Long Term Athletic Development

By Chicago Personal Trainer Ron Munvez

How often have we heard stories about the kid that was a great high school baseball player or tennis player and then you never hear about them again or their sports career just vanished? I have heard stories like “boy, Johnny was really good. Didn’t he get a scholarship to go play baseball at State University”. Unfortunately, Johnny never played. He injured himself, got burned out and stopped playing.
Early specialization is now the norm, which is too bad. You don’t hear about the 3-sport athlete anymore because coaches and parents won’t allow it.

Here is what happens with early specialization:
– Quick performance improvement (parents love this)
– Best performance achieved at 15-16 years because of quick adaptation
– Inconsistency of performance in competitions
– By age 18 many athletes were burned out and quit the sport
– Prone to injuries because of forced adaptation (look at all the kids having Tommy John surgery before age 21)

We have taken the perform pyramid and turned it upside down

Today, many kids just don’t know how to move properly. There is very little free play and with computers, XBOX and Playstation, there is limited movement going on.

Movement is the foundation of performance.

Let’s refer to movement as Multilateral Development.
Here is what happens when movement/Multilateral Development is part of the development of young kids and athletes.

Slower performance improvement

Best performance at 18 years and older the age of physiological and psychological maturation

Consistency of performance in competition



Kids need this foundation of movement. They need to know how to run, skip, jump, land from a jump, rotate their bodies, and development strength and agility. You would be surprised how limited kids are when it comes to doing push-ups and pull-ups. My kids can not run or skip properly.

Training programs for the young athlete should focus on overall athletic development and not sport specific performance.
It is important for the young athlete to maintain the movement/multilateral foundation they establish during their early development throughout their athletic career.

Lets look at this example – Jennifer is 12 years old and every week she plays soccer for about 10 hours, but does nothing else except a quick warm up before soccer practice or a game. The coaches and parents think that playing more soccer and doing more soccer drills will make her a better skilled player. Increasing her soccer training at the expense of multilateral training is the only possibility with her hectic schedule. In the short term Jennifer may improve her soccer skills, but the lack of training in basic movement skills such as strength, agility, mobility, stability and power will limit her playing abilities long term. When she is 17 her lack of good physical movement qualities will lower her overall soccer playing potential through slower movement, speed on the field, decreased agility and quickness and a greater potential for injury.

I’m not saying that when kids are young, they should not work on skill specific drills, but because of lack of just play, kids also need to build the right foundation of movement/multilateral development for Long Term Athletic Development.

Ron is a certified personal trainer in Chicago, IL. Contact him today to schedule a free introductory session.

How To Achieve Mindfulness Through Meditation

Original Post by Sylvia Maldonado, CEO/Founder – breathe bar

Meditation is an essential tool for top-performers across all industries, including professional sports. Darnell McDonald, a former Chicago Cubs player, is now the mental skills coordinator for the Cubs, teaching players how to meditate and improve their mental game. George Mumford, the best-selling author of The Mindful Athlete and a psychologist, has taught meditation to some of the most famous athletes in the world, including Michael Jordan, Kobe Bryant, and Shaquille O’Neal, to name just a few. An aspiring professional basketball player himself, Mumford’s dreams were sidelined by injuries which led to drug addiction. In his recovery, he discovered meditation, and was able to combine his passion for sports with the mental training that meditation provides.

So why is meditation so beneficial?

Just as we know we need consistent physical activity for optimal health, our brains need training to operate in peak performance. Mindfulness, a type of meditation, teaches us to operate in the present, to not dwell in the past (i.e., don’t dwell on the bad play) or worry about hypothetical future-based scenarios. It teaches us to be non-judgmental, and to foster non-attachment, an attitude that enhances our ability to be resilient when we get outcomes we weren’t expecting. These are great principles to live by for athletes, and for non-athletes alike. The research is ongoing, but so far, neurological studies show promising results for meditation’s ability to lower depression and anxiety, improve focus and concentration, enhance happiness levels and well-being, and increase compassion through loving kindness meditation. Recently, the American Heart Association became the first professional medical society to issue a statement concerning meditation’s benefits, stating it may be effective in reducing heart disease. Even better, it doesn’t require any special equipment, clothes or props, and can be done anywhere, anytime.

So how can you incorporate meditation into your daily routine?

Much as you hire a personal trainer to work on your fitness goals, work with a trainer for your meditation practice. It is a skill that needs to be learned then practiced, just like playing tennis or the violin. Don’t get discouraged if you don’t pick it up right away. Like anything else, it takes time. Stick with it, and remember, there is no right or wrong way to meditate. You will have thoughts, and that’s okay. Release them into the sky like a balloon and return to your area of focus, whether it be an image, your breath, a sound, or a mantra. Find a resource to help you learn the best meditation practice for you, and start small. A consistent practice, even 3 minutes a day for most days, is more beneficial than an hour a month. There are several free and low-costs meditation apps (we like Aura, buddhify, and Insight Timer) you can try. Meditation classes are offered at studios popping up all over the country, as well as at many yoga studios. For those of you who like the personal trainer approach – I certainly do! – there are even meditation teachers who will even come to your home or work through breathe bar.

There is no time like the present to get started! You’ll be glad you did.

Interested in learning more about the benefits of mindful meditation? Check out breathe bar today. 

5 Reasons Why You Should Box

Chicago Boxing Trainer, Marlon OrdonezBy Chicago Personal Trainer Marlon Ordonez

5) Boxing sharpens your mind.

Studies have proven over and over again that boxing is great for patients with Parkinson’s to help ease some of the symptoms. A 2016 study by the Journal of Parkinson’s Disease showed it improved the brain’s neurological patterns for coordination, agility, balance, posture and mobility, all of which are affected by PD. Non-contact boxing has grown in popularity due to the benefits gained from it. When you have a coach projecting numbers and visual aids in the forms of punching combinations, it may feel like playing sudoku with your hands thus improving your hand eye coordination and recall.

4) Punch Out Stress.

Stress management is important and often overlooked. Stress causes inflammation, depression, brain fog, and reduces the quality of sleep. Boxing is a great strategy to keep your mind and body in premium health. Many of my clients who are attorneys, CEO’s and full time moms love boxing because it makes them feel better. Punching a mitt or a heavy bag feels good! It releases a rush of endorphins due to the adrenaline that is released during boxing. Go hit a bag, or contact a coach and give yourself a dose of feel good thoughts.

3) Push your body to the limit safely.

Don’t get me wrong… I love box jumps, power cleans, kettlebells, sledgehammers and flipping tires – boxing is just a safer alternative that is just as effective and demanding. You can train anywhere with a pair of gloves, a bag, or a coach holding mitts which is not the case for many other fitness endeavors. You can’t push past your limits till you find them. Glove up my friend!

2) Boxing burns more calories than any other activity!

Research from brand supplement Forza found that boxing burns more calories than another sport! Rowing came in third, and Squash second. Boxing is the most effective strategy for weight loss. More than running, swimming, and doing various activities in a fitness class. Have you taken a boxing class? Time literally flies by! It’s full body with intense bursts of physical exertion – It’s like interval training on steroids!

1) FUN!

This is the number 1 reason you should box. It’s fun, empowering, and you are learning a new skill that will increase your confidence and ability for self defense. I’ve seen people quit gym memberships and exercise programs due to how much of a chore, and work it may feel to follow through till the end. If you enjoy yourself in whatever it is you are doing, the chances of you being successful grow exponentially. The best part about boxing is that you don’t have to be good at it to gain the benefits from it. Get a coach, find a gym, and sign up now before the holiday season gets you!

Marlon is a certified boxing trainer in Chicago, IL. Contact him today to schedule a complimentary introductory session.

25 Nutrition Tips to Lose Fat, Feel Better and Have More Energy

By Chicago Personal Trainer Ron Munvez

1. The world’s greatest workout program will never over take a poor diet.
2. Refer to Rule #1 again.
3. Your core day-to-day nutrition should be about fueling your body for success.
4. Forget how you think of food. Instead, think of food in terms of what powers and sustains you.
5. Choose foods that are good for you 80% of the time.
6. Incorporate some of your favorite foods that might be the best for you 20% of the time. 7. You still have to enjoy.
8. Use mindful eating tactics.
9. Eat Clean, meaning make the best possible choice whenever selecting food.
10. When it comes to choosing your protein, remember the less legs the better. Fish over chicken and turkey, which if over a pig or cow.
10. Top 5 proteins:
– Salmon
– Albacore tuna
– Chicken Breast
– Turkey Breast
– Lean grass fed red meat
11. Eat a rainbow. The different fruits and veggies out there contain different vitamins and minerals. Eating many colors helps you consume more of them. Strive for at least 3 different colors on your plate at each meal or every other meal.
12. Carbs are not bad, Bad carbs are bad
13. Eat Breakfast everyday. Within 30 minutes of waking you should “break the fast”. Breakfast helps to jumpstart your metabolism, fuels the brain and body and provides energy.
14. Breakfast should contain protein, a complex carb, fruits and veggies if possible.
15. Hydrate. When choosing a beverage, water should be your number 1 choice. If you need flavor, squeeze some fresh lemon in the water.
16. Take a high quality multivitamin, fish oil and vitamin C everyday.
17. Use herbs and spices to flavor food. Avoid creamy condiments and too much salt.
18. When starting to change eating habits, only try to change 1 habit at a time. Once you have made the life style change with that 1 habit, then start to change the next eating habit. You will have much more success this way.
19. Try never to be starving or overly hungry.
20. Feed yourself small meals or health snacks throughout the day and you’re going to burn more calories.
21. Cut down on your portion size. If you have to, use a smaller plate. This really works.
22. Keep a food log; it is great for seeing how much you are really consuming.
23. When going out for dinner, Booze or bread, but not both.
24. Eating healthy and clean is a lifestyle, not a diet. Diets are temporary.
25. Have a support group. Friends and family or a coach.

Ron is a Certified Personal Trainer in Chicago, IL. Contact us today to schedule a free introductory session.

How To Choose A Personal Trainer

Personal Trainer in Houston, TXBy Houston Personal Trainer Matt Bench

Here’s what might matter to you set out to enlist the help of a professional for your fitness:


Imagine being able to verbalize your struggles comfortably and having someone who is reliable consistently inquire into you habits and decision-making. Example: “Why did you feel it was worth it to skip cardio this weekend?” or “How do you feel now that you made the tough but right decision.”


Are they stuck in drill sergeant mode? Do they over-sexualize instructions? Can they adapt to the kind of encouragement that works best for you?


Some trainers are motivated to keep their clients dependent upon them and make sure to not give away and teach skills necessary to maintain health for the rest of their clients’ lives.


Is their brand and philosophies consistent with what you believe and value?


In-home fitness trainers exist (I am one), but not everyone is excited to workout where they also relax. Keep in mind that an outdoor park without covered areas can get tricky on hot or rainy days. Some independent trainers have a wide network of both indoor and outdoor facilities to go to (myself included).


1) Ask around and get at least 2 recommendations to a person, not a company.

2) Call and chat. See how you get along with them. After describing your goals and expectations and after he/she elaborates how they can be of services then…

3) Schedule a no-obligation initial assessment and first session; they will almost always be willing to make it discounted.

From there use your intuition. Do you feel physically good during/after the session? Were you encouraged/motivated? Is the trainer trustworthy and can they articulate 1 3 and 6 month milestones confidently? If yes, then good job and good luck!

Matt is a certified personal trainer in Houston, TX. Contact him today to schedule a free introductory session.

Pushing Through the Pain… Good or Bad?

Personal Trainer Austin, TX - Andrea W.By Austin Personal Trainer, Andrea Wiggins

We’ve all heard it. And maybe we have even said it….

“Push through the pain”
“No pain, no gain”
“Pain is just weakness leaving the body”

I mean, if you really want to go for it, sometimes you need to work through the pain, right?

Actually, I’m going to say wrong. And this was a hard one for me to really grasp ahold of because I have always been a “push through the pain” kind of girl.

I remember when I was going through Navy boot camp and I had injured my ankle. The pain had become so severe that I had to go to medical (to my dismay) where I was told by the doctor that I had a stress fracture to my ankle.

Now all I wanted to know was how do we fix it and when can I get back to training……because missing training just wasn’t an option.

And that’s when the doctor had to break it down for me.

“Sure, you can go back out and try and run on this. But you WILL be back and at that point you won’t have an option. You’ll be FORCED to take time off.”

And I knew that meant being set-back (held back for a period of time therefore extending my time in boot camp). And that was all it took to change my tune….

“So a few days off huh? ok!”

See when it comes to pain, you have to be very careful of the “push through it” attitude. Because the pain you are feeling could be a sign from your body that something is wrong and you need to take a break.

And pushing past that point will usually just make things worse (like having to repeat 2 weeks or more of bootcamp) and could cause a “possible” injury to become something that takes you out of the game.

Now soreness in the body after exercise is to be expected. And sometimes, depending on the workout, that soreness could last anywhere from a day to three days.

This is what is knows as Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness (DOMS) and is a result of stress placed on the muscles that the muscles are not used to.

Small, microscopic tears are caused during exercise, the healing of which results in a stronger muscle overall. It’s actually a good thing and generally can be relieved with rest, ice, some stretching or massage.

However, if that discomfort is ever sharp and/or comes with severe swelling, bruising and is painful to the touch, then there could be something more serious going on.

Or if you have pain on one side of the body when you have worked both sides equally. That’s also a pretty good sign that you may need to make a closer look.

So, best advice is to know your body and remember a few rules for having a safe and pain free workout:

Warm up – Take about 10-15 minutes at the beginning of your workout to raise your body temperature and prepare it for your workout.

Stay Hydrated – Make sure you are drinking plenty of water before and during your workout.

Controlled movements and lifts – Make sure you are always in control of the weight you are using and if necessary, have someone assist you (spotter).

Stretch/Cooldown – always stretch after your workout to help increase flexibility and reduce muscle soreness.

REST! – Incorporate rest days into your workouts to give your body a chance to recover and repair. Trust me, you will be stronger for it!

So, to all of my hard chargers out there, sometimes you need to work SMARTER, not HARDER.

Committed to your success!


Contact Andrea today for a free introductory session!

Andrea is a Certified Personal Trainer in Austin, TX. Click here to browse through and connect with all of our trainers in the Austin area.

How Nutrition Affects Our Bodies

Personal Trainer in Austin, TX - Tony W.By Austin Personal Trainer, Tony Waiscki

Hey it’s your coach and friend Tony Wasicki with Versatile Athletics! As a fitness trainer the main thing I hope to persuade people to do is practice proper nutrition. This is the one thing that is going to propel you toward your goals. This is 90% of the work.

Do you want to gain muscle? Lose fat? Or compete at the highest level of athletics? Whatever your goal, the difference that makes a difference is almost always nutrition. Information overload is common and internet guru’s often preach conflicting ideas. Every week there is a new diet to try… and fail.

Sound familiar?

Let’s start off with the understanding of some basics……

* As defined by the ISSA

Energy Balance – The relationship between all sources of energy intake & energy output. An organism is said to be in energy balance when energy flow into the body & out of the body is equal. This is often evidenced by a stable body weight.

Positive energy balance – An organism is in positive energy balance when energy flow exceeds energy
flow out of the body. This often evidenced by an increasing body weight.

Negative energy balance – An organism is in negative energy balance when energy flow out of the body
exceed energy flow into the body. This is often evidenced by a decreasing body weight.

Too much of being in either the negative or positive can have a negative impact on the health of your body. Severe negative energy balance can lead to massive metabolic decline, reductions in thyroid hormone production, reduction in testosterone levels, an inability to concentrate, and a huge reduction in physical performance. Your body thinks that it’s starving, so it slows down or shuts down all non-survival functions including reproductive function, metabolic function, and brain function.

On the other hand, too much of being in the positive has its own negative effects not only in terms of weight gain but in terms of health. Some of these include: plaque building up in your arteries, an increase in blood pressure, & insulin resistance which puts you at high risk of diabetes, and the list goes on.

So what’s the solution?……..

Consume more nutrient dense food! Which is defined by the ratio of nutrients relative to the total
calorie content in food. Examples include:

● Brightly or deeply colored vegetables
● High fiber, unprocessed grains
● Lean meats (chicken breast, lean cuts of red meat such as sirloin & venison)

Examples of foods with a low nutrient density include:
● Table sugar
● Soda
● White flour
● Ice cream

In contrast there are also calorie dense foods which are defined by their ratio of calories to the actual weight of food. Examples of these include:

● Cookies
● Crackers
● Butter
● Bacon

How many calories are enough?

The answer to this question is dependent on your goals. If you are new to the concept of nutrition and
your goal is fat loss, then it is advisable that your diet consists of nutrient dense and low calorie foods. Calorie counting can be confusing, so I recommend eating to satiation which is a state of being pleasantly fed to satisfaction. On the other hand when I have a client whose goal is weight gain then a recommended approach would be to have a diet high in calorie dense and high nutrient dense foods. This would allow for increases in both nutrient intake and calorie intake which is essential for gains in both lean mass & total body weight.

Got it? Great! Get to the gym, train, and start putting some of these principles to use and watch yourself go through an amazing transformation! Still need help? All hope is not lost. My help is always available and your body is an investment as is your health.

I hope you have found this information to be useful. If you are ready to take your health and fitness to the next level, I’m here to support you so contact me today. Until next month this is your friend and coach Tony Wasicki with Versatile Athletics and……

Go Train Baby!!!

Tony is a Certified Personal Trainer in Austin, TX. Click here to browse through and connect with all of our trainers in the Austin area.

Just Decide

By Austin Personal Trainer, Julius Washington

As a Fitness Professional I’ve come across a lot of people who have many different reasons to not make their health one of the highest priorities in their daily lives.

The one thing that we all must understand is that when our health is poor, every other area of our lives will suffer. I’ve come to the professional conclusion that poor nutritional choices and lack of exercise are two of the most destructive forces in the lives of the general public.

So how do we fix our health problems and get started on an effective fitness program? I’m here to give you a few ideas on how to get this done:

First, you have to just DECIDE that your health is one of your HIGHEST PRIORITIES. A good way of doing this determining who depends on you the most. Do your children depend on you the most? How about your wife or husband? Think about how the life of your family, loved ones, or friends would be if you weren’t around. Once you’ve realized how important you are to the people who depend on you most, then deciding to make your health one of your highest priorities should be easy.

Second, once you’ve decided to get moving on a fitness program your next move should be to research and find a qualified fitness professional who can help you achieve your goal. It will also be a good idea to search for information on proper nutrition and exercise so you can educate yourself, which will make your fitness journey easier.

Lastly, get started!! Don’t wait for a perfect time to start your fitness program. There will never be a perfect time to start a fitness program, but the best time to start is NOW! You can do it!! Just remember to stay focused, consistent, persistent, and that failure is always on the path to success. Just Decide and change you health today.

Julius Washington is a certified personal trainer in Austin, TX. Contact him today to schedule a free introductory session.