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Posts from the ‘Personal Training’ Category

Personal Training: Working it out with PT Matt Gammon

Well ladies and gentleman- We have a the cream of the crop when it comes to new Personal Trainers in our facility!

I have been lucky enough to work out with these new trainers so that I can inform you about their styles.
Matt gave me a great workout in a 45 minute time period, he was no-nonsense, encouraging and most of all -fun. And as you will see- I was SWEATING.

We started with a dynamic warm-up before heading to the PT area to get started.

We began with single leg deadlifts. I still have issues with these- my balance isn’t perfect and I am definitely weaker on my left leg then my right. Matt was kind and encouraging and gave me some pointers on how to better correct my form and perform the exercise correctly.

From there we went straight into dumbbell squats. Which believe it or not- I haven’t done before. These were probably my favorite exercise of the whole set- I could REALLY feel it and I felt great doing it. Matt made sure my toes were pointed forward and my form was perfect before I even went through my first rep.

Next we had hamstring curls using the physio ball- a move I have finally gotten the hang of. The best tip Matt gave me is to really keep your core tight so that you don’t wobble off the ball.

Finally we did back extensions- again using the physio ball. It’s amazing how much you don’t utilize your lower back until you have to work it. And then you realize it’s there and it is not happy with you.

And then A LAP! In under a minute and five seconds. Matt was waiting at the end of the lap with a high five and a “Great job!”

Then we repeated this three times.
When I was thoroughly out of breath Matt decided to add more torture to the list with abs.

He gave me four ab exercises to complete:

1) Ball curls. Where you put your hands in the plank position and curl the ball towards you using your shins/toes. Basically- pray you don’t land on your face.

2) Russian twists. I have done these before in Joe’s ab class- but Matt corrected my form so that my hips weren’t rotating as well and I am a lot more sore for it.

3) Ball crunches- another Joe’s abs favorite but still a  good one. 20 correct crunches later and I was starting to feel worn out.

4) Medicine ball twists. WITH A TWIST. I had to hold the medicine ball tight between my knees with my feet parallel to the ground while I twisted my torso. OW. And WOW. What a great exercise.

Of course he made me repeat it.

At the end of our workout I was tired and sweaty and encouraged. I really like how Matt explained what the exercises were working and how to make it more effective for myself.

Matt is knowledgeable, friendly and an invested Personal Trainer. He want’s to see you succeed as much, if not more than, you want to succeed for yourself. I highly suggest calling Jay Tate to book a PT consult with Matt- especially if you are looking for someone to keep you on task and motivated. (804) 364-1200- make that call TODAY.



Sweat Equity: Working out with PT Jeremy Lester

I told Jeremy I was going to call this post sweat equity. Because you get what you pay for in a workout with him in pure sweat.

Jeremy- as many of you know- has been a familiar front desk face for some time while working on his PT certification. As an avid workout junky himself, Personal Training was the natural way to go.

We started with a quick two lap warm-up. Jeremy knows me and knows I workout fairly often so I felt fairly confident going into this workout.

From our warm-up he asked me a quick question, I let him know I had minor knee issues we agreed to have a good workout and off we went.

We started with Ski jumps while holding an 8 lb. medicine ball for a minute of time. A LOOONNNG Minute that first round since I was still a little out of breath from my sprint around the track.


After Ski Jumps we headed over to the PT area to work on dumbbell presses and deadlifts using the bar. Jeremy tried to start me off with 25 lb. dumbbells, after I finished laughing I pointed to my puny arms and told him to at least start me off with 15 lbs.

With the deadlifts I used an alternating hand grip- something I hadn’t done before and the feeling was surprisingly different.

Then Jeremy asked me how long could I hold a plank.

I looked at him like he had lost his mind and he laughed and said we’d start at 1 minute. And although it was a long minute, it was easily achievable. He was extremely encouraging and made sure I held correct form the entire time.

We started our next circuit off with burpees. I hate burpees more than I hate push-ups. And that is saying something. My first few I managed to spring off the ground like a gazelle. As the minute wore down I was limping my way back to a standing position. But Jeremy kept encouraging me and telling me to push hard and finish strong.

Our round continued with fly’s and squats and what I like to call the devils triceps.  Jeremy was great in explaining the difference of where my arms should be on the fly exercise, what I should feel and correcting me until I got it exactly right before he would start counting.

He checked my squat form first before allowing me to use the weighted bar and after our first set where I over-estimated how much weight I could comfortably handle, we adjusted and he pushed me through more reps . I felt confident and like I had REALLY pushed myself.


The Tricep trio involved a set of waist width tricep dips, then a set of arms spread far out on the bench and then finishing with a diamond shape, arms close together- to reach all areas of your triceps. They sucked- but in a good way, you immediately knew it was working something.


I asked Jeremy what moves would best tone inner thighs. I mean come on, it’s summer and we all have work to do. He told me that weighted sumo squats really tone your inner thighs and glutes and he had me try a set so I could get comfortable with the feeling.

Then he grabbed the foam rollers and told me that our hour long session was over. And he foam rolled along side of me so that I did it correctly.

Working out with Jeremy was a great experience.  He was on task, knowledgeable and he really made me work. He had an explanation for my questions that made sense in layman’s terms and he was upbeat and encouraging the entire time.  You couldn’t ask for a more positive experience.


If you want to workout with Jeremy contact Jay Tate at (804)364-1200 and schedule a PT consult today. But hurry- I have a feeling Jeremy’s schedule is going to get pretty full, pretty quickly.



TRX: Rip Trainer Demo And MORE!

We want to show you how different parts of the gym can integrate with each other to help you become a better, more well rounded and physically fit individual.

So we got one of our lovely members Kristen to wear our demo Polar Heart Rate Monitor for Ashley’s Cycle Bootcamp Class and we let Jay Tate, our Fitness Director, set up a special demo for the first half an hour of class.

We split the class in half at the beginning and let Jay  demonstrate how to use the TRX Rip Trainer as well as the TRX Suspension Training system.

The Rip Trainer is a new addition to our facility and it really helps work on your core because at all times your body is resisting rotation.

Here is a Video Link from TRX on the Rip Trainer if you want to check it out yourself.


Jay gave demonstrations of moves at each of the three stations. One for the Rip Trainer, One for TRX and one for Abs. Our participants rotated through each station- doing several different moves in their fifteen minute session while Jay and two other Personal trainers watched and made adjustments to form as necessary.

Kristen had previously tried Personal Training and loved it but she’d taken a break and had never tried the Rip Trainer before. She said she really enjoyed the TRX moves and was surprised by the difficulty of the Rip Trainer.

809 calories burned later!


Thank to the Polar Heart Rate monitor we also learned that Kristen burned 809 calories in her hour long class.

She had no idea her body was capable of burning that much and she enjoyed wearing the heart rate monitor as well as knowing that information.


The Heart Rate Monitors are available for Purchase in the Cafe and we have a stand with the different models as you walk in at the front desk.  If you are interested in TRX or Rip Trainer training schedule your free PT consult with Jay Tate today! Just call (804)364-1200!

AFF Be A Loser 5k!

We are SO proud of our Be A Loser Contestants! This past weekend they completed a 5k at Harry G. Daniel Park off of Iron Bridge Road in Chesterfield.

Our First Place winner was Kevin with a time of just over 22 minutes!

[Sorry Kevin- we didn’t seem to grab a picture 😦 You were just moving too fast! ]

Our First place female was Megan!

All of our contestants did wonderfully- some ran in teams:










Others ran with family:

Some did the solo run:

Some even shaved 15 MINUTES off of their previous 5k time.

The Trainers were either cheerleading and directing the contestants or running alongside them for encouragement.


And we were all so very proud of their accomplishments thus far.

Way to go!

Team Chester!

Team Williamsburg!










Final Weigh-Ins for our Be A Loser contestants is on June 28th, 2012 with our final ceremony on June 30th, 2012.


Personal Training: Meet Johnny

We have some amazingly talented individuals taking Personal Training right now. One of them happens to be training with Naveed and at ten years old is doing more than most.

His name is Johnny.

Johnny always starts his workout with a dynamic warm-up. He and Naveed catch up on what has happened in the last week, how he is doing in school, how he feels today and his goals.

Then Johnny shows off and jumps a pretty decent sized plyo box while answering the same questions for me. I ask him which sport he is most looking forward to playing- and his answer: Football. When I get an opportunity to see Johnny play with the pigskin a little later, I realize why. Johnny has talent.


Johnny is an incredibly impressive ten year old. He is seen above performing a move called a “hang clean” and he does it with power and unbelievable form. Naveed is obviously proud of his pupil. He has a video of Johnny doing a hang clean on his phone and he takes a second to show me.

Johnny’s Hang Clean

Johnny takes a few minutes to bust through a few sets of push-ups. Naveed keeps watch from several angles, making sure his form is proper and that he won’t injure himself.

And as if his arms are not tired yet- he helps work them a little bit more by bench pressing the 45 lb. bar. Naveed actually added 5 lb. weights to each side so that in his final set, Johnny was benching 55 lbs. Like I said, this is one impressive ten year old. He explained to me that they had only added the weights last week and he was really excited about progressing.

Johnny is also a champion speller. So Naveed and I worked his mind a little and gave him words to spell while he did his TRX rows and bicep curls. He is about to enter the sixth grade and was having a great time spelling “paparazzi” and “psychologist” to name a few. Smart and physically fit? This kid is going places.

Naveed helped work the legs and abs prior to the cool down, letting Johnny do weighted single leg squats and ab rolling with his toes down on the mat. You could see he was ready for this session to be over.

Nevertheless he finished strong. He held his plank for three sets and completed his workout with several football drills.

Check him out in action:

Johnny’s Football drill

Thanks for letting us share this workout of an incredibly hard working and talented 10-year-old.

And keep an eye out folks- Johnny is going places!


Personal Training with Mohammed

Recently I was lucky enough to get a workout in with Mohammed Al’Atabe. Mohammed is one of our many Fabulous PT’s who helps mold and shape our members into the best physically fit person they can be.

Mohammed really focuses on movement and how working out can truly improve your everyday experiences. He knows you spend more time doing the laundry and yard work then you do in the gym and his goal is to help make your daily errands easier.

We started off with a few movement exercises so that Mohammed could judge how my body moved and what sort of exercises would best suit me.


Mo checked out my balance, core strength and my ability to control the arch in my back as well as my hips before we really moved forward. He explained it this way, “I’ve never worked with you before and I don’t know how your body moves- we have to establish that before I can push forward with a workout.”


We started off with some hip and leg work. In a similar move that I have done with Jay, we worked on using my glutes to push my hips up. We also did a plank like move, using the dumbbells, before moving my legs inward- not far- to use abs and glutes again.


Prior to moving into the edge we worked with a resistance band on rows, to again see how I used my hips and lower back and how I did rows.



We started off with Dead lifts with the kettle bell. It has been a WHILE since I have done these and I had to have a lesson in form once again. The great part about having a personal trainer is that they spend the whole time telling you how to do things right!



Mo was also really good about working next to me to show me an example of how it is done correctly. I sometimes learn better by visual then by doing. And the nice part of having the PT next to you is they can really say, “Well that’s not exactly right, try correcting this. Do you feel the difference?” And if I don’t we work on it until I DO get it.


My absolute favorite thing about working with Personal Trainer’s is the names that they call moves. “Ok today we are going to do: Dead bug, bird dog, watch tv’s, etc.” I mean really- dead bug? The amazing thing? They all call moves that- but they are never the same! Jay’s version of dead bug involved an elbow to knee rolling motion, like one of those beetles trapped on it’s back. Mo’s involved squeezing a ball with my foot and hand to keep my abs engaged while switching legs. Dead Bug- a move of many meanings.


We finished off where we started. In the weight room.  We worked on core stability and resistance training once again, Mo held the tubing and I performed arm exercises, while maintaining my balance in a  lunge position. Switching sides after 12 reps.

Then we made my dead lifts just that much harder by adding in a TRX leg suspension as well. I was now doing single legged dead lifts with the kettle bell. Again Mohammed really focused on keeping my form correct.


Lastly we worked on a series of arm extension exercises using the Resistance band.  Mo spent a lot of time explaining what he does as a trainer and why he focuses more on movement than muscle groups.  He’s really passionate about his job and about helping people move more efficiently and in a better way for their body. He had great suggestions and was extremely helpful.

If you are interested in working with Mohammed- please contact Jay Tate at (804)364-1200.




Personal Training with Brian

I had the pleasure of getting to “test out” one of our newest personal trainers, Brian Smalls.  I wanted to see what his training style was like so that I could share with our members what to expect if they sign up for a consult or personal training with this truly phenomenal trainer.

First thing’s first, Brian sat me down in the consult room and took my weight (116 lbs.) and my body fat (21.3%- WAY back up from Goal for the Gold). And then he asked me about my fitness goals.

I told him I really need to tone, that I have limited time due to working full time and grad school full time, and that I am kind of a cardio addict.

He took all of that into consideration and then wrote out what his ideal plan was for me, explaining everything from how muscle burns more calories at rest then fat, how much total body fat he’d ideally get me to lose, and what his goal time line for me to do it in was.

Now Brian knew I had trained previously, but he really wanted me to get the full “first time” experience and so he took me through a workout as if I was a newbie.

We started with a dynamic warm-up.

Now our focus today was on abs and arms. Two areas I really want to tone. I don’t want “bat wings” or ” muffin top.”

So we began with an arm workout using a machine available in our weight room.

At this machine, Brian had me do a variety of movements. I pulsed, pushed through, came down slowly, pushed through again and more in a short time span.

I had a few moments of, “Oh no I am going to collapse and show that I have lost all upper body strength.” But Brian was very motivational, maintaining that I had at least one more rep, one more push, one more of anything left in me. And that was only our first stop.

We moved to another machine to focus on arms, this time using my arms in a “hug a tree” motion as Brian put it, pushing upwards towards his palms and then downwards towards my quads.

Next we moved to dreaded triceps.

As you can tell by my face, I am super excited about this.

We moved from the floor to the PT area where I did a series of exercises using lighter weights. I felt a little like I was doing the YMCA, but upside down.

From my cheerleading moves (not really -they joked that I looked like one) we moved to rows with the dumbbells.

Brian was really helpful in explaining the moves to me in a way that made sense. Any time I had a question about why we were doing something a certain way he had the answer, “This works your rear delts.” And then goes on to explain what that means, why it’s important and what I need to be doing in order to get the most out of this exercise.

Brian is a former boxer, so we picked up the gloves and got to work on my jab, cross and knee kick. I have to admit I felt pretty cool when I got some praise for picking it up so quickly.  We spent a few minutes “sparring” before I started to run out of steam. It’s amazing how great of a workout boxing really is. (TRY AFKB on T/Th. at 7:45 p.m.)

From boxing we took a minute so that I could catch my breath before we moved to abs exercise. Now the first exercise we did is not pictured here, but if you get a chance to train with Brian- please ask him to show you the “watching t.v. plank. ” My abs hurt for two days and I am POSITIVE that this was the reason why.

Then we did an exercise where I used my abs to sit up and reach forward as well as a move that worked both my center abs, shoulders, and obliques- or a “compound exercise” as Brian put it.

Brian is a great personal trainer. He’s thorough and knowledgeable as well as being really motivational. He doesn’t allow you to slack off, which means you really have to push yourself to do the best you can in each set. I really enjoyed working with him and I would definitely recommend calling Jay Tate or Alex Smith (364-1200) to set up a consultation with him soon! I have a feeling spaces with him are going to fill up quickly.

Also- seriously consider Personal Training for your weight loss and fitness goals. There is nothing like one-on-one attention, devoted solely to helping you improve your overall health and fitness. If you can’t do it alone, get a  friend with similar goals and move towards health together. Personal training remains one of my favorite experiences at American Family and I highly recommend EVERYONE trying it.

Goal for the Gold: Finale!

Eight weeks later and here we stand.Everyone worked incredibly hard and the average Body Fat lost was over 3%. That’s a huge adjustment and everyone should be extremely proud of their hard work.

Please congratulate all of our competitors:

From the Front Desk:

  • Erin Cutright
  • Sandy Kuhn
  • Julie Hasinger
  • Cheryl Jones
  • Emily Gerry
  • Cat Juson
  • Aundrea Everett
  • Ashley Wright

From Maintenance:

  • Mike Smith
  • Chris Kenyon

From Membership:

  • Kyle Moneymaker
  • Bryan Lane
  • Al Pribbenow
  • Clinton Howie
  • Ryan Chisholm
  • Jesse Haney

From Kid Zone:

  • Jenny Cutright
  • Amber Haggard
  • Morgan Church
  • Tyla Rae

From Activities:

  • Kerith Rae
  • Gayla Clarke

From Group X:

  • Brett Timpano
  • Ashley Gibbs
  • Shelle Taylor
  • Lauren Reed

From Housekeeping:

  • Wilma Mercedes
  • Ebony Robinson

From Fitness:

  • Jaime McGettigan

Thank you to our dietitian:

Victoria Tate

And thank you to our Trainers:

  • Jay Tate
  • Alex B. Smith
  • Adam Switters
  • Ashley Taylor
  • Ryan Laffoon
  • Monica Michael
  • Naveed Yousafzai
  • Mohammed Al-Tabe
  • Jeremy Bowman
  • Marlo P.
  • Jordan Padgett
  • Cynthia Harp
  • Coach
  • David Neal
  • Elizabeth Whidbee

Our Top Three:

Third Place: Coach and Shelle Taylor (5.8% Body Fat Loss)

Second Place: Jay Tate and Kerith Rae (6.0% Body Fat Loss)

First Place: Ryan Laffoon and Jaime McGettigan (6.7% Body Fat Loss)

Congratulations to everyone who made a change in their lives for the better! We can’t wait to see you in the competition again next year!

Goal for the Gold: The End Result for Two Sisters

8 weeks have passed for both Tyla and I. Eight long weeks of torture and hard work. Of ups and downs. Of bumps and bruises and tears and grunts and more effort then we ever knew we could put forth.

To recap:

When we started 8 weeks ago: Tyla weighed in at 170.4 lbs. and her Body fat was 42.8%.

I weighed: I weighed in at 117 lbs.  and my Body Fat was 23.1%.

Today Tyla Weighed in at  162 lbs. and 37.9 % body fat. So a total lost  of 8 pounds and 4.9% body fat.

And I weighed in at 114 lbs. and 17.1% Body fat- a total loss of  3 pounds and 6% body fat.

Here are our Before and After’s:



And me:



I plan to continue my personal training journey. I have learned a lot about myself and my body and it’s capabilities and I’d like to set some new goals for myself.

I am unbelievably proud of my sister who stuck with it and has seen a change in her body as well. We are both healthier individuals thanks to these past 8 weeks.

Thank you so much to Jay Tate for putting up with me and for helping me get into the shape I am in today. And thank you SO much to Alex B. Smith- who has helped my sister gain confidence and a smile as well as to put her on the path to being a more  healthy individual. I am so grateful for that.

Well West End- check in tomorrow to see the full list of competitors and the winners!And thank you for following our story.

-Kerith and Tyla

Goal for the Gold: Training Session with Jay week 7

Jay Tate tried to kill me. Ok- not really. But he did push me harder then I ever thought I could go.

He’s pushed me past my preconceived limits every week, for 8 weeks and I am seeing the results. Minor- but there.

He laughs when I point at my slowly emerging muscles and tells me to get back to work.

We started with squats. I feel like that is now our go-to beginning exercise. Except Jay has upgraded me to holding a kettlebell at my sternum and doing squats at the same time.

I still constantly have to remind myself to keep my toes forward, but I have gotten to the point where my body adjusts itself now into the correct position.

Prowler pushed were new. And let me tell you- they kind of suck. My body was not prepared for the onslaught of exhaustion or the loss of the ability to breathe. My legs BURNED.

Jay is a harsh task master- walking beside me and forcing me to push harder and faster.  It was pretty cool to hear him say that he had increased the difficulty of today’s workout because I’d progressed to the point that I needed a harder challenge.

My rest consisted of leg- lock bridges, which have now become one of my mastered exercises. Then we moved into the Edge weight room and tried pull-ups on for size. Apparently the green band was a little difficult.

So we moved onto the black band and made it a little easier. I would just like to point out that I have actual arm muscle in the second picture. Muscle, people.

From this we moved to single arm chest press while balancing on the ball.I tried really hard not to fall on my butt and break myself, and after the first set I got the hang of it. It was not only a serious core workout but my glutes were killing me.

From there we worked some more shoulders with the “Wall angels.” I swear they are the most, misnamed exercise because there is NOTHING angelic about them.

Next we did overhead press, which I frankly just wanted to be over. My arms were so fried by this point and it was only the second set of exercises. But we were nowhere near done. Jay decided we needed to go out onto the floor, in public, to try some new tricep exercises and a good old wall sit with curls.

I’ve noticed such a significant change in my posture these past 8 weeks. I definitely pay attention more to how I sit and stand and how I have a tendency to roll my shoulders forward.

We did a few ab exercises before we finished with the lower back exercise you see above. At this point in the workout I was telling Jay he needs to work for the CIA and to extract secrets from spies with his gym torture. He just laughed at me.

Understandable. I may whine a lot but I put my all into it.

I have come a long way in 8 weeks. I have noticed small changes in my body and my appetite. I feel stronger and more capable then I did 8 weeks ago.

Personal training has been an absolute blessing. I love how I feel and how I get pushed past my own preconceived notions of what my body is capable of doing. I love that Jay has faith in my body and its ability to work when I do not. I also love that I get to learn something new and push myself a little harder each week.

I am excited to show you the final results on Sunday and to show you how well all of our employees have done. I am proud of myself and all of the other competitors.

Thanks for following me on this journey and we’ll tell you who won on Sunday.

Please consider personal training, even if you can’t do a lot you can most definitely take advantage of your one free session and get started.