Monday, December 28, 2009

Running Through My Mind

I went outside for a run today to clear my mind and prepare for tomorrows teleseminar. I'm being asked to discuss "My Biggest Lessons of 2009 and The MUST do things for 2010." It seems like a pretty straightforward question. However, this will be LIVE and recorded for replay to some of the best fitness professionals & entrepreneurs in the country; I want to bring my A-Game.

As my run progressed I went into "think/dream mode" and came up with the following:

My Top 2 or 3 lessons of 2009.

1) Maintain a Positive Attitude: - Things won't always go according to plan. But you do "bring about what you think about." Expect the 'Best Possible Outcome.' When things go wrong, seek the upside & discover the lesson in the adversity. This is NOT an easy thing to do. But it's a learned skill like anything else of value. We started off 2009 down 30+ clients from 1 year prior. We were hemorrhaging money and morale was at an all-time low (much of this was beyond our control.) I knew that there was no 'quick fix' for these issues, it would take time; but an adjustment in attitude was something WE could control & it's impact could be immediate. It was and it brought us back!

2) Go "All-In" - When things where looking bleakest it was gut check time "Do you REALLY want this?" or "Are you willing to walk away?" The answer was a resounding NO! I believe in our business 100%, so that's what I put in. I re-invested 100% of my 401k savings into Fitness 121. If I didn't believe in my vision & my teams abilities then why should anyone else? I went all in and have no regrets. I didn't TRY to make my business work. I MADE my business work. "Having the STRENGTH to SUCCEED requires the COURAGE to fail."

3) Write it down: - "A person of action will always beat a person of ambition." Everyone wants to win. But a person who formulates a game plan and then takes action on that plan is more likely to win than someone simply "hoping" to win. I've always been a goal setter. I learned early that the act of writing out my goals and referring to them frequently brought me success more often than not. We write down our HIBACHI 10 people and keep it visible for our team to see. This has absolutely made a difference in our awareness and adherence to our plans.
No matter what your goals are, they need to be written down to help bring them to life. "Where attention goes - Energy flows."

**Bonus- Stop trying to be perfect. "Don't let perfection become the enemy of the good." There is never a PERFECT time. Enough MONEY. Right Moment. Etc. (Raising kids, Starting a Business or Training for IRONMAN.) Sometimes, the best plan is READY, FIRE, AIM.

** Be honest with yourself: Do you have the skills to do the best job you can? Do you have the right team to take your business where it needs to go? Are you using a screwdriver when what you need is a hammer? I discovered that last year -I didn't have the right team in place to take our business to where it needs to go. I also discovered that I'm becoming less of a trainer- I'm becoming an Evangelist and 'Fitness' is my Religion.

We had many successes in 09' - We gained 45 NEW Clients since March 1st! Our greatest annual % growth EVER. We were voted "Runner-Up" in the category of 'Best Fitness Center' but named the "Top Personal Training Center." - We GREATLY increased our customer service and overall facility ENERGY; one of the best holiday cards we received was from a client who wrote "Thanks for making it all FUN!!" I loved that. - Our TEAM is the tightest that we have ever been in 15+ years. In 2009, we took a huge step towards my goal of becoming a "world class" Personal Training Facility. The "Mayo Clinic" of Personal Training if you will.. - Our HIBACHI 10 incentive has been AMAZING. We changed our hiring process. - I was selected to join 15 of the Top Fitness Professionals in the Country by Todd Durkin in his Mastermind Group!!

The Top 2 or 3 things (Must Do) for 2010.

1) Pilates Instructor: - The fastest growing thing in our business. Pilates! You'd think it was new? Francesca is an amazing instructor (at least that's what everyone keeps telling me.) Since, I don't do Pilates, I asked Fran "what do you do that's so great?" She replied "I don't stick to such a traditional format (as many instructors do), I don't try to make the client fit the movement, I make the movement fit the client." Sounded good to me and obviously everyone else who tried it. Fran went from 4 to 24 Pilates hrs this year without us advertising PILATES!!!
We also need to start looking for another Personal Trainer (unless we find a Pilates Instructor who does Training also!?)

2) Maintain Team Motivation: - We made great progress this year but we need to maintain that "and then some." We need to continue "Education and Development" programs. I am considering signing my entire team up for the "Gravity Personal Trainer Course" by EFI SportsMedicine. I think this could be the next thing in our business?

3) Promote our Business through more Organic means: - I need to give more talks to groups, schools & companies. I need to Evangelize our philosophy and facility. Our advertising works, our promotion is adequate but we need to spread the word through "Direct means and interaction." This is the essential piece in our marketing: We are LEADERS in our industry (Fitness Education/Programming) and it's essential this year that we make the leap into making these events happen.

*What's the most important thing for us in 2010? We need to take MORE action on all of the IDEAS that ME & EVERYONE else "talks" about!
2010 will be the year of "Making Things Happen."

- Frank Pucher
(Not bad considering it was only a 6mile run!)

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Six Weight Loss Tips for 2010

Six Weight Loss Tips to Get Off the Diet Roller Coaster in 2010

Losing weight and keeping it off is a favorite topic of conversation at this time of year. Weight loss and getting in shape top the list of New Year’s Resolutions! While we rush around enjoying the holiday’s festivities, we are already thinking about the diet we will begin come January 2nd. There’s one big problem – diets don’t work.

Family, friends and the media talk about the new diet that promises success, the pill, tea, or shake that burns fat, or the newest exercise trend that is supposed to burn more calories than any other. It is a topic often charged with emotion, and leaves many feeling confused and frustrated. The thought of trying once again to lose weight is depressing and exhausting. However, once you really make up your mind to focus both your heart and head, the science behind weight loss is really not that complicated. You need to eat less and move more. See if any of these tips can energize you to kick the quick fix approach and finally get real about losing weight.

1. Stop dieting. If you want to lose weight permanently, you need to stop the on, off again, diet roller coaster. Stop searching for the newest, latest and greatest diet fad. Think healthy, not thin. When you begin eating healthy foods, and minimizing junk, not only do you feel better, but also the weight usually takes care of itself.

2. Find the food plan that works for you. No diet or exercise plan works for everyone, and there are no "magic bullets" or quick fixes. When successful weight maintainers are asked which food plans work best, most say they created the plan they could live with. For some that might mean focusing on smaller portions, for others eating six small meals a day, while still others eliminate all refined sugars and white flour. The bottom line is, if you eat less and move more, the weight comes off. Only you can determine the food and exercise plan that keeps you feeling satisfied and healthy, and brings results.

3. Overcome your barriers to exercise. Not only do studies show that exercise increases the likelihood of weight loss, but a critical difference between maintainers and those that regain lost weight, is their commitment to exercise. Experiment with different ways to exercise, and find what is enjoyable for you. If you do not like health clubs, invest in home exercise equipment or videos. If classes are not your thing, try sports clubs such as biking or hiking groups. Rediscover the activities you enjoyed as a kid. Ice skating, dancing, or joining an adult soccer or volleyball league, are all great ways to build exercise into your life.

4. Add more activity to your daily life. Remote controls, on-line shopping, video games, cordless phones, and so much more modern technology allows us to move less and still accomplish what we need to. The result is we burn less calories than our parents and grandparents, and it is going to be even less for our children. Deliberately finding ways to add more activity to your daily life can really make a difference in the total number of calories you can burn every day. Take the stairs instead of the elevator, park your car further from the entrance, walk to your co-workers office rather than emailing, take a walk after dinner rather than watching TV. The choices are as vast as your imagination.

5. Be good to yourself. You are a wonderful person with many attributes, talents, and gifts to offer the world. You are not the number on the scale. Weight is just one area with which you feel challenged. Do not wait until you lose weight to show the world your beauty, and to nurture yourself. Taking care of yourself makes you feel better emotionally and builds self-esteem. Dress the best you can no matter what weight you are at, get a fashionable hairstyle, treat yourself to a massage for every five pounds you lose.

6. Enlist the help of professionals if you need it. If you know in your heart of hearts, that you are doing everything possible, and you still cannot lose or maintain your weight, see your doctor. Not often, but sometimes there is a medical reason for weight gain. If you are really not sure what constitutes a healthy diet, a few sessions with a registered dietitian or a great nutrition book can give you the information you need. When your exercise program is not getting you the results you want, a consultation with a fitness professional or working with a personal trainer may be the answer. And if it is motivation, self-sabotage, lack of support, or just feeling overwhelmed by the whole process, a wellness coach can guide you to create the vision and plan that will work for you.

So the next time you find yourself amongst friends and the discussion turns to weight loss, surprise them all. Tell them you have decided to never go on another diet, and you have never had such great success!

-Ellen G. Goldman, M.Ed.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Sweat The Holidays

It seems everywhere you turn - people are surrounded by negativity, stress, sadness, and reminders of what we don’t have or have lost. Things like relationships, family, animals and sometimes even ourselves. This week I was bombarded by phone calls from clients saying “I just can’t think about getting into the gym, I have so much to do and no time to do it." Some explained that this time of year makes them "stressed and that they might as well let 'working out' go till after January 1st." My reply to them is "NO YOUR NOT!" I explained that "once you are here and I get my hands on you and we start moving you'll know that this is the best thing you can do did for yourself." So they did! They came in and forgot what they were stressing about (fight/work/etc.)

That's why it is so important to incorporate movement into your life. Life is about movement and movement brings life. By keeping to your exercise/workout schedule you are doing your body good. What feels better than that? I know that when I'm feeling crummy I go for a run, do some Pilates, or strength train. That little time I allow myself enables me to think clearer and feel better.
Remember, often the stress we feel is the stress we bring upon ourselves.

-Francesca Pucher

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

One Size Doesn't Fit All

The other day I was sitting in my kitchen enjoying a nice cup of coffee with Frank. We were talking about how great all of our sessions have been and yet how 'what we do as fitness professionals' gets thrown to the side or completely misunderstood. We were also watching the news at this time and they were about to have a segment on how to get Heidi Klum’s 'Butt' with trainer David Kirsh. We were looking at one another saying "just what the American people want to know about." "Not how to start an exercise plan, but how can I get her butt?"

Although I happen to love Heidi, she gets paid millions to shake her 'butt' down the runway. Most women do not. The segment begins and the anchor men and women (in suits and heels) are getting ready for the Butt Workout (really). Out comes trainer to the stars David Kirsh with his book to plug and 2 exercises "everybody should add to their program to get a butt like Heidi." As he is talking the news people are joking around with him and by time he gets to the exercises 10 wasted minutes have gone by (we timed it). He demonstrates the 2 must do exercises and they are the Platypus squat and then Platypus squat with side kicks. WHAT? These are some of the most impractical exercises I have ever seen. Why not just do a regular squat? (Which is hard enough for most people to do with proper form.)

Although the exercise is creative, my point is that it doesn't help the majority of the people exercising or wanting to start. I deal with clients everyday that have orthopedic issues and I would never have them do that. Would you David? I don't do those exercises and I am pretty fit. The whole segment was a joke. We should be spending more time in the media discussing REAL exercise and wellness. Instead, we show squats in our suits and heels and call it "quality air time." Maybe that is why there is an obesity epidemic and we are totally unfit as a nation. We make fitness out to be a joke and sell a workout that does not work for everybody.

-Francesca Pucher

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Back to Basics

No video content today. Just the (raw/real) ramblings of a guy who thinks he's at day#1 of a cold? If so it'll be my 1st one in over a year!!! SOB. Someone did this to me!
I'll know more tomorrow, maybe a good night's sleep will do the trick?

Things have been very busy at work (which is a good thing) with new evals each week and great sessions happening "each client-all day-every day." To be honest, as we come to the start of the holiday season and the close to the year, I can't not think back to all that's happened in 2009.

We started the year with Francesca running a 3:39 marathon and qualifying for the Boston Marathon (an absolute UP moment for her and I as her coach.) Privately, I was spinning inside as we made necessary staff changes and dealt with a falling economy. February, brought us to the IDEA Conference and the APEX of my concerns about the future. My 401k was 1/2 of it's all-time high, my property taxes just went up. We had clients who were unsure of their $$ thus didn't renew their sessions. It really was the perfect storm both personally & professionally.
However, in February I also came to meet Todd Durkin. Todd has been called a "Legend, Guru, Best Personal Trainer in America, Coach & Mentor." He's many things, but most of all he's "humble" and a (former) "Jersey Guy." He now makes his way in San Diego training the NFL Elite. We hit it off immediately & agreed to keep in touch. Shortly thereafter, Todd invited me to join his "elite" Mastermind Group. A collection of the best 20 Fitness Professionals from around the country. How could I refuse? This gave me access to the best and brightest in our business; the give and take exchange of ideas & issues was just what I needed!

March, April & May had me training for my IRONMAN. Work was picking up and our newest Trainer "Lori" was emerging as a Great Fitness Professional. I was increasingly optimistic about the future! We began a long and comprehensive search for another fitness professional to join what was now our "TEAM."

June introduced us to 9 applicants, 5 interviews, 3 follow up interviews, 2 finalists & 1 "Anthony Lopez." I'll simply say "Anthony is an OUTSTANDING Fitness Professional" he has been more than we hoped for.

July. For me personally, IRONMAN. 22 years, 13 hrs & 57 minutes. What more can I say? I saw a goal to completion; that's more than most! Professionally: We were ROLLING!

In August, September, October we were performing significantly GREAT-GREAT sessions. We were always GOOD at what we did but NOW things were different. We ALL were GREAT Fitness Professionals. There were no "weak links" on our TEAM. We all knew it too - which only made us better each day. We were pumped! I took out an Advertisement in the Suburban Essex Magazine. The Ad Rep came to meet with me and walked into our facility. She looked around and said "WOW, this is really nice!!" I replied with thanks and began to explain what we do.
She tells me about the "Best of Essex Awards" and how we should be nominated. We ask our clients to nominate us and they do. Next thing you know; out of 100 nominees, we are a top 10 finalist. Perhaps the biggest "change" this summer was the awakening of Francesca's talents. Perhaps, stirred by a dinner we shared with Todd in August? She began devouring books and ideas; quickly she became a very-very different person. Someone with supreme confidence in herself and he abilities. No longer was she "my wife" but now she was 'Her own person.' Maybe-just maybe, I was a good influence?

November & December. We are named the "Runner Up" in the category of "Best Fitness Center" in Essex County. But we are the TOP Vote in the category of "Personal Training Studio."
Out of 100 others and all larger than us in #'s "I'll take it!" THANK YOU to all of you that voted!! My brother Gary (also my business partner) has been AMAZED at the difference in the last year. He comments on how much more energy and positivity their is in the facility along with the increased TEAMWORK we all have. For Gary to say it says much (as he clearly is the more reserved of us two!)
In addition to the great things going on at Fitness 121. We have exciting things going on "outside."
I will be speaking this March in San Diego at a (Invite Only) Conference for Fitness Professionals. Additionally, I will speak at my former college ESU to the Exercise Science Department.
Francesca is going to a photo shoot this Saturday in NYC to get some media shots for her guest spots on FOX News & CNN Headline News as a "Fitness Contributor." (It's a long story, but obviously an exciting one!) I will let you know when she is on!

As we approach the New Year, I wish to thank those who read my BLOG. It is for you that I scribble this dribble. For those of you that are our clients: Thank You. I promise you - that 2010 will be the BEST YEAR yet. We have some exciting things going on: Pilates, Golf Fitness, Nutritional Consultation, Life Coaching and More. Also, in need of BIG "Thank You" are Bobby, Rob & the rest of the Fitness 121 TEAM. You guys are simply awesome and our success is the direct result of your efforts and passion. Thank You!!
To all the rest who find my BLOG, I leave you with this.
"It's not just Personal Training; It's Fitness 121 Personal Training."

Happy Holidays to All!

Frank Pucher

Monday, December 7, 2009

Our Girls Getting It Done!

"It's not just Personal Training; it's Fitness 121 Personal Training."

Lori getting ready for her Marathon debut in 4 weeks!

Francesca working on balance and strength.

With the run done, Lori finishes with some strength work!

Francesca training with good posture & technique.

"You won't just feel better, you'll BE better."- Fitness 121

Friday, December 4, 2009

Anytime of Day

"It's not just Personal Training; it's Fitness 121 Personal Training."

The TRX Trainer. We have it, they don't. Come get some!

"You won't just feel better, You'll BE better."

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Fitness 121 PM.

"It's not just Personal Training; it's Fitness 121 Personal Training."

Stop by. Call us. Or Email us: for more information.

"You won't just feel better, you'll BE better."

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Start Your Day

"It's not just Personal Training; it's Fitness 121 Personal Training."

Stop by. Call us. Or Email us: for more information.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Fitness 121 in Action.

"It's not just Personal Training; it's Fitness 121 Personal Training."

Stop by. Call us. Or send us an Email.

"You won't just feel better, you'll BE better."

About Us.

Last month I was interviewed by Suburban Essex Magazine as part of the "Best of Essex" program. Here is the article: Not Just Another Day at the Gym.
You can click & zoom the article.

Thank you to Scott & Stefanie for an excellent article.

-Frank Pucher