Today on the blog, you’re going to meet Nick! He is the first guy I’ve interviewed on BalancedAmes, I felt like it was about time 🙂 Nick and I went to UW- La Crosse together and now he is doing some pretty awesome things, but I’ll let him tell you about them. I’ve read many of the articles he has written, and this guy is up on his knowledge of health and fitness…so make sure to soak the whole interview in. I have been so impressed with Nick since reconnecting + reading his stuff. Nick has graciously agreed to become MY TRAINER! I’m going to head down and check out his facilities + get an assessment and programming done. I cannot wait to share how that goes with you guys, so check back soon. I would (obviously) highly recommend him if you are in his area, 2 locations in Wisconsin: Greenfield and Tosa.
Ames: Introduce yourself + tell us about your business.
Nick: First of all, let me just say that I am honored to have the privilege of being the first guy on this blog; guess that’s kind of a big deal 🙂 Anyhow, I am Nick Rosencutter and I am a strength and conditioning coach, manual therapist, powerlifter, martial artist and writer. I have been into lifting and training since my early teens and have been passionate about the human body and its movement/performance ever since. I own Rosencutter Ultra Fitness & Performance in Greenfield, WI and co-own a second location in East Tosa. We are a specialized training facility dealing with individualized assessment, program design and coaching. We cater to a wide variety of clientele including youth to elite level athletes, general fitness/fat loss and those looking to improve dysfunction and get rid of pain. Everybody who trains with us is serious about learning, getting better and improving their bodies. In addition to our work inside of the gym, we also run strength and conditioning at Greendale High School and I also do a manual therapy treatment called Active Release Techniques (ART) at a company in Cudahy. I/we are unique in the fact that we are able to blend the worlds of therapy and performance into a fully comprehensive program to help clients be their absolute best with movement and performance.
A: What is the hardest part about owning your own business?
Nick: I would have to say that separating life inside and outside of the business has probably been the hardest part, especially the first year or two into it. Now I have some great employees so I am freed up for other things a little easier but still, I have to be a business owner and not just a trainer/coach. Just working as a fitness professional many hours a day is consuming enough if you are good; however, add in owning and running a business, managing others, worrying about numbers, etc. and it’s an entire additional world.
Don’t get me wrong, I love all that I do and am extremely passionate about helping others as well as making this business succeed, but sometimes that love and that passion make it hard to step outside of the world you tend to be stuck in all hours of the day and free your mind up to do other things. So for me, learning and improving with the balance of my gym and life outside of it is something that I am working on. And for me, training/lifting or learning/studying about training is what I do to “get away,” so my get away usually still involves the gym lol. It’s a lot of work but it’s all worth it in the end and if I continue to add and develop great people around me to help the business grow, I will have all of the freedom that I want in life. A: The BALANCE Nick 🙂
A: Favorite part about working in the health and fitness industry?
Nick: I love helping people create positive improvements in their lives. It is truly amazing to have such a huge influence on so many people’s lives. When it comes down to it, we do a lot more than just help people shed fat, get stronger or get rid of chronic pain. When you help someone accomplish those things, it literally changes their life. It improves them as a person mentally and physically and to think that I have that kind of effect on people is really rewarding to me. A: Really love this answer.
On the other side of things, I take interns, I’ve contributed to and created continuing education material for other coaches, trainers, etc. and I have past youth athletes I’ve worked with that have decided to go into this field because of things I’ve turned them onto. Being able to influence other professionals like that just as I have been influenced and inspired by others is also really rewarding to me. On top of this, I really enjoy educating people about the body, whether that’s anatomy or the reason behind different training modalities. Being able to share my passion for the body with others and allowing them to gain a good enough understanding of things to take care of themselves is great.
Oh and being able to walk into my office, change and walk five feet to start my workout is also a nice plus 🙂
A: What is your best piece of advice for new personal trainers? Looking back to when you were new, what advice would you give younger Nick?
Nick: For new trainers: Constantly learn. Read books, attend seminars, do a good internship, network with successful professionals and do everything that you can to improve and get better everyday. There is always so much more to learn about the body and the more you know, the more you realize you don’t know. I have been fortunate enough to call some of the best in the business mentors and friends and the common theme I see among those at the top of the industry is the habit of continual learning. So many people in this field and other fields stop learning once they get out of school and that is a huge mistake because that is really when the real learning starts. If I had to give a specific topic to study and master, it would be functional anatomy. This is everything when it comes to assessment and proper training. If you don’t know anatomy, you can’t effectively train someone, plain and simple. Doing a good internship and getting some legit experience is a necessity. Don’t go out trying to train people if you haven’t had any training in doing so. Study, learn and get better every day. This is something that should never stop. A: Okay, apparently I love all of Nick’s answers. To constantly learn is great advice no matter what profession you are in.
For younger Nick: Be more tolerant of certain people. Rather than getting frustrated with some people not listening/following directions right away; relate with them and figure out what is going on that is holding them back. In this business, you inevitably come across certain clients that can be stubborn and don’t want to listen. While some of them simply just aren’t a good fit to work with, there are plenty who just need to be educated and listened to in order to help them better. Tolerance and learning how to communicate better with people is something that I have really worked on improving with since I’ve started. Sometimes you just need to go about things differently with certain people and relate to them in a certain way to get through to them.
A: I have seen some really interesting/in my opinion completely ineffective workouts at my local gym. Worse yet, it is a personal trainer taking the individual through it. What are your best tips for picking out a personal trainer (of course, if they don’t live in your area and cannot have you ;))
Nick: Unfortunately this is a pretty common occurrence in the fitness industry. There are many unqualified people out there posing as “trainers” taking people’s money (a big reason I hate the term personal trainer). I actually wrote an article about what to look for when hiring a personal trainer a little while back after watching something similar to what you mentioned. You can read it here http://www.nickrosencutter.com/blog/shopping-for-a-fitness-professional. A: Nick’s blog is amazing, I binge read it last week…Some things you should look for in a legit expert would be:
- They should have an education in exercise science with a working knowledge of anatomy, physiology, biomechanics and strength training science. If you don’t know how the training you are prescribing is affecting someone’s body, then its going to be pretty hard to get quality results.
- They should practice what they preach. While knowledge of the science behind things is great, you can’t effectively train others if you haven’t spent time in the trenches yourself. The best trainers have a good blend of academic and practical experience
- They should do a thorough screen and assessment. I often get new clients who have worked with other trainers and they tell me how they just walked in and started doing random workouts. How do you know what someone should be doing and where to start them if you don’t evaluate them first? No assessment=guessing, less than optimal results and possible injury.
- They should design a program for you. Along the same lines of my last point, I hear people talk about how they just did random things each time they went in for workouts. You need to have a program planned out with progression, a proper warmup, planned strength work, planned conditioning work, etc. laid out for a block of time with workloads and intensities so that you can progress effectively with your goals. Showing up and doing random things will get random results. Everything within a program should have rationale behind it. The exercises, the exercise order, the sets and reps, the rest periods, anatomical balance; everything.
- They should be engaged and actually coach you. A good trainer will coach each exercise down to a T, find movement faults, be sure you are engaging the correct muscles, using the correct weight, etc. If your trainer simply stands around counting reps, then you should probably run. They should also be able to progress and regress exercises on the fly when necessary A: haha, run.
- They should dress and act like a professional. One of my biggest pet peeves is trainers who show up to work with a tank top and a backwards hat on. Look for something like a sports polo and decent looking athletic pants (that’s what we wear at my facility and most other legit facilities I know of do something similar).
A: At UW-La Crosse I remember one of our instructors saying “if you are a really good personal trainer, you won’t make people dependent on you” (credit: Travis Erickson). Essentially, you’ll teach them as you go so that they won’t always need you. Your thoughts?
Nick: I agree 110%. One of my main goals anytime I work with someone is to educate them on the why behind everything that we do in addition to the how. I’d bet lots of money that most of our clients could walk into the average commercial gym and trump most of the trainers there. The old saying “knowledge is power” is very true because the more knowledge you can give someone about their bodies, the more success they are going to have. When it comes down to it, you really only get to see someone a few hours out of the hundred plus hours of the week. You need to educate them so that they can take care of themselves when they aren’t with you. A: Yes. Ask questions + desire to know the why.
A: Okay, let’s talk exercise. What is your best advice to beginners?
Nick: Stick to the basics. Get stronger with the time tested, big bang, compound movements. Squats, deadlifts, rows, pullups, pushups, presses and variations of these will help with most goals that people will have, whether that’s fat loss, putting on size or improving performance. Add in a good conditioning circuit and some rehab exercises for the shoulders and back and you will be golden. People always want to try the newest fad workout or newest supplement and constantly try to change things up without ever giving anything a chance to progress. The exercises I just listed involve most of the bodies main movement patterns, will stimulate a large array of muscle throughout the body, build good patterns for carryover to sport and daily activities and will get you stronger and in great shape, hands down. Give yourself time to progress and improve your weights with variations of these movements and you’ll accomplish more than most.
A: I work on a nursing floor (love you B6/6 readers) that is made up of mostly women. I love answering questions about working out and exercise, but I’m still so surprised at how many women don’t incorporate strength training. What gives?
Nick: From what I have seen, I think a lot of women get mislead by poor information and myths in the mainstream media. The old myth that strength training will make a woman “bulky” still reigns in certain circles and although this is basically physiologically impossible without anabolic steroids, certain unqualified celebrity trainers still put this crap out there. The other reason would be that a lot of women just never get the proper coaching that they need to be successful with it. Lifting 2 lb dumbbells for hundreds of reps doesn’t give the results that are wanted and they just head back to the elliptical. I have heard many females talk about “toning.” Tone is simply having low bodyfat with muscle showing. Getting stronger and building muscle with the exercises I mentioned earlier are the key to doing this. I feel like I see strength work becoming more and more prevalent with females though and its great. Women have the ability to be really strong and develop some amazing physiques and I hope to continue teaching how to do this. I have multiple girls who could walk into most gyms and show up most of the guys and I love it 🙂 Nurses really need to have an adequate amount of strength and quality movement to effectively move and maneuver patients. I’ve worked with many nurses and they all love how much easier this aspect of the job becomes.
A: Top 3 reasons people need to strength train?
Nick: Wow this is going to be hard to narrow down because there are TONS of reasons but lets see……….A: These are hard hitting questions Nick 🙂
- It keeps you young/improved brain function. I hear so many people use their age as an excuse to lose their quality of life, for their aches and pains, for their decreased ambition, for their health problems and the list goes on. Strength training helps maintain movement quality, improves neural connections and mental sharpness, helps get rid of aches and pains (when done right), keeps the body looking and functioning good and overall just keeps people young. I have had multiple clients in their 50’s, 60’s, 70’s who tell me they feel better than they did when they were 30. It gives you LIFE and a way to control your health rather than letting it control you.
- It builds discipline and confidence. To be successful at building a respectable level of strength and a respectable body, it takes hard work and dedication. To make it through the challenge of a hard set takes some mental fortitude. To do this consistently and overcome obstacles that come your way changes you mentally and it spills over into other areas of your life. I don’t know one person who has had success in the gym who doesn’t display at least a decent work ethic with good drive outside of the gym, whether that’s with their career, their relationships or whatever it may be. It also builds confidence. When you are stronger, have a better physique, know how to move better and know that you have worked hard to overcome challenges in the weight room, it gives you a mental edge in social situations, on the field, on the court, at work or wherever else you may end up. It makes you a better and more effective person.
- Strength is the root that all other physical qualities are built off of. It will help EVERYTHING. It will improve fat loss; it will improve speed; it will improve power; it will improve endurance performance; it will improve movement quality; it will make you a better runner; it will make you a better athlete; it will build a great physique, it will improve your daily activities, it will help prevent injury and the list goes on. A: If you are like many of my friends and are an endurance athlete, strength training is still so important! Don’t just pound your miles each week (yes, even if you are marathon training).
Nick: Bottom line is: If you are exercising but not incorporating strength training, you are missing the ball. You owe it to yourself to learn how to properly do it and make your life better.
A: I also field questions about whether they should be doing abs every day for a smaller waist line, what is your best response?
Nick: A smaller waist line doesn’t come from ab work. It comes from improving total body metabolism and putting your body in the proper hormonal environment to lose fat around the clock. This comes from proper strength training, conditioning and even more importantly, proper nutrition. Multi joint, compound movements like I listed earlier done at the right intensity will build the muscle needed to boost fat loss throughout the body and around the clock. Conditioning done at the right intensities will also create a nice metabolic effect to help boost fat loss and improve that waist line. This can consist of various intervals and circuits with things like sled dragging, prowler pushes, kettlebell swings, med ball slams, rope slams, bike intervals, farmers carries, jump rope and plenty more. Old school “cardio” sitting on a treadmill or elliptical for an hour is not that effective for slimming down a midsection and often causes more problems than it does good.
This doesn’t mean that ab work is useless. It has its place and can help develop the musculature like the obliques and rectus abdominis, provide back support, improve lumbopelvic control and can improve the appearance of the region once the fat is gone. Just don’t count on it spot reducing the fat that is stored there
From a nutritional standpoint, the biggest issue I see with females is that they don’t eat enough and specifically don’t eat enough protein. Improving intake here is a huge key to building muscle, speeding up metabolism and ultimately, slimming down the waistline A: Another article by Nick I enjoyed ‘Ab Training Done Right: http://watchfit.com/exercise/ab-workouts-done-right/
A: Tell us what your workout week looks like.
Nick: Right now it is laid out like this:
Monday, Wednesday, Thursday and Saturday are main lifting days
Tuesday, Thursday and 1 other day depending on the week are Jiu Jitsu training days
Sunday is usually a conditioning day with some accessory lifting work
Monday– Upper body- Speed or rep focused bench press, overhead work, accessories for upper back, lats, triceps, biceps, shoulders
Tuesday morning- Jiu Jitsu training, rest from lifting
Wednesday– Lower body- Speed or rep focused squat and/or deadlift, accessories for quads, glutes, hamstrings, hips, abs and back
Thursday– morning- Jiu Jitsu training
Afternoon: Upper body- Heavy/max strength focused bench press work, accessories focused on chest, upper back, lats, shoulders with some lighter tricep and bicep work
Saturday– Lower body- Heavy/max strength focused squat and/or deadlift work, accessories for glutes hamstrings, hips, quads, abs and back
Sunday– Conditioning- usually a circuit involving jiu jitsu and boxing work, farmers carries, med ball, kettlebell work, agility drills, etc.
I’ll usually hit calf/lower leg work multiple days a week either before or after these workouts and I’ll also add in some light sled dragging and reverse hypers on some of the upper body days to help improve recovery in my legs and build up work capacity. Lighter accessories like grip work and neck work are thrown in here and there when needed. There will be certain phases where I will do olympic lifts, jumps or explosive exercises before squats or deads. There will be different cycles I’ll do where my training changes from what you see here but this is currently a decent general overview. I perform soft tissue, breathing and mobility work during my warmups and sometimes for recovery. Overall, my training is a hybrid combination of powerlifting, bodybuilding and performance training and I’ve been going at it for over 15 years now with no plans of stopping. Its a part of me.
This probably looks like a lot and it is; but I’ve been training since my early teens and I’m 29 now, so that’s a lot of years building up my work capacity and body to be able to handle what I do.
A: Favorite healthy snack/meal?
Nick: My meals tend to stay pretty consistent. For my dinner meal, each week I will usually rotate between chicken and ground beef for my main course (which might be made into different things). I’ll rotate between potatoes and rice to go along with it. Then a nice snack and supplement to a meal is a blend that I make. I take a bunch of greens such as kale, broccoli, spinach, spring mix, etc. and blend them with frozen mixed berries and some real natural orange juice. I sip it throughout the day and often have some with dinner if I’m not having veggies or a salad with it otherwise. Cottage cheese and greek yogurt have been staples for me for years and work great to get protein before bed. Eggs, chicken sausage, pb & j’s, protein pancakes, nuts, milk, oatmeal, homemade healthy pizza and steak are some other staples for me. I need LOTS of quality calories to supplement my training effectively so I tend to eat more than the average bear A: haha. For example, I try to get close to 200 grams of protein a day. When it comes down to it, its not really anything too fancy; just the basics and consistency. Plenty of protein, quality carbs, quality fats and plenty of water. I guess that’s more than a favorite healthy snack/meal; whoops 🙂
Certified Strength & Conditioning Specialist and Certified Personal Trainer through the National Strength and Conditioning Association (CSCS, NSCA-CPT), Licensed Massage Therapist (LMT), Full Body Active Release Techniques Provider (ART), Bachelor’s Degree in Exercise & Sports Science w/ a Strength & Conditioning Concentration from UW-La Crosse, Diploma of Massage Therapy from Lakeside School of Massage Therapy, National Level Powerlifter, Current state deadlift record holder for WABDL 198 class, Gracie Jiu Jitsu Blue Belt
I’m currently studying courses from the Postural Restoration Institute (PRI) and they have some very intriguing science dealing with the natural asymmetries of the body and common patterns that humans develop.
Hopefully my responses were worth reading and I hope you can take something from the interview to help you out. If you have any questions feel free to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org. If you are in the Greenfield area, come check us out. You can check out the RUFP website at www.rosencutterultrafitness.com or my personal site at nickrosencutter.com Thanks for the questions Amy! Your site is great and keep up the awesome work you are doing.
Isn’t he great?! It makes me want to run out the door + go get a lift in 🙂 I would highly recommend checking out some of his stuff and training with him. I’m meeting with him next Thursday + cannot wait to take a peak at the gym + get an assessment. I’ll give you guys the inside peak + dish on how the assessment went.
I’m really excited for the post on Friday, so stop back to read it. Have a great Wednesday everyone.