Instructor Influencer: Train with Tish

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Train with Trish || Hemm Blog

With over 20 years of experience working in fitness, Tish has witnessed a lot of change. She has successfully navigated the fads, philosophies, and new science that has popped up, deciphering the useful from the trendy creating effective programs for her loyal clientele. It's rare to hear about someone sticking with the same trainer for say 14 years, as Jennifer, one of her clients has. It must mean Tish is up to something good, has the ability to continuously engage, and that she has the ability to adapt and evolve her training programs to suit her clients as their bodies change as a result of age, lifestyle, injury, etc. A true passion for her profession and the lives she positively impacts, Tish is a fine #hemmsfemme! Today we are picking her brain about her fitness philosophy, tips for training to stay strong as birthdays come and go and getting insight into her style.

How would you describe your fitness philosophy?

Train functionally and keep things fresh - cross train to keep things interesting. The most important thing to focus on when training is to do exercises that keep your body functioning at its greatest potential well into your 40’s, 50’s, 60’s…

"It doesn’t matter how big your biceps are if you are not able to pick up a grocery bag from the ground without knee or lower back pain!"

These types of exercises involve strengthening the muscles that improve posture through balance and compound movements.  Secondly, your body needs to be shocked through change in order to make improvements, both cardiovascular and strength. The more you surprise your body through a variety of challenging but different workouts, the better results you will see and feel.

You often use compound exercises with your clients. What are they and why do you love them?

A compound exercise is one that involves two or more different joints, which, as result, stimulates multiple muscles through that movement.  The biggest challenge people cite is lack of time, but when you complete more compound movements in your workout we can eliminate that issue.  By completing a series of compound movements, usually through a form of interval training, we can dramatically reduce workout times, increase intensity and maintain the effectiveness of the workout.  The other reason I love training this way is most of these exercises require little or no equipment and can be done in the comfort of you own home!  Two of the best compound movements are pushups and pull-ups, 4 sets back to back and you basically challenged your entire upper body in less than 30 minutes.  These exercises require a ton of energy, so they are also a great cardio workout.  Why not kill two birds with one stone if you can!!

Where do you draw inspiration from to motivate clients, especially during the toughest workouts?

I find engagement and genuine interest in my clients improvements has made me a successful trainer. My clients know that if they are having a low energy day I won’t push them as hard that day (or I say that anyway).  Its amazing, if you have a sincere interest in pushing your client through their workouts, you can pull energy from them they didn’t know they had.

"Every client is different, and a good trainer should be able to read personalities and adjust according."

Some clients are intense, no chit chat, I count them down, spot them, and everything is just about getting them through the set. For other clients it is more of a social visit, I have learned to let go and let the client get what they need most out of every session.

After a full day of training others, how do you motivate yourself to get your workout in without it feeling like 'work’?

That is an excellent question! I do find this very challenging for sure as I train up to 5-7 clients a day, normally starting at 6am. Getting motivated to get my own training sessions in is most challenging, but it is my clients that I have trained that day who inspire me to get it done! I often joke that I would never put myself through the workout they are doing for me, but it actually is a pretty true statement. It is incredible to watch people push themselves the way they do. Some of my clients have 3 children, high stress careers, running on less than 5 hours of sleep a night and still give me everything they can. My mind always goes back to those clients when I spend one more session in the gym for myself. If they can do it, so can I!

What is the best piece of training advice you've received?

Know your limits!  Best advice I was ever given probably saved me from many injuries. Rest days are just as important as your workout days. Your muscles will not recover and grow without proper recovery. I needed to be reminded of this a few times as I tend to over train and feel uncomfortable or lazy when I take a day off. What I do now is an active recovery day as I find I still need a release - more mentally than physically. I also have many clients who like to overdo it so I am comfortable telling them the importance of rest as I practice it as well. You have to always practice what you preach in order to achieve respect from your clients.

What is your best piece of fitness advice?

This question is very difficult because I could go on and on about fitness and wellness. That is why I love brand new clients because I feel like I have so much to share during our initial consult. If I were to pick one it would be to set realistic goals. I learned very early in my career to be honest and upfront with clients.  People have no idea what they can accomplish within a certain time frame – oftentimes they can set unrealistic goals. As a result, trainers can often get blamed for a client’s lack of progress, but it may be an unfair assessment in a situation like this.

"The first thing I say to a new client is that I will give you the tools, but it will ultimately be up to you to build the house."

I see a client 1-2 hours a week, what they do the other 160 ish is what will make the most difference in their progress!  If someone wants to get “ripped” but is not willing to make dietary changes then it is my responsibility to let them know what they should really expect their body to look like after our 8 weeks of training. Goals need to be set right away.  They need to be specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and time bound. Setting SMART goals with a client before training starts is crucial so expectations can be met.

You have great style, what are you go-to pieces when it comes to workout apparel?

Thanks! I love all brands and love that there is such a variety now!  I love loud colourful tights and tanks that have inspirational quotes on them so when my clients read them it pushes them harder. Of course I have the black tights and neutral colors but I find when I show up in my funky bright stuff I get a little more energy from the person I am training.  Right now, I am loving the tanks that are cut so you can tie a knot in the back or can leave it untied if you want a loose look. Two styles out of one tank!

Want more Tish? Check out her website: and check our blog in March for workouts from Tish that we can do at home, that will work multiple areas of the body, and that involve minimal equipment.

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