Frequently Asked Questions


+ Is weight lifting safe? Is this really going to build me up instead of breaking me down?

Weight lifting has a reputation because of splashy stories about what happens to people who train unsupervised and lift too much too soon.

This cannot be over-emphasized. We lift weights for one reason: to get stronger -- and this happens GRADUALLY, at your body's own rate. That is the ONLY way -- not because I say so, but because this is how the body works. (Younger people get stronger faster than we do, but it’s still gradual.) This is part of the reason you are committing to being patient. The weight you can lift and/or are expected to lift increases very slowly as you build physical muscle and nervous-system skill. You’re with an experienced teacher, your two feet are on the ground, you are using both hands, and you’re starting light. This is safer than most forms of exercise, especially for beginners, and especially when supervised.

I describe weight lifting with gradually increasing weight as "building you up rather than breaking you down" as a plain-English expression for "anabolic" (muscle-building) exercise versus "catabolic" exercise, which can lead your metabolism to break down muscle into required protein or glucose. Our goal is to build muscle in order to be healthier and improve the metabolism -- not to engage in high-stress, prolonged, high-intensity "cardio" that often burns more protein (muscle) than fat. The metabolic processes are a lot more complex than that, but our goal of building muscle to improve wellbeing is a realistic and user-friendly one.

+ Will I really get measurable results? How will I measure my results?

You will feel your results. We will track everything you do, using low-tech tools, and you’ll see your abilities increasing from week to week or month to month. Our go-to metrics will be strength and range of motion. Other results are very real but are harder to measure, such as: greater comfort and less huffing and puffing during daily life; a feeling of one's waistline tightening up; better ability to retrieve something from the floor or pick up a child; a feeling of groundedness. These are all results that my trainees have described with great enthusiasm. I want to share them with you, too.

+ What is personal coaching? How do strength training and personal coaching work together?

Personal coaching is not physical. It provides friendly support for your lifestyle changes and good habits. Coaching is when we get to really talk, and you use your creativity and resourcefulness to clear obstacles out of the way of your improving health.

My role as a coach (among other things) is to ask optimistic, open-ended questions to help you expand your thinking and your sense of possibility, and to highlight your successes.

Obstacles we work on, that are directly related to physical training/exercise, might be (just a few examples):

How to change habits that are in the way Getting the rest and sleep you need Cultivating patience Too much sitting Seeing your way out of “too many demands and too much to do” Getting the help you need with life’s logistics Gradually adjusting your diet and eating enough Difficulty in setting boundaries at work

+ Do I really need personal coaching along with strength training? Can't I just come and learn to lift?

Yes, when exercise and lifting have become a regular and confident habit. Most people who start personal training as novices over age 50 find it very hard to maintain their commitment, for a wide variety of reasons. In coaching, I’ll help you manage your expectations and cultivate the patience that is needed to turn on good habits and see their effects on your health.

Better yet, coaching and fitness work together to affect areas of your life other than just fitness. People who start training find that they’re more conscious of incremental, but real, improvements in other parts of their lives. Coaching helps you make the most of the new type of discipline you get from fitness, and it helps you make the most of the all-around good energy you start to notice.

We’ll meet for coaching six times in your first 12 weeks (or 4 times in your first 8 weeks). In your subsequent packages, if coaching is not needed as often, we’ll just check in twice.

+ Can I come in and see you and then decide?

Yes, let’s schedule an informational interview. The form on the next page will ask for your contact information and some of your interests.

+ What's Fran's story? Why is a 50+ woman teaching weight lifting?

As a kid I instinctively wanted to be strong. When I saw the boys getting muscles, I envied them, and tried to do push-ups at home. As an adult with an office job, I gradually became unfit, without realizing it, like most people. I was grateful to discover hard but fun workouts with weight training via CrossFit in 2004. I couldn’t help but immerse myself in it. Pretty soon I was earning training credentials and starting to train clients. I opened my own gym, CrossFit 206, in 2009. I closed it in 2017 to focus on the training and coaching described here.

I believe the most valuable single kind of exercise we can do is lifting weights for strength. I can explain why, if you come and see me.

+ How much does this cost? What's the plan?

Personal training and personal coaching, booked individually, are $75 per session. Because you will be committing to an 8- or 12-week package, the price per session is significantly lower.

The 12-week package includes 24 physical training sessions plus 6 personal coaching sessions. The 8-week package includes 16 physical training sessions plus 4 personal coaching sessions.