Personal Trainer Of The Month: Jake Holmberg!

By 19, Jake Holmberg knew he wanted to spend his life spreading fitness and helping others transform. Fast forward 4 years, and he's running a successful CrossFit business!

Could you tell us a little about your background - personally and professionally?

My bio is on our website for you to view. Please check out the site and our videos too!

When and why did you become a trainer?

I started training when I was 19. At that point in my life, I realized my obsession with fitness had grown to the point where I knew I wanted to pursue it as my professional career.

I wanted to change people's lives by helping them become physically fit. I absolutely loved fitness and wanted that to be my avenue.

I applied at Highland Fitness and was hired on as an intern. After 6 months of shadowing and unpaid work, I was offered a job as a trainer. Every day I would actually wake up looking forward to work. After watching bodies transform and knowing I was actually making a difference in people's lives, I could never do anything different.

Now, entering my fourth year of training, I am so grateful that I found what I was meant to do at such a young age.

What is your training style? What methods do you use?

It all varies on the client with everything. My base is CrossFit and I tailor their program according to my client's goals.

First, I feel out how easily they can work outside of their comfort zones and then decide the degree of difficulty based off from that.

There are always measurable steps of progression and improvement with everything we do. We never repeat workouts unless they are baselines (workouts we go back to look for improvement in time, reps or however the workout is measured).

As far as motivating, I really try to feel out what motivates and what discourages each client during a workout and do my best to mold to their personality. If they need someone yelling in their face I'll be that person and if they need encouragement and patience I will be also be that person.

Do you have examples of success stories from clients using your methods?

A great example would be Anna Joyce who started with me in January and is now down 75 pounds. Anna soon discovered it works as long as you show up for training and never give up.

She's one who never cancels! I know life happens and I don't know anybody busier than her but she makes this a priority in her life. She's always mentally prepared and she always makes sure she gets her meals in.

When you don't take shortcuts and you bust tail like she has, success happens. I couldn't ask for a better client. She'll do new movements until she's blue in the face and doesn't stop until she masters them. Along with that, she crossfits until the last second of the workout every time!

Who are some of your most notable clients?

I train a football player at ASU and our gym has a couple of the cheerleaders and volleyball players who also attend our classes.

CrossFit Blur Dress Code: Short shorts encouraged.
CrossFit Blur Dress Code: Short shorts encouraged.

Can you please you give me an example diet and training program you put together for your clients?

All of my clients, with the exception of the guys trying to put on weight, are on the Paleo diet. However, even those who are gaining weight are following the Paleo diet but are adding in oatmeal and brown rice.

See and view our daily WODs (workout of the day). Justin (my business partner) and I program them ourselves. Also be sure to check out CrossFit Blur on facebook for daily updates on the WODs.

What are the most common mistakes a client makes?

They lose focus which loses consistency. Getting sidetracked with life happens but losing your vision and goals for your health and wellness kills you.

So many things in your life are capable of throwing off your health and wellness if you let them. The key to being successful is to make fitness a priority and no matter what life throws at you need to devote and commit to X amount of hours to the gym weekly.

What are the most common mistakes you believe a trainer makes?

I feel that a lot of trainers get stuck in a monotonous routine or give up on their own training. To be a good trainer, you have to put yourself through all the hell you put your clients through so you know what everything does.

Without giving your own regimen constant variance, how will you know how to give your clients that constant variance in their programming?

As a trainer, you have to make yourself a continuous test dummy to new movements and new routines not only for your own benefit but, also for the benefit of the people paying you to take care of their fitness.

Do you set your clients up with a full diet and training plan for them to follow by themselves?

Yes, they know what to do on their off days and they have a guideline to follow for their diet. So instead of saying 8 ounce chicken breast for a meal it will have different options for that meal or a guideline of calories and protein. (All on nutrition page at

How do you keep your clients motivated?

By having fun!!! The energy and intensity in the gym from when the clock starts and stops is so high! Before and after the workout we are nothing but laughs though at CrossFit BLUR. People look forward to come to the gym where you can have fun and still get a top-notch workout.

In another direction, I feel that tracking their progress is crucial. Everything we do at CrossFit BLUR is measurable. You have a score, time, and/or amount of reps or amount of rounds completed after every workout. It adds an element of competition, which always boosts motivation.

At the end of the day we post a picture of the day's results on facebook.

Do you train a male client differently to a female?

The way I train a person varies by their goals not by their gender.

How have your changed your approach to clients over the years of experience?

Absolutely! I have gained a lot of knowledge of knowing when to push and when to pull the brakes on pushing their comfort zones. I especially focus on that in the beginning when crossfit is new to them because the workouts are so demanding that it can be discouraging from time to time.

I also have learned more about patience in programming and taking the proper steps before elevating my clients to the next level.

For example, I used to throw the whole kitchen sink at my clients to try to prove my fitness knowledge and to prove to them I could break them down. I now know to ease into everything and have realized that the way I train myself and my own tolerance is completely different than people just starting a training program.

How do you start a client on a new program? Do you do some kind of assessment?

I like to start my clients with several baseline workouts that I have for each program. It is a basic workout of the program that we can come to and see the level of improvement.

For example, for the average middle-aged woman coming in, our baseline workout is:

They will complete that workout as fast as possible, train their caboose off for a month and then come back to the workout to see how much faster their time is.

Do you prefer to train male or female clients and why?

Chicks bro! Just kidding, I have no preference.

Do you feel just as much like a psychologist as you do a personal trainer?

A lot of times emotions can run just as high. I consider all of my clients close friends so I am more then open to helping them with any problem or just having open ears.

That trust and rapport that you build with a client is huge! When someone puts you in charge of changing their life for the better there are a lot of duties that come with it. A client who is comfortable enough to share their insecurities or just to vent about their boss trusts you and will listen to what you have set for their workouts and diet.

Once that bond is created there is no stopping them from reaching their goals whether it's 10 pounds or 100 pounds.