastly we trained for power using reps of 2-5 of 90-95% of his one rep max with 3-5 mins rest, also including intense upper and lower body plyometrics.

After these 3 periodization cycles of hypertrophy, strength, and power Josh has begun throwing in preparation for the upcoming season and says ” I feel stronger than ever, my mechanics flow much smoother because of the stabilization and core strength, and my coaches are very impressed with the speed of my pitches”. Josh has gained 11 pounds of muscle in his off and pre-season training, and has made significant gains in his strength and power since he has begun with Nick at Emerge.

Emerge Fitness Training

Nick Dudas CSCS

Return of an Ex Client

My ex client Vicki Rodell is back training with me.  I met Vicki roughly 10 years ago when I first started as a trainer at 24 hour fitness.  I was fresh out of college with not much experience in the personal trainer field but could rehearse front to back an anatomy and kinesiology text book.  I had a couple things right:  I knew how to motivate people,  the basics about nutrition for weight loss, and how to put together a cardio program.  The one important thing I didn’t know a lot about was program design for an exercise program.  There must be a plan based on a clients goals, proper progressions, and other changes along the way.  Just doing random exercises because they are hard and arbitrary sets and reps is not a very well designed plan.  I use to train like this before I had much experience .  I would squeeze as many exercises as I could in an hour  and the goal was to always make the client sore.  I can’t believe I am admitting this but I guess everyone has to start somewhere.  I didn’t know much about posture and corrective exercises and the foam roller was not even a part of my vocabulary, Oh and one more thing, core training was doing sit ups on a ball and using the abdominal machines.   I gave good service and had good client retention but my training skills could have been a lot better. Needless to say 10 years of experience later and more education I am excited to show Vicki what real personal training is.
Vicki is new to Emerge last week and I am excited to put her on a functional training program for weight loss.  We are on session number 2 working on technique,  core assessment, and posture correction exercises this week.  Today’s workout we stepped the intensity up for pure calorie burning by adding extra conditioning exercises such as the woodway treadmill and sled pushes on the turf.
Vicki has tried lots of things over the last couple of years and just can’t get the extra 10lbs off.  I’m excited to not only get her weight down (already down 2lbs today since we started last Monday) but also get her in the best shape of her life.    I will be periodically blogging her progress.  I’m so excited for my new challenge!  Every new client of mine is a challenge, a challenge that I will get them in their best shape ever.
Be careful when choosing a personal trainer and do your research.  Obviously education is always going to be number one but make sure that your trainer has experience.   One thing we pride ourselves with is that Emerge trainers  have both.  We are all highly educated and constantly continuing are education and all of us have 5 plus years of experience.  That is hard to find at most gyms.

Angie Pirtle
Emerge Fitness Training

Mizzou Recruit Works With NFL Longer Snapper Chris Massey

Emerge athletic trainers are working with Mizzou recruit Jake Hurrell.  Jake is a senior at Francis Howell North and has been recruited by Mizzou as a preferred walk-on (as a long snapper).  Jake had the honor to work with another Emerge athlete, former Rams snapper (and current Chicago Bear) Chris Massey.  Massey analyzed Jake’s form and gave him some pointers about going from high school to division I football.  They will be meeting again at Emerge in a couple of weeks to see how Jake has progressed.  In the meantime, Jake is working on his explosive ability and football specific core conditioning 3x/ week at the Emerge facility.


72 Years Old and Training Likes she's 27

Lee Hauk is one of my favorite clients that I get to see twice a week.  She has been training with me since February 2006.  When I first met Lee she was a recent widow and was looking to make a lifestyle change for herself.  Her highest weight she reached was 230lbs at 45% body fat.   She had already made diet changes on her own before meeting me and lost 25lbs.   I helped her get down to her lowest weight of 145lbs and 29% body fat.  Through the course of the years she has fluctuated 10-15lbs.  One of the hardest fitness goals is to loose a significant amount of weight and keep it off.  Lee in my opinion has done a phenomenal job  keeping her weight off and the key to that is making a lifestyle change and sticking with it.   Eating habits  she learned from me over the course of the years and things she has taught herself  are now her new way of  life.   Lee is a health guru now and she has even taught me a few things.  One of the best parts of my jop is to see a client make a lifestyle change and never go back. 

Click Picture To See Video

Click Picture To See Video

During our workouts I often forget Lee is 72.  I train her just as hard as I train my 27 year old clients and the best part is she can handle it.  I clearly remember our first workouts when a stationary lunge was impossible because of balance and knee strength and now she can stand on two balance disk and hold a pvc pipe full of water over her head.  Thats why I love  my job.  Im so proud of  Lee and her accomplishments.  Her training is truly about health and keeping herself strong to perform normal daily task.  I try to encourage her that its not about weight loss anymore but  increasing strength, balance, and flexibility.
Angie Pirtle
Emerge Fitness

Week 5 – Nicole's Figure Competition Blog

Definitely read Julie’s blog to get a great update of what we have been researching and experimenting with in our competition prep.
Last week we jointly decided to try out the macro nutrients that Layne Norton suggests in competition prep. This meant I raised my typical 130-150g of protein up to 180-200g. This is really uncomfortable for me because I am accustomed to using the standard rule of thumb that an intense athlete or bodybuilder should be maxing out at 2 grams of protein per kg of bodyweight. Notice, I said kg not lb. 🙂 I went ahead and made the change, but at the back of my mind I was worrying about my liver function. I referred my question to a client of mine that is a gastroenterologist and he said that if I am otherwise healthy, have no history of liver or kidney problems, and am not doing it long-term… he doesn’t see that it should be damaging. After speaking with another competitor who trains at Emerge and actually hires Layne to do her diet, I asked if he had her on any supplements to assist the function of her liver, and he does. SO, I feel satisfied in two areas… one: My liver isn’t going to suddenly crap out on me after this diet *PHEW* and two: Layne saw the potential issue of such a high protein diet and has his clients on a supplement to assist… so I still trust his judgement and guidance. 😉
Just because we raised our protein doesn’t mean we went crazy LOW with our carbs. Often times, people go on a high protein and extremely low carb diet. My carbohydrates are averaging at 130g. I have read that depending on the person, 50-100g is the bare minimum to spare muscle and to allow the central nervous system to function. I am a huge believer in eating sufficient carbohydrates because with my job I need to be on my feet, physically active, making thoughtful decisions about clients programs, and all while maintaining an energetic, positive and motivating attitude. When my carbohydrates are severely restricted I cannot function in life. I cannot do my job. This is unnecessary and a part of what I teach my competitors. I believe that we can both be HAPPY and be HEALTHY while getting ready for competitions. Not just looking amazing, but continuing to feel amazing as we transform our bodies. Some people may have the types of jobs that allow them to zone out as they go into ketosis (MUSCLE WASTING!) but I do not. I want to be happy 😉
People can successfully compete by doing a very very low carbohydrate diet but they risk a few important things. For one, they risk the intensity of their workouts and cardio. The resting metabolism drops significantly and I have seen this happen repeatedly by using the bodybugg to track my own caloric expenditure as well as my client’s. My own burn dropped significantly when I was at my lowest, and as soon as I added my carbohydrates back my burn went up DRAMATICALLY. Since bodyfat loss is all about creating a calorie deficit, it doesn’t matter what fancy tricks you do if you don’t burn more than you take in. Gotta keep that BURN!
Also, a competitor will get lean enough to compete but they most likely lose a significant amount of muscle as well as damage their metabolisms and hormones. I have read that this type of damage can take 1-2 years to correct and it ends up being very annoying as the individuals bodyfat somehow continues to go up, even as they put in a lot of hard work in the gym and try to focus on doing well with their diet. As Julie mentioned, they also end up with carb sensitivity. If someone isn’t going to be ready for show, they may choose to do a last minute ketogenic diet – but it definitely has side effects and I believe they should never be done long-term. And who wants to be a cranky, angry, sluggish, irritable, weak during workouts, falling asleep during cardio, and flat all the time? I know my clients would hate to have a cranky, angry, sluggish, irritable trainer – which is why I chose not to follow this old-school competition prep path. I appreciate the new science a lot more 🙂
Here is the diet I wrote up. It is very boring for now as I get used to it, but I sure do want to sub some of my fun nutritious foods back in! I will slowly learn what I can sub in without effecting my macronutrients and food timing.
Meal 1: 1 serving 10 grain hot cereal, 3 egg whites
Meal 2: 15 almonds
Meal 3: 2 Hours prior to workout: 1 cup oatmeal or 1 Ezekiel english muffin or 1 cup rice or sweet potato
Meal 4: During workout: 1 scoop whey protein, 1/2 serving dextrose, glutamine, BCAA
Meal 5: 30 minutes post workout: 3 oz chicken, 1 cup oatmeal or 1 cup rice
Meal 6: veggies, 1 tbs olive oil and vinegar dressing, 4 oz chicken
Meal 7: Casein
Sunday we did a refeed and it definitely did not go how I had hoped! I was up late with friends Saturday night (In 2 weeks I am going to have to just drive separate from my husband and go home earlier so I don’t get screwed up on my program) When I got home it was past midnight and I had an extra serving of casein protein. I logged it onto Sunday, which is what I usually do in situations like that. When I woke up I had a chobani yogurt and a yummy protein peanut butter cookie (The only ingredients are egg whites, whey protein, spices, peanut butter, applesauce) We worked out early Sunday and I did my normal protein shake during but because of my prior decisions – my protein was already getting too high for the parameters of the refeed day. This meant that I could only really eat carbs for the rest of the day. Bad planning on my part.
I got a pancake and toast at first watch with one tbs of preserves and ordered french toast to go. It was so freakin yummy. With no butter and no sugar, each of these ends up being about 500 calories. My appetite was already WILD by the time I left the restaurant and I found myself reaching into my to go bag and eating one of my three pieces of french toast. It took ALL of my willpower and self-talk to convince myself it was illogical to eat the french toast while I only had to wait a couple hours to actually be allowed to eat it. When I got home I cut it up and put it in my own container to bring to a superbowl party. We are fostering two puppies and have a dog of our own and while I remembered to pack all of their food, bowls, and crates… I FORGOT my french toast! Noooooooooooooooo! When I got to my mother-in-law’s house I found that she had multigrain crackers and multigrain chips available so I ate those as my carb. I would eat a few, then log them on my food logging ap, then eat a few more, and log them. In total, I ended up being 100g too low in carbs and too high in protein and fat.
Lesson learned. Next time I will plan much better. Boo for me. At least I hit the calories I was supposed to hit, so that is good.
My workouts have been strong, but we did HIIT training the day after our refeed and I felt like a complete sweaty weird gross slug. It was so strange! Last week I did the hit on the woodway at a speed between 9.0-10.5 and this time I found myself starting out struggling to stay over 8.0 and even dipping into the 7’s. It had to be the diet! 🙂 I am eager to examine how I feel after a correctly done refeed. 🙂


Foster Puppy!

Ok – sorry this entry is late! I have been busy with these foster puppies – but arent they just so darn cute??

Foster Puppy!

Be Happy, Be Healthy!

Week 5- Julie's Figure Competition Blog


Week 5 was another solid week down and I am down another pound making it a total of 5.2lbs of fat lost so far along with some lean muscle gains 🙂 I did a TON of research this week (mainly Layne Norton, PhD’s articles and the links he has posted to his articles if you are interested) on several things- Leptin, refeed meals and also different macronutrient ratios and nutrient timing that might respond better to my body, especially coming off of a keto diet from the last 2 preps. I learned that a person may be more carb sensitive or have an inflammatory response after having such a low carb diet for an extended period of time. So I rearranged my macronutrient values to 23% fat, 36% carb and 40% protein as well as rearranged my carbs to my breakfast, pre, during and post workout meals. So aside from breakfast, your carbs are centered around when your body will be using them optimally instead of storing them. I can tell a huge difference in my appetite from changing my nutrient timing. I am more hungry, however I am eating 7 times a day so by the time I start really feeling it, my next meal is around the corner. Spacing the meals out like this helps increase my metabolism because each time the body has to work to digest the food.
As I had blogged in week 3… Energy levels were super low. This is where my Leptin research came in 🙂 Leptin is known as the “anti-starvation signal” hormone so if Leptin levels are low the brain receives a signal saying it is starving. With this, one would have increased appetite and  cravings, decreased resting energy expenditure, loss of muscle due to body turning to muscle stores for fuel, and susceptibility to illness and fatigue.This is crucial for someone that is dieting to keep these levels high in order to off set these reactions. The goal of the diet we are on, as Layne Norton puts it, and in this specific order: 1) increase or maintain lean muscle 2) decrease body fat and 3) keep a high intensity in the gym. With low Leptin levels this is not possible. With all this information we then have to look at what keeps leptin levels elevated. This is where our refeed meal comes in. This is not a “cheat meal or cheat day” this is a planned day with certain goals in mind. The point of it is to boost leptin levels before they have completely dropped. For us, our levels had dropped early in week three so every 2 weeks would be great timing. As you get leaner, leptin levels are not as high therefore frequency of the refeed meal is increased. The total amount of calories for the day should be at maintenance level in other words, the amount of calories you burn on a typical day (this is where the body bugg is handy). The macronutrient values that I found for this are going to be about 1g per pound of lean body mass in protein, between 20-40g of fat and the rest of the calories come from carbohydrates and can be anywhere between 50 to 100 times your normal days carb value. Another thing to note is that a refeed is going to be best on a day of the body part you want to work on the most. For both Nicole and I this is legs 🙂 We will continue testing this out and report back any findings.
On Sunday Nicole, Angie, her twin sister Leah who competes in bikini, and myself met for a killer leg workout that left us all wobbling out of the gym. We then went to first watch and enjoyed a big carb rich breakfast! I could tell that my body was in complete shock, my heart rate was increased, I was much more vascular and I could feel heat coming off of my skin the entire day. I tried to do as clean of a refeed day as possible (with the exception of the pancakes) so my carbs consisted of oats, Ezekiel English muffins, fruit preserves, dextrose, rice and kashi cereal. Protein was from chicken, shakes and eggs and my fats came from whatever fats were in the foods I ate, no intentional fat sources were eaten.  We discussed that in two weeks when we do the next refeed meal, we will go to one of our houses and make healthy pancakes instead 🙂 Monday is normally our off day but being that we had the refeed the day prior we are going to do a HITT interval session instead. We will do a 10 min walking warm up on the treadmill and then used the Woodway Curve treadmill for our 30second sprint:30 second rest intervals followed by a 10 minute walking cool down. The Curve is killer because you have to produce the power by running or walking on it like you would on an actual outdoor track so it is a much harder workout than doing them on a regular electric powered treadmill. I hope everything made sense, I know it is a lot of information all crammed into one blog but I wanted to share with everyone the main points of what I found this week. Feel free to email me if you have any questions or are interested in the reading the articles I gathered my information from( Thanks for reading and I will continue to up date you on my progress so stay tuned for next week!

Julie's Figure Competition Blog- Week 4


I can’t believe we are now 12 weeks out!!!  This week we booked our hair, makeup, spray tanning appointments and hotel room so everything  is starting to really set in that we are JUST 12 weeks away…To most people this would seem like an eternity but to any one competing this is when every little thing matters and your mind starts playing games with you about if you are going to be ready to get on stage and win…
This week was challenging in that I really started to feel run down and low on energy. I could tell in my workouts that I was struggling, I was falling asleep on the couch every night by 8:30 and I was sooooo hungry all the time!!! This week was also very busy for me at work which made it challenging to get everything in but I did it! Like Nicole hit on last week in her blog, if you want to achieve your goal bad enough you will find the time to get everything in… Everyone has the same 168 hours a week so plan out your schedule and meals a head of time so that you are not put in a tight spot! This sport, and weight loss in general, is so much about planning planning planning. I plan my workouts and cardio for the week ahead of time and block them out in my schedule so I have no excuse for not getting them in. Each night I plan out my next days meals and when I will be able eat them throughout the day. Also, I log all my meals ahead of time so I know where my macronutrient ratios are at so at the end of the day I am not sitting there going “oops! I’m over on my calories, or oops my fats are way too low and my carbs and protein values are too high”. This may seem like a lot of work to some people but once you get the hang of it you will know more of what you need each day at every meal and it is not such a time consuming thing. If your goal is that important to you, you will find a way to do what needs to be done… I’ll go ahead and step down off my soap box now…
Like I was saying earlier, we had been feeling low on energy and so the end of this 4weeks could not have come at a more perfect time. On Friday, we bumped up our calories by 200 (keeping our macronutrient ratios the same) to help replenish glycogen stores. We had increased our cardio to 5 times 40 minutes this past week and will continue to increase it by adding in a 30min high intensity interval training session this coming week so the extra calories that we are getting will help out a ton! I can tell my energy has increased already allowing me to have great workouts fri and Saturday and as I sit here writing this I am very excited to leave for the gym in an hour to kill my legs!
To Follow up with last week, Matt took our measurements on Tuesday and I am excited to report that from 1-3-12 to 1-24-12 I am down .75 inches in the chest, 1 inch in the waist and .5 inches in the hip and .5 inches in the thigh. My skin folds show I am down 2.7% body fat and a true steady gain of 4.5lbs of lean muscle (the lean muscle gain has been tracked from 11-17-11 to 1-24-12). These figures go to show sometimes the scale is not the most accurate way to assess progress 🙂

If You Have Back Pain Read This

In October 2010, I was experiencing severe back and leg pain due to a herniated disc in my lower back. After numerous visits with multiple doctors and steroid injections in the spine, round-the-clock painkillers and muscle relaxers, I still found it difficult to do things as simple as putting on my own socksBy February, I had had enough and was ready to concede to back surgery.Meanwhile, my husband had been doing some personal trainingwith Kimberly at Emerge; and during the course of a casual conversation, she suggested I see Dr. Matt Lytle at Precision Health Group. I pessimistically agreed to try one more thing before setting up the surgeryI began seeing Dr. Lytle onFebruary 23. After three weeks, his treatment helped tremendously, and I was soon cutting back on some of my prescriptions. Dr. Lytle suggested I go to Emerge in order to build my core and increase relief from my symptomsI started working with Angie on March 21 while continuing to see Dr. Lytle. By April 5, I was no longer taking any prescriptions. In February, I couldn’t stand to be in a car for 5 minutes; but in early May, I took a couple OTC and was able to sit on a plane for four hours.  As I write this, I am heading to Texas tomorrow and not even packing any pain relievers. Thanks, Angie and Kim at Emerge for your part in helping my get my life back!
Sheila is one of the many clients that we see at Emerge everyday.   Corrective exercise can help manage and heal pain that people deal with everyday.  If your an athlete battling repeat injuries or if you sit at a desk 40 hours a week and experience neck and low back pain we can help.   Starting a corrective exercise program starts with a consultation and  a postural assessment.  We then put together a corrective exercise program based on a persons daily routine, common movement patterns, and we develop the program based on each individuals movement dysfunction.  These clients start out with therapy exercise programs and with in time they are completing 5ks, triathlons, and marathons and achieving personal goals they gave up on years ago.   Contact an Emerge Trainer to gather more information and setup a consultation.
Emerge Fitness Training
Angie Pirtle

For a Navy Corpsman, being fit isn't just a lifestyle, it's a lifesaver.

It’s not uncommon to be in Emerge and see client Andy Law gearing up for a workout. You’ll see him suited up with a 40lb weighted vest and a “training for elevation altitude” mask.  The trainers get asked all of the time why he’s wearing it; is it because he’s just that intense or does he want to show off? The truth is, he’s not only training to save his own life, but the lives of others as well.
Andy is Navy Corpsman for the ground combat element of the Marine Corps. The website describes the position as: “Navy hospital corpsmen, more commonly known as the ‘corpsmen.’ They wear the Marine Corps uniforms but they have never trained at Marine Corps Recruit Depot. They have saved the lives of hundreds of Marines, yet they do not claim the title themselves. Corpsmen have a long-standing tradition of serving alongside Marines because the Corps does not train medical personnel. They stand as a necessary part of a Marine fleet. Their mission is to prevent or treat any injury Marines may come across in the unpredictable combat zone… Not only do these corpsmen need to be well rounded with their occupation, they must also be a rifleman.  In order to be a well-functioning, integrated part of the Marine Corps, they must be combat oriented as any Marine from any military occupational specialty” (
Andy explains his job as a “field medical service technician.  I render medical care to Marines and I’m the first line of medical intervention when the ‘grunts’ get hurt.  I’m behind them as they are kicking in doors. Marines cry out for three things when they’re injured; God, mom and Doc and only one of them can help him.”
Andy has to be ready at all times for whatever could possibly happen.  This type of work requires a lot of endurance as well as explosive power and strength. He could be lifting or dragging Marines, twice his size, out of hazardous areas (if you’ve seen Andy, it’s not hard to be twice his size).  He wanted to make sure that he was ready when he was deployed to Afghanistan, which is known for their mountains and high elevation.  That’s when Andy came across Emerge Fitness.
“Before I enlisted the help of Matt Wirth, I was a Navy Corpsman for the ground combat element of the Marine Corps for over 6 years and was no stranger to working out. But when I discovered I was going to be assigned to 4th Marine Recon, I knew that just being in shape wasn’t going to be enough and that I needed professional assistance. When my friends found out I got a personal trainer they all said the same thing, “Why do you need a trainer? You’re a Marine and you’re already in shape.” My rebuttal was. “Yes, personal fitness is required for my job, but it is not my job. I get paid to be an expert at eliminating threats and providing medical interventions. It’s a trainer’s livelihood to know the ins and outs personal fitness and how to get a client to their goal in the most efficient and effective manner.”
The proof is in the pudding! Just after 5 months of personal training sessions I am in better physical condition now than I have ever been in my life. Taking into account my 4 years of high school soccer as a starting midfielder and 4 years of active duty time with Marines working out for hours at least five times a week. I’ve reduced my body fat from 9% to less than 6%, I’ve shaved off a minute and a half on my mile, and now instead of being in the front pack during a run, I lead the pack. I’ve also recruited the help of two additional trainers, Kim Renoud and Beth Pirtle, by adding their boot camps to my regimen. The boot camps allow me to work on my high altitude training and aerobic strength training so that when I deploy I will have no problems performing in extreme environmental conditions.
What I love about training with Matt, Kim and Beth is that I’m always challenged, no two workouts are ever the same, and they all know exactly what to say to motivate me. What I love about training at Emerge is the focus on functional workouts, there’s always a purpose for the madness, I’m not just lifting weights, I’m working on getting stronger and faster so I can engage the appropriate muscle groups when I need to, to get me or my patient out of a hostile situation. When I’m not out defending freedom and democracy, I’m a nurse and a “manny” for 5 kids and easily work over 80 hours a week. Since I know that my trainers are the best at what they do and can help me get the most out of my workout, it’s easier to make and hour out of my day for them than to make an excuse of how I’m too busy to go to the gym.
Thank you Matt, Kim, and Beth! You guys have made me a better warrior
and have given me the extra edge I needed to help get my Marines and
me back home to our friends and families! I couldn’t have done it
without you, love you guys! Semper Fidelis!”

Andy will continue to workout here until he is deployed to Afghanistan in March for an unknown amount of time.  Emerge thanks Andy for his hard work, dedication, and doing so much to defend our country and we wish him the best of luck.
Kimberly Renoud & Matt Wirth,
Emerge Fitness Training

Burn More Fat & Calories In a Shorter Period of Time

As a runner, I’ve always indulged in VO2 max/interval training when getting ready, training, for a run.  So, I became aware long before it was popular that “interval training”, working harder was a highly effective way of not only burning calories and gaining cardiovascular improvement but also created a furnace for fat burning.  I know that my clients have busy lives and need the shortest most efficient way to fitness.  When supporting my clients with their weight loss, fat burning efforts I’ve always set up cardio programs that include interval, cardio workouts. The following explains quite well why interval training can best contribute to fat and weight loss.
“Fat burning” and “cardio zones” first appeared on exercise machines in the 8Os, pushing the idea that low intensity, long-duration cardio work is what burns fat and that higher-intensity exercise stimulates cardiovascular impovement. While this is true, it’s not the whole truth.
When we exercise at lower intensities, our bodies use a greater percentage of fuel for energy from stored fat.  (As you sit there reading this blog, you’re burning mostly fat as fuel.) When you work at higher intensities, your body uses mostly sugar as fuel.
Let’s say you spend 30 minutes on a treadmill or elliptical.  If you spent the entire time working at 65 percent of your maximum heart rate, you might burn 350 calories with about 60 percent of them coming from fat ( about 200 calories).  If you spent the same 30 minutes working harder, at say 85 percent of your maximum HR, you might burn 500 calories, with about 50 percent coming from fat, or 250.  So even though the percentage was less, due to the increase in effort, the total number of calories and fat calories used would be greater.
Let’s get away from calories for a minute and talk about what’s really going on.  Exercise isn’t really even exercise at all, that’s just what we call it.  Exercise is really just stress that our bodies have to deal with and adjust to.. The more work you do, the greater the stress, the greater the adaptation.  When you work hard and burn sugar during your exercise, your body will burn fat later and become better at using fuel all the time.
When weight loss and fat loss are your goals, the recipe is easy.  You need to challenge your muscles through efficient  strength training, you need to eat clean so your blood sugar remains stable, and you need to challenge your heart and lungs to get better.
This last one, the cardiovascular piece, should be brief and intense. Work anywhere from 65 to 85 percent of your maximum HR range, but be sure to put short bursts of intensity in there (90-95 percent of max HR).  These short bursts are essential when it comes to fat loss.  You’ve got to tap that anaerobic threshold, the place where your body can’t meet the demand for oxygen.  This is extremely stressful on the system, and brings about a whole cascade of hormonal responses, making the body better.
Remember the old adage that you should be able to talk while exercising?  Well, not exactly.  You’ll know you tapped that anaerobic threshold because you’ll be focusing on working hard and won’t be able to talk.  This recipe of strength training, good nutrition and efficient high-intensity aerobic exercise is the best way for anyone to lose fat.
(As always, check with your doctor before starting any high intensity exercise program.)
Beth Pirtle
By: Jim Beatty

Week 3- Julie's Figure Competition Blog

Another week down! This week has been really good, I am not having any cravings for junk and I am still feeling super motivated about every workout and cardio session.  The only thing that has been getting to me is the scale… Now, logically I know that this is not the most accurate way to assess progress but it plays a big role mentally for me.  My diet has been perfect this week (and also the 2 weeks prior for that matter), I did all of my cardio and even a little extra, I pushed myself on every lift and can see huge strength gains in the gym each week and I am only down .3 lbs on the scale. Now there are many factors that could play a role in the scale not showing a significant decrease in weight like the fact that I have been crushing my workouts and I am very sore from them, salt content of food, water retention/hydration, bowel movements (sorry to those of you with a weak stomach), muscle gains, hormones, etc. The more important thing that I am having to focus on is the progress that I can see in myself physically and that my clothes are fitting differently, I can see significant changes in my arms, legs and abs, everything is looking much leaner and I am able to see the muscle gains that I made in this offseason which I am very happy about 🙂 Matt is going to do our skin folds on Tuesday so hopefully that will reveal more of what is going on… 

Here’s a recap of this week:Cardio- 5 days 30 minutes plus an extra 6th day of 30 min. I have still been walking on an incline keeping my heart rate around 140. 

Sample of my diet this week: 
Meal 1- 1 whole egg, 1/4 cup whites, 1/2 cup oats made with unsweetened vanilla almond milk
Meal 2- 1 scoop Beverly international cookies and creme ultimate muscle protein, 1 package of trader joes raw almonds- 200 calories so about 29 almonds 
Meal 3- pre workout 2 slices Ezekiel Bread, 2 tbsp simply fruit blackberry preserves, creatine
Meal 4- post workout 1 scoop whey isolate, 1/2 scoop dextrose, creatine and glutamine
Snack while making dinner- 1/4 raw red pepper and 2tbsp roasted red pepper hummus ( I was low on fats for the day so the hummus was a good choice of healthy fats)
meal 5- 3 oz turkey burger, 1 cup brown rice, 1/2 cup roasted bell peppers, 6 asparagus spears
meal 6- 6oz Chobani Greek yogurt, 1/2 cup oats and 1tbsp almond butter
This put me at 1,809 cal: 52g fat (26%), 214g carbs (47%) and 126g protein (28%)

Workouts- Our workout schedule got a little crazy this week because our legs were so sore we could not lift legs on our normal Thursday leg day. This threw some things off so we moved them to Saturday. We all have a crazy Monday coming up so we ended up doing our chest/bi workout on Sunday and we are taking Monday off. It was actually kind of nice because the gym was empty and Sunday is a day that we usually lounge around so to get a higher calorie burn for the day was a good thing! As promised last week, here is our leg workout that we have done on Thursday’s for the last 3 weeks progressing in weight each workout:

10 sets of 10 squats for depth with 30sec rest between sets (step out side of the squat rack so you can really get low) also I am proud to say we did this at 155lbs!! 

4 sets of 20 single leg leg strides on the curve wood way for speed

Super set:
4x 12 heavy cable deadlift
4x10e single leg cable hamstring curls

Super set:
4×10 double landmine front squats
4×10 single leg cable leg extensions

4 sets 7-10’s calf raises on smith machine- perform 7 reps then hold at the top for 10seconds repeat this 2 more times and that is one set

So other than the scale getting to me, this week was a lot of fun and I am feeling good about my progress. Nicole and I filmed a healthy eating grocery store tour so keep your eye out for that this week as well as a shoulder and Ab workout with our lifting partner Angie Coleman over at the Fitness Edge which we will be posting later this week as well. Stay tuned for progress reports next week!

Getting the most out of your elliptical workout

I read an article awhile back (John Briley, Washington Post) about using the elliptical properly in order to get the best workout and avoid possible injury in the long run. Although running is my cardio exercise of choice, I do cross train frequently on the elliptical. Understanding how to use a machine correctly and efficiently can save one a lot of time and hard work with a greater calorie burn.
Most of us who use the elliptical already know that we need to stand up to start, shoulders relaxed and back in line with your hips, and grip the handles lightly. Don’t lean on your arms or hunch over. Start to stroke and drive with your heels. This stance, as opposed to riding on the balls of your feet, helps keep you centered over your hips, which means that your legs – not your lower back – will do the work. Avoid bouncing on the elliptical. Your upper body should be almost totally still. Most of us tend to push our entire bodies up with each leg thrust and then allow gravity to sink us into the next one. Aside from cheating your legs out of some of the work, that bounce makes it almost impossible to hold your form intact. This puts knees, lower back and hips at risk of strain.
If you follow these recommendations you will find that your quads will work hard and the calories-per-minute burned will jump. If you’ve always assumed that pumping the elliptical handles will add to the calorie burn, try letting go of the support bars allowing your arms to swing forward and back then feel your heart rate climbing. You will also be challenging those stabilizer muscles to keep yourself balanced.
Following these recommendations will make your workout on the elliptical a little tougher, but get you much greater results.
Beth Pirtle

Week 2- Julie's Figure Competition Blog

This has been a great week, from my diet to my workouts just really solid. I would think by now, after 12 years of gymnastics, 6 years of swimming and 10 years of weight lifting that I would not get sore from working out anymore… that is not the case. I was sore from every single workout this week! It is so important to progress your workout in weight or intensity to continue to see progress in the gym and in your body. Also working out with people that push you and motivate you makes a huge difference too! Nicole, Angie and I all lift around the same amount of weight so we can really push each other to the next level and the three of us combined come up with some triple sets that leave us crawling out of the gym each day. I look forward to my workouts with them every day so if you are someone that dreads going to the gym or lacks motivation try finding a workout partner (or a personal trainer) to keep you motivated and accountable at the gym. Monday was our legs day, see Nicole’s blog for that workout. Tuesday was a killer shoulder and core hypertrophy workout with Matt consisting of:
 6 x 8 Hang Cleans with 30 seconds rest between sets
6 x 10 double landmine explosive shoulder press, also with 30 seconds rest between sets
Triple Set:                 
4×10 Cable Lateral raise from behind the body
4×10 Cable Lateral raise from in front of the body
4×10 V-sit front raises
3×12 DB plank ups on small plyo box
3×24 Water Ball Russian twists
My shoulders rarely get sore… but this one did it! Wednesday was a back and tri workout and as I am sitting here typing this I am still feeling it a little in my lats. Thursday was another insane Leg workout with Matt Pirtle; see next weeks posting for that workout. Friday was chest and bi’s and yesterday was another shoulder workout. This week we had 4 days of 30 minutes of cardio. I have been making it a priority to space the cardio and workout out in my day to give my metabolism an extra boost rather than doing them back to back.
 Because our workouts are so intense it is so important to have the right post workout recovery shake. My boyfriend, Brian is one of the smartest people I know when it comes to supplements so between the two of us we have come up with the optimal post workout shake for me- 1 scoop whey isolate, 1/2 scoop of dextrose (a simple sugar to replenish glycogen stores allowing the whey isolate to repair the muscle tissue you have broken down in the workout), creatine and glutamine. I drink this IMMEDIATELY after the workout and then eat a meal 60 to 90 mins after the shake. I also got at least 8 hours of sleep each night this week, which is also very important in muscle recovery and fat loss.
My diet this week has been perfect! Here is a typical day for me this week:
Meal #1- 2 whole eggs, 1/2 cup old fashioned rolled oats made using unsweetened vanilla almond milk and a little cinnamon
Meal#2- pre-workout 2 slices Ezekiel 4:9 bread with 2 tbsp organic strawberry preserves
Meal #3- post workout protein shake
Meal #4- 1/2 cup egg white omelet with salsa and avocado, 1/2 cup oats
Meal #5- 4oz Orange Roughy, 1 cup oven roasted baby red potatoes, 2 cups spring mix salad with 2 tbsp Good seasonings Italian dressing made with red wine vinegar and grape seed oil
Meal #6- Chobani Greek yogurt with 1/2 cup Ezekiel 4:9 cereal mixed in
 My new years resolution this year is to start eating fish and turkey so Brian has been preparing some fantastic meals for me 🙂 I am one lucky girl to have a man that can cook! The last show preps I have done, I ate nothing but grilled chicken and lean ground beef because they taste good and I know how to cook them. These are both a lot harder for your body to digest and they are filled with hormones/anti-biotics that are not good for you so I am excited to see the difference in my body eating fish and turkey being that they are much leaner and cleaner choices of protein. I didn’t grow up eating a lot of turkey or fish so I think that is why I am not a huge fan of it… the texture and the smell of fish is what is the hardest for me to get over but Brian has prepared some great dishes that I actually enjoyed eating. On the flip side of that… I have had to watch him eat an entire Pepperoni Pizza, a couple boxes of sour patch kids and then on top of that he asked if I would bake him some chocolate chip cookies… let me just say, baking is not nearly as fun when you can’t eat any of it!!! It may sound weird but I enjoy the challenge he gives me in a way because I know my goal is much more important to me that a cookie or a slice of pizza, I know how much better I feel when I eat a clean diet and I have a sense of accomplishment each time I resist temptation knowing that I made good choices that will get me one step closer to first place… so at the end of week 2, I have lost 1lb of fat (I am retaining some water so we will see more accurately next week if I lost more than 1lb this week) puting me to 4lbs total fat loss!

Wow, I'm Going to the Olympic Marathon Time Trials in Houston, Texas!

Wow, I’m going to the Olympic Marathon Time Trials in Houston, Texas this weekend! No, I won’t be running in the time trials, but I will be watching. The top 3 female runners to cross the finish will comprise the 3 woman team competing for the USA this summer at the 2012 Olympics in London. There has never been a more competitive field of female distance runners than will be running this year. My strong desire to witness this historical event and my deep passion for running are not the only reasons I am attending this event. I will be cheering on one of our own Emerge Fitness clients, Jackie Pirtle-Hall, who will be competing in the Olympic Time Trial Marathon race. Jackie happens to also be my daughter.
Needless to say, I’m a proud mama but my pride goes far beyond Jackie’s running ability. What makes me most proud of her is that she is not only a runner but also a wife; a mother; and a full time high school teacher along with everything that comes along with these special roles. Knowing that she is up at 4:00 a.m. to train, runs 80 plus miles most weeks, trains with her personal trainer, Matt Pirtle, at Emerge every week – and makes a point of remembering that her husband Jonathan and daughter Sam are the most important in her life is simply amazing to say the least.
If you’ve read my running blogs in the past, you know that I run because it’s fun, it’s hard and I like competing against myself. As I’ve said to several of my clients, it’s one of the best fat burning cardio workouts you can do, and I can personally attest to that. Even better, distance running takes me mentally to the “good place”. Speaking of good places, Houston is where it’s at Saturday, January 14th and I couldn’t be more excited.
Beth Pirtle

Be Cautious When Adding "Supplements" to Your Fitness Plan

One of the most cloudy areas of fitness today is dietary supplementation.  A dietary supplement, as defined by the National Strength and Conditioning Association, is “a catch-all term that includes substances that the FDA does not consider drugs and also do not fall in the category of normal foods or food additives.  Generally, dietary supplements are highly refined products that that would not be confused with a food.”
Unfortunately, most of the information given to consumers is from the supplement company themselves, or from anecdotal evidence from someone using the supplement that espouses its incredible efficacy.  The truth is, very few supplements  are shown to be effective in increasing  performance , boosting testosterone, burning bodyfat,  improving ones quality of life, etc.
Beware the supplement label claiming anything fantastic like a “1000% increase in testosterone” or “incredible fat incinerating power.” There is no scientific evidence for these claims in ANY supplement.
Furthermore, even in vitamin and mineral supplements which may be effective in enhancing fitness in some people with an extreme deficiency , there is no conclusive evidence that doses ABOVE the daily recommendation further enhances health or performance.  A relatively balanced diet (of food) will satisfy most of a persons vitamin and mineral needs.
So, be careful of suspect label claims or claims of peers that seem too good to be true.  They are.  Save your money, eat a balanced diet, and stick to a smart fitness plan.
If you have any questions regarding any component of fitness, call me (636)399-7049 or get in contact with any Emerge trainer.
Matt Pirtle, MA. CSCS

Angie Pirtle's Post Pregnancy

I am back and now blogging 2 weeks and 1 day post pregnancy.    Emmet Matthew was born December 20th at 10:08pm weighing 7lb 6oz.  He decided to come 2 weeks early.  He was born a perfect healthy baby boy.    Again I can blog about another wonderful pregnancy from start to end.  I started my pregnancy at 126lbs and ended at 148lb with a 22lb weight gain.  I felt great right up to the end with the normal discomfort of caring a near full term baby but still maintained my normal lifestyle.  I worked up until the day before I delivered him. 
My exercise came to a halt at about 8 months.  I had no more energy to give in my day between work, Charley, and my husband.   I kept my diet very strict  the whole pregnancy which helped keep my weight gain to a minimal.   I saw Dr. Marcy Cooper twice a month for acupuncture up until the end which kept my energy levels high and I saw Dr. Matt Lytle once a week for ART (Active Release Technique).  ART helped me with sciatic nerve and overly recruited tight muscles.  I started with the ART at about 20 weeks and it was a life saver.  All the muscular aches and pains you experience while your body is adjusting and making room for a baby can be controlled with ART. 
My  labor with Emmet was a totally different experience from what I had with my daughter Charley.  With her I did the normal and went to the hospital immediately when my contractions got close.  With my first  I didn’t  know what to expect and with that  kind of pain I thought the baby must be coming any second and I needed to get to the hospital.   Once I got to the hospital I was only dialated to a 4 and from the time I got to the hospital and the time she was born it was 18 hours later.  I believe once I got to the hospital my labor actually slowed down because I couldn’t relax.  I was fighting my contractions and not breathing and relaxing.  I labored as long as I could without the epidural and when I thought I was so far along I had only made it to a 4.5 and couldn’t take it anymore and got the epidural.  From that point on I was pain free and she came about 12 hours later.    Coming into this pregnancy I did lots of research on what I could do differently and with the help of a friend  I was introduced to hypnobirthing.  Hypnobirthing is natural child birth that teaches you imagery, relaxation, and breathing techniques.   It worked!  My plan was to do most of my laboring at home and not rush to the hospital.   I saw my doctor on a Monday morning and I was only dilated to a 1 and she told me I still had two weeks to go and that I was not  ready.  Emmet said differently because that evening my contractions started while training a client but they were very far apart.  I stayed home from work the next day and just relaxed thinking it was false labor and I was going to slow it down.  By 3pm that day I was wrong they were getting closer and closer.  At that point I decided to get in the tub and start watching the clock.  My mom came over and helped with Charley while I was focusing on my breathing and my relaxation techniques in the water with my phone application contraction counter.  By 5pm Matt came home from work and it was time.  My contractions were 2-3 min apart for the last hour and the pain was getting intense.  We were very unprepared for this moment.  With the help of our parents our bags were being packed and the dogs and Charley were being taken care of and we were off to the hospital.  The tub was great because once I got out of the water the contractions got even stronger.  The water helped keep me relaxed and kept the pressure down.   The car ride there was probably one of the worst moments of my life not to mention we got lost in road construction detours and once we made it to the parking garage I could hardly walk.  This was a very intense moment for me because all along my fear is getting to the hospital and only dilating to a 4 again and being so far away.  Once we got to the floor and the nurses were checking me in I wanted to be checked immediately because if I was no where near ready I was needing the epidural immediately.  The best moment of my life when the nurse checked me and said ” You’re at a  7  looks like were having a baby tonight”.   I  started crying  I was so happy for what I did on my own at home.  That is all I wanted was to get to the hospital and be over half way done.  At that point I had to make the decision to keep laboring on my  own with no drugs or get the epidural and I decided to stick with what I was doing because it was working.  Trust me there were lots of moments I didn’t think I was gonna make it and I was loosing my strength but with Matt coaching me and breathing with me and encouraging me I did it!  Emmet was born exactly 2 hours later and it was the most amazing experience to be able to experience his birth.  Matt and I talk everyday how we wish we could do that day all over again.  It was like trying to finish the hardest race of your life and you are just pushing and pushing to make it to the finish line and at the end of my finish line I got to meet my son Emmet.  I wanted to share this story because it was an amazing experience. 
Emmet is a perfect baby, sleeps a lot, and loves when its feeding time.  You are gonna be hearing from me now as I share my experience of what happens after you have a baby and how to get back on track.  As of right now I am just getting as much rest as I can drinking lot of water and making sure I keep my calories up while breast feeding.  As of today I am 6lbs away from my starting weight but can’t wait to get back to my workouts and running.  I will keep you posted on my success.

Angie Pirtle
Emerge Fitness Training

A Submitted "Thank You" for Fido.

This letter was submitted by a family who traveled from Kansas City, MO to attend Get Fit For Fido:
Hi! I’m Angie. I just wanted to thank you so much for the way you and all the staff allowed us to hang out in the gym until Randy Orton did his autograph signings this last Thursday. Some people told us we were crazy for driving there just to meet him but you have no idea the..well basically Christmas gift it was for us *cough* me. We had so much fun and it was great meeting you and some of the other staff. So thank you again and I think someone had said they told Randy that we had come from out of town and when he got there he acknowledged us which was so nice. Long story short thank you, your staff and Randy for making the trip one we won’t forget.  Also congrats on the birth of your baby, when he or she comes into the world!
Happy holidays to you and your staff!
Sincerely, Angie Dupont Currier

Important Info: Get Fit For Fido 12/15/11 with Special Guest Randy Orton

Randy OThursday night’s (12/15) Get Fit For Fido is going to be a very big event!
Due to the large number of people projected to be here, we have to make a few adjustments to cater everyone.
Boot Camp Participants and Training Clients:
We ask that you enter our door to the right (facing Emerge)  that’s normally closed.  Tell the trainer at the door that you are here to take the class or train and proceed to the front desk to sign in and drop off your donations. Towels will be available at a first come/first serve basis.  We do have a water fountain available, as well as we sell water/gatorate for $1 a bottle.
If you have any questions, just ask any of the available trainers.
Autograph signing participants only:
Please form a line at our main door and move the line to the left (facing Emerge).  Randy will begin signing around 7pm.  To control traffic in our gym, we will be allowing only 5 people in at a time.  Please proceed to drop off your donations at the front desk.
* Due to Gym liabilty procedures, Autograph signing participants are not permitted on the gym floor at any time.
As for donations, we have had a GREAT turnout so far! We have received an abundant amount of cleaning products, so we ask everyone to please donate dog/cat food, cat litter.
If you have any questions, please call Emerge at 636-922-7559 or email me at
Thanks for your support and we hope to see you at Emerge Thursday night at 6:30!!!
-Kimberly, Emerge Fitness

Get Fit For Fido 2011 Wish List




Formerly known as St. Charles Humane Society


           1099 Pralle Lane, St. Charles, MO 63303

            (636) 949-9918


We are a NO-KILL SHELTER that relies on private donations.
Thank you for your support!



Dog and Cat Supplies

  • Scoopable cat litter
  • Dry puppy & kitten food (Purina brand preferred)
  • Dry dog & cat food
    • Purina One, Iams, Royal Canin, Science Diet
    • Prescription Diet dry dog food:  I/D
    • Prescription Diet dry cat food: W/D, C/D
    • Royal Canin Hypo-allergenic H-P
    • Canned Prescription Diet A/D cat/dog food
    • Canned high protein dog food
    • Collars and leashes
    • Towels
    • Nail trimmers
    • Styptic powder
    • Gentle leaders
    • Kongs
    • Dog toys and treats
    • Cat toys and treats
    • Pooper scoopers
    • Pet carriers and crates
    • Stethoscopes
    • Small swimming pools (for the dogs in summer!)
    • Gift cards to PetSmart and PETCO

Cleaning Supplies

  • Bleach
  • Paper towels
  • 13 & 33 gallon trash bags
  • Fabuloso cleaner
  • Dish soap
  • Liquid laundry detergent
  • Liquid dishwasher detergent
  • Empty spray bottles
  • Toilet paper
  • Disinfecting wipes
  • Disposable gloves (medium & large)

Office Supplies

  • Copy paper 8 ½ x 11  
  • Scotch tape 
  • Postage stamps 
  • Gift cards to Office Max or Office Depot 
  • Carbon copy phone message books 
  • Laminating sheets
  • Binder clips (medium & large)
  • Dry Erase markers (small tip)


  • Gift cards to Wal-Mart, Target
  • Fuel gift cards
  • Disposable surgical gowns
  • Batteries
  • Ziploc bags
  • Nebulizer
  • CD players
  • Electric can opener
  • Dixie cups

Get Fit For Fido FAQs

We’re less than one week away from starting our 3rd Annual Get Fit for Fido and the interest coming in is HUGE!! I’ve received repetitive questions about the classes, so I hope that this FAQ  page can help! If not, do not hesitate to email me at
1. Do we have to sign up ahead of time to take a class?
    – No, no prior sign up is needed. Just show up a few minutes before class!
2. Can we bring friends/family?
3. Do we need to fill out any information when we get there?
    – The only form all new participants need to sign is the Liability form at the front desk of Emerge.
4. What do we donate?
     – We have a “Wish List” by the Five Acres Humane Society available on our website.
        under the “News and Events” tab.
5. Can we take all of the classes or just one?
     – You are more than welcome to take as many classes as you like, we just ask for a donation when ya come!
6. Can Children take the classes? 
     – We would like all participants to be at least 8 years old with a guardian present, 16 without a guardian present.
7. We aren’t able to take a class but can we still donate, and if so, when?
      – YES, YES, and YES!  You can drop off items between now and Friday, December 23rd, at noon.
         We will be dropping off all items on the 23rd.
8.  Who are these “Guest Trainers” that will be appearing during the classes?
      – We’re not telling… Yet… 🙂
9.  Is there a limit to how many people can attend a class? Will we be turned away if the class is too full?
     – There is  no limit, and no, you will not be turned away. We will make room for everyone!
10.  What level of difficulty are the classes going to be?
         – The great thing about boot camps, is that they can be catered to your fitness level. We can make an exercise such
           as pushups can be modified to be easy for beginners or tougher for the  more advanced.  Don’t worry, we’ll make
           sure you get a good sweat going!
I hope to see everyone in the next few weeks at Emerge!
-Kimberly, Emerge Fitness

Get Fit For Fido 2011

Join us for
Emerge Fitness Training’s
3rd Annual



Tuesdays at 7pm: Dec. 6th, 13th, 20th
Thursdays at 6:30pm Dec. 8th, 15th 
Get Fit for Fido is a series of boot camps the Emerge staff volunteers to instruct.  The classes are free; however, we do ask you to bring something to donate to the Five Acres Animal Shelter (formerly St. Charles Humane Society), which is a no-kill animal shelter.

(Donation list available at ) 

Call Emerge at (636) 922-7559 or email for more information!!! 

Emerge Fitness Training

3839 Mexico Rd, St. Charles, MO 63303

Get Fit For Fido Special Guests and Events

We are happy to announce that we will have special guests every night of our Get Fit For Fido, and some will be taking the classes, some will be co-instructing and some will be there to do a signing session.  We want to thank everyone who is donating their time to come out for such a great event! Below is a schedule of who will be teaching what classes and who will be making a guest appearance. 
Tuesday, December 6th: Trainer Jason Tokun, Special guest Rams player Craig Dahl
Thursday, December 8th: Trainer Julie Hamilton, Special guest Rams player Adam Goldberg
Tuesday, December 13th: Trainer Adam Kulp, Special guest Rams player Josh Brown
Thursday, December 15th: Trainers Matt & Angie Pirtle, Special guests former Rams & Bears player
                                                 Pisa Tinoisamoa, and WWE Wrestler Randy Orton
Tuesday, December 20th: Trainer Kimberly Renoud, Special guests Rams player Brit Miller
*More Guests not listed may make appearances as well
** Dr. Lytle and Dr. Rasch, Chiropractors from Precision Health will be providing ART assessments and adjustments for all donating participants during each class.
Also, Check out Emerge Fitness along with Kim Brown, executive director from 5 Acres Humane Society on Fox 2 at 11 on Tuesday! We will be promoting Get Fit For Fido and Kim is bringing along a 4 legged furry friend that is ready to be adopted!

Couples Partner Up To Partner Train

Diane Barry Witmer and Beth & Dan Cuquet, 2 husband and wife teams who partner train at Emerge are finding that pairing up with their partner not only keeps them accountable to their weekly workout, but creates just enough competition to keep them moving forward towards their fitness goals.  Between the four, they have lost a significant number of pounds while gaining/maintaining lean muscle mass, making substantial gains in strength, body composition and overall health and wellbeing. Both couples not only see their time together working out as a key part of their fitness lifestyle, but creates time they actively spend together.




Beth Pirtle

Emerge Fitness

Don't Do What's Expected of You

In between sets this afternoon, a client of mine mentioned he had seen his doctor the day before for a routine checkup.  He shared with me an exchange he and his doctor had had during the visit that went like this.
Client: “Well Doc, I’ve been working with a personal trainer and I have been able to move around without the pain I used to have.”
Doc: “Personal trainer, huh? How old is this trainer?”
Client: “I don’t know exactly. In his thirties I guess.”
Doc:  “Well don’t let these young “trainers” push you too hard.  Old guys like us don’t need to be worked that hard.”
Wow.  Two big stereotypes given out as advice in a two sentence blurt. 
According to this doctor, age is a BIG determinant of what you are able, and not able, to do.
I was too young to understand training older populations, and my client was “too old” to be trained “hard.”
People like to stereotype. It keeps the world simple and manageable.  Things can be categorized in easy, quantifiable terms without exceptions.  That’s nice.  It’s also not reality.
A person’s age, gender etc. should not be the sole determinant of their ability to exercise.  Their fitness level and readiness to exercise physically determines this.  It wasn’t long ago that resistance training wasn’t for women. That opinion has changed.  A lot.
Nevertheless, you hear what’s good for you or not good for you based on these very limiting ways of thinking and grouping people. 
Bottom line,  DONT LET THIS WAY OF THINKING LIMIT YOU OR GIVE YOU AND EXCUSE NOT TO BE HEALTHY.  It’s not intelligent and it won’t allow you to hit your physical potential.
Matt Pirtle, MA, CSCS

I did it! Cowbell half marathon/2011

What a day! Weather was beautiful on Sunday and I made sure I arrived early at the Cowbell Half Marathon to park easily and avoid the stress of standing in too long a line for the “Johnny on the Spot”. I’m on my own today, or at least I thought, and I find myself, pre-race, standing in the middle of Frontier Park chatting with a young man from Chesterfield who had chosen the Cowbell as his first half marathon run. Ryan told me his training had been going well and I assured him that he chose a good course for a first half (later that morning Ryan would pass me somewhere around mile 8- looking towards me with a smile on his face).
I’m standing on my own again waiting for the time to walk to the line and thinking about the possible outcomes today. I’ve computed race pace to meet my best 13.1 time and to get a 2 minute PR. The last 2 half marathons I’ve done did not turn out being the best experiences for me. I not only did not meet my best time, I added minutes each time. Although I didn’t acknowledge this to anyone, today would determine for me just exactly what part running would continue to play in my life. I knew that running would always be important for me to maintain my level of fitness both physically and mentally. However, the competitive desire to continue going back to the drawing board, rethinking my training, pushing to the next level to hopefully break the 2 hour mark might not be the best goal at my age. Perhaps I’ve peaked and need to allow myself to just enjoy all the wonders and fitness advantages of running.
Ok, here I am standing at the start in the corral for those intending to do a 10 minute pace. I’m wondering, just for a moment, do I belong here, should I move further back in the herd as not to get in the way of these faster runners? I’m packed in, so I stay put. The run has started. I remind myself to glance at my Garmin to make sure I don’t go out too fast. Oh wow! It’s Jackie and Sam (my daughter and granddaughter) cheering me on. Asked everyone to stay home today, but she surprised me anyway. After the first mile or two, I stop looking at my Garmin in fear it will only create anxiety for me. I’m doing OK as I move through the miles, reminding myself that next weekend my daughter will be running in the Chicago Marathon in pursuit of a 2 hour and 46 minute marathon time. This will get her to the Olympic trials. I try to tell myself that if I can work through the points of pain during this run I can take some of her suffering away the next week. This works for me when it gets hard at various times during the run, mostly when I reach the long hill after 10 miles. Unfortunately though, we can’t take anyone else’s pain/discomfort away, we all have to do the hard- no excuses if we want the glory.
Mile 8 is significant because it’s at this mile I make eye contact with Ryan-and Jackie shows up again. I’m working hard to keep my pace and I look at Jackie and mouth the word “hurt”. She cheers me on and says “It’s supposed to hurt”. I know, I know, you have to be a distance runner to understand.
I’m getting there and my calves start to talk to me. They seem to be saying, we’re not going to hang in here too much longer. The hill is behind me and it’s pretty much down hill from here. Calves start to scream. I see the finish!! I look up and say, please don’t let my calves lock up. I can’t go down now! I shift my weight to the back of my heels to keep my calves from locking. Wow! Several feet away from the finish the clock says 2:02- 5 minutes better than my best time and I run through the finish. I’m thinking thank you- thank you to all who were in my corner in preparation for this great day!

Angie Pirtle's Guide to a Fit Pregnancy

Today is day 183 of my pregnancy which puts me at 26 weeks.  Time is flying!  I saw my Doctor 2 weeks ago for my 24 week appointment and every thing is perfect with a weight gain of 9.5lbs.  I have good and bad weeks with exercise.  Last week was perfect I didn’t miss a day of cardio or strength training and combined with very clean diet.  It’s amazing when you put the exercise and diet together how much better you feel and the surge of energy you get. 
 My new cardio is walking on the Emerge Woodway treadmill.  I love it!  If you have never trained on a Woodway Treadmill it’s a must that you try it out.  It’s the best treadmill workout you can get.  The Woodway Curve is  self propelled and used for speed training.  You can do sprints at any speed or if your pregnant like me and can’t sprint it is great for speed walking.  Speed walking on a regular treadmill does nothing for me but the curve and self propelling of the woodway makes it very challenging.  I have good energy and still keeping up with my clients and chasing Charley around.  I’m expecting the fatigue to start again soon but until then I am keeping active. 
My New found favorite is 1pc of ezekiel bread with 1 tbsp almond butter and 1 tbsp E.D. Smith peach fruit spread.  This is my breakfast every morning and then followed by a protein shake mid morning.  Did you know fruit spreads have a lot less calories and sugar than fruit preserves?  Preserves on average have about 50 cal per tbsp and 13-16 grams of sugar.  Fruit spread has 25 calories and 6 grams of sugar per tbsp.   
1 pc ezekiel bread 80 cal
1tbsp almond butter 95 calories
1 tbsp fruit preserve 25 calories
For a grand total of 200 calories.  This is great for a midafternoon snack or breakfast.
Stayed tuned for my next two weeks update.
blog 26
26 blog 2
Angie Pirtle
Emerge Fitness Training

Boot Camp info for Monday, Oct. 3rd.

It’s been nearly 10 years, but I FINALLY get to go on a real vacation! I will be getting back late Monday, Oct. 3rd, so I will not be having my 5:30 advanced boot camp.  HOWEVER, whether you are a regular or you are looking to try a boot camp, I Highly recommend coming to the 6:30 class because Matt Pirtle will be subbing for me! He’s one of the original trainers to have boot camps at Emerge and it’s been a year since he’s taught one so I guarantee he’s got some great stuff planned! Monday… 6:30… Boot Camp.. Be there!
Emerge Fitness

Angie Pirtle's Guide To A Fit Pregnancy

Three weeks later and I am back.  Today I am 23 weeks and 5 days and the baby is roughly 8.5  inches and 1.5lbs.  I have definitely made some appearances changes compared to my photos 3 weeks ago.  My belly has arrived.  I’m not sure on my weight gain at this point but I’m sure it has gone up.   I will be seeing my doctor on Friday so I will be blogging about my doctor visit next  week.  Diet is still the same and staying very strict during the week and adding more calories on the weekends.  I have made some changes to my exercise program as of this week.  I am no longer running just walking on the treadmill on an incline.  The baby feels like it is sitting very low and putting lots of pressure on my bladder.  Which makes for having a very weak bladder and not very fun with all the sneezing with the weather changes.  My energy is still good considering I am working very long days.  I saw Dr. Marcy Cooper last week for acupuncture and managed to get all my workouts.  Makes a considerable difference on my energy levels.  I have started to feel the baby kick!   I laugh because when I first started feeling Charley move it was intense movement and hards kicks and this baby is very gentle and light movement.   I am wondering if this baby will be a little calmer than Charley:). 
I love nutrition and finding new healthy recipes and want to share some of my recipes and also share the diet of my 14 month old daughter Charley.  It can be very stressful feeding babies, toddlers, and kids.  Before having Charley I already knew her diet and how she was going to eat and couldn’t wait to put it into action.  I have always been obsessed with how parents feed their children and the bad choices they make for them.  I will admit once I started feeding Charley solid foods it was a lot harder than I thought. 
I feed Charley the exact same way I eat. I   Focus on a balance of nutrients from all foods.   I am finding that she is getting pickier with foods the older she is getting.  I make sure she gets 5-6 meals a day and each meal is a balance of carbohydrates, protein, and fat.  Her breakfast always consist of  3-4  egg whites and either fruit, whole grain pancakes or oatmeal.  Mid Morning options range from 8oz of almond milk, fruit, or vegetable.  A typical lunch is 2 pc of whole grain bread with almond butter with  a fruit spread and a fruit or vegetable.  She also gets on occasion rice pasta macaroni & cheese with low fat kosher hot dog and a fruit.  I’m not super sold on giving her hot dogs but she likes them and it is protein.  I buy the kosher hot dogs that have no fillers or artificial flavors.  She only gets hot dogs once or twice a week.  Mid Afternoon I always give her 8oz of almond milk with 2 tablespoons of protein powder and either fruit or animal crackers.  It’s a great snack for her after her afternoon nap.  Dinners are always whatever Matt and I are cooking.  We eat lots of guacamole, lean protein, and vegetable.  She finishes the day off with 8oz. of almond milk before bed.  That is a brief breakdown of Charley’s diet.  
I will be back blogging my 24th week next week. 
Guacamole recipe
Combine all ingredients
1 lg avocado
1 tbsp lime juice
1 small jalapeno
1 Roma tomato
1tsp hot sauce
1 small onion
1 garlic clove
salt to taste
Whole Wheat Pancakes

  • 1-3/4 whole wheat flour
  • 2 tablespoons stevia
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon (optional)
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 egg
  • 1-1/2 cups almond milk
  • 3 tablespoons cooking oil

Angie Pirtle
Emerge Fitness
22 wks 2 1 262x300 - Angie Pirtle's Guide To A Fit Pregnancy

Emerge Welcomes New Trainer Julie Hamilton

Julie came to Emerge from Lifetime Fitness in Chesterfield.   Julie has a an extensive resume with lots of experience and education in the field.  The Emerge staff is excited for her to join our team of trainers.

Julie Hamilton

Julie Hamilton

 B.S. in Nutrition and Exercise Physiology from the University of Missouri-Columbia
Strength and Conditioning Coach for all University of Missouri-Columbia Athletes, 2007
Strength and Conditioning Coach for UMSL- Men’s Golf, 2011-2012
NASM CES Certified Personal Trainer
ACE certified personal trainer
CPR and AED certified
Kettle Bell America- Kettle Bell Certified
BOSU certified
Core Fundamentals Academy- Power Plate Certified
Pre/Post Natal certified
6 years experience personal training
Gymnast for 11 years and Swimmer for 6 years
Ran Chicago Marathon in 2008 and have run several Half Marathons, 2006-2008
3rd Place NPC, Missouri State Bodybuilding- Figure Class- B, July 2011
Training for October 1st, 2011 Gateway Naturals Figure Competition
 I live, eat and breathe nutrition and fitness. It fascinates me to see how different ways of training affect the body to produce such different results. I have trained for competitive swimming, gymnastics, marathons, weight loss, gaining muscle and most recently for figure competitions. I enjoy researching and experimenting with different avenues of training to see what it takes mentally and physically to reach those goals.
 My career in the fitness industry started at the Boxing Gym in 2005, the instructor did not show up for class and being that I went 5 times a week the owner asked if I would step in and teach the class. I did and I absolutely loved it! I began teaching a few of my own classes there and decided to go to the University of Missouri-Columbia for my Bachelor’s Degree in Nutrition and Exercise Physiology. My first semester at Mizzou, I got my ACE certification and became a personal trainer at the Recreation Center. In 2007, I started strength and conditioning coaching for all the athletes at Mizzou. I can not begin to explain how much I learned from both aspects of training whether it was coaching a team through workouts or working with an individual to reach their goals. I also taught 3 semesters of an in house ACE certification course for students that wanted to become personal trainers at our Rec center. Upon graduation, I moved to Dallas, Texas where I helped open an Equinox. I was the highest level trainer, allowing me to work with special populations and number 1 trainer at the gym for production. There I continued my education and became pre and post-natal, power-plate and kettle bell certified as well as completed their extensive in house EFTI training. After almost 3 years of being in Dallas I moved back to St. Louis to be close to family and worked for Lifetime Fitness for a year where I completed my NASM corrective exercise specialist certification. A friend of mine introduced me to Matt and Angie Pirtle, owners of Emerge Fitness. It could not have been at a better time, I was fed up with the “corporate” gyms only caring about how much revenue I was bringing in and not on my clients and if they were happy and reaching their goals. I am so glad to be at Emerge and be in an atmosphere where the trainers are all here for the right reasons- to do whatever it takes to see their clients succeed! Whether your goals are to improve athletic performance or just being able to function and have energy for everyday life, I am here to motivate, guide and implement a program to reach those goals.

Cow Bell right around the corner

Just under 4 weeks until the Cowbell Half Marathon and I’m 5 days away from my last and longest “long” run. I’ll be 3 weeks out from the run and it’s taper time. I did lots of things different in my training this time around. My primary goal is to feel confident and good at the start of the race. There’s no getting around that I will also be competing, primarily with myself. I’m still trying to get myself to buy into the “just have fun” place, but realistically I know that at various points of the 13.1 mile run I will be doing whatever I can to transcend the pain of “hard” and just forge ahead. The most fun part of the whole experience will be when I cross the finish and the endorphins are popping all over the place in my head. It’s hard to make sense of it all, but physically and mentally pushing yourself to the limit can bring you a sense of well being that stays far beyond the day of the run.
Although I have a training plan, this time I am trying to stay more in touch with my body and how I am feeling with my runs and workouts. I know what it is like to push myself to a point where I am mentally and physically burnt out and I have learned a lot about how to avoid that place. As usual I’m right on with my diet and find that at 57 I’m probably, “relatively speaking”, as strong and less likely to be injured than many of my much younger counterparts. I can lift, press, etc what I need to enable me to live a quality life and stay in the game.
What I’m doing different this time is I run more hills outdoors. I use the treadmill for training runs only when the temperatures are soaring. Most of my running has been on concrete and trails. I’ve put a little less emphasis on speed workouts for the sake of speed and put more time into just running. I am also doing more strength training with my trainer (my son) so as to enhance muscle to hopefully push through when I need to. My running coach (my youngest daughter) has suggested I do some of my longer runs by time, not by distance. I won’t have my oldest daughter running with me this year and I will miss her. My most recent training runs indicate that I am faster, stronger and enjoying my runs more. I’m hoping that when Cow Bell gets here my training will prove to have been the best for me.

The TENDO power/speed analyzer at EMERGE!

Measuring power and velocity is a difficult often subjective task for an athlete or strength and conditioning coach.  The TENDO power and speed analyzer takes estimation out of the picture and replaces it with real data on power production and speed of movement.  Come check out this invaluable training and testing tool for athletes at Emerge.


GET TO IT! Get to your max weight faster.

This will be a quick post inspired by a mistake I often make in my own training.
Warm Ups are important.  Getting tissue warm and ready for exercise is important for maximal performance and injury prevention, especially if that warm up is dynamic and mimics the kinds of movement you are about perform in your exercise routine.
With that said, after you have warmed up and performed a lighter warm up set with a specific exercise for a specific muscle group, GET TO YOUR WORKING WEIGHT. 
For example, I was squatting today. I really do not like (the act of performing) this exercise.  I found myself warming up with 135.  I went to 185 next. Then 235.  Then 285.  Then 335, which is my working weight for my target reps number of 8.  So, I ended up with one set at my max potential weight of 8.  That’s one working set out of 5!  That’s not good. 
To force an adaptation (change) in your performance or physique, you have to work out at your max potential for all sets except for a warmup set (or 2 for bigger movements like deadlifts or squats).
I see people in the gym doing “chest day” where they will perform 3-4 warm up sets for every single exercise, even though they are training the exact same muscle group at a slightly different joint angle.  At the end of the day, a routine like this will give you 5-6 sets that have a potential to change anything, with the rest acting as a combination of warm ups and calorie-burning weight lifting.
The point: Warmup and get to the point.  If an exercise routine calls for 4 sets of 8 reps, that means 4 sets to failure at 8, which is your MAX weight, not a slowing ascending ladder of arbitrary sub-max loads.
Matt Pirtle, MA, CSCS

Angie Pirtle's Guide to a Fit Pregnancy

I am 20 weeks pregnant this week and not a lot of changes except watching my stomach grow daily.  We had our 20 week ultrasound this week and everything is perfect.  Baby is perfect size and growing.  I have gained 6lbs at my 20 week mark.  At 20 weeks with Charley I had gained 10lbs.   I’m hoping for a 20lb weight gain.  My doctor is extremely happy with my progress. 
I felt good this week and had good energy and that is all due to the fact that I had a good week of exercise and diet.  I got in all my cardio for the week and even had time for  a few extra strength training workouts.  Cardio is down to running outside with my two dogs or on the treadmill running at a 5.0 for about 20 min.  Some days are easier than others but I  listen to my body and when I need to I walk I walk.   My walking is a 11.0 incline at 3.0 mph on the treadmill.   With my stomach getting bigger I am feeling more tightness in my lower abdominal when running and that is when I take it down to a walk. 
My core and strength training workouts have not changed.  I feel just as strong as I did before being pregnant and have not had to make modifications.  My main goal is to maintain my Lean body mass and not loose muscle.   I stick to compound movements with 10-12 reps and still lift to failure and the end of a set range.  I circuit train the big muscle groups.  Today was a circuit of chest, shoulder, and legs followed by a 10 min run on the treadmill.   I do lots of push ups, pull ups, shoulder lateral & overhead movements, lunges, and squats.  I was able to get 3 body weight pull ups this week.  Don’t know how much longer that will last.  I was doing about 3 sets of 8 pull ups before pregnancy.  
I kept my diet clean all week and splurged with pizza twice over the weekend and peach pie.   
I eat the same thing everyday and this is a sample of my diet Monday-Friday
1 scoop Jay Robb protein powder with h20 or almond milk + 1 pc cinamon raisin ezekial toast
Mid Morning between clients
20 gram protein shake + 1 peach
1-2pc of ezekail bread ( depending on how hungry I am) with chicken or turkey, low fat mayo, tomato, pickle, and lettuce.  I load my sandwiches up with veggies it makes them so much better and takes care of my big appetite.  I also have a handful of Rice Works chips.  I get these at Dierbergs or Costco.  They are very good and are made from brown rice which has a better response with blood sugar spikes and digestion compared to regular potato chips.  That is my lunch every day.
Mid Afternoon
I eat again around 3pm and it is either a smoothie made with 1 scoop of Jay Robb protein powder, h20, and frozen mixed berries or 1 pc of ezekiel bread with almond butter and a low sugar strawberry spread.
Dinner is me and Matt’s favorite time of the day.  We enjoy cooking together and its the only time of the day that we get to spend together.  Our dinners are always healthy and planned during the week.  We do our grocery shopping on Sundays and plan the whole week.  If we are unplanned and no food in the house that is when the diet goes bad and we are eating out and pizza deliveries. Bad Bad.  Dinner is always a lean protein (lean red meat, chicken, turkey, fish), vegetables, and a salad.  We keep it simple but cook with lots of spices and seasonings to add flavor. 
After Dinner
I don’t eat after dinner and if I feel like something sweet I have a piece of gum. 
Next weeks blog I will be adding dinner and breakfast recipes and also write about my experience with feeding my daughter who is 14months and her eating habits.  Thanks for following my blog.  Please feel free to share any comments on pregnancy experiences or email me with any questions.

 Angie Pirtle
Emerge Fitness

Angie Pirtle's Guide to a Fit Pregnancy

This is week number 19 and the weeks are passing quickly.  This was not one of my best weeks as far as exercise but I kept a clean diet.  The days that I could have made time to exercise I  found myself on the couch.  I had a week of low energy and  trained a lot of clients which left me tired at the end of the day.  Today is Sunday and the start to a new week and I am going to pull it together.  The  one day of exercise I did  was a 20 min interval run on the treadmill with my top speed at 6.5.  I followed my run with a full body weight training circuit including core training.
Last week I wrote in detail about the protein powder supplementation that I use in my diet and today I want to write about the role protein plays in a pregnant and non pregnant diet.
Protein plays an extremely important part in pregnancy and the development of your baby. The amino acids which make up protein also form the basic building blocks of your body’s cells which in turn also form the building blocks of your baby’s body too.   A diet low in protein can result in low birth weight.
During the second and third trimester is when you should make sure your protein levels are where they should be, especially as this is when your baby will be growing it’s fastest and that means placing more demand on you. It is recommended that you get about 70grams of protein a day.
Protein is also very important for maintaining and building lean body mass.  A lack of quality protein will result in the loss of muscle tissue, muscle tone, a reduced immune system, slower recovery and a lack of energy. If your goal is to put on muscle and increase strength or even reduce body fat, while keeping definition and tone, extra protein from high quality sources is an absolute must.  This is important pregnant or not pregnant.
The best sources of complete protein are found in animal foods such as meat, fish, shellfish, poultry and dairy.
Eggs are the best source of protein as they contain the highest amount of essential amino acids. Fish is the next best source and is then followed by meat, milk, soy beans, oatmeal, rice, peas, lentils, and kidney beans.  If you are not getting your protein from food that is why you need a protein supplementation.   There are lots of different kinds of protein supplementation on the market make sure to ask a professional which protein powders are best for you.
I enjoy sharing my journey and next week will be sharing more diet and exercise tips.  I see my doctor tomorrow for my 20 week ultrasound.  I will be posting pics and weight gain at the half way point in next weeks blog also.

Angie Pirtle
Emerge Fitness Training

Matt Pirtle's Intuition Diet Experiment Part 2

I’ll start this post off with some information about what I am, and am not doing, specifically.
I tried to use no feedback tools except for the mirror.  No scales. No bodybuggs. No bodyfat pinches.  I didn’t want these tools interfering with the experiment which deals more with intuition.  With that said, I have worn a bodybugg for a week before, and from this week I know I burn anywhere from 4800-5800 calories a day depending on my training schedule.  I also knew my weight on the scale started at 204 lbs.
My day begins pretty routinely:
1/2 cup of plain oats mixed with one packet low sugar flavored oats
1 stevia packet
6-8 walnuts
2 scoops of whey protein isolate (50 grams)
At about 9am between clients I will have another 2 scoops WPI and a banana or any piece of fruit I have with me at work
At 12-1pm I will have lunch. This varies based on how my energy feels and how I look that day.  If I’m dragging and look deflated, I’ll add extra carbs through oats or whole grain bread.  I typically have around 60z of very lean meat.  A typical side for me will be a small serving of baked chips but this can vary ( something with comparable nutritional value). I will finish will a piece of fruit routinely.
Around 3pm I will have a varied snack, from a packet of low sugar oats, to a piece of fruit, to an almond butter and low sugar jelly sandwich on healthy life brand bread. Sometimes I eat more, sometimes less, based on how I look and feel.
Dinner is varied as well, although I have been eating A LOT of salads.  Buffalo chicken salads with cucumbers, onions, and croutons.  Or spinach and fruit salads with a balsamic vinaigrette dressing.  Sometimes it will just be a large serving of green veggies with 6-8oz of chicken.  I have had much less red meat, for certain.  I add a carb through whole grain noodles or brown rice occasionally.
I go off the beaten path sometimes, from splitting a large veggie with less-cheese pizza with Ang one night, to having a 4000 calorie dinner of fried food on a weekend vacation.  Doesnt happen much, but when it does, it’s big.  I usually feel great the next day with no noticeable change in leanness. I know I can do this now when I need to.  I would never have done this while dieting for a show, but I’m glad I did now, because I know it won’t derail everything I’ve done up to that point.
I am about 4 weeks into this diet and, simply for a before and after comparison, I am posting a pic shot 3 weeks before the start of the experiment, and one shot July 31st.
matt beforematt after
The next post will be about the specific variations in the diet and the very little cardiovascular work performed during this time (I didn’t want to add to many variables).
Matt Pirtle, MA, CSCS

Matt Pirtle's "INTUITION" diet experiment

With the over-abundance of fitness and diet advice floating around in the gym, in magazines and on the web, it can sometimes be difficult to filter out the good information from the bad (and sometimes, dangerous).  There is no shortage of advice in the local fitness facility or online from “experts” touting the latest sure thing diet plan. 
With all of this (sometimes conflicting) information, certain fundamentals of fitness and nutrition will always be the basis for any further discussion, a “fitness axiom.” These things are true whether or not you want them to be.  This will be the jumping off point for my experiment in intuition diet.
Intuition always assumes a certain amount of learned information. For example, a person might intuit that the moment is wrong to cross the street just before a car speeds by.  The knowledge that streets are for cars and they often drive on them is understood first.  My intuitive diet plans works this way, except I have had a LOT of time studying the street and the probability of a car approaching.  Some information is learned, and intuition is driven by that knowledge.
I started this experiement in early July with nothing really to lose.  In the past, a diet for me meant I was preparing for a show (on stage in basically bikini underwear).  There was a lot at stake.  This time, with the stakes smaller, I tried a different approach to my RIGID competition dieting regime. 
I took the basics of nutrition and the metabolic functioning of the human body and applied the knowledge to a day-to-day “guideline” for my diet.
Some of the very basics:
1) Calories taken in must be less than calories expended.
2) A carbohydrates main function is energy, your body converts them into glucose for use.
3) Protein is essential for strong bones, skin and MUSCLE, and the body needs amino acids from proteins every day because they cannot be stored like carbs and fats.
This, along with some smaller absolute rules, was the information referred to the most in this experiment. 
So I began on July 8th.
Next update soon….
Matt Pirtle, MA, CSCS

Angie Pirtle's Guide to a Fit Pregnancy

I am back blogging  and sharing the  journey of my second pregnancy.   Today is day 119 of my pregnancy which puts me at exactly 17 weeks.  I wanted to wait until I was far enough along before I started blogging and today is day  one. As like my first pregnancy  this also has been a great experience so far and I want to share.    There is never enough information out there on how to have the best healthy pregnancy possible.  To give a little history about myself my daughter Charley was born June 30, 2010 and I  had the best experience  from beginning to end.  I gained very little weight, had great energy, exercised the entire pregnancy, and worked up until the day I had her.   After I had Charley I thought I was going to be so motivated to get back to exercising  and loose the baby weight and that was completely opposite.   I struggled to find the time and energy to even do 20 min of cardio a day.  I only gained 22lbs with Charley so the weight I had to loose was very little but it was still hard work and keep in mind I am a personal trainer and have all the tools and knowledge at my fingertips.   By the time Charley was 8 months I was finally down to my goal weight of 126 and on a consistent strength training/cardio program.  This took me  8 months.  My advice to the moms out there that say they are just gonna take it easy and enjoy being pregnant and eat what they want and worry about  losing  the weight after the baby is born, good luck.
I was lucky to get my body back to where I wanted it before getting pregnant the second time.  I started this pregnancy out at 126lbs and as of today I have gained 5 lbs.  My goal is 20lbs.  I had a major appetite increase the first trimester and could not get enough calories.  The overly tired and constant hunger was a struggle but I made it through and it only lasted 12 weeks.  The one thing I did different this time is I did not change my exercise program.  My first pregnancy as like others I was very unsure and did not know what to expect and always had the fear of overdoing it and harming the baby.  I went into this pregnancy this time with a different outlook and wanted to continue everything I was doing and not make any modifications.  I love to run and when I got pregnant with Charley  I quit running for the first 12 weeks and started a walking program on the treadmill.   This time I did not do that.  I have continued my interval running just at a less speed while keeping my heart rate at 150.  I run 4-5x a week for 20 min and continue my core and strength training program 3x a week with no modifications.   I get about 3 runs a week outside so my body can stay acclimated to the heat.
I keep my calories around 1800 a day making sure I get plenty of protein  and eat every three hours to keep my blood sugars level.   My carbohydrates come mainly from fruits, vegetables, Ezekiel bread, and brown rice.  My protein comes   from chicken, fish and on occasion a lean red meat.  I use a protein powder supplement that is  free of sweeteners.  I have also added acupuncture with Dr. Marcy Cooper once a week.  This keeps my body in line and significantly helps my energy levels.
Just like my first pregnancy I feel great everyday and most of the time forget that I am pregnant.  I am very fortunate not to feel all the awful pregnancy symptoms that women go through but I know it’s all about my diet,  exercise and taking care of my body.  I will keep you posted weekly with how I am progressing with my diet and exercise followed by pictures.

17 Weeks Pregnant

17 Weeks Pregnant

Fitness Professional
Angie Pirtle
Emerge Fitness Saint Charles MO

Run Faster, Jump Higher

Athletes often come into Emerge with the goals: “I would like to increase my vertical” or “I would like to be faster at my forty yard dash”.
The two most important qualities to increase your performance in vertical and speed are strength and power. The two ultimately work together because without strength, you will always be limited by your muscles ability to produce force (power).
While looking at program design you have to give each phase the proper amount of attention in a 4 to 8 week time frame, allowing one to build from the other. In simple terms:
You should train your major muscle groups that are associated with speed and vertical (hamstrings, glutes, and lower back/core) twice a week. Upper body should also be trained in the same manner, on opposing (off) days of lower body, allowing the proper amount of rest and recovery. Additionally, it gives both your upper and lower body each one strength day (heavy day) and one speed/auxiliary day each (light day).
In order to produce explosive power you must do similar motions and focus on movements that mimic one’s vertical, for example depth jumps, Russian lunges and any Olympic lifts.
Eccentric strength (drop before the jump) and isometric stabilization (pause before jump) should not be neglected since they too, are key components in a maximal jump. For example, in order to run or jump properly, one needs to do active stretching. This prepares the muscles for the eccentric (stretched muscle) phase of the jump. Isometric stabilization needs to be practiced to optimize the Amortization phase, which is the brief pause before the explosive concentric movement (the jump). In any power movement there is a lowering/loading phase that makes maximal use of the muscles. Likewise without the isometric/pause the transition between eccentric to the jump/power movement would be slower, resulting in a decreased effort.
Anyone is able to improve his or her speed or vertical with the proper program design and training. For more information on this or any other sports enhancement questions, contact an Emerge Fitness ATP trainer.
Matt Wirth, Emerge Fitness

Randy Orton's Functional Training at Emerge, Day 2

Randy O

Day 2 of Randy’s functional workouts included mostly multi-planar, movement specific exercises designed to tax the core as a whole.  A few exercises at the end were designed to be more core specific.
1) 2 Bosu TRX power push ups– 2 bosus stacked blue side touching in the middle, feet in trx, holding on to top bosu while plyometrically pushing up and off the bottom bosu.  4×10
2) Incline med ball push ups– With legs elevated on a bar set 5-6 feet off ground, place both hands on individual med balls.  Keep your body in a rigid plank and perform push ups. 3×12
3)  Towel tricep extension/ Towel middle back row– SUPERSET- With a rope draped over a smith bar, hold onto bottom of towel in a plank and extend ONLY the elbow to push with triceps.  With towel in the same position, hang from bottom of towel at a 45 degree angle and row to bar with elbows up. 4×12 each
4)Ball Pike– Planking on ball, hands on floor.  Flex hip into “teepee” shape explosively.  See video in instructional video blog. 4×10
5) Planking stool/dumbbell up down plank– In a planking position, and with a dumbbell in each hand, place hands on either side of a low stool and walk one hand at a time to the top while maintaining a flat back. 3×6 each side. Reference video in instructional exercise blog.
6) V up position med rotate and slam– in a v up position, rotate explosively and throw med ball into ground through your rotation, not arms. 4×10 each side.
The focus was first on movement mechanics moving into VELOCITY.
For Randys first workout, click here.
For exercise database, click here.

Running Another Half Marathon in the Fall

My goal is simple – I want to be FIT! I also enjoy competing against myself when I run. I’m still plugging away striving to meet my fitness/running goals. If you’re an aging boomer like me, every step forward towards greater fitness can be a surprise and a marvel. Being a personal trainer and a runner keeps me focused on being stronger & better – despite the fact that aging is detrimental to my health. I know one thing for sure, I have increased my quality of life with each birthday both physically and mentally. Just knowing that I am the best I can be gives me a sense of wellbeing that I treasure.
I’m getting ready to run a half marathon in the Fall, so I’m working my way back into a more structured training program. I’m leaning towards the Cow Bell Half Marathon. I’m feeling a little scared because I failed to meet my time goal in my last half marathon this past spring and I don’t like to fail. The upside is that I see the failure as “feedback” which helps me determine what I’ll be doing different with my training and during the run this Fall. I’ll also continue to take advantage of the expertise and support I get from my personal trainer, my son and my daughter (running coach).
I work out twice a week with my personal trainer for an hour where we focus on functional training, strength, core (balance) and enhancing my running ability which I love because running has become a spiritual experience for me as well as a chance to compete against myself. My cardio of choice is my running which I do 4 times a week, doubling one running day with a personal training day so that I have 2 days off a week. These cardio/fitness runs will become the times that I do my training runs which will be a variety of tempo, VO2 max, distance and easy runs. Recovery, rest and flexibility have become as much a part of my fitness regime as any workout. As I tell my clients, I try to tune into my body which tells me how far I can go with my workout on any given day. Sometimes I go into a workout thinking I’ll be lucky if I last 10 minutes and “low and behold”, I’m moving through, whether it be with my personal trainer, on the treadmill or outside running. Other days my body says “modify” and that could mean a little less intensity, a little less time or any number of modifications that just bring me through the workout. This morning at 8:00 a.m. my body told me 5 miles running outdoors in this heat was enough. The important thing is that I “START”, no matter how much my mind and body tell me “no” I try to follow the cues that my body gives me and before I know it, my workout is done. It is hard, but “if it wasn’t hard everybody would do it, and it’s the hard that makes it great”. (A League of Their Own)
Although I’m not among the majority of personal trainers, being 57, I’m probably among a growing population of middle agers who want to avoid future physical and mental health issues that will drain my savings, steal my quality of life and perhaps even bankrupt our country. I contribute a lot of my drive and ability as a personal trainer to my clients and colleagues. They inspire me with their determination and drive to stay accountable and active even when they hit those plateaus where their heart and soul just isn’t in it. Most of them have figured out that it’s not in the perfection, but in the fact that they don’t quit that they find their own personal success. “This too shall pass” are some of the most valuable words of wisdom I can think to pass on to my clients when life just gets tough. Most of my clients know that it’s a waste of valuable energy to over think and explain all the reasons we are not the perfect specimen that our original goals dictated we should be. We know that if we are honest with ourselves and value ourselves enough to never give up on ourselves that success is ours!
At Emerge, I work primarily with young adults who are so smart and innovative in their field that it keeps me on my toes and compels me to educate myself on a daily basis. I’m grateful that the upside of being my age is knowing that I can learn so much from others young or old. I’ve done enough hard stuff in my life, so I try to spend very little time learning things the hard way when I have resources right in front of me that can provide the knowledge and expertise I need. Knowing this and exploiting this tends to come with age. I, like all the other trainers at Emerge, work with a diversified clientel. I think this is part of what creates the “magic” of Emerge, magic being a workout environment that is superior and innovative at every level whether were providing service to a professional/Olympian/highschool athlete, or someone like me who wants to lose/maintain my weight, while doing what I can to minimize loss of lean muscle mass, build strength, flexibility, and balance and yes, keep plugging away with my running. Fitness and being the best we can be, regardless of individual goals, is the underlying connection for all of us at Emerge.

Eating healthy and getting fatter?

In my ten years of personal training hundreds of clients, I have had the following discussion many, many times:
PT: Alright, I understand your number one goal here is to lose weight, primarily body fat, correct?
Client: Yes
PT: Ok, the first thing to look at no matter your goal, but especially this one, is your diet.
Client: Oh, trust ME, I eat healthy. 
PT: Ok, lets hear your average days diet, from breakfast to bedtime.
At this point the client will give a rundown of an average day and, yes, it is full of very healthy food choices.
And then I explain that they can expect to gain steadily unless their activity level raises dramatically.
You see, it  is possible to eat yourself obese with very healthy foods.
This is because, at the end of the day, it is not WHAT you eat, but HOW MUCH you eat.  If you eat more calories than your body uses during the day, you will gain weight.  If you eat less, you will lose.
It is popular lately for people to claim they do not count calories, because what matters most is just eating healthy.
True.  But not for weight loss.
When someone is eating something they KNOW is bad, they tend to be very aware of the caloric value of that food.  That’s a good thing.  Even though it’s not conducive to weight loss, at LEAST they are aware of exactly what they are doing.
That is usually not the case for those under the illusion that simply eating healthy will drop pounds on the scale.  Most tend to disregard quantity and nutrition information when eating bowls of fruit, nuts, oils and other “healthy” food items.  After all, its health food!
Salads are the perfect example.   A salad like the California Chicken Salad at O’Charley’s sounds great on paper.  Romaine lettuce, walnuts, cranberries, mandarin oranges, grilled chicken and balsamic vinegrette dressing sounds pretty healthy.  It’s also 800+ calories.  Thats almost half a days calories for the average “diet.”  Those calories can add up fast.
When losing weight, you MUST BE aware of total caloric intake.  You can certainly eat healthy, but the calories for the day must put you at a deficit or you will not lose weight. Period.
Matt Pirtle, MA, CSCS

Instructional Exercise Video Database

Click the ATP logo to view the listed set of exercises.

The first exercises covered in the EMERGE instructional video series are:

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1) the barbell deadlift

2) the hang clean

3) the jumping shrug

4) the barbell squat

5) the barbell lunge

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1) The cable wood chop

2) The reverse crunch

3) The ball crunch

4) The plank

5) V up dumbbell rotation

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1) The dumbbell stool up/down plank

2) The kettlebell Hitch

3) The ball russian twist

4) The ball pike

5) The jumping RDL

Burn More in Less Time on The WOODWAY CURVE treadmill

New to Emerge is the Woodway Curve treadmill.  Woodway, the leader in durable and cutting edge treadmill technology, developed a user-powered treadmill that is joint friendly and allows for high speed training as well as low intensity, low impact walking. Check it out at Emerge!


The CURVE treadmill burns up to 30% more calories than conventional motorized treadmills because the user is actually powering the running surface, thus engaging more muscle groups and achieving a superior workout. Research studies have proven that users are able to reach similar cardiovascular exercise levels and caloric burn walking on the CURVE treadmill in comparison to running on conventional motorized units.
Matt Pirtle, MA, CSCS

Rams Jason Brown and Drew Miller talk about their training at Emerge

This is the second installment of a series of blogs focusing on the professional athletes training at Emerge, including what they consider the most important part of their diet and their training regimen.
This week Rams offensive lineman Jason Brown and Drew Miller answer a few questions….
The six questions (and answers) are as follows:
1) What do you consider the most important part of your diet as an athlete?
Jason: Making sure I get 1 gram of protein per pound of lean body mass from lean, organic meats.
Drew: Maintaining weight while eating healthy.
2) As a professional football player, what is the most important part of your training regimen?
Jason: Conditioning. Most people don’t realize how grueling playing for a whole game is, between 60 and 80 plays. Sustaining through a long season can be tough.
Drew: Training explosively and keeping my legs strong.
3) What is one shared characteristic of athletes who make it to the next level.
Jason: Work ethic and mental and physical readiness.
Drew: A dedication to training and working hard
4) What supplement do you consider the most important part of your diet?
Jason: Omega 3 fish oils for reducing inflammation and joint health, which is key for offensive lineman.
Drew: Protein for muscle gain before bed and recovery after workout.
5) How important is functional training in finding success in your sport?
Jason: Fundamental. If you can’t utilize the full potential of your body and have it carry over to the field, your strength becomes useless.
Drew: Extremely. Being able to create power in the positons you find yourself in on the field is the most important thing you can do.
 6) What is your most hated exercise at Emerge?
Jason: A crawling plank while dragging the sled with your legs.
Drew: A lateral walking surrender with a front loaded barbell. (10x worse than a walking lunge)
Next week the Ram’s Jacob bell and Bradley Fletcher will be on the hot seat answering the same set of questions.
Matt Pirtle, MA, CSCS

Randy Orton: Day One Functional Training at Emerge


Randy’s workouts have a focus on “function.”  Functional training is simply training for use in an athletic environment or even just in an everyday life environment.  Gains and improvements in functional exercise have a high transfer to gains and improvement in the ring, field, court, or even just functioning in the everyday world.  It’s taking “gym strength” and making it usable outside the gym.  Randy’s functional training program is designed for ring performance, primarily.  Program variables include:
1) Core Strength and Stabilization
2) Postural correction through corrective exercise (flexibility, muscle activation, and muscle inhibition)
3) Multi Planar training on all 3 planes of motion at once, mimicking the demands of his sport.
4) Activation and integration of underactive muscle (waking up sleeping muscle and allowing it to communicate with other muscle)
5) Power (speed) training in multiple planes at once
6) Hypertrophy (keeping the size of the muscle fibers BIG)
The first workout was as follows:
Lower ab activation- 3 sets- 12 reps- a simple reverse crunch, focus on lower back flat against floor, rolling hips back, not lifting through the hip flexors (not a leg lift, a pelvic rotation)
V Up Incline Barbell Press- 3 sets- 12 reps- Sitting in a “v” position, feet off ground, hips flexed, abs flexed, making your body into your own “incline bench” while incline pressing weight
Kettlebell Lateral Squat-Walk with an Extended 35 pound Kettlebell (strength band around ankles)- 3 sets- 10 steps each direction- Primarily for activation of glute medius with and emphasis on core stability
Push Pull Rotate Extend- 3 sets- 6 each side- Working the deep abdominal tissue (TVA) in a plank to start, pushing up into a row, into a rotation and an arm extension all in one quick movement. Full body multi-planar movement with a high core involvement. Brutal.
Waterball Twist and Slam- 3 sets- 15 reps- A small swiss ball with 3 pounds of water gripped tight- Starting in a “v” position rotate from the TRUNK, not arms, and slam the waterball into the ground. The water will move and will attempt to pull you out of your path of motion. Oblique focus with core stability.
Weighted Ball Crunch- 3 sets- 10 reps- FULLY extended over a ball with a 30 pound weight just below chin. Flex neck forward first then follow by lower spine without the ball moving. No hips, just UPPER abs. We will integrate the much stronger hip flexors in later.
Randy has a list of exercises specific to him for movement prep ( before every workout) and a dynamic warmup on the turf as well.
Updated workouts to come!
Matt Pirtle, MA, CSCS

Adam Goldberg and Ryan McKee of the St. Louis Rams talk about training at Emerge

Ryan McKee
This is the first installment of a series of blogs focusing on the professional athletes training at Emerge, including what they consider the most important part of their diet and their training regimen.
This week Rams offensive lineman Adam Goldberg and Ryan McKee answer a few questions….
The six questions (and answers) are as follows:
1) What do you consider the most important part of your diet as an athlete?
Adam: Really it’s just staying consistently fueled, not having to overeat in one sitting and eating more often instead.
Ryan: For me it’s eating enough clean calories to keep my weight up.
2) As a professional football player, what is the most important part of your training regimen?
Adam: Whatever I’m doing, pushing my personal limits.
Ryan: Challenging my body by putting it in unique positions when training, making your body react to new stimulus.
3) What is one shared characteristic of athletes who make it to the next level.
Adam: Competitiveness
Ryan: Not losing. It’s not always about winning, but focusing on not losing.
4) What supplement do you consider the most important part of your diet?
Adam: Slow burning protein before bed, faster burning protein post workout.
Ryan: Fast burning post workout protein.
5) How important is functional training in finding success in your sport?
Adam: Vital. It’s taking everything you’ve done in the gym and training your body to use it on the field.
Ryan: It’s the most important workout I’ve ever done for football.  You don’t realize how important it is until you see what this kind of training can do for your performance.
6) What is your most hated exercise at Emerge?
Adam: An alternating push up to row to rotate to press from a plank. A full body multi planar exercise. Hands down.
Ryan: Battling ropes and the push up to row to rotate to press from a plank.
Next week the Ram’s Jacob bell and Bradley Fletcher will be on the hot seat answering the same set of questions.
Matt Pirtle, MA, CSCS

Strength vs. Power (The distinction and why it's important)

In athletic training, it’s vitally important to define, exactly, what you are attempting to achieve out of an exercise program.  Just “lifting weight” and running will not produce the same results as a structured exercise regimine designed to attain a specific goal.
With that said, one of the main misconceptions in athletic training is the distinction between strength training and power training.
Without going into deep detail, the force-velocity curve is a graph that illustrates that as force production goes up, speed will go down.  For example, an athlete maxing out with a 1 rep 315 pound bench press is creating a lot of force, but very little speed.  If that same athlete dropped the weight to 185 and pressed with max effort, the total force would be less (dictated by the smaller weight) but the speed of the movement would rise dramatically.
Power production is a key component to almost all sports, especially basketball, volleyball, football, baseball, golf, tennis and many more.  To train your body to move powerfully on the field or diamond or court, you have to train that muscle with high velocity in the weight room. 
To be clear, strength is an important element in these sports as well, but a year-round strength training program with low regard to power with leave an athlete performing below their potential during the season.
A perfect example is the ever-popular “big four” lifts seen so often in high school weight rooms.  The big four consists of the barbell deadlift, barbell squat, barbell power clean, and the barbell bench press.  These exercises are typically performed with 1-5 reps. Besides for being a non-functional way of training for athletics, these slow grinding movements with max weight DO NOT train an athlete to move powerfully.  The athlete may be able to move a mountain from a to b, slowly, but they won’t be trained to move quickly (which is generally the more important aspect of most sports).
Make sure you understand what your training regimine is attempting to achieve, and time-out the program so that you are moving optimally with speed just before the season so you can realize the benefits of those changes when it most matters.
Matt Pirtle, MA, CSCS
Emerge Fitness Training

Dirty Dozen Statistics

Thank you to all clients and trainers who braved the Dirty Dozen III.  This set of exercises was grueling, and it takes guts to put yourself on the line to see what you can do (both mentally and physically).
Total Participants: 45
     Men: 15
Best time Men: 10:52 (Chuck D.)
Best time Women: 13:35  (Kerry S.)
Avg. time Men: 23:30
Avg. time Women: 19:30
Most participants by Trainer: Nicole (14)
Matt P. (10)  Nick (8) Angie (7)  Beth (5)
Thank you again for a fun and challenging Dirty Dozen III.
Look for the Combine Challenge and Dirty Dozen IV in the very near future!
Matt P.

Hello Monday, Good-bye Vegetarian.

It was 7pm last night, me and Matt were at Pizza Hut, and as we were ordering toppings, then he asked me what I wanted.  I had lasted exactly one week to the hour of no meat.  I went for it, ham and pineapple.
In my seven days away from my comfort food, I learned several things about eating meat, or not eating meat. 
1. It can be done.  I realized that I do not have to have meat every meal, that there are some other options I can choose and enjoy.  I never would have tried the veggie chili used in the taco salad at McAllisters if I hadn’t done this experiment.  I will probably order it rather than with meat from now on.
2. I consumed more calories when I went vegetarian.  I’m a VERY picky eater.  Also, I’m not a big carb eater (other than a few favorite foods I do eat).  So, if you take out meat, it doesn’t leave me with many options, so I found myself eating anything and everything in sight, aka, carbs carbs carbs.  If you do like tuna, and fish, and you can eat shellfish without your throat swelling up, going vegetarian may go better for you.  If you like whole grains like quinoa and rice, or most types of beans, again, this diet may work.
3. The energy thing didn’t work for me.  One reason why I tried this diet was the allegation from some saying that they felt like they had more energy and just felt overall better.  I didn’t.  I actually felt tired (however, I must say I’ve come down with a cold which could be the cause of that).  But eating all of the carbs just made me feel sluggish and fluffy (my nice way of saying I felt bloated and pudgy).
4. I don’t think it’s meat that’s a bad thing, it’s the type of meat that could be.  I won’t lie, after eating a burger and fries, I will feel a little sluggish. However, there are a lot of lean meats that I get that do not have that effect on me.  I get primarily grass fed, farm raised red meat, which has no chemicals or preservatives in it.  It’s leaner than any beef you can get at the grocery store.  I also get bison, elk, and deer meat which are leaner than red meat.  These meats can leave me full, yet never sluggish. As for chicken, I try to avoid it because I cannot find free range without costing me out the wazoo. Grocery store chickens are generally fed “non food” (which can range from ground up cement to animal feces) and injected with hormones.  No thanks. My question is for the vegetarians who said that they feel better without meat, is what kind of meat were you eating prior?
5.  Choosing how you eat needs to be more about lifestyle than “choice.”  If I went vegetarian for the rest of my life, I would gain 10-15 lbs a year, guaranteed.  That’s including working out.  I eat cleaner when I eat meat.  Others may eat cleaner without meat in their diet.  I would suggest for one to do research in the foods they eat or would like to eat and base your diet on what is healthiest for you,  yet something you can live with.  Everyone can agree that having an unbearable diet will not last long. 
I’m really glad I took this challenge because it has helped me reflect my own diet.  I know areas I need to improve, as well as new foods I can implement into my diet so I don’t get bored. 
I got a tip of the Paleo diet (Caveman diet) that I may try next.  If anyone has any diets they are interested in or have heard of, let me know, I will do my best at giving it a whirl. 
Until the next one, I’ll be grabbing me a sandwich… with meat.
Kimberly, Emerge Fitness

The Dirty Dozen-More than a fun competition.

This week I had several clients who chose to be part of a competition, the “Dirty Dozen” at Emerge. The dirty dozen being 12 of the more grueling exercises done at Emerge with the clock ticking, each exercise submitted by a different trainer. Although the idea behind the DD was to offer clients something different, fun and a butt kicking workout, it also revealed to me one more piece of magic that physically pushing yourself can do – it can help you to rise above your fears and motivate one to go to the next level in their fitness program. Despite my personal trainer concerns with “form issues” with clients participating in a one-time, 20 – 30 minute DD event, it turns out that it was truly a personal accomplishment for my clients and an exercise in courage. Each client was successful in completing the DD to the best of their ability and they were all equally successful in their decision to try. As we all know, if you don’t try, you don’t know what you can do or what you need to do to reach your potential. Knowing our true potential can be the scariest part because it calls us to action.
I’ve been training very hard for my next half marathon, Go St. Louis in April and I know that sense of anxiety created when we put ourselves out there, regardless of how pretty the results are. Several of my clients certainly put themselves out there when deciding to do the Dirty Dozen event. Regardless of their time or skill in completing the 12 exercises, they completed it and for all, that was an accomplishment. I was reminded during the DD event of the level of dedication and perseverance that clients at Emerge have in reaching their physical fitness goals. Whether or not clients took part in the DD, they all take part in making their workouts a lifestyle and, we all know, that is no easy thing. Showing Up is probably the hardest part of working out. I motivate and encourage my clients to persevere towards their fitness goals when they personal train with me, but a strong personal drive on their part is critical to success.

3 Days Down… I didn't think this whole thing through

I really need to learn to not make impulse decisions when it comes to food.  I didn’t think this thing out all too well.  Tuesday night, I found myself walking down the food aisles at Target trying to find something, anything, I could eat (that wasn’t fish).  I came out with spaghetti sauce and mushrooms (I had noodles at home).  I didn’t eat it though.  I also found some organic instant mac n cheese which seemed right up my alley on simplicity.  After two bites (that is literally a portion size, 2 bites), I was starving and was browsing every corner of my pantry for food.  Hello Fritos. Half of that bag is gone.  Ok, 3/4 of it is gone.  I am struggling with finding that common medium of going vegetarian AND eating clean.  So far, it’s not good. 
Wednesday was a pretty decent day.  Normal breakfast, and I went to McAlisters for lunch.  I had the taco salad with  the veggie chili. It has beans, but it wasn’t bad, couldn’t taste them.  In fact, it was quite tasty.  I never would have tried it if I wasn’t doing this whole vegetarian thing.  And it was less calories.  Dinner I went back to fish.  I was tired and I could have eaten cardboard and I wouldn’t have noticed a difference.
It’s already Thursday.  I think I will be ok on this whole diet. My only challenge is balancing no meat with healthy options.  I’m working on it.

One day down… And I woke up with guilt.

Have you ever had one of those dreams that seemed so vivid and real? I had a dream last night that I was eating a roast beef deli sandwich.. A LARGE roast beef deli sandwich.  And while I was eating it, I remembered this whole vegetarian thing… Yet I kept eating it.  I woke up thinking “I couldn’t even make it one day!”… Then I realized I had been dreaming the whole thing… How pathetic is it that I’m cheating on food in my sleep!
All in all, so far, so good. I had a salad and fish for lunch.  After my last boot camp class, I generally pick up a Lion’s Choice Roast Beef or a deli sandwich from somewhere, but last night, I came home to some thawed out cod sitting in my fridge.  Yahoo.  I read on the instructions that I could nuke it in the microwave. For those of you who don’t know me, I hate cooking.  Can I, yes… Do I like to, not often and when I do, it’s one of the 5 foods I know HOW to cook (All consisting of meat, mind you).
Here’s my question: How do you know when fish is cooked? Red meat, it’s easy, it’s no longer red.  Chicken isn’t slimy when cooked.  But what about fish? This went thru my mind after the first 2 minutes in the microwave.  3 Minutes, I wasn’t sure so I wanted to be safe so I ended up putting it in for 4 minutes.  Too long.. That stuff was chewy.  I seasoned it a bit, which didn’t take out all of the “fishy” taste, so thankfully, some brilliant person created fat free tarter sauce. I finished dinner feeling defeated. 
Today has been pretty simple. Normal breakfast, normal post workout shake, then lunch had me headed to Dierbergs. Another salad and catfish… Breaded fried (I think?) catfish. BIG DEAL, I just gave up meat, work with me.
Anyways, I’m trying to think about dinner. I honestly can’t do fish again. I’m not a big fan of beans, but I’m learning to try to eat them.  I think I better search some recipes online before I find myself ordering a large cheese pizza.  I would like to make healthier options, but when I get desperate, I go for the extreme.
Until tomorrow-
Kimberly, Emerge Fitness

Kerry Simpson Pre-Competition Blog (8 Weeks Out!)

February 24, 2011

I realized that I hadn’t blogged since last week, so thought I had better do an update.  Last weekend was tough.  I was supposed to start my new diet plan on Saturday.  The fact that I had my vet school interview at the University of Florida made that somewhat difficult.  Darla and I drove to Gainesville on Friday–we left at 7:00am and arrived there around 10:30pm–so that day was wasted.  Diet was fine Friday, since it was my prior meal plan.  I did take a lot of my food with me: my bananas, greek yogurt, PB&J sandwiches on Ezekiel bread and sweet potato slices.  I lost one of my sandwiches to the melted ice in the ice chest–total bummer.  Saturday was more difficult because my interview and campus tour took quite a while and I ended up over-hungry.  I admit I ate too much for dinner, and it gave me an upset stomach so it serves me right.  Sunday was better and pretty close to plan, but I forgot to tell Tim to thaw chicken and had to use soy chicken.  Oh well.  My workouts were totally messed up.  Friday was lost to driving, as was Sunday.  Saturday all I got was cardio because the hotel fitness center was crap.  After getting home, I felt crappy for a couple of days–probably because of being off plan and out of whack.  I finally got back in the gym yesterday, and it made me feel a ton better.
Nicole kicked my ass today with the “dirty dozen“.  It’s 12 exercises, set up in 4 circuits of 3 exercises that you go through 2x each.  The goal is to get through it as fast as you can.  I did it in 13 minutes and 35 seconds, which I believe is the fastest female time so far.  Nicole teasingly said next time we would do it with the “boy weights”.  I have a feeling she wasn’t teasing.  After my stomach settled down a bit, I did my 45 minutes of cardio.  Diet has been perfect for the last few days, so hopefully I am back to my normal, dedicated self and will really start seeing some fat loss.  🙂  Oh, and I’m trying a new supplement–tonalin CLA, which is a free fatty acid (conjugated linoleic acid) and is supposed to help you lose fat and maintain lean mass by assisting the body in using fat for energy.  I hope it works!!
We recently changed Kerry’s diet. She is now doing three days of a lower calorie amount and one day of a higher calorie amount. We also added another day of cardio, but the duration has stayed the same. We will change her program again when we are four weeks out, depending on what her measurements are looking like. Also, I put together a clip of Kerry taken in the first 8 weeks of her program. This is the first clip I have ever made, so I hope it turns out ok. I plan on putting together a bigger one next time, but wanted to just give this a little try. Enjoy!
February 28, 2011
I am totally crippled.  Yesterday I strained a glute while doing jump lunges, and today Nicole made me repeat the “dirty dozen” with the “boy weights”.  I was only about 30 seconds slower than my other time: 13:35 vs. 14:07.  It was the surrenders with the heavier weight that slowed me down.  I may not be able to walk tomorrow.
I FINALLY had a drop on the scale last week.  My home scale said 134, which is either 4 or 5 lbs. down.  I can’t recall whether it previously read 138 or 139.  All I know is that the scale is finally showing smaller numbers, and even though I know it’s more about the pinches/circumferences, the scale still has to go down too.  It’s psychological.  And at less than 7 weeks out from show, my psyche needs to see smaller scale numbers!  🙂

Stepping outside the box

Patrick Henry is famous for “Give me liberty or give me death.”  This quote expressed his passion towards his freedom from England prior to the Revolutionary War.  If I were to have a knock off quote, I would believe it would say “Give me meat or give me death.”
I am a true Carnivore.  I grew up on a cattle farm, so I had some type of red meat in 6-10  meals a week.  We ALWAYS had meat and a starch at every meal.  If I wasn’t eating a steak or roast something with ground beef in it, it didn’t seem like dinner. To this day, I have to have meat in a meal for me to get full, whether it be a mental or a phyiscal thing. I have never had any health issues from it, in fact I have low blood pressure and perfect health numbers. The thought of having meals without some type of animal product, just seemed ludacris.
Saying this, I have decided to go Vegetarian for a week.
Allow me to explain.  Occasionally, I’ll have a new client ask me about going Vegetarian or Vegan, and my instant response is “WHY?”  I understand that “going vegetarian” is kind of a trend as of late, and people always give the same answer “I feel better having meat out of my diet.”  In fact, I was watching a UFC figther compete Saturday night, and he went Vegetarian, and his response was the same.  He said he felt better and his body recovered faster than when he ate meat. After the weekend of multiple burgers and ribs, I woke up feeling miserable.  So, I’m going to be my own test guinia pig and find out what the big deal is. So here it is: Starting today, Monday, February 28th, I’m going Vegetarian for one week.. 7 days… Including a weekend… No Meat… Oh, but I do have stipulations, that way no one can come back and say “You cheated!”
1. I get fish/seafood.  I’m not a big fan of fish unless it’s deep fried, but I’m going to learn to cook it this week.  I’ve acquired an allergy to shellfish so all shrimp, crab, etc are out.
2. I get dairy.  Like I said, I’m going Vegetarian, not Vegan.  I still get yogurt, milk, cheese, and protein powder, and eggs.  Even though I’m not a big fan of milk or eggs, but this may drive me to consume more.
I plan to make a quick blog daily letting you know how I’m feeling about this whole experience.  I am also aware that the effects of going meat free probably takes longer than a week, however, I have to take baby steps. The thought of going meat free for a month seems unrealistic.
If you have gone vegan or vegetarian, let me know how your experience was! If you continue to eat meat, PLEASE do not inform me how great that burger or steak tasted.  You can fill me in next week.  Wish me luck!
Kimberly, Emerge Fitness

Shoulder, Neck and Back Pain!

Likely to be the most common movement impairment syndrome is the Upper Crossed Syndrome.  You can see evidence of this impairment in almost everyone, to varying degrees.  The UCS is characterized by a forward head position, a hyperextended (bowed) lower back, and forward tilted hips. (See picture).  This posture can be caused by many things, most notably sitting in a chair or desk for long periods of time (especially with a computer) and resistance training the front side of the body disproportionately to the back side (very common, also known as working “mirror muscle” only). 


The static posture observed in this picture indicates a few things.  There are several OVERACTIVE and tight muscles pulling the posture forward, and several UNDERACTIVE or weakened muscles allowing this to happen.  For the most part, the OVERACTIVE muscles are in the front, and the UNDERACTIVE muscles are in the back.  The following is a list of those muscles:
Pectorals (Chest)
Upper Traps and Levator Scapula (Neck)
Hip Flexors 
Lower and Middle Traps
Rhomboids (Upper back)
Rectus Abdominus (abs)
Deep neck flexors (front of neck)
This posture can lead to pain, faulty and inefficient movement mechanics, and a BIG decrease in performance (dance, sports, LIFE!)
Correcting this posture is a simple matter of knowing what to work, what to stretch, and what to inhibit (foam roll). 
 In general, stretch and roll the OVERACTIVE muscles, and stregthen the weakend muscles with resistance.
For more specific exercises or stretching/inhibitory techniques, contact an Emerge Fitness Trainer via phone or email.
Matt Pirtle, MA, CSCS
Emerge Fitness Training

Live, Move, Perform Optimally

There is no shortage of definitions for the word “fit.”  Being fit for some is being lean and attractive, for some it is the ability to run (or just finish) a marathon in a short period of time.  Lifting heavy loads, jumping with a 30″ vertical, and/or adhereing to a strict organic diet  can all be definitions of the word “fit.” 
Personally, I have seen clients who are 50 pounds overweight do some pretty incredible things in the Emerge facility, consistently.
To get to the point, there is a never ending list of reasons why someone may be deemed fit. 
One very important addition to that list (that rarely gets added or even involved in a fitness conversation) is posture.
Rarely do people comment on the perfect alignment of themselves or another, but possessing this trait WILL help a person perform much better, move more efficiently, look better, and avoid injury (which keeps a person from fitness related activities).
Posture and functional efficiency (the ability of the neuromuscular system to recruit the correct muscle groups, at the right time, and with the appropriate amount of force) is more than just sitting up straight and pulling your shoulders back. 
As a matter of fact, there is a long list of human movement impairment syndromes that effect all areas of the body, from ankle to neck.  Further, if you are suffering from an impairment in one area, you are most likely being effected in another are above or below.  This is because the body works together in and inter-related chain, where no one muscle works independently.
Who is effected by these impairments?  Nearly everyone.  I have NEVER had a client in front of me that was in perfect alignment from head to toe.  What this means is that whatever that persons goal (looking better, feeling better, performing better) you are not maximizing the benefits of their fitness routine due to the limitations of the impairment.  Many go for years without knowing this.
The first step is identifying the impairment, then implementing a PLAN to correct it.  The plan includes a series of exercises to inhibit (SMR or foam rolling) stretching, strengthening, then re-educating the entire system to work together again.  I can understand why most people ignore this part of fitness.
 It’s boring. 
The benefits are worth the relatively small amount of time it takes to correct these impairments, however.
To sum it up. correcting a movement impairment that you most likely DO have will absolutely allow you to expereince faster and more noticeable gains in whatever fitness goal you may have.
Next submission I’ll go over the basics of one of the most common impairment, the upper crossed syndrome (affecting the shoulders, neck, back directly) and EVERYTHING else indirectly.
Stay tuned.
Matt Pirtle, MA, CSCS
Emerge Fitness Training

Who Needs Roses???

Emerge Fitness Training’s Dirty Dozen


Just in time for Valentine’s Day, Emerge is bringing you twelve of the toughest and most hated exercises for one of the highest caloric workouts you’ll ever encounter. 

Even better: We time you from beginning to end to see how you match up with other Emerge participants.

Ask your trainer for more details!

Contest Runs from Monday, February 21st to Saturday, February 26th.

Healthcare Costs in US: Political or Self Accountability Problem?

“You must accept responsibility for your actions….”  Did you hear this quote growing up? Anytime I had a crazy idea to do something, my parents made sure they relayed this “parental advice.”  I’ve learned this doesn’t just pertain to teenagers, but it SHOULD pertain to every individual.  However, that just doesn’t seem to be the case.
The media shows our government debating health care issues daily.  And society argues what is the right and wrong answer to this problem.  The answer is simple, yet unfortunately, it would be the toughest task for our country to do.  YOU MUST ACCEPT RESPONSIBILITY FOR YOUR ACTIONS.
Healthcare Costs in US: Not a political problem, but a self accountability problem.
January reports show that the US spent about $160 BILLION on healthcare in 2010, doubling the amount that the US spent 10 years ago.  Obesity accounts for 8.5 percent of Medicare expenditure, 11.8 percent of Medicaid expenditure, and 12.9 percent of private insurance expenditure.  The scary part is that the statistics show that if we continue at this rate, the cost of $160 billion will DOUBLE by 2018.
Two thirds of Americans are overweight and over one third of Americans are Obese.  Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Dr. Thomas Frieden said “Obesity and with it diabetes are the only major health problems that are getting worse in this country, and they’re getting worse rapidly.” Medicare spends about $600 more a year on medications for an obese beneficiary than a person of normal weight.
If that doesn’t shock you enough, McKinsey analysis along with the National Health Expenditure Accounts report that “obesity indirectly costs the US at least $450 Billion annually-almost three times the direct medical cost.”
Here’s the thing: Diabetes and Obesity and many forms of heart disease are Curable. If each American took some responsibility and self accountability, and made healthier food choices and exercised, the money saved on healthcare would be take a drastic chunk out of our country’s deficit!  Ergo, medical costs would decline, health insurance would decline and Americans would find more money in their bank account.
Here’s the question: How do we get everyone on board? How do we get everyone to hold themselves responsible for their lifestyle choices?
Kimberly Renoud, Emerge Fitness

Matt Wirth Earns his USA Weightlifting Sports Performance Coach Certification

There is so much more to power lifting for athletes than just flinging heavy weights around.
For all athletes…
First and foremost is understanding proper form and movement mechanics.  Postural problems and faulty movement patterns must be identified and rectified before engaging in complicated, often ballistic lifts.  From there you move on to program design.  This is where the “when” and “why” of a specific sports training program is addressed (a process involving more than just “lifting until you puke”, which, by the way, is a sign of faulty programming).  Knowing when to perform these lifts during the season (off season, preseason, in season periodization) is crucial to attain the desired results at the desired time.
Matt is an expert in these concepts and can help any athlete further their athletic success through proper training and programming.
Emerge Fitness Training Staff

A blueprint for CORE and Abdominal Work


One of the most misunderstood and poorly trained areas of the body are the muscles known collectively as the “CORE”.  Because CORE training is a complicated subject involving exercises that isolate muscle and exercises designed to integrate muscles with differing rep ranges and rest times, only a few points of CORE training will be covered in this blog.
Point 1: There are 29 muscles comprising the CORE, not just the upper abs or six pack.  These muscles run from the hip to the chest in the front and the hip to the shoulder in the back.  All of these muscles function to stabilize the spine and also may perform movement specific to that muscle.  The point is, it takes more than a crunch to complete your CORE training.
Point 2: If you are dedicating an entire training session to the CORE, exercise order is key.  In general, the order should be lower abs, deep abdominal tissue (TVA), obliques, then the upper abs.  Because of the mental focus and the greater “neural drive” required to work muscles like the lower ab, these exercises should be performed early in the workout.  Working them later will invite unwanted help from other muscles.  The upper abs are the easiest to activate and should be worked last.
Point 3: In CORE training as in ALL resistance training, spend time “activating” the desired muscle but performing slow, controlled, mentally focus movements.  The neuromuscular control of these muscles has to be reestablished first.  If this is ignored, muscle synergists (helper muscles) that are already over-used will be recruited to do the work.  Take time to “turn on” the desired CORE muscle to be used before increasing speed and resistance.
Point 4: Give your CORE muscles equal time, and give them rest.  ONLY working your upper abs to achieve a six pack will pull you forward into an uncomfortable and unsightly posture.  Work BOTH sides of the body, and give the same rest to the CORE musculature as you would give any other muscle of the body, it’s working for you all day long.
Hopefully these pointers will be helpful in your approach to CORE training.  More CORE training info to come.
Matt Pirtle, MA, CSCS
Emerge Fitness Training

How young is too young?

In today’s society children are playing sports at a younger age. Ironically, schools have been removing physical education classes from their curriculum. With no physical education, kids are not learning key fundamentals that are required for optimal sports performance.
For six weeks I conducted an athletic training performance class for boys, ages 6-13, with an emphasis on football, basketball, and wrestling. The classes focused on running mechanics, agility, and learning the proper form of strength training using bodyweight. The boys were tested in four different skills (vertical jump, shuttle, “L” drill, and 20 yd dash).

  • Vertical jump: measures power output from the ground.
  • Shuttle drill: measures the athlete’s quickness in a single plane.
  • “L” drill: focuses on the individual’s agility by measuring speed while changing directions.
  • 20 yard dash: reveals the athletes true game speed.

After six weeks the boys were retested and there were improvements in all four categories. The average vertical increased by 2/3 of an inch. The shuttle’s average time had improved by 83 %. The “L” drill had a decrease in time of 75%. The 20 yd dash improved an average of .17 seconds.
The tests have shown regular exercise with proper training can improve fundamentals and sports performance. Parents have reported that they have noticed their children are moving quicker, playing more aggressive, and jumping higher this basketball season.
For more information in enrolling your son, daughter or team in one of Emerge’s ATP classes, please contact Emerge Fitness Training.
Matt Wirth, Emerge Fitness


Don't Make a Resolution, Make a Habit.

“If you want to be great, you’ve got to come to an understanding that you’ve got to put in the work.”  -Larry Fitzgerald, AZ Cardinals.

I love this time of year.  “It’s the New Year, time to get serious.”  I hear this from friends, family, even strangers in the grocery store.  January 1st, a new year, gives every one the feeling of a fresh start.  The duration is a different story.
Try to find an available piece of cardio equipment at any local gym and you’ll see exactly what I mean.  They are just saturated with what I call “Resolutioneers.” Don’t worry, most of them won’t even make it until Opening day of Cardinals Baseball.
After being in the fitness industry for about 10 years, I have gotten to be pretty good at observing who will fail within weeks or months of the new year. There is a VERY small percentage of those that I feel are in it for the long haul and will have great results. 
I have seen multiple posts on Facebook about people working out or dieting and they sound so motivated, but they are setting themselves up for failure from the beginning. It is so hard not to comment back, “You aren’t going to last 2 months.”  I’m a trainer; I’m supposed to be optimistic and encouraging right? Encouraging, yes, optimistic, no… I’m a realist… I’m hired to be a realist with my clients.
Anyone can achieve their fitness goals, and we, as trainers, can get you to your goals; however, you have to be mentally ready for the work. 
Think about the time(s) you, yourself, have said, “I want to lose weight”.  Now think about how many times you have failed in the past.  What caused you to fail? More than likely, it wasn’t a physical reason that made you fall off the wagon, but it was a mental reason.
To reach one’s fitness goals, it’s just as much mental work as it is physical.  I have always told my clients that getting one foot in the door at the gym was the hard part.  Once you’re in, it gets easier.
Here are some guidelines to follow in order to prepare you mentally as well as physically for the road to reaching your fitness goals:

  1. Set Realistic, short term goals as well as having your “Big Goal.”  If you have never worked out or you have been a healthy eater, making a goal to lose 25-50 pounds is taking a pretty big leap.  Instead, make your first goal attainable, such as getting a gym membership and going to the gym 3-4 times a week.  If you don’t have a gym nearby, start with a goal of going for a walk every day.   Start with one mile, and set a goal every week to walk further than the week before.
  2. Take Baby Steps.  It’s very common to see people who want to lose weight take drastic measures in their food intake.  They try going from 3000 calories to eating 900.  Extreme changes in diet can de-motivate anyone.  Instead, find things in your diet that are high calorie that you can remove. If you have a habit of drinking sodas, try cutting down.  An average regular 32 oz soda has over 400 calories! If you take them out of your diet, you will see immediate weight loss.
  3.  Get Support.  Taking on weight loss alone can be a pretty intimidating thing, especially if you have never attempted to try it before.  Why not get others on board?  Everyone should have a balance of eating healthy and being physically active.  Inform family, friends, and coworkers of your goals and your road to reaching them.  If you are having a bad day and you feel like veering off of your plan, having support can help keep you on track.
  4. Be Accountable and Responsible.  Let’s say you have been dieting for a week and you are feeling better and looking better, and you go into the break room at work and you see all sorts of pastries and cookies.  You think to yourself, “I have been working really hard; I deserve to have one thing.”  Next thing you know, you have consumed three doughnuts.  Then later that day you have some candy off of a coworker’s desk.  Then after work, you swing by for happy hour and have a drink. A few days later, you cannot understand why the scale hasn’t moved and your clothes feel snug again?  Logging your daily food intake will give you visual evidence of your progress (or lack of progress).  It’s easy to forget the bad stuff you have eaten when it isn’t written down in front of you.  Taking weekly measurements can also track your progress.  An Emerge personal trainer is the biggest tool for accountability.  We make sure you make it to your training sessions, that cardio exercise is happening when you are not training with us, and that your food log is completed and that your diet is improving.  When a client has a paid session and they know that they will be charged whether they are there or not, the client will show up. 🙂   Boot Camps that Emerge offers allow you to get in that additional workout in the company of others who have goals similar to your own.  Having that team “camaraderie” will push you more than you would working out solo.
  5. Find motivation. Everyone has different things that will motivate them, whether it’s a new workout outfit or shoes, or a new playlist of workout music.  One may have a vacation planned for spring break or a wedding or class reunion to attend in the summer. Take a “Before” photo of you.  When you hit a rut, look back at that picture and see how far you have come.  Seeing you at your worst is sometimes the best motivation to keep you from ever wanting to be in that place again.  Whatever it may be, keep your “motivation” around you 24/7.  You never know when you’ll need that “extra push” to do 10 more minutes of cardio or to avoid the desert bar at dinner.
  6. Reward yourself. You have lost 10 pounds on your way to your long term goal of 50 pounds.  Reward yourself, PROPERLY.  Indulging with a 600 calorie Dairy Queen Blizzard is not that.  Reward yourself in a way that keeps you wanting to push towards your goal.  If you have lost inches in your waist, get yourself a new pair of pants that show off your smaller midsection.  Go get yourself a massage to relax those muscles you have worked the past few weeks.  Whatever you decide, choose something that makes you feel accomplished, yet motivated to keep going.  Who doesn’t like rewards!?

Reaching your fitness/weight loss goals were never meant to be easy.  If they were, everyone would be doing it and we wouldn’t have an obesity epidemic in this country.  May you have a successful and wonderful 2011!
Kimberly Renoud, Emerge Fitness

2nd Annual "Get Fit for Fido" a huge success

Emerge’s 2nd annual “Get Fit for Fido” series of free class training during December was another great success.  Emerge’s 9 free boot camp classes in December helped raise hundreds of dollars and countless bags of food, treats, toys and business supplies for the St. Charles Humane Society (a no-kill animal shelter off Pralle lane).  The gifts were delivered to the shelter on Christmas eve morning.  A note sent to Emerge from the Humane Society thanking everyone for the help also mentioned that all the pups got a new dog toy on Christmas morning!
Thanks to all of the participants and donors, including the Emerge trainers who led these classes.  A special thanks goes to Emerge’s Kimberly Renoud who did most of the organizing and marketing for the event for the last two years, it couldn’t have happened without her hard work.

Emerge Trotted for Turkeys!


IMG_0263On a typical November day, the weather could be from one extreme to the next.  Today, the weather was PERFECT for our first Turkey Trot.  We had over 50 participants running the 3k in Frontier Park, St. Charles.  Trainers, clients, family, and friends ran/walked for such a great cause.  We collected 28 turkeys, gift certificates, and canned goods for O.A.S.I.S. food bank.  O.A.S.I.S. was thrilled to receive donation and they wanted to extend their gratitude to all of the participants.  Because of each of you, families can have a better Thanksgiving.  All photos from the run can be found at our Facebook Page!

Emerge's 2nd Annual Get Fit For Fido

Emerge’s 1st ever Get Fit for Fido was such a success that we have decided to make this an annual event!  
 Get Fit for Fido will be held on Thursdays at 6:30pm and Saturdays at 11am in December from the 2nd to the 23rd.  It is a series of additional boot camps that we volunteer to instruct.  The classes are free; however, we do ask you to bring something to donate to the St. Charles Humane Society, which is a no-kill animal shelter.  Below is a list of items that the Society needs, which ranges from food to cleaning and office supplies. 
Last year, we had so much success, that we had two vehicles fully loaded with donations! 
Here at Emerge, we are just as passionate about our pets as we are with fitness.  Unfortunately, in the chaos of the holiday season, orphaned animals are sadly forgotten.  Invite your friends, family, everyone you know to come out and help such a great cause!
 This year, our goal is to have so many items that we need to rent a UHAUL to deliver all of it! 

Thursdays, 6:30pm: December 2nd, 9th, 16th, 23rd
Saturdays, 11am: December 4th, 11th, 18th

For more information or questions, you can email Kimberly at, call the gym at 636-922-7559, or ask one of the Emerge staff!

We hope to see you there!


Dog and Cat Supplies

  • Scoopable cat litter
  • Dry food
  • Hills Diet ID dog food
  • Canned high protein dog food
  • Canned AD cat and dog food
  • Hills Diet W/D, I/D, D/M, C/D, S/O (cat food)
  • High protein calorie control diet cat food
  • Nail trimmers
  • Styptic powder
  • Gentle leaders
  • Kongs
  • Peanut Butter
  • Dog and cat toys and treats
  • Hot dogs
  • Small plastic swimming pools
  • Blankets, towels, small rugs and pet beds
  • Pet carriers and crates
  • Q-tips, cotton balls, rubbing alcohol, peroxide
  • Stethoscopes
  • Gift cards to PetSmart and PETCO
  • Collars and leashes

Cleaning Supplies

  • Bleach
  • Liquid laundry detergent
  • Dish soap
  • Liquid dishwasher detergent
  • Fabuloso cleaner
  • Empty spray bottles
  • Paper towels
  • 13 & 33 gallon trash bags

Office Supplies

  • Copy paper 8 ½ x 11  
  • Tape 
  • Postage stamps
  • Gift cards to Office Max or    Office Depot
  • Carbon copy phone message books


  • Gift cards to Wal-Mart, Target and gas stations
  • Disposable surgical gowns
  • Disposable gloves
  • Batteries
  • Ziploc bags

Thanksgiving Week Boot Camp/Class Schedule


Advanced Boot Camp with Kimberly: 5:30pm
Boot Camp with Kimberly: 6:30pm
Boot Camp with Nick: 6:30am
Boot Camp with Jody: 6pm
Boot Camp with Kimberly: 6:30pm
Boot Camp with Nick: 6:30am
Boot Camp with Beth: 8am
Core Camp with Matt P: Cancelled
Boot Camp with Beth: 8am
Boot Camp with Jason: 9am
Shadow Boxing with Nick: 10am

Is your training program helping or hurting your athletic career?

As a former athlete who participated on the high school and collegiate levels, who has trained for a living for 10 years I’ve learned to evaluate a training regimen differently. When I was a freshman football player weighing 135 lbs. at 5’11” and a bench press that maxed out at a whopping 95 lbs. my focus was to be bigger and stronger as fast as possible. Like most high school programs my strength and conditioning coach was a teacher who ran the weight room for additional pay. Not saying I walked away learning nothing, but not a lot of scientific knowledge was gained from someone whose background in the weight room stemmed from 1970’s philosophies and college major was in education.
An example of what I’m talking about is how I was taught to squat. Having long thin legs and not being that strong as a freshman football player, I looked for any edge I could get. So I asked my coach to compensate for my shortcomings if it was okay if I widened my stance and pointed my toes out. His answer was ‘sure as long as long as you keep your back straight’. What seemed like a good short term solution had huge rammifications later in my ahtletic career. That stance lead to a steady battle with hip flexor issues and weakness in my hip complex. The trickle down effect of those problems were issues with my knees later in my athletic career.
Another drawback in a lot of the athletic training programs is the focus on strictly power training. Most sports measure of strength is a one rep max for bench, squat, deadlift, and/or hang clean. These lifts are okay but there are multiple forms of strength not just one. Below is a summary of different forms of strength and how they are used in sports and activities.
First there is speed strength, as the term implies, is strength displayed with speed. Most examples of speed strength are found in sports, such as the ability to jump quick, swinging a bat or club, throwing objects, and punching. Absolute strength is defined as the maximal amount of weight an individual can lift at one time. In sports power lifting comes closest to displaying absolute strength. Limit strength which few of us will ever experience, is the amount of weight that an individual can overcome when inhibitions are removed. The classic example of this is a parent moving a car off their trapped child through adrenaline. Relative strength applies to lifting your maximum weight in relation to your body weight. It is a useful method for comparing strength among individuals. The best example is how many pull ups an individual can do relative to their body weight. Strength endurance refers to the number of reps that can be executed with a sub-maximal weight. In other words, exhibiting the same amount of strength for a certain number of reps, usually measured after reaching 20 or more reps. Starting strength is the amount of force that can be generated when first starting an explosive movement, like a sprinter getting out of the starting block. Explosive strength is the ability to maintain an initial, quick explosive contraction of muscle. It can be generated using little or no resistance, moderate, or maximum resistance. Dynamic isometric strength is simply the strength required to perform the transition from negative (eccentric) to a positive (concentric) contraction. General strength applies to an overall fitness conditioning to develop all major muscles and joints. Special strength is specific to executing specific sports skills. The special strength exercise must duplicate the same technique, the exact range of motion, and the same type of muscular contractions as seen in the sports skill. Functional strength is most often used to enhance a person’s sports performance. Now follow me on this one, special strength exercises  are considered functional, but functional exercises do not necessarily meet the criteria to be special. For example if you are a runner who performs squats and runs, when you try to switch to something like cycling you may experience soreness because even though both involve the legs you are using different muscles. All of these forms of strength tie in together in one form or another. That is why to maximize your abilities you should train in various manners to be proficient in all forms of strength.
I learned this the hard way when I got to college and put on twenty pounds of muscle and lost athleticism due to a lack of knowledge in how to build balanced strength. At Emerge our ATP (Athletic Training and Performance) program focuses on a balanced regimen that stresses injury prevention and long term performance improvements, not quick fix solutions. I will end by aking is your training program helping or hurting your athletic career? 
Jason Tokun, Certified Fitness Professional

Emerge's 1st Annual Turkey Trot



Invite your friends and family to join us Saturday, November 20th for Emerge’s 1st Annual Turkey Trot!  The 3k (1.8 mi run) will be at 10am at Frontier Park in St. Charles. 
There is no fee, however, we ask each participant (one per family)  to bring a frozen turkey that we will be donating to O.A.S.I.S., a food pantry in St. Charles. 
This is a great opportunity if you are working towards your first 5k race.  It’s also gives you a head start on your calorie burning before you eat your weight in yummy Thanksgiving food! 
Sign up sheets are at the front desk at Emerge or you can call the gym at 636-922-7559 to register.
What a great way to give to a great cause AND get in a quick workout!

Sara Heideman training for GO! St. Louis half marathon. Blog and Video diary!

sara h
                                             Click on picture to view video.
Sara Heideman starts training early for the “Go St. Louis” half marathon on April 4, 2011. Sara understands that in addition to her running workouts and long runs she needs to strength/core train in order to run her most efficient/fastest half marathon. This week Sara does an easy 4 miler on Monday, a 25 minute tempo on Wednesday, a 2 mile pace run on Thursday and 6 miles at race pace on Saturday. Tuesdays and Fridays are her days at Emerge to focus on strength & core. Check out Sara’s workout today. Exercises focus on balance, joint stability, and strength.
Beth Pirtle
Emerge Fitness Training

Boot Camp 101


  In recent years, the term “Boot Camp” has been thrown around as much at the word “Facebook.”Everywhere you look, fitness facilities are promoting “boot camps”. That’s great, but what exactly is it? 
     I have two “boot camps” a week, Monday & Wednesday nights at 6:30.  My classes have a 10-12 station, circuit training style setting. 
    No, I do not wear camouflage.  No, I do not have a whistle. And a bigger no, I do not rant and throw a temper tantrum like Jillian on Biggest Loser.  (I don’t need to yell to get my point across).
     My objective for my boot camps is to give you a cardiovascular workout that involves light weight endurance training.  They are not to be your only workout for the week. They are to be used to supplement your other strength training workouts and get you away from the boring treadmill.
     I love having “newbies” at boot camp.  It’s always fun adding more people to the mix.  Some of the exercises are simple, some are more complex.  If you have never worked out with a trainer, and you want to try a boot camp, I strongly suggest that you get a few sessions of one on one training, so that you learn proper form and technique.  It’s very
hard to give sole attention in a class of 10-12 people. You will also get more out of the class if you can perform the exercises with proper form.
     I do have males and females of all ages and fitness levels in my classes.  A camaraderie is formed between clients and in turn, those other clients help keep oneself accountable.
     If you’re considering taking a class, I urge you to give it a try! Check out the class schedule in our News and Events Blog section or at the front desk at Emerge.
Kimberly Renoud, Emerge Fitness

Athlete Spotlight: Michael Schneider

Michael Schneider
Height: 6’3
Weight: 174
High School: St. Dominic (Sophomore)
Sport: Basketball
Training schedule pre season: -1 power and movement specific day at Emerge, 2 days lifting for hypertrophy (muscle size) at the gym.
Michael Schneider has been an Emerge client for 2 years now, and in that time has put on almost 30 pounds of muscle.  He is a natural athlete who has become quicker and more powerful through a program design emphasizing core stability, vertical power, and quick change of direction movements on several planes of motion (simultaneously).
Emerge trains athletes at all levels (even pros). Come see us to discuss your athletic performance goals.
Matt Pirtle, MA, CSCS
Emerge Fitness Training

Congratulations Beth!

Congratulations Beth Pirtle for completing the Lewis & Clark half marathon on Sunday, October 3rd in 2 hours, 6 minutes & 51 seconds. On the way to breaking 2 hours!

Sign up for FREE CLASSES on October 30th!

The grand opening of Emerge’s new facility is fast approaching.
On October 30th, along with fitness related vendors, Z-107.7, RAMS athletes and more, Emerge will be leading a series of FREE CLASSES.
The classes offered are 30 minutes, and span a diverse array of fitness interest.
Nick Dudas will be leading a Boxing class from 11-11:30
Beginners Boot Camp will be lead by Jody from 11:40- 12:10
Russian KettleBell class will be lead by Jen Estes from 12:20- 12:50
Core Conditioning class will be lead by Matt Pirtle from 1- 1:30
In addition to these class offerings, the first annual Emerge Functional Fitness Competition will be held from 1-2.  The competition consists of 5 functional movement exercises performed for time.
Sign up now by calling 636-922-7559,emailing,  posting a comment on this blog, or signing up in person at the facility.  Spaces are limited so register soon.
See you at Emerge,
Matt Pirtle, MA, CSCS
Emerge Fitness Training


      I am Matt Wirth, I have recently relocated from Omaha, Nebraska to be the newest personal trainer at Emerge in St. Charles.  As I am establishing my business here, I am challenging you to prove me wrong. I give you the challenge that in one session you can’t tell me that you cannot see the value of training from an accredited personal trainer.
     Many times personal training is looked at as a luxury and only for people that have high paying jobs; what most people don’t know is that training (from a accredited personal trainer) is a investment that you cannot put a price on.
     Our current clientele at Emerge are kids from the age of eight to the older adult ages of seventy eight. College kids are not known to have a lot of money, yet they see the value so much that they pick up part time jobs outside of school just for more personal training.
     These people have learned life long lessons on how to stay fit, eat healthy, avoid injury and illness, proper form/technique, and most of all, getting the most out of their time while working out. Once again, my challenge is this: if you ever have had a trainer in the past and didn’t see results; if you have ever thought about hiring a personal trainer to help motivate, educate, or for accountability.
     If you currently have a personal trainer now (that isn’t at Emerge) and just for kicks would like a free workout to compare methods, contact me. See firsthand what myself here at Emerge can show you; that you may take something away from it.  
    My challenge is simply for you to tell me that you cannot see the value and/or you didn’t take anything away from the workout, all while having a good experience. Contact me and we’ll set you up for your one free session. You have nothing to lose and everything to gain.       
Matt Wirth   ‘Emerge Fitness Training 
Heres a testimonial from Kim Lemmon  ‘Omaha Ne. 
“I started working out with a trainer over 3 years ago. I had started school to become a Physical Therapist Assistant and we were working on lifts and transfers. It was when I almost dropped my instructor when we were testing out max assist transfers of 1, that I realized I needed to do more than just lose weight, I needed to become stronger as well. I always knew I needed to lose weight, but was too lazy to do so. I was a couch potato and I was good at it. My family was not active when I was growing up, ergo, I was not active and did not participate in any sports.
My initial goal was to lose 30 lbs. and gain some strength. After 11 months I had lost 50 lbs. and had gotten quite a bit stronger. I am currently the smallest size I’ve ever been and have learned better eating habits. I still struggle with falling off the diet wagon….a lot, but continue to get back on knowing that this is still a work in progress. I also struggle with getting to the gym, but because I have scheduled appointments, I go. Knowing how lazy I am, I knew that I would not go to the gym unless I was going to be held accountable and that led to working with a trainer.
I’ve worked with Matt for approximately 3 years and learned a lot from him. He helped me with proper lifting techniques and form as well as help me work on my diet. Matt has over 10 years of experience and knowledge. He has an athletic background and a strong desire to help others. He also has loads of patience! He has worked with all age groups and fitness levels from couch potato to professional athletes. He’s intelligent with a desire to continue learning. He knows what he knows and he knows what he doesn’t. That which he doesn’t he will find out. Through his guidance, I have started the road to becoming healthier (and less round….although round is a shape!)”

Burn more AFTER your cardio workout.

You can see it on the weight room floor, on tracks, and on the cardio equipment.  Interval training has slowly been replacing  long slow distance (LSD) training as the preferred route to burning calories.  And because burning calories (i.e. weight loss) is the most popular goal among those starting a fitness program, understanding why this switch has been taking place is important.
One of the primary reasons for the switch to interval type training is its effectiveness, and one of the main drivers is the concept of excess postexercise oxygen consumption (EPOC).
EPOC is the amount of oxygen an exerciser has to take in to restore the body to preexercise condition (recovery).
When interval training, often the “bouts” of action are between 15-60 seconds, thus requiring ANAEROBIC mechanisms to supply energy for the work.  Following an interval session (containing several bouts of anaerobic “sets”) the caloric cost of returning the body to it’s preexercise state is very high, and the “burning” has been observed in some studies to last up to 24 hours after exercise. 
So, although an exerciser may burn more calories DURING a steady state aerobic exercise session, the effects of EPOC after an interval training session have been shown to out-do (as far as caloric expenditure is concerned) traditional slow cardio.  Interval training is a time-efficient, effective way of burning calories.
Matt Pirtle, M.A., CSCS
Emerge Fitness Training
St. Charles, Missouri

Program With a Purpose

“The CrossFit program is designed for universal scalability making it the perfect application for any committed individual regardless of experience. We’ve used our same routines for elderly individuals with heart disease and cage fighters one month out from televised bouts. We scale load and intensity; we don’t change programs.” –
Ok “Mr. Crossfit,” let me get this straight.  You’re telling me that you will have an elite cage fighter (with tight hamstrings and lats, horrible pelvic tilt, and tight IT bands) do the same workouts as an elderly individual with heart disease, (a herniated L4-L5, patellar arthritis, and forward shoulders)? Anyone with ANY fitness knowledge would know that you are an idiot.
Exercise should NEVER be “generalized”. 
Think about why you work out.  What are your goals?  Maybe you want to lose 20 pounds for a class reunion?  Maybe you want to improve your balance and strength so you can continue to do daily activities as you age?  Maybe you are an athlete who needs to increase your agility, power, and size?  Each person should have a reason why he or she wants to work out.  And as a client, you deserve to have a program designed just for you
Once a client has a program, they should ask a lot of “why” questions.  “Why do you have me doing a lot of upper back exercises?” “Why are we starting out with body weight?” It’s very important that a client asks questions because a better understanding of a workout makes a more effective workout.  If a trainer explains to their client that they are doing a lot of upper back/shoulder exercises to correct their forward shoulder problem; they are doing body weight exercises to check for any muscular imbalances or a deviation, a client is more aware of how important form and posture is in order to progress towards their goals. 
After reading a couple of “WOD”s, I ask myself “What is the purpose of doing 30 snatches (WOD Isabel,, a very technical power lift that should be no more than 6 reps? (anaerobic threshold reached at 6) The correct form and speed of a snatch makes it by far, the hardest exercise to perfect.  They should only be taught in a one on one setting, focusing on the breakdown of each biomechanical movement, falling into a synchronized pattern.
 A power movement should never be used in an aerobic form due to the high impact of pressure from the weight on multiplanar joints (shoulder, hip).  So in other words, unless you want to separate your shoulder or tear up your rotator cuff, (aka, your “Supraspinatus-InfraspinatusTeres Minor-Subscapularis” muscles) don’t do more than 6 reps of a power movement.
 “Those athletes who train for function end up with better form than those who value form over function. This is one of the beautiful ironies of training.” –
Repetitive bad form= habitual bad form= nonessential pressure on unsupported joints=injury= job security for orthopedic surgeons and physical therapists. Need I say more?
A lot of times we get requests from clients to just “kick their butt”.  They want a hard workout.  Sure, no problem.  I can easily get you sweating profusely and crawling on the floor without having to run 800 meters 3 three times and do a hundred burpess for time.  Because what’s the purpose of running 800 meters three times and doing a hundred burpess? Will that specific workout get you closer to your goal? 
My point of this blog wasn’t to bash Crossfit, even though I would never recommend anyone to do it.  My point is that program design should never be generalized.  Every person is different.  They walk differently, run differently, sit differently, and stand differently.  In order for a person to continue to successfully progress, each must focus on strengthening their weaknesses. The human body is like a car; no matter how big of an engine you have in it, if you have a bent frame, you have a totaled, non-drivable car.
Kimberly Renoud & Matt Wirth, Emerge Fitness Training

Gateway Naturals – 4 Weeks Out
Tickets for the show are expected to sell out due to the size of this year’s event. Please buy them early
Emerge Compete shirts are available at Emerge for $15. Please wear yours to the event to support me and Nick!
For the next 4 weeks I will be documenting the rest of my journey to the Gateway Naturals Bodybuilding/Figure Competition. The last time I competed was in 2006; I got 1st place in Xtreme Fit. Here is the video, taken by my sister 😉

After that show I had pulled my hamstring and so I decided to focus on training competitors for shows and experimenting and formulating pre-competition strategies. Since all of my competitors have been extremely successful, I decided it was time to apply what I had learned through their success to myself and take the stage again. What some people don’t know is that 2-3 times in the last few years I have begun to diet down for show, but once I had gotten 6-7 weeks out I felt like I wouldn’t make it and my physique wouldn’t be where it needed to be. This time, I am not going to be a quitter 🙂 You can ‘t know how you will end up til you put in ALL the work and just see where you are. My updates will be brief, but I wanted to share with you what goes through the mind of competitor those last vital weeks. 🙂 Stay tuned for updates, and thanks for all the support!

Sat, Sept 11 (EXACTLY 4 weeks away!)
Saturday started with walking the dog, a few clients, and then 45 minutes of low intensity cardio. Today was a high calorie day. Good thing because there were two big temptations to overcome: the Emerge BBQ and a wine party. We have been following our meal plans for 3 months, and haven’t had alcohol since then (minus the dirty martini that was calling my name after a Cardinals game) so we made sure to bring our food with us. Nick and I do 3 days of lower calories, then one day of higher calories. This is not a “cheat day”, mind you.. but a planned and very specific meal plan that we still follow exactly. Having the higher calories really helped with not pigging out on the really delicious looking BBQ and desserts at the Pirtle residence and the mass quantities of wine and finger foods at the wine party. We brought our new puppy with us, so he served as a welcome distraction from the off-limit foods. I only had half of my evening shake and was pretty hungry when I got home so I cooked up some spaghetti squash and snacked on 3 hard boiled egg whites. Sounds appealing, right? 😉 I ended up on track at 1800 calories for my high day.
Sun, Sept 12
Today we woke up and took Drake on a walk. I usually have soy milk in my morning shake, but instead I got a soy latte at The Bridge in New Town. Latte’s are really a nice treat when you are eating the same thing everyday. They’re great because you can flavor them with calorie free sugar free syrups, so the only extra calories you are getting come from the milk. All I had to do was deduct the milk from my shake, and I am still following my meal plan! I LOVE finding ways to divert from the plan but still be completely on track. When we got home from our walk we turned on a DVD of a previous year of the Gateway Naturals and followed along with the poses that the judges called out.  A great trick is to put the TV behind us and a mirror in front of us. That way we can do our poses and quarter turns and compare how our own physiques are coming along compared to the competitors in the DVD. Also, people don’t realize how difficult it is to tighten every muscle you can think of in your body for long durations of time…. practicing with the DVD helps to condition us to these very difficult isometric contractions. I still get pretty sore from them. My shoulders especially start to BURN while I am holding my lats out. Imagine holding a plank position. You start to burn, then you start to shake, then you start to sweat…. all you want to do is move around or drop out of it but your trainer is telling you just 10 more seconds!!!!  Now, imagine that in your whole body.. and in heels! Nick and I are going up to Emerge today to meet with Matt Pirtle. Matt is going to give Nick a little guidance on his posing while I get 45 minutes of low-intensity cardio. Next week I am going back to intervals. Start weight: 146 Current weight: 131 Desired show weight: 123-125
Mon, Sept 13
So today I messed up my diet. GRRRR. I make a double protein shake and have half at 4:30AM for breakfast, then the other half around 8-9. That leaves my oatmeal patty and banana for pre-workout around lunchtime. When I wokeup I felt particularly hungry so I had my oatmeal patty and banana for breakfast instead. The shakes just dont cut it before my workouts, so I felt super tired during cardio. I did 30 minutes on the bike at a moderate intensity. Then I told myself I would sprint outside when I got home after getting my next meal in. Got home, took the dog on a short walk, ate lunch, then I fell asleep. A little frusturated with myself so as soon as I get done typing this I plan to hit a little extra cardio. Well, I guess it isn’t “extra” since I am supposed to be doing 45 minutes and I am short 15 for the day.
Not only did my own screw up get to me today, but scales are the devil. The scale read 131 yesterday, but the beef broth I had last night to help fill me up at dinner is probably the culprit behind my 134 weigh in today. Super high sodium, but it kept me from eating something I shouldn’t have last night. Do I know better than to trust the scale? Absolutely, but it is still disheartening. I see Pirtle tomorrow for a training session, so that will break me out of this minor funk. I go through strange emotions when I evaluate my physique for show. I am happy with my progress, and feel like I am in great shape – but “great shape” for a figure competition is such a different level. My legs and hips need to trim down quite a bit for show. I hope they change enough!!! I am curious to see what my body does in the next few weeks.
Tues, Sept 14
Today was a looooooooong day! I woke up and walked the dog for 40 minutes, which felt like a great start. I had a few clients and then Matt trained me – I should be sore! I absolutely HATE doing pullups, and he ALWAYS makes me do them. Grr! Then I did just 15 minutes on the treadmill before having to go with my husband to the car dealership. 4 hours of sitting that I did not count on, but we got a new truck. 🙂 When we got home I was super duper tired feeling, but I went outside and ran for 25 minutes then walked for 30. Nancy (one of my clients who has competed in three shows and is now expecting her 6th baby! yay!) brought up two of her posing suits for me to see if I would like to borrow them for show. Kerry also brought hers up, so I have three suits to choose from. Very nice of them, because suits can be SO EXPENSIVE. It is really insane how much money such a little bit of fabric can be! Ordered a pair of 5 inch heels, and those should come in the mail in a few days. 🙂 It feels very scary to say that we are just a few weeks away. When I think of the small amount of time, I get pretty scared about getting on stage with a jiggly butt. So, I am still going through waves of feeling prepared and waves of feeling way not prepared. I really feel anxious at times, but I am very excited to be doing this with my husband. 🙂 He has been doing everything perfect and really looks great. He will absolutely be ready to compete! I am proud of him!
Wed, Sept 15

The very best way to indulge, but not really! ;) Protein shake!

The very best way to indulge, but not really! 😉 Protein shake!

So I feel GREAT today. The last couple days my energy was declining more and more. After logging my food and analyzing things a bit more, I think I know what the problem was. Since I had been forgeting to bring some of my food with me, I would just drink a protein shake from here. The shakes are really good tasting, low calorie, and have tons of protein. What they lack, however, is the carbs that my own shake had. I would then make adjustments to my calories later by subtracting things from my diet. I tended to subtract things like fruit and keep my protein. DUH Nicole. So I was only getting in about 1/3 of the carbs I wrote into my diet. Last night I PREPARED and packed all my food up and made it. My energy is really good today. Of course, I still am worried about the progress of my physique – but I feel better having the energy I have today because it makes me feel strong and capable! For those of you that are curious, here is my meal plan:
4:30 AM
1 cup 8th Continent Light Vanilla Soy Milk
10 Strawberries
3/4 Scoop Whey Protein Powder
8:00 AM
1 cup 8th Continent Light Vanilla Soy Milk
10 Strawberries
3/4 Scoop Whey Protein Powder
11:00 AM
1 Serving Oatmeal
3 Egg Whites
1 Banana
2:00 PM
3 Cups Spinach
Broc, Red Pepper, Yellow Pepper, Orange Pepper Veggie Mix
4 oz 99% Lean Ground Turkey Breast
2 tbs Balsamic Vinegar
5:00 PM
2 Regular Rice Cakes
2 tbs Almond Butter
8:00 PM
1/2 Scoop Whey Protein
1 cup 8th Continent Light Vanilla Soy Milk
Since my energy is good today I did great cardio (like I am supposed to!)
15 min walking on an incline
5 min jump rope
15 min burst cardio, 30 seconds sprinting 30 seconds break
5 rounds of 60 second jump roping with 30 seconds rest
5 rounds of 30 seconds boxing 30 seconds break
5 rounds of 60 second jump rope with 30 second break
Now… if I could only wake up tomorrow and tell the difference 😉 I see Pirtle again tomorrow so that will keep my anti-funk mode moving right along.
Wed, Sept 15th Afterthoughts…
I need to focus on some positives. I keep forgetting that for all the shows I have ever done before I was doing insane amounts of cardio, never truly following my diet, and then pigging out every once in a while because I just couldn’t stand it. Show prep in the past was SUPER hard. This time, I have been able to live my life fairly normally, I have stayed on my diet and never had a pig out binge moment, I am not really craving anything besides some good wine or a dirty martini alongside some greek food. My actual weight is the same as it was for my Xtreme fit competition but since I am doing so good I just want to do even better. I don’t have crazy headaches or unmanageable weak feelings, and I still have over three weeks. No matter what, I have proven something… and that is that getting ready for a show doesn’t mean waking up and doing an hour of cardio before breakfast, working out, doing an hour of cardio before bed, minimal carbs, not eating fruit, or any other crazy thing like that. With my clients I always wanted to show them that they could do a show and not rebound or end up with eating disorders like so many competitors. They all successfully competed and maintained their healthy lifestyles and weights. Thats what I am going to do!!!!!! So.. I sure hope my butt doesnt jiggle too much on stage, but even if it does I am very happy with what I have accomplished and I will just have to make some modifications next time to my program and come into show even leaner! Someone’s facebook profile recently read, “When in doubt, workout!” 🙂 I like that!
Thurs, Sept 16
Matt Pirtle wants to kill me.

Matt Pirtle wants to kill me.

Today I felt like I could die after leaving the gym. That’s a good feeling, I swear! 🙂 My hammies were already sore from this weeks cardio but Matt worked my legs. Feeling pretty weak during my workouts, but still feeling like I have good energy in general. My cardio was killer and I am super proud to have finished it because I really really really really wanted to quit.
20 minutes treadmill. 30 second sprint, 30 second rest. Each sprint I changed my speed: 9.0, 9.1, 9.2, 9.3, 9.4, 9.5, then back down to 9.0 in .1 increments. After that I went back up but went all the way to 10.0. On the final 5 minutes I jumped it down by .2 each time so that I ended at 9.0 again.
15 minutes walking 4.0 – 4.5 on an incline. My heart rate was hanging around in the 150’s.
5 minutes running
5 minutes of pushing the sled with 25lbs on it. I would push it every 30 seconds, no matter how long it took for me to push it down. It got pretty tough because as I got tired it took me longer to push it down, which gave me shorter breaks.
After leaving Emerge I went to go tanning. Usually I just do mystic tans so I don’t end up really wreaking havoc on my skin, but it is important to have good color on stage so I want a good base tan. Why are those hard plastic beds so comfortable? What sense does that make?! I reeeeeaaallly wanted to take a nap in there. I was pretty worn out though. In fact, I had to sit down to put my tanning lotion on because my legs were screaming at me. Poor Drake only got a 15 minute walk out of me today because my legs just couldn’t walk that puppy any more. I plan on walking him a little longer tonight when my hamstring feels like it isn’t ripping away from my body. 🙂
Talked to Matt about my concerns with my stomach and hips. Of course I am very happy with how I look in general, but expectations on stage are veeerrrrryyy different. I keep imagining standing on stage doing our rear facing quarter turn with my booty being compared to everyone else’s booty. 🙂 It just has so much fat still, and I need my screaming overworked hamstrings to show up instead of my butt hiding the shape of them. In order to ensure that I lean up to where I would like to be, Matt recommended adding 20 minutes of interval training in the morning. In the morning means 3:00 AM for me when we start work at 5:00 AM. Dang it 🙂 But, I guess I won’t be standing on the stage saying, “If only I had…..”
Not only will my cardio increase, but on Saturday my calories drop down one more time. So… If I don’t change DRASTICALLY in the next 10 days, I don’t know what I will do!
Fri, Sept 17
Busy, busy, busy! Work, home to take dog out, work for meeting, workout, errands, home, volleyball game, sleep. Not much for breaks in between! Sorry to just be posting my Friday update on Saturday. 🙂
I woke up Fri morning with the best of intentions. I figured I would walk the dog first and then do my 20 minutes cardio. Me and Drake headed outside, started walking around, and I got really scared because it was so foggy! Is being scared in the fog a worthy excuse to not do cardio?! YES I think so!! There could be bad guys hiding in the fog! In reality, no… it’s not a worth excuse because I have show in three weeks. No excuses!
I should have gone down in the basement and jumped rope or boxed. In fact, one of my clients (Thanks Sue!) gave me a bunch of workout DVDs to borrow and watch. From now on, I am just going to watch and follow along to those in the morning. It will be fun, different, and perhaps I will learn a few new creative moves in the process! The day was busy, which made sticking to my diet easy! Low energy, so my workout was a little weak sauce.
20 minutes bike
3 rounds of a circuit of 10x Ring pullups, 12x TRX pushups, 15x squat jumps
3 rounds of a circuit of each arm completing 1 arm 15x DB bench press, each leg completing 1 leg 15x power step up on plyo box, each arm completing 1 arm 15x DB row, and 30 total alternating lunge jumps.
5 rounds jump rope (60 seconds on, 30 seconds off)
25 minutes of the interval program on the stationary bike.
I wish I would have gotten a little bit more in, but I knew I had a busy day so I hit all the major movements and tried to keep the heart rate up. Some is better than none! According to my bodybugg, I burn a lot of calories when I play sand volleyball. Though I wasn’t wearing my bugg, I am confidant I had a pretty high calorie burn because of the busyness, the workout, and the the volleyball at the end.
While I was doing the bike I looked up “inspirational stories” on the internet. Inspirational stories really keep me thinking positive and sending out positive vibes to everyone around me. They keep me from feeling sorry for myself when I can’t drink wine while dieting down 😉 I found an article about an armless fitness competitor – wow! 🙂 She lost her arms when she was two, got into aerobics when she was older, then weight training, and then decided to be a competitor and fitness model. This is her blog

How Bootcamp Scheduling and Packages Work

Bootcamp scheduling and packaging have become streamlined.
It’s pretty easy. Any package, from 10-50  can now be used INTERCHANGEABLY between all currently offered classes, no matter who the instructor or what the class emphasis is. 
The bootcamp pricing has changed as well, with a more economically feasible package cost.  Now it’s possible to attend multiple classes per week targeting a variety of fitness goals. It’s a lot more interesting than staring at a TV for 40 minutes as you walk in place. It’s a great compliment to your individual personal training hours!
Check the “Bootcamp Schedule” blog post for current class offerings and times.
50 sessions: $8 per session
30 sessions: $9 per session
20 sessions: $10 per session
10 sessions: $11 per session
Emerge Fitness Training
St. Charles, Missouri
Bootcamp and Personal Training

Emerge 3rd Annual BBQ Saturday September 11th

Emerge’s 3rd Annual BBQ will be held at Jerry and Beth Pirtle’s home (Matt’s mom and dad 😉
Address: 8 Wildrose Court,  Saint Charles, 63303
Time: 3-10PM
Food, drink, Guitar Hero and pool provided!
Come help us celebrate over three years in business!!!

Supplements + Sports x Media= Confusion

In recent headlines, nineteen high school football players in Oregon suffered severe cramping/swelling. These kids were taken to a hospital for tests and hydration, via fluids. The media, once again, points a finger at supplements, in this case, creatine for the cause of the athlete’s hospitalization.
What the media failed to do was get thorough facts on what had actually happened. According to ABC news, the athletes who suffered the heat exhaustion and dehydration hadn’t taken any supplements, including creatine which was addressed in the original reports. In fact, only a few of the players mentioned they used protein shakes. That didn’t stop ABC from making the allegation and showing footage of creatine used in 1997 with an athlete showing these similar symptoms; the athlete had reported he had cramps and dehydration after a long intense practice in extremely high temp. In comparison, the athletes in both cases are dealing with non qualified, improper tactics of coaching. These coaches pushed their athletes in what they call “immersion camp” where these athletes are subdue to highly intense practices and staying overnight at the school. Also, some of the practices were in 115 degree rooms and water was not readily available. This raises a personal thought of my own that if these students were staying at the schools overnight, how much rest are the kids getting and what are their diets like? Besides the other added variables of what could have added to the incident, lets see what creatine really is and how is supposed to be used.
Creatine is found naturally in our bodies. It is made up of three amino acids: arginine, glycine, and methionine. The combinations of the three are the building blocks of what develops muscle. We also consume creatine in foods such as meat and fish.
An average person expends about 2g of creatine a day, whereas an athlete expends a greater amount. That is why athlete’s are recommended to take a creatine supplement. The supplement allows them to get the proper amount needed without the excess calories one would gain if they only consumed creatine through food.
If you’d like to learn more on this topic or any other supplement, ask your trainer at Emerge. We will be happy to give you more in-depth information, as well as if its safe and beneficial, of this supplement or any other. So before we quickly blame supplements, I suggest that you look at all the variables. I think everyone can agree that practicing in high temperature rooms with little water, limited rest, and malnourished isn’t the safest way to get athletes in shape.

There's More to Personal Training than being "Just a Trainer".

Over the decades, society has frowned at the occupation of a personal trainer.  Whether it was because of a bad experience, a story in the media, or even by visual perception, the term “personal trainer” isn’t taken seriously.   In eleven years in the fitness industry, I have been around hundreds of personal trainers.  I often asked them why they chose to be in this business and I received multiple reasons.   For some, the position is a stepping stone to another career; then there were others who nonchalantly said they are a trainer because he or she likes to workout.  It is those “others” who lack the true passion of wanting to help someone better his or her life.  It’s those “others” who get into the fitness industry for the wrong reasons, and give the profession “personal trainer” a bad reputation.
    Like any career there are exceptions to the rule.   Whether it’s a doctor, lawyer, or even a hair stylist, each occupation is really up to the individual and what and how much they put into it. Personal training is no different; you can go to dozens of gyms and training studios, and if you watch closely, you can find maybe a handful of trainers who love what they do.  As long as I can remember, health, wellness, and fitness has been my passion; it’s the only career path I wanted to follow. I’ve always been told that if you can do something you love and get paid for it, you’ll never work a day in your life; you’ll never have a “job.” In all of the years I’ve trained, I haven’t “worked” a single day. 
 I’ve trained in gyms and studios in six different cities in four states, and each place continues to allow me to do what I love. Personal training is a lot more than helping someone lose weight, gain muscle, or improve his or her fitness level. It’s teaching someone that has been heavy their whole life how to gain confidence and self esteem that was crushed during childhood. It’s gaining lean muscle on a skinny kid that was picked on or picked last on a basketball team.   It’s very common to have someone rehabilitating from a recent surgery and teaching them how to gain strength; in turn, helping one to overcome the fear of re-injury and accomplish something he or she had never dreamed. Sometimes it’s someone that has lost everything, and the only thing they can salvage is their health.  They are the clients who thru training, learn to believe that they have something or someone to live for. I see these people transform from a timid client not knowing what’s in store for them to become a strong, confident, amazing person.   I’ve been told multiple times by my clients that they get asked by other gym members, “What are you training for?” Each client has responded the same way; their answer is “life”.  The gym member walks away puzzled not knowing exactly what that meant, but for a lot of my clients, being physically and mentally stronger has translated to other areas of their life. Whether it’s co-workers, friends, and/or family, people associated to my clients see a different human being.  Over the years, each and every client I have trained has become a friend, if not, like family.
I consider myself lucky to work with the ones I have, both co-workers and clients alike. From the ones that get into the business for the wrong reasons, I feel sorry that they missed this opportunity to change a person’s life.  I have and have had the pleasure of working alongside of other trainers that share the same passion as I do, to influence a major change in a person’s life.   There’s no better feeling of gratification and satisfaction than receiving a message from a client that says, “Thanks for helping me overcome my fears and reach my goals, you have transformed my life.”
10127 1262980177401 1316610062 30755139 3144722 n - There's More to Personal Training than being "Just a Trainer".     Matt’s client, Anna, giving fitness testimonial
Matt Wirth, Emerge Fitness

What's Your Cause?

I’ve been training a long time.  In fact, it has now been almost 9 years and 12,000 sessions ago that I showed up for my first day as a trainer at 24 Hour Fitness.  In that time, I’ve cycled through many “catch” phrases.  Any client that has ever trained with me has heard me say “see, easy as that,” or “child’s play” or “that’s cake.”  There are many more, some extremely cliched that have lasted only a couple of weeks, and a few gems that have survived the years. 
One of my favorites is “It’s all for the cause.” I usually save this particular one for a retort when a client moans, complains, or asks themselves mid-set why exactly they have decided to be voluntarily tortured.  A few weeks a ago I reminded a client of this, stating that the extra three reps I asked of her was “all for the cause.”  She immediatley asked me what the “cause” was.  I answered her by saying that I could not define that for her, it’s something that drives and motivates her, something special to only her, that helps her continue her fitness journey even when it gets really hard.
Defining a cause, or several causes, is an important aspect of goal setting when it comes to achieving a fitness goal.  What really got you serious about changing your life through fitness?  What was the underlying motivation?  It could be simply fitting into a pair of jeans (which is a noble cause in itself) or staying healthy enough to keep up with grandchildren.  Whatever the cause, it important to identify and then remind yourself of it when it gets tough, when motivation may be a bit lower or when discouraged over slower than hoped for results.  Achieving a fitness goal is rarely an easy or a quick path, but it is “all for the cause,” and the cause is worth it!
Matt Pirtle MA, CSCS
Emerge Fitness Training
St. Charles Missouri