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StrongFast Blended Fitness

Training programs at StrongFast use "Blended Fitness." What is it and why is it special? Read on!


The term "Blended Fitness" comes from "Blended Learning" which is used to describe a combination of classroom training and eLearning. I have a strong background in both from doing classroom training for Computer Learning @ UB (among others) and developing eLearning software. In 2003, I presented on Blended Learning to the local chapter of the American Society for Training & Development ("ASTD", since renamed "ATD" for "Association for Talent Development" ... go figure).

Back in 2005, I was running a regular kickboxing (sort of) training class. (It was called "Advanced Group Class" or "AGC" although one of the guys commented, "We're not so much advanced as slightly above average." Good times.) The guys wanted some extra training to do during the week, so I put my software engineering skills to work and developed an online system for them that expanded and evolved into the blitzometer system still used by StrongFast Fitness today.

Blended Fitness vs. Personal Training

Standard Personal Training involves in-person sessions with a personal trainer. These sessions can be instructional (coaching) or motivational (workouts) or a combination of the two.

Personal Trainer working with clients

Blended Fitness includes in-person coaching sessions to learn new exercises and ensure proper form for safety and effectiveness. Sessions also help determine the best resistance (load) to use for strength training, best exercise selection, and other factors to provide the best training program for you. This is what makes personal training "personal."

Personal training sessions are great and highly recommended. However, when used as your exclusive training method, there are some drawbacks.

  • Your trainer time is limited to your sessions. With three one-hour sessions per week, that's three hours per week of coaching time out of 126 non-sleeping hours.  There's more to fitness than workouts: nutrition, mobility activities, aerobic activities, etc., should be incorporated into your overall fitness plan.
    Blended Fitness uses fewer in-person sessions but makes extensive use of online tools to keep you in touch with your trainer and on track with your training.
  • There's no accountability outside the sessions. Your trainer might give you additional workouts to do on your own, or actions to take like logging your meals or watching an online video. But your trainer won't know what you did until you report at your next session.
    Blended Fitness allows you to record your activities online where your trainer checks your inputs daily.
  • If you rely on your trainer to motivate you through workouts, what happens when the sessions stop? Presumably you won't be attending sessions for the rest of your life.
    Blended Fitness lets you do most of your training at your favorite location: home, your gym, at work, outside, or wherever. Your fitness program is specifically designed for your situation and preferences.
  • What if you have questions during the week? For example, you might experience some unusual soreness and wonder if it could be a problem. Or you might come across a new piece of fitness equipment and wonder if it's worth buying.
    Through the online system, you have access to your coach every day. This is not your typical "send an email and wait 24 hours for a reply" service...your coach checks for online messages multiple times per day...and responses are a priority.
  • Getting to your trainer can be inconvenient. You might have late changes to your schedule, issues with the weather, or things that just come up (i.e., "life").
    Blended Fitness offers you maximum flexibility in your training schedule and location. If something comes up, just let your coach know!
  • Training sessions require the full attention of your trainer, so it can get expensive if you use them for all your workouts.
    Blended Fitness uses fewer in-person sessions while still providing more personal attention. Plus you'll build the ability and confidence to continue training on your own later. StrongFast Blended Fitness sets you on the right path and gives you the tools to continue your journey.

Blended Fitness vs. Online Personal Training

Online "Personal" Training (OPT) is a big thing these days. As a personal trainer, I regularly see marketing for products to help trainers get more OPT clients. Why? The pitch is that it will allow trainers to make more money while working fewer hours. Indeed, that would be true, but at a big cost to you. That's why I put "Personal" in quotes above: how personal can it be if you and your trainer never meet? And if your trainer is only spending a couple hours a week supporting multiple clients?

I've written about online personal training before, most notably here and here. But much of Blended Fitness is online, so what's the difference?

Blended Fitness includes actual in-person sessions. There are some things you can only do face-to-face to get best results:

  • Screens and assessments. In order to provide a safe and effective workout, it's essential to be aware of your strengths and weaknesses, including mobility restrictions and compensation patterns.
  • Exercise instruction. Asking you to do an exercise on your own is easy for the trainer and online videos can help with correct technique. (We provide them through our online system.) But there are nuances even to seemingly simple exercises (like planks or push-ups) that can significantly impact their safety and effectiveness.
  • Exercise form checks. Once you're doing exercises on your own, even if you've had instruction, it's possible for small changes in technique to evolve that can slow progress or even lead to injuries. The best way to check your form is face-to-face. Sometimes, it can be something as small as improper breathing!

OPT doesn't provide any of this; Blended Fitness does, and a whole lot more. OPT can be cheap (expect to get what you pay for) but can also cost more than StrongFast Blended Fitness, despite the lack of personal training sessions. OPT can work for an experienced trainee who just needs a little direction, but for most people it comes up woefully short.


StrongFast Blended Fitness provides better online training than available OPT offers, and includes real live in-person training sessions. 

Blended Fitness vs. Do-it-yourself

Some people try using pre-packaged fitness programs to get themselves fit. These can be DVD sets, online programs, books, or other sources. They offer by a mass-market approach by necessity and their appeal is price...compared to any kind of personal training, they're cheap! And if they reach a broad enough market, they manage to find enough people who "get results" to perpetuate the brand. (How long those results last is another story...what happens after the 90 days is up?)

These programs always offer modified versions that are supposed to allow you to customize the workout to your ability. But how can people objectively judge their own capabilities? How can they identify their own compensation patterns or determine if they are performing an exercise correctly?

Like OPT, these programs may be useful for experienced trainees. They can also work for total least for a while. For them, any kind of workout is going to get some results. But again, what happens when the program ends? And if they're doing a movement incorrectly, they may eventually find out the hard way when things start to hurt. (They may also develop compensation patterns to work around the pain, but won't know it with no trainer to check their form.)

Home exercise equipment (ignoring the junk often sold in infomercials) can also result in questionable form and difficulty with effective programming (determining what exercises to do, how often, with how much weight, etc.) if it's something that allows performing a variety of exercises. (Weights, resistance bands, or suspension trainers, are good examples.) Aerobic equipment like treadmills, bikes, and ellipticals are less susceptible to these problems but are not good for strength training.

All home equipment tends to wind up going unused after awhile, or at least unused for fitness purposes. This might be due to disappointing results or boredom that often results from stale programming.

Treadmill with junk piled on it.

This is not the best use for a treadmill.

Blended Fitness provides custom programs made specifically for you with anything from walking to lifting weights to High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT). It also shows you exactly how to perform exercises with in-person sessions and teaches you how to create your own successful programs to stay fit for life.

Who Is Blended Fitness For?

StrongFast Blended Fitness is currently only available to those fortunate enough to live in the Buffalo, NY area. In-person sessions take place at 7 Tigers Martial Arts in Cheektowaga or, in some cases, at your home. Some basic internet skills are needed such as using email and Skype for video chats. Blended Fitness is for people who can exercise on their own rather than needing a trainer to guide and motivate them through each workout. (Blended Fitness provides daily checks on your progress as a form of accountability.)

You should have access to some kind of equipment, but you don't need much! Some simple equipment at home will suffice and you can get even started with nothing at all (for example, walking and doing body weight exercises).

Since Blended Fitness is so customized, it's great for men or women of any fitness level, any schedule, and any goal. 

What's included?



StrongFast Blended Fitness Personal Training is a monthly program. There are no long-term contracts and you can sample the system with a free one-week Blitz. Membership includes everything listed above for $165 per month. If you'd like to schedule any additional one-hour in-person training sessions, they're $55. (Availability is limited.)

Click here to get started!

StrongFast Blended Fitness Group (BFG)

A StrongFast Blended Fitness Group combines in-person training sessions with a complete online coaching system to give you truly personal training with tremendous flexibility and support. It also lets you collaborate with three to five other like-minded people to add a social component to the program.

group of women jogging together


About the Groups

Groups run for 12 weeks. Most of your activities are done on your own (or with another group member, if you'd like) at home, your gym, or elsewhere...your programs are set up specifically for you based on your available equipment, schedule, goals, and preferences.

You will receive any private and group training sessions at 7 Tigers Martial Arts in Cheektowaga. The rest of the program is delivered online making it ideal for your busy schedule...even if you travel!

Blended Fitness Groups are for people of any fitness level. Your programs are custom-tailored to your abilities, goals, and situation. Group members can be of different fitness levels. Group activities will be scaled to each person individually.

BFGs In One Minute

What You Get

Here is some of what you get in a BFG:

  • Blitzometer account: our proprietary online system where you get your workouts, log them, track your progress, communicate with your group and coach, and much more.
  • Screens and assessments:  learning about your current fitness level is essential to providing safe and effective training recommendations so Blended Fitness always includes comprehensive screens, assessments, and questionnaires.
  • Private sessions: optional in-person one-on-one training for you to learn new exercises, check your form and progress.
  • Group sessions: in-person training for your group where you can challenge and encourage each other in a workout with coaching to improve your form for safety and effectiveness.
  • Online group coaching calls: via online video, these are calls with the group to introduce new fitness or nutrition concepts, address any questions, and discuss what you'd all like to do going forward.
  • Private Blitzes: custom training programs made just for you with new ones provided every other week.
  • Group Blitzes: extra programs just for your group where group members can communicate and make sure everyone is participating.
  • Group  challenges: group-appropriate challenges to help you all push each other to new levels of greatness.
  • Coming soon--Access to online courses: we're starting a new online learning area and any existing or new courses will be available to StrongFast Fitness clients for free.
  • Proactive support: any data, questions, or comments you enter in Blitzometer are monitored and addressed daily by your coach...and if you're not logging your activities, you'll hear about it!
  • Nutrition support: while BFGs are primarily about getting fitter, you'll also get coaching and support on nutrition, sleep, and other components of good health.

Whew! There's more, but you get the idea. It's a lot!

While you get to do most of the BFG on your own schedule, it includes plenty of planned interaction with your coach and other group members.

Some Example Groups

Example Group: Four almost retired guys

Rob: Age 63; has had some health problems; has never worked at fitness; a big man but carrying too many extra pounds.
Ed: Age 62; has always been very active in sports and endurance activities; scaled back to mostly cycling after hip surgery; has developed a “spare tire.”
Bill: Age 62; very thin; lost more weight after a recent illness; does a variety of exercise regularly, including lifting dumbbells.
Alan: Age 52; history of shoulder problems; lightweight but has been lifting regularly for years.

Rob, Ed, and Bill went to highschool together. Alan is Bill’s younger brother. They don’t live very close to each other so getting together frequently at any fitness location would be very inconvenient, especially with their varied schedules.

Putting them all into one group class would also be very difficult since they each have very different fitness backgrounds, workout preferences, health histories, and health needs. Giving them all one generic workout program would be futile at best, and possibly dangerous.

With a BFG, they only need to get to the same location (StrongFast Fitness) every few weeks, and it’s on a day and time they preselected for their group to be most accommodating. Each member gets his own custom workouts based upon fitness screens (strength, mobility, and endurance), online questionnaires, and one-on-one video chats with their coach.

They still meet as a group every week, but most weeks it’s in an online video conference call where a new topic is presented by the coach (like supersetting or High Intensity Interval Training) and then the guys discuss how things are going.

A couple examples of their group Blitz Challenges are total time spent in aerobic activity over a three-day period, and fewest beers consumed in a week (on a sliding scale).

The BFG allows them to stay in touch more often while encouraging each other to achieve new fitness goals. Each guy has his own custom-tailored program so they all get just what they need yet can still train as a group.

Example Group: Four middle-aged women

Alice: Age 53; has been shedding unwanted pounds on a popular diet program; good strength scores; doesn’t like to lift weights.
Betty: Age 46; good strength except in squat due to excess poundage; gym membership is rarely used.
Ilsa: Age 50;  has drifted in and out of shape over the years; enthused but not sure what to do; trouble with consistency.
Vanessa: Age 51; healthy weight and gets regular low-intensity exercise; lacks upper-body strength.

The women worked together for years but Ilsa left last year due to family issues.

Putting them all into one group class would also be very difficult since they each have very different fitness backgrounds, workout preferences, health histories, and health needs. Giving them all one generic workout program would be futile at best, and possibly dangerous.

With a BFG, they only need to get to the same location (StrongFast Fitness) every few weeks, and it’s on a day and time they preselected for their group to be most accommodating. Each member gets her own custom workouts based upon fitness screens (strength, mobility, and endurance), online questionnaires, and one-on-one video chats with their coach.

They still meet as a group every week, but most weeks it’s in an online video conference call where a new topic is presented by the coach (like sleep/recovery or metabolic resistance training) and then the women discuss how things are going.

A couple examples of their group Blitz Challenges are total steps in a week, and logging all food for a five-day period.

The BFG keeps them active and supportive. Alice, Betty, and Vanessa can check on each other at work but Ilsa also is also part of the group via the group Blitzes and weekly chats or training sessions. Each woman has her own custom-tailored program so they all get just what they need yet can still train as a group.

Example Group: High school softball teammates

A group of high school girls who play competitive softball want to improve their strength and conditioning during the offseason. Each gets her own training program to use depending on her situation. (What position does she play? Does she have a gym membership? Home equipment? Will she be taking a family vacation? Is she participating in any other sports?)

They have occasional group sessions at StrongFast Fitness where they can train together and share what they’ve learned while also getting an excellent workout. On other weeks, they all get together in an online video chat to learn new concepts and share their experiences, questions, and suggestions.

Each girl also gets some private sessions to learn proper form on specific exercises, and some private online coaching to review progress and answer any questions.

They also get group Blitzes with online learning modules and group challenges. This is where they can communicate online through comments and replies.

While StrongFast Fitness is primarily for “folks over 40,” concepts of fundamental movement patterns are applicable to most humans, allowing BFGs to accommodate a wide range of people. Still, it’s not for everybody. For example, bodybuilders, powerlifters, and elite athletes would be better served by training more specific to their needs. This is why there’s an online group chat before the BFG becomes active, so everyone can be sure it’s an appropriate solution.

Getting Started

StrongFast Blended Fitness Groups offer unparalleled flexibility, personalization, and support to get you the fitness results you need.

Ready to start your own BFG? Click the button below to get the ball rolling!

Sorry ... StrongFast Fitness is not accepting new groups at this time. 

1StrongFast Blended Fitness Groups are currently only available in the Buffalo, NY area.

Online Personal Training: Caveat Emptor

online trainingI wrote a post last year about online personal training. (I even used this same image. Efficiency!) In a nutshell, I'm not convinced it can work well without at least some in-person sessions.

However, it's still a big thing on the internet, largely because it can be easy and profitable for trainers to implement. Still, I was a bit disturbed to see this article directed at personal trainers on the topic of online training. Some of it is fine, but this part in particular bugs me:

Continue reading

Online Training: Doing It Right

Not much posting going on here lately, as Blended Fitness has kicked off its inaugural run and is demanding a lot of my attention. (Don't feel bad if you missed this one: it was invitation only. The next group starts in January. Stay tuned.)

For those who don't know, our Blended Fitness programs combine in-person personal training sessions with online training programs, coaching sessions, education, and more. (The name comes from "Blended Learning" which combines e-learning and classroom learning.)

There are two things I think set Blended Fitness apart from other forms of online training or coaching. Continue reading

StrongFast Blended Fitness (Personal Training)

NOTICE: StrongFast Fitness has made some temporary changes in response to the current COVID-19 situation. Click to learn more.

Fitness isn't about living's about living better!

Life is good!

Oh sure, studies have indicated being active correlates to living longer. But being fit has many other benefits: for example, it can improve your mood, cognitive abilities, sleep, energy levels, and your ability to do things.

It's easy to get and stay fit just training at home. Are you getting the results you want from your home workouts?

If not, you’re not alone! To get real results at home, let StrongFast Blended Fitness give you:

  • The plan you need to stay healthy and reach your fitness goals.
  • The support, coaching, and education you need to keep it up.

So what's keeping you from being as fit as you'd like?

  • Are you unsure how to get started or what to do?
  • Do you have exercise equipment at home collecting dust?
  • Do you have trouble getting the fitness results you want?
  • Do you have difficulty fitting fitness into your busy life?
  • Is it hard to exercise consistently?

Blended Fitness provides a combination of live personal training and personal online training and support. And we're not talking just a forum or some email support.

Each month, StrongFast Blended Fitness Personal Training includes:

  • One video consultation (Skype)
  • (At least) two detailed online customized workout programs ("Blitzes")
  • Online progress tracking for you
  • Daily online monitoring of your progress with proactive support
  • Support through multiple private message systems
  • Access to online instructional videos
  • One hour-long in-person training session

"Proactive support" means you'll receive regular messages through the system to ask why you missed a workout, commend you for workouts well done, or make suggestions based on your entries. Or just to say "hey."

"In-person training sessions" are either at 7 Tigers Martial Arts on Genesee Street in Cheektowaga or, if appropriate, at your home*. These are primarily to ensure you are using optimal form to get the best results safely, but may also include baseline/progress measures or targeted workouts.

* In-person sessions at your home are only available if your home is within 10 miles of the Buffalo Zoo using the shortest route on google maps.

Blended Fitness is an ongoing program, not "Lose 20 pounds in 30 days!" (and gain it all back in 30 more). We'll take the time to build healthy habits and make steady progress built on a foundation of solid fitness and improved mobility. Our goal is always to enable you to continue making progress on your own...the knowledge and experience you'll gain will make that easy.

Getting older doesn't have to mean feeling older. Do something special for yourself...and your family. Get started today!

Here's what some StrongFasters have to say:

I've tried most every fad exercise program you can think of but I've come up short. Since joining StrongFast, I've learned exactly how much i was working against myself all these years. Now I'm losing weight, breaking lifetime speed and lifting records and most importantly I feel great. I sleep better, have more energy and don't spend half my work day wishing I could crawl back into bed. This program is whipping me into shape and it's going to keep me there for the long run. -Aaron E.

As a member of StrongFast, I can say nothing but good things about the workouts! I have become stronger, more toned and most importantly a healthier person. Gary is a patient trainer with excellent insight on whole body workouts. I have never been one to look forward to working out, but he makes the workouts fun and pushes you to do your best without even realizing it. I would recommend this to anyone who wants to gain that inner strength and become a more fit person. -Michelle D.

I have worked out with Gary for over a decade and have yet to meet anyone with his level of understanding when it comes to proper workout technique. His ability to break things down into their simplest form is unrivaled and his commitment unmatched. -Jim O.

"Yeah, yeah, yeah...but how much does it cost?"

Let's face it: that's the first question almost everyone asks. Fine. Here you go.

Monthly membership including everything listed above: the custom programs, online support, one video coaching session, and one in-person session is $175/month.

Any additional 1-hour in-person sessions (optional) are $50.

Membership is month-to-month: there are no long-term contracts!

Get started now for free!

Let's go!
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