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Trainer Spotlight: Nick Nilsson

Meet the brains behind our brawn

Credentials: With a five-year degree in physical education and 10 years of personal-training experience, Nilsson combines his academic background with a real-world approach to training and an incredible imagination for designing exercises that target his clients' weaknesses.

Philosophy: "I don't do things differently for the sake of being different," says Nilsson. "I do them differently to make them work better." For a few of Nilsson's workout-enhancing programs, check out fitness-ebooks.com.

Nick's Top-Three Tips:
1. Be creative. "Take a piece of equipment you use all the time for one purpose," says Nilsson, "like the bench press, and try and figure out how to work your calves with it." Don't try so hard that you hurt yourself, of course, but you'll learn more about how your body works if you experiment."

2. Know what you're doing. Knowing the basics of biomechanics and anatomy allows you to "pick out the details that are the 'meat' of an exercise," says Nilsson, and then "strive to maximize them."

3. Prepare to be stared at. Exercises that actually build muscle are often difficult and strange-looking to the average gym goer. Inventing your own moves can seem even weirder. But don't be embarrassed. "The best thing is when you come back to the gym one day, and those people are using the same exercise they were giving you the strange looks about."

Got a question for Nick? Ask him below.

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