Austin is famous for being fit. The gorgeous weather, abundance of outdoor activities, and motivated attitude fuel the fun. Laura Schmidt, Jordan Moorhead of JM Custom Fitness, and Ralph Santarsiero of FitnessComplete—three top-rated personal trainers in Austin—talk getting fit in Austin.
What are the most common requests you get from Austinites?
Weight loss is the number one request all three trainers receive. All three trainers made it clear that weight loss is more about lifestyle change than a number on a scale. It means sleeping well, reducing stress, eating right, and maintaining a balanced fitness regimen.
What type of services do you provide?
Working with women of all ages is Laura’s specialty. She really focuses on strength training and resistance training, educating women that as you age you don’t have to lose bone density or suffer a drop in your metabolism. She helps women focus on macronutrients so they understand carbs, fats, and eating properly.
Personal training with a group dynamic is Jordan’s specialty. In addition to individual training, he offers group settings of up to 4 clients. Each client has an individualized program they’re working on, reading from a print out and moving forward through their workout while he is present checking form and technique. It makes personal training more affordable, as well as more fun with the group dynamic.
Ralph has a wide range of clients, from a 22 year old getting into wedding shape to older clients affected by heart disease, cancer, and Parkinson’s. He says with the younger clients he’ll really push them to sweat bullets, but for folks experiencing a particular disease, he’ll start slow and progress gradually depending on the person.
How does hiring a personal trainer help?
Motivation and accountability, states Jordan. Even the worst program will work if someone sticks to it, while you can have the best program in the world but it won’t do a thing if the person can’t stick to it. A trainer keeps you motivated, accountable, and creates the best program for your needs.
Correct technique is really important to Ralph. He spends as much time researching new fitness findings as he does training to make sure he’s keeping his clients’ bodies safe and healthy. Exercise is medicine, he says, and a good trainer will be up on the latest information.
Keeping focus is where Laura shines. Many of her clients want to lose weight, but she brings it back to the big picture, helping clients remember restricting diets or running their butts off without proper nutrition or resistance training means loss of muscle mass and subsequent drop in metabolism. This defeats the whole purpose, she says. A trainer keeps you on target.
What are some of your most popular workouts?
Ladies love the TRX, shares Laura. It’s great for rehabilitation from injuries, can be adjusted to every fitness level, and her clients feel comfortable and in control in it. Her personal favorite workout move is the Bulgarian split stance squat, or the sandbell slam—a weighted squat and overhead press in one. She’s shifted in recent years from a life of long-distance and marathon running to workouts focused on weight and resistance training.
A high intensity class with metabolic conditioning and interval training for fat loss is the big winner among Jordan’s clients. As far as his favorite move, he’s a competitive powerlifter, so deadlifting is near and dear to his heart. At his last meet he deadlifted 550 lbs (and his body weight is 190).
Classic squats and pushups are always crowd pleasers for Ralph’s clients. They’re basic, but multi-joint exercises that are highly effective. He’s had a 90 year old female client doing squats, dumbbells, and lunges.
What’s your best-kept workout secret?
Allow for recovery time between sets and intervals, says Laura. When you’re operating solely in the high cardio zone, you’re only burning carbs and sugars. If you take a step back (30 seconds or so), says Laura, and allow your heart rate to come back down, you’ll dip into the sweet spot and burn fat. She’s a big fan of heart rate monitors for this purpose. For example, if you have an 180 max heart rate, once you work up to 80-85 percentin the 160 zone, recover down to 135 before jumping back into your next set.
Be moderate and go easy on yourself, recommends Jordan. Going hard all the time doesn’t mean quicker results—it just means you’re more likely to get injured. In addition to your workout, you also need relaxation time that doesn’t include being in front of a TV, laptop, phone, or steering wheel!
Stretch strategically, says Ralph. Static stretching (holding stretching poses) prior to working out can actually be harmful to your muscles. Instead, do dynamic stretching before routines that warm your body up. After you exercise, then do the deeper, static stretching.
What’s the secret to Austin’s fitness?
The nice weather and the abundance of outdoor activity are the magic ingredients to Austin’s fit lifestyle, shares Laura. People are motivated in Austin, says Jordan, it’s a young and up-and-coming demographic, it’s hard not to be active. Ralph agrees that the lake, parks, hiking and biking trails and abundance of races and sports events get Austin moving.
Any words of encouragement for newcomers to fitness?
Don’t give up!
All three trainers echo that getting fit is a gradual process, not a quick fix. Reality TV shows about weight loss are not realistic, states Ralph. You’ll only be disappointed if you expect overnight results.
Find a trainer and coaching style you respond to, urges Laura. Whether you need dominant and aggressive or compassionate yet challenging there’s a trainer for you. Just find someone you will be accountable to and stick to it, you don’t have to do it alone.
Break down your final goal into smaller steps, suggests Jordan. You may want to tone down 60 lbs, but that will take 5-6 months of smaller, achievable goals. Be sure to write down your goals where you can see them. Stay on track by reading those goals often.
Believe in yourself, says Ralph, you can do it, you just need time. A client of his started at 450 lbs and over 1.5 years lost more than 200 lbs, slowly but surely. He was successful, says Ralph, because he stuck to his nutrition plan, followed his fitness routine, and did the work. You can, too!
Are you ready to dive into Austin’s fitness scene?