Meet Naomi. She’s a 40-year-old client of Fitness Solutions Plus, who’s a high school science teacher, and mother of two kids. Naomi was an avid exerciser, already doing regular group fitness classes, and boot camps, but just wasn’t seeing the fruits of her labour.

She then started working with an instructor, and so far, after only six months, she’s:

  • 16 pounds lighter
  • Wearing clothes that are 4 dress sizes smaller
  • Stronger – a lot stronger
  • More energetic
  • Getting tons of compliments from her coworkers.

How did she do all that? That’s exactly what we’ll cover in this article. We’ll go over things like:

  • Naomi’s goals before she started working with us
  • What she was doing before to help her reach her goals
  • The exercise strategies we used with Naomi to literally double her strength in certain exercises
  • The nutrition strategies that we used
  • The “real life” challenges that we ran into along the way
  • The results she achieved
  • How her life is different now that she’s stronger, fitter and wearing smaller dress sizes

If you’d like to hear Naomi tell her own story, you can check out the video below.

Or, if you’re jealous of Naomi, and want to get similar results, we have a special program called “Fit Over 40.” If you want to see whether or not that program is for you, just head on over to our home page, and fill out the application form.


After Naomi had her second child, she felt great: strong and energetic. Fast forward a few years, and she had noticed that her weight was increasing, and her energy levels and strength were decreasing. She didn’t like that trend, so she decided to do something about it.

She started going to group fitness classes and bootcamps a few times per week. And while she was happy that she was being active, and engaging in some kind of physical activity, she just wasn’t seeing the fruits of her labour – no more muscle tone than before, no weight loss, no strength improvements.

So she decided to start going to the gym a few times on her own, and do her own routine… which didn’t work. She knew that she wasn’t using the equipment properly, but she didn’t really know what “properly” was.

Fast forward a few more years, and covid comes. Now there are lockdowns, and gyms are closed, but Naomi had a few pieces of equipment at home, so she started doing her own, at-home workouts… which didn’t work (are you noticing a pattern? 😊). In between lockdowns, when gyms were open, she didn’t feel comfortable going in the gym anyways.

Eventually, she has had enough with spinning her wheels (spending lots of time and effort on exercise, but not getting any more toned or losing weight). She had already been reading my newsletters for 3 years, and decided that maybe it’s time to get some professional help.

After chatting with me over the phone, she mentioned her goal was just toning. She never mentioned weight loss, though that was a nice side effect.

Anyways, after our phone chat, I decided to set her up with her trainer, Davin, who designed her exercise and nutrition programs that led to her incredible transformation.


As Naomi’s goal was to get toned, Davin had Naomi doing full body resistance training. The goal of strength training for a non-athlete is to make their life outside the “gym” easier. The goal is also not to spend as much time in the “gym” as possible, but rather, as little time in the gym as possible.

And that’s the reason that at first, Davin chose full body workouts – when 1 exercise works 2-3 muscles at the same time, you save a lot of time by not having to do 2-3 different exercises. And you don’t lose effectiveness either.

At first, the only equipment that Naomi had were 5 and 8-pound dumbbells. She outgrew those in about 2 weeks, and ended up buying a pair of adjustable dumbbells that went up to 52.5 pounds. Very nice!

After the first phase of full body workouts, Davin moved her on to a 4-day-a-week workout, where one day is lower body, and one day is upper body. Naomi would train with Davin twice per week, and do an additional 2 workouts on her own.

The reason that Davin moved on from full body workouts in phase 1 to dividing it into upper and lower body workouts is because as Naomi got more advanced, the different body parts needed a bit more focus than full body workouts can provide.

In phase 3 (where Davin and Naomi are right now), they went from 4 days per week, to 3 days per week, where the focus was no longer on body parts, but fundamental lifts. So day 1 was upper body (divided into bench press and rows), day 2 was oriented around deadlifts, and day 3 was oriented around squats.

Again, since the purpose of strength training for a non-athlete was to make life outside the gym easier, the goal behind deadlifts was to make it easier to pick stuff up off the ground (groceries, furniture, kids, etc.). After all, if you can deadlift over 100 pounds in training (or in Naomi’s case, around 160 lbs. as of her last workout), picking up 20 pounds of groceries feels like a feather.

The goal behind squats was to make lower body activities easier, like climbing stairs, and other recreational activities (skiing, walking, etc.).

That was the main focus. In addition to 1-2 major lifts for that day, Davin had Naomi doing “accessory work” – exercises that added strength to other muscles that weren’t the focus that day. The idea was to not interfere with the progress that the main exercise was making.

As for cardio, at first, there wasn’t any – and that’s by design. The more we dump on a person all at once, the less likely they are to stick with it in the long term. If we want exercise to become a lifelong habit, we have to start with baby steps.

After Davin saw Naomi making great progress, and being consistent with her strength training, he started adding in “cardio.” The reason that cardio is in quotation marks is because at first, he just asked Naomi to take the stairs more often at work, do a few extra stairs even if it wasn’t necessary, and walk like she’s angry/in a hurry.      None of these are real cardio in the traditional definition of the word. The intensity, duration and frequency were too low at first to actually have cardiovascular benefits.

But the goal at this point wasn’t cardiovascular benefits. The goal was compliance. The goal was to get Naomi to experience small successes. When you feel a bit of success, you want more success. If the goal of exercise is to get to a point where it’s a lifelong habit and not a chore, it needs to feel enjoyable. The way you make it enjoyable is making your client feel successful.

Once Davin saw that she was ready for it, he upped the ante. Now, he was getting Naomi to get on her elliptical once per week for 10-15 minutes, and go up and down stairs in her home 10-16 times (this typically took 7-10 minutes). While that’s still not exactly the duration that would provide cardiovascular benefits, it’s getting close. But again, the goal isn’t yet effectiveness. The goal is compliance. First worry about compliance and consistency. Then worry about effectiveness. First, just do it. Then, do it right.


There are a million diets out there, and therefore, a million ways to lose weight. It’s our job to make the complex simple, and condense the mountains of information into the smallest bits relevant to the client in front of us.

And that’s what Davin did with Naomi.

At first, Davin started Naomi off with a simple template:

…..if you want to read the rest of this article, visit HOW NAOMI LOST 16 POUNDS, 4 DRESS SIZES, AND DOUBLED HER STRENGTH


About the Author

Igor Klibanov is the author of 7 books on exercise and nutrition, and the CEO and founder of Fitness Solutions Plus. He is a sought-after wellness speaker, having delivered over 400 presentations to some of Canada's largest corporations. Get a free PDF version of his book, STOP EXERCISING! The Way You Are Doing it Now -