PLAN: Start out with an activity you enjoy. If you like what you are doing or incorporate a hobby into your plan, it will become a part of your lifestyle. Your plan should take into account interests, schedule, finances and current health. Figure out what you need in order to execute your plan as far as transportation, child care or location in an attempt to bust through any potential barrier before you begin.

SUPPORT: A lifestyle change can be one of the most challenging things you do. There are several studies that indicate motivation, commitment and success significantly increases when you work out in a group. Finding a trainer, a workout partner or classes, will greatly increase your chances of sticking with it and getting you to your fitness goals.

BE SMART: Your body was built to survive. That being said, your body has a wonderful way of adapting to everything you throw at it, and your body will eventually plateau. This is why changing up your routine is so important. Throw something different into the mix and it will shock your body into surviving that. Thus…changing it.

LIFTING WEIGHTS: As a trainer, I have heard women say, “I don’t want to bulk up” too many times. Will you build up muscle with resistance training? Yes. Will you end up looking like a man? NOOOOOOOO! I usually have a little chuckle every time I hear this. Biologically speaking, it is nearly impossible. 99% of women will not “bulk” as a man does. So ladies, weights are not your enemy! It will enhance your fitness plan and ensure success.

STRETCH: Include stretching in your wellness program. Stretching is something that should be done daily for the best results. It will help release stiffness and pain caused by poor posture, occupational habits and/or muscle imbalances. I would recommend doing Yoga as well as it is safe for everyone to do, and it offers numerous different types which will ensure you can find one that is right for you.

NUTRITION: 70-80% of your success is determined by your nutrition. You can work out as hard as you can, but if you are eating a pizza that night you are setting yourself up for failure. I am not saying don’t indulge every now and then, but make sure it is every now and then. What you are putting in your body makes a HUGE impact on what it is going to do. Making sure you eat enough (restricted calorie diets are a no-no) of the right things is important. I usually recommend logging what you eat on a regular basis, getting your body fat checked, and do the math to get your basal metabolic rate. Your basal metabolic rate is the calories you need every day just to survive; this doesn’t include any type of physical activity. Thus if you are denying your body the baseline of calories, it will begin storing what you eat as fat. This goes back to my comment about the body is built to survive. If you are overeating, start paying attention to serving sizes and go from there. Get with a fitness professional to discuss your nutrition and they can help guide you to what you should be paying attention to.

REST: Be sure to take a day off of your fitness plan. Your body needs to recover from the physical activity. Essentially, to put it in basic terms, you are creating microscopic tears in your muscles when you are working out. The body repairs these muscles making them stronger, bigger, and leaner. So, taking a day off is important. Your body will be good to you if you are good to it.

ADVICE: Seek a professional in the fitness industry. When I say professional, I mean a certified, educated fitness professional. Not someone’s friend who works out all the time. Your body is different and will respond different, and a fitness professional will make sure you get the best workout built for you not what someone read in a magazine that month or what has worked for them.

The missing component that prevents you from achieving your fitness goals

Looking to build muscle? Lose Weight? Tone up? Chances are you are doing what millions of other people have done: cardio, resistance training, diet. However, the majority of you will quit…sad but true. So, why? Laziness, not seeing results, injury? Whatever the reason, one important factor in beginning any fitness regime is one of the most overlooked…the ASSESSMENT!

Any certified, qualified fitness professional will take you through a fitness assessment before you begin to get into your training program. Body composition, medical questionnaires, movement assessments are all things my colleagues and I have been educated on.

How many of you have worked out hard and were so frustrated that you were not seeing the scale number go down? So many people give up on their fitness program for this reason. However, the scale is one of the biggest liars. The adage muscle weighs more than fat is true. The scale could stay the same or go up, but your body fat could be heading down at the same time. So, the scale is not the only thing you should be paying attention to. For that reason, “losing weight” is not a statement I like to use when training my clients, changing body composition is the new mantra. During your assessment and reassessments, measuring your body fat is more of a priority than stepping on the scale. Your fitness professional can also guide you in the right direction if things need to be addressed about nutrition (as far as your macronutrients or whether or not you need to be tested for insulin sensitivity, which is a blog for a later date) or within the workouts themselves. Keeping you motivated is why we do this!

My personal favorite of the assessment are the movement assessments. Overhead squats, pulling, pushing, balance are all tell-tale movements that can reveal issues within the kinetic chain of human movement. The kinetic chain refers to the way you move your body. A block or flaw in the kinetic chain causes issues in other place in the body as well. For example, your ankle is going to affect the knee and the knee can impact the lumbo-pelvic region (lower back issues) and vice versa. This is likely due to a muscle imbalance or a previous injury. When you ignore this pivotal part of an assessment your body will continue to use itself in this ineffective and ultimately damaging way, because your body will seek the path of least resistance and keep using itself the way it has. There are several corrective strategies to address the issues that prevent you from achieving your goals. Once corrected, you will be able to activate your muscles properly in order to get them to grow and/or tone up and prevent any future injury.

The assessment is in place for the exact reasons that most people give up on their fitness programs, which is why they are so import to anyone looking to get fit or change up their current routine.

What to chat with a certified trainer and corrective exercise specialist? Contact us here.

Using Kettlebells for a Killer Workout

Kettlebells are an amazing addition to your workout arsenal. Using Kettlebells recruits more stabilizer muscles and works the targeted muscles through a wider range of motion due to its off-center design. Isolation exercises done with dumbbells and barbells do not hit those stabilizing muscles to the same degree.

Kettlebell training focuses on movements, not muscles, whole-body, functional training, strength as a function of mobility, and cardio and strength combined.

Here is a great Kettlebell (KB) Ladder workout for you to try.

KB Swings – Start at a low weight and go up, up and up (hence the ‘Ladder’ part of the workout). Lift as much weight as you can safely with PERFECT form. Do each weight 10 times back to back.

KB Goblet Squats – Same as above

KB Front Squats – Perform four sets of 20-25 reps

KB Push Press – Same principle as Swings and Goblet Squats.

Drop those Kettlebells and grab a medicine ball!

Wall Ball – Three sets of 50 reps

Ball Slams – Three sets of 50 reps

Then stretch out and get some rest you will need it. 🙂

Jello Legs…Why Leg Day is so Important to your Fitness Routine

The only way to describe some leg workouts are jello. You know the feeling…complete muscle exhaustion…even walking becomes a chore.

Leg day is one of the most important lifting days in your routine. When performing multi-joint exercises, you burn more calories than the average exercise only involving a couple joint motions. Some of the largest muscles on the body are in the legs, therefore, the more muscle you have in your legs, the more calories you are going burn throughout the day (the more fat you will burn). Also, due to the large muscles, the hormonal response to working legs is greater and will help build muscle all over your body.

Here is the workout that you will love to hate. 😉

Warmup on a stepper with heavy resistance for 5 minutes.

Prisoner Squats superset with Dumbbell Chops 3 sets of 20 reps

Cable Squats superset with Multiplanar Lunges 3 sets of 15 reps

Barbell Squats superset with Walking Lunges 4 sets of 15-10 reps

Stiffed-Legged Deadlifts 4 sets of 15-10 reps

Barbell Step Ups superset with Jump Squats 3 sets of 20 reps

Calf Raises superset with Split Squats 3 sets of 15 reps

Cool down.

Hugs, Loves and Thanks!

Zac Linton

NASM Certified Personal Trainer, Corrective Exercise Specialist, Fitness Nutrition Specialist
ESP Wellness

A thorn in the side…lower back pain

Research shows that almost every adult will experience some form of low back pain. Bulging discs, sciatica, etc. it is an issue that many people face. A proper assessment from a health/fitness professional can reveal what the major issue is. Whether it is a foot/ankle complex issue or the knee, the human bodies kinetic movement chain will indicate what you should be focusing on.

For a person who experiences low back pain, it can be a serious detriment to their wellbeing and quality of life. In the exercises below, we will examine exercises that will help aid in alleviating that pain and strengthen the lower back.

*You should always consult your physician before participating in any exercise program*

First of all we will focus on inhibiting and lengthening the overactive muscle tissue which pulls the body in an unnatural way causing those muscles to compensate for the weaker ones. We use Self Myofascial Release in order to inhibit those muscles with a foam roller, and static stretching techniques to lengthen. Muscles that are commonly overactive in association with low back pain are the Quadriceps, TFL/IT band, Adductors and Piriformis. Each muscle should be foam rolled for a minimum of 30 seconds one time.

Quad FRQuadriceps: Lie facing down on the ground with your forearms and elbows propped to support yourself. Place the top part of your quads on top of the foam roller. Roll slowly down your legs toward your knees. Bend your legs slightly to increase the pressure of the massage. Keep your head in alignment with your spine and pelvis. Do not stick your neck down or hyperextend your lower back. Hold the tender spot once you feel it, and breathe deeply. Gently rub it by slowly moving your legs up and down. Continue to roll up and down the thighs until most of the tenderness and pain subside.


TFL FRTFL/IT Band: Sit on the foam roller and roll to put your weight on your left upper leg, just below the hip. Stretch your left leg out straight, in line with your hip and knee. Place your right leg, bent in front of you on the floor and both your arms in front of you with your hands on the floor for balance. Push off with your right foot as you roll down your entire leg from the hip to the knee, keeping your arms straight and non-moving in front of you. Try to avoid rolling over the hip or knee joints. You can vary the pressure and the iliotibial band stretch, by how much you sink your weight into the foam roller. Shift your weight on the foam roller slightly, to the left or right to get the exact sore spot.


addcutor foam rollAdductors: Face down on ground with one leg to the side and foam roll under the inside of your other thigh. Roll along the inside of your thigh from your pelvis to the inside of your knee. The more uncomfortable it is, the more that muscle needs to be massaged. Hold on sore spots for an extended time to release them


piriformis FRPiriformis: The piriformis is a small muscle of the hip near the glutes. Using a foam roller to relax the piriformis also targets the gluteus medius, gluteus maximus and gluteus minimus. To foam roll the hip, sit on the center of the roller with your knees bent and feet on the floor. Cross your left leg onto your right thigh and lean to the right so the outside of your right glute is the only part of you touching the foam roller. Then, straighten your right knee to roll up your glute. Do not roll the center of the glutes as this might compress the sciatic nerve.



Next you want to perform 30 seconds of each of these static stretches.

Kneeling Hip Flexor StretchKneeling Hip Flexor Stretch




seated adductor stretchSeated Adductor Stretch




biceps femoris stretchBiceps Femoris Stretch






piriformis stret supinePiriformis Stretch



Next we will focus on strengthening the muscles that are underactive preventing low back pain from returning. You will perform one or two sets of each exercise doing 10-15 repetitions.

side lying gluteus mediusSide-lying Gluteus Medius




QuadrupedQuadruped Opposite Arm/Leg Raise




stability-ball-bridgeStability Ball Bridge



Perform these exercises every other day for four weeks.

For more exercises contact us at

~Zac Linton CPT, CES, FNS


ESP Wellness’ July Boot Camp

Today marks the mid point of ESP Wellness’ 6-week boot camp. Due to demand and popularity, we are going to be hosting another, August 11 to September 19th at Lake Elmo in Billings, MT. We want to thank everyone for their support including Lake Elmo for graciously helping us secure a location.

Our friends and clients will be battling the heat this evening but still getting a great workout that you can do below. Remember – stay hydrated, stay motivated and stay on track.

Thank  you for all of your love and support!

Zac Linton
NASM Certified Personal Trainer, Corrective Exercise Specialist, Fitness Nutrition Specialist

Workout 7/9/14

Lateral Lunges
180 Jump Squats
Push Ups
Side Shuffles
30 Seconds of each then 30 Seconds Rest
25 meter run
Repeat three times

Tuck Jumps
30 Seconds of each then 30 Seconds Rest
25 meter run
Repeat three times

High Knees
Walking Lunges
Switch Kicks
30 Seconds of each then 30 Seconds Rest
25 meter run
Repeat three times