Fitness routines of personal trainers | how your trainers stay fit

At least once a week a reader, client or group fitness participant asks me about my fitness routine.

IMG_2839Do I train myself the same way I train them? (not necessarily; I’m training for increased muscle mass, many of my clients are not).

Do I need to do anything in addition to the classes I teach to stay in shape? (Absolutely! The weights in the aerobics studio aren’t heavy enough for the type of training I do. I teach 2-3 Step and Bootcamp classes per week and hit the weight room for body-part splits 3 times weekly).

What type of nutrition plan do I follow? (Nothing formal, but I try to fill my plate with lean protein, vegetables, fruits and healthy fats before I add in grains, dairy or sweet treats).

And I’m sure my answers to the above questions are different from YOUR personal trainer’s or those of the blogger-trainers you follow online.

I thought it might be fun to poll some of my personal trainer friends and colleagues and ask THEM to divulge the details of their own personal fitness routines. To show you that there are as many ways to stay fit as there are fitness professionals. And that even personal trainers have an ‘Achilles heel’; areas where we need to improve to keep progressing and meeting our fitness goals.

Thanks to Pamela Hernandez, Tara Sabo, Heather Iacobacci-Miller, Morgan Shuker, Carly Pizzani and Taylor Ryan for taking the time to answer the following questions.

1. On average, how many days per week do you work out? How long are your workouts?

2. What types of workouts do you do?

3. If you strength train, what type of program are you following?

4. What does a typical workout week look like for you?

5. Do you follow any type of nutrition plan? If so, could you share a few details?

6. Imagine that you’re your own client. Give ‘a star’ and ‘make a wish’. Identify something that you’re doing well, with respect to your fitness goals and an area where you need a bit more work.

Grab a protein shake or green smoothie, sit back and enjoy getting to know these fit, fabulous and inspiring women!

Fitness routines of personal trainers


DailyBurn-19Pamela Hernandez, ACSM CPT and ACE Health Coach
Owner Thrive Personal Fitness.
Check out WIAW at and scenes from my day at instagram/thrivefit

1.  My strength workouts are usually 30-40 minutes and cardio can be 25 minutes to an hour. Yoga can be 30 – 60 minutes. My schedule just depends on how busy the day and week are.

2. I love weights which typically I do 3 days a week. I try to run 2- days a week as well but that depends on the week and the weather. I do yoga 1-2 times a week. I bike on Sundays during the summer with my husband during the summer if the weather is nice. We walk in the evenings too but I don’t really consider that a workout.

3. My training plan varies depending on what I have coming up or what my focus is. My last “phase” was focused on whole body workouts 3 days per week and knowing I was going to be in a bikini. I’m thinking of doing a body part split workout (post vacation before IDEA World/Blogfest) to try to “shape” a bit. That would mean weights 4 days a week. Other times of the year I might do an upper/lower split. Most of it is very functional, using free weights and very few machine exercises. I love kettle bell workouts too. [Me too, says Fitknitchick; so many ways to keep your workouts fresh]

4. Monday – strength/HIIT cardio I at my gym all day with an afternoon break. This is how I refresh myself
Tuesday – run or yoga depending on what else I have to do.
Wednesday – strength plus after dinner walk
Thursday – run/cardio or yoga or rest depending on what I have to do that day.
Friday – strength plus a walk after dinner
Saturday – active rest (maybe a walk after dinner or short yoga)
Sunday – longer run or bike ride (maybe an hour)

5. I’m a vegetarian who tries to avoid dairy. I eat as clean as possible but I’m not perfect. I might grab a bowl of cereal or a packaged protein bar. I eat out sometimes when networking or meeting a girlfriend for lunch. I still keep a food log. As a type 1 diabetic I have to count carbs to do dose my insulin. A food log is as much about balancing my calories as it is about dosing my medicine. I believe in balance, not perfection. [Balance is way more interesting than perfection, in my opinion]

6. Doing well – I am a food log all star! I have kept my log consistently for years!
Needs work – logging my workouts. I make a note of the kind of workout in my calendar but I lack a training log with reps/sets/weight/etc. It makes it hard to gauge progress.


Tara SaboTara Sabo, 33
ACE Certified Personal Trainer
Spinning Instructor
Tara would love more followers on and

1. I shoot for five to six days a week, but that can change if my personal and/or group fit schedule changes. If I’m teaching, workout length can be 30, 45 or 60 minutes (depending on the day). If I’m running, it can be anywhere from 30-90 minutes or more depending on the milage. I try to keep personal strength workouts to 45 minutes.

2. I love to run. Personal strength workouts are generally quite traditional with a little HIIT mixed in. I also teach a Spinning class. (It’s hard NOT to get a workout while I’m teaching that class!)

3. Because of my group fit schedule, personal strength workouts typically focus on my entire body…I don’t have time for split workouts. I like to mix it up, so I might use traditional (weight based) strength exercises with some high intensity work as well. Traditional strength moves are typically done with medium to heavy weights, depending on the exercise. I usually do 3 sets of 12-15 repetitions, pushing the weight within those repetitions. I get a decent workout when I teach, but that’s not the goal…so I like to take it up a notch when I’m on my own. [People are always surprised when I say that I don’t count my classes as my own personal workout]

4. Right now, it’s a blank slate as I get back into it post-baby.[Congratulations!] Before I started modifying, it looked a little bit like this:

Monday: Strength Class
Tuesday: Spinning Class/Kettlebell Class
Wednesday: Personal Short Run
Thursday: Personal Short Run
Friday: Personal Strength Workout
Saturday: Rest
Sunday: Personal Long Run

5. I don’t, actually. I find that I get obsessive when I follow a diet or count calories, so I generally just do my best to eat a clean, well-balanced diet that gives me wiggle room for treats.

6. Right now, I’m really focused on getting back to where I was before I had my son. I just got clearance from the doctor to resume normal activity. So generally speaking, I get a star for staying focused. For planning out and committing to a workout schedule. If I skip a workout, it’s because an outside force has changed my schedule in some way (like the need for a sub in a class that isn’t mine or a sick kid, for example). Where do I need some work? Flexibility. I never forget to stretch, but I could definitely be doing better, deeper stretching. Especially since I’m logging miles as a runner. I used to be able to do the splits. Now, ha! But I can run a half marathon… [Stretching is my weakness too; even when I’m teaching, I tend not to join in the entire stretch portion of the class as I’m fiddling with the music or helping my participants]


Heather_HeadshotHeather Iacobacci-Miller, 39
ISSA Personal Trainer Certification, RRCA Running Coach Certification
Follow Heather on Twitter: @wtbfitness and Facebook:

1. It varies. Running 50-90 mins, lifting 30 mins, cycling 90 mins. Sometimes I do a 2-a-day so 50 mins morning run then 25-30 mins weight later.

2. Running, cycling, weight training, HIIT

3. Body part splits, usually supersets or trisets, often incorporate dropsets, lifting heavy with lower reps. [A woman after my own heart 🙂 ]

4. My week varies sometimes depending on what days I run vs ride. Typically ride Mon, Tues 6-8 mile run, biceps/triceps/abs at noon; Wed run 6-7 miles, legs, shoulders at noon; Thurs ride or run; back/chest short HIIT + abs at noon, Fri rest, Sat long run, Sun recovery run 6-8 miles.

5. I try to eat whole foods as much as possible incorporating protein, carbs, fats & fiber with each meal or snack. I try to avoid refined foods, sugars but also believe in balance and not feeling deprived or that something is off-limits. So I do happily enjoy pizza or even chips and cheese dip on occasion.

6.  Oh wow. I’m almost stumped with this one. Even if I don’t want to necessarily work out, I tend to dig deep and get it done. I don’t make excuses. I guess that’s a plus (considering some of the excuses I hear from people all the time). But at the same time, sometimes that can be a downfall for me. I push push push and sometimes don’t cut myself some slack. I forget to assess my accomplishments and be proud of them and instead notice the things I’m doing wrong or if I’m not building muscle here or there, not getting in my speed work …


morganpersonaltrainerMorgan Shuker, 29 and owner of Wildly Fit. I’m Can Fit Pro certified as a trainer and working through my Precision Nutrition certification. I’m a new trainer and currently dabbling in one on one personal training and run coaching. Check out my website and follow me on Twitter, Instagram or Facebook. Wildly Fit online coaching to come in the future!

 1. I workout 4 days a week. My goal is usually 6 days but that rarely happens because life just gets so busy, am I right? My workouts range from 20 minutes to one hour in length.

2. It varies at different times of the year. In the summer it’s mostly running and biking. Canadian winter running just isn’t for me! I love training for races and am coaching a running group this summer too. Biking too just because I want any excuse for an outdoor workout. Oh and don’t forget weekly yoga, flexibility training is so important. [You get a big fat star for this one!]

3. I definitely strength train, most often in the fall and winter because that’s when I spend the most amount of time on the gym floor. Love lifting heavy! I do body part splits and low reps. But I also do body weight and light weight on a regular basis for injury treatment.

4. Changes each season, this is my current training schedule.

Monday – yoga
Tuesday – run (including hill sprints)
Wednesday – upper body strength
Thursday – lower body strength plus run
Friday – rest & chiropractor appointment for soft tissue work to treat my chronic pain and any current injuries

Saturday / Sunday = rest or race

5. I have a few rules that I use for my nutrition planning. First of all I prep most of my food on Sundays. I eat 5-6 meals a day. Those meals are the same every day for one week. Why? Because I like things to be easy. Do I get bored? Nope, because I choose meals I love and change it up every week. I try to keep my dairy and starchy carbs to the first 3 meals of the day and focus more on protein and veggies for the end of the day. I’m also a Truestar Ambassador and take daily vitamins to power my workouts and for general wellness.

6. I’m going to gold star myself for sticking on track when I’m training for a race. You can’t shake my schedule, I’m full of discipline! Where I need work is tracking my strength training. I can be a bit willy nilly with strength training but I love it so much. I’d definitely benefit from tracking exercises, reps, and weight.


Carly weights runningCarly Pizzani, 36 years old
ACSM Certified Personal Trainer
Diploma, American Academy of Personal Training
Blog: Fine Fit Day
Twitter: @carlypizzani
Instagram: @carlypizzani
Pinterest: @carlypizzani
Carly would love more followers on Instagram and Pinterest!

1. I usually work out 5 days a week. My running workouts range from 40 minutes to 2 hours, depending on the day. My strength training workouts are usually between 20 and 45 minutes.

2.  I run, I lift weights and I walk. In a perfect world I would add yoga, but sadly my yoga practice has been lacking recently (read: nonexistent). [I definitely need to get back to yoga too; always feels so great when I’m practicing regularly…]

3.I do whole body strength training using compound exercises. I base my strength training on my racing goals. When my running training is light (the beginning of a training program), my strength training is heavy weights at low reps, to build up strength. As my running gets more intense, getting closer to a race, I switch to endurance training, with lighter weights for more reps in circuits.

4. On Monday, Wednesday and Friday I run and strength train. On an easy run day, I’ll do 45 minutes of weights, then the other two days when I have harder running workouts I’ll do 20 minute strength training sessions. Saturday and Sunday I run – one of the weekend days is my long run and the other is usually a recovery run. Since I train clients locally, I commute by walking, so over the course of a week I usually walk about 15 miles as well. Tuesdays and Thursdays are my rest days, although as a mama of a rambunctious toddler, ‘rest’ might be a bit of a stretch!

5. I don’t follow a set nutrition plan, or really have any hard and fast rules when it comes to eating. I’m lucky in that I really enjoy a lot of healthy foods, like fruit and vegetables. I don’t think there’s a vegetable I don’t enjoy. (I am also not averse to chocolate and red wine). [We would get along well 😉 ] I cook a lot and have mastered the art of healthy cooking techniques and seasoning. Since I run a lot, I don’t shy away from carbohydrates, so I often cook with brown rice, barley, or whole wheat pasta and I eat either whole wheat or sprouted grain breads. I do try to steer clear of packaged foods as much as I can.

6. What I’m doing well is being smart about my training. I work with a running coach to ensure my training plan is quality, so I can avoid injury. I also balance my strength training to aid my running goals. Where I need more work is with my sleep habits! I am not in a routine and I often stay up late to read or write, rather than getting the sleep I should. It’s a constant struggle for me. I would also love to find the time and motivation to do yoga more regularly.



IMG_5229Taylor Ryan, 30 years old – Charleston SC
Venice Nutrition Coach
Please follow Taylor on Twitter: @femininemuscle
And check out her blog:


1. I workout on average 5-6 days/week. Each workout ranges in length from as short as 15 minutes to as long as 2 hours (long cardio day).

2. I run 3-4 times per week… track work 1 day, tempo runs and shorter runs 1-2 times (3-5 miles) and a long run on the weekend.

Mixed in with the running, I also do kettlebell workouts (1-2x), and high intensity strength training 2x per week. If I am not able to get my personal strength training in, I’ll jump into one of my boot camp classes!

3. Strength training is my passion and I love to mix it up. All of my workouts are total body.

1-2 times per week I do kettlebell based workouts, and the other workouts are a mix of heavy lifting paired with body weight moves to deliver the most bang for my buck. i.e. I might do 4 sets of weighted squats and finish it off with as many squat jumps as possible. For a while I was focusing on high rep, circuit training, but for the past 2 weeks I’ve created a new program for myself that is lower reps, more sets to focus on strength over endurance. Which I’ll continue with for the next 3-4 weeks.

4. Monday: Quick Run (3-4 miles) & Kettlebell workout
Tuesday: Track Speed Work
Wednesday: Strength & light cardio & filming workout for FitWomensWeekly
Thursday: Kettlebells – Fast 20 minute workout
Friday: OFF
Saturday: Long Run
Sunday: Rest or filming workouts

5. Until earlier this year I was a vegan. But due to health concerns, I made the decision to reintroduce animal products back into my diet.

Now, nutrition is looked at as fuel for my body. What makes me feel the best, regardless of what’s “trending” in the health world or blogs? What works for me and my husband is a {mostly} plant based diet that is rich in all-natural foods/ingredients. We try to make everything ourselves… as that’s the only way to really know what’s in your food. The only thing I don’t include in my diet is dairy.

6. Haha…

Let’s see… when it comes to my workouts I do a really good job at focusing on form and listening to my body. If my form starts to suffer, I’m not afraid to slow down, rest and shake everything out before continuing on. I think too many people/programs that think workouts should be go-go-go and they end up injuring themselves or not getting the most out of the exercises. If it’s a timed workout, that might lead to an extra 30-seconds however knowing that my push-ups or squats were perfect is worth the time.

What I can work on…

Working harder when I am by myself. I have a hard time lifting heavier or pushing to a new level when I’m by myself. I love the external motivation I get from having a training partner or my husband coaching me. Since we’ve opened our gym, I have had to workout a lot more by myself and it’s been tough! [I hear you. And it’s so hard to find another trainer to work with when our exercise schedules are so variable to accommodate our clients’ schedule…]

Now, it’s your turn. Take a moment and give a ‘star’ and ‘make a wish’ for yourself. Share them below.

Then spend some time getting to know my guests a bit better by visiting their sites and following them on social media!


  1. Thank you for the opportunity to share. My clients ask about this a lot too!
    Pamela Hernandez recently posted…The Best Cookbooks To Help You Eat Your VeggiesMy Profile

    • Hi Pamela. Thank you so much for taking the time out of your holiday weekend to respond! I loved reading everybody’s answers. Especially to the last question 🙂

  2. I loved this one Tamara — very cool to see what trainers are doing, and what people struggle with!!!
    Michelle DeWinter recently posted…And then there was knitting!!My Profile

    • Agreed! I think I liked the last question best. It’s so interesting to me to see what people think they’re doing well and where they need a bit of work!

  3. Thanks for including me … and I loved reading everyone else’s answers. We really all do train differently!
    Morgan recently posted…Are You A Partner In Your Health CareMy Profile

    • Morgan, thank YOU for taking the time to answer my questions! Let me know if I can help at all as you get your online program up and running!

  4. Thank you so much for including me! Loved reading how other trainers train!

    • You guys all rock! I loved reading your responses and was amazed at how diversified they were!

  5. Thanks so much for including me among such an awesome group of women! 🙂 Loved reading everyone’s answers!
    Carly @ Fine Fit Day recently posted…Scenes from a weekend #33My Profile

    • Carly, thank YOU so much for being a part of it. From the comments and shares, I’d say that lots of people are interested in how we trainers stay fit!

  6. Really interesting answers! It just goes to show that not all programs/routines work for everybody.
    PlumPetals recently posted…Eating, Training, and SleepingMy Profile

    • So true. Although I was surprised to see that so many of us really do exercise almost daily. Despite telling my clients that they don’t need to workout 6 days a week…. 😉

  7. THIS right here is a phenomenal resource!!! SAVING IT FOR SURE 🙂
    GiGi Eats recently posted…Cool as a CucumberMy Profile

  8. You know I always love reading about what other people do!!! 🙂 Very interesting!!!!!
    Jody – Fit at 56 recently posted…Gratitude Monday with a NuNaturals Giveaway for You!My Profile

  9. This was a great post, thank you! As a Personal Trainer I always like to know what my fellow trainers are up to, and I got some awesome new blogs to read through as well 🙂 I think I’d give myself a star for staying focused and consistent with my plan. When I’m training for a race I’m very diligent about sticking to my plan, and in my “off-season” I enjoy pushing myself with the weights. For a wish I would like to focus more on stretching and recovery work. I’m pretty good about stretching and foam rolling after a workout, however with all the running I do I feel like my body would benefit from a little extra TLC on my days off.
    Ariana recently posted…Traithlon, Shmiathlon – A Recap of My Experience & a Few Tips For Those Looking to Get Into TriathlonMy Profile

    • Ariana, I hear you. I like to play the ‘voyeur’ too! Do you ask your clients to give you ‘stars and wishes’ too? I’ve found it to be a great tool!

      • I like to do periodic “goal checks” with my girls to recognize their accomplishments and see where we may have to come up with a new plan of attack. But referring them to stars and wishes just seems so fun 🙂
        Ariana recently posted…Super Simple Ginger Chicken Stir FryMy Profile

        • I like the ‘levity’ of it too. Seems so much easier to reflect than when we use the word goals…

  10. Its nice to see how the pros work out. This makes me want to push myself harder in workouts. Thanks!


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