Trust Other Trainers? Read This.

choicesI had a good question the other day that was so important I decided that I better write a blog post for you.

Here’s the question…

“Shawna, I love your workouts, thanks for all your great ideas. My question is how do I incorporate other people’s programs into my training? You’re always sending us information from other trainers. I’m intrigued and I want to grab their workouts because they look good. How do I add other programs into my Challenge Fat Loss training?

This is a great question. SO MANY CHOICES…

Each week I tend to feature one or two different workout and nutrition programs in my emails and blog posts. There’s SO much information out there, I feel it my job to sift and sort to bring you the best. You can be sure that if it’s on my blog or in my emails, then it’s worth investigating.

I’m not suggesting that you grab EVERYTHING I write about. I want to present you with options that will help you depending on your own personal circumstance, training level, access to equipment etc. These are basically just guidelines so you can figure out what’s out there. But you need to figure out what works for YOU, what you like to do most and what fits your goals and lifestyle best.

So let’s determine a couple of things to help you wade through all the information out there, including mine, so that you don’t get overwhelmed with it all.

First of all, you need to determine your fitness goals. What are you trying to achieve?


Fat loss? Increased strength? Muscularity? Endurance? More functional fitness? What do you want? The cool thing is that MOST programs will serve you in many ways, some more than others though. For example, if cardiovascular endurance is a goal, you’re unlikely to reach your full potential doing yoga. If strength gains are top on your priority list, then you’ll need to do some kind of resistance training.

So define your priority first.

Then look for a plan.

To make it easier, I’ll provide a few of my favorites in this post, but these are by no means the only ones that I’ll recommend. I’m friends with the top fitness pro’s in the world, I don’t mean to brag, but that’s the truth. They are constantly coming out with new programs based on the latest science, so it’d be impossible to provide an exhaustive list for you now. But hopefully by providing a few examples and the REASON they’re on my ‘favorite’ list, you’ll be able to know what to look for in a plan. Look, if all you have is a hammer in your tool box, you’re not likely to be satisfied with your efforts because sometimes you just need a screwdriver. Make sense? Get the right plan to fit your needs and goals.

Variety is the spice of life and with fitness plans it’s no different. I’m a BIG fan of cross training, by that I mean it’s important to ‘change it up’ if you’re going to keep your training fresh. I don’t mean that you have to go from resistance training to bowling or anything drastic like that. What I mean is that you can incorporate different training modalities: bodyweight, suspension training, kettle bell, sprints, etc. These are the various ways that you can add variety and keep your training fresh.

You don’t have to be all or nothing either. You can create your own hybrid training program based on your own needs. If you get brain-numb bored from one method of training even though your body responds well to it, it’s best to sprinkle this method in sparingly with a method of training that really excites you. Training intensity is what it’s all about (to a certain extent: you could do zumba with enthusiasm and be unlikely to get ‘ripped’).

As you gain fitness confidence, you’ll be able to trust your instincts and listen to your body even more. You’ll be able to mix and match workouts from various authors with ease and know that you’ll move in the direction to you goals. In the beginning though, I suggest following the author’s recommendations. The author/trainer knows what the end results are likely to be, just look at the testimonials and listen to their advice – after all, that’s why you hired them as a trainer right?

Here are a few of my favorite workouts and the reason why they rock:

Versatile: add to ANY other program:

workout finishers

Workout Finishers – Mike ‘pancakes’ Whitfield is the creator. You can never go wrong with these short workouts that you can use at the END of your workout to increase your fitness level, burn fat and avoid the cardio confessional (the treadmill).  These can be used with ANY program and on your day off.






fat loss accelerators

Fat Loss Accelerators – I have new respect for my pal, Kate Vidulich. Her program is similar in concept to Mike’s Workout Finishers, but she has more hybrid workout complexes that totally challenged me when we did her new follow along videos together. This chick is really switched on and creates deceptively tough stuff. On paper it looks fairly benign, when you give it a go and you’ll watch your results sky rocket.







MOST variety in one program:

challenge workouts

Home Workout Revolution – From the Godfather of fitness himself, Craig Ballantyne, this program is SO packed with value that I can’t NOT mention it. From beginner to veteran, this program has something for everyone, more variety than I can mention. If you were to only pick up ONE program, this would be it.




Most innovative/creative:

suspension revolution

TRX Suspension Revolution – Dan ‘High Energy’ Long brings you unique follow along workouts on the suspension trainer. There is precious little out there for the TRX or suspension trainer. Dan tries ridiculous things that will challenge and change your physique. Good fun and a great change. Also a great option for travel.



BEST Instruction with a cool tool:

kettlebell evolution

Kettlebell Evolution – The BEST teacher/trainer by far for kettle bell techniques, especially with a virtual program, is Chris Lopez. The KB can be intimidating for some and Chris makes learning technique easy so you can push your limits without concern of injury.

Best supplement:

Biotrust products – Reasearch based products and quality control are really important when looking at supplements. I personally know Joel Marion, creator of Biotrust products. I know Joel to be fastidious and trust the research and science behind his products. Yes, price is an indication of quality in this case. I’d rather pay a little more for a product that I trust than pay less and fill my body and my kids bodies with a product that is questionable. Long term health is based on small choices of quality ingredients and I don’t want to short change myself in the nutrition department.

The good news about virtual products is that they are a FRACTION of what it would cost to train with the author of each program. Truth be told, the BEST you can do is get a virtual program from these trainers or possibly get on their coaching programs because they are in such high demand they no longer do one on one training. They have the most experience with clients, they have a proven track record and scads of testimonials to their credit. Their programs cost less than what it would cost to hire a brand new trainer for one session.  Virtual programs rock when it comes to value.

Here’s the thing though, don’t be an information gatherer, be a ‘doer’. A program won’t work if you don’t unpack it. Spend an hour looking over the program, print off what you need, download videos so that they’ll be ready for you when you want them. The value of the program is in the doing.

I’m not selling out by telling you what’s out there, I’m doing my job. I want you to get results and while I feel workouts from my Challenge Workout programs will serve you well, I see NO problem in adding workouts in from other experts. We can work together to help you meet your goals. I have an abundance mentality, I’m not threatened by other trainers. I know they have great things to offer you, I also know that I offer you good stuff, otherwise you wouldn’t be reading my blog. Just in case, you haven’t grabbed the Challenge Workout series, head to to see all my offerings.

Thanks for letting me be a part of your fitness journey. Your feedback is very important to help me provide you with what you need. Thanks for your emails and blog comments. Go ahead and shoot me a comment now 😉