Interview with a Personal Trainer

I’ve been training with Pat for over a year and during that time I have picked his brain on many topics on the training and fitness spectrum.  With his years of experience working with all levels of athletes, I thought his knowledge and insight could be beneficial to others. Short bio and fitness background.

photo 1Patrick Henigan is a nationally accredited Personal Trainer recognized by the American Council on Exercise.  He is also a nationally accredited soccer coach and Level 1 expert recognized by the Functional Movement Screen.  In addition to training many people throughout Philadelphia for the past 6 years, he plays soccer, weight trains and practices yoga.


What got you involved in fitness?

I played and coached soccer in a highly competitive program and noticed that fitness was restricted to cardiovascular workouts.  I wanted to explore the weight training aspect and see how it could improve gameplay.

Health and fitness philosophy?

My philosophy varies with each client.  I find it detrimental to have an overarching philosophy that you have to shoehorn each client to fit.  I encourage clients to work hard, and find a program that pushes them no matter their restrictions or preferences.  My philosophy is to basically get people off their butts.

Why do you feel it's important to cross train?

It's important to tick every box when it comes to training.  It's important to be strong, fast, agile and to have endurance.  Not only do you fight training boredom, you eliminate whatever weaknesses you may have.

You started adding regular massage to your fitness routine, have you noticed any differences or changes?

I have very narrow clavicles so my shoulders tend to roll forward and tighten up.  Getting a weekly massage has greatly alleviated my tight pec minors, opened up my shoulders and allowed me to stand at proper posture.

What's the importance of stretching and foam rolling?

photo 2I think of these things like maintenance.   You can't drive a car with a popped tired, and you won't know if your tire is popped unless you check.  Foam rolling and stretching both help your muscles recover and allow you to discover any knots or kinks you may have.  Both active and passive forms of recovery are important for athletes and active individuals.  Active recovery is both static and dynamic stretching, Passive is foam rolling and exploring with a lacrosse ball.  It allows your muscles to relax to avoid any knots or kinks that might occur in training.

Muscles only grow in size and strength with proper rest, nutrition and recovery.  Massage, stretching and foam rolling are integral parts of optimum recovery.

What do you do when aches, pains or injuries arise?

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Call you lol.  Use a lacrosse ball and stretch those areas.  For my shoulders, mostly hang from a bar in 90-second increments with both active and passive resistance.  Also periods of rest when necessary and massage definitely helps when I can’t get those persistent areas to calm down and ease up.

Fueling your body: typical day of meals like? I practice intermittent fasting.  Without going too far down the rabbit hole it helps minimizes insulin spikes, it doesn't work for everyone but it works for me.  I typically eat chicken, steak, rice, veggies, potatoes and guacamole.  I also allow myself a bowl of natural ice cream or a protein cookie for desert.

With the New Year upon us, any advice for people starting a new program or looking to change their routine up?

Don't overthink things; don't get too bogged down with information you read on the internet.  Just get up, go to the gym or get outside and do it again the next day, and the next day.  Do it until it's a habit and not hard to do.  Don't worry about getting on the "perfect program" or following anything.  Just show up, work hard and listen to your body. Things will fall into place after that.

They say 2016 is a new start, time for change and self-improvement.   Let’s all try to take better care of ourselves and make this our best year yet.

Patrick Henigan CPT

Pictures used with permission from P. Henigan