A two-time Golf Digest Top 50 Golf-Fitness Professional and Trainer, Ali Weingroff is highly sought after for her unique approach to training that combines nutrition, training, and lifestyle hacks to alter body composition and optimize metabolism. Ali found her passion in improving men’s and women’s health working alongside industry-leading medical practitioners building an authoritative network to empower men and women with the proper understanding of what true health optimization is.
Ali holds a B.S. in Exercise Science from Springfield College and certifications through the Titleist Performance Institute (TPI) Certified Level 3 Fitness Professional, NSCA as a certified Strength & Conditioning Specialist, FMS Certified Level II, CFSC, FRCMs, and SFG 1.
Freelap USA: Golf training seems to be littered with a lot of rotational exercises to mimic the swing or balance exercises. You have experience with the sport of golf—what should the average player think about when they are enjoying the recreational level? While everyone wants to play better, what do you do to help them play longer into their senior years?
Ali Weingroff: There is this concept that won’t die where many golfers feel if they do exercises that are “golfish” (I credit my husband, Charlie Weingroff, with that term), it will automatically translate into a better golf swing. Coming from a strength and conditioning background, I have seen how purely getting stronger helps someone’s body SURVIVE the golf swing. It has more compressive forces on the spine than sprinting, so it is one hell of an explosive move. Holding a 3-foot implement while under load also makes one realize the uniqueness of the demands on the body. I think this is where many treat golf as more special than other sports, but in my mind, there isn’t much I would do differently than for other athletes.I have seen how purely getting stronger helps someone’s body SURVIVE the golf swing. It has more compressive forces on the spine than sprinting, so it’s one hell of an explosive move. Click To Tweet
At the recreational level, you are likely dealing with CEOs and individuals who live a very high-stress lifestyle. The educational process around sleep hygiene, nutrition, and training is a never-ending but imperative one. Somewhere in the fitness industry we became anti-cardio, specifically aerobic fitness. Aerobic fitness is the backbone of ANY program. Simply put, if we increase the number of mitochondria we have, then we increase our ability to recover, become resilient to stress, and utilize the food we eat for energy. This will keep them optimized from a recovery and potentially hormonal perspective, but also allow them to enjoy this sport long into their older years.
Freelap USA: Hormones and blood analysis are important for everyone as they get closer to retirement age, but young athletes should get evaluated too. Can you outline the benefits of monitoring hormones a few times a year? Any success stories or cautionary tales you’ve found?
Ali Weingroff: I like to encourage people of all ages to obtain baseline levels for as many biomarkers as possible. Ideally, sex hormones would be a big part of this, especially as we see the decline of testosterone in men as early as their 20s.
Women are being put on birth control at earlier ages, since they are starting to menstruate earlier. Without going down a rabbit hole, birth control is a very controversial topic, as it is used more often as a Band-Aid for the uncomfortable symptoms of women’s menstrual cycles.
I have seen younger athletes completely mess up their hormones taking over-the-counter testosterone boosters, pre-workouts, prohormones, and other shady supplements. These athletes need more sleep and food and less screen time instead of supplements.
Freelap USA: General nutrition tends to be seen as too simple to work. As a professional, you sometimes must remind people to respect moderation and focus on consistency. How do you make small changes over the years while keeping clients happy?
Ali Weingroff: I like this question because it does seem people will put more faith in a product or supplement before they do a coach. We will never escape the constant bombardment of products promising rapid anything, so we have to continue to educate every chance we get.
I used to tell people we had to eat every three hours and get in x amount of meals a day. I think that comes from my meathead days. I believe the more we can help people realize they don’t have to deprive and give up EVERYTHING, the easier it is to obtain compliancy. The idea of “dieting” usually means all or nothing to people. I have found a balance of tough love, compassion, and structure work best for most people. Nothing will replace human connection, as that is the true essence of coaching.I have found a balance of tough love, compassion, and structure work best for most people. Nothing will replace human connection, as that is the true essence of coaching, says @thealigilbert. Click To Tweet
Freelap USA: The average client is pickier and has more options than they did in the last decade. As a business, how have you evolved to be a leader in the fitness market and enjoy your craft?
Ali Weingroff: Personally, the best advice I have ever received was to pick one niche and focus on that. Being in golf fitness naturally brought me more male clients, and I soon realized what a debacle the men’s health world was and how difficult it was to find someone who understood the needs of men in addition to finding the right medical practitioner.
So, learning everything I could about men’s health, partnering with doctors, speaking at and attending medical conferences—I feel this has all positioned me as somewhat of an advocate for men. Plus throwing in some “boner” jokes doesn’t hurt either. For other coaches who may be new to the in-person or online space, I would say the same thing: Pick one area that no one else has seemed to have mastered and run with it.
Freelap USA: The simple kettlebell can make a big difference in fitness for regular joes and even the pros. You have extensive experience with using it in programs. What exercise or method have you added recently, and what option are you doing less frequently now than in the past?
Ali Weingroff: The last year definitely increased the home gym experience. Kettlebells are so versatile that they’ve been a no-brainer addition to people’s programs (Gorilla Training). If someone doesn’t have or want to buy a barbell, then heavy KBs make a great substitute for deadlifts off the floor. Especially because you have different options—suitcase style, one arm, RDL, single leg, etc.
I will only have a client do swings, snatches, get-ups, or cleans if I have either coached them in the past and feel comfortable with their level of progress or seen video documentation of their proficiency before designing a program. I do have a select few clients online with whom I do not do one-on-one sessions but who perform these lifts. Plus, you can do a hell of a lot with just one KB if you had to.
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