Tonawanda News

November 25, 2013

FIT FOR LIFE: Lessons learned from 2013

Chris Tybor
The Tonawanda News

Tonawanda News — As we are approximately 82.7 percent through the year, here are my thoughts in no particular order and for no particular reason.

• Taking guitar lessons has made me a better personal trainer. Doing something I have no previous experience with and paying for lessons has helped in the following ways: It puts the process of obtaining a skill set(s) in perspective. Contrary to my false sense of confidence, I sound no where near like Jimi Hendrix after a year of lessons. I can say with a 100 percent certainty that I have made way more progress, in quicker time, and have developed less bad habits than had I attempted to learn guitar on my own. I also can relate to my own clients better in the sense that, there were days were I didn’t want to practice or go to my appointments. Not wanting to disappoint Randy from Generations Music, I practiced and kept the overwhelming majority of my appointments. This was a valuable side effect of lessons/scheduled appointments.  

• More and more new/perspective clients are doing more damage to their bodies by undereating than overeating. Yes, you read that correctly. Too many gym-goers, (men and women) are eating way too little and doing way too much cardio in an effort to lose weight/body fat. This ends up being a disaster long-term, as some clients can’t lose weight on under 1000 kilocalories and upwards of 1.5 hours of cardio per day. If this describes you, please see someone qualified to help you. 

• Obtaining a second gym location has been crazy. First, I never imagined one location, let alone two. Overall, this has been a positive experience. Having the responsibility of both locations has of course added some stress, which is where guitar lessons has also benefited me. Sure, working out will always be my great stress reliever, but taking on a challenge that involved different aspects of my brain has been great. While taking guitar lessons, I’m not worrying if there’s toilet paper in the locker rooms, if Ann Marie has a bad attitude today or if Jim is curling in the squat rack again. 

• To this day, I have never regretted a workout or taking my dogs for a walk. I can admit that I have regretted skipping both, on rare occasions.

• Cardio for body composition changes is over-rated in my experience. More people could change their bodies from lifting weights more often/intense and eating better. They could also benefit from more intense versions of the cardio they are currently doing.

• Most people still overestimate how hard they are working and underestimate how many calories they consume.  

• It surprises how many spouses, significant others, boyfriends, girlfriends, etc., will try to sabotage their partner/friend from making progress in the gym. Whether its snide remarks, bringing home dessert, pizza, ice cream or making their partner feel guilty for their gym time. It appears that those with low self-esteem will try to keep others around them down. On a purely selfish note, why wouldn’t you want your partner to look better, let alone all the health benefits that come along with weight loss and increased activity? 

• Food logs work. Every single time. 

• Some people set unrealistic expectations. Much like me wanting to be the second coming of Hendrix, people want to lose 30 pounds, never eat junk food again, run 15 miles at a time, lift 750 pounds and do 817 burpees in their first week of training. 

• Some people set their expectations too low. Recently, I noticed a member doing her cardio work on a recumbent bicycle. She was always on this piece of cardio equipment. I typically don’t say anything as I understand some people just want to be left alone, but this time was different. I approached the member and said something to the effect of, “I see you here a lot. Would you like to do things more efficiently?” She responded with a yes, and I explained the adaption process of the body getting used to her very routine “routine.” As each of my tips were explained as well as the science behind it, her response was along the lines of “thanks, but ... I just want to get in the habit of coming to the gym,” she said. The conversation continued on for quite some time. 

I realized I wasnt “winning’ this conversation. At one one point she actually admitted that she knew that I was right. Huh? A a week or twi went by before she attempted a different piece of equipment, the elliptical. I know see her more frequently on the elliptical than I do on the bike. She also looks like she’s lost a few more pounds. Progress, whether it be physically, mentally or emotionally happens at different rates for different people. 

My guitar is calling.

Chris Tybor is a personal trainer and owner of Chrisfit, which has locations in Lewiston and Niagara Falls. For more information, visit