7 Ways to Get The Most Out of Personal Training

I wanted to step out of the box a little bit with today’s post. I got this idea from an episode of a podcast I listen to (The Hardcore Self-Help Podcast). In the episode he talked about things that he felt would help people get the most they could out of therapy. I thought I’d do the same thing to help people get the most they can out of personal training. By the way everything I’m writing here is with the assumption that you are working with a good personal trainer. There are certainly bad ones out there just as there are bad lawyers, doctors and U.S. Presidents.

1 – Be consistent!!! Man, is this important! The most important thing to keep in mind when you are starting with personal training is to show up!! That sounds pretty basic but it needs to be said. I’ve never had a client get good results if they were inconsistent. Kind of like everything in life, huh?

2 – A personal trainer may motivate you, but not how you think. Let’s start with what a personal trainer does do to motivate someone:

  • Cares about your progress.
  • Provides a positive atmosphere for training.
  • Takes your goals, condition, likes and dislikes into account when writing your program.
  • Pushes you appropriately during your sessions. Appropriately is the key word here. It has many different meanings and varies with each and every client.

Here’s what a personal trainer does NOT do to motivate someone:

What I’m trying to say is motivation isn’t necessarily what you think it may be. That leads to number 3.

3 – If you are relying on motivation to carry you through, stop. Motivation doesn’t last. You need proof? How many times in life have you been super excited to start something only to fail on the follow through? Plenty. That’s motivation. What carries you through? Discipline and habits. Put something on our schedule and just do it. No questions. No excuses. Motivation wanes. BE BETTER THAN THAT!!

4 – Understand who the miracle worker really is. 

                                 It’s You!!!!

That’s right, it’s not your trainer. It’s you!! Personal training isn’t magic. You will get out of this what you put into it, no matter who your trainer is. You need to own your results. If you want more you need to put the work in. With both your diet and with your workouts! If you don’t know how then ask your trainer.

Also, one other point here. YOU decide how hard you want to work. Everyone has a different level of what they’re willing and able to do and that is up to each and every one of you to decide for yourself. This is the kind of thing that a trainer should understand and work with you on. We all have different things going on in our lives. Just understand that your results are directly connected.

5 – Be engaged. When you are with your trainer be engaged in what you’re doing. Pay attention to what each exercise is, how to do it and how it feels. Do you find that your trainer is giving you the same cues every time you do a particular exercise? Do you not know what an exercise is after doing it for months? You have to be engaged in what you’re doing to get the most out of it.

6 – Ask questions. This relates to our last point. If you don’t know what something is supposed to do or feel like, than ask! Don’t just blindly go through the motions. Oftentimes a small form adjustment can make all the difference in the effectiveness of an exercise. Other times an exercise just might not work for you. You’re not going to know any of this if you don’t ask. Also, if your trainer can’t answer your questions, that may be a red flag. There should be a reason something is in your program.

7 – Follow your program… but feel free to make suggestions. If you’ve hired a trainer to help you reach your goals, don’t pick and choose the things from your program that you do. Unless you don’t really want to reach your goals. If you bought a book on how to fix your brakes you wouldn’t just decide not to do step 4, right?

That being said, feel free to make suggestions on things you want to do and don’t want to do. There are many ways to do things and your trainer should have enough tools in their toolbox to account for that. This all goes back to being engaged and asking questions. After all you started personal training for a reaons, right?

I hope this helps you in your quest for fitness. If you want to talk about how to get the most our of your training, whether it’s with me or anyone else you can click here to schedule a time to do so.Have a great day everyone!!

Mitch Rothbardt, FMS, PN Level 2 Lean Eating Coach, FMS
Castro Valley Fitness
2861 Grove Way


15 Things I Learned in 2017

Hello everyone! Well, it’s here. I’m talking about 2018. I know I may be a few weeks late to the party when I say that but after we closed out 2017 I spent quite a bit of time thinking about it. I learned a lot of things and some things that I already knew still grew in importance for me.

With that said I’d like to take a few minutes and get some of this down on virtual paper. Here we go in no particular order:

  1. I’m much more on board with static stretching then I used to be, but NOT for the purpose of flexibility.
  2. Weight loss is at least 85% diet and can be even more for some people. The problem is that in many cases the issues with diet have very little to do with food itself.
  3. If you are making decisions in an emotional state they’ll probably be the wrong decisions. 
  4. Without consistency you have nothing. I’d rather someone do 10 B- workouts than 2 A+ workouts. This also applies to just about everything else, as well.
  5. I don’t care how consistent you are, you will still get virtually nothing from 100 D workouts. You have to work hard.
  6. If your goals are general fitness (including weight loss) and getting stronger is not at, or near the top of your priority list you are missing a lot.
  7. Most back and shoulder pain have so much more to do with every day movement and breathing patterns than nearly anything else (that includes anything you’ll see on an X-Ray or MRI.) Adjustments, medication and massage can help only so much.
  8. Change is so incredibly hard for most people.
  9. Programming isn’t nearly as important as hard work and form.
  10. The most important ingredient of weight loss is emotional regulation.
  11. How you look at things will determine everything about your success or failure. I’ve seen examples of two people with similar results. One person is positive about it and the other is negative. Guess which one quits and which one goes on to get even better results.
  12. Most people are still looking for easy answers. There aren’t any, but if you get over that you’ll find so much more fullfillment in the every day process. See number 11.
  13. Improvement is intentional.
  14. If you don’t know what to do, think what a reasonable adult would do and do that.
  15. Cottage cheese is a nearly perfect food.

What did you learn in 2017?

Mitch Rothbardt, CPT, PN Level 2 Lean Eating Coach, FMS
Castro Valley Fitness
2861 Grove Way

Fitness Gift Ideas

Well, it’s just about here! Of course I’m talking about Christmas! We are only 5 days away. I wanted to give you some gift ideas for a fitness enthusiast or just the person who wants to get going with a workout routine or an improvement in their nutrition.

Back Mechanic 





If you or anyone you know has back pain you need this book. Stuart McGill is the world’s foremost authority on spine health and back pain and this book is a step-by-step guide on how to fix yours. His research and methods have completely revolutionized fitness training. How do you know if your trainer or chiropracter is with it? Are they having you do crunches? Then they’re not.

Why Me Want Eat

We all have issues with food. If you or someone you know struggles with food, eating, and body image issues, conventional self-help or diet books might not always hit the right note. This one takes a different tone and is simply fantastic. The author, Krista Scott-Dixon is one of the heads of Precision Nutrition and has changed the way many coaches approach nutrition. This is not just a diet book. It’s actually much more important. Oh, and it’s very funny too.

Foam Roller

Almost all of our members start their sessions with a foam roller. You should too. If you haven’t used one before it might be a little wierd and uncomfortable at first but, trust me, if you give it time within a few weeks much of that will go away and it will actually start to feel good! One thing to remember here is that the more uncomfortable it is, the more you need to do it!

The New Rules of Lifting For Women

In my time training people I’ve seen a huge change in the way women approach strength training. It’s been great to see that women are realizing that being strong looks greats, feels great and is incredibly empowering and healthy! In truth there shouldn’t be a big difference in the way that men and women strength train but although this book has been around for a while it is full of great workouts and nutrition advice. If you know a woman who wants to get started strength training (and she should) this book is a great way to start.


How can you fit an entire gym in a duffle bag? Bands! You may be very surprised to find out that one or two resistance bands can give you one heck of a full body workout. Bands are perfect for people who travel a lot, don’t have a lot of money or room for equipment or even want to take their workout outside. On the site I gave you they’ll even give you some free workouts so you can learn to use them. We use bands all the time at our gym.

Weightlifting Belt

Weightlifting belts have a pretty specific use. They help you lift more weight! If you know someone who has some ambitions to really push some weight around with their squat or deadlift, a good belt is a must.

Well, I hope I was able to give you some ideas albeit a little late. Let me know if you have any questions to help you pick out that special gift for someone.

Mitch Rothbardt, CPT, PN Level 2 Lean Eating Coach, FMS
Castro Valley Fitness
2861 Grove Way
Discover Your Strength!



December 2017 – Emily Jensen

Castro Valley Fitness – Member of the Month

December 2017

It is our pleasure to recognize Emily Jensen as our Member of the Month. Emily has been a member of CV Fitness for 3+ years.

She just competed in her first Power Lifting Meet last month. She decided to compete because she wanted to challenge herself to do something scary. Throughout the process she has experienced increased physical and mental strength along with learning to trust hard things even if it’s scary. Competing is very empowering and she recommends any woman to follow her example.

Since joining CV Fitness she is in the best shape of her life. It has helped her manage depression and helped with her positive self-talk. She finds CV Fitness a place that welcomes people from all walks of life. There is a lot of support and encouragement for everyone working on their own personal goals. She likes the connection between her workouts and what she does in her daily life.

Her advice is to be patient, be kind to yourself – don’t compare yourself to what others are doing in the gym, give 110% and celebrate your own personal victories, ask questions and try things that are scary.

The three words that describe Emily’s experience at CV Fitness are “welcoming, supportive and empowering.”

What The Heck Am I Talking About – Breathe

Hello and welcome to the next video in the “What The Heck Am I Talking About” series!!

We give all sorts of cues at our gym and sometimes I like to break down what we  really mean when we’re giving them. Today we’re talking about breathing. You might be thinking “I breathe everyday!!” and you’re right but this may be not be as simple as you think. Especially if you have any kind of shoulder or back pain!

Anyway, take a look and let me know what you think!

Mitch Rothbardt, CPT, PN Level 2 Lean Eating Coach, FMS
Castro Valley Fitness
2861 Grove Way

My Top 16 Post-Thanksgiving Leftover Thoughts

Hello everyone! Most of the time in my posts I cover a specific topic. I’m always thinking about fitness and training and I like to write about what I’m seeing and thinking about with our members and everyone else, too! Every once in a while my mind gets a little jumbled with lots of thoughts and in those cases I like to ramble a little bit. Today is one of those days, so here are My Top 16 Post-Thanksgiving Fitness Leftovers Thoughts.

  1. If you have pain and aren’t taking what you’re learning in the gym, movement-wise, and applying it to your life outside the gym you are missing a HUGE AND NECESSARY piece of the puzzle.
  2. If you have pain and you aren’t learning proper movement patterns inside the gym, you need to find a different gym.
  3. Without consistency you really don’t really have much of a chance to reach any meaningful goal or achieve any meaningful results.
  4. No matter your goals, you should have some strength training in your exercise program. That includes all the runners out there! 
  5. If you have shoulder pain you have to address your posture and breathing patterns if you ever want lasting relief.
  6. When strength training you simply have to push yourself. The last few reps of your set should be challenging. It’s not a punishment to add more weight! It’s the price you pay for being awesome!!! 
  7. You know what you need to do with your diet. You’ve got to honestly and unemotionally look at the reasons you’re not doing it.
  8. To the Moms out there. If you don’t take some time for yourself you will never be truly happy. P.S. Your husband and kids want that for you, too!!
  9. If your exercise program includes only pushups, squats, planks and brisk walks you’ll be doing much better than the vast majority of people.
  10. As hard as it may be sometimes, acting like you think a reasonable adult would act will generally move you in the right direction.
  11. Most people are much stronger than they think. They have to get a little comfortable with that fact and feeling.
  12. Don’t overreact to every little tweak you feel. Most of them don’t mean much.
  13. When it comes to nutrition questions either eating slower, eating more protein and/or eating more vegetables is usually a decent answer.
  14. Back pain is almost never about your back.
  15. Being too flexible is just as bad, if not worse, than being too stiff.
  16. If you properly train for strength you will improve your cardiovascular health and flexibility as a result. Just doing cardio and stretching will not improve your strength, though.

I hope a few of these resonated with you a little bit. If so, I’d love to hear how! Just send me an email, call or text.

Have a great day!

Mitch Rothbardt, CPT, PN Level 2 Lean Eating Coach, FMS
Castro Valley Fitness
2861 Grove Way
Discover Your Strength!


November 2017 – Carrie Hilderbrand

Castro Valley Fitness – Member of the Month

November 2017

Carrie Hilderbrand @carrie_hildy

It is our pleasure to recognize Carrie Hilderbrand as our Member of the Month.

Carrie has been a member of CV Fitness for 3+ years. She is one of our very strong power lifters whose sense of humor keeps the gym laughing.

Since joining CV Fitness she has found improvement in her strength, mobility and her mood. As a woman, she finds that feeling strong is one of the greatest gifts you can give yourself. She also feels that the best thing you can invest in is yourself. Her investment has paid off because she can deadlift an impressive 330 lbs!

Her advice is to set goals, keep an open mind and take one workout at a time. Not every workout will be your best, but keep at it and don’t make excuses. Always push yourself and continue to set goals.

The three words that describe Carrie’s experience at CV Fitness are “strength, camaraderie, and support.”

…And Here We Go!

This is a wonderful time of year.

This is a stressful time of year.

This is a strange time of year.

Yes, all of these things are true.

Now that Halloween has passed we know what is upon us:

The Holiday Season!!!!

                          OH NO!!!!!

I’ve seen quite a few holiday seasons and I know one thing. This is the time of year when things go on hold. We have lots of things happening. Family, work, get-togethers, shopping, dinners. All of these things cause us to forget about ourselves just a little bit and before we know it two months have gone by!!

We’ve all heard the statistics that tell us that people gain somewhere between 4 and 10 pounds during the holiday season each year. I don’t know if that’s true or not but I do know that the people who keep up with their workouts, or even start an exercise plan (yes, you are allowed to actually start something this time of year) ALWAYS feel better come January, and the ones that don’t? Well, let’s just say they don’t feel all that great.

I want to give you two strategies you can use to make sure you stay as consistent as possible during this time.

  1. Schedule it! Have you ever told yourself that you’d fit in your workout “when you had time”? How did those workouts go? I’m pretty sure they didn’t go at all. Listen, if we wait for our schedule to magically open up it’s never going to happen. Get your w0rkout on your schedule and JUST DO IT! That is your time!
  2. Do something! I know things get crazy but you can still go for a walk right? You can still do some squats and pushups for 15 minutes, right? The point is, just do something. You’ll feel better in the long run.

In any case, I really hope you buckle in and enjoy the ride of the 2017 Holiday Season. It’s here whether you like it or not!

Mitch Rothbardt, CPT, PN Level 2 Lean Eating Coach, FMS
Castro Valley Fitness


What The Heck Am I Talking About? – Long Arms

Hello and welcome to the “What The Heck Am I Talking About?” series! In this series I break down some pretty common cues we use at Castro Valley Fitness and explain what they mean and why we use them.

Today we’re talking “Long Arms”.

If you have shoulder problems, and it seems like just about everyone does, I can almost guarantee that you have postural and breathing issues. Watch this to see what we do at Castro Valley Fitness to help with these things.

Let me know what you think.

October 2017 – Katy Wright

Castro Valley Fitness – Member of the Month

October 2017

It is our pleasure to recognize Katy Wright as our Member of the Month.

Katy has been a member of Castro Valley Fitness for 5 years. She started with personal training and then moved to Bootcamp. She likes starting her day with exercise and enjoys the larger group of people. We can count on Katy to keep the group laughing.

Since joining CVF she finds that she has improved her consistency, her strength and is able to bounce back from minor injuries faster. The low key, family friendly, and personal touch keeps her coming back each day at 6 a.m.!

Her advice is to not give up – you’ll see results.

The three words that sum up Katy’s experience at CVF are “positive, happy and challenging.”