Mark Palmieri, Owner Palmieri Personal Training: Keys to Getting Fit for Baby Boomers

There could be some fear and intimidation factoring in. That’s a normal feeling, but you should be excited about it, and the opportunity to feel better and move better. To do whatever you want to do better, fitness is the key, so it shouldn’t be hard. It should be fun. When it’s a fun process, and you combine that process with good, smart programming, then you get some pretty great results. Those would be my main tips.

Phil Faris: You mentioned smart programming. Can you give me an example of what that might look like? Because your kind of programming might be different than another trainer’s programming. If someone’s never had a program written out for them, they have no idea what we’re talking about. You’re saying, “I meet with them. I understand what they’re trying to accomplish. I understand their physical limitations and goals. Now I’m going to do smart programming.” What does that look like and what might a client experience working with you on that?

Mark Palmieri: To clarify programming, and this is the ultimate debate in the trainers’ community, every trainer has their own program. Again, smart programming to me is based off their movement capabilities, energy level, and goals. If somebody comes in for their first day of training, we go through that assessment and then we send them home. You’re feeling pretty good.

The next day, we’re just going to add on to what we did day one. We may have an extra exercise added in. We may incorporate some core exercise. For example, you might come in and do ten full body squats, or whatever you’re capable of doing. You may do ten band rows. Most people are familiar with the rubber elastic band. We’re going through their row pattern, and we’re going to do 10 of those. We’re going to turn you around. We may do ten band pushes, where you’re now pushing and using your chest muscles, and you’re working on your push form and your core stability.

Then, we might do ten rotations with a band on each side, where you’re now holding the band and doing the rotational movement pattern. Essentially, you’re moving in these different planes of movement, so it’s not just a program that makes you walk forward and backward efficiently; this is a program that’s going to help you move side to side better, and it’s going to help you rotate better as well.

Phil Faris: Mark, why is it important, especially for boomers, to be able to move in all those directions?

Mark Palmieri: It’s amazing. When you do the assessment, you’ll find that typically in the aging process, you’re going to lose the rotational ability. One of my favorite assessments that I do on people is the one I don’t tell them I’m doing I simply ask them to walk and I’ll analyze how they walk. Some of the boomers reading to this might do this later, but if you just walk towards a mirror and watch how you move, you can see if you’re rotating as you walk. Are your arms swinging and rotating, or are you moving from side to side? Is one of your hips hurting a little bit more? Are you favoring one side?

One thing that happens is in the walking pattern; we lose some of our ability to turn on some of the neurological system. I don’t want to get too far into the weeds here, but a simple walking pattern can reset the ability to move. It’s cool. It’s a neurological thing. If you can walk more efficiently with good posture, that’s a great way to start working out. I don’t know if that directly answers your question, Phil, or if it’s just an idea of something I would use to better understand the importance of it.

I think it’s important to understand the difference between machine strength and functional strength. The functional person is more like a farmer who’s been working in a farm field all their life. They’re functionally a little bit tighter and can move a little bit better versus the person who’s been running on a treadmill or doing an elliptical. Being able to move not just forward and backward, but side to side, and then in a rotational pattern – it’s very important concerning how I use the term smart programming.

Phil Faris: That makes sense because most people, once they get past 50, it’s about winning the game of life, instead of winning a bodybuilding contest or something like that. They want to enjoy what they do more, with more mobility, freedom, flexibility and with less pain. Whether it be playing with the grandkids, playing softball, shooting baskets, gardening, whatever it is they want to be able to do, they can do it and enjoy it more. That happens not in two dimensions, but in all dimensions. I think that’s important for people to understand.

Mark Palmieri: Absolutely.

Phil Faris: The last question I have specifically about Baby Boomers is: What is the biggest challenge that they have in accomplishing their goals? Especially if they haven’t been working out for a while.

Mark Palmieri: The biggest challenge, again, is unique, and each listener is probably going to have their preconception of what their biggest challenge is. In my experience, it’s interesting because their challenges are relatively easily overcome. The biggest challenge could just simply be starting. To start the process and come clean with yourself and own that maybe exercise doesn’t have to be what you thought it was. Maybe it can be more about the idea of living a better and more independent life. To be self-reliant. Right? They want to be productive. They want to be able to do things. They don’t want to have other people doing it for them.

Phil Faris

Phil Faris is a Best-Selling Author, business consultant, radio host for Never Too Late for Fitness Radio, and contributing writer for Business Innovators Magazine covering Influencers, Innovators, and Trendsetters in Business, Health, Fitness, and Leadership.