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Transformations By Sean Michael is the most complete, mobilized fitness and wellness solutions company, certified by NASM.  I operate out of Bergen and Passaic counties.  My services include one on one personal training, partner training, seasonal boot camps and special events training.   Service in the following towns:  Franklin Lakes, Wyckoff, Waldwick, Ramsey, Ridgewood, Mahwah and Paramus. 


Find new ways to motivate yourself in all facets of your life and allow your mind to be opened to a new transformation of positive thinking.   This blog will feature articles related to living a healthy lifestyle both physically and mentally. 

Buddy Up: How a Workout Partner Supports Your Goals

Sean Michael

Stay committed to your fitness goals all year. Just because the excitement of the “New Year, New You” commitment has worn off – doesn’t mean progress towards crushing fitness goals need to as well.

According to U.S. News, approximately 80% of resolutions fail by the second week of February, so we put together top tips to stay committed to your fitness resolutions all year.

One excellent way to increase your fitness results? Grab a buddy!

In honor of Valentine’s Day, and to sweat off all the potential sweet treats that come with celebrating, we encourage you to find your favorite workout partner and break a sweat.

– Accountability

There is strength in numbers. It may be easier to reschedule a planned workout with yourself, but it is not as easy to blow off your fitness buddy who is counting on you to meet up.

“Sometimes we need to be held to a higher standard and that is ok.  Find that person who is equally motivated to help the flow of accountability work both ways.  Knowing that someone is waiting for you will get you going – if nothing other than to show up.  Being around like-minded individuals will keep you aligned with your goals and work ethic,” shares Sean Michael of Transformations by Sean Michael in the New Jersey Area.

– Healthy Competition

We all have a natural competitive edge. If your buddy wants to push themselves a little harder, run a little faster, for a little longer, you’re likely to meet the challenge.

– Variety

It’s the spice of life, right? Boredom often leads to people falling off the fitness bandwagon. But if you’re incorporating someone else’s fitness ideas and challenges it keeps it more interesting.

– Companionship

Having someone to share the good, bad and ugly of your fitness journey with is just sweeter.

Sean Michael shares a few reasons why working out with your significant other is beneficial (and fun):

Friendly competition to see who can get their heart racing a little more.

Opportunity to catch up on the little things that you may miss as you cross paths daily.

You will both be on the same page by helping each other stay on track for the personal and couple goals that you have set.  

There are different kinds of partner workouts. It’s not a one size fits all either. Some individuals flourish in a group setting, while others love the idea of having one go to partner.

Below we’ve outlined the variety of group exercise options.

– Buddy Workout

This workout style might be right for you if you have a spouse, neighbor, co-worker or friend who is interested in similar fitness initiatives. When picking your workout buddy it’s critical to ensure you have compatible schedules and goals. If one of you is trying to run a marathon, and the other has never run a 5k you might not be the best partners.

– Group Workout

Are you an extrovert? Do you thrive in large group environments? Group workouts might be more your style. The high energy level and healthy competition has the ability to push you to the next level. Check your local gym or recreation center for a list of classes and pick one that you find most interesting.

– Personal Trainer

Are you new to fitness? Unsure of how to use the equipment or what exercises will best help you achieve your goals. A personal trainer is the best fitness buddy you could ask for. Personal Trainer Petros Arzoumanidis of Workout Anywhere (and Gym Source preferred trainer) shares why.

“Trainers can introduce you to new training equipment & routines.  By knowing your body, preferences and goals, trainers can offer the most effective suggestions while explaining the benefits of each exercise, why they are important for you in particular, and the reasons for their sequence. They can also help maximize the effectiveness of your time spent training. They will be able to provide custom tailored care, keep you on a purposeful sequence, without having to keep notes, track weights/reps, or choose exercise selection. Personal Trainers are great for bringing a motivating energy to the room, with new exercises and equipment to spice up your routine.”

Need help finding the right personal trainer? We have a vetted list of local certified trainers we can refer you to. Contact your local equipment expert today. Or view our ultimate guide to choosing the right personal trainer for you.

– Utilize fitness equipment designed to support multiple users

Multifunctional equipment is ideal for anyone with a home gym that needs to accommodate multiple users, but without the need for individual pieces to accommodate everyone.

We asked our equipment experts what multifunctional equipment would be best for buddy workouts and strength equipment was at the top of their list.

Multifunctional fitness equipment allows for diversified strength workouts, and the flexibility to support multiple users, in a small footprint. These machines are great for the whole family from rehabilitation to sports training, functional fitness to strength training everybody can reach their fitness goals through multipurpose equipment.

Learn more about the benefits of multifunctional equipment here.

Have a workout buddy and ready to break a sweat?

Gym Source VIP Personal trainer, Kate Campbell shares an excellent buddy workout you can complete almost anywhere.  

The Buddy Workout*: 20 reps, 4 rounds

– High Five Burpee: facing each other make full contact with ground, jump up into an awesome overhead high five with both hands. 20 total or modification is 10 each- alternating or together. 

– Deep Squat with Hand Hold: practice increasing your range of motion (and trust) by linking wrists while performing a deeper than usual squat. I recommend placing a small step ormedicine ball to focus on gluteal contact. You can add challenge by both holding (1) body bar while having your hands alternating, arms locked and shoulders retracted (added bonus of shoulder burn, woo! 20 total. 

– Power Push Ups: one partner on ground in push up position while second partner holds their ankles in push up position. In sync lower down and push back up. Split reps in half and switch positions. 10 on ground, 10 on ankles.

– Balance Medicine Ball Toss w/ 1 Leg Reverse Lunge: standing and staying on 1 leg at a time, one partner throws using core and shoulders while balancing on one leg. Meanwhile the receiving partner catches the ball while balancing on one leg, bends arms while pulling medicine ball into chest and shoulders tightly compressed together, step floating foot backward into a reverse lunge position, power up through front heel and back toe (use gluteals) to through. 10 each leg. 

– Balancing Bridge: laying on back with feet facing partner, both partners scoot in close and get in bridge position as if you were doing a wall bridge- legs 90 degrees, feet heel to heel pressing into partners. Make sure both partners begin with knees in alignment with hips and ankles in alignment with knees. Press through feet against partners feet to raise hips, squeezing gluteals and pulling core in tight. Work to stay balanced with amount of power partner gives. To increase difficulty level add a band above knees or yoga block between knees. 20 total.

Ready to get started?

Talk to your local gym source fitness equipment expert to discuss the best workouts and technology available for your specific workouts.

Consider Gym Source your fitness buddy as well, coming alongside you as you create, push through, and accomplish your fitness goals!

*Workouts suggested on this website or by personal trainers are not to be interpreted as treatment plans or substitutes for medical consultation. Before undertaking any exercise program, please consult a physician or healthcare provider for appropriate safety precautions. If at any point during a workout you start to feel dizzy, faint, short of breath, or experience physical discomfort, discontinue your exercise immediately and consult a physician.

Beat Workout Boredom: How To Stay Inspired To Reach Your Fitness Goals

Sean Michael

How to stay inspired to reach your goals.

To help you make this year your most fit, we polled personal trainers and equipment experts to learn the top tips to stay inspired and committed to working out.

How to Stay Motivated to Reach Your Fitness Goals:

Find what inspires you

Create a workout plan

Stick to your routine

Keep yourself challenged

Find solutions to your usual excuses

Hold yourself accountable with a workout buddy

Determine small rewards to reinforce positive habits

More tips to stay motivated to reach your fitness goals:

Proactively planning can help you avoid any potential obstacles in your fitness path, and help you stay committed to your fitness goals.

“Staying motivated to workout out is no different than brushing your teeth.  It is about establishing a routine that becomes automatic.  There is a saying that “If it’s not on your schedule, it doesn’t exist” and unless you are a workout warrior, you may need to set a reminder on your phone or set an alarm with the most inspiring music of your choice to put you in the right mindset,” shares Sean Michael, personal trainer and owner of Transformations by Sean.

Esther Choi Williams personal trainer and TRX Instructor with fitblvd shares her top tips to avoid a fitness rut:

Use social media for inspiration: Scour Instagram and get inspired. Pick a few people who exemplify how you like to move and follow them. Grab a notebook and jot down workout ideas for your next session.

Focus on a specific goal: For instance, maybe you’ve always wanted to be able to do a pull-up. Focus on that goal and do everything you can to achieve it. That means you have to show up consistently and train every part of your body so that you can pull your own body weight up. Instead of focusing on losing weight, having a physical focus can in turn give you the motivation you need to show up for your training sessions.

Hire a trainer: Yes – this is an investment. You can choose how long you want to work with one but having a good trainer can really make a difference. (We explore the benefits of Personal Trainers more below).

Just show up: Here’s the real, honest, hard truth about motivation. It doesn’t last. You know what does? Deeply ingrained habits and discipline. Motivation can get you started but when that wears off, discipline has to kick in so that you build a habit of moving your body everyday.

Another excellent method to keep yourself inspired to break a sweat is to keep your workouts challenging, engaging, and different. Luckily, home fitness equipment continues to evolve to incorporate new technology that creates variety, and continues to challenge the user.

First, there are many ways to utilize technology to fuel fitness motivation including, downloading a fitness app, utilize equipment features built into your home gym equipment, and blend entertainment features with your workouts.

However; Innovative gym equipment designed with features to keep you engaged is a great way to crush your goals:

Dynamic Core Training:

The Stealth Core Trainer takes planking to a new level by pairing responsive video gaming with dynamic planking exercise. Stealth has been clinically proven to result in a more rapid and thorough workout of your core, arms, shoulders, and back by challenging users to incorporate both isometric and dynamic movements that shock the body’s nervous and musculoskeletal systems — all while playing a video game.

Embrace Strength Training as a Versatile Workout Tool:

Free weights are an excellent way to include variety in your workouts. For example, the design of dumbbells allow for workouts that incorporate a full range of motion, muscle stabilization, and portability allowing you to workout wherever you want. Learn more about the benefits of free weights in our Guide to Free Weights.

For example, the Hampton Gel Grip Dumbbells can help you build strength and endurance in your arms, back, core, and legs. Additionally, you can use them while doing cardio exercises to make your workouts more challenging. Plus, the versatility and small size of free weights means that you can get a total body workout in a small space.

Incorporate a HIIT Routine:

High Intensity Interval Training is no fad; it’s here to stay. High Intensity Interval Training or HIIT for short is alternating periods of short, intense anaerobic exercise followed by less intense recovery periods – leaving no time for boredom. Learn how to build your own HIIT routine.

Explore technologically advanced fitness equipment:

Utilize features already found on equipment to add variety to your home workouts.

– Stages Indoor Cycling is focused on creating a fun, empowering experience for cyclists, both indoors in studios and outside on the road. Their three models of SC series indoor bikes incorporate intelligent features, like magnetic resistance, the smooth CarbonGlyde drive system, the quick and easy FitLoc height adjustment system, and the popular SprintShift function into their workouts. Additionally, the Stages Power meter technology provides consistency and accuracy to every cyclist who is looking to count calories, track progress, or train, and is chosen by the most elite cyclists and studios in the world. While the engaging and entertaining group display system, Stages Flight, provides a dynamic multimedia fitness experience that instructors find easy to use and that motivates and challenges members to reach their personal fitness goals.

– For example, the Octane Q47 Elliptical is a technologically advanced elliptical that comes equipped with multiple pre-programmed workout programs to keep workouts fresh, effective, and challenging. Work towards your fitness goals faster by connecting your tablet to the app, set up your user profile, select your fitness goal (lose weight, tone up, overall health, or to improve athletic performance) and get going.

Cross Train for Variety:

Training for a marathon, but joints need a break from the pavement – hit the elliptical!  Products like the Arc Trainer and Zero Runner allow you get in mileage and build up endurance while resting your joints and mixing things up.  And don’t forget all the arm workout capabilities, that’s why they’re referred to as cross trainers!

Take a virtual tour of the Octane Q47 elliptical to learn how you can utilize key features such as the Glute Kicker and Arm Blaster.

Multi-functional fitness equipment also allows you to perform a variety of exercises on one piece of equipment. For example, the HOIST Strength App comes with a variety of pre-designed workout programs ideal for beginners to advanced athletes, and the ability to create and save your own workouts. Available for the Mi Series Gyms (including the Mi5, Mi6, Mi7 Smith Functional Training System), the app is designed with step-by-step instructions and photos to demonstrate how to perform each exercise.

Learn more about the benefits of multi-functional fitness equipment here.

Hire a Trainer:

A good trainer will ensure you’re not bored. Their expertise helps you incorporate new fitness accessories in your workouts, remain challenged and engaged, and keep your body guessing.

“Investing in a personal trainer is investing in your health and fitness. The best trainers meet you where you are in your fitness journey and help you become the best you through realistic, well-designed workouts. Plus, trainers hold you accountable, maximizes your time with efficient workouts, can help you achieve specific training goals, and (most importantly) motivate you,” shares Jim Gallagher with Strength for Life.

Need help selecting a trainer? Your local Gym Source equipment expert has a list of locally vetted trainers they can match you with. Or, visit our Ultimate Guide to Choosing a Personal Trainer to learn how to find the right match for your fitness goals.

Time to get started!

Whatever tactic works for you to keep things interesting, we encourage you to do just that. Plus, while we agree that having a routine is critical, it’s equally important to diversify your workouts and avoid burnout both physically and mentally.


Looking for more tips on how to maximize the versatility your fitness equipment offers? Talk to your local gym source fitness equipment expert to discuss the best workouts and technology available for your specific product to keep things most interesting.

Tips For Choosing The Right Personal Trainer

Sean Michael

The Ultimate Guide to Choosing a Personal Trainer

In addition to choosing the right home gym equipment, personal trainers are an excellent tool to add to your workout routine. But, how do you select the right trainer for your goals? We polled local personal trainers, and our equipment experts, to compile the top tips to choose the right personal trainer.

Benefits of hiring a personal trainer

Pairing a personal trainer with your workout routine is the best way to reach your goals safely and effectively – and to make sure you are getting the most out of your fitness equipment. Safety, versatility, variety, and expertise are just some of the major benefits of working with a certified personal trainer.

“Investing in a personal trainer is investing in your health and fitness. The best trainers meet you where you are in your fitness journey and help you become the best you through realistic, well-designed workouts. Plus, trainers hold you accountable, maximizes your time with efficient workouts, can help you achieve specific training goals, and (most importantly) motivate you,” shares Jim Gallagher with Strength for Life.

According to one of our local equipment experts, “Besides teaching proper form to reduce injuries or even just fatigue, a trainer gets to know what we refer to as your Fitness Personality. They find out what makes you tick exercise wise and will show you techniques to reach your goals – they will have different methods for different persons even on the same machine.”
“A great personal trainer can be the difference in achieving your personal fitness goals. Personal trainers can help you define your fitness goals and assess your progress towards meeting those goals.  The motivation that a trainer can provide is invaluable. Regular sessions scheduled with your trainer also increases accountability. An experienced personal trainer teaches you a variety of methods to keep your muscles guessing,” illustrates Kathy Goetz with Kathy Goetz Fitness Training.

What to consider when choosing a personal trainer

First, define your personal health goals, whether it be general health & wellness or a more specific need, and then interview trainers to find someone who matches your goals.

“You don’t want to feel stuck. Personal training is just that – personal. To enjoy your time and get results, your trainer has to feel like a good fit. Also, to avoid injuries, be sure to choose a trainer who has expertise modifying workout intensity to accommodate your current fitness level. This can help prevent possible overuse, injuries, and also show how to modify exercises to adapt to a person’s limitations.”

“Sit down with trainers or even try a workout with them.  Don’t be afraid to ask questions so you can understand their philosophies, personality and the steps that you will take together to reach your goals. Important questions and discussion topics that a seasoned trainer should ask are:  Do you need variety? What types of workouts do you like? Do you have injuries? Did you have a negative experience with a previous trainer or have you ever worked with a trainer before? If avoided, these can make or break a relationship before it even begins,” shares Sean with Transformations by Sean.

Our equipment experts’ experience partnering with local trainers means we know the questions to ask before selecting your trainer. To get started, consider the following;

– Are they certified?
A trainer should be able to provide their certification information. To become certified, personal trainers must pass an exam through accredited organizations such as The American Council on Exercise. Certification is important not only to ensure knowledge, but safety as well.

“It’s important to work with a personal trainer that is well qualified.  An advanced degree in exercise science, physical education or kinesiology is desirable.  In addition, certifications from reputable organizations that promote health and wellness is an added bonus,” shares Kathy Goetz.

– What training do they have?
Asking about health and fitness related degrees such as exercise science, physical education, sports nutrition, and kinesiology is absolutely appropriate. Often times, reputable trainers will have this information easily accessible on their website or business cards.

“Gym Source routinely works with trainers to provide expert education on cutting edge equipment so clients are more comfortable after they get their equipment delivery.”
“It’s important to remember that the world of health and fitness continually evolves. So, it is imperative your trainer works to stay relevant in the field,” explained Petros Arzoumanidis, Workout Anywhere Inc.

– How long have they been in the industry?
Inquire about experience. What are some of their favorite success stories? Don’t be shy, this person will be working to help you meet your fitness goals, you want to ensure they have a track record of successfully helping others.

-What’s their area of expertise? 
Each trainer has his or her own specializations. Find out if they specialize in rehab training or marathon training or weight loss training. You want to make sure you’re paired up with a trainer who’s passionate about your goals.

“What kind of experience? Heavy who lost weight? Sports background? Athlete? It matters too because different people come in for different results,” says Jared Silverstein with Kinetics 360.  

– What’s their training style?
Will you be working in a boutique-sized studio with fitness equipment or outside at the park with fitness accessories and free weights? While this is just a preference, this will be the difference between you enjoying your fitness program or dreading it. You want to be challenged, but in a way that will effectively motivate you. If your joints can’t stand running outside and 50% of this trainers program is street running, it’s probably not a good match.

“You want to look for someone who has qualifications that help with what you want (for example, rehabbing from an injury). Just because someone is in shape, doesn’t mean that their training style will fit your. Personality is important too. What works to motivate you? How do you respond to training? Do you need the cheerleader who can mentally motivate you or do you need a butt kicking? Training philosophies play a big part in how successful you will be with an individual trainer,” explains Jared.

“Choosing a personal trainer, whom you are investing a considerable amount of time, effort and finances in is no different than any other health professional. Do your homework and be convinced that the person sitting in front of you is the one for you.  Listen for the value they provide and what their plan is.  The really great trainers are teachers, educators, therapists, motivators, coaches, friends, shoulders to lean on and cry on and positive forces in guiding you to achieving your goals on your fitness journey,” Elaborates Sean. 

– What’s their availability?
Do they have room to really focus on you with their current client load? How often do you plan to meet? You want to ensure your schedules work, the worst is finding a trainer you love and then realizing you can’t move forward. 

– What’s their pricing structure?
Is this a realistic option for your current finances? Do they offer discounts for buying packages in bulk or is it just an hourly rate? Don’t move forward with a personal trainer without budgeting accordingly, starting a program and having to stop because of finances can halt your progress. There are different solutions for different budget levels. Often times you can be resourceful by inquiring about partner training or group classes.

Ready to get started? Our local equipment experts have a list of local VIP trainers we can refer you to.

“Our VIP trainers have to share the Gym Source passion for delivering the very best. We don’t put just anyone on our VIP trainer list. They have to share The Gym Source passion for helping our clients achieve their goals. I tell all my clients, it’s quite simple – If you succeed, we succeed.”
This means, Gym Source equipment experts not only match you with the best fitness equipment for your goals, budget, and available space. But, we can also make recommendations for the right personal trainer.

Call, email or visit your local Gym Source showroom for a personalized consultation or to get recommendations on the right local trainer for you. 

Keep Your Goals Running Like Clockwork

Sean Michael

The phrase "Like Clockwork" is used so often because a clock has an exact job to do for the extent of it's lifetime.  The process unwinds from seconds to minutes, minutes to hours and finally hours into days.  It is never interrupted.  It is always consistent and it always follows a pattern.

The goal of the clock is to tell the exact time as it is set.  In order to arrive at the final goal of changing to the next day, the previous two steps must occur sequentially each and every time.  If any of these steps are missed, the time will be off and ultimately, the goal will not be met.  No shortcuts are permitted in this consistent day in and out process.  

The same holds true for any of the goals that you set to accomplish.  Start out with the bigger picture (your day change) and work it backwards into exact steps (minutes, seconds etc.) to find your starting point.  The more defined the steps, the higher achievement rate of your goals.  Steer clear of cutting corners because as easy as it looks, the clock doesn't magically arrive at tomorrow.  It follows other important steps that keep it moving to it's destination.  Create a fine tuned process and stay on task whether it is a month, a year or five years.  Soon enough your goals will be like clockwork as well, precise enough that you can set your watch to them!

Benefits of Multifunctional Equipment

Sean Michael

Multifunctional Trainers: Versatility for the Win

The versatility of multifunctional gym equipment remains unmatched. Especially if you have limited space for home fitness equipment. Our equipment experts share their top tips to help anyone experience the benefits from incorporating multifunctional cardio and strength training fitness equipment into their workouts.

Who should consider purchasing multifunctional equipment?

– Anyone with a home gym that needs to accommodate multiple users, but without the need for individual pieces to accommodate all users.

– Anyone with a smaller workout space. Multifunctional equipment Provides a lot of valuable exercises in a small footprint.

– Anyone who wants versatility in their workouts. Because, you are able to work a wide variety of muscle groups with one very versatile piece of equipment. Saving you space, and money.

– Anyone who wants to mirror their gym strength workouts at home, but couldn’t possibly purchase all that equipment.

– Anyone who wants to add a strength routine to your home workout, but need compact gym equipment.

Benefits of multifunctional equipment

Rather than installing all the “stations” found in a gym for specific exercises, a multifunctional piece lets the user do most of these exercises using one piece of equipment. Something crucial in the home since most of us don’t have space to install 16 stations of equipment.

The very essence of the word multifunctional reveals the versatility of these machines designed to fulfill numerous functions. Think highly adjustable with the ability to target various muscle groups all within a compact design. We went to the equipment experts to break down the details of why the multifunctional trainer’s scope is able to meet so many diversified needs. Here’s the scoop:

“The flexibility of multifunctional equipment is just what the doctor ordered in prescribing a routine that will allow you to incorporate your total body life movements. Functional fitness is an industry buzzword, but for good reason. Mimicking every day motions such as squatting to pick up a case of water and putting it in your grocery cart or using a bar attachment to mirror raking the yard through a pulling motion allows our bodies to prep for the rigor of everyday tasks something everyone could use.” – Sean Michael, Certified Trainer with Transformed by Sean.

“Multifunctional equipment allows you to push, pull, squat, lunge, hinge and rotate! Talk about a full body workout. I’m often asked why not just use dumbbells for a varied strength workout, but the tension and resistance the cables provide on a multifunctional trainer offer a very different stimulus. For instance, try bicep curls with a dumbbell. More effort is made on the concentric motion (lifting the weight towards your biceps), than the eccentric motion (lowering the weight). With the cable, tension is present throughout the entire movement.” – Ester Choi Williams, Certified Trainer with Fit Blvd.

In short – you can get diversified strength workouts, and the flexibility to support multiple users, in a small footprint.

These machines are great for the whole family from rehabilitation to sports training, functional fitness to strength training everybody can reach their fitness goals through multipurpose equipment.

So, now that you’re convinced a multifunctional trainer is a well-rounded piece of machinery how do you select which multifunctional trainer is right for your household?

Here are a few of our equipment experts favorite multi-functional trainers to get the wheels turning:

“The Hoist Mi6 is my favorite multi-function gym. It has a heavy-duty, commercial quality structure. Plus, it has curb appeal and a great walk-through design. It has an app that can be used for every full-body workout with a personal trainer, which provides full-motion video and records your body metrics, workout history and more. Best of all, the machine is designed to fit in a corner, which saves space for other equipment and makes room for aerobics and cardio activity.” – Jay Sanchez, Equipment Expert, Cherry Hill, NJ Gym Source. 

“My favorite piece of strength equipment is undoubtedlythe Cybex Bravo All-In-One. As multi-function strength pieces go, it’s the best of the best. It’s versatile and very compact. If you can fit a love seat in your house, you can fit the Bravo.” – Ken Kirlis, Equipment Expert, Framingham, MA Gym Source.

See more multifunctional cardio and strength training fitness equipment available that maximize your workouts here.

With the above in mind, we’d be remiss if we didn’t state before committing to any piece of fitness equipment, you have to test, touch, and try it. Every machine feels different to every person using it. The ONLY way to know which piece of equipment feels right to you is by getting on the machine. If you don’t like a machine after testing it, you will never like it when you get home.  

More than one person plan to use the multifunctional trainer? Great, it’s designed to meet that need. But, bring the whole family into your local Gym Source showroom to try out your new multifunctional trainer before buying. 

Still not sure where to begin? View our guide to the essential fitness equipment for every home gym. From compact spaces to new, innovative fitness solutions – learn the must-have gym equipment. 

Gym Source: Free Weights Vs Machines: The Debate

Sean Michael

Gym Source asked me along with other fitness professionals across the United States what their opinions were on using free weights versus using machines.  It is a great cross-section of answers.  Read below and if you have any questions, please feel free to ask me directly at or consult your local certified fitness professional.

Equipment experts and personal trainers answered our call to determine a winner for which strength equipment provides the most effective, versatile workouts – free weights or machines?

First, it is imperative to mention that the best home workout is the one you consistently do. So, it’s important to keep your personal fitness goals and preferences the priority, and then choose the right fitness equipment to achieve your desired results.

“Using machines or free weights often comes down to personal preference, space needs or convenience. You can increase strength, increase muscle, get in shape, become leaner, have more endurance and look better using either free weights or machines. Muscles do not care if you are using machines or free weights to get in shape. To them, resistance is resistance. Both are tools that are used to achieve a goal. Knowing which tool to use is the big question,” shares Jim Gallagher, Co-owner of Strength for Life.

How to purchase strength training equipment:

To help you get started, we polled our equipment experts to know the top questions to ask before purchasing specific strength equipment for your home gym.

What are your current, and future, workout goals?
Do you have a specific training plan in mind to achieve them?
Do you have any injuries or limitations you want to strengthen or work around? Are you rehabbing from an injury?
What kind of home gym space do you have available?
Will more than 1 person be using the fitness equipment?
“Before recommending any fitness equipment, I always suggest an initial assessment with my clients. It is the best way to match them with the right product for their goals. Questions include, what is a good starting point for my current fitness or experience level? Can I use these in my home with ease? Can someone demonstrate how to use what I am purchasing? If not, do you know of any fitness professionals to recommend to me?” explains Sean Michael owner of Transformations By Sean Michael.

Also – you HAVE to test, touch, and try equipment!

Online reviews can be a resource in your fitness equipment search, but each brand uniquely constructs their equipment to enhance the outcome of workouts. Meaning, design features that may feel natural and comfortable to one user may feel awkward to another.

“As a trainer for over 15 years, one clear trend I have noticed is that ‘one size DOES NOT fit all’. Some equipment can be great for some and hated by others. Sometimes it is a matter of height, or body-type, general preference, joint limitations, ergonomics, space availability, or maybe most importantly a person’s specific goals.I recommend trying out equipment before purchasing it (would you buy a car without test-driving it first?). When purchasing equipment from an online-based retailer, it can be lower quality than the stock photos would make you believe. Even the item’s reviews descriptions or reviews can be misleading,” says personal trainer Petros Arzoumanidis, Owner of Workout Anywhere Inc

The benefits of incorporating free weights into your workouts:

“Both machine and free weights have their own benefits, but I prefer free weights in my own workouts and for my clients because they allow for a fuller range of motion and they offer versatility and functionality in training. Free weights place a greater demand on stabilizing muscles and there are endless variations to keep training fun. With just a few sets of dumbbells (and if available some elastic bands and a weighted ball), I am able to create variety and comprehensive workouts for my at-home clients,” explains Esther Choi Williams personal trainer and founder of fitblvd.

Another benefit to incorporating free weights into your workouts is that you can grow your collection as your endurance and fitness levels increase.

Plus, they fit, feel comfortable, and function properly across multiple users in a variety of different spaces and workouts.

“Free weights offer a full range of motion that machines typically do not. And take up less space which allow you to workout anywhere, anytime. This is an asset to someone who may not have space for a large home gym that a machine could require. Additionally, you use your own movement patterns to utilize your core and other muscle groups that you may not be using while stationed on a machine that isolates certain specifically when using a machine,” according to Hampton Fitness, a company dedicated to innovating free weight products.

The benefits of incorporating machines into your workouts:

If you are new to exercise, weight machines might be more beneficial in teaching proper technique, which can reduce the chance of injury.

“Machines are generally a better option for people new to exercise because they are designed to work in a controlled range of motion where only specific muscles are targeted and recruited. It is a safer option as well because each machine has a clear starting and stopping point. Plus, machines might be a little easier for accommodating multiple users, simply because some machine’s have an APP that you can download to help act as a personal trainer (For example, the CYBEX Bravo APP).”
Safety is another benefit to using cable machines and home gyms.

“Machines can be safer because you hold a handle attached to a weight stack, so if you lose grip on the handle you won’t drop weight on yourself. Also, they generally move in linear motions (straight up/down, forward/back, or side to side) and this takes away the instability one would experience while holding a free weight,” explains Petros Arzoumanidis.

For example, the Hoist Mi7 functional trainer’s safe system allows you disengage the equipment if you get stuck without a spotter, or in the middle of an exercise. Take a virtual tour of the Hoist Mi7 home gym.

Free weights vs machines: Which provides a more versatile workout?

Ultimately, the right fitness equipment solution depends on your goals and personal preferences. Quality fitness equipment is an investment in your health, and you can’t go wrong when you choose equipment you are motivated to use.

“My philosophy of fitness is to make it fun, relatable and stimulating (body and mind). Just like any other area of life, to make it more exciting and different we need more than one gadget. I enjoy having my clients be involved with both free weights and machines for different purposes; free weights take precise form and technique which activates your core and your mind (when done properly), while machines (for the most part) lock you into a specific range of motion which helps you target and isolate specific muscle(s) at a time. The best fitness programs and regimes involve a bit of both – machines and free weights – to keep you challenged, intrigued, and sweaty,” shares Kate Campbell owner of Coach Kate: Fitness & Life Transformation Coaching.
“It depends on the equipment. If you are using a multifunctional machine is has the capability of accommodating multiple users on the same equipment. However, dumbbells can be swapped out easily without changing seat heights, pins, or attachments. Meaning, you can quickly and easily move from one exercise to the next,” points out personal trainer Sean Michael.
“Free weights are great because they are functional and mimic the activities we do everyday. For example, carrying groceries or picking up a child. Machines let you isolate a muscle, which can be great if you are rehabbing or needing to build strength,” shares Melanie Yoshida owner of ‘Be Well With Mel’ personal training.
And, our equipment experts agree – it depends on your goals and preferences.

“Free-weights are great, because they can accommodate multiple people trying to work out at the same time. Plus, free weights are a great space saving tool. While a functional trainer or home gym’s weight stack design can add versatility to workouts, and accommodates multiple people working out on the same machine. Another perk is that it is less labor intensive to adjust the weight from one user to the next on a machine.”
Notable Strength Training Equipment

Now that you know the best way to start, add to, or update your strength routine – you can begin exploring specific pieces of strength training equipment.

Need help getting started? Equipment experts share strength solutions that they consider great for any home gym:

– Hoist MI7 smith machine – “It is the most realistic motion to free weights I have found in a smith machine. It keeps you from making lateral movement with the weight but still allows for the natural body mechanics of the exercise.”

– Cybex Bravo – “One of the best strength pieces that you can do a lot with, in a very compact area.”

– Power rack – “Allows you to do body weight as well as heavy barbell work.”

– TuffStuff Hybrid Home Gym – “Great for anyone. Works all muscles. Both machine and free weight motion.”

– NuBells – “They really did their research to come up with a more ergonomically correct dumbbell then the standard 2 headed units on the market. The standard dumbbells put undo stress on the outside of your wrist joints were the weight is distributed, compared to the NuBells, which distributes the weight evenly around the entire joints.”

– Hampton Fitness products – “Ergonomic design to match human anatomy. Hampton dumbbells’ grip is form fitted to your hand, creating a more comfortable workout experience.”

Gym Source Trainer Spotlight: Sean Kehoe

Sean Michael

I was honored to be chosen for the Trainer Spotlight for the month of February by Gym Source.  

Trainer Spotlight: Sean Michael
Area: Bergen and Passaic counties, NJ
Certifications: NASM Certified Trainer, NASM Weight Loss Specialist, NASM Golf Fitness Specialist, TPI Golf Certified

At Gym Source, we value the expertise of personal trainers. That’s why we regularly spotlight local trainers who have a passion for fitness. This month we are featuring Sean Michael of Transformations by Sean Michael in the New Jersey Area.

Sean’s passion for health and wellness can be traced back to more than 15 years ago when he began personal training. He has remained committed to helping people reach their goals, so they can celebrate successes they never thought possible.

He feels inspired daily knowing he has the opportunity, and ability, to positively impact someone’s life. "When people start becoming the best versions of themselves their commitment to transform their life becomes stronger than ever."

His workout philosophy is to build a fitness plan around making his clients everyday activities easier and barrier free. “I want people to be able to live their lives, play with their kids, do yard work, or carry in groceries.” Ultimately, his goal is to get people’s bodies strong enough that they don’t have to stop to think about their next activity, but instead move seamlessly through their day.

Sean takes his fitness philosophy on the road, as most of his sessions are done at his clients’ home gyms. His training starts with a personal assessment about current fitness levels and physical limitations, and then he maximizes time with clients completing circuit training using home workout equipment.

He is never intimidated by a home gym that may be limited in space or fitness equipment, as he is confident he can provide an efficient, total body workout anywhere. Of course there are benefits to training on treadmillsellipticals and other types of home fitness equipment, he says, but the basics are my go-to.

Sean focuses on recruiting the entire body during workouts via good form, functional training and balance training. Combining “TRX strapsdumbbells, and stability balls” with outside the box thinking creates a total body training experience.

Even though every fitness journey is unique, he believes mastering the basics is essential for everyone. “My goal is to avoid injury at all cost, so it is imperative I make sure we are using good form before moving on to more challenging moves."

Additionally, he feels the key to improving your body’s endurance and fitness levels is variety, and he feels strongly the best way to see results is to mix up your routines. "The best way to reach your goals is to incorporate different types of activities and fitness equipment, in new ways, that target the same muscles."

Of course people choose to work with a personal trainer to get in shape and to live a healthier lifestyle, however, he feels his clients benefit beyond their physical results. His clients become empowered to make themselves a priority by carving out time for both their mental and physical well-being.

“People devalue their own time, but in order to motivate yourself mentally and physically, you need to prioritize yourself.”

Living in the areas of Bergen and Passaic Counties and want to work with Sean Michael? Visit or follow Transformed by Sean on Twitter @Fit4LifeCoach or like him on Facebook at /TransformationsBySeanMichael.

Need help finding the perfect in home fitness equipment to reach your goals? Connect with one of our equipment experts at your local Gym Source fitness equipment store.

This entry was posted in Trainer Spotlight and tagged home gym workoutssports performance coachNASMCertified Personal Trainerhome gym equipmentfunctional trainingHome GymTRXGym Sourcepersonal trainer on February 14, 2017 by Tom Richard. ← Previous Post

Turn Your Front Yard Into A Gym This Fall With Simple Yardwork Exercises

Sean Michael

HALEDON, N.J. -- Fall back into shape with yard work! There is no better inexpensive and effective cross-training than good old-fashioned raking and bagging leaves. When done properly, they provide you with a great total body workout.

Grab your rake and get ready to rumble! Start by engaging the core muscles (simply stated: your abdominals, back and glutes) and by pulling with your biceps, shoulders and upper back, drive the rake towards you while stabilizing through your legs. Most of us rake to our dominant side.

However, continually switching sides from which you pull will serve two purposes. One, you will not over work one side, lessening the chance of injury. Two, you are able to awaken weaker muscles and continue to build a stronger, more balanced foundation. 

Tall recyclable bags can become heavy, especially with wet leaves. Use this as a chance to get in some deep squats. With good form, lower your body, with head and chest upright, and bend at the knees to where it feels comfortable. Bear hug the bag, brace through your abdominals and lower back and drive upwards through your heels. Carefully carry your bag to its final destination and repeat the squatting motion upon arrival to make the drop. Boom! You have successfully completed two squats.

If Hefty bags are more your style, you can engage the hamstrings and potentially the obliques (the side walls of your abdominals that allow for rotational and side bending movements) with the lift and throw! Upon filling each bag, set up by bending your knees ever so slightly and slide your hips and glutes backward behind your heels. Your lower back should flatten out and at this point, you will feel a slight stretch up the back of your legs, specifically the hamstrings and calves. Reach out and grab the bag with two hands. Work in reverse, lift from your chest and fire the hips and glutes forward to lift the bag off the ground. That is the stiff- legged deadlift. 

 An optional finishing move is the throw. Again, engage your core stabilizers as you carry the bag to the curb or back of your truck. With bag in hands and standing with torso upright, rotate to one side around your hips. By doing so, you are loading up on the backside to generate force, power and momentum. To complete the exercise, begin to swing the bag around by rotating to the opposite hip and pivot at the foot and knee of the back leg. Throw and release the bag at your target for what is called a torso-rotation.

Raking, filling 5-10 bags, combined with squatting and/or deadlifting and you have completed an excellent total body workout! Remember, always engage your core first, and lift with your legs and not your back!

Build a Healthy Mind and Body with Transformations By Sean Michael

Sean Michael

"Your problems will be there when you walk out the door. This is your time, make sure you utilize it to the fullest." That's the message trainer Sean Michael Kehoe tells clients he finds struggling to stay motivated or focused on achieving their goal.

Read More

Shall We Play A Game?

Sean Michael

What do you really want? A better life? A shinier car? The American dream of perfectly a manicured green lawn and a white picket fence? The envy of all your neighbors? And then what? Is that enough? Do you think you can stop there and be satisfied? Or is that complacency?  Would you then be settling? Would that make you average in the eyes of people who fit into your perfectly rounded, squared peg? Now how does that make you feel? Did you even care? Do you ask for too much? Perhaps you didn’t ask for enough? But when will you know? At what moment can you honestly look in the mirror and convince yourself that you have it all? Have you ever self-reflected like this? Does it feel weird? Pointless even? Is anyone watching me? What do I stand to gain by asking myself all these questions? Does it make me a better person? Does it make me feel bad about myself? Where do I go from here? Why did I make the choices I made? How did this all happen? When will I learn? Who will even notice? What difference will this make? If you do not ask yourself the simple questions, the important questions, the obvious questions…who will? Will it give you all the answers you are looking for? Are you ready for the answers once you have them? What will you do with them? Where will they take you? Is it getting clearer yet? Did you get it? Do you still want to play a game? What do you really want?? A better life??? A shinier car????

Variety In Your Workouts

Sean Michael

Today is my Chest Day. I'm a traditionalist and like to work one body part a day but train my clients with circuit training and super sets. No matter what, make sure you keep the body guessing. Consistency is great but too much repetitiveness can lead to muscle growth stagnation.

Vary your workout routines. Try a different order of operation or switching days that you do one video or series of workouts. The more you throw your body a curve, the better it will respond. Don't get hit with the dreaded plateau.

Variety is like this box of straws. Each one does the same work but is just a different color. Same thing with your exercises. Each one targets the same muscle group just from another angle or perspective. Pick a new straw each time from your repertoire until it's time to cycle back again.


Sean Michael

What is holding you back? You look at others and think, "Why can't I be like him?" or "How does she do that and get those results?".  The view that we have of ourselves is often so skewed and far fetched but unfortunately, we learn to live with that view as the truth.  The important thing to remember is the only comparison you should be making is to yourself.  No one else is like you, thinks like you, reacts like you and views the world as you do.  We may possess similar qualities or characteristics but it is the little idiosyncrasies of each one of us that gives us our true character and personality.  But why do we feel the need to put entirely too much pressure on being like someone else when being who we are is sometimes tough enough?

I'm here to tell you it's time to BLAST THE WALL! Walls are put up, usually self-imposed and created as barriers or boundaries to keep others out or keep you from being the best self you can be.  Stop me when this sounds familiar..."I can't go out with anyone ever again because I am going to get hurt" or "I'm not applying for that job because I know they will not even look at my resume" or "I can't go to the gym because EVERYONE will stare at me and make fun of me because I am not sure what to do."  It's time to take a stand for yourself and BLAST THE WALL! Get over it, go around it, blast through it but don't let it keep you imprisoned for the rest of your life.  Whether it is fear of a past failure or fear of future success, fear is the key word.  Fear stands for False Evidence Appearing Real.  The evidence is baseless because each situation is a new opportunity to rise and shine, divide and conquer.  It's is not a self-fulfilling Shakespearian prophesy or tragedy.  Instead, try this one on for size.  I heard this from a song by the band
Papa Roach and their definition and song title for fear is Face Everything And Rise! 

We may have physical or mental limitations but they are only as limiting as you make them.  As one of the judges said this season on Dancing With The Stars said about Iraq Veteran, Noah Galloway who lost part of his right arm and right leg and
performed amazingly, "“Your experiences are unimaginable, but your spirit soars unbroken my darling. You really are the ultimate role model. You want a superhero? There it is,’ That is what BLAST THE WALL is all about! Don't place limits, barriers or excuses on yourself but instead choose to fight, persevere and live in your own life! You are the star of your own show so show up and act accordingly! #blastthewall

  Iraq Veteran and Dancing With The Stars Contestant, Noah Galloway

Iraq Veteran and Dancing With The Stars Contestant, Noah Galloway

How To Live A Life Worth Living (Everyday) As printed in Social Lifestyle Magazine

Sean Michael

Wake up, love your job, love your significant other and love the birds chirping (maybe not in that order). It’s just that easy, right? Some of you reading this are already shaking your heads, drinking your favorite beverage, glass half empty. How is that possible? EVERYDAY? Yes, it is true and it can be done. It all starts with the most important ingredient: Y-O-U! If you are not in it to win it, as they say, than you can rest assured your life will not be nearly as satisfying as you wish. 

How you choose to define love is up to you. Love, as defined by Merriam Webster, is to “feel great affection for, to like or desire something very much or to take great pleasure in.” Imagine introducing yourself to someone and say, “Hi! My name is ______ and I live a life that I desire very much!” Any of those terms have the makings of something that sounds pretty great. You will be the envy of all your friends and neighbors. How do you get to this envy love fest you ask? 

Let’s start by assessing the things in your life with which you are happy. It can be your work, your car, your voice or your voice in your car on the way to work. Chances are, you can find something that makes you smile when no one is looking. That is the beginning how you feel love whether you realize it or not. When thinking about it or immersed in it, that moment transcends all. It is that effortless. Remember, life is not always that complicated, so try to simplify it where you can. 

Next, take a look at the things that are less than desirable or that do not give you great pleasure. How is the relationship you are in? Is it like crawling through glass on the way to the “I’m more than finished” line? When you see yourself in the mirror, does your reflection laugh and extend the ‘You’re Number One’  finger to you? How about your finances? Do people on the street reach in their pockets and hand you money because they feel even worse for you? Most of us have experienced some or all of the above at one time and it changed our perspective on life. Why? Relationships, self-image and money are the areas in our lives that can contribute most to our own satisfaction. When one or more of those scenarios are out of whack, we tend to let that override the potential positives that we have going for us. It may not be easy to address, but when you learn to “get real” with yourself, you can be more authentic with everyone else. 

As the now cool again Smokey Bear once said, “Only you can start forest fires; only you.” Imagine your life as a gigantic forest. It can be green, lush and full of exotic plants and creatures or it can be bleak, dark and desolate. Which view looks better? Into which forest would you want to invite your inner circle? Once you begin to take better care of the things that matter or the things from which you derive the most enjoyment, the forest will forever be a thing of beauty. 

So how do you live a life you love every day? Start small. Get a refill on your coffee or juice and fill it to the top! Life can feel pretty good when things are more than half full, right? Now comes the challenge to this lifelong exercise. You must take inventory of your life and determine where you are not as fulfilled. Where are you right now and where are you headed? What things in your past can you take as teachable moments? There may be extraneous things to consider, but most, if not all of those things are like tiny planets orbiting around you. Remember, you are the center of your own solar system. You have the ability to determine what or who will revolve around you, how often and how close.  That is the first step in finding balance and harmony. Once you have your planets have aligned, you can begin to shift focus in the areas that need the most work. 

Ah, the dreaded “W” word; WORK! Anything worth saving, doing or loving takes work! It may not appear to us as such for things like going to the gym, playing the guitar or making love to your one and only. However, in each one, you are working to improve your health, your technical skills or your relationships. We all make the time for the things we want to do.  It’s the things that require a little more attention that fail to command our attention.  In order to have a Feng Shui forest or solar system, address those things sooner rather than later or things will truly spiral out of control or burn to the ground. 

Control the things you can control. Love the way your shower feels, how efficient your car is on gas, how your kids make you laugh uncontrollably for no reason at all. Those are the building blocks of something truly amazing. Next, take on the slightly larger things like how you love how you know the shortcuts to work when everyone else is stuck in traffic or that you love how good you are at making your husband smile. Once you have that momentum, love how you are super-efficient at completing the big projects at work. Love how hard you worked to look good in those jeans. Love that you constantly pay your bills on time and your credit is spotless or love that you have a roof over your head and food on the table. 

The bottom line is that it all begins and ends with you. Appreciate all things, no matter how insignificant and especially the things of great magnitude. If you don’t LOVE something to your definition, how can you change, modify, or alter it so it fits? What are you willing to cultivate or add to your forest or send to the nearest black hole to never return again? The choices are limitless, but the most important choice is to begin to want to love the life you live every day. 



Sean Michael

Whether you are a New Year's Resolutionist or a committed, non-committing goal setter, this is speaking to you! No piece of paper, Facebook post or outright decree of what your plans are for the coming year will come to fruition unless you are accountable to yourself.  The importance of setting goals is not always to achieve them but give them your all, as challenging as they may be.  Prove it to yourself, first and foremost, in order to gain credibility with the one who stares back at you in the mirror. 

Make this year be the year of accountability! Stay strong, stay committed and stay realistic in setting those goals for 2015.  Break objectives into smaller, obtainable steps.  Each step accomplished will build confidence and enthusiasm to see things through to the end.  Most importantly, you will continually be accountable to yourself and that is something to be proud of.  Pride and self-worth are attributes that will make you stand out from the crowd and attract others who are similar or want to emulate you. 

Try using this motto, "Believe, Achieve, Receive" when the chips are down or things aren't going as planned.  Believe in who you are and what you can accomplish.  Those beliefs will allow you to persevere and achieve your goals.  With goals accomplished, you will receive the personal or perhaps professional accolades that you deserve.  Rise above and take on each challenge head strong, no matter the obstacles in your way.  Ask for help, change directions, take a step back and re-assess but no matter what, focus on #2015ACCOUNTABILITY!

My Christmas Spirit

Sean Michael

Isn't there anyone who knows what Christmas is all about asks our friend Charlie Brown.  So in the spirit of Christmas, I am not going to write about what my views of fitness or relationships are but instead focus on what's upon us..the spirit of Christmas.  The magic of the holidays are in the air and it brings people together like nothing else we know.  Enemies become friends after a few drinks at the company party or around the Festivus Pole.  Grinch's hearts will grow three sizes when embraced by the power of giving this time of year.  What about the magic of mistletoe that allows all of us to feel a little giddy, get a little lucky and steal a kiss from someone that you never thought possible.  Now that's my idea of Christmas Stollen! Speaking of, if you are thinking of passing that off as a holiday treat, I WILL report your bread stolen because you should be arrested!

For most of us, it brings back memories of childhoods past, making gigantic lists, helping bake cookies and watching the timeless classics on TV.  Schools would be decorated with the red and green rings we made with dull scissors that bruised our fingers, fragile (it must be Italian!) paper and minty paste.  Maybe you went to a neighbor's house like I did and made trimmings of popcorn and cranberry for your tree with thread and a needle that you stabbed yourself with repeatedly.  Or maybe you went to the mall to get a picture taken on the Big Man's lap and whisper a last minute gift in his ear.  He asks, “How about a nice football?”.  And your response is, “No! No! I want an Official Red Ryder Carbine-Action Two-Hundred-Shot Range Model Air Rifle!”.  All together now...YOU'LL SHOOT YOUR EYE OUT KID! 

One of my fondest memories was waiting outside on a cold night for Santa to come around on the firetruck.  I could hear the music and see the lights flashing from blocks away.  My heart raced with anticipation and filled up with such joy and excitement as he pulled onto my street.  To see him wave to me and have his helpers give out candy canes as my dad handed them a bottle of holiday “spirits” will be something that will always bring me back to what being a kid at Christmas was all about.  Appropriately enough as I write this, I'm listening to the only song that truly puts me in the holiday mood, Santa Claus Is Comin' To Town by Bruce Springsteen.  It gives me the chills every time I hear the bells shaking, Bruce talking to the band and Clarence and then saying “Everybody out there been good or what? That's not many, you guys are in trouble out here.”.  The power of that song makes me happier than you can imagine at Christmas time.  What else would you expect from a Jersey boy.

Most importantly, let us not forget this time of year is not about gift giving but more about appreciating your fellow man, not taking for granted what you have and giving back in any way, no matter how small it might be.  Every gesture done in good faith this time of year is magnified tenfold because there are so many who won't have an opportunity to experience what a real Christmas should feel like.  Therefore, take a moment to be thankful for your health, your family and your friends who support you year round.  In doing so, it just may inspire you to do something great and show others what the Christmas spirit truly means to you!

Don't Let the Party Crash You

Sean Michael

The holidays are quickly coming upon us.  In fact, how did you enjoy your Thanksgiving? It must have come and gone as all I see is Christmas in front of me at any store.  With that being said, the real truth is that caloric consumption is going to be through the roof from mid-November through January 1st.  According to research from the Calorie Control Council, the average American may consume more than 4,500 calories and a whopping 229 grams of fat from snacking and eating a traditional holiday dinner with turkey and all the trimmings.  The average holiday dinner alone can carry a load of 3,000 calories. And most of us nibble our way through more than another 1,500 calories downing dips and chips and drinks before and after the big meal. Combined, that's the equivalent of more than 2 1/4 times the average daily calorie intake and almost 3 1/2 times the fat. The typical holiday dinner can be loaded with 45 percent of calories from fat. In fact, the average person may consume enough fat at a holiday meal to equal three sticks of butter.[i] This is just one meal, ladies and gentlemen.  We did not even include leftovers or the weekly holiday parties leading up to the ball dropping in Times Square! Sofas and recliners unite, better call in for reinforcements! Even if Santa ate as much as we all did in that time frame, I’m not sure there is a roof or chimney that would support him either!

What does that mean in terms of blood and a whole lot of sweat and tears? It means better get a good pair of sneakers because you are going to need them! A 160-pound person would have to run at a moderate pace for four hours, swim for five hours or walk 30 miles to burn off a 3,000-calorie Thanksgiving Day meal.[ii]  Can someone say Thanksgiving Marathon? Be sure to charge your IPhone, you are going to need that flashlight app! A good four hour walk will bring you to about 9pm which is just in time to have dessert and start all over again! Try wrapping your head around that instead of wrapping your lips around a fourth plate full of food!

By no means am I advocating sewing your mouth shut, just don’t go crazy on the “see-food” diet.  Many of us, including myself at times (hard to believe, I know!) do not like the dreaded “M” word, MODERATION.  However, the key to surviving the holidays is doing just that.  Why let all your hard work go to waste? Six weeks full of eating, drinking and being merry. Is it really worth it? I’m sure if there was some type of mathematical formula to calculate caloric euphoria, we wouldn’t be so merry once we realized our new clothes we couldn’t wait to get for the holidays don’t even fit us! By simply using discipline and control or better yet, finding healthier alternatives to some of your holiday favorites, like these from the Mayo Clinic, we will keep the upper hand on the scale and not let the party crash us instead!




Finding Balance to Give Yourself a Better You

Sean Michael

“To keep the body in good health is a duty…otherwise we shall not be able to keep our mind strong and clear” – Buddha

The more things change, the more they stay the same, Buddha.  Fast forward to 2014 and mental and physical wellness are equally, if not more important now as it was in 500 BCE.  There is such a greater demand on our time and 24 hours in the day for some just never seems like enough.  Therefore, it is of utmost important to find the right balance for your own space.  Our bodies are such amazing machines that continually astound doctors and scientists alike by what we are truly capable of achieving when firing on all cylinders.  Unfortunately, most of us tend to get stuck in ruts and are lucky to make it through the first few hours of work on one or ten cups of coffee. 

Never fear or better yet, #nofear14! I’m here to remind you the key is to not get stressed in trying to figure out a better or more efficient way of excelling through your day.  If you make the time for what or more importantly, who is important i.e. YOU, your self will respond in a way like you never thought possible.  Where do we go from here you ask? As a Fitness Expert and Life Coach, my responsibilities lie in getting the best out of my clients.  Countless times I have been in situations where energy levels were low because of any number of factors (lack of sleep, poor eating, personal or professional issues) and by the time the workouts were over, my clients were overjoyed about how good they felt, how glad they were that they didn’t let their issues get the best of them and they were ready to take on whatever was ahead of them. 

The most important thing to learn is being present.  Present to most means to be in attendance which is absolutely true.  That is only half of it.  The other half is to be mentally checked in to whatever task you are trying to accomplish.  Some of us like to keep it simple and accomplish one task at a time and then there are some of you out there that are fantastic multi-taskers.  So much so that while trying to do something for yourself like exercise, you are trying to schedule all the other things that need to be done by day’s end.  I can assure you that when your session has ended, you will most likely not even know what you did and not reap the benefits of YOU TIME. 

Whatever category you fit in, here are six simple words, a “present” if you will, that will allow you to find the balance you are seeking.  Be present when you are present.  Your body will follow whatever your mind tells it to do.  The stronger you are in your will and desire, your body will find the strength to push forward.  But if you are not all in at that moment, your results will not have the desired effect or outcome.  Your time is too precious and valuable.  With that being said, you want to get the most out of the time you have dedicated and not end up discouraged because you felt like you wasted your time thinking about other things.  I can assure you your problems or distractions will still be there when you are ready to resume your day. 

Here are some suggestions that can invigorate your day so you become the accomplished, kick-ass, super hero you know you are!

  1. Whatever you decide to do, make sure your schedule is clear to do it. 

  2. Learn when to step away from your phone, laptop, desktop, IPad, Blackberry (am I forgetting anything?) and say I need a break.  Like my dad always said to me after getting frustrated from studying, take a five minute break every 30 minutes so your mind can stay fresh and retain more.  I still employ that method to this day and it works wonders!

  3. To stay sharp doesn’t mean you need to go run a marathon, it just means you have to find a way to be active.  If you are at work, bring sneakers to walk the stairs, use the company gym or close the door to your spacious corner office to do some planks or jumping jacks.  Five to ten minutes of activity a few times a day is nearly the same as 30 minutes of consistent exercise. 

  4. Feed your body and you will feed your mind.  Food is information and by giving your body the highest quality information, your mind will respond by operating at the most efficient levels.

  5. There is only one of you and only you know what works best.  Do yourself a favor and be your best by being consistent. 

Knowledge is power and you can only increase that power when your machine is going full speed ahead.  In order to do that, we all should heed the words of Buddha because it is our personal duty to be the best self we can.  You are the CEO and planner of your future.  Invest in your health and wellness and your will receive the greatest returns!




Dear Self: Please Accept Me Into This Life

Sean Michael

At this stage in life, we are old enough to not be afraid to ask for permission to do most things in this life.  In fact, sometimes we just do it without any fear of consequence.  The scary thing is that it is not the fear of asking others but simply the fear of asking ourselves and giving ourselves permission to make decisions, albeit life changing decisions, that can hold us back from living the life of happiness and success we have been looking for.  With that being said, I have composed a letter that you can copy for yourself when the time comes, print it out and read it whenever you need to remind yourself that you have permission to be great in this lifetime!

[Your Name]

[Street Address]

[City, ST  ZIP Code]



Master of My Own Future

School of Life

777 Get Started Way, Excited State, 77711


Dear Self:                                                                                                                                           

I am applying to finally live the life I have been dreaming of for so long.  I am writing to ask for your permission to support of all my future endeavors.  I plan to specialize in walking through this life with a purpose.  I would also like to further my understanding of how I can truly be great and learn how to succeed, even if I fail. 

I believe that I have learned a great deal thus far which has helped me to develop a better sense of self.  Knowing this, I am at a crossroads in my life, career, and family and want to have your support going forward.  I realize that I have held myself back for fear of the future but currently am reliving the past.  This letter will assist me in giving me strength and peace of mind to perform at a level that I have only seen other successful people operate at.  The difference is that now I BELIEVE I can do it!

When I am accepted into the program through my own admission, I will continue to think of your teachings and how it brought me to where I am today.  I rely on and value your expertise to remind me of what I am truly capable of, how amazing I am and that the only person to stop me, is me.  The feet of confidence walk with the cadence of the finest symphony and the rhythm of a well-oiled machine.  In other words, I will put my best self forward with my head held high.

I promise I will live up to the standards I have now set forth and not let you down.  The only way being not to try or give myself a fighting chance.  Thank you again for your time and I respect who you are and what you have accomplished.  Time will tell what the future holds but with this letter I hold, I know my future is limitless and bright!



[Your Name]


Now go forth, blaze your own path and keep me posted along the way.  I want to know how you have reached your own personal goals so we can inspire others to walk in the path of greatness!

You are the star of your own show…

Sean Michael

Believe it or not, you were born to play you, baby! No one else could comprehensibly do the things you do with the utmost perfection besides…well…YOU! Whether you realize it or not, you have been acting and in some cases auditioning for most of your life.  You acted like the perfect baby when you were young or maybe not so perfect when you didn’t get your way.  Then and even now, you act like the son or daughter that you think best supports the daily scenes and interactions you are in.  Perhaps in grade school or high school, you might have auditioned for the role of class clown by trying to make people laugh and if it didn’t work, you looked for another standout role.  Class President, part of an athletic team, drama queen or just the one that goes the opposite way of the crowd…these were not just handed to you.  You had to act a certain way or perform certain tasks in order to be awarded with those titles. 

Some of you are mothers, fathers, friends, brothers, sisters, lawyers, doctors, consultants or even IT managers.  Either way, whatever role you have, you are constantly switching when the lights go on.  For example, take this scenario:  You are at your desk…the phone rings and it’s your husband.  Action! Your role instantly turns to the concerned (or annoyed) wife and then goes back to delegating tasks around the office while running a meeting.  Some of us are able to switch quickly into other roles because they just feel natural.  Others need a little rehearsal time even though it is a part you have been asked to play several times in the past.  Maybe it’s new and outside your scope.  No matter the situation, no matter the odds, ultimately we are the ones who control our thoughts and actions.  Take deep breaths, find the persona that will help get you through the situation or better yet, fake it till you make it! Confidence breeds confidence as well as greater potential opportunities. 

But how did you get to be the one in the corner office? You gave your all for your company so you could earn that promotion by acting like and believing that you are always the best woman for the job! How did you end up getting married? You were auditioning for the man of your dreams and vice versa.  Life is a series of casting calls and auditions.  Someone is calling on you on a daily basis to be a listening ear as a friend, a coach and mentor as a father or to be the one the director chooses to be the star in their production.  In each and every situation, YOU are the star of your own show! Yes, you may have a supporting cast to lean on but ultimately, each situation you face is your own to handle.  You are in the spotlight so let it shine on you and be your best! Take control of your own life’s movie.  You are the actor, director and producer.  You are on set 24/7 so make the most of it.  Our movie will come to an end one day.  Why wouldn’t you want it to be one that people will be talking about and remembering for years to come?

Back to School, Back to You

Sean Michael

It’s the beginning of the first week of school and for those with children, schedules are being put into place.  A familiar routine is re-established of waking up, getting ready for the drop-off and then officially starting the rest of your day.  It’s now about you again…Back to school, back to YOU!

For some, if not most, you had little to no time to devote to your own health, wellness and peace of mind due to parental responsibilities.  You did so well leading up to the summer to get “beach body ready” but now the summer, in the scholastic sense, is over.  Where are you with your beach body? Did you do a good job of at least maintaining all the hard work you put in leading up to Memorial Day Weekend?

It becomes very easy to make every excuse as to why it’s so hard to get started again.  Stop me if you have heard these before, “Mondays are not good for me.” “Wednesday is the middle of the week and I don’t want to start in the middle.” “Friday, well Friday is too close to the weekend.  What is the point of starting then?  I’ll just wait until Monday.”  A vicious circle of excuses and fast forward to the winter and it’s another fresh set of good ones.  You drill into your children’s heads how important it is to maintain schedules because it will help them in the long run.  It probably came out something like, “You may not thank me now but you will thank me for it someday”.  Or insert any phrase here such as “Get back on the bike”, “Rip the Band-Aid off” or “Just put one foot in front of the other”.  No matter how the after school cookie crumbles, It’s your turn to lead by example and take your own advice. 

Here are a few good starting over points:

  • As the weather cools, especially in the mornings, take the time for brisk walks to clear your head and plan out your day. 
  • Make time in your schedule to be active 3-5 times a week.  If it is not in your schedule, it does not exist.  
  • Re-visit that gym membership that was frozen for all the vacationing you did.  No one will judge you as to where you were.  No one thought you were faking it.  Just walk right back in like you belong because after all, you kind of do. 
  • Meal prep to get ahead of the work and extra curricular activity week so you can keep the needle moving forward.  
  • Lastly, call YOUR TRAINER who you begged to fit you in as many days as they could from April-June.  They will love to see you, want to hear all about what you did and have fun again. 

Your homework, should you choose to accept it is to get your energy, your mojo, your vibe or your pep in your step back but most importantly, get back to YOU! No one has yet to tell me they felt worse after working out or taking the time for themselves.