June Member of the Month – Pavneet Mavi

Castro Valley Fitness – Member of the Month

June 2018 – Pavneet Mavi

It is our pleasure to recognize Pavneet Mavi as our Client of the Month. Pavneet has been a member of Castro Valley Fitness for over a year.

The initial concentration on his core has improved his posture and he has had less back and neck pain. He has never lifted as much weight before – he’s found a new strength he didn’t know he had. He also finished a full marathon!

He enjoys the smaller environment of CVF with a friendly group of people – “it’s like a family”. The acknowledgment when you walk in the door and the way others cheer you on make it a fun place to work out.

He recommends that once you get in the door and go through your workout, your whole perspective can change – you are more positive and you move better. He also suggests that you challenge your comfort level whether it is with a new exercise or more weight.

His ultimate gym goal is to do three pull ups without the assistance of a band.

The three words that best describe his experience at CVF are “friendly, welcoming and challenging.”

An Easy Way To Start

Hello! I hope you had a great Memorial Day. I have a quick question for you:

What are you going to do for the rest of the week?

What do I mean?

Well, we all have some sort of goal for ourselves, right? In terms of fitness that may mean losing some weight, getting over some sort of injury, getting a little stronger or something else entirely.

Whatever our ultimate goal is, sometimes it can seem a bit overwhelming. Let’s get real here. Sometimes it can seem EXTREMELY overwhelming.

Well, you know how to eat an elephant?

One bite at a time.

What I mean is that if you seem overwhelmed, I just want you to focus on the rest of this week. Do just one thing that will help you. That’s it.

Here are some quick suggestions:

  1. Go on a walk.
  2. Add 5 pounds to your main lift at your next workout.
  3. Do 10 minutes of mobility work.
  4. Eat an extra serving of vegetables with your dinner.

Take one of these suggestions or figure another one out for yourself (I fully believe that everyone really knows what they should do) and just do that ONE thing for the rest of this week.

Try not to think about what you want 6 months or a year from now. Try not to think about the things that are overwhelming to you. Just think about one thing and do that one thing.

Now here’s the real trick. Next week, do it again.

If you need any help figuring out what you’re one thing should be, drop me an email and we’ll get it going for you.

Have a great week!

Mitch Rothbardt, CPT, PN Level 2 Lean Eating Coach, FMS
Castro Valley Fitness
2861 Grove Way





What The Heck Am I Talking About – Set Your Core

Do you know what your core is supposed to do when you move? This is another in our series that explain common cues we give at our gym.

Set Your Core!

If you find your low back hurting when performing certain movements this might be a pretty important thing for you to understand!

Mitch Rothbardt
Castro Valley Fitness

May Member of the Month – Goretti Allenbach

May Member of the Month –

Goretti Allenbach

Goretti Allenbach

Goretti regularly brings her smiling face to Bootcamp at 6 a.m.  She has been a client of CV Fitness for 4+ years.

Since joining CVF, Goretti has been able to move without pain.  She has had some chronic injuries and her regular workouts have allowed her to feel better without pain.  The notable improvements are her increased strength and her breathing.   She finds the exercises in Bootcamp challenging and enjoys the variety.

She says it is worth it to make an investment in yourself. She recommends that new members be patient and be consistent for three months.  You won’t imagine the benefits – beyond appearance and weight loss.  She finds it is her “healthy addiction”.

She has really enjoyed spending time with a group of the nicest people she has ever met.

Let Us Underwhelm You! Really.


Wow. That’s as uninspiring a line as you’re going to hear, huh? Well, maybe not! Let me explain.

I think a lot of people are worried. About what? Well, about getting hurt, to be precise. I don’t blame them, either. Getting hurt hurts! Right!

I think as people get older they worry about moving. They’re afraid of hurting their back. Their shoulders probably already hurt so they’re afraid of making that worse, too. Who knows what else is going on? Knees? Hips? Feet?

Unfortunately, three things happen when people feel this way.

  1. Since they don’t move well or often, the body tightens up. Use it or lose it.
  2. Since the body gets tighter and tighter, people move worse and worse and injury becomes more likely and eventually inevitable.
  3. Once people become injured they convince themselves that movement itself is the cause of their problem and they start to actually fear it! This, of course, causes the cycle to perpetuate.

It’s a sad cycle. Especially since we know that GOOD movement is actually the cure to all of this! Good movement improves your range of motion, flexibility, mobility and just makes you feel better!

So let’s get back to what I was talking about originally. About letting us underwhelm you. I think a lot of people are afraid of exercise for the reasons I just talked about. A lot of times people’s only experience with personal training is what they see on tv. They see people yelling and screaming and crying.


As a trainer, let me assure you that making someone sore and tired is actually pretty darn easy. It takes absolutely no skill or thought at all. The thing is that making someone sore and tired doesn’t actually get them better. Much of the time this is exactly what people are afraid of. Barely being able to walk for several days isn’t most people’s idea of fun, after all. What usually happens when someone’s first workout is like this is that there isn’t a second workout.

That’s why we want to underwhelm in someone’s first workout. First of all, we’d like to make sure that there’s another one. Second of all, we want to start establishing good movement patterns so that people can start to get over that fear of movement. That’s not going to happen if our only goal is to make someone feel like they’ve been hit by a truck.

Making something more challenging is always possible and there are many ways to do it. You can slow something down, speed it up, add more weight, change the tool you’re using, add more reps. The list goes on and on. The key here is that all of this is only worth doing once someone’s form is good.

Let’s take a squat for example. Someone may be strong enough to squat with a 45 pound weight but if they’re rounding their back then that could lead to an injury. I’d much rather they fix those issues first even though it might not feel like they’re doing all that much at first. Once they get that fixed we’ll have plenty of time to make it more challenging and in a way that won’t hurt them.

I think the main thing I’d like you to take away from this is not to be afraid of movement. Good movement helps just about everything. Good movement shouldn’t hurt. When you’re starting a new workout program with a trainer or by yourself, focusing on good movement first will make sure that you progress without getting hurt.

If you need help with your movement, please let us know. We can help!

Mitch Rothbardt, CPT, PN Level 2 Lean Eating Coach, FMS
Castro Valley Fitness at 2861 Grove Way
Castro Valley’s Premier Fitness Facility
We Help People Discover Their Strength





Is Your Back Tweaky? Let Me Help! (Video)

Let’s face it. Sometimes things hurt. Our back is tweaky, our hips, our shoulders. Exercising regularly can definitely reduce the frequency of injury and also can reduce the amount of time we’re injured, but nothing can emilinate injury altogether. We’re human, after all!

Back Tweak

One thing I know can be very frustrating is not knowing what we can and should do when we’re hurt. What I’m going to show you today is a great exercise to do when we do have those back tweaks we’re talking about.

In this video I:

  • explain why you may have that back issue
  • show you how to do the exercise
  • explain why you should do the exercise
  • explain how to really get your core set and the value of it
  • explain what you should be thinking about and feeling for when you have those tweaks and issues

This exercise has helped many of our members out and they’ve helped me tremendously. Take a few minutes and watch.



Mitch Rothbardt, CPT, PN Level 2 Lean Eating Coach, FMS
Castro Valley Fitness
2861 Grove Way

Fitness Starter Pack: Nutrition

Every day at Castro Valley Fitness we talk to our members and many times the conversations are about the same types of things. We have certain foundational beliefs at our gym and we’ve seen the truths of those things play out time and again over the years and with hundreds of our members.

I thought I’d do a series on these things so that maybe we can help you understand what our foundational beliefs are when it comes to fitness and nutrition.

Last time we talked about Posture and Pain. (Click if you missed it.)

Today I want to talk about nutrition.

Let’s face it. Nutriton can be hard. Now when I say that, what I mean is that nutrition is actually pretty easy.

I know that doesn’t seem to make much sense. This is what I mean and here is where our foundational beliefs about it come in.

  1. Nutrition is, and should be, simple.
  2. People, for the most part, already know what they need to know about nutrition and what they should do.
  3. Figuring out why they aren’t doing those things is the real issue.

Again, what am I talking about?

Let me ask you a couple of questions.

  1. What’s healthier? An apple or a candy bar?
  2. Should you eat fruits and vegetables?

I’m guessing you know the answers to those questions. Let me tell you that if you do, you really do know most of what you need to know about nutrition. It really is that simple.


What’s more, it should be! After all, if something is simple that makes it more sustainable, and sustainability is the number one thing we should be looking at when it comes to nutrition. That’s why crazy fad diets never work long-term. They’re unsustainable.

As for our second point, it’s rare that when I talk to one of our members about their nutrition they don’t have a pretty good idea of what they need to work on. Most of the time it’s just a matter of figuring out a plan that can work sustainably within their life. An easy example is when someone has trouble eating healthy dinners because of a crazy schedule. Many times taking a little food prep time over the weekend can improve that issue so that there is something easy and healthy to eat when someone gets home after a busy day.

Going through that process is point number three and where the real gold is. Once someone figures out their roadblocks things can just start rolling in the right direction.

Why do people have so much trouble figuring out their roadblocks? There are lots of reasons but I think the main one is all-or-nothing thinking. There are lots of versions of this but one version of it is when someone looks for what they consider the “perfect” plan. What usually happens is that people spend so much time looking for that perfect plan that they wind up doing nothing. Let me assure you of this:

There is no perfect plan.

Really, there is no perfect anything. There is no perfect workout, either.

The closest thing we have to perfection on this earth is in this picture right here:

True Perfection!

We always talk about “Progress, Not Perfection” and that really is the most important thing. As long as you are making progress you are on the right track, so KEEP GOING! Pick something to do and just do it.

OK. So let’s put it simply. Our foundational beliefs when it comes to nutrition are:

  1. Just about everyone knows what they need to know for the most part. Even if they don’t realize it.
  2. Most people’s nutritional problems are about figuring out why they have trouble doing what they know they should be doing.
  3. Sustainability is the key to long-term success. Not restrictive fad diets.
  4. Cottage cheese is awesome.

Inexpensive. High quality pure protein. Easy to prepare. Versatile. Delicious!


I hope this helps. I understand how confusing this can all be, but keep in mind that simplicity and sustainability are what really matters.

Let me know how I can help!

Mitch Rothbardt, CPT, PN Level 2 Lean Eating Coach, FMS
Castro Valley Fitness
2861 Grove Way







April 2018 – Nick Chavez

Castro Valley Fitness – Member of the Month

April 2018 – Nick Chavez

It is our pleasure to recognize Nick Chavez as our Member of the Month! Nick has been a member of CV Fitness for 2+ years.

Nick used to hate working out.  Since joining CV Fitness his attitude towards being active has changed. His general mood is better, he feels and sleeps better. He has found the balance of a good diet along with being more active.  He always has a smile on his face and on top of that he has lost 50+ pounds!!

He finds CV Fitness very encouraging and enjoys the peers he works out with regularly.  He has developed relationships and was surprised to learn some life lessons too.

He recommends that members ask a lot questions, don’t get discouraged and ask for help to manage expectations.  He also suggests that members incorporate what you do in the gym with outside activities or life styles.

The three words that describes Nick’s experience at CV Fitness is “routine, game-changer and encouragement.”

Fitness Starter Pack: Posture and Pain

Every day at Castro Valley Fitness we talk to our members and many times the conversations are about the same types of things. We have certain foundational beliefs at our gym and we’ve seen the truths of those things play out time and again over the years and with hundreds of our members.

I thought I’d do a series on these things so that maybe we can help you understand what our foundational beliefs are when it comes to fitness and nutrition.

We’ll start with Posture and Pain.

Many of our members come to us with different kinds of pain. Shoulder pain is the most common and back pain is number 2. Here is what we’ve found:

  • Age itself has little to do with the prevelance of pain.
  • People with back pain tend to exhibit excess movement through the low back.
  • People with shoulder pain tend to exhibit excess movement through the trapezius (the muscles in between your shoulders and your neck) and neck muscles.
  • People with back pain tend to exhibit a lack of movement through the hips.
  • People with shoulder pain tend to exhibit a lack of movement through the scapula (shoulder blades).
  • People with both shoulder and back pain almost always exhibit general postural problems.
  • People with both shoulder and back pain ALWAYS show general movement patterns that contribute directly to their pain.

Did you notice that I didn’t even mention any kind of imaging tests? Studies have shown that a high percentage of people with no pain still show disk issues and rotator cuff issues on imaging tests:

Spinal Degeneration in Asymptomatic Populations

Ultrsound of the Shoulder: Asymptomatic Findings in Men

What does that mean? It means the majority of people with no pain at all, STILL SHOW PROBLEMS ON IMAGING TESTS!! 

Shape The Path

What does that mean?

It seems like it means that disk and rotator cuff issues MAY NOT BE THE PRIMARY CONTRIBUTORS TO BACK AND SHOULDER PAIN!

Well, the next logical question to ask is then:

What is causing pain if it’s not necessarily rotator cuff or disk issues? 

See my list of findings above, particularly the last one:

  • People with both shoulder and back pain ALWAYS show general movement patterns that contribute directly to their pain.

Let’s put it simply:

If you have shoulder or back pain, it is your every day

movement patterns that are likely the cause!

By the way, this isn’t just me talking here. Stuart McGill is probably the world’s foremost authority on back pain and spine health. Here is a quote taken directly from one of his seminars:

“Most times, people’s habitual movement patterns reveal why they have back pain.” – Stuart McGill

Now, I know it can be weird to hear that many of those expensive tests your doctor is ordering for you don’t mean much, but I do believe that to be true much of the time, and even in cases that did require more serious medical intervention, I don’t think I’ve ever had a client in pain who didn’t benefit from improving their basic movement patterns.

Obviously in a blog post it would be impossible to cover the entirety of what “good movement” is but I do want to give you some kind of idea.

In the video below I show you a few things we do to help people discover good hip and shoulder movement.

Let me emphasize one thing, however:

You have to apply these movements to your life




And here’s where it gets hard.

You have to do that when it’s the most difficult. When things are stressful. When you aren’t normally thinking about something as small as how your hips are moving. When you’re brushing your teeth and leaning over the sink. When you’re driving. When you’re typing.


Because that’s when things are falling apart. You can practice good movement all you want, but it’s when you are distracted that your movement goes awry. Once you can step back, breathe, and adjust that is when this will start coming together. It’s not an overnight process and it’s not easy, but it works.


Again, what I’ve shown you here is just the start. Everyone is different and the specific movement patterns you need to work on may not be the same as someone else, but the fundamentals of good movement apply to everyone.

Let me know if you need help putting your movement together.

Mitch Rothbardt, CPT, PN Level 2 Lean Eating Coach, FMS
Castro Valley Fitness
2861 Grove Way
Let’s Help Clear the Confusion in Fitness and Nutrition









March 2018 – Andrea Vinson

Castro Valley Fitness Member Of The Month

March 2018 – Andrea Vinson

It is our pleasure to recognize Andrea Vinson as our Member of the Month! Andrea has been a member of CV Fitness for almost 5 years.

Andrea has never been so physically strong since joining CV Fitness. If it hadn’t been for Mitch, she would not have embraced it or be so excited about being strong. She sees it most often when she walks up a flight of stairs and isn’t winded. She also hasn’t hit a golf ball as far as she does now.

She feels she can’t find a better place to focus on strength, endurance and posture as CV Fitness. She appreciates the strong community where a new person will immediately feel the encouragement to do the best you can do.

She recommends that you keep pushing, keep showing up and find ways to do a little bit more at each workout. You will find that the end result is amazing.

The three ways Andrea describes her experience at CV Fitness are “supportive environment, strong community and many new meaningful friendships.”