Congratulations Joanne Lee on being our Personal Trainer Of The Month! Joanne was awarded the Bodybuilding.com Personal Trainer of the Month for her dedication, experience, helping clients reach long-term fitness goals and more!
- BA (Hons)
- Business & Finance
- Certified Personal Trainer
- Post Rehab
- Certified Nutritionist
Location: Los Angeles CA, Online Nutrition & Training, Coach Programs
Contact Info: www.joannelee.com, email@example.com
Number Of Clients: 20+
Rates: Varies, depends on whether they are an Online client, Gym Client, In-home Client, etc.
Video Interview With Joanne Lee
Check out this interview that Kris Gethin did with Joanne Lee and Shawn Wayans. Learn more about her training techniques and what it's like to train Shawn.
[ Q ] Could you tell us a little about your background, personally and professionally?
People think I look "oh so" Californian, I am in fact from the North East of England, born in the very exotic Billingham. I first started competing in bodybuilding as a teenager and pretty much competed every year after that until I turned 30.
I spent 6 years at the college and University level and have an Hons Degree in Business which got me a very nice job with British Steel. I was the only female steel inspector and had a pretty cushy job, company car, house, expense account etc.
At this time I had won the European championships (Sandow) and the World Grand Prix. In 1991 I won the Overall British Championships and got my IFBB Pro Card. It was at this point that I had a, "Is this it?" moment.
Life was great, but, "Is this it?", kept resounding in my head. So I gave it all up and moved to Australia.
When my work visa expired in Australia I was traveling back to England with every intention of getting my papers and heading back to Oz. It was November 1993, I was leaving summer in Australia and going back to the North East of England in winter. I couldn't stand it, so when the plane landed in Los Angeles, I didn't get back on.
That's how I ended up in America. People think I came here for the bodybuilding, but in all honesty, I just got off the plane where it landed. Let's call it fate.
My pro card enabled me to apply for my Green Card here in the states. While the paperwork was going through I started to work as a personal trainer. My passion turned into my job and I enjoy it as much now as I did back then in 1993.
I competed professionally for a few years, doing the Ms. Olympia twice. My best placing was 7th in 1995 and although I competed the following year, it was that first Olympia in 1995 which was really the pinnacle of my bodybuilding career.
Since being a teenager I had dreamed of gracing the Olympia stage. In truth I didn't ever want to win it (I know how that must sound, but in truth the goal was the experience, not the title). My bodybuilding years taught me so much, it brought me so many lifelong friends, it was a very fun time.
I started competing in the 80's so I have done every diet you can imagine. I think the first advice I ever got was, "try to eat as little as possible". I did the 800 calorie a day diet, I did the zero fat diet, I did the egg white and vinegar diet.
Back then (which makes me sound sooooo old) we didn't have Splenda or protein bars, no "diet" food, no Crystal Light and no microwave for many years. Dieting was hard core and there weren't the supplements that are now available. I remember drinking liquid liver before a show. Jeez!
My years of competing and experimenting with the diet and training was not easy but it has given me an invaluable tool in that I've tried everything and I know what works. I know the stumbling blocks, I know the obstacles and I know how to overcome them.
Training, nutrition and performance has always fascinated me and it still does. You'll never see me with a novel, but you'll see me reading some new research, some nutrition or supplement review.
My mission is to reach as many people as possible and have them learn from my experiences. The first weight I lifted was at the age of 14 when I got into sprinting, I have almost 25 years of experience; I have trained for performance, for size, to reduce size and for performance again. I have so much information that is often hard to shut me up.
[ Q ] What is your training style? What methods do you use?
My training style will depend on the clients
goals. I would say that what I am known for is conditioning. I live in Los Angeles, so many of my clients have to be camera ready. Some quick fix is just not going to cut it, they have to be in shape year round.
The way I train myself probably reflects how I train 70% of my clients. It comes partly from my bodybuilding background and partly from my love of performance training.
I am a strong believer in HIIT training for conditioning and in any-one workout I might include weights, plyometrics, body-weight movements and HIIT. Failure is the key to moving forward, but it doesn't have to come with increased poundage's.
Related HIIT Articles:
If you sequence a workout correctly you can make 20 lb feel like 200 lb; failure will force the body to adapt and change; it is how you take the body or muscle to failure that dictates the nature of the results.
Obviously I have my favorite exercises or sequences, but no workout is ever the same. I will put maybe 2-3 body parts together and rarely do 'full body' workouts as I still believe in really fatiguing a muscle rather than 'tickling' all of them.
[ Q ] Do you have examples of success stories from clients using your methods?
In the fitness field my biggest 'Claim to fame' would be that I trained
Monica Brant for her
1998 Olympia win. Mo is a very dear friend of mine - we met back in 1995 on a plane coming back from the Olympia in Atlanta.
We were seated next to each other and ended up sharing white chocolate covered almonds... it sealed the deal and Mo remains one of my dearest friends. When she won the Olympia I could not have been happier if I had won it myself.
Click Image To Enlarge.
Monica Brant At The 2008 Olympia.
View More Pics Of Monica Brant At The 2008 Olympia.
I have trained many competitors but my favorite success stories are not always the obvious 'title winners'. I am very proud to have changed so many lives.
One of my greatest clients was a girl, overweight in her 20's, dangerously high blood pressure, sleep apnea, medicated to the hilt with no menstrual cycle.
Her dream was to be a mother but her self-esteem and health issues where never going to allow her to reach her goals. Within a month, her blood pressure was normal, she was sleeping through the night, her depression had lifted, and she had her 'cycle' back.
She maybe lost 5 lb, which didn't make much of a dent visually but she listened to all I said about nutrition, she learned how to make the right choices, maybe not always perfect, but I was able to give her the tools to do battle. She's now married with a beautiful son... it's all about changing lives, not just getting trophies!
[ Q ] Who are some of your present/past celebrity clients?
Shawn Wayans is my claim to fame here. I have trained Shawn for about 12 years and he is an absolute joy. I swear he knows me better than I know myself. One day he comes in and says he has to be naked for his next movie (
Scary Movie), then he comes in and says he needs to look like a girl (
White Chicks), then he needs to look as slim as possible (
Shawn is the perfect example of how you can train someone to be smaller. What is so great about Shawn is that he always gives me 110% of what he has. I always know that I have done my very best job, because he gave me the very best in terms of discipline and work ethic. He is also a very funny guy, so there are a lot of laughs (often at my expense) along the way.
[ Q ] Can you provide a sample nutrition/supplement/training program you have Shawn Wayans following for our visitors to follow?
Shawn (like his brother
Keenan) is very knowledgeable on supplements and
herbs. Shawn is all about health and will do a lot of his own research before he puts anything in his mouth.
The approach we take is to treat the body as a whole rather than focusing on one issue. So rather than taking major fat burners to get through cardio, we would consider supplements to help Shawn sleep better (HTP, etc.), Dandelion to detox him from "long" nights out, Borage oil and Glucosamine to keep him stay well oiled and running well, as well as Glutamine for recovery.
We look at the whole picture. With Shawn's diet as well, he always eats well, avoiding the processed foods. Eating balanced meals every 3 hours and varying his food sources keeps Shawn in condition all year round and when he has to be camera ready there's no panic, it's just a matter of fine tuning what we are doing.
Drastic measures lead to drastic rebounds and when someone is in front of the camera on a regular basis it is just not good business to have their body, mood or energy fluctuate.
Photo Shoots Articles:
As for an example workout; here's one of them:
Shawn Wayans Sample Workout Program
A. All You Need Is A Flat Bench & 15 Lb Dumbbells
- Bench step-ups: 40 Steps/Reps
- Seated Dumbbell Shoulder Press (15 Lb Dumbbells) X 20 Reps
- 'Bench' Squats With The 15 Lb Dumbbells (Touch bench with butt/hamstrings - holding D'bells slightly in front of you) X 20 Reps
- Lying Tricep Dumbbell Extensions 15 Lb Dumbbells (Just lie back down on the bench)
- Stay On Bench Lying Down: Leg Raises (15) then Running Abs (50 Reps)
- Obliques On Side Of Bench: 15 Each Side
- Repeat 3 Times
B. All You Need Is 12 Lb Or 15 Lb Dumbbells & A Ball
- Standing Shoulder Lateral Raises (10-12 Lb D'bells X 20 Reps)
- Push Ups Between Dumbbells: Use same D'bells; 1/2 Rep & Full Rep for 10 Reps
- Standing Bicep Curls: Dumbbells 10 Reps Wide Grip, 10 Reps with hands turned in
- Hamstring Deadlifts: Use same weights X 15 Reps
- Lunges: 30 Reps
- Plank (Abs) On Floor Or On A Ball: Hold for 30 count; do this twice
- Repeat 3 Times
C. Smith Machine & 12 Lb Dumbbells
- Lying Hamstring Curls
- Smith Machine Chest Press (Have The Bench On A Pretty High Incline): 15-20 Reps
- Incline Bicep Curls (Stay On Bench Use 12-15 Lb Dumbbells)
- Alternate Standing Front Raises; or do together with a lighter weight: 20 reps each side
- Squat Jumps: 1/2 rep to full rep holding dumbbells if you can; 10 holding dumbbells and 10 without
- Repeat 3 times
- Run 5 minutes maybe a little faster than normal
- Jump Rope for 1 minute
- Push ups x 20
- Jump Rope for 1 minute
- Back on treadmill and run for 5 mins. Repeat for 1 hour.
[ Q ] Can you please you give me an example diet and training program you put together for your clients.
I work with clients both face-to-face and online and I have an amazing nutrition program that I use for all of them. From my
you can find out more about my Nutrition & Training software.
The client will fill out a questionnaire and from the answers they give they will receive their meal program, there will be 30 or so meals to choose from initially.
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The beauty of the software is that it is totally interactive. Say there is a meal but you want to exchange one of the ingredients - say chicken to something else. Simply edit the meal and it will give you every possible choice you can use to substitute the chicken. Once you pick the substitution the program will recalculate that meal making adjustments to keep the meal within the ratios that I can set.
If you have a food that is not in the database, then you can add it and it will be incorporated into your meal plan. There are
recipes added all the time, it will tell you how much
cardio to do, how much
water to drink. It is a complete training and nutrition plan.
The software itself is totally amazing and gives the client the flexibility to use different meals and customize their own meals. There is also a journal and when a client saves their meals and training into the journal then I can see it on my end. This is incredibly useful as I can see exactly what people are doing. I can add notes and make changes as I see fit.
If someone is competing I can go into their program and make the appropriate changes as they get closer to their show which will show up real time on the clients computer screen. The program is completely interactive!
As I mentioned earlier I have done every crazy diet out there but this program is based on the system I used when I was competing professionally and it is the system I have used for the last 14 years.
Those who know me will probably back me up here when I say I am consistently in shape, I don't yo-yo up and down like some people and it is this program that enabled me to get in shape and STAY in shape. Obviously I train hard and do the cardio on a regular basis but the nutrition is so important. If asked, I wouldn't say that I'm on a 'diet', I just eat a certain way and have done so for a very long time.
Until this last year I could only share this program with my clients in Los Angeles but now I have this great program on my website so it is available to all.
Best of all there are a numbers of ways to have access:
- Independently - you can simply purchase a monthly or annual membership and you have instant access to the program.
- Consultation Packages - if you want to work with me one-on-one (wherever you are) then there are consultation packages. This is where I am very hands on with your training and customizing your meals and food ratios.
[ Q ] What are the most common mistakes a client makes?
mistake is not being consistent with training and/or diet. Another big mistake is not implementing the nutrition. Nutrition is key. Another mistake is being too drastic and then burning out.
Disrespecting the trainer. If you are always late or turn the session into a therapy session, eventually the trainer will be less enthusiastic, you will become an energy drain and you will waste your money.
Even the best trainer can only be committed to your goals if you are also committed to them. We all have bad days and as with any relationship, we roll with them, but if it becomes continual then your trainers energy will mirror your own.
I see it every day and I am forever thankful that I just don't seem to ever get those clients (maybe I frighten them off).
[ Q ] What are the most common mistakes you believe a trainer makes?
Not being an inspiration. If you are asking a client to do things that you have never done, then how much value will they put in your words.
[ Q ] Do you set your clients up with a full diet and training plan for them to follow by themselves?
I can set all my clients up with the nutrition software from my website so that even if they are traveling or working out of town I can see what they are doing.
Some people train with me all the time, others come to me for some of their workouts and others come to me so that I can design a workout for them. We then go through it for two or three cycles and then they go off and do it by themselves for maybe 6 weeks, then they come back and I change the whole routine.
The clients that travel (like Shawn) are sent with training routines to follow.
Again, the goal is always to be consistent, with structure and a plan to follow. Obviously things don't always go according to plan and life might throw a curve ball at you, but there is always the structure to get right back into the game.
Again the program I have is very useful as all the client needs is an internet connection and they have access to their program. They can add notes and ask questions wherever they are in the world and I can respond and make changes that they are able to see straight away.
It saves playing phone tag or sending numerous emails for every change. Everything is in one place and is calculated for you. It also keeps a person accountable which in turn keeps them consistent.
[ Q ] How do you keep your clients motivated?
That's easy. Results! When people change they are highly
motivated. I try not to just lead a client by the nose, I try to explain the process as when they understand what they are doing and see the results their motivation goes through the roof.
Any client can start motivated but unless there is a foundation for their expectations then their enthusiasm will deflate as quickly as it soared.
Educating a client on their training and diet and then getting them results - that is how you motivate. My clients change and they learn lessons that they can use with or without me. A personal trainer is a huge bonus but they shouldn't be your crutch.
[ Q ] Do you train a male client differently to a female?
It all depends on what they are wanting to achieve. It usually takes me a couple of sessions to figure someone out, there is no set way to train a person, I myself have trained to build size, then to lose size. I have also trained for conditioning.
The more I work with someone, the more in tune I become to what works best for them... you see how their body moves and how it responds. There is no cookie cutter approach.
[ Q ] How do you start a client on a new program? Do you do some kind of assessment?
A new client will complete a health questionnaire. I'll find out their background with regard to exercise and nutrition. I get an idea of their life situation, where their
You can do a lot in a training session but if you can get an overview of the whole picture then you can pinpoint problem areas. For example, I had a new client - his father had just had a serious stroke and he was now the care giver. I wouldn't put him through some intense circuit that would stress his nervous system even more.
I do like to check body fat, take their weight and have them take a photograph. Often they don't want to do this so I don't push it, and sometimes they will do it, but don't want to know the numbers or see the photograph. I just save it to file. I get a real kick when we look back on that file and see all the progress that we have made.
If I have a major concern I will ask for their doctors clearance or I will refer them to someone I know.
[ Q ] Do you prefer to train male or female clients and why?
I really don't have a preference. It is all about attitude.
[ Q ] Do you feel just as much like a psychologist as you do a personal trainer?
Trainer/Client - it is a relationship and I definitely get very involved with my clients. However, there has to be a definite line. When a person engages in physical exercise it can bring out a whole host of emotions (and I've seen them all).
It doesn't help the client if you indulge them when they are having a particularly bad day, they leave feeling just as down and having had a not so great workout. If you can refocus them on the job, you will actually be doing them a favor as their endorphins will kick in and they'll leave feeling a lot better than when they came in.
There are certain tactics that you can use to diffuse a situation. My English sarcastic sense of humor can come in useful and I have been known to make a person jump rope or lunge for an extended period just to shut them up! They always thank me later.
Do You Know Another Great Trainer?
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If you know of another trainer who stands out - someone who puts their clients on a fast track to success - please send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org so that we can showcase trainers who are worthy of such a distinction.