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!


Covid and Inactivity

This is something you need to know … and it’s NOT something that the news is actively covering or that you’ll hear a lot about.
A new study of 48,440 Covid patients in California shows that the people who were consistently inactive during the 2 years before the pandemic were more likely to:
Be hospitalized

Admitted to intensive care units

Or, die (compared to patients who regularly met physical activity guidelines).

IN FACT: besides age, pregnancy, and having an organ transplant, being sedentary was linked to the HIGHEST chance of being hospitalized!

The study was published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine. (You can read the study here: https://bjsm.bmj.com/content/early/2021/04/07/bjsports-2021-104080)

The researchers created three categories:
Working out 150 minutes or more a week (the amount recommended in US guidelines)

Getting some activity (11-149 minutes a week, or working out but not being consistent)

Being consistently inactive (0-10 minutes a week)

Here’s what they discovered:
People who were INACTIVE (not exercising at all):
Had 1.73 times HIGHER odds of ending up in the ICU

Had 2.49 times HIGHER risk of dying
compared to those who met US activity guidelines.
Not only that … but people who got SOME EXERCISE but didn’t meet guidelines consistently:
Had 1.58 times HIGHER odds ending up in the ICU, And had 1.88 times greater odds of death
than regular exercisers.

QUESTION: So according to this study, what’s one thing you can do to put yourself in the best possible position for COVID?

ANSWER: Exercise just 150 minutes per week. (which you can do in just 30 minutes, 5 days a week!)
Get your friends and family on board, too … so we can ALL be healthier, together.
If you need help getting started, please contact me! Send me a message! I’ll help you map out a plan that works for YOU and where you’re at in your life.
Doing what you can to be PROACTIVE is one of the best things you can do for yourself and your loved ones.

Ken Sandler



Life will give you days off from the gym, you don’t need to plan them.

I saw this question on Facebook yesterday:

Do your clients take the holidays off from working out or do they still go after it?

I think it’s a ‘half’ legit question. But I think it depends on what the holiday is.

I responded that I assumed he was referring to a holiday like Labor Day Monday, when the gym is still open. Sure, a day like that why not get a workout in? But I reminded him that Tuesday was Rosh Hashanah (BTW – Happy new year to my fellow MOT’s ! May this be an amazing, happy and healthy year for all of us! Jewish and not Jewish!).

Should a client still go to the gym on a ‘bigger’ holiday like this? What about Christmas?

Days like that, yeah, you may take off if you need to. I have no problem with that. More than likely, especially if you are working with a personal trainer, you would be rescheduling that session from Tuesday to another day, anyway. So you’re not missing anything.

I took Tuesday off for a couple reasons. 1) I tweaked my hammy running. Just tweaked. It’s fine now. I did an upper body workout on Monday to rest it. And my schedule changed on Tuesday. I ended up having zero clients, so yes, I took the day off from actual lifting and just did some mobility work in the morning. I worked from home and watched the holiday service on line. It was a beautiful day here in MD. I got out and walked a bit. But I did not feel one bit of guilt for taking the day off!!

Injuries are another unexpected thing. You don’t know. Maybe you work around it like I did. But as I said, I try to move in some way every day. I think you should, too! That’s how you get results and stay consistent. Then if something happens and you can’t, don’t sweat it. Maybe it’s a day off. Or maybe it’s just a walk or some stretching. But don’t plan the day’s off.

May I share something else that blew my mind this week? Saturday night, to enjoy the Labor Day weekend, I went out to eat. I got a burger and fries, then ice cream. Not my usual by any means, but it was a holiday weekend and I wanted to enjoy a bit more.

The food was good, but then OMG – the cravings got real! I don’t eat much processed food anymore. Rarely, like holidays. I eat whole real foods. But like everyone else, I know what sugar cravings are. I know how eating processed food and more sweets only leads to wanting more. It took almost ALL I had to beat this craving on Sunday! But I did it. I am still on track for my own weight loss and muscle goals!


Kudos to my Client!

I could not be more proud of my client Penny Knowles! I have been working with her for the last three months and she has had some great results! What I must proud of is how she trusted the process and started creating the new habits she needed to get the results she wanted. She has not only been working with me, but has moved every day, just taking walks, etc. She has changed her eating habits. What meant the most to me was when she told me how much more energy she has from working out more! Not to mention, she also shared that she is finding ways to stay positive and not let stress get to her as much! Way to go, Penny! Thank you so much for the opportunity to work with you and help you get on your way!

I promise you, you will get results too! Please contact me! Thanksgiving is in three months! Let’s use that as your target date and get you ready for the holidays!

Ken Sandler


Thank You, All! How Can I Help You?

Hey everyone,

I just wanted to post thank you to all of those the last couple of weeks who have not just liked my posts, but started following me! It means the world to me. I feel so lucky and grateful that there are so many out there reading my stuff! I am also glad you are so interested in health and fitness.

My question for you is simply this-

How can I help you?

If there a question you have about health and fitness that you want to ask? Or a topic you would like me to discuss here? Please leave a comment and let me know, or email me!

Have a great weekend!



Exercise, Working Out, and Body Building

   Today I want to discuss and share my own opinions about three terms that I think people use interchangeably.  While they can be synonymous, I think they all do mean different things.  These terms are: exercising, working out, and body building.

  I think this is one of the reasons people may get intimidated by a gym setting.  They see so many people lifting heavy weights, as well as hearing them grunt and weights banging on the floor with a loud crash.  They think, ‘Is that what the gym is?  I can’t do that!  I don’t want to do that!’

  I get it.  And you don’t have to.  The gym can really be whatever you want it to be.  First off, unless you are doing something seriously wrong where you may hurt yourself, no one is even paying attention to you.  They aren’t.   Everyone is busy doing their own thing.  Secondly, you have every right to be there doing whatever you like to do as much as everyone else!  

   I want you to move and be active.  Not just for weight loss reasons, or whatever your reasons are, But just moving your body will help you feel better mentally as well as physically.  I think that’s really the definition of exercise.  It’s moving your body.  It’s checking off the box that you id something today.  I love when people have goals they are working towards at the gym – weight loss, health, whatever.  But  I also think that it can be ok to NOT have goals!

   I have actually written about this in the past.  You can read it here:


So yeah, if you just want to check off the box, go take your class, do your machines, just do it.  That’s cool.

I think it’s the last two terms that get people both confused and nervous.  That’s because people, women especially (no offense meant here, really!  I say this from experience!) , but some men as well, are afraid they will get bulky from working out.  They are afraid they will turn into The Rock or Arnold.  

Trust me, you won’t.

1)That takes time and dedication.  it doesn’t happen overnight.  and

2)For the women, your bodies just don’t have the testosterone to get that strong.

One of my favorite memes is something like:  ’Worrying about getting bulky from working out is like driving a Ferrari and  thinking you can drive the Indy 500.”

You won’t get bulky, but you will get strong and lean.  You will get definition.  

Working out, to me, is not only having goals and a purpose for being in the gym, it’s having a plan.  It’s knowing what your workout will be every time you go in.  It may also be keeping track of those workouts so you can see your progressions.  It also involves making sure you do what you can to keep that plan in terms of eating healthy, managing your sleep, and focus.  It’s a regular part of your weekly schedule.  

Body Building to me is another story.  I think this is not just real focus, but this is something that people start doing at a young age, with uber -focus to get that muscular look that everyone notices.  It is going very heavy weights almost every session, trying to build new personal records.  It’s not only being at the gym for hours, it’s making sure you eat perfectly to a tee – measuring all your food, eating very precise things at very precise times, including – pre-and postworkout supplements like powders and shakes.   Yes, it may be Olympic-style lifts, but it doesn’t have to be.  It may also be people who participate in competitions.

That doesn’t need to be you.  I think the majority of people fall into the first two categories.  They exercise because they feel they have to, or they are a bit more serious about their goals in working out, building some muscle to ‘tone up’, and yes, lose some weight.  

I focus on helping the first two.   If you are trying to workout more, or interested in working on your goals, I am here to help.  I can show you the correct way to do any and all exercises, as well as the best exercises for you specifically!    If you need help, please contact me.  As we head into September, I know people’s schedules are changing as kids go back to school and the like. Now is the perfect time to start a fitness program if it’s been something you’re thinking about.  Please contact me and we can get started!  Your first three sessions, 45 mins, $99. This is a great way to get started and to start to feel the benefits of exercising and how much better you’ll feel as you start moving!  Please  call or email me to get started.  Thanks!

Ken Sandler





Marinades and Dressing ebook!

😩Chicken for dinner… again? 😩
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This ebook is only available for a limited time. Grab your copy right now while you can >> Get it here: https://www.ompages.co/a307c416-ee1c-11eb-8aa0-6eae6599775d

You Gotta Show Up If You Wanna Succeed in Life!

I need to rant: You want to succeed in whatever you do – 3 things: 1) effort – don’t let anyone outwork you. 2) Attitude. I promise you that if you stay positive, choose happiness, and find the positive in whatever situation you will get 10x farther than if you stay angry. 3) Show the hell up. That’s really what I want to discuss. Because we all have shit going on in our lives. Not just Covid and lockdown shit. I mean life: Work, family, relationships (or if you’re me lackthereof lol) We ALL have stuff going on. But you know what, we show up! We still do our best to do what we need to do every day. And if we can’t – we tell someone. We bail. We reschedule. I have learned so much this past 6 or so years as a personal trainer. Not just these rules and they have made me better and upped my game in so many ways, but my favorite mantra, ‘know, like, trust.’ We won’t do business with anyone not just if we know or like them, but until we trust them! It’s why we take our car to a certain mechanic or even just get our hair cut by the same person. We do business because we trust them. Show up and be the best person you can be. Why am I sharing this? Because I thought I trusted another personal trainer and he has turned out not to be the person I thought it was in many ways. As I recently shared, I have recently gotten a new fitness certification – one in corrective exercise. This was a self-study course, but back in the spring, I found a trainer on Facebook who was offering a CES study course. It sounds like a great idea. $100 /10 weeks. The course started out fine. But then back in March, he just didn’t show up. These were all Zoom sessions. Many of us waited for about 30 minutes or so before just giving up. He didn’t show up the following week, either. He just bailed on all of us. All of us who trusted him to coach and help us. All of us who paid money for his services. After that second week, I posted a message in our Facebook group, Anyone seen him? He actually responded (and later ‘cowardly’ deleted his response. It was only up for a few minutes.) I don’t remember all of it, but he was stressed about life, injustices, and crap in America. He’ll tell me I’m wrong (he already did, but as far as I’m concerned, I’m close) I thought it was a bullshit reason and emailed him to tell him so. It’s one thing to cancel because of a family emergency, but because of stress? Hell no! I told him just what I said above – we all have crap going on, but we still do our jobs. I told him I wanted a refund. He agreed. This was back in March. It is now August. I emailed him shortly after and asked where my refund was. He ‘didn’t have the money.’ I call bullshit again. I even agreed to 50% refund since I took half the class. I STILL have not received it. A few weeks ago on Facebook, someone posted about him and I shared pretty much this story he saw my response and could not have been more pissed at me. I didn’t care, I simply reminded him, he bailed on us. When he said something like ‘What’s your Venmo info? I’ll give you your refund and you can just shut up your selfish self.” Well 1)Venmo info is easy. It’s just my email. and 2) When someone asks that, don’ you think you’re going to get the money? Nope, I still didn’t. Un-fucking real! I even Venmoe requested him yesterday and he denied it! He wrote me back saying that I didn’t deserve $50 for my $100 course, but I had actually taken 60% of it and used course materials so I was only getting $10.60 back! ARE you fucking kidding me? But whatever! That makes it even worse! It’s less money! This guy is trash and not to be trusted. I will get my money back. I will get something. Whatever your business is, not just fitness, this is NOT how you treat people doing business with you! When you are good, people will do good in return.

I would love an apology, too. I don’t give a fuck what’s going on in his life. Just an apology to the class. I’m sorry for bailing on all of you.

But I’m not holding my breath.

Weight Loss Vs. Fat Loss

 I want to discuss something that I think is kind of important for all of us – Including me!  Many of us have weight loss goals.  That’s me, too.  It’s something I discuss with all of my clients.  

   But if I may use a Jedi mind-trick:

That is (probably) not the goal you’re looking for.

You need to aim for fat loss.

I discuss this with my clients as well.   I always have them hop up on our Inbody scale which doesn’t just measure their weight, but their body fat percentage.    Body Fat percentage is the ration of fat in our body to total body mass.  We all need some fat in our body.  Fat is essential for helping keep us healthy, give us some energy when we need it, and protect our organs.  Women need a bit more fat than men.  I won’t go through the entire list,  but an acceptable range of body fat for women is 25-31% and for men 18-25%.  Anything below is fantastic, anything above those ranges means you’re starting to get into a non-healthy range.

Let’s look at the difference:  

Weight loss is everything.  Weight loss isn’t just fat.  It’s a decrease in body weight from loss of muscle, water, everything.   You don’t really want to lose muscle, do you?  Of course not.  Even if you don’t want to look like Dwayne Johnson, you still need muscle to stay healthy.

Fat loss is specifically that.  It is a reduction of fat in the body.  

That sounds better doesn’t it?  Doesn’t this sound like what you may be trying to achieve?  

How can you tell?  Well there are special scales, we use something called Inbody at my gym, the measures your body fat, as well as everything else in your body composition.  They also make skinfold calipers to measure body fat.  

So what should you do for fat loss?  Yes, eating fewer calories is important.  But that does not mean starve yourself!  It does not mean skip meals.  It means make sure you are eating real food – carbs, fats, and especially protein!  Protein will help you maintain and build muscle.  And guess what?  When you lose body fat and build muscle, you will immediately get that slimmer look you are going for.  By the way, when you eat these calorie dense foods – protein, carbs, and fats, you stay fuller longer!  Which means – yep-  you are eating less!  You are almost instantly eating fewer calories!  But you’re eating more of the good stuff.  That’s how you achieve fat loss.

You also need to exercise.  When you add strength training to your workout routine on a regular basis, that will also help you build the muscle and burn the fat that you want.  

You can do this.  It’s all about creating the habits that you are looking for to reach your goals.  It also takes time.  That’s why I tell people to ignore the scale.  It may be great news one day, and bad the next.  But when you build those habits of healthy eating every day and combine it with daily exercise, it will happen!

Can I help you get the results you are looking for?  Either with nutrition or fitness – it all starts with one phone call.  We are almost into September and now is the time to start going after all of those goals!  You start now, I promise, you will see results by the holidays!  Please give me a call.  Let’s talk about your goals and what you want to achieve.  I will create a program just for you!  Let’s do this!

Have a great week!

Ken Sandler






What is body fat percentage and how to calculate? | MGSS (mgsshealth.com)

Fat Loss V Weight Loss: What is the Difference? | Shaw Academy

Weight Loss vs. Fat Loss: How to Tell the Difference (healthline.com)

My New Fitness Certification!

 I have been on cloud nine all week because last week I finished up a brand new fitness certification –

     I am now a certified corrective exercise specialist!

This is a certification I have been very interested in for a while now.  I am really pumped to be able to help people stay healthy even more!

So what does this mean exactly?  How is this different from what I already do as a coach?  Well, we all move and don’t move differently.  Maybe you do the same movements every day – like play tennis or carpentry.  Maybe you sit too much all day.  Or maybe you have an injury that never healed.   Some of those things can cause other injuries that we don’t realize.  Corrective exercise is a great way to find balance in your body to make sure that you move in the best way possible.  That’s always the key isn’t it?  To just move and stay healthy.  But when you don’t move enough, or you do have soreness in say, your knees, that can affect your ankles or your hips.  And by showing you to use these methods, you will not only more better, but you will feel better as well!  

This is what I love so much about being a fitness coach.  I just continue to learn so many things to help you and my clients.  It feels so good and so exciting!

I hope you think about this in your life, too!  It is NEVER too late to start or learn something new.  There are so many fascinating things out there to just go after.  I hope you all continue to grow, and find ways to keep getting better, not just physically, but mentally.  Keep improving your mind, not just to stay positive as I often discuss, but to keep learning.  

Remember –  if I can, you can!  Please feel free to let me know if you have learned anything new, lately!

And of course, I’m here to help you reach your goals, we are heading into August – the dog days of summer.  Now is the perfect time to start working on your health and fitness goals.  It just takes one phone call!  please contact me to set up a time to talk.  We will discuss your goals, what you want to achieve, and how we can get you there.  I will create a program designed for you and your goals.  Please contact me today!

I’m Not the Coach for Everyone

I lost a client today. But I’m not so disappointed. It was probably more of a mutual decision.

Sadly, I was not able to deliver the results I promised. That’s ok. Because I learned. Our previous session didn’t go well and we spent today trying to discuss what she was looking for. I tried to understand what she needed and how we’d go about it, but she didn’t like it. In the end, I just decided, and I’m sure she agreed, that she needed someone who could help her the way she needed.

Here’s the thing about personal trainers, just like doctors or anyone else you hire, you need to find the person who works best for you.

When you go to a gym and tell someone you want a personal trainer, unless you specifically ask for someone because you know them, they will just assign you to that person. You don’t need to hire that person. They may not be the one for you. Feel free to ask questions find someone who can relate to you and really help you with your goals.

My situation today made me a better coach, as disappointing as it was. I learned I need to listen a bit better as well as communicate my plan with them to help them reach their goals. I have better ideas already of how to plan for my clients in the future.

This wasn’t a great situation, but I learned. It will help me #getbettereveryday