As a personal trainer in Schaumburg, I am seeing that the fitness field today is all about what’s HOT, NEW, and TRENDY.  This stuff is attractive and appealing to the masses.  The good news is it is getting people into exercise.  However, did you know that there are actually scientific principles behind exercise that almost no developer behind HOT, NEW, and TRENDY fitness paths seem to consider?


WHY, you ask?  Simply because HOT, NEW, and TRENDY fitness sells!  YEP!  Fitness is a business, too.

Here is one of the biggest issues I have with the current gym industry – they are all focused on the wrong thing, the wrong goal, or the wrong intention, however you want to think about it.  The current fitness industry is focused on telling us what exercises and what program we should be doing.  You are probably thinking, “Well, isn’t that why I am exercising – to do exercises?”

My answer:  Yes, ‘kinda,’ but really no.

We exercise for the changes it gives to our bodies.  We need to start focusing on the potential for change that exercise offers us, not the actual exercise.  Let me explain what I mean.

Consider this:  we enter into our workouts in a certain state.  This state is dictated by our current emotional status, sleep status, nutritional status, chemical stress, joint and muscle stress, and fatigue.  How we enter into our exercise session is the first thing that needs to be taken into consideration.  The next thing is that we have the opportunity to add a challenge to our body with exercise.  Lastly, we get to leave in one of three ways:  better, the same, or worse.

Let’s view this as 3 phases:  (1) how you enter your exercise, (2) what you do while you exercise, and (3) how you leave your exercise.

Remember what I was talking about before?  Many companies want to sell you the workout.   They are focusing on the second step.   Here is the problem, many fitness companies are completely focused on the exercise and forget about how the person is coming into the gym and how the person is leaving the gym.  When we glorify the exercises that we do, we often neglect the state in which we are beginning the exercise session and we jeopardize the state in which we will leave the exercise session.

I propose that we focus on how we want to leave the session (number 3) relative to how we arrive (number 1) and then decide what we will do for exercise (number 2) based off of that.  When you leave the gym “worse” than when you began, you are potentially moving away from the main end goal of WHY you were there in the first place.  If you create your exercise off of what will help you leave feeling and functioning better, you will be able to get to your goals faster!

At Muscle Activation Schaumburg, our highest priority is not the exercises that our clients do, but it is the condition that they leave in.  This means that there are times when we scale our clients’ exercise intensity back, not because we are trying to keep them from their goals, but because for them, on that day, less is more, and we are trying to focus on the right things.

– Julie

Did you enjoy this post?  Give it a share below and subscribe to our mailing list to receive our most popular posts every week ?

Julie Cates

Julie Cates is an experienced, certified, and insured National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA) Certified Personal Trainer and mastery level Muscle Activation Techniques® (MAT®) Rx Specialist (MATRx). She is one of 88 certified mastery level Resistance Training Specialists® (RTSm) in the world. This combination makes her style of training impactful and still preventative and restorative of joint and muscle issues and pain that are common with exercise. Julie specializes working with women 50 and over. Specifically, her main focus is working with women with bone density loss, muscle loss, Osteopenia, and Osteoporosis. Julie has incredible experience working with brand new exercisers. Very specific types and styles of exercises are needed for restoring and maintaining bone density, and Julie guides her clients through these in a pain-free way. She is also well experienced in helping women exercise even with various joint, bone, systemic, and neurological diagnoses. Julie is definitely your go-to personal trainer for women with Osteoporosis! Julie graduated cum laude from the University of Florida. She earned her degree in Applied Physiology and Kinesiology with a specialization in Exercise Physiology. Julie is the co-owner of Muscle Activation Schaumburg in Schaumburg, IL. She is a wife and mother of two. Julie can be reached via e-mail at Follow her on Instagram at @julcates!

1 Comment

Laurie Dring · January 10, 2017 at 5:04 pm

Hi Julie, I’m sure I’ve met you at Schaumburg MAT. I like your essay on exercising with an intention. I prefer yoga and Charlie said that I should do yoga while activating my muscles — great advise. I’ve been doing yoga for about 10 years now and love it. Most yoga classes start with an intention, which you note as “how we enter our session” as opposed to “exercise is just another thing we have to do and let’s get this over with” mind set. Since 2012, I’ve been following yoga classes via YouTube — found some great videos that suit my needs. However, I always wanted to do some poses with a training professional ; like yourself for proper alignment. My left should issues that I’m working with charlie may have to do with doing bad yoga. I look forward to having a discussion with you. Thanks for the article.

Comments are closed.