5 Tips when Choosing a Personal Trainer in Phoenix

Let’s face it, trying to find a personal trainer ranks up there with some of life’s most difficult decisions. Choosing a college…starting a family…what to watch on Netflix this weekend?

A good personal trainer should always be a good listener, explain why you are doing specific workouts/exercises and will always prescribe a plan that will help you reach your fitness goals. Daunting as it is to choose a trainer, there are a few key areas to help you start your search.

1. Experience

Experience is an important factor in choosing a trainer, but first you have to define the specific experience needed for YOU. Because a trainer has been “in the business” for years doesn’t mean they’ll know the area you’re looking to improve. Instead consider some other forms of experience:

  • Look for experience showed by happy reference-able clients. Each trainer should have stories of past clients they helped.
  • Ask yourself, has this trainer worked with people who look, act, or sound like me?
  • Look for experience outside the fitness environment. This could mean a trainer who has proven success in business, academics, military service, or personal endeavors. Top performers tend to bring their work ethic and attitude to all areas of life.
  • Look for shared experiences or similar backgrounds. A trainer who happens to be a mother of 3 children can offer invaluable experience to a new mother who is nervous about returning to training.

2. Knowledge

Experience can take many forms, but you want to make sure that your trainer is in fact knowledgeable. The best trainers are lifelong learners and their resume should speak to that. If you are having a hard time locating their credentials, it’s important to ask. Most trainers will open the floodgates about their inspirations and influences. Some leading questions could be:

  • How did you start your fitness journey?
  • What are your biggest influences in health and fitness?
  • What certifications do you hold?
  • Do you recommend any websites or articles where I could learn more?
  • What systems or progressions do you use to help clients achieve their outcomes?

3. The 5 Chimps Theory

In zoology, you can predict the mood and behavior patterns of any chimp by which five chimps they hang out with the most. What does this have to do with choosing a trainer? It means find a trainer who you want to be like. Consider what personal characteristics would best help you on your fitness journey:

Do you need a trainer who is serious and intense? Or are they quirky and can always lighten your mood? Keep in mind that you aren’t selecting the trainer you WANT, but the trainer you NEED!

Once you feel that a trainer has a background that aligns with your goals it’s time to explore how they engage with you.

4. You’ll know how much they care!

The initial meeting is the perfect time to gauge your trainers level of caring. A good trainer takes interest in your needs and listens to your concerns. They inquire about your health and fitness background as well as relevant personal information. Expect questions about injuries, conditions, and athletic background as well.

The trainer/client relationship involves more than planning a workout routine. It involves building trust, addressing challenges, and working together towards a recognized goal. Now the trainer should set clear expectations for what you can expect from training. The approach they use should have a clear progression and benchmarks to track your progress along the way.

5. Persistence trumps Intensity

As author Derek Sivers says, “If more information was the answer, we’d all be billionaires with perfect abs.” Most people have an idea of what they SHOULD do, but generally struggle with what they WILL do. When you begin a new routine, adherence is key. For your first month or two, your trainer should be helping you develop habits around fitness and other healthy practices. When you choose a trainer consider the factors that will encourage your training as well as remove potential roadblocks.

  • Is it a convenient commute to the gym or park?
  • How often will you be able to meet? What times?
  • Is this a price that I am able to pay for each month/week/session?
  • Is this an environment that is safe and comfortable?

It’s easy to find an excuse why you shouldn’t call, but let’s face it, you’re still reading this for a reason. You’re reading because you care. Because you have a goal. Because you’re ready to do what it takes.

So instead of justifying why you can’t right now. Why it’s not a good time. Why next month would be better. Think about what your life would look like if today you made the choice that changed everything.


The 2019 Back Alley Reboot is Upon Us!

Hey everyone, it’s that time of year! Put away the decorations, discard anything that smells like cinnamon and send those kids back to school! Most importantly, it’s time for a REBOOT!
This year’s Reboot Challenge will run for 1 month and will again include components of fitness, nutrition, sleep, mobility, hydration…and of course Katy’s surprise weekly challenges!
The challenge was going to be $20, but since we want you all to be looking fly in your Back Alley shirts, we’re making it FREE!
So no excuses! Click HERE, get signed up, pick your nutrition plan and goals, and January 14th it’s time to REBOOT!

Defeating Demons

“I didn’t know how to do anything, I didn’t know how to do a squat, I couldn’t do one pull-up, I could not do one thing when I started CrossFit, and what I saw was that there was a path and there was a way, and there is always a scaled movement that will move you further into the proper movement that you’re aiming for. Then I figured out that if you don’t abuse yourself, you won’t quit, and then if you don’t quit, you will get there”

We were lucky enough to get to know April over the years when she when she was visiting Phoenix. Here’s her story.

Member Profile: Jill B.

If you haven’t met Jilly Bee then, well… you’re missing out. Not only is she a great mom (just ask her daughters) but she’s the epitome of humble.

When you see her, give a wave… a high five… maybe even a hug!?

Training Tip: Shoulder Mobility

Shoulders play such a KEY role into front squats and overhead squats (OHS). Coach Melissa walks us through mobility movements to hit the shoulders… and the best part is that she explains why we do it and gives us parameters to work with.

Watch me squirm on the foam roller as I attempt to move as coached. NOTE, I found a few spots that really gave me the feels!

Training Tip: The Shoulder Presses

Coach Melissa walks us through the Shoulder Press, Push Press and Push Jerk with both dumbbells and a barbell. Press… Dip, Drive, Press… Dip, Drive, Push Under, Stand Shoulder Press/Push Press/Push Jerk Points of Performance

Shoulder Press/Push Press/Push Jerk Points of Performance:

Shoulder Press Points of Performance:

  • Neutral spine
  • Weight in the heels
  • Bar moves in a straight line
  • Full range of motion

Push Press Points of Performance:

  • Position: Vertical torso
  • Timing: Speed up after the dip
  • Timing: Core/hips to extremity

Push Jerk Points of Performance:

  • Full hip extension
  • Receiving position

Coach Profile: Nick

Introducing our newest coach… Nick Gehling! Nick is a certified trainer via the National Strength & Conditioning Association, and also has a certifications in Medical Experience Training and Functional Strength.

2018 Spring Clean Challenge

Who’s ready for a little Spring Cleaning?! 

Spring is upon us, which means it is time to “clean” out some of the bad habits we may have acquired in those “cold” winter months and start fresh!

The Spring Clean Challenge starts April 2nd and runs through the 22nd!  Each day, you will be given 5 tasks to complete (see below).

Take out the “TRASH”: This Challenge is a little different from the last. For the nutrition portion, you choose what you are going to eliminate from your diet!  This can be as easy as eliminating sugar, grains, dairy, alcohol, or as complex as going strict Paleo for the entire challenge. Anything goes as long as you make a plan ahead of time and stick with it! You will earn 5 points daily for compliance /sticking with your goal or 0 points for not.. These points will be logged into you food journal in the Wodify Rise app.

Getting After It: Our goal is 30 minutes of daily activity.  You will earn 5 points for workout completed at Back Alley (CrossFit, Fitness, HIIT or CorePower).  4 points earned for 30 minutes of activity outside the gym and 0 points for no activity. Points will also be logged daily into Rise app.

Sweet Dreams: Because of people schedule and lifestyles, we are not setting an exact number of hours to sleep. We are having you set your sleep goal at the beginning of the Challenge and asking you to stick to it.  7.5-8 hours is a good rule of thumb. 3 points for hitting your sleep goal, 0 for not.

Hydration:  As it gets hotter, we are upping our hydration goal.  To find a good place to start, divide your body weight by 2/3 (.66) That number is the ounces of water you should strive for daily!  (Ex. 150 lb x .66= 99 oz of water daily)  3 points for hitting your hydration goal, 0 for not.

Adding in the Good Stuff: Unless you are consistently eating a wide variety of organic produce, grass-fed beef, wild-caught fish, and pasture-raised chicken or pork, you will find it hard to get a full profile of the nutrients your body really needs for optimal health no matter how hard you try. That’s why are adding supplements to this challenge! This can be vitamin D, omega-3 fish oil, probiotics, etc. Kelly Liston will be holding an amazing & FREE gut health class before the challenge on Saturday, March 31st at 11 am. She will have many ideas on things to help support that gut!   3 points daily for taking supplement, 0 if not.

Accountability: We know that it is so much easier to get through these Challenges if you have a buddy to keep you accountable. For this Challenge, you will pick an accountability partner.  This person can be participating in the Challenge or a friend/ family member not participating. Your job is to check in with that person throughout the week. You will receive 5 points at the end of the week for staying connected with your accountbility partner.

*Stay tuned for opportunities to earn bonus point throughout this challenge as well!*

After you have completed a task, or by the end of the day, you will input your points into the Wodify Rise App.  Make sure you input your points BEFORE 12am (midnight) each day!  If you forget to log points, your score will come in as a zero for that day! 

How to sign up

The challenge is absolutely FREE for all Back Alley members! Not a member? No problem!

We have a special membership just for the challenge. 6 weeks of BA|HITT + the 3 Week Challenge for $125. If you hate it (you won’t), just cancel online before the end of the challenge and that’s it, no strings attached. Want to keep the momentum? Keep it going for only $99/month. Don’t miss this!!!

Sign Up Now

Schedule your first class now