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