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Knowing Good Nutrition

March is National Nutrition Month.

Like physical exercise, sound nutrition can optimize cardiovascular and metabolic health while curtailing disease risk. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, heart disease is the leading cause of death for men, women, and people of most racial and ethnic groups in the United States, having claimed 360,900 lives in 2019. Commonly, risk factors associated with heart disease are comorbidities related to lifestyle and nutrition, such as hypertension (high blood pressure), hypercholesterolemia (high cholesterol), diabetes, and obesity.  Want more…

Obesity has been implicated as a driver of numerous conditions and diseases and has been established to accelerate morbidity. Its prevalence has grown immensely throughout the United States across ethnicities, socioeconomic status, education attainment, and geographic locations. As of 2016, 37.9% of men and 41.1% of women are considered to be obese, which is characterized by having a body mass index (BMI) of 30.0 or higher.

While obesity’s roots are multifactorial, much of its proliferation across the country stems from suboptimal nutrition comprising inappropriately large portion sizes, disproportionate amounts of macronutrients consumed daily, and reduced physical activity, which is facilitated by sound nutrition.

Macronutrients are comprised of carbohydrates, protein, and fat that which confer energetic and digestive functions, enzymatic activity, and serve as constituents of hormones, respectively.

Carbohydrates hail from plant sources, such as fruits, vegetables, grains, seeds, and nuts and stored as muscle glycogen which is mobilized for energy production to facilitate intense physical activity and neurocognitive tasks. Leafy, fibrous carbohydrate sources support digestion. One gram of carbohydrate yields 4 calories.

Protein is composed of a chain of amino acids which facilitate enzymatic and digestive functions, enable muscle contraction, and serve as connective tissue. Additionally, they act as messengers for hormones. Sources of protein include animals and vegetables, such as grains, seeds, and nuts. One gram of protein yields 4 calories.

Fat is derived from animals, their byproducts, such as milk, and oils and is responsible for thermoregulation, absorption of fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E, and K, supports energy production to facilitate low to moderate intensity physical activity, and serves as key constituent in the formation of cell membranes and hormones. One gram of fat yields 4 calories.

According to, the following food sources and their daily consumption amounts are recommended to meet activity needs and attain and maintain healthy body mass and composition.

Vegetables: 2 to 3 cups
Fruits: 1½ to 2 cups
Grains: 5 to 8 ounces
Dairy: 3 cups (fat-free or low-fat)
Protein foods: 5 to 6½ ounces
Oils: 5 to 7 teaspoons

Drill down on all of the details in these fun courses. 

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Be Proactive with Your Health

“An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” – Benjamin Franklin

Nearly four centuries later, Franklin’s sagacious advice still resonates having been eternalized as an idiom in the medical field. Perhaps his quote is why his portrait is printed on the obverse of the $100 bill colloquially known as a “Benjamin” or “C-Note” — which folks can save in droves in healthcare expenses if they enact measures to uphold their health and screen for conditions that are treatable, if intercepted early.


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How to Keep Your Body’s Fuel Tank Full

Balanced Nutrition Food

What should you eat when you finish a workout?  Anyone who has done any weightlifting to build muscle would answer that protein supplementation is the way to go.  However, what if you just completed an aerobic/cardio workout?  Is protein going to provide your body with the fuel it needs to recover successfully from that type of workout?  In addition, can you eat that fuel at any point during the day?  Or does it need to be right away after your workout to get the full benefit?

When we work out, our muscles use its stores of glycogen to give them the energy they need to keep doing the “work” we ask them to do.  When those glycogen stores are used and gone, the body needs energy replenishment.  Most people have been taught from unreliable sources that you must replenish these energy stores with high amounts of protein after every workout, no matter the type of workout.  While increasing protein intake when attempting to build muscle and decrease body fat levels is beneficial, there is a level of protein intake that becomes detrimental to health with long-term use.  A 2013 study posted on the US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health website, states that “the adverse effects associated with long-term high protein/high meat intake in humans were (a) disorders of bone and calcium homeostasis, (b) disorders of renal function, (c) increased cancer risk, (d) disorders of liver function, and (e) precipitated progression of coronary artery disease.”  Yikes!  So, what amounts of protein intake is useful to our bodies without becoming unhealthy?

Let’s first that a look at how to recover from different types of workouts.  To keep it simple, we will look at cardio workouts and resistance training workouts.  When you have done a cardio workout; your body needs to restore those glycogen stores, which comes from carbohydrates you ingest.  Now let us be clear: it’s not a candy bar or a sugary drink.  Its complex carbohydrates – aka healthy carbs.  Eating a diet that is higher in fat and low in carbs will mean that you cannot workout as hard when you do a more intense workout.  Carbs are your friend and allow you to work harder and more efficiently!  The amount you need to aim to ingest within one hour after completing your cardio workout is 3-5 grams of complex carbs for every kilogram of body weight. (Weight in pounds / 2.2) Eating this amount within that one-hour window ensures that your body is using the energy optimally to help with recovery and replenishing glycogen stores.  If your steady-state cardio workout goes long than an hour, increase the grams of complex carbs per kg of body weight to 6-8 grams.

When you do a resistance-training workout, you will still need to eat carbohydrates, but protein will help with the rebuilding of muscles and decreasing of soreness.  Protein is the building blocks of your body so you do need to eat them, just not in excess to cause long-term health issues.  The recommended amount of protein is 1.2 -2 grams of protein per kg of body weight (see above paragraph to convert weight in pounds to kilograms).  Again, getting this level of protein into your body within one hour of finishing that resistance workout will be extremely important to help your body recover optimally and decrease soreness.  If you are a protein shake person, make sure to look for a shake that does not contain many fillers.  Look at the nutrition label – the less the amount of listed ingredients, the more clean the protein shake will be – allowing your body to absorb the protein more efficiently.  Otherwise, eating meat with lower amounts of fat will work just as well!

If you want to see results as “quick” as possible, helping your bodywork optimally during a workout is going to be one of the best ways to hit those goals.  Replenishing the needs of your body after different workouts will do that and help, you keep moving along the path to seeing results.

By Pamela G. Huenink, MS, EP-C, W.I.T.S. Faculty

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Safeguarding Shoulder Health

The human body is nature’s most sophisticated piece of machinery. Let’s briefly analyze one its most fundamental tasks: movement. Movement is the resultant cascade of neurophysiological functions beginning with the beaconing of efferent signals from the central nervous system to the pools of motor units innervating skeletal muscle. The recruitment of motor units is dependent upon the task and associated external force needed to meet said task. The rate and selectivity at which motor units are recruited are influenced by an individual’s neural efficiency. The magnitude and rapidity of force production exhibited during activities of daily living, recreation, and competition are largely improved through resistance training. (more…)

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Basal Metabolic Rate and Calculating Your Recommended Daily Caloric Intake

We’ve all heard the saying: “Workout More.  Eat Less.”  While that can be an effective way to see results for improved health and weight loss, a lot of people have no idea what eating less means; very frequently a person has no idea how many calories they need to eat on a daily basis.

Did you know that at the core of your body’s functions, you need calories to keep it running?  Yes, you actually need calories to keep your heart beating, your digestive system functioning and your brain to keep on thinking and monitoring what you are actually doing!  This is called your Basal Metabolic Rate or BMR.

When you do not get enough calories or you eat below your BMR, you will start to see some issues occur, like an inability to concentrate, issues with your digestive system or constantly feeling fatigued.  In the long run, you will develop a lot more serious problems all the way up to losing function of some basic life-supporting systems.  Not eating enough can actually kill you over time!

So how do you figure out how many calories your body needs to keep functioning on a daily basis?  Here’s an equation to use to figure out your BMR:

For Men:    BMR = 66 + (6.23 x weight in pounds) + (12.7 x height in inches) – (6.8 x age in years)

For Women:    BMR = 665 + (4.35 x weight in pounds) + (4.7 x height in inches) – (4.7 x age in years)

Every activity you do while awake adds to your need for overall calories on a daily basis.  Even sitting at a desk and typing burns calories, though not a lot of calories! (More than when you are asleep though!)  Simple Activities of Daily Living or ADL’s add to the calories you need for the day.  Here is a simple way to compute that total caloric amount to maintain your weight:


Activity Level Examples of Activity/Exercise Equation
Sedentary Sitting, Watching TV, Reading, Driving, Cooking, Ironing, Typing, Playing Cards BMR x 1.2
Lightly Active

2-3 days/week

Cleaning, Golf, Yoga, Gardening, Walking 2.5-3.0 mph, leisurely biking BMR x 1.375
Moderately Active

3-5 days/week

Cycling, Tennis, Dancing, Weight Lifting, Baseball, Raking, Walking 3.5-4 mph, hiking BMR x 1.55
Very Active

6-7 days/week

Basketball, Soccer, Climbing, Hiking with a load, High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) BMR x 1.725
Extra Active Physically demanding job, Working out 2x/day or more at higher intensities BMR x 1.9


Example: BMR X moderately active

1303 x 1.55 = 2,019 calories/day to maintain weight

For a simpler way to calculate both BMR and your overall recommended daily caloric intake, please visit’s Estimated Calorie Requirements Calculator.

On this website, you will enter your weight, height and age, as well as what you do for every hour of the 24 hour day.  The best way to do this is to start with how long you are asleep, then walk yourself through a typical day, listing what you do for every single hour you are awake.  Use the descriptions on the page to divide up your day.  Once you hit calculate, your BMR, Activity and Total Calories will be computed for you.

The American College of Sports Medicine recommends that the minimum amount of calories a day that a person should eat is 1200 calories for a woman and 1800 calories for a man.  Any less than this amount is very hazardous to your health.  Dropping about 500 calories, less than your recommended intake to maintain your weight will result in about a healthy 1-pound loss per week.  If you are sedentary, it will be significantly more difficult to lose weight since you must still eat enough calories to keep your body functioning.  Adding in activity on a daily basis can help ensure that you are able to decrease your caloric intake within a safe level.

By Pamela G. Huenink, MS, EP-C, W.I.T.S. Faculty

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Fact or Fiction: Which is better: Consistent moderate level workouts or infrequent higher-level workouts?

We have all heard the term Weekend Warrior before!  Some people swear by the idea that their weekends are meant to “beat up” their bodies with difficult, long workouts.  This is typically because there is a lack of time during the business week to get in exercise and activity.  Is this really the most effective way to hit weight loss goals however? (more…)

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Balance Training Basics


Traditionally, fitness professionals design programming and deploy measures to improve elemental fitness qualities, such as strength, muscular endurance, flexibility, and aerobic capacity, giving little if any thought to balance training.

At the dawn of the millennium, “functional training” was all the rage in the fitness industry. Everyone from mainstream pundits to esteemed strength and conditioning coaches extolled the seemingly interminable scroll of benefits functional training.

During that time, functional training struck a razor edge balance between contrarian and charlatanistic — it deviated from conventional resistance training which until that point, comprised almost exclusively of free weights and machines — and introduced a bevy of accessories that were purported to provide a safer alternative while improving balance and stability. Further, some disillusioned and somewhat naïve coaches advocated for performing sport-specific movements while using accessories consisting of elastic bands and tubing, wobble boards, physioballs, and hemispheric domes.

While their efforts were well-intentioned, they were largely misguided. Force production capabilities are greatly diminished when performing exercises on an unstable surface. And with elasticized resistance, it can be challenging to match strength curves associated with sporting movements — most movement in sport has an ascending strength curve, meaning when leverage is gained throughout the range of motion, less force is required. Elasticized resistance has a descending strength curve, meaning more force is required as leverage is gained due to change in tensile properties of the band or tubing (loss of slack and added tension). Sure, elasticized resistance can be added to accommodate the strength curve (i.e., help a powerlifter near lockout on a given lift), but that’s another entire article. (more…)

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What Does the COVID-19 Delta Variant Mean for Fitness Professionals and Facility Operators?

By Joseph Giandonato, MBA, MS, CSCS
Faculty Member
World Instructor Training Schools

The murmuring of cases of the COVID-19 Delta variant has sounded the alarms of multiple public health agencies throughout the US in recent days. As of Tuesday, July 20th, the Delta variant represents 83% of new COVID-19 cases — which since the middle of July has averaged 32,837 new cases per day nationwide. Additionally, hospitalizations in that same span are up 35% from the week prior according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

The Delta variant’s ascension comes at a time as many of us are finally settling back to the settings in which were most comfortable working with our clients, athletes, and students.

Let’s first dispel some falsehoods about the Delta variant and provide fitness professionals and facility operators suggestions on how to remain open in light of its recent proliferation.

1. The Delta variant is more dangerous than COVID-19. FALSE.

Variants are mutations of a virus and festooned nomenclature, in this case Greek alphabet characters to differentiate them from the original virus (COVID-19 Alpha) and other forms. A hallmark of the Delta variant are pronounced spike proteins which make it easier to penetrate cells and gain entry into angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2) which are found within the cells of the skin, smooth muscles, bronchial tract, and sebaceous and eccrine glands. Delta variant is highly transmissible and potentially more contagious than COVID-19 but no more dangerous.


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What is the W.I.T.S Difference?

By Joseph Giandonato, MBA, MS, CSCS
Faculty Member
World Instructor Training Schools

Whether you are a newly minted college graduate or returning to the classroom following a layoff, W.I.T.S. will help you pave a path to successfully entering the fitness industry through an assortment of evidence-based pedagogical measures.

  1. Unlike most fitness organizations, W.I.T.S. provides (30) contact hours of live instruction facilitated by an experienced fitness professional. Lectures are delivered in-person or virtually with practical sessions hosted in actual fitness settings, enabling students to learn and become confident with core tenets of personal training including interviewing, assessing, testing, training, and coaching clients.
  2. Faculty members are well versed in educational theory and engender self-directed learning environments within the classroom and in the gym — students are given greater autonomy complemented with subtle guidance from the instructor, which is conducive to active learning. This model contrasts traditional teacher-directed models in which the teacher dictates the exchange of knowledge and cadence at which it is delivered. For aspirant and nascent fitness professionals, knowing how and why and being able interpret complex scientific information and exercise training methodologies in non-technical language for clients is critical and these skills are gained through our self-directed learning environment.
  3. Research has shown that active learning is far more effective than passive learning — or merely being the recipient of information — in acquiring knowledge. Many of our faculty members employ the “E.D.I.P.” model to ensure competency of a given skill or subject area is established.

Browse the W.I.T.S Certifications and Stackable Skills

  1. Educate: Students are provided a background or historical overview or rationale.
  2. Demonstrate: Students are shown a process or procedures employing practical or real-world examples.
  3. Imitate: Students are asked to imitate the skill or iterate the knowledge shared with them.
  4. Practice: Students are encouraged to practice or apply said skills or knowledge until competency is achieved.
  5. Professional and life experience is leveraged to the students’ benefit. The adage of “life is the best teacher” aptly fits here. We all bring diverse and unique professional and personal experiences to the W.I.T.S. Personal Training Certification Course. A culmination of those experiences shaped you into the person you are today, likely congealed into the watershed moment needed for you to transition into or take a new step within the fitness industry and will undoubtedly influence your approach and interest areas, as you grow as a fitness professional.
  6. NCCA is the industry accepted standard but W.I.T.S. took it a step further to be the only fitness certification to have the practical skills exam accredited as well.  None of the other fitness industry certifications has this credential in this area.  Building out the infrastructure enables the W.I.T.S graduates and their employers to know that they can perform!
  7. Upon successful completion of the course, apply those credits towards a degree. The American Council of Education recognizes W.I.T.S. as an education provider. Students who complete the course and pass the certifying examinations are eligible to be granted (3) college credits than can be applied to an academic degree program.

Browse the W.I.T.S Certifications and Stackable Skills

Joe Giandonato

Joseph Giandonato, MBA, MS, CSCS has been a faculty member of the World Instructor Training Schools since 2010. Presently, Joe serves as an Employee Wellbeing Coordinator at the University of Virginia where he assists with the design, delivery, oversight, and evaluation of UVA’s comprehensive and award-winning employee wellness program, Hoos Well. Previously, Joe served as a Fitness and Recreation Specialist at Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine, Manager of Health Promotion and Wellness at Drexel University, and Head Strength and Conditioning Coach and Fitness Director at Germantown Academy. Additionally, Joe maintains adjunct faculty appointments at Eastern University and Chestnut Hill College where he teaches exercise science electives. He is currently pursuing his doctorate in education and is studying the role of physical activity on mental health.

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4 Things Only a Personal Trainer Can Do for Their Clients

yoga workout

With the fitness industry grossing billions of dollars every year by helping people improve their lifestyle and physical health, it is only natural that certified personal trainers have been more in demand in recent years than ever before. This is also because it has been observed that a personal health trainer program is more likely to help people achieve their fitness goals as opposed to self-training.

Even though there are multiple reasons why a personal fitness trainer is essential on the journey of health but here are a few of the most critical ones that you, as someone passionate about fitness, must know:

1.    Catering to Personal Requirements

Everybody’s abilities and requirements are different when it comes to fitness training. For someone looking to bounce back after a severe accident, the fitness plan would be different than someone who wants to shed a few pounds. This is where a personal trainer comes in. With their knowledge and expertise, they cater to individual needs and make custom programs according to the client’s requirements.

2.    Providing Nutritional Guidance

If someone is already familiar with the basics of fitness training, they might find themselves wondering, ‘why should I hire a fitness trainer?’. The fact is, every personal training certification involves an introduction to and a module on nutrition. This equips them with the knowledge they use to help their clients achieve fitness goals by incorporating the right nutrition into their diet.

3.    Keeping a Track and Holding Accountable

Procrastination and a busy schedule make it hard for people to form healthy habits or a fitness routine. This is where a personal trainer plays their role. They hold their clients accountable for the missed schedules and routines and ensure that the client’s progress is being effectively tracked. For people who find it hard to break bad habits or beat laziness, a personal trainer is a huge help in setting practical short-term goals that are easier to achieve.

4.    Motivation and Mental Well-Being

Physical health helps improve mental health and is a part of the recommended treatment for mental health challenges like depression. A good and well-trained personal trainer can help customize an exercise plan that positively impacts clients dealing with this situation. PTs are also a source of motivation for clients as they help them keep track of their lives and encourage them through tougher days.

These 4 points are the reason why you should hire a personal trainer rather than self-training if you want to achieve your fitness goals?

Contact the experts today and reach your goals faster than you think you can!