Happy July 4th.  As promised here you go!

I feel like it's time for this post.  Whether it's in person at the gym, or through email, people often ask me, "what are the things I absolutely have to do to get my body to change quickly".  Now 9 times out of 10 I usually try to avoid this question because if I give you the 5 things that absolutely need to be done, most people do 3.  And then they wonder why they aren't getting results. 

But, I figure I've been asked enough at this point that it's about time to give you the secrets to getting the body you want in as short a period of time as possible.

Ready?

There are literally 5 things that you absolutely have to do to get your body to change quickly.  You follow these 5 rules and I can virtually guarantee you will get the body you want in as short a period of time as possible.  This isn't based on theory, these are the techniques I use with my clients that get results fast!

1.) Warm-up:
Take the time to do a good 10-15 minute warm-up. And I don't mean going to jump on some piece of cardio equipment. Research shows that's a waste of 10-15 minutes.  Instead, do some self massage.  It will serve the same purpose of getting your body ready for exercise, and even better, it helps to alleviate the knots and tight muscles that come from sitting or standing all day long.  Truth be known, it will also decrease your chances of injury dramatically.  Need a little reminder (self-massage warm-up)

Follow this warm-up with some good old fashioned stretching.  Yes, the jury is still deliberating as to whether stretching is beneficial, but my experience has been it works wonders to prepare your muscles for the workout ahead. Here's a quick reminder on the stretches (warm-up stretches)

2.) Core:
From what I can tell too many people leave training their midsection to last, when they are tired from their workout.  And then if they do actually train their abs/core, it's half-hearted at best, usually only doing some kind of crunches, and thus get little to no benefit.  Training your core is as important, if not more important, than any other body part. Here's couple to get you started (core exercise examples)

3.) Resistance:
If I haven't done a good job of it before, let me clarify now, if you want to change your body and get lean, resistance exercise is the absolutely the best way to do this.  And to the women out there who think lifting weights will make you bulky, not so. Women typically do not produce enough testosterone to even come close to creating the bulky physique they worry about.

That being said, resistance training doesn't have to be lifting weights.  You can use bands, suspension straps, or traditional weights if you prefer.

Circuit                                                                                 Circuit   
Squats (with flavor -- see my you tube channel)                Squats (with flavor --you tube channel)
Lateral Raises                                                                     Chest Press (dumbbell)
Split Squats                                                                        Rear Deltoids
Push ups                                                                             Lunge (back) to Bicep Curls
Deadlifts                                                                             Deadlifts
Back (seated row)                                                               Triceps
Step up to balance and shoulder press                                  Pull-ups
Bicep Curls (dumbbell)                                                         Lunge (back) to Shoulder Press
Tricep Push-downs                                                               Breast Stroke (see you tube channel)
Jump Rope --- 70-100 times                                                 Jump Rope -- 70-100 times
                                                                                        
Circuit_3_Cheat_Sheet.pdf                                            Circuit_3a_Cheat_Sheet.pdf

4.) Cardio:
If you've been following my blogs for any length of time you know I'm big on doing intervals for cardio.  Because it gets the job done quickly with minimal damage to the knees, hips, and lower back.

Equally effective and a big favorite of mine is kettle bells.  With some proper instruction, this activity is the absolute best for burning calories, strengthening your core, as well as building some solid muscle in the hips and glutes (butt).

Follow this program with a good cool down stretch (the same movements you did to warm-up) and you should be on your way to a transformed body in a few weeks.

5.) Nutrition:
I'll keep this short, as this is becoming a bit long.  Whether you call it the Paleo diet, Mediterranean diet or anything else, staying with lean meats, minimal starchy carbs such as breads and pastas, plenty of veggies, and some nuts is the best way to go.  Need a little more clarification?  Here you go (nutrition made easy).

Get on Track and Stay on Track!
I thought about it for quite some time before I decided on this title.  I look at it this way, you have an owner's manual for everything from your toaster, to your blender, cell phone, automobile, computer, and stove, etc.  And let's be honest, how well you follow the owner's manual great decides how long that item will last.  Either you follow the manual and have significant success or you don't and . . . . 

Pretty much anything that has any value to you, you have an owner's manual for, right?  But for some reason when it comes to getting out of pain or improving the quality of your fitness, people just tend to "wing-it".  Then they wonder why they get the results they get.  It's not by accident.

But there is so much information out there, how do you know what is good information guiding you in the right direction and how much is just hype and trends? 

Check out today's video blog and know which is the right information that will help you quickly build your own manual.

As promised here are 2 more delicious recipes to add to your growing file.  We all have busy schedules, this time of year more than ever.  But that shouldn't mean all of your hard work should go out the window.  Whether you're committing to a new year of losing those extra pounds or just looking for a change in your usual day to day of staying on track, these recipes are sure to help.  They are quick, tasty, and will definitely keep you on track.

Remember, food that is good for you can actually taste good too.  All too often I hear people avoid making good food choices because they believe they have to give up flavor.  Not with these.  The second biggest reason I hear is that making food that is good for you just takes too much time.  Again, not with these.  But I will admit it will require some planning on your part to make sure you get all of your meals in each day.  And heck if it tastes good, all the more motivation to take as little as 5 minutes to whip up something that tastes good going down and gives your body what it needs to stay healthy and assist you in getting in better shape. 

Don't fall into the easy excuses.  Take a few minutes and cut and paste these to your file.  Good food and get in shape at the same time -- sounds like a win/win to me.  Enjoy!

Recipe #1:  Mint Chocolate Shake (Mint_Chocolate_Shake.doc)

Recipe #2:  Sauteed Salmon (Sauteed_Salmon.doc)
It was recently brought to my attention that I could probably eat cardboard with a few spices and it wouldn't bother me at all.  Fortunately for me, cardboard has no nutritional value.  I don't know, I guess I'm just weird that way. 

It's said that some people over-indulge with food to meet other needs besides nutrition.  This type of person tends to go overboard with the sauces, sugars, breads, etc.  I'm just the opposite.  I mainly eat for function.  And if it was a choice between a flavorful meal that would take an hour to make or eating right now a nutritious meal but with little flavor, I'd probably pick the latter of the two.

Don't get me wrong, I thoroughly enjoy a flavorful and nutritious meal, it's just that often times my schedule gets so busy that I skimp.  No, I refuse to go grab fast food, or some other highly processed food substitute.  No, I admit it, I'm willing to skimp on taste.

So believe me when I tell you I am really excited and appreciate this recipe book-- Gourmet Nutrition by Dr. John M. Berardi, Michael Williams and Kristina Andrew.  It is full of quick, tasty, good for you meal options all in one spot.  The authors probably saved my life and don't even know it.

Now I can stop eating cardboard. 

I refuse to waste your time with any hoopla about something that tastes good when it doesn't, just because it meets some nutritional number guide. I am actually coming to appreciate taking my break and enjoying my meals these days.  And believe me that is a nice change of pace.

So don't forget to cut and paste these to your filing cabinet on recipes so you'll be ready for next year.

No more excuses!


Recipe #1: Chai Blueberry Oatmeal (Chai_Blueberry_Oatmeal.doc)


Recipe #2: Turkey Sausage and Yam Hash Browns (Turkey_Sausage_and_Yam_Hash_Browns.doc)


As always, let me know what you think.  I always appreciate your feedback.
In this day and age when you say you're going to do something, you better darn well do it.  I'm sure we are all tired of the "Oh, let's do lunch".  And you don't hear from the person for weeks or months.

A handshake and your word is pretty much all you really have when it comes to establishing your integrity.  In this day of information (overload in some cases), it's pretty easy to have something witty or interesting to say.  But how many people actually back it up with action?  It has been my experience that those individuals are few and far between.  A mentor of mine once told me, "under promise and over deliver".  When it comes to establishing your credibility follow through on what you tell others you are going to do. In fact, over deliver on what you committed to doing.  It let's people know that they can count on you, that your word actually means something.

Well, in keeping with my promise to make sure you are ready for the coming year with lots of recipes to help keep you on track and not spend hours in the kitchen preparing food, here are two more to add to your file called "recipes". 

I sincerely want you to have a variety of meal choices that are tasty, good for you and are easy to prepare (take as little time as possible).  Goodness knows, we all have enough to do in our daily lives.  Spending hours in the kitchen to create a nutritious, tasty meal is not to motivating.  In fact it will just increase the chances of you getting off track and grabbing some highly processed alternative to a good meal.

So let's keep it simple.

Recipe #1:  Microwave Orange Roughy (Microwave_Orange_Roughy.doc)

Recipe #2:  Chicken a la King Kong (Chicken_a_la_King_Kong.doc)


Remember, plan your meals in advance.  It will make the day so much easier, and I'll bet, make you much more productive as well.
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
I just finished listening to a gym member rave about some new book they picked up that they just swear is the "BIG SECRET" to losing weight.  This person went on and on about how easy it is to prepare the food, how much they like the options for food, and probably most importantly -- how much they enjoy the taste of the food.

I've been in the Health, Fitness and Wellness Industry for over 25 years.  I've seen literally tons of fad diets come and go. I've seen just as many people rally behind these so called "big secrets" as if they were the fountain of youth. And though some stayed on the band wagon, many became disenchanted with diet "X" and moved on to the next fad.  Only to rally around that one as the new "big secret", etc.  I think you get the point.

What I'm trying to say is that the program that works, the "Biggest Kept Secret" is you finding a program, a structure that works for you. It's not the program, there are literally hundreds of diet books on the shelves of any bookstore.  The secret is you.  Are you willing to make the commitment to preparing your food in advance?  Are you willing to say no to the abundance of holiday treats that will be coming your way shortly.  And if you can't say no, only taste -- don't feast on dead calories.

There is nothing you can't accomplish if you truly put your mind to it.  This is just a matter of taking baby steps and getting your feet wet.  Plan one meal per day that you are committed to eating properly no matter what. In a week or so, make it two meals, etc. Next thing you know, you'll have your own Big Secret!

Here are two recipes to help you create your own "Big Secret".

1.)  Steamed Halibut (Steamed_Halibut.doc)

2.) Baked Chicken Strips (Baked_Chicken_Strips.doc)

These tasty and quick to prepare meals are courtesy of Gourmet Nutrition by Dr. John Berardi, Michael Williams, and Kristina Andrew
Well, I don't know how we got to the end of October so quickly, but here we are yet again. And if you've been to any shopping malls or large department stores, you know they are already playing Christmas music.  OUCH!  I mean c'mon, we haven't even gotten through Thanksgiving and they are already pushing us to Christmas.

What it does serve as, is a reminder that the holidays are coming.  That means small bowls of candy throughout the office, cookies and cakes being brought in to share (I can think of better gifts to share) with others, and the usual holidays gatherings like Christmas parties, Thanksgiving dinners with family and friends, and of course Christmas dinner. To put it simply, lots of extra calories in the form of candies, cookies, cakes, and other tempting delectable treats that will derail your efforts to stay on track.
                                                                                                                                                                                    
Are you ready?  I mean ready with habits and coping strategies in place to be sure you're not one of the people that gains the typical 7-15lbs over the holiday?

If you're like most of the people I've talked to, you probably haven't even really thought about it.  During this time of year it is critical that you have a plan and coping strategies to keep your habits under control; and you on track through the holidays.

I want you to succeed!

And part of that responsibility is that I provide you with info that is outstanding and ready to use right out of the box.  This is one of those instances.

I was recently emailed this article that really got my thinking cap working overtime. 

Don't let the title fool you.  There is some seriously good information, tips and strategies to help you get your habits in shape before the holidays.

Trust me, take a look over the quick tips here and then click on the link below. I want to give a Big Thanks to Precision Nutrition for posting this article.
___________________________________________________________________________________________

Tips for losing fat from naturally skinny people

How can you learn to think and act like a naturally skinny person in order to reap the benefits for fat loss? Here are some tips.

  • Understand that you have a lot of control over your eating behaviour, regardless of your physiology.
  • Food is just food. It should not be used as a reward or an emotional outlet.
  • Reprioritize food and put it in its proper place — as something that tastes good and sustains us, but should not dominate our thinking.
  • Pay attention to your physical cues. Start eating when you’re physically hungry and stop when you’re physically full.
  • Change your expectations of fullness. Stop before you feel stuffed, or even “full”.
  • Understand that cravings come and go. Ignore the cravings, distract yourself, and don’t keep problem foods in the house.
  • Keep moving, as much as possible.
  • It’s OK to say no to food in social situations. The more you assert yourself, the more people will get used to it.
  • In order for behaviour to change, your identity has to change. Skinny guys have to think of themselves as bigger and more muscular; heavier folks have to think of themselves as working towards being lean athletes.
  • Portion sizing is important. Your idea of the correct portion may be wrong.
  • Change requires practice. The more you practice eating smaller (or larger) meals, the more your body will get used to it.
  • Make your behaviours match your goals. If you’re constantly acting in ways that self-sabotage, you either need to change the behaviours or your goals. In any case, be realistic and honest about what you are doing.


Get the Full Story Here:  Ready For Some Cutting Edge, Useful Info
I can't say it enough.  If you're serious about making changes in your body there are 2 specific things you've got to do:

1.) Plan and if possible, prepare your meals ahead of time to make sure you stay on track with your nutrition, and

2.) You've got to get your daily exercise. And if you can't do it daily, start with 1 day a week and build to a minimum of 3 days per week.
                                                                                                                                                                                       
That being said, I can't tell you how often I hear people complain about how hard it is to stay on track with food.  Now of course when questioned they readily admit that they are not sticking to any real food plan, they just kind of wing it all day.  And of course at the end of a few weeks they wonder why they don't see any changes in their body composition.

I know it's a worn out cliche, but if you don't plan for your success how do you think it will happen?

The 2 largest complaints I hear from people when it comes to sticking to a food plan, is that the food is tasteless and uninspiring, and they don't have time.  Well, here are two recipes below that are big on flavor and easy to prepare. They taste good and are darn good for you. Even better is that they don't take any longer to prepare than any other home cooked meal. 

As you know, this month is all about keeping it simple.  Here are two simple recipes to help you stay on track.

Salmon or Sole in Parchment on a bed of Greens & Julienne Root Vegetables
(Salmon_or_Sole_in_Parchment_on_a_bed_of_Greens.doc)

They say breakfast is the most important meal of the day.  Problem is most people eat a cold cereal or worse.  Well here's an option that tastes great, takes almost no time to make and is packed with nutrients.

Leafy Green Protein Shake (Leafy_Green_Protein_Shake.doc)

These are courtesy of Elizabeth Brown, MS, RD "The Kitchen Vixen"
eat2liv@earthlink.net

Thanks Elizabeth for keeping the daily grind full of nutrients and flavor.
I'm feeling a little bit down today.  I don't know exactly why, but I guess I'm really seeing the other side when it comes to the advances in technology.  I mean don't get me wrong, I appreciate the multitude of features on my cell phone, the vast TV channel selections, the advances in medicine, and our ability to create more green technology.

The problem that has me down is, it unfortunately seems as though people think that fitness and body transformation should happen at the same speed as technological advances. And what really sucks about that is. . . . . . The Body Doesn't Work Like That ! I like to call it Spray Tan Fitness (more on that next week). It seems people believe you can just show up at the gym, talk most of the time they're there and expect to get results. Kind of like getting a spray tan (which is not a bad thing, since it keeps you away from ultraviolet rays, it just doesn't work when it comes to fitness).

Sure you can drop a few pounds quickly by cutting out certain food groups for a short period of time. But it's not a lifestyle you can maintain and so the weight comes back. Sure you can get certain surgeries done to get you to lose weight, but from what I read you risk your life by having the surgery. Sure you can even take certain pills to assist you. But low and behold, when you come off of them you have to do the work of proper nutrition consistently and daily exercise.

I want you to understand, if there was a quick fix to weight loss, or avoiding pain, an easy way, I'd have found the book or product, found out where they sold it and for how much, and sent you an email each day to tell you about it.  Sadly the truth is, it will take some level of work and effort on your part to change your body.  There are no quick fixes, no magic pills, no creams, no potions.

However, on a brighter note, the ways to lose weight, keep it off, get out of pain and stay that way, are all pretty simple. You commit to doing the simple tasks on a daily basis and you will get results, 9 times out of 10.

So in keeping with the theme this month, here are 3 More Easy Ways to Change Your Body. They are straight and to the point. And guess what?  If you apply them, they work like magic.

Check out the video below and let me know what you think.