Category Archives: Personal training

Cardio vs. Weights for Losing Weight

If you want to start an interesting argument among your gym friends, just ask which they think is the more effective for losing weight — cardio or weight training? Then sit back and listen to the theories fly.

Those in the cardio camp can cite a recently released study by Duke University that comes down on the side of cardio. The research concluded that aerobic training is the best type of exercise for burning fat after comparing aerobic training, resistance training, and a combination of the two. The study, puJumping rope Cardio vs. Weights for Losing Weightblished in the Dec. 15, 2012, edition of the Journal of Applied Physiology, is the largest randomized trial to analyze changes in body composition from the three modes of exercise in overweight or obese adults without diabetes. “Given that approximately two-thirds of adults in the United States are overweight due to excess body fat, we want to offer clear, evidence-based exercise recommendations that will truly help people lose weight and body fat,” said Leslie H. Willis, MS, an exercise physiologist at Duke Medicine and the study’s lead author.

In the weight-lifting corner, you have those who swear that strength and resistance training will result in more weight loss. They argue that with aerobic exercise, you expend calories duResistance training Cardio vs. Weights for Losing Weightring the workout, but once you’ve stopped, your body reverts quickly to its normal metabolic rate. “Strength training is a critical component of any program than emphasizes long-term fat loss,” said Alwyn Cosgrove, co-author of the book The New Rules of Lifting. Imagine, from a metabolic perspective, that all of your body’s muscles are starving and crave fuel to burn. The more muscle you have, the more fuel they’ll consume all throughout the day and the more fat you’ll lose.

Ultimately, both sides are right. Cardiovascular training serves as a high-intensity fat-burner, but muscles do power the body’s metabolic engine throughout the day. Personal trainer Jason Laitsch recommends both types of training for the fastest weight loss. Ask him or another personal trainer for an assessment of your needs based on your body type, weight, muscle composition, and other factors, and get a workout designed just for you that consists of a mix of cardio and strength training.

CrossFit vs. Personal Training: What Works Best for You?

CrossFit 1 300x225 CrossFit vs. Personal Training: What Works Best for You?

A workout at CrossFit

So you’ve decided to start a fitness program. Now you have to decide which one. Here’s a quick guide to two options.

The CrossFit Program

CrossFit was developed in 2000 by Greg Glassman. The term CrossFit refers to the importance of being fit in a variety of physical skills, but the term itself is a trademark of CrossFit, Inc. According to its website, CrossFit serves as a strength and conditioning program for some police academies, tactical operations teams, and professional athletes. Proponents are quick to point out, however, that CrossFit claims the program can be scaled to provide appropriate levels of training to any person regardless of current fitness level, age, or medical condition.

In CrossFit, there are ten recognized general physical skills: cardiovascular/respiratory endurance, stamina, strength, flexibility, power, coordination, agility, balance, and accuracy. The program also encourages the use of the Zone Diet or similar plans like the Paleo Diet, both of which stress lean proteins and vegetables while excluding as much as possible grains, legumes, sugars, starches, dairy products, and fats. Some of the tenets of this diet go against the recommendations of most dieticians and nutritionists.

Is CrossFit Safe?

CrossFit safety CrossFit vs. Personal Training: What Works Best for You?

Don’t try to do too much

Specific exercises, some generic and others unique to CrossFit, are arranged into the brand’s iconic Workout of the Day (WOD). WODs are short – anywhere from five to 15 minutes – intense workouts that can be performed at home or in a CrossFit class, under the eye of trained personnel. Many of the brand’s exercises involve power lifting or explosive, plyometric moves. These exercises must be done with correct form to avoid injury.

Interestingly, although CrossFit’s website encourages you to seek out a certified trainer, it also provides you with videos of the exercises that make up the WOD. Because some people try the WOD at home, there are persons who are attempting the exercises without any certified trainer to correct their errors in form or to counsel them on their level of effort. Additionally, there are uncertified trainers who try to utilize the principles of CrossFit without a full understanding of the program. Obviously, these people would be less likely to understand how to scale the exercises to the person’s abilities.

Is CrossFit Right for Me?

Critics of CrossFit, including Dr. Stuart McGill, a professor of spine biomechanics at Canada’s University of Waterloo, maintain that CrossFit may encourage the use of poor form, particular during timed workouts, increasing the risk of injury. A skilled trainer, who fully understands the exercises and proper way to scale the exercises, would alleviate Dr. McGill’s concerns. WebMD also cautions that all CrossFit coaches may not “have an appropriate educational background in sports conditioning,” particularly when it comes to doing explosive plyometric moves and heavy lifting, both important components of the CrossFit system. Other experts caution that the gung-ho spirit of CrossFit, while engaging and fun, may push inexperienced exercisers to injuries caused by stress and overwork.

If you choose to try CrossFit, do your homework. Be sure the gym you go to is affiliated with the company and that the person who introduces you to CrossFit is certified to do so. Remember that the gym’s affiliation does not guarantee that all the instructors working there are certified. Know your limits, and although you will want to push yourself a bit, do not allow competition with others to push you to the point of injury.

How Personal Training is Different from CrossFit

Working with a personal trainer is exactly that: personal. The advantages of a personal trainer include:

Personal trainer good 232x300 CrossFit vs. Personal Training: What Works Best for You?

Personal attention from a good trainer

  • Having a one-on-one relationship with a person who creates a plan that is designed for you and only you, based on your specific goals, desires, needs, and limitations.
  • Exercising according to your level of fitness instead of working with a class full of other people who urge you to exercise more intensely than you’re able to.
  • Working with someone who pushes you to make progress but who has the specific training to help you avoid overtraining.
  • Getting a well-rounded training regimen that will always include the proper balance based on your individual goals of cardiovascular fitness, strength, agility, and flexibility. In addition to meeting common fitness goals, a trainer can offer sport-specific conditioning.
  • Gaining access to someone who can offer lifestyle counseling like nutrition advice based not on a fad diet but on fact-based, scientific principles.
  • Keeping you safe and free from injury during your workout.

Again, there are a lot of people who call themselves trainers with little justification. No matter what system you use, look for a trainer certified by the National Academy of Sports Medicine or another top-quality organization and ask about education, experience, and background as well as references. See if you can get together for a free consultation before you start training to discuss an overall plan, determine if you are compatible with the trainer or group, and talk about goals and limitations.



Thinking of Going Green? Think Tea!

Green tea 2 Thinking of Going Green? Think Tea!There you are, standing in the tea and coffee aisle at the grocery store. You see the box of green tea. Haven’t you heard good stuff about that? And now the major tea companies are selling it, not just the brands you find in the health food aisles. Should you try it?

The answer to that question is an undisputed YES. But what is green tea and how is it different from the stuff you get brew up a pitcher of Lipton’s at home or order your basic iced tea at a restaurant?

First of all, know that this is “real” tea, not an herbal concoction. The tea bags you have been using to brew tea for iced tea are probably made of black tea. Green tea comes from the same plant but it is prepared differently. The “black” of black tea is created by oxidation before the tea is dried. Green tea skips this process, so the tea leaves remain greener.

Brew green tea just as you would any other tea – boil water and steep the tea bag or loose leaves for three to five minutes or until it reaches your preferred taste. Bear in mind that the color of the tea will not change as much as black tea, although some green teas brew up a very intense green color. Add a little honey or milk if you don’t like to drink it straight.

So what is greenGreen tea benefits Thinking of Going Green? Think Tea! tea going to do for you that black tea won’t? According to many scientific studies, green tea has been shown, among other benefits, to:

  • boost metabolism, with the potential for helping you jump-start weight loss,
  • prevent premature aging by negating the effects of sunlight on skin,
  • lower “bad” cholesterol,
  • improve insulin sensitivity, a primary factor in type-2 diabetes,
  • lower the risk of heart disease, and
  • reduce the risk of some cancers.

If nothing else, substituting a cup of green tea for your morning cup of coffee reduces your caffeine intake by 75%.

While it’s still winter and New Year’s resolutions are echoing in your head, try drinking two cups of green tea a day and begin to reap the many benefits of this ancient and delicious beverage!

Personal trainer Jason Laitsch recommends green tea to all of his clients, but especially those who are trying to lose weight and who suffer from diabetes.


Look into the Distant Past – and Rediscover Your New Year’s Resolutions!

Did you make a New Year’s Resolution on January 1st to lose weight this year? If you are like most people, losing weight is at the top of the list of changes. According to a study published in the University of Scranton’s Journal of Clinical Psychology, losing weight is the number one resolution of the year and fitting in fitness is in the top ten.

Not really a surprise, is it? According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, a third of all Americans over 20 are overweight and a staggering 35% of Americans adults are actually obese.  And the list of diseases associated with obesity – among them diabetes and heart disease – is serious, costly, and deadly.

There are always new diets, new exercise fads, new theories on how to lose weight, but the truth of the matter is something you learned in elementary school: Fewer calories, more exercise equals weight loss.

Now you’re thinking, “I just don’t have time to exercise.”

According to Dr. Mehmet Oz, cardiothoracic surgeon and well-known health guru, a sedentary lifestyle is a key factor in many health problems. As viewers of his television show will tell you, he has a group of persons who promote various points of a healthy lifestyle.

One of his “Wellness Warriors,” Taisha Hayes, fought her own obesity to become a personal trainer and the founder of She advises making an appointment to exercise, even if the appointment is with only with you. A vague “I’ll exercise some time tomorrow” is almost certainly likely to fail, but “I will walk for 30 minutes starting at noon tomorrow” is an actual commitment. And think of it this way – you would never be so rude as to cancel an appointment with another person at the last minute. Don’t you deserve the same respect?

If you’re already reducing calories but not getting the results you want, find a way to fit in fitness, and watch the pounds melt away!

Jason Laitsch is an experienced and caring personal trainer with nearly 15 years of helping clients meet their fitness goals. Schedule a consultation at by calling (404) 483-3783 to discover how Jason can help you lose weight, get in shape, and get healthy for the New Year.

The Unfortunate Occurrence of Reality

1970s fitness 219x300 The Unfortunate Occurrence of Reality

Back in the day

By guest blogger Joy Chapman

I would really like to fit in the clothes I wore when I graduated junior college. Not that I would wear them; no one of my age should be wearing halter tops and hip huggers with bell bottoms! But it would be nice to for them to fit.

I also would like to have the fitness from those days too. I lived on the third floor of an old dorm with no elevator and I probably ran up and down those stairs ten to twenty times a day. Of course, I now live in ranch house with no stairs whatsoever.

And I would like to be able to function at full tilt for sixteen, even eighteen, hours a day like I did then. I could study with concentration, play tennis with energy if not skill, and enjoy a very active social life.

So will exercise get that body back?

No. That was two children and nearly forty years ago. I have foot problems (did I mention I often played tennis barefoot?) and arthritis in my tailbone (yes, I once fell down a full flight of those dorm stairs). It is unlikely I will ever move like a nineteen year old again, no matter how much time I spend in a gym.

And if I think I will or if I let an overeager gym membership sales rep convince me I will look or feel or move like I am a teenager again, I am sabotaging my fitness program before I even start. According to Gerald Endress, fitness director of Duke Diet and Fitness Center in Durham, North Carolina, one of the most common errors that first time exercisers make is being unrealistic. As he states, “They want to go for maximal goals, but they tend to get overwhelmed.”

That includes being overwhelmed by an unrealistic schedule as well as by unrealistic goals. It’s easy to get caught up in the fervor and say I will go to the gym every day. But reality says sometimes I will be sick (really). And in real life, the rest of the world’s schedule will not revolve around my gym schedule so I may have to adapt. Web MD suggests sticking to a plan of two or three times a week, at least at first.

Middle aged fitness The Unfortunate Occurrence of Reality

Reality strikes — but I’m lovin’ it!

I won’t be 19 again. Actually that thought is somewhat comforting considering all I’ve learned in forty years. But that fact does not need to stop me from being at my best now. An improved reality is far better than a perfect fantasy any day.

A personal trainer can help get you started without being overwhelmed. In-home personal training fits your needs and your schedule while pushing you enough to meet and exceed your goals. Call Jason Laitsch today at (404) 483-3783 for a consultation to find out how you can benefit from in-home personal training.

Choosing a Fitness Program? What Fits You?

Eras of time can be defined by what general society thought of as fashionable. There are styles and trends in clothes, music, diets, and social attitudes. Likewise, there are fads in approaches to fitness.

You can actually identify a period in American history by the fitness vogue. The 1Jane Fonda and Richard Simmons Choosing a Fitness Program? What Fits You?950s had Jack LaLanne. In the 1960s, President Kennedy challenged the youth of America to get fit. Richard Simmons taught America to sweat to the oldies in the 1970s and Jane Fonda’s fitness videos were major VHS sellers in the 1980s. The 1990s brought popularity to Spinning and Pilates. And game systems such as Wii made the early years of the 21st century interesting.

Now we can still use some of these methodologies (both Fonda and Simmons have recently released vidZumba Choosing a Fitness Program? What Fits You?eos!), but there are many more to choose from. Some of the language may be daunting (It turns out that P90X is not a new rock radio station and Zumba is not a Mid-Eastern menu item.). The staggering number of choices alone may make you so tired that just watching The Biggest Loser on television seems like enough exercise for one day. But with a little forethought and consideration, you too can make an intelligent choice and improve your fitness level.

The first step, as is often the case, is the hardest. You need to know YOU.

  1. Where are you now in fitness? If you are now a total couch potato, you don’t want a program full of people who are in Olympic training. You need to find the right level for you so that you’re not overwhelmed and don’t push too hard at first, which can lead to fatigue or injury.
  2. Does your doctor approve of your plan? Your doctor is undoubtedly in favor of your beginning a fitness program but she might want to specify a program. Often, an individualized program works best, particularly if you have special fitness needs.
  3. What do you want? If you want a new figure, you must commit to a new way of eating AND a fitness program. If you want more flexibility, that may be a different type of workout.
  4. What time are you willing to commit to your new fitness effort? Will you drive to a gym? Will you make and keep Treadmill as clothes rack 300x225 Choosing a Fitness Program? What Fits You?appointments? Will you exercise daily, three times a week, once a week? Different modalities of fitness training require different levels of time commitment. And results will depend on commitment as well. Most experts recommend working out three to five times a week for optimal results.
  5. What money are you willing to spend? Many of us have home equipment that started out as a treadmill and ended up as a clothes rack. You may want to avoid that trap and opt for a fitness program that requires little initial expenditure or invests in human capital rather than equipment.
  6. What level of variety do you need? If you get a level of satisfaction from an unchanging daily routine, standard gym classes may be appropriate, although you may plateau quickly with this type of workout. Other modalities depend on cross-training to address persons easily bored by routine.

Dude with trainer 300x214 Choosing a Fitness Program? What Fits You?One way to make sure you are getting the best workout for your specific needs is to hire a personal trainer. A trainer can ensure that you push yourself, can vary your routine so that you’re never bored, and can demand the accountability you may need to reach your goals. A certified personal trainer tailors your workout to your needs, whether that’s weight loss, athletic conditioning, increasing strength, or other fitness goals. If you’ve tried other types of exercise and aren’t reaching your goal, call a personal trainer!




An Ongoing Journey, Part 1 – Girl Meets Workout

I met one of my clients almost nine years ago at a gym I was working at. She looked a little lost and like she needed some help. I’ll let her tell you about it.

Betsy super fat for blog 187x300 An Ongoing Journey, Part 1 – Girl Meets Workout

Me before I met Jason

In 2004, I was 39 years old. I weighed nearly 320 pounds. In the spring of that year, I decided to do something about it, so I joined a local gym. I had been meandering around the gym for about a week, not accomplishing much, when a young man approached me, introduced himself as Jason Laitsch, and asked me if I had considered working with a personal trainer.

My first reaction was, “No way! You have to be in a lot better shape than me to work with a trainer.” I later learned that this reaction is common among people who are really in poor physical condition. I now know that the right personal trainer is the best way for people like me – in bad shape and not very motivated to change – to start moving in the right direction.

Although Jason told me lots of things he could do to help me, I was just terrified – terrified of revealing what I considered to be my general awfulness to him in the gym two or three times a week. I couldn’t imagine what it would be like to show this really fit guy what it was like to be me over and over, to (in my mind) fail again and again in the effort to lose weight and get in better shape.

Then Jason said the magic word – “boxing.” He asked me if I’d like to try boxing with him. Really? “I can’t box,” I told him. “Yes, you can,” he replied. We could start right now. I loved boxing! My husband and I watched the fights on TV all the time, and the idea of whaling away on this guy really appealed to me. Boxing? Really???

So I signed up for a few sessions, thinking I would give it a try. One of my first homework assignments was to do three minutes on the elliptical trainer. “Sure, no problem,” I thought to myself. Here’s how bad my level of fitness was – I had to split the three-minute assignment into two one-and-a-half minute sessions!

Come back in a few days for Part 2 of this client’s story, in which she names herself “Boxerchick” and learns to love the food log. 

Binge eating disorder (BED) often overlooked next to anorexia and bulimia

It’s not as widely discussed as other eating disorders, but binge eating disorder (BED) affects more American adults and takes more lives than anorexia and bulimia combined.

As many as 15 million people in the United States – possibly more – can be characterized as binge eaters, according to a recent article published in Today’s Dietitian. In addition to the sheer numbers of sufferers, BED distinguishes itself from other eating disorders in that it affects both men and women of all races and all ages. In the United States a

Binge eating disorder symptoms 300x198 Binge eating disorder (BED) often overlooked next to anorexia and bulimia

Do you have binge eating disorder?

lone, at least 2 percent of men, or 6 million individuals, and 3.5 percent of women, nearly 11 million people, will be diagnosed with BED at some point in their lives. In contrast, anorexia and bulimia will affect just 1 million men and 11 million women, nearly all of whom are teens or young adults.

Binge eating disorder is classified in different ways by different specialists, but it will likely get its own formal definition in the forthcoming fifth edition of the American Psychiatric Association’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-V). It’s widely agreed upon that BED sufferers engage in overeating to the point of extreme discomfort even when they aren’t hungry. The behavior is commonly a coping mechanism in response to depression, stress, or anxiety. As a result, people diagnosed with BED are often obese and are plagued with the health dangers that accompany obesity, including diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, heart disease, and certain types of cancer.

Luckily, help is available for people with BED. Most often, health care practitioners take a two-pronged approach when treating binge eating disorder. Psychiatrists and mental health therapists address the behavioral and emotional side of the illness while dietitians and, in extreme cases, general practitioners and other needed specialists deal with the physical problems. Many people battling eating disorders of all kinds never seek medical care out of shame or a simple lack of knowledge about their condition, but there are numerous success stories about people who overcome BED and come out of the experience happier and healthier. Don’t hesitate to contact a trusted health care professional if you’re concerned that you or a loved one may have problems with an eating disorder.

Additional information came from the National Eating Disorders Association website ( and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office on Women’s Health ( Population data derived from U.S. Census Bureau statistics.