Well it's Monday again.  I do hope you had a great weekend.  Today I won't waste your time with a lot of verbiage and build up.  Let's just get right into it.

The first article I want to share with you is about how the American past time has gotten completely out of control.  What past time am I referring to. . . . . snacking.  One of the main causes it seems, is that so many of us eat on the go. These days, it seems there are not as many of the old family dinners many of us grew up with. In fact in my household for many years it was required that we all make time to sit down and have a meal as a family.  It was an excellent opportunity to not only assure a good meal was being consumed, but it was also a good time to be a "family".  We are all so busy much of the time we don't make time to actually sit down and eat as often as we used to, whether it's by ourselves, with family or friends.

Believe me this is rather eye-opening. The American Diet Then and Now


The second article was just too outrageous to not include today.  It's basically a review of how ridiculously high in calories some of the foods are at your local dinner and fast food joint.  There is actually a shake that is listed, from a rather popular food establishment, that is over 2,000 calories and contains more than 3 days worth of Saturated fat, in just one 24 oz. serving.  OUCH!

Definitely worth the read, if for no other reason than to see if any of your own favorites are on the list.  Top 8 Calorie Heavy Meals


Okay.

So let's say the above 2 articles don't really apply to you.  But at the same time you're really not where you want to be physically. Maybe you want to be a bit leaner.  Perhaps you have just have a few pounds left to get you to your goal.  I think this next one will do just the trick to get you over that little hump and seeing the results you want.  Getting Lean -- Fine Tuned, Raw, and Real

So now you have the info:

Get On Track and Stay On Track!
For quite some time now I've been asked to create a group training class that uses all of the techniques of re-alignment, core strengthening, and yes, good old fashioned weight loss.  But I have to be honest, when we start talking about large numbers of members, I was concerned that everyone have a positive experience and in fact -- get results.  Getting each member to perform the exercises correctly in a large group can be more than a challenge.  I don't want to create just any old boot camp experience, I've heard too many horror stories of injured backs, shoulders, and knees.

Besides, just jumping around and breaking a sweat anyone can do.  I want to create an experience where losing weight is the least of what you get from my class.  I want you to not only feel better, but function better.

If I'm going to create a class, I decided it would have to be with the same attention to detail and intensity that the Energy F/X Fitness brand is known for. 

So here comes DYNAMIC X.  All of the unique exercises you need to function better, the appropriate fitness level for each member, and the good old fashioned intensity that creates serious change.

Want to know more?

Check out the flyer below--

I have to apologize right up front.  I realized today, after thinking a little deeper on the issue, I may have mislead and confused some people. I claim that I want to give all of you accurate, practical information that will help you achieve your goals.

So for the record, let's get this specific issue clear.

Over the past week I have received several questions asking, "If I'm not losing weight (on the scale) am I still making progress in my training?"  This is an excellent question and a great one for Mid-Week Motivation.

The short answer is Yes!

Remember, a pound of feathers weighs the same as a pound of fat, which both weight the same as a pound of muscle. 

The difference is one of space.

Think of body fat as taking up the space of a grapefruit, while the same weight of muscle would only take the space of a tangerine.  So while you may not see the numbers change on the scale, you should notice a difference in how your clothes fit -- because your muscle takes up less space, you should see the progress in inches first, not weight.

What I mean by that is, you may not see your loss of body fat on your typical bathroom scale, but that does not mean you haven't gotten rid of some unwanted body fat.

When you begin a good nutrition and exercise program it is not unusual to initially see the overall body weight number on your typical bathroom scale actually go up. 

Why?

Because if you're like most of the population, chances are you've been under-eating.  Meaning, you've probably been consuming way too many carbohydrates and not near enough protein to feed your muscles properly.  So when you start eating properly, your muscles soak up all those extra calories because they have been starving all this time.  And in most cases, the muscles soak up the good nutrients a bit faster than you are able to burn off the extra body fat (stored sugar for energy).

To take it one step further and hopefully make this a bit more clear, think of it this way.  From what I've gathered from my research, we are all born with a certain number of fat cells and a certain number of muscles cells.  The amount of each of these does not change!

What does change is the size (volume, amount of space they take up) of each of those types of cells.  You can shrink your fat cells through exercise and good nutrition, thus creating a "smaller", healthier you.  While at the same time slightly increasing your muscle cells (which take up less space) which thus allow you took look smaller, feel better, and live longer, all without seeing much change on your typical bathroom scale.

So again, YES, you may still be making progress even if you don't see the number decreasing on your typical bathroom scale.

Lastly, I've been saying "typical bathroom scale" throughout this blog, because technology has now advanced to a point where you can buy a bathroom scale that will provide you with a body composition number (body fat compared to lean muscle).  They are relatively inexpensive and do a decent to good job of giving reliable information on which to base your progress.

So don't get down on yourself just because you don't see the number decreasing on your typical bathroom scale.  Instead, get a better bathroom scale, keep planning your meals in advance to stay on track, and get your exercise in consistently with no excuses.

Now Go Out and Get It Done!
In this day and age of information overload, sometimes it's easy to miss the important information that matters.  We are so overwhelmed with hype, commentary that's called 'reporting', and marketing hype disguised as research, it's difficult to decide what information is worth your attention.

That's where I come in --

As part of my effort of keeping you in the know, and properly informed, this article came across my desk and I just had to share it with you.  It contains many of the things you probably already know, but don't practice as strictly as you should.  In addition, it also shares some habits (you know how big I am on habits), that also lead to weight gain.

Check it out:  Worst Foods For Weight Gain

Are you a person that spends more than 6 hours a day at your desk?  Then this article is especially for you.  I had previously posted something along the lines of how sitting can effect life expectancy, but this one goes a bit further.  I cannot stress enough the importance of getting up and moving.  Your body was not made to sit or stand idle for long periods of time.  Whether it's to get a six pack or live a long, active life, movement has got to be a regular part of your weekly, if not daily, schedule.

Here's some motivation to get moving:  Inactivity is Harmful

Time and time again you've heard me mention the importance of interval cardio training as a way to shed body fat quickly and effectively.  Well here's a bit of a spin on the interval method, but using weights.  A good article to cut down on your cardio even more and still get outstanding results.

Transform your body in even less time:  Getting Serious Results


Now you have some excellent information that you can actually use to get results quickly and effectively.  And guess what, you didn't have to buy anything!

So --

Get On Track and Stay On Track!
We made it to the end of another productive week.

Since it's Friday I wanted to make sure to share with you another exercise to add to your locker of exercises to keep your routines fun, fresh, and challenging.

I've received a few questions asking for alternatives to jumping rope during circuit training.  Not everyone likes, nor can handle the impact of rope jumping.  You're in luck.  I have just the movement to help keep your hips flexible, your core working and your heart rate moving.

When I was a kid the movement was called squat thrusts and part of the Presidents Fitness Council protocol that we all had to do as part of Physical Education class.  Well times are a changing for sure, but this exercise is still one of the most challenging cardio movements I know.  The beauty of the movement is that no matter what your fitness level almost anyone can do it in modified form. 

It's a great movement to use between 3-5 resistance (weight lifting) movements to keep your heart rate elevated and give that "sprint" feeling (think interval training) between the lower heart rate of weight lifting.  In addition, because we tend to sit so much as a society, it allows you an opportunity to keep your hips flexible and functional so you can decrease your chances of back pain from stiff, inflexible hips.

In the video below I share with you 4 different versions that should meet just about any fitness level. 

So now you have no more excuses for not including a cardio component in your circuits.

And as a side note, always remember to engage your core as your perform this movement.

Jun
24
2011
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I think summer is finally here.  Feels good to have the sun out again. 

That being said, how's your body transformation going?  Still feeling motivated and getting it all done?

Or could you use a little variety to your same old routine?

Honestly, that's why I change my workout routine every 4 weeks or less.  I need the variety to help keep me motivated and challenged to reaching new levels of fitness and conditioning.

Today I want to share with you a push up version using the suspension straps -- 1- Arm Push-ups. It's a great body weight exercise that I promise will challenge you.  Even if you typically do chest press as part of your overall routine, this movement will not only activate your chest, but challenge your core as well.

                    
It's a funny thing, depending on who you ask, fitness can be defined in so many different ways.

Ask your everyday weight lifter and they'll tell you fitness is about big muscles and how much you can bench or bicep curl.

Ask a distance runner and they'll tell you fitness is about shaving time off of their distance; getting faster

Ask a yoga enthusiast and they'll talk about being able to hold a certain pose for a period of time.

Ask a mixed martial arts fighter and they'll tell you fitness is a combination of things, ranging from cardio conditioning, to flexibility, to a certain level of physical strength.

You know who is right?

They all are!

That's why it's so important that you be clear about what fitness means to you.  Because if your idea of fitness matches the mixed martial artist, running long distances and being concerned about shaving time off your best is probably not going to give you the results you want.

If you're serious about wanting to achieve your goals, it's hugely important that you pick workouts and eating programs that support your efforts.

I suspect if you're reading this blog then your goal is not the same as a distance runner, nor a yoga enthusiast.  You want to get out of pain, or transform your body now!

For those of you looking to get lean in as short a time as possible, check out this link: The End to Ordinary Cardio.

Need more motivation and an alternative cardio routine?  Check out this link: The Ultimate 8 Week, HITT, For Fat Burning Program.

And since I like to over deliver quality information, here's one more for the record:  Jump Start Your Metabolism

The above 3 links should get you in shape quickly, still in time to show off your transformed body.

So --

Get On Track and Stay On Track!
Let me first say a big Thank You to all of you that wrote in wanting more information on target heart rate.  I very much appreciate the opportunity to answer your questions so that you can get the results you deserve.

No one goes through their workout for the fun of it.  If you put the time, energy, and sweat into it you expect results, right?

What's that old saying -- Time is the currency of the 21st century.  So none of us has any time to waste doing things that don't get results.

Here's the answers to the questions I received this past week.

  • What's the big deal about the amount of time spent doing steady state cardio for weight loss?

Did you know that there is a 50-90% injury rate in the first 6 weeks for those just starting a serious exercise program?

Why?

Because most people just starting out are not prepared physically for what most programs suggest as the best way to lose body fat.  And yes, you guessed it, most programs suggest hours and hours of steady state cardio.  All those hours and miles do serious damage to the lower back, hip joints, and knees.  That's what makes interval training so effective -- it challenges you more as you get better.

  • In my previous blog I mentioned the inaccuracy of the standard 220 - age to determine your heart rate zones.  The variance of 10-12 beats for 70% of the population versus 20-24 beats for 30% of the population is important because it means the difference between not training intensely enough to get results versus risking too much intensity. 

Plain and simple it's dangerous to not wear your own heart rate monitor and not know the range that works for you. Rather than spend hours beating your lower body into oblivion, use cardio intervals to decrease your overall hours doing cardio, and increase your results.  One of the few cases where less will equal more.  Sounds like a good deal to me.

  • Why are weight lifting circuits more effective in burning fat and maintaining lean muscle?

Just doing steady state cardio does not tell your body to preserve your valuable muscle tissue.  In fact, in some cases steady state cardio will have you lose lean muscle tissue. The more lean muscle tissue you have the higher your resting metabolism (remember when you burn fat as the primary fuel source), so you want to keep as much as possible.  Weight lifting circuits tell your body to maintain the lean tissue because it needs it to lift weights, but get rid of the body fat because it decreases your efficiency.  Remember, your body's goal is go get efficient at whatever you tell it to do. So you want to maintain lean tissue and get rid of unhealthy body fat.

So there you have it.  Even more reasons to stop the useless hours of doing steady state cardio and start doing cardio intervals and/or weight lifting circuits.  You'll lose body fat quicker, look better, have more energy, and decrease your risk of injury compared to hours of steady state cardio.

Get On Track and Stay On Track!

Welcome to December! Not only are we in the midst of the holiday rush season for Christmas, it also happens to be ski season, or snow boarding as the case may be.

For many of my clients it's the time of year they've been looking forward to all year long.  We've ramped up their training over the past few months to make sure they are in proper condition (think climbing a long flight of stairs and not being out of breath), have great balance and a strong, stable core.  Remember, when it comes to winter sports or activities you are dealing with the added factor of instability because of the ice and snow.  So your program has to be well rounded to avoid possible injury.

You'd be surprised how many times I've watch gym regulars come in on crutches from late December to early February talking about a fall they've taken; some on the slopes, and some actually in the parking lot on the way to the slopes. 

I don't want that for you.  So this month I want to make sure that each of you is ready for your winter activities, whether it's skiing, snow boarding or ice skating.  Each of these activities deals with significant balance issues, having a strong and stable core, as well has having strong, yet flexible hips.  So each week of the month I will share with you warm-up techniques,  stretches, and exercises to make this season your best yet.

Funny thing about me, while I do largely focus on getting people out of pain through the use of self-massage and exercises, I happen to have also gotten really good at helping people avoid pain.  Once you've figured out how to fix a certain problem, it's not long before it becomes clear on what to do to avoid that painful experience all together.

 


For those of you that have been following my posts for any length of time, you know I believe in a proper warm-up.  And a proper warm-up is comprised of two specific elements: 1) self-massage of all the important areas, and 2) a flexibility routine to get your body fully warmed up.


I want to make an important note here regarding warming up.  I know how much I despised it when I first started over 20 years ago.  I really didn't see the value in it and quite honestly felt it was a waste of time.  Well now after years in the business of helping people get out of pain and doing research, I can tell you warming up is worth every minute.  In fact, in most cases injuries occur (minus of course impact injuries like being tackled or falling) due to a poor warm-up routine or no warm-up routine at all.  The muscles have not been adequately prepared for activity (think of trying to stretch a rubber band you've had in the refrigerator all night and then pull it out of the refrigerator and start stretching it vigorously).


So today I will share with you some techniques you may or may not be familiar with regarding self-massage.  Next week I will share with you some stretches to complete your warm-up phase. The following week will move into various exercises to make sure you are seriously ready to tackle the winter festivities.





I don't know about you, but not too many years ago when this time of season would roll around I would be filled with dread.  It would take everything I had to maintain the quality of service for my clients (vacation workouts, updated workouts, nutrition modifications, special reminders regarding stretching and rolling to keep lose, etc.), begin my own Christmas shopping, make sure I was able to get my own workouts in, as well as get the all important necessary down time -- 'cause I'm a bear if I don't get my sleep.

Over the years this pattern became a pain.  I mean I would literally start to despise the coming holiday season right around Halloween.  I could almost hear the clock winding up to begin the countdown.  And believe me that is no way to enjoy the holiday season.  I like you had worked hard all year.  This should be a time you kind of slow down and appreciate all that you have accomplished.  A time to enjoy family and friends after a busy and productive year. But what was I missing in order to create that experience?

What I finally came to understand is it's all about the plan.  If I plan in advance, the gift purchasing is easy.  I just do a little each week, starting early in November.  Then it all goes smoothly.  My "to do" list doesn't seem so overwhelming and everyone feels appreciated -- including me (because I made time for myself).

The other interesting bit of knowledge I've picked up over the years is that this process of advanced planning pretty much works for anything.  If you just take a few moments each week to get clear on where you're headed, it all tends to go rather smoothly.  Just doing a little each week. Don't leave it to the last minute and try to cram it all in.

Keeping that thought in mind, I figured why not share some recipes with you so that you can stock up on all the options, and start the new year off ready to kick some butt.  No more wondering what should I eat that is healthy for me. No more waiting till the last minute because you can't think of any healthy choices.

Instead just be sure to create a folder in your filing system labeled "Recipes" and just place the ones I share with you in that file.

Now of course you may want to take the time to organize them in certain categories like breakfast, lunch and dinner, but other than that you should be pretty much set.  Just copy them and paste them in your file.  Then as you begin planning for your success in the coming year, you'll be all set with lots of options.  People will think you're some kind of super-human because you have so many delicious and easy to make meal options.  They'll watch your body transform and wonder how you had time over the holidays to become so prepared.  Just cut and paste.

Your success is that easy.  Just take a moment to do a little planning. 

Below are two breakfast options to get you up and running right each morning.  While everyone else is slowly waking up after getting to the office, you'll be fired up and ready to take on the day -- and transforming your body at the same time. A Win-Win. I like that.


Recipe #1 Maple Walnut Apple Oatmeal (Maple_Walnut_Apple_Oatmeal.doc)

Recipe #2 Raspberry Mocha Shake (Raspberry_Mocha_Shake.doc)

These easy to prepare and very tasty options are courtesy of Gourmet Nutrition by Dr. John Berardi, Michael Williams and Kristina Andrew