Personal Trainer Ideas for Business Growth & Development

Engaging a personal trainer for the purpose of organizational development, in particular in a large business or corporation, can be really a challenging undertaking. While those individuals who actually pursue personal growth and development on their own generally seek to do so via books, CDs, and  mp3 downloads, individuals who find themselves mandated to meet with a personal trainer for the sake of the company most likely do not truly want to be there. These people are only meeting with the personal trainer because it is expected by the business or corporation.

The obstacle in these predicaments is to make the individual training fun and exciting so that business development is achievable – even when doing work with unwilling trainees. Suggestions for business enhancement teachings that are groundbreaking, fascinating, and captivating for your hesitant audience is the remedy. Below are some strategies for enterprise progress that can help you get over the initial obstacles.

1. Use acronyms. If you do not have an acronym for a phrase, use your imagination to make one up. Funny acronyms are a wonderful way to keep focus and get details across. This is also a great way for the fitness coach to make company improvement strategies stick in the memory of the unwilling participant.

2. Put a twist on familiar icebreakers to create a pleasurable environment for learning. This is an old but familiar concept that the audience is most likely familiar with and will foster a sense of unity between the fitness trainer and his reluctant audience.

3. Keep ideas as succinct as possible. Just one web page can give a clarification of negotiation approaches in fewer than 6 hundred words and phrases. Building complicated topics like negotiation into brief explanations will keep your viewers intrigued, and additional facts and procedures will more readily seep into their recollections.

4. Use games to reinforce essential points. After a lengthy explanation of concepts and ideas,  the personal trainer can use buzz term bingo, hangman, or even charades to break up the monotony of the day and help retain the concepts for small business improvement.

5. Create far-fetched scenarios to drive points home. The  trainer can use humorous hypothetical circumstances as demonstrations of what not to do for small business improvement.  Much like a brainstorming session, this is an excellent idea that will lead to much more creative strategies and more participation from the members of the team.

6. Further develop skills through role play. The personal trainer who uses this concept will see great results in organizational tasks such as administration procedures, interviewing processes, and office social interactions. By getting your contributors to actively participate, you will be more likely to further the objective of true business development.

7. Use amusing tales to underscore the importance of time management. There are several humorous stories and analogies to be found online to drive home the point of this concept for company progress. You can also find them in textbooks, posts, and on  internet sites.

8. Introduce enjoyable team bonding games and functions. A crucial  aspect of any business growth is understanding how to work collectively as a cohesive group. The personal trainer can introduce games as a concept for team developing as a weekly Friday office environment ritual.

These are just a few activities that will promote the continuation of business development even after the fitness coach and his tips are long gone.

Exercise for Children! Does it have Any Fitness Benefits?

Adults are keenly aware that they need to exercise to get or stay fit. However, many think that children do not need to exercise. Perhaps they feel that children get enough activity during the day with all the running around and playing involved in just being a child. The rise in sedentary activities like watching TV/playing video games/internet surfing is reflected in the parallel rise in childhood obesity rates.

Instead of letting your kids come home to a bedroom full of technology, why not enroll them in a sports class?  Music Lessons? Or even a book club?  My children have been members of the Dorchester YMCA since they were small and take advantage of the swimming, martial arts, and basketball classes they offer.  My son even works out with a personal trainer on a limited basis.

The American Council on Exercise offers the following 10 reasons why children should exercise:

  1. Kids who exercise are more likely to keep exercising as an adult.
  2. Exercise helps kids achieve and maintain a healthy body weight.
  3. Regular physical activity helps build and maintain strong, healthy muscles, bones and joints.
  4. Exercise aids in the development of important interpersonal skills—this is especially true for participation in team sports.
  5. Exercise improves the quantity and quality of sleep.
  6. Research shows that exercise promotes improved school attendance and enhances academic performance.
  7. Kids who exercise have greater self-esteem and better self-images.
  8. Participating in regular physical activity prevents or delays the development of many chronic diseases (e.g., heart disease, diabetes, obesity, hypertension) and promotes health.
  9. Children who are active report fewer symptoms of anxiety and depression and a better overall mood.
  10. Exercise helps improve motor coordination and enhances the development of various motor performance skills.

A report by the CDC recommends 60 minutes of exercise for children each day.  Their research indicates that the average 8-11 year old only gets 5 minutes of vigorous exercise a day.  This is very believable in light of the reduction of physical fitness and recess in America’s schools.  Our schools are so focused on the core standards of reading, writing, and arithmetic that our children will be tested on that they are overlooking this critical piece of their development.  Maybe we should bring the Presidential Physical Fitness Test back (does anyone remember that besides me??) and include it among the subjects that our children are accountable for.

Until that happens, one thing that we as parents can do to increase our children’s activity is to be active ourselves.  It’s no secret that children pick up the habits of their parents; so if you are active, they will be active.  A few ways that you can influence their behavior:

  • Find a parking spot further away from the mall/grocery store/wherever and walk
  • If possible, walk up the escalator in the mall instead of riding it
  • Schedule yard work and outside projects to do in warmer weather

These, coupled with a nutritious diet, will put your child on the road to a lifetime of wellness.

I wonder how this toddler would have fared if she’d had a bit more exercise under her belt….

Summarization – More Difficult Than it Seems

Massachusetts fourth graders had to read Strongest of All by Pleasant DeSpain as part of the English Language Arts portion of the 2012 MCAS (Massachusetts Comprehensive Assessment System) exam.  The passage was broken up into 29 paragraphs  with only 582 words – about the length of a typical blog post (this one is a bit wordy).  Different from the multiple choice reading comprehension questions, question 6 asked:

Based on the folktale, explain the most likely reason the author states that “Rabbit was the strongest of all.” Support your answer with important details from the folktale.

Whoa!!  This is something that you can’t flip back to ascertain, because although the answer is factual it requires that you summarize in your own words – what happened that led to this outcome or conclusion.  In other words, comprehend what you read.

According to California middle school teacher Heather Wolpert-Gawron, this skill is more difficult than it seems. She says that when she asks her students to summarize, they infuse their voice and opinion. But a summary is just the opposite – it is the distillation of the bare facts of the story without the extra words and/or emotion.  Webster’s calls a summary the “general idea in brief form”.  When you ask your students to summarize, you want them to

  • extrapolate main ideas
  • identify key details
  • demonstrate understanding and usage of key words and phrases
  • disseminate the larger ideas
  • convey the point of the passage
  • take concise but thorough notes

But instead, they

  • write too much
  • don’t write enough
  • write entire thoughts instead of succinct points
  • focus on extraneous details
  • don’t write enough about important details
  • transcribe the passage

Summarization is a skill that we use from the time we are able to articulate thoughts.  Ever come to break up two fighting siblings?  The first thing you ask is “What happened?” They don’t replay the entire 20 minutes that led up to the fisticuffs, rather they tell you succinctly who did what to whom and this is where we landed.  That is summarization.  Or what about Property Brothers on HGTV? (Love that show and those twins!!) They work on a project for weeks at a time, but shrink wrap the start to finish into a 30 minute segment.  They further condense their activities into a 3 minute summary of what they did, room by room with before and after pictures.  How was your day?  Answered with summarization.  How was your meal? Not answered as Robertson Davies did in The Rebel Angels – “We’ll top off with lots and lots of cheese; the goatiest and messiest you have, because I like my cheese opinionated. We’ll need at least a loaf of that crusty Italian bread, unsalted butter, some green stuff – a really good belch-lifting radish, if you have such a thing – and some garlic butter to rub on this and that, as we need it. Coffee nicely frothed.” You just summarize and say it was good.

Given that we will need to properly summarize a multitude of situations in our personal, professional, and- in the case of these and most other students- educational lives, it’s probably best if we figure out a way to teach this deceptively challenging skill. offers the following suggestions:

  • After students have used selective underlining on a selection, have them turn the sheet over or close the handout packet and attempt to create a summary paragraph of what they can remember of the key ideas in the piece. They should only look back at their underlining when they reach a point of being stumped. They can go back and forth between writing the summary and checking their underlining several times until they have captured the important ideas in the article in the single paragraph.
  • Have students write successively shorter summaries, constantly refining and reducing their written piece until only the most essential and relevant information remains. They can start off with half a page; then try to get it down to two paragraphs; then one paragraph; then two or three sentences; and ultimately a single sentence.
  • Teach students to go with the newspaper mantra: have them use the key words or phrases to identify only Who, What, When, Where, Why, and How.
  • Take articles from the newspaper, and cut off their headlines. Have students practice writing headlines for (or matching the severed headlines to) the “headless” stories.
  • Sum It Up: Pat Widdowson of Surry County Schools in North Carolina shared this very cool strategy with me. How’s it work? You have students imagine they are placing a classified ad or sending a telegram, where every word used costs them money. Tell them each word costs 10 cents, and then tell them they can spend “so much.” For instance, if you say they have $2.00 to spend, then that means they have to write a summary that has no more than 20 words. You can adjust the amount they have to spend, and therefore the length of the summary, according to the text they are summarizing. Consider setting this up as a learning station, with articles in a folder that they can practice on whenever they finish their work early or have time when other students are still working.

If you are a parent who wants to help your child with summarization, try watching a television show together and asking your child to tell you what happened.  Or, if your child really struggles with summarization or any other English Language Arts standards, consider afterschool tutoring.  In the Dorchester, MA area, I recommend Ann’s Christian Learning Center.

Good Luck, and here’s to the extinction of verbose summarizations!!


Home Schooling: More Pupils, Less Regulation…REALLY????

There was an interesting article on the front page of today’s (1/5/15) New York Times.  The title of the article is Home Schooling: More Pupils, Less Regulation.  ( In it, the article talks about how more students are being home schooled, but there has been a reduction in the oversight of this type of education.  One paragraph in the article states:

“Eleven states do not require families to register with any school district or state agency that they are teaching their children at home, according to the Coalition for Responsible Home Education, a nonprofit group that is pushing for more accountability in home schooling. Fourteen states do not specify any subjects that families must teach, and only nine states require that parents have at least a high school diploma or equivalent in order to teach their children. In half the states, children who are taught at home never have to take a standardized test or be subject to any sort of formal outside assessment.”

Let’s break this down one idiotic sentence at a time, shall we? So first, eleven states allow a child to stay at home with the assumption that they are being educated? As it is, public schools have cut back on music and physical education to stress reading and math that their students will be tested on, yet fourteen states have no mandatory curriculum that kids must be taught if they are going to be taught at home. Lastly – and this is the most ridiculous of them all – you as a parent can teach your child from home with nothing more than a high school diploma.  Hmmm…most real teachers have Master’s Degrees, or at the very least a Bachelor’s Degree.  Is a child supposed to fare better with someone who is only slightly more educated than they are?

I’ll be the first to admit that the United States educational system leaves much to be desired -NPR reported that the most recent results of the PISA (Programme for International Student Assessment) show American 15 year old students slipping in global rankings in reading ranking 20 out of 65 participating nations, math 30/65 and science 23/65-but at no point did I ever think that home schooling was the answer. As a matter of fact, I supplement my children’s education by sending them to Ann’s Christian Learning Center both for enrichment and to reinforce what they are learning in the classroom.

The article also reports that home-schooled students in 25 states are not required to take any standardized tests nor are they subjected to any sort of formal outside assessment. How can you tell how you are doing relative to your peers? How can you competitively apply for college, or even pass the SAT/ACT required to get into college in the absence of core testing? I admit that not all learning takes place in the classroom, but it is the foundation that is built upon in each grade level that prepares a student to think for themselves and ask questions that broaden their horizons.  I can’t see this happening as effectively in the living room of a suburban split level ranch.

Speaking of peers….how is a child supposed to learn how to interact with other children if they don’t spend time with any other than family and neighbors that they’ve chosen? Coursework now focuses on teams and working in them as it mirrors the collaboration that is expected in the workforce.  Homeschooled kids are missing out on that entire experience.  They miss out on the perspectives, attitudes, and holidays of others of different races, religions, and beliefs.

There may be reasons for homeschooling, but the greater good will be served to this country and its economy if every child is held to the same standards and those standards are toughened so that this country finds itself in the top ten globally in reading, math, and science.