5 Key Components of a Top Notch Fitness Facility

It has been over 6 years since my facility State of Fitness opened its doors and less than six months since our corporate location with our new corporate location. To say we have are committed to continuously find ways to be the best fitness facility in a corporate or public location is an understatement. Here at SOF, we are constantly looking for ways we can improve. Our customer service,  cleanliness, training model, and training tools are high on our priority list! Each area needs daily attention to truly be the BEST.

We wanted to open up a personal training based facility that was clean, has up to date equipment, and unmatched customer service. We wanted it to be absolutely unlike anything else in the surrounding areas, as well as the state of Michigan. We feel that the consumer needs to have a place where they can get expert guidance in a fun, comfortable, welcoming and clean environment.

The health and fitness industry is growing at a very rapid rate and along with that comes more fitness facilities. With so many choices these days, large-scale health clubs, CrossFit boxes, 24-hour gyms, barre studios, and more, deciding where to join isn’t easy ! The tough thing is figuring out which one works best for you! Here are 5 things to think about when deciding which fitness facility to join:

  1. Professionalism

The first and foremost thing that someone should look for is what professionals are available at the facility. A solid fitness facility should always have a well-educated group of personal trainers. They should all have a college degree in a related field, years of experience, and nationally accredited certifications. You should also see if they have specialty certifications such as Functional Movement Screen, Precision Nutrition and Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialists. These individuals are there to help guide you in the right direction when you decide to embark on a proper exercise. They are the leaders in helping educate you to lead a healthier and more active lifestyle. Find a facility
that has owners invested in the day-to-day operations and live the life of fitness pro.




2. Customer Service

You want everyone from the front desk worker to the owner and director of the facility to be visible, eager to help, and care for each individual member that walks through the door. I am a firm believer that each person that works at the facility should be interactive with members and clients regardless of their position at the facility. They should not view you as just another member. They should show you that they are interested in listening to you about everything from your personal life to what you want to see done differently at the facility.

    3. Cleanliness and Organization

There is nothing in the world that is a bigger turnoff than a dirty facility. A fitness facility must always be as clean as possible. The locker rooms, mats, benches, and floors should be the high priority when keeping the facility clean. Hand sanitizer, spray sanitizer, and clean towels should always be available at the facility. If the facility is not clean, it is a big red flag. Go somewhere else.

Not only should the facility be kept clean, it should also be nicely organized. All dumbbells, weight machines, weight plates, and other pieces of equipment should be put away in a safe and orderly fashion. This helps control traffic and flow of members. It gives the members a better understanding of where everything is located, and helps reduce the risk of injury. There is nothing more appealing than a neat, clean, and efficient fitness facility.

  1. Up-to-Date Training Methods and EquipmentSOF

The fitness world is evolving very quickly and with that comes new ideas for equipment and classes. A fitness facility should always be looking out for the newly available equipment and training. Personal training in a private, semi-private, and group setting should be the cornerstone of any facility. Trainers are the most educated people when it comes to fitness. Each member, or potential member, should have the opportunity to work with a trainer on a regular basis or at minimum meet with a trainer to get him or her pointed in the right direction. Specialized programs on nutrition, injuries, and lifestyle should round out the programs offered at a facility.SOF 2

Machine based training is a thing of the past and is not how we need to be doing fitness. A fitness facility should have plenty of room filled with Kettlebells, slide boards, free weights, TRX straps, ropes, medicine balls, and other functional training tools. Plenty of cable stations, foam rollers, speed and agility equipment, and functional cardiovascular machines such as Concept 2 rowers, AirDyne bikes, treadmills, and stair steppers should round out the equipment list.

  1. Environment 

With everyone leading a busier lifestyle these days, it sometimes makes it tough to work up the motivation to even go to the gym. Having a place to go workout in a fun, welcoming, and energetic environment makes it all the more motivating to lead a more active lifestyle. You should walk into a fitness facility and be able to leave your problems at the door and know that you will have a hassle free workout. The key to helping people lead an active lifestyle is to provide continued support and motivation. Everyone needs to feel like someone is interested in helping them stay healthy.  They can then look forward to being surrounded by a great group of people.Class

Group and semi-private training provide a fun atmosphere for people to train. They have friends and make new friends that they can work out with. They share common bonds and motivate each other. It is tough to do this fitness thing on your own. Having a coach and other people in your group to train with makes it much easier to stay motivated and holds you accountable.

You Deserve A Great Gym Membership!

Customer service means knowing every member’s name. We continually go out of our way to help meet the health and fitness needs of our members and guests. We pride ourselves on keeping a clean and neat facility. If an area of the club does not look clean enough, we make sure to make it a top priority to clean it as fast as possible. It not only looks clean, it is clean! If a piece of equipment breaks, it is fixed or replaced promptly. Our staff is high energy, caring, and encouraging. Our members also provide a motivating and welcoming atmosphere to make everyone feel comfortable in a group and semi-private training setting. All of us feed off each other to get in the gym, work hard, have fun, and get results!

I am very proud to say that State of Fitness (and the people that are there) rock!

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Build Strength & Get Lean With This Workout Program

I have started to write more on my blog and plan to continue to, especially when I get my new website up (someday). I am also in the process of writing another book (details to come on this in the near future). The team at State of Fitness also opened up another training facility this year. So, it is safe to say that I have been pretty busy.

As an avid fitness reader myself, I always enjoying learning about what other trainers would recommend for someone looking to push it a little bit more in the gym and get into great shape. It’s similar to how an athlete looks to a training expert to lose body fat, gain muscle, and improve performance.


My take on programming for fat loss, gaining muscle and getting super strong all at the same time (yes, a very lofty goal), has changed over the years.

No longer do I tell people to lift weights and add in some cardio. It is more complex than that. In order to lose fat, gain muscle, get strong and improve your performance, there are a host of other things you need to focus on.

I have been known to take the minimalist approach in my own training which can work very well. I feel like I am in great shape from the brief, yet intense workouts I perform but if you really want to get into the shape you want, you will have to push the envelope a little.

Your workouts will require more volume and frequency and you need to stay committed and consistent.

If you want to become as lean and muscular as possible, you simply need to train like a speed and power athlete and not like a bodybuilder.

You should include strength, speed, power work, mobility drills, groundwork and work capacity (maintaining a high level of strength and power for an extended period of time).

This may look like a lot to do but don’t think that you need a ton of variety in your workouts. Getting better at the basics will ensure that you make gains and won’t hinder your recovery abilities. Keep it simple but not easy.


Let’s take a look at a few things that you need to focus on when trying to get lean and strong while also improving performance.


There is one thing that almost every trainer can agree on. If you get stronger, some good things are going to happen. In order to get strong, you need to master some of the basic barbell lifts like the hang clean, bench press, squat, deadlift and overhead press.

You must also get stronger and maintain that level of strength over an extended period of time. The best way to do this is to include a variety of loaded carries in your program.

Power and Speed

Many people think that power and speed work doesn’t have an effect on body composition but boy, are they wrong. Being able to run fast, jump high and far, throw heavy objects  and do them over and over again will bring new life to your training.

Performing a bunch of jumps, sprints, interval work and medicine ball work will make you feel powerful, athletic and burn fat like crazy. You will feel this part of the workout when you are finished due to it’s increased neural demands.

Strength and Power For a Period of Time

If you ever look at the leanest, most muscular and powerful athletes, you will notice that they can maintain strength, power and force production for an extended period of time. This time period can last anywhere from 40 seconds to 2 or 3-minutes. A 400-meter sprint, an MMA match, or gymnastics come to mind. Have you noticed these athletes’ physiques? Impressive to say the least.

This is where performing loaded carries (extended strength), medicine ball circuits and jumping (explosive capacity work) lasting 45-60 seconds and conditioning (200-500 meter sprints) will be included in this portion of the workout.


What About Nutrition? 

In order to lose fat you do need to be lower on calories but not so low that you can’t add or at least maintain muscle. You also need to feed for performance. This is where I like combining my 3-meals a day with workout nutrition approach with Intermittent Fasting.

I am not trying to sell you anything here but for only $2.99, you can buy my book. It explains my philosophy on how to get in awesome shape and feel heathy at the same time.

If you don’t want to buy the book, here is my short-list of habits you must commit to if you want to get the most out of this program:

  • Drink at least 80 ounces of water a day
  • Eat at least one gram of protein per pound of lean body mass per day
  • Take fish oil, and green food powder
  • Take workout nutrition seriously

The Program 

Below is a program that I have used with a few people and they experienced some great success. Before my surgery I was following a similar template and felt lean and strong.

Get ready to put some work in. You will be lifting 5-days per week with a day of interval work. Always make sure to perform a dynamic warm-up with the template suggestion below.

Dynamic Warm-up Template

Soft tissue work
Dynamic/static stretching
Specific mobility/movment pattern work/correctives if needed
Ground work – crawling, rolling, rocking, get-up patterns
Nervous system activation – jumping rope

Monday –Lower Body Focus

Exercise Sets Reps/Time Rest/Load
Box Jump 3 5 60 sec./body weight
Jump Squat 2 5 60 sec./20%
Trap Bar Deadlift 4 6 2-3 min./80%
Bar Front Squat 4 6 None/moderate
Box Jump 4 5 60 sec./body weight
Farmer Carry 4 60 sec. 60 sec./heavy

Tuesday – Upper Body Focus

Exercise Sets Reps/Time Rest/Load
Medicine Ball Circuit

(Side toss, OH toss, Slam, Chest pass)

4 5 ea. 60 sec. rest after circuit
Bar Push Press 4 6 80%
Pull-Up (w/band if needed) 4 AMRAP 45 sec. 60 sec.
Push-Ups 4 AMRAP 45 sec. 60 sec.
TRX Row 4 AMRAP 45 sec. 60 sec.
OH Carry 4 60 sec. 60 sec.
Rowing Ergometer 2 500 m 2 min.

Wednesday – Conditioning

Exercise Sets Reps/Time/Distance Rest
Bike, Row, Run 1 10-20 minutes @ 120 bpm
Sprint 4 30 meters 60 sec.
Bike Sprint 4 30 sec. 30 sec.
Bike or Run 4 200 meters 90 sec.

Thursday – Upper Body

Exercise Sets Reps/Time Rest/Load
Med ball chest pass/slam 5 5 30 sec.
Bench Press 4 6 80%
Bent Over Barbell Row 4 6 60 sec.
DB Push Press 3 8 60 sec.
Chin-Up 3 5 60 sec.
Bear crawl or suitcase carry 4 60 sec. 60 sec./heavy carry
Rowing Ergometer 2 750 meters 240 sec.

Friday Lower Body

Exercise Sets Reps/Time Rest/Load
Knee tuck jumps over hurdle 3 5
Hang P. Clean or Hang Snatch 5 3 80%
Deadlift 6 3 85%
Explosive Complex

-Box Jump

-Hang Power Clean

-KB Swing

3-5 AMRAP 30 sec. 50% (P.Clean)
Farmer Carry 4 60 sec. 60 sec./heavy

Saturday – Strength Circuit, rest 30 seconds between each exercise and 2-minutes after each round.

Exercise Sets Reps Rest/Load
KB Swing 5 15
Dips 5 6-8
Hang P. Clean 5 3 80-85%
Pull-Ups 5 MAX or hang for 30 sec.

This program was designed to maintain muscle mass while dropping body fat. If you focus on improving your strength, power, work capacity and just plain work out like an athlete, your body composition will change.

Time to Workout 


Most people think that training for fat loss should be boring with endless amounts of cardio and that you will lose strength. That is BS. You need to keep pushing yourself to get better in the weight room and improve the way you move. With this program, you will do just that. Give it a shot and let me know how it goes.


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Stronger From The Ground Up

Most people don’t know this but good human movement starts from the ground up. Before we stand, walk, run and jump, we start on the ground. As Gray Cook puts it, we need the 4 B’s: Breathe, bend, balance and bounce. When we are born, we do not have the ability to do much. As we age, we begin with tummy time, crawling, rolling over, standing up, and eventually walking. The funny thing is that as we continue to age, we lose the ability to do these primal movements.



Many of us look at exercise as running, biking, swimming and lifting weights. These are all true forms of working out but are not the only thing we should be focusing on. Let me explain. As we begin life in the “real world”, starting when we go to school, we begin to sit more and not move as much. Kids move more than adults, that’s for sure. When we get to about the college age, we sit even more and move even less. At that time, we start to lose some abilities we once acquired simply by growing up. As time goes on, we lose the ability to roll over, get up off the ground, kneel and squat. This may sound silly to you but this is true and well documented.

It is not news that we sit too much and don’t move enough. So you should understand that our posture and strength diminishes as we age. So how can we get pure core strength and mobility back? We can do this by simply starting on the ground and working our way up. These “primitive” patterns can help us increase core strength, improve movement patterns, and help us get back to moving how we were made to move. Let’s go back to basics and reclaim what we once had but lost over time due to our daily limitations. Include the 5 movements below in your daily warm-up and watch all of your athletic movements improve.

The Turkish Get-Up

Start by lying on your side  (for purposes of explanation we will assume you start on your L. side). With your L. hand grasp a kettlebell or dumbbell (15lbs or less). With the weight in your hand roll onto your back and press the weight straight up like a bench press. The R. leg will go straight out in front of you while the L. knee stays bent with the foot on the ground. Place the R. arm on the ground to stabilize your body and use your L. leg to help propel your body up off the ground. Do all of this while maintaining the weight up above you with the arm extended. Next take your R. leg and kick it behind your body. If you can’t do this part of the TGU then stop there and go back to the ground slowly. Once the R. leg is behind you from this lunge position stand up while maintaining the weight up in the air. Now reverse everything you just did and go back to the side lying position. Do this as many times as you can until technique breaks down. Please don’t perform reps with poor form. Quality over quantity on this one!

Inch Worm

This simple exercise helps increase core stability, shoulder stability and improves overall flexibility. It mimics a crawling movement while maintaining a strong core. You simply keep your arms and legs straight at all times while walking your hands out as far as possible, keeping your body straight. Walk back in maintaining the same posture and repeat.


Starting on all fours on the ground is an essential movement to everyone. The “quadruped”, better known as “on all fours,” is a position/movement we lose as we age. The bird dog is the perfect movement to mimic core rotary stability when we are younger.

You simply start on all fours in good alignment and then extend the opposite arm and leg. As you return, pull the hand and knee to the ground together and back out to increase the challenge of the core rotary stability strength.

The bird-dog is an essential core exercise that can be incorporated into most strength training protocols. The bird/dog requires asymmetrical trunk stability in both the sagittal and transverse planes of movement. Consider this an effective exercise to maintain a healthy low back.

Bear Crawl

If you have kids, I am sure you can remember the first time your child started to crawl. It was an amazing part of the growing up process. Do you remember how much they struggled at first? I do. There is a reason for this. Crawling is hard work! Once we start to walk, we forget about crawling. Walking is a much easier way to move around. We humans always take the path of least resistance. What we forget is that the hard stuff can benefit us.

At State of Fitness, we use crawling very regularly. Our clients have a love/hate relationship with the crawl. They notice that the more they crawl, the better their shoulders feel and the stronger their core becomes. They also get a great metabolic effect from the movement thus leading to more fat loss. Try crawling for 40 meters and see just how great of an exercise it is!


I learned this exercise about 6 years ago and have kept it as a staple in my programs ever since. This exercise helps improve hip mobility as well as core and shoulder strength. You start in the push-up position and then lift one leg and try to put it right next to your hand. If you watch a young kid, they do this with ease. For adults, we have lost strength and mobility so it is a little harder.

If you want to gain strength, improve movement, improve your sports and just plain feel better, sometimes you just need to start with the basics and get on the ground.

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