This month, we’re focusing the spotlight on Kyle Decker, ATC, CSCS and FAST Arrowhead facility manager. With many years under his belt helping athletes, personal training clients and supporting Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialists, Kyle is a key player in the Phoenix fitness industry. Read on to learn more about Kyle.

What’s your background?
With a Bachelor’s in Athletic Training and Sports Medicine, I’ve held the positions as an Athletic Trainer, Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist, and FAST facility manager here at Arrowhead.

Why inspired you to embark on the fitness journey with your career?
As an athletic trainer, I treated many athletes for injuries that were a result of being taught bad movement. I realized that many of these issues could have been resolved by proper training and coaching. I enjoy seeing people succeed no matter their fitness level or abilities, and working with FAST has given me the opportunity to assist athletes and the general population.

What’s one piece of advice you’d give anyone interested in becoming a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist?
I tell all my interns and new coaches–learn. Keep learning—read, listen and grow at all times.

What’s your favorite workout style?
Functional strength training is my favorite workout style. It seems to be such a catch phrase type style right now, but I really enjoy getting to know my clients and their needs for overall function in sports, recreation and life.

What’s your favorite song to listen to when working out?
Not sure I have a favorite song to listen to when working out, but I usually listen to hard rock and Metallica is always good.

What’s your favorite thing to eat after a workout?
I prefer to eat as natural as possible. My favorite post workout food is an apple and Nutzo 7 Nut Butter.

What’s one food that you can’t live without?
Barbeque, I am an addict.

What’s the best advice you have ever received?
Two things that always come to mind.
#1: I can accept failure, I can’t accept not trying.
#2: Never be the smartest person in the room. If you are the smartest in the room, you’re in the wrong room.

What motivates you?
I live to see people do things they thought they never could. I love to see the look on people’s faces when they succeed at things they thought impossible.

Now that you know a little more about Kyle, does he seem like the right fit for you or your athlete? Contact the FAST Arrowhead facility today to book a session with him.

Wading through all the information on what workout is best for you, how many days of the week you should work out or even making a decision on the right shoes can be overwhelming. We get it, and often times, these decisions paralyze people from simply starting a workout routine.  Today, four of our FAST facility managers are sharing advice that they give to their clients that are starting out on their fitness journey.


Wade Haras, facility manager at FAST Old Town Scottsdale

Look for small wins at each session. Assess how you feel in the beginning instead of how your performance is. Small wins may include making it through a full hour or showing up for the next workout.


Kyle Schneider, facility manager at FAST Ahwatukee

Don’t focus on the number on the scale. There are much better indicators of fitness level than weight. Focus on how you feel, what your body fat percentage is, heart rate, or how many reps/how much weight you can lift.


Greg Stein, facility manager at FAST North Scottsdale

Consistency is key and king. You cannot make physiological adaptions in your body by being spotty and missing training sessions or eating unhealthy. Lay the foundation for your fitness journey by being consistent and commit to the process.


Brandon Wood, facility manager at FAST Litchfield Park

One piece of advice I give in addition to making the workouts a constant part of your daily or weekly habit is to keep clean eating habits and get enough sleep every night. A clean diet and getting good sleep will only increase the benefits they receive from working out.


Ready to start your fitness journey? Or team of Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialists are here to help you jumpstart your workout routine and create a one-on-one program that will help you reach your goals. Contact us today to set up a FREE fitness assessment.

Proper form is critical when at the gym. One of our FAST® trainers, Michael Winters, has demonstrated the squat and describes how to make sure you do not injure yourself the next time you go to pick up the bar.

FAST® How To: The Squat <— Watch the YouTube video here.

FAST® How To: The Squat (side view) <—- And here!


1) Place the bar in a balanced position across the upper back and shoulders. Lift the elbows to create a “shelf” using the upper back and shoulder muscles.

2) Hold the chest up

3) Lift the bar off of the squat rack by extending the hips and legs

4) Take two or three steps back from the squat rack

5) Position the feet shoulder width apart or slightly wider with the toes pointed slightly out

6) Maintain a position with the back flat and the chest held up and out

7) Begin the downward movement by allowing the hips and knees to flex

8) Keep the heels in contact with the floor and the knees aligned over the feet

– letting the knees align in a position over the toes can place a great amount of stress on the patella tendon. To help avoid this common mistake it is good to keep the weight directed through the heels.

9) Continue to flex the hips and knees until; the thighs are parallel to the floor, the heels raise up from the floor, or the trunk begins to flex or round forward

10) To begin the upward movement extend the hips and knees at the same speed in order to keep a constant angle between the torso and the floor

11) Be conscious to not let the trunk round or flex forward

12) Continue to extend the hips and knees until a standing position is reached

13) When the set is finished, walk the bar back into the squat rack making sure there is contact with both sides of the bar before flexing the hips and knees to let the bar rest back on the rack.

Congratulations! You have completed a squat and are now one step closer to reaching your fitness goal!

For more information on training or for a FAST® location near you, visit!


Source: NSCA (National Strength and Conditioning Association)

When you are recovering from an illness, it is important to consider whether it is a good idea to continue your athlete training in Phoenix. It depends on how you feel, so make sure you are listening to your body.  According to Livestrong, “You can do a moderate work out if you’re ailing from the common cold, allergies or have other symptoms that affect your head, as long as the symptoms don’t include a fever. If you feel up to exercise, it’s not bad to work out if you have a stuffy nose, watery eyes or other cold or allergy-induced symptoms. Although working out won’t make your cold or allergies disappear any quicker, it won’t make them worse or prolong your sickness. Stick to moderate activity, such as walking, and reduce your weight training load by 25 percent to give your body a break during its illness.”

If your symptoms feel more like flu symptoms or otherwise hit below the neck, you are probably better off skipping the gym, staying in bed, and putting off your Phoenix athletic training until you’re feeling better. Your immune system is already weak and your body needs all of your energy to recover. “Symptoms that require rest include aching muscles, fever, fatigue, swollen glands and nausea. Particularly avoid strength training if you have the flu, because your body is using all its energy to fight off the virus. Lifting weights can make your immune system less efficient and even make you sicker than you already are.”

Another important factor to consider, especially if you are a member of a public gym, is common courtesy. The common cold is highly contagious. A cold virus, which infects your body after entering your nose or mouth, can spread when you sneeze, cough or even talk. It also spreads germs by hand when you touch someone or something — like a weight bench or machine. Warn people that you have a cold, and refrain from sneezing and coughing on fellow gym members.

Lastly, take into consideration that your overall fitness level is not going to take a nosedive just because you missed a few days or even weeks of working out. If you do decide to strap on those running shoes and get back to your Phoenix athletic training, start slowly and keep your first week of exercise at a moderate level. Never work out if you have a fever, as doing so can cause heatstroke and even kidney failure. To learn more tips from Foothills professionals or to learn more about athlete training in Phoenix, visit our website at

Over the past few years, how many times in the fitness industry have you found things that you once thought to be ‘the standard’ changed, upgraded or completely dispelled? The way we warm up is different, the way we execute many exercises is different, and who really wears leg warmers and head bands anymore?

The same is true when it comes to strength training for young athletes. Parents have told their kids for years “Don’t lift heavy weights. It will stunt your growth.” To a great extent in the athletic training world that has been the rule of thumb as well. Lifting heavy weights as children develop can cause stress on the areas of the bone that grow, the growth plate, and affect the ability of the bone to grow normally. So many parents completely abstain from letting their children participate in any type of strength training exercises.

However, children as young as 7 can do strengthening exercises without stunting growth plates and it can be hugely beneficial for them in the long run.

This can’t be understated: Lifting heavy weights and using poor techniques can damage the growth plate. Kids should not be doing heavy weights with low repetition numbers. Instead, professionals who deal with training children should use body weight exercises, light weights and resistance band exercises. This allows for the muscle to be stressed to a point that it will get stronger without the adverse effect on the growth plate.

Strength training in youth should also include more sport-specific movement patterns that mimic what the child will be doing in their sport. This not only minimizes any negative response of the growth plate, but also helps build muscle, bone and tendon in ways that it would adapt and be able to tolerate stresses the child might endure as they progress in their chosen activity. In addition, learning proper motor skill patterns with exercises like lunging, squatting, push-ups, and landing techniques, will help kids develop good form when handling weight load correctly later in life.

Another myth regarding strength training and youth is that, because the hormones that are responsible for building muscle are not yet circulating in high enough levels, there would be no real strength gains. Recently, studies have shown this not to be true. There have been significant strength gains in children who have undergone appropriate strength training. There have not been big gains in muscle size because of the low levels of hormones but overall strength has increased. It needs to be stressed here that the hormones will occur naturally in most children. No artificial means of trying to boost these levels should be done. If there is a deficiency your physician will address it.

The benefits of proper strength training for youth can include:

  •  Improved strength Protection against injury
  •  Improved coordination and motor skills
  •  Increased speed
  •  Changes in body composition
  • Enhanced self esteem

So now you know the long held standard regarding weights and kids is not, necessarily, spot-on. It’s important to account for the method of training and how it is implemented. Keeping this in mind, when you consider strength training for your child (or yourself), seek the advice and supervision of an experienced athletic trainer or certified strength and conditioning specialist.

Foothills Acceleration and Sports Training (FAST) is empowered by Foothills Therapy Partners (FTP).