Tag Archives: questions

Get to know PJ Wight

PJ is a personal trainer here at Art of Fitness, bringing with her over 25 years of experience in the fitness/coaching industry. She is certified with the Canadian Personal Trainers Network and the International Youth Conditioning Association. Her primary goal as a personal trainer and coach is to develop a goal-oriented plan and provide guidance, encouragement and creativity in assisting each of her clients to attain his/her personal fitness goals and improve their quality of life.

Prior to joining the Art of Fitness team, she was a figure skating coaching and attained a Level II coaching certification. She states that two things led her to pursue a career as a personal trainer. First, is her personal love of fitness. Second, she loved coaching and guiding both young people and the young at heart to achieve their personal fitness goals.

Below is part 1 of an interview we did to get to know PJ even better! 

PJ Wight

1. What is on your bucket list? Trip to Australia to see my cousins; travel to Scotland, Ireland, England, Italy, Alaskan cruise
2. Where did you grow up? Kitchener, Ontario
3. What food can you not live without? eggs
4. Who is the funniest person you know? Gary 
5. What is the best gift you have ever received? Finding my birth family
6. First thing you do in the morning? turn the alarm off
7. What is the one thing people would never guess about you? my age 🙂
8. What’s on your bedside table? Tiffany lamp; clock radio and decorative turtles
9. What’s the best advice you’ve ever received? follow your gut instincts
10. What’s the background on your computer? The beach and the ocean

 “If you always put limits on everything you do, physical or otherwise it will spread into your work and into your life. There are no limits. There are only plateaus, and you must not stay there, you must go beyond them”- Bruce Lee

Get to Know Erin Mahony

Welcome to our new series “Get To know Our Instructors”. We grilled Erin with 30 random questions, that we will post for you over the Spring Session! Have a question for Erin? Email us and stay tuned to see it answered! 

Lower back weakness and muscular imbalance initially brought Erin to the practice of Pilates more than 15 years ago. What initially began as a prescription for rehabilitative and strengthening exercise has since developed into a tremendous passion of hers! As an ambitious woman going after a variety of athletic pursuits, Pilates compliments her lifestyle as both student and instructor. Training clients to be conscious of posture, breathing and alignment in various exercises, offers increased core strength and greater body awareness. As a Pilates instructor, Erin looks forward to educating her clients, challenging them and having fun!

Learn more about your Tuesday evening Instructor, Erin, below: 

1. What is on your bucket list? Open a market stall at the Paris Wincey Mills, run a hobby farm with my family, rent a houseboat for a holiday, knit a sweater, travel to Australia, play a gig at a coffee house
2. Where did you grow up? I’m a home-grown honey, born and raised here in Kitchener-Waterloo
3. What food can you not live without? Grandma Elsie’s homemade perogies
4. Who is the funniest person you know? Uncle Doug
5. What is the best gift you have ever received? My husband and two step-children
6. First thing you do in the morning? Meditate
7. What is the one thing people would never guess about you? I love to crochet
8. What’s on your bedside table? A lamp, my happiness journal and a few random pieces of jewellery
9. What’s the best advice you’ve ever received? “Always remember, everyone is doing their best with what they know”
10. What’s the background on your computer? Boring old black default screen…it’s a work laptop so I haven’t personalized it

Want to take a class with Erin? Click here to register.   

Certifications Include:

  • Certified PhysicalMind Institute Vertical and Matwork Intensive
  • Body Harmonics Pilates Reformer Intensive – Apprentice
  • Half Marathon Runner, Participant in Sprint level triathlons
  • Member of ROW Masters Swim Program

When Instructors become Students

As Instructors we are always looking to keep things interesting for our clients. Taking courses and workshops to learn more about movement is key to staying up to date with current information and to keep things creative for our clients and so we don’t get bored stuck in the same movement patterns. We are constantly searching for different ways to challenge your bodies creatively so you see the benefits!

That is why in April, our favourite Studio owner, Steph, is heading to Merrickville, Ontario in the Ottawa area to explore three separate workshops, ‘Angamardhana A Classical Hatha Yoga‘, ‘Bhuta Shuddi‘ and ‘Surya Kriya‘.

See below for some information on what Steph will be bringing back to the Studio at the end of April! 


Anagamardhana means gaining complete mastery over the limbs, organs and other parts of the body. This is a physical practice that roots from the belief that being fit is not about showing off your muscles but about moving through life without having your body as an obstacle. Anagamardhana is partially an aerobic exercise but it also tones muscles without bringing any rigidity to your body. This is an ancient system, which brings stability to the mind and body. Staying true to its name, Anagamardhana revitalizes the body on all levels, muscles, circulatory system, skeletal structure, nervous system and energy system.

Benefits of Angamardana:

  • Strengthening the spine, skeletal system, and muscular system
  • Builds physical strength, fitness and tenacity
  • Takes years off the body, bringing a sense of lightness and freedom
  • Prepares the body for Hatha Yoga


Bhuta Shuddhi is the most fundamental practice in the yogic system. “Bhuta” refers to the five elements and “Shuddhi” means “to cleanse.”

The basis for all creation, including the physical body, is a group of five elements: earth, water, wind, fire, and space. The wellbeing of your mind and body can be established by purifying the five elements within the human system. This is a stepping stone towards ultimate wellbeing.

This purificatory process helps one to achieve a state of harmony and balance which prepares the body for higher levels of sadhana, or spiritual practices..

Keeps the body and mind in harmony and balance. Prepares the system to handle powerful states of energy.

Benefits of Bhuta Shuddhi:

  • Keeps the system in harmony and balance
  • Prepares the system to handle powerful states of energy
  • Enhances the capabilities of the physical body, mind and energy system
  • Creates the basis to gain complete mastery over the human system


Surya Kriya, also referred to as the forefathers of Sun Salutation, is a 21-step, potent yogic practice with tremendous antiquity. Traditionally only practiced by reserved Yogis, Surya Kriya becomes a strong foundation to explore higher dimensions of life.

Surya” means “Sun,” and “kriya” means “inner energy process.” Surya Kriya activates the solar plexus within the system and balances a person’s energies, leading to stability of the body and stillness of the mind.

Benefits of Surya Kriya:

  • Develops mental clarity and focus
  • Remedies weak constitutions
  • Boosts vigor and vitality
  • Balances hormonal levels in the body
  • Prepares one for deeper states of meditation
  • Enhances the elements and benefits of Surya Namaskar

To learn more about these courses, click here.

How to Choose a Personal Trainer

11 Important Questions to Ask

Working out with a personal trainer is a great investment in our health and fitness, but it can be tricky to know how to choose the right one. Here are the top questions to ask when deciding whom to hire.


The Benefits of a Personal Trainer

With the festivities behind us and the credit card bills paid, there are no more reminders of the holidays—except maybe the few extra pounds around our midsections.

Choosing a Trainer

When this is the case, many of us consider hitting the gym to burn off those extra calories. But when we’re unsure about what to do once we arrive at said gym, it’s a great idea to hire a personal trainer.

A trainer understands the way the human body moves and which exercises are best for each specific body part. With their knowledge and experience, we’re in good hands on our fitness journeys.

However, a laundry list of questions to ask a prospective trainer regarding background, education, and experience is necessary; we would be doing ourselves a disservice if we neglected to interview our trainers before putting them to work.

These are the most important questions to ask when looking for someone to hire.

1. Are you certified?

This seems like a pretty obvious question, but unfortunately, there are trainers out there who are not qualified through a certifying body such as the British Columbia Recreation and Parks Association (BCRPA) or the American Council on Exercise (ACE) (see the sidebar “Reputable certifying agencies” for more certifying bodies).

To become certified, a personal trainer has to go through coursework and standardized testing, as well as CPR and first aid training.

2. Are you specialized?

A 20-year-old healthy woman has different needs than a 75-year-old osteoporotic woman. Trainers need to understand these differences, and if they specialize, they can cater to those specific needs.

“Specializations give me the knowledge to help people with various physical conditions, improving their quality of life,” says personal trainer Lucy Anderson, who is a joint replacement specialist and cardiac rehabilitation instructor, among other things.

3. How long have you been in the industry?

Experience is important! Every year, we all learn more about the field we’re in, and fitness is no different. The more workshops, networking, and courses trainers take part in, the more knowledge they have.

Take into account your needs and goals, and consider looking for someone who has put in at least two years in the field.

4. Can I call your past clients for a reference?

Any time we hire someone, we usually receive references, so why not with a personal trainer? If a trainer is happy to share his references, this means his clients back him up and enjoyed his services.

5. Do you have a blog/website I can check out?

These days, most businesses and professionals have an online presence with a blog or website. If a personal trainer updates her blog with current events she’s hosting or sends out monthly newsletters, it shows that she is the type of person to go that extra mile to keep clients informed.

6. Can I try before I buy?

Many trainers are happy to give a session gratis before clients decide to hire them. This is a way to try out their services before committing to a package that can run into the hundreds of dollars. This is not a new concept for trainers, so they should not be surprised if asked.

7. Do you keep up your continuing education?

Did the prospective trainer get certified 20 years ago—or more? If so, he needs to be current on today’s fitness trends and not the trends of the past generation. Continuing education is an essential part of being a professional personal trainer. Not only that, but CPR and first aid training also need to be updated at regular intervals.

8. How long will it take for me to reach my goals?

A trainer should give a realistic time frame with no quick fixes guaranteed. Going in with a little knowledge can ensure that our expectations are realistic, and the trainer’s theories on when we’ll get there match our expectations.

If a trainer guarantees we’ll be down two sizes in a week, his methods may be unreliable or unsafe. It takes time to get fit!

9. Are you insured?

This keeps everyone safe, and it’s mandatory for trainers to have insurance if they are independent. Some gyms will cover their full-time trainers. If we were ever to get injured, we know that we will be covered.

10. Do you have any success stories?

If a trainer is seasoned and has satisfied clients in her past, she should have at least one great success story to share. She should be excited to tell about her past clients’ successes and hope that she can add more clients to her roster of successes.

11. Why you?

With all the personal trainers out there nowadays, what makes one individual trainer stand out from other personal trainers with the same qualifications?

It’s so important to find a certain “wow” factor with a trainer for it to work out. Trainers and clients need to be compatible on many levels, whether it be that the trainer specializes in a specific need, is relatable, or just has a similar moral code. These things do matter!

Don’t be afraid to ask a prospective personal trainer as many questions as possible; trainers and clients spend a lot of up-close-and-personal time together, and when your trainer is in your face telling you, “Do 10 more!”, you won’t mind quite as much if you like him.

Reputable certifying agencies


  • British Columbia Recreation and Parks Association (BCRPA) bcrpa.bc.ca
  • Canadian Fitness Professionals (CanFitPro) canfitpro.ca
  • Canadian Society for Exercise Physiology (CSEP) csep.ca

International (recognized worldwide)

About the Author

Nicole Palacios, BSc, ACE, has been part of the fitness industry for 17 years. Her passions include her family, fitness writing, and weight training. perfectfit.ws

Article Credit February 2013 Alive Magazine

David Higgins’ Top 5 Fitness Questions


Master Trainer and Co-Founder of TenPilates, David Higgins gets asked all kinds of fitness-related questions. Some are bizarre and some are clever. Check out his “Top 5 not-quite-as-daft-as-they-sound Fitness Questions.”

What are some fitness questions you have that you’ve always wanted to ask a fitness expert? Be sure to ask us next time you’re in the studio. We’d love to help you, or direct you to someone who can.