What Are You Afraid of?

When it comes to your fitness goals, what are you afraid of?  Are you afraid you won’t know how to do the exercises?  Are you afraid people will laugh at you?  Are you afraid you will fail and the weight won’t come off?  OR… maybe, just maybe you are afraid of success.  Maybe YOU WILL reach those weight loss and other fitness goals and you are worried about other things like people treating you differently or that you won’t be able to stick to your regimen.

Whatever is scaring you, please don’t be.  Try and use that fear as motivation.  Let it feed you.  Use it to prove to yourself and no one else that you can succeed.

As we start September, I have no doubt that people will use this month to get started at the gym, or go back if they have been taking a break. Don’t be scared.  I have news for you, you’re not that special.  Unless you drop a dumbbell on your foot and scream, no one is paying attention to you.  You won’t be laughed at.  And if you are, tell them to F off!  You are there for the same reasons they are!  Everyone had to start at that point.  You’re learning.  As you keep going, you will get better.  But the point is that you need to not be scared.  Ask for help.  There are always trainers around who can help you.  Maybe you can get a free session, or just ask for 10 minutes to go over a certain exercise.

Bottom line –  nothing will happen unless you confront that fear.  So grab the bull by the horns and get after it!  Those goals are yours for the taking!



Machines vs. Free Weights

So many people will head to the gym for a workout and crank out a few sets on the machines.  They sit at the ‘pec dec’ machine and knock out a few sets of chest flyes or sit at the leg extension machine and work their quads.

Well as I asked in my last post, why?

I’m not knocking you, I’m just curious.

I’m curious for a couple reasons.

  1. Why are you sitting down to work out just before or after a full day of sitting at your office desk for work?
  2. Are you pushing yourself doing these machines?  Are they helping you reach your goals?
  3. Seriously, why?  There are so many better ways to work out.

Ok, that last one is a little bit in jest, but not completely.  So many times I will see people use the machines incorrectly.  I mean, if you don’t know how to do something, just ask!  Or read the machine!  It tells you what to do.  I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve seen people use that pec deck machine who think they are so great using so much weight that they can’t keep their back secure against the seat!  They are leaning forward!

Or how about that leg extension machine, why is it so beneficial to just sit down and extend your legs?  What are you a 7 – year old sitting on an over-sized chair?

Look, as I said the machines do have some benefits for some people.  Maybe you’re rehabbing an injury.  Heck, maybe you are just having an off day and want to workout.  A quick workout now and then isn’t terrible.  But if you are someone who is relatively healthy or even really working to reach all your goals, machines aren’t always the way to go.

Why not?

Because you don’t engage your core.

Core is gold. When you have a solid core, all of your lateral mobility will be so much better.

So maybe try using some cables or dumbbells.  If you are standing up or even using a bench, you will get much more benefit from your work outs.  After all, isn’t that what you want?




What is Your Why?

When it comes to your fitness or exercise routine, what is your why?  Why do you work out?  This is such an easy question, but it can also be very complicated.  Not to mention, I would bet that many of us don’t think about why we work out.  We just go to the gym every week and do the same routines.

But our why keeps us focused.  Maybe you had a health scare.  Maybe the doctor told you had to, or your significant other.  Maybe you just decided you wanted to look better for a vacation.  That vanity is just as good a reason to exercise as anything else. As long as you know your reasons.

When you know your why, it doesn’t just give you a reason to reach your endgame, it gives you a reason to make exercise a habit in your life.  Habits are easy. So many times I have heard people get upset when they have to skip a gym day.  I love it.

In terms of goals, think about the word SMART- Specific Measurable Attainable Realistic Timely.

Don’t tell yourself, “I want to lose some weight.”

Instead say to yourself, “I want to lose 10 lbs by the time we go away for New Years.”

When you give yourself the specific number and time, it allows you to not just prepare, But it gives you a measurable time period.  You won’t want to quit on yourself and you will keep working until you reach your goal.

Writing your goals down is a great way to help as well.  Writing them down, is just another step in the planning process and when you put it down on paper it makes it more realistic that you will do it rather than just think about it.

So as you start to think about your goals, write them down.  Really think about why you want to achieve them!

Good luck!



Sandler Strength and Fitness!

Hi there!  Welcome to my fitness blog!  My name is Ken Sandler and I am a certified personal trainer living and working in Gaithersburg, MD.  I’m really excited that I am starting this blog.  I thought it would be a great way not to just give some fitness and nutrition tips, but a way to help you if you had any questions about starting a fitness program or working out.

I have been a certified personal trainer for only 2 and a half years.  This is a brand new job for me as I got laid off from a career in TV production several years ago.  After taking some time off, I got certified as a trainer.  I almost felt like it was just a calling to me. It was a sign to change careers, and I couldn’t be happier.  Why a trainer?  Because I have always enjoyed the gym and working out.  The time I was laid off and not working, my gym time was my solace.  It gave me mental strength as well as physical in knowing that things would change.  That’s kind of the point.  We never know what we have in store for us.  Doors close and others open.  For the first time in my life I felt a sign from above that it was time to move on from TV and do something new.  Start fresh.  We all get opportunities every day.  It is just a matter of if we take them or not.

So let’s start out with some fun.  Simple question — what is your favorite form of exercise or favorite exercise to do?  It’s summer, so maybe you bike more.  I would say for me, that I am a gym rat, so I love lifting weight and putting it back down.  I think goblet squats may be becoming a big favorite of mine.

Thanks so much for reading!  As I said, as I write more, I will offer a bit more advice and give tips on many other things!

Your fitness goals are all in reach, you just need to go after them!  Good luck!


Friday Fitness Progress

Ok, so today is Friday.  We just finished the 3rd week of January.  I just heard that now is the time when people start giving up on their resolutions.  Please don’t quit!  I promise you that these habits get easier as you keep doing them!  Even if you don’t workout for as long as you would like or as many days, don’t stop!  You’ve got this!

That leads to the question of the day:

Where have you seen progress either just this past week of fitness or as you got started in January?  Have you lifted more weight or done cardio for a few more minutes?  Maybe you just found yourself getting to the gym one more day during the week or have really started planning by prepping your gym bag the night before –  any which way —  that is progress!  That is awesome!  That is how you #getbettereveryday!  So please share in your comments what you’ve been doing.  I hope it’s going well!

For me, I would say it was my Goblet Squats yesterday!  I lifted more weight and got deeper because I brought my butt down to a Dynamax ball!  My legs felt great!

Can’t wait to see how you’re doing!


Question of the Day: Workout Alone or with a Partner?

Question of the day: Do you prefer to workout alone or with a friend? I used to be a solo guy. I could go, do my thing and be done. I’ll go run by myself. But working out with people helps keep me motivated and makes it so much more fun! Whether I take boot camp or workout other days with a couple friends, it not only keeps me accountable, but it helps me get better! There is always someone there watching me and helping! AND — I am always trying to help others, too!

The Small Victories

Celebrate your small victories! It takes little steps to reach your fitness goals. The new year is 2 weeks old. Have you been keeping to your new workout schedule? Have you been eating better? Even if you’ve only lost one pound, remember, you have to lose that one before you lost the 5 or 10 you want. So even if you haven’t gotten the results you wanted yet, you are succeeding by just doing! The results will come! I promise! Just keep at it!

Just Move!

I just saw a great story Men’s Fitness about what people with 6 pack abs do every day to get those abs. I won’t post the story, you can find it if you would like to read it, besides, that may not actually be your goal. But one of those tips was one I want to share because it will benefit everyone. It was to move every day. Days off and recovery days are so important. They allow your muscles to rebuild and get stronger after your workouts. But this little tip is to just move! Just because you are taking a day off from lifting weights, doesn’t really mean that you should just lounge around on the sofa all day. If you have weight loss or body fat loss goals that you are trying to achieve, go move! Go for a walk or a hike. Go for a run or swim. Just keep your body moving and take an active rest day!  This will help you reach all of your goals!

Using Machines at the gym

I have posted before about the pros, cons and differences of using machines at the gym when you workout, but that is not the point of this post.  You can always go back and check out my other post on that.  But I know this next few weeks as people are making their way to the gym, they are probably just hopping onto the machine circuit to do a few reps and sets.

Cool!  That’s great!  You’re getting in to the gym, you’re moving a bit, and you are working out.  As far as I’m concerned, every step counts.  Every Set, every rep, every pound counts towards whatever your goals are.

But whatever machine you are doing, just like if you were using free weights, be mindful.  Focus.  Think about what you are doing.  I see so many people just hop onto a machine and mindlessly work by flinging their legs or arms around.

Don’t be that guy or gal.

Please make sure you ask someone what to do.  Make sure you are sitting correctly.  Make sure the handles are in the correct position.  Don’t be embarrassed.  That’s what the staff is for.  To help you.  You want to get the most bang for your buck, the best way is to do it correctly and not just do something because it looks cool.

Trust me.  as a trainer I learn that every day.  Not just for my own workouts, but with my clients as I work with them.

Let’s use the chest flye machine for example.  I see so many people arch or round their back as they throw their arms together as fast as they can with a bunch of weight piled on.

Don’t do that.

Go a little lighter on the weight.  Keep your back supported against the seat, and in a controlled movement, bring your arms together like you are hugging a beach ball.

And make sure you breath.

As I said, go ask someone.  Especially if you tell them you are new, they will have no problem helping you out.  They want you to succeed!


Good Luck!