Adjusting Workouts Makes Them Personal — and Better

​Tony, a lifelong tennis player, is in his mid-50s now. When he started noticing his game wasn’t as sharp as it used to be, he thought gym workouts might help restore his power and relieve some pain. 

But the trainer he used ignored Tony’s personal needs and past injuries, even when Tony said he didn’t like certain exercises.

“He just kept saying ‘Do it more’ and ‘Try harder,’” Tony says. “I quit going. I just didn’t see the point.”

Too bad Tony lives far away. If he worked out with us, we would help him modify workouts to fit his specific requirements and limitations. 

We’re able to do that because we know that everyone is different. Particularly later in life, we’re more likely to have experienced injuries, surgeries or some other event that can limit our ability. 

There’s nothing wrong with that. And it’s definitely not an excuse to stop working out. 

It simply means you have to be more mindful of what you’re doing – and, if you use a trainer, be sure that person has the ability to suggest modifications that will keep you safe and still give you a good workout.

What’s A Modification? 

A modification is just a simple change to an exercise or a substitute to accommodate an injury, inability or weakness. 

There is nothing wrong with needing a modification. Everyone does at some point, even top athletes who have been injured. They don’t stop exercising. They just do some things differently. 

“I work out. I lift heavy. I play hockey,” says trainer Jim Adams, host of the Masters in Fitness Business podcast. “I’m 51. I can still train hard, but you can’t train like you’re 25. You can’t get in with some 25-year-old trainer who says, ‘Hey I squat, it’s good for me – let’s get you on the squat machine!’” 

A basic example of a modification is the push-up. For a full-body pushup, you’re on your toes and hands for the full range of motion. But some people need to drop to their knees. Others might start out doing push-ups on a wall and work their way up. 

This could be caused by a lack of upper-body strength or confidence. But it could also be because of injury. For instance, if you’ve had surgery to remove a bone spur on your toe, you’re not going to want to put pressure directly on it. 

Now, as another example, extend that idea to someone who has had knee or hip replacement. It might not be time yet for full-on squats. 

Or someone like Tony, who has lower-back pain and tight hips. 

Make the Workout Fit You, Not the Other Way Around 

We’re here to assess your condition and individual needs – and to get you going on the workout that’s best for you. 

If someone tries to push you into a cookie-cutter routine – especially if it’s uncomfortable or painful – stop immediately and look for someone else. 

Tony did, and he found a trainer who helped him hit the tennis ball harder – and a Pilates class to strengthen his core. 

“You know, it’s OK to get older. I know I can’t do everything I used to be able to do,” he says. “I want to work out with a trainer who understands that at least as well as I do.”

At ProActive Fitness, we personalize all of our workouts by utilizing the Smart Group Training System. Clients undergo a movement screen and we use wristbands to communicate to the trainer which clients need modifications for particular movements. 

Healthy Recipe, Lemon-Garlic Shrimp and Vegetables

Shrimp scampi lovers will enjoy this healthy twist. Nix the butter and add flavor with red peppers and asparagus for a refreshing meal. Serve with whole grains like quinoa, couscous, or pasta. 


  • 4 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • 2 large red bell peppers, diced
  • 2 pounds asparagus, trimmed and cut into 1-inch lengths
  • 2 teaspoons freshly grated lemon zest
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt, divided
  • 5 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 pound raw shrimp, (26-30 per pound), peeled and deveined
  • 1 cup reduced-sodium chicken broth
  • 1 teaspoon cornstarch
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley


  1. Heat 2 teaspoons oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add bell peppers, asparagus, lemon zest and1/4 teaspoon salt and cook, stirring occasionally, until just beginning to soften, about 6 minutes. Transfer the vegetables to a bowl; cover to keep warm.
  2. Add the remaining 2 teaspoons oil and garlic to the pan and cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add shrimp and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Whisk broth and cornstarch in a small bowl until smooth and add to the pan along with the remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt. Cook, stirring until the sauce has thickened slightly and the shrimp are pink and just cooked through, about 2 minutes more. Remove from the heat. Stir in lemon juice and parsley. Serve the shrimp and sauce over the vegetables.

Nutrition Information

Servings Per Recipe: 4 PER SERVING: 226 cal., 7 g total fat (1 g sat. fat), 174 mg chol., 514 mg sodium, 14 g carb. (4 g fiber), 28 g protein   From Fitness Magazine 

Whenever you’re ready, here are 3 ways I can help you get healthier and happier:

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If you’d like to discuss meeting for a Consultation, just reply and put ‘Consult’ in the subject line and I’ll follow up with you.

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Shelley Turk