Merritt Clubs Blog


The Importance of Cross Training

Posted by Heather Blake

Aug 17, 2012


Why is Cross Training Important?

Cross training is when you use several different types of training methods to improve overall fitness or a specific component of fitness.

Many people make the mistake of doing the same workout for months, even years without making any changes or adjustments. The body is an amazing machine, able to adapt based on the demands placed upon it. Fitness is improved only when the body is pushed beyond its limits, where it is then forced to improve. After a certain time period the body adapts to a certain workout and is no longer challenged.

Thus, you need to change your workout and try different types of exercise every couple of days, weeks, and months to keep your body challenged. Challenge yourself to try a new workout. It will improve your fitness, help with weight loss, reduce your chance of injuries, and even work muscles you never knew you had. Break the monotony try something new.

Written by Paul Kirkpatrick

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Topics: workout tips, cross training, exercise tips, Fitness Tips, fitness workouts, fitness, fitness training, cross fitness, weight loss with exercise

Get Advice from a Trainer

Posted by Eric "Scott" Landers

Mar 7, 2012

When many people decide that it is time to get fit, hit the gym, or start to exercise regularly they simply join a gym and start doing what they think is the best exercises for them to reach their goals. While joining a gym and showing up on a regular basis is definitely the first step and very admirable, it is by no means the best way to achieve goals. People tend to believe that they know what to do because it is their body, they have lived in it for however many years and they may have read an exercise book or two or played lacrosse in high school. Maybe they even used to work out or have friends that either did or currently do work out.

The human body is the most intricate and complex machine ever created; so, why do we assume we can figure it out just because it’s time to get fit? I drive a car and I have almost every day of my life since I was 17 years old (I’m now 32). I’m very familiar with how to operate my car and I would venture to say that I’m a pretty good driver. That being said, when it comes time for a tune up or a repair, I don’t usually pop the hood myself. And if I do, I soon realize that I’m going to need the help of a professional - a mechanic or someone trained to know how a car works internally and knows how to make the proper repairs is way more suited to handle the job. The human body is far more complex than a vehicle; so when going to make repairs or even regularly scheduled maintenance, it is best to seek the advice of a fitness professional.

Variables such as which exercises, rep schemes, heart rate, VO2 max, BMR, proper form, time of sessions and periodization are just some of the many things that have to be considered to achieve maximum results while avoiding injury. If these things seem foreign to you, like a piston of a car engine is foreign to me, than it is time to consult a fitness professional to maximize your fitness goals!! Ask us, that’s why we’re here. It’s our job, it’s what we do!!

By: Eric “Scott” Landers, Personal Trainer at Towson

Have a Question? Ask a certified personal trainer or lifestyle and weight management consultant, Click here

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Topics: weight loss exercise, body fitness, Personal Training, health fitness tips, fitness advice, health fitness centers, fitness training, Baltimore fitness, healthy weight loss

Focus on Heart Rate Training This Year

Posted by RaySa

Jan 9, 2012

Every individual has a different heart rate zone to safely exercise in for maximum effect. Heart rate is the most accurate measurement of intensity or exertion level. A heart rate monitor provides training tools that guide users through physical activity, endurance, and speed and strength workouts based on the body’s effectiveness zone – it then displays and tracks fitness improvements to achieve desired goals. If your heart rate is too low, you may have inadequate or slow results. If your heart rate is too high, you may be overtraining which may have counterproductive effects on your body composition. Heart rate training takes out the guesswork on the effectiveness of your training based on your goals.

So, why use a heart rate monitor?
• Safety
• Zone training increases fat metabolism
• Accurate calorie depiction
• Maximize training efficiency and get better results with less time
• Stay motivated and are held accountable
• Lack of progress is easily tracked

If you are interested in learning more about heart rate monitor training, I encourage you to take advantage of our upcoming month-long program, Smart Cardio. The Smart Cardio program includes 4 Personal Training Sessions plus a Polar Heart Rate Monitor. For more information about this program, click here. You can also read more about heart rate monitor training on the Polar website.

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Topics: how to measure heart rate, heart rate training, Fitness Tips, fitness training, fitness testing, heart rate, endurance, heart rate zone

The Art Behind Training Methods and How They Work

Posted by RaySa

Dec 7, 2011

One thing I have learned as a Trainer is there are many methods to training, but principles are few. One trainer may like bodyweight stuff, while another uses kettlebells. I subscribe to no specific style of training, except hard work. The truth is, there is no perfect program and if you want to get somewhere, there is no quicker way than hard work. I will use kettlebells, dumbbells, machines, bodyweight, TRX, ropes, bands, barbells, sandbags, tires, etc to get the effect I want. All those tools provide me with variety and help break up the monotony of training. Let me tell you, it ALL works. Work people in ranges of motion they can control and vary the tool or apparatus and you WILL get a training effect.

Free weights vs. Bodyweight

Free weights are a great way to train the muscles and allow many benefits. I love bench press because it keeps you more stable and allows for more overload where as the bodyweight push up allows more core and trains the stabilizers. It all comes down to physics, for example if you weigh 150 lbs and do a full bodyweight push up, you have to support probably close to 80-90% of your bodyweight, let's say 120 lbs of your total 150. That force is distributed through both your arms and for convenience lets says close to 50 lbs per arm. That would equate to 50 lb dumbbells in each hand, or close to a 100 lb bench press. How many of you ladies scoff at the bench press as a “manly” exercise and prefer plank holds and push ups on knees? I say put the weights on and get stronger! That will make your body feel lighter and allow you to progress to a harder version. Weights don’t necessarily make you bigger they make you stronger.

Won’t I get bigger? I just want to tone up!

Tone is a misnomer. I don’t know where people got their information, but muscles don’t get longer, slimmer, sexier, or more toned. Muscles can get stronger, weaker, smaller or bigger. You don’t want to be weak; strength is the foundation of movement. If you don’t have strength or stability in a joint, you will likely get injured. Most people (guys included) don’t have to worry about getting too big, because to tell you the truth, gaining muscle mass is probably the hardest thing to do. Also it takes a dedicated nutrition plan, and lots of consistent hard work to put considerable amounts of muscle on. The best way to get toned is to get stronger. You get stronger by lifting heavier weights or increasing the resistance. Of course you should learn perfect technique before you load on weight. Ladies don’t have to worry because unless you take steroids you will never get big like you see in some of those magazines. Women don’t have high levels of testosterone, which is a major anabolic hormone.

What should I do?

The best exercises are the ones that work the total body, are multi-joint, compound lifts. These allow you the most bang for your buck, because they work the entire body and allow you to load on weights to get stronger. This strength can then be used during circuit style training, which gives you a strength reserve to tap into. That means more work done because things are easier when you’re stronger. This is good because the more work you do the more calories you burn. Some examples include deadlift variations, squat variations, rows, bench, and shoulder press. Some notable bodyweight lifts are pull ups, 1 arm push ups, pistol squats, handstands and V-ups.

To learn more about Lee, click here

What's your favorite training style?

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Topics: Personal Training, training exercise program, trx, fitness training, training and weight loss, Personal trainer, training machines, home gym, fitness goals

Lifestyle Change Program: Phil Kaplan’s A.L.I.V.E.

Posted by RaySa

Jul 19, 2011

Skeptical, anxious, excited, nervous, curious, hopeful. These were just some of the feelings I experienced while going through 12 weeks of training to become one of the few A.L.I.V.E. trainers at Merritt Athletic Clubs. Is there really a protocol that can reduce body fat, increase energy, cure dis-ease, reverse the physical signs of aging, and get people off of medications? How is this possible when this protocol is challenging some of the fundamental elements of health and fitness programs? How is this possible in just 8 weeks, starting out with only 6 minutes of cardio per day?? Phil Kaplan was making some bold statements about this program, and I was willing to keep an open mind and an open heart and jump in with both feet. If this program was even half as successful as Phil claimed, I could be saving lives!

As our pilot group of A.L.I.V.E. participants completes week 8 of the program I couldn't be more excited and proud! Here are just SOME of the results achieved from our group: dramatic weight loss WITHOUT restricting calories or cutting carbohydrates, increased strength and endurance, decreased blood pressure, relief from migraines, decreased blood sugar levels, increased energy, sleep better, cured of intestinal issues. Do you or anyone you know take medications daily? Have you been on every fad diet and extreme exercise program only to have all of the weight come back? What are you waiting for? Please don’t use time as an excuse… if you don’t make time for yourself, you won’t be around to enjoy the fruits of your labor!

A.L.I.V.E. is an 8 week program designed to coach you through a lifestyle change… this is only the beginning!

To learn more about A.L.I.V.E. visit:

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Topics: life style fitness, health clubs, fitness training, fitness centers, program for fitness, A.L.I.V.E., fitness gyms, Personal trainer, fitness classes, weight loss programs, weight programs