Crafting Your Ideal Strength Training Journey

Discovering a Path That Works for You

Happy new year, new you! With the new year comes new hopes, dreams, and fitness routines. Finding the right wellness ritual can be daunting, but fear not! I consulted with three seasoned strength trainers for details on their distinct training methods to help you find one that suits you!

“The beauty of strength training lies in its ability to transform not just your physique but your entire approach to life. It’s a journey of self-discovery and empowerment.” – Charles Poliquin

Strength training boasts a long history, and according to Mindbody, it’s staying strong trending for 2024. With so many benefits, it’s hard to see why it wouldn’t be! Whether you’re just starting your strength training journey or looking for a new way to mix it up, read on for thoughts from these powerhouse professionals:

Seneca McCue, Creator of TRANSFORM
Colleen Rohner, Lead Trainer at Burn Boot Camp West Raleigh
Aaron Hornstra, Owner of Core Results Personal Training


Jaime: Tell me a little about how you fell in love with the fitness industry and why you started the TRANSFORM program.


Seneca: I needed physical therapy to heal my body after childbirth and found it incredible that you can heal through exercise, so I dove headfirst into learning everything I could about fitness. A few years later, I started teaching fitness classes and loved witnessing the transformations in my students, not only in their physical well-being but also in their self-confidence and energy levels. When Covid hit, I was asked to develop an online fitness program for a dietitian, so I recruited another local trainer, Matt Kalanz. Together, we collaborated to create an online strength and yoga program for the dietitian’s members, and they achieved amazing results. This success prompted us to expand and create TRANSFORM.

Jaime: How will clients benefit from strength training with TRANSFORM?

Seneca: The TRANSFORM program offers a 4-week jumpstart program for people new to working out, as well as four 12-week progressive overload strength programs created by Matt Kalanz. These four programs are based on a yearlong cycle, with each 12 weeks dedicated to a different aspect of muscular fitness, whether it be power, muscular endurance, strength, or performance. This approach keeps the workouts fresh, exciting, and challenging, while also contributing to the overall goals of better health and increased strength. In addition to the strength programs, I have created a core, mobility, and yoga program to complement the strength program.

Jaime: What is the key to building strength with your program?

Seneca: The key to building strength is knowing what weight to use and how to progress. Instructions on how to do this are provided in the app. What differentiates TRANSFORM from other online programs is the accessibility my members have to me. I am available to my members via email, chat, or video to help whenever assistance is needed.


Jaime: How does breath awareness and mindfulness play a role in enhancing your strength workouts?

Seneca: Incorporating proper breathing techniques, such as bracing the core and synchronizing your breath with your movements, can have a profound impact on your lifting performance. These techniques not only enhance your lifts but also play a crucial role in maintaining a high level of performance while preventing injuries. When you practice mindfulness and focus during your strength training, you’ll experience more remarkable results. Your exercises will be executed with greater precision and control, allowing you to engage your target muscles more effectively.

Jaime: Who is TRANSFORM for?

Seneca: Our members range in age from 25 to 60. We cater to both beginners and fitness enthusiasts, providing a program for individuals who are prepared to up-level their fitness and break through their plateaus.

Jaime: Are clients able to track their progress?

Seneca: The app includes a function that allows clients to record the weight they used for each exercise. This feature assists them in tracking their strength gains. Additionally, I encourage clients to take photos and measurements.

Jaime: Do you offer different levels and one-on-one coaching?

Seneca: We offer a monthly membership that includes all of the programs, a monthly live class, a Q&A session, and access to a GroupMe chat to connect with me. What sets TRANSFORM apart from other online programs is the access to the trainers who built the program. Members are encouraged to send questions and even form videos. In 2024, I am launching 1:1 accountability coaching and TRANSFORM Next Level.

“There are many benefits to strength training, including increased functionality, a reduction in body fat, increasing bone density, protecting joints from injury, improving balance, and even enhancing sleep.” –Seneca McCue, creator of TRANSFORM

Jaime: Do you have any tips for readers on how to build strength?

Seneca: Do a progressive overload strength program. Choose weights that will challenge you and understand how to gradually increase the weight. Using heavier weights and performing fewer repetitions will help you build more strength compared to using lighter weights and doing higher repetitions. Make sure to include rest days in your routine and maintain consistency!

Instagram: @myplankfullife

Colleen Rohner, Burn Boot Camp

Jaime: Tell me a little about Burn Boot Camp, how it came to be, and when you opened your doors in Wake County.

Colleen: Burn Boot Camp was founded by husband and wife Devan and Morgan Kline in 2012. It was always meant to be more than just a gym. Purpose, passion, and community are the building blocks of Burn. Initially a group workout offered in the parking lot of a gymnastics studio, the program quickly gained popularity to become one of the fastest-growing fitness concepts, ultimately driving Devan and Morgan to begin franchising the brand in 2015. Our West Raleigh location, near Rex Hospital, opened in 2017.

“Burn Boot Camp is a community that empowers.” -Colleen Rohner, lead trainer of Burn Boot Camp West Raleigh

Jaime: What types of classes do you offer?

Colleen: Burn offers strength and conditioning workouts, personal training in a group setting, never the same workout twice, and modifications for all fitness levels.

Jaime: What are the key components of building strength?

Colleen: The most important thing when building strength is form and load. How you are fueling your body when strength training is equally important, and we will help you with all of these things!

Jaime: What is strength training like in a group setting?

Colleen: The power of working out in a group setting is that we are a community that empowers. Our members gain both strength and confidence, and we do it with our top-tier trainers and our amazing community. The person working out next to you is there to encourage you too! Our trainers make sure your form is correct and encourage you to push harder than you would if you were working out alone.

Jaime: Tell me about your teaching philosophy when it comes to building strength.

Colleen: The benefits of joining Burn Boot Camp include confidence, happiness, and disciplines that transcend fitness, creating mentally and physically strong people and communities! Our mission is to ignite global health transformation through empowering women, men, and their families.

Jaime: Highlight the physical and mental health benefits that participants can expect from your gym.

Colleen: The benefits to exercise and balanced nutrition are endless! Increased energy, increased strength, weight loss, reduced stress, more restful sleep, and reduced risk of many chronic illnesses are a few to mention, but the most important one to shout out is an increase in confidence!

Give a shot at incorporating some of Burn Boot Camp’s most loved exercises.



Jump feet back into a high plank position.

Do a push-up then jump feet up into a squat position with a hop on top as hands go overhead.

Chest press

Laying on your back, knees bent with heels feet flat on the floor, hold dumbbells with palms facing upward.

Drop your elbows to the floor then press up, full extension toward the ceiling.

Weighted squat

Hold a set of dumbbells by your side, drop your hips, keeping your chest up at the bottom.

Drive through your heels on the way up.

Burn Boot Camp

Aaron Hornstra, Core Results Personal Training

Jaime: Tell me a little bit about how you got started in fitness and why you chose personal training.

Aaron: Playing athletics in high school led me to pursuing a degree in Exercise Science at Ithaca College. When I was in school, I envisioned working as a strength coach at a major university or for a professional team. After graduation, I was fortunate enough to land an internship at Stanford University in their Strength and Conditioning department. Reality soon set in. I quickly came to realize the extremely high demands for the position with the limited potential for growth. It wasn’t for me. Soon after, I took a personal training position at a private training studio on Long Island, New York, where I was able to train athletes as well as the general population. That was back in 2005, and I haven’t looked back since!

Whether you’re a beginner or an advanced fitness enthusiast, Core Results Personal Training will match your fitness level.

Jaime: What led you to open Core Results Personal Training?

Aaron: I have been training at Core Results since the beginning, although I am not the original founder. I participated as a full-time trainer for 11 years until 2022, at which point the owner and I came to terms on an agreement where he would step down and I would transition to ownership. It has always been a dream of mine to own my own studio, more less two!

Jaime: Who benefits from a personal trainer?

Aaron: Personal training is for anyone who is looking for an individualized approach to their health and fitness. Our clients range from semi-pro athletes, to urban professionals, to stay-at-home parents, to senior citizens. The “personal” aspect of this environment allows us to cater to each individual’s needs and ability levels. It provides structure, guidance, and accountability.

Jaime: How does strength training enhance people’s lives?

Aaron: Strength training can benefit everyone at every age throughout their lives. Some of the most important benefits include: lowering risk of injury, increasing strength of muscles and bones, decreasing risk of falling, boosting mood and reducing anxiety, helping to manage blood sugar, and also decreasing stubborn abdominal fat.

Jaime: What are the key principles of effective strength training?

Aaron: The key principles to an effective strength training program are consistency along with progressive overload. Consistency is crucial for stacking results, and then making sure to incrementally increase weights over time to force adaptation.

Jaime: How do you customize a strength training program for individuals with different fitness levels and goals?

Aaron: One of the biggest benefits of personal training is each client gets an individualized program. The program is specific to their goals, as well as takes into account where they’re starting from physically. During the initial session, our trainers take the client through an assessment or “screening workout” in order to get a baseline of how they move, as well as assess their strength and conditioning levels. This information provides a blueprint for planning a program specific to their body and goals. Every client is unique, with a unique physical history that’s taken into account when starting a new program. Over time, as your relationship with your trainer develops and abilities change, the trainer is able to adapt your ever-evolving program to meet your needs.

This exercise is like a superhero move, hitting your core, shoulders, upper and lower body all at once. It’s the ultimate multitasker exercise that’ll leave you feeling like a fitness rockstar!

Jaime: What advice do you have for clients who are new to strength training and may feel intimidated and unsure where to start?

Aaron: My best advice for anyone new to strength training is that it’s never too late to start. Get some professional help to learn the foundational movement patterns necessary to maximize your time and prevent risk of injury. Strength training will increase the quality of your life, especially as we age. It’s also important to choose exercises that align with your personal goals. In our boutique studio setting, each client works independently with their trainer, which provides a very non-intimidating environment. Our trainers and clients work together to be inclusive and encouraging to each other.

Jaime: How long does it take to see results?

Aaron: Someone new to strength training can expect to feel results in as little as a few sessions. With that being said, the initial adaptations during the first 6-8 weeks of a program are largely neuromuscular in nature. The body first needs to learn the movements, and then it will begin making changes to the muscle fibers’ strength and size.

5 Tips for Strength Training from Aaron @ Core Results Personal Training:

  1. Proper warmup is key in order to increase core body temperature and get blood flow to the working muscles. By doing this you are gradually preparing the body to work and in turn will decrease your risk of injury. It’s also a great time to work on dynamic flexibility and mobility (stretches with movement with the intent of increasing range of motion).
  2. Focus on proper technique to maximize working the intended muscle groups and decrease risk of injury.
  3. Make sure you’re always keeping progression in mind. The goal is to get stronger, so if an exercise begins to get easier, increase the load.
  4. Slow and controlled is the best way to keep the muscles under tension, which results in maximum adaptations and gains.
  5. Focus on the muscle groups you are intending to train. The body is smart and will constantly try to compensate, especially when working weaker muscles. The strong muscles try to take over and do the work. Being mindful creates a mind-body connection and helps stimulate the targeted muscles.

Core Results Personal Training

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