It seems like every time I turn around there is yet another pseudo-science article out that just doesn't seem to hold water no matter how you try to look at it.  I mean really now, if taking a magic pill or wearing special shoes actually worked by themselves why do we still have a climbing obesity rate? 

Marketing is to sell products, not results. 

And yes, I do realize these infomercials show supposed results from real users of the product.  But let me assure you, just using the product was not the only modification they made to get those results.  Need an opinion other mine?  Check this out:

Fat Burning Myths Exposed

Over the years, I've read my share of articles when it comes to losing weight.  We all know the calories in versus calories out theory.  But I think this next link has hit on something very important and deeper than just the same old run of the mill approach.

The Real Reason You Can't Lose Weight

And finally, as you'll recall last week when I shared with you how belly fat actually can be more dangerous to your health than fat being stored elsewhere on your body. This article takes it one step further and gives you 12 ready to use steps to cut your cancer risk now!

12 Easy Ways to Slash Your Cancer Risk (and Your Waistline)

So there you have it.  More Tips, Tricks and Truths to help you get healthier and achieve that summer body before the warmer weather gets here.

Get On Track and Stay On Track!
Well over the past year I've shared a wealth of information on how you can take yourself from OK to excellent. 

You've got a do-it-yourself exercise kit, plenty of core exercises to get that midsection in shape, and a boatload of lower back stretches to make sure you stay pain free. 

But looking over all of this I realized there is one important component still missing -- circuits.  I mean it's all well and good to have lots of movements to keep yourself out of pain, but how do you put it all together to take yourself to the next level -- right?

Well this month I will share with you some circuits you can do on your own, typically with minimal equipment, to make sure you'll have your body transformed before the warm weather officially arrives.  Keeping in line with how you should train, I will start off this week by providing you a couple of basic circuits to get you started.  Then each week move up the ladder of difficulty.

Don't make the mistake I see so many people at the gym make, trying to do the most difficult exercises they can find, just because they saw someone with a great physique doing them.  Start off easy and then progress to more difficult movements/exercises.  And most importantly to remember when it comes to doing circuits -- it's not the movements, but the sequencing of movements that's really the secret.  What order you place your movements/exercises is really the key to getting a good workout.

Here are your first two circuits to get you started:

Circuit 1
  • Squats (with flavor -- on my you tube channel)
  • Rear Deltoids
  • Lunges (back) (you tube channel)
  • Bicep Curls (dumbbell)
  • Deadlifts (you tube channel)
  • Triceps
  • Y, T, M (see link to website below)
  • Lunges (back)
  • 1-Arm Row


Circuit 2
  • Squat (with flavor -- on my you tube channel)
  • Chest Press (dumbbell)
  • Rear Deltoids
  • Lunge (back) to Bicep Curls
  • Deadlifts
  • Triceps
  • Pull-Ups
  • Lunge (back) to Shoulder Press
  • Breast Stroke (see you tube channel)
  • Jump Rope (60-100 times around)

Circuit_2_Cheat_Sheet_--_Blog_Post_5-6-2011.pdf

Each of these movements should be done for 10-15 repetitions.  And as is consistent with a circuit, move from one exercise to the next, until the entire circuit is completed.  Take a 2-3 minute break and start the cycle over again.  Do this for 2-3 times through the entire circuit.  Depending on your fitness level, figure 2-3 times per week should give you quite a workout.

Don't forget to check out my You Tube Channel, or the Rehab Section of my website, if you need a video reminder of some of the movements.

Let me know how these work for you.
Some days it feels as though I live on two different planets. 

One based in the reality of research and what I've seen work, day in and day out with my clientele, as well as what I witness other fitness coaches doing with their clientele and getting results.

Then there's the other world.  The world of marketing and infomercials where product 'X" is said to achieve certain results based on science I never heard of, nor can find in the vast array of information on the internet.  So I'll call my guru and ask him and he can't make heads or tails of it either.  Which by the way usually means it's a load of poo. 

But that doesn't seem to stop the marketing machine from turning and producing more fantastic and mythical products that will allow you to exert minimal effort and yet get maximum results.  Sometimes it's so painful to watch I have to just switch off the TV -- yelling at the TV doesn't seem to be very effective -- though it feels darn good.  Let's deal in reality.

Do you think it matters where you hold body fat?  I mean besides the fact that you don't want it at all, do you think there is actually a place on your body where, having body fat in this area is actually more dangerous to your health?

Believe it or not, there actually is a difference. Where your body stores body fat actually can determine the length and quality of your life.  Don't believe me?  Check this out and get motivated:

Belly Fat Study and Heart Disease

Want to lose that body fat, but not sure what was the best way -- interval training by far is the best way to lose body fat quickly and effectively.  As long as you do not have a history of heart disease or other coronary issues in your family, and with your doctor's permission, I would encourage anyone who is serious about transforming their body, to explore the outstanding benefits of interval training.

Here's a recent study with even better reasons to explore the option:

Interval Training Study

OK, so now you're convinced and motivated to get more activity into your life.  But as we all know, just losing weight isn't the real key. 

No, not by a long shot.

The true key component to losing weight, is losing the right weight -- meaning body fat!  

Just stepping on the scale and seeing the number go down may make you feel better, but it doesn't mean you're getting any healthier. However, decreasing your overall body fat does mean you're adding years and quality to your life. 

Take my word for it. 

I've measured clients that weigh the exact same and have shown different body fat numbers. 

And guess what?

They look a great deal different. You could be 120lbs and 15% body fat or you could be 120lbs and 30% body fat.  The person with the lower body fat will look leaner, have more energy, a higher quality of life and typically (bad personal habits excluded) a longer life span.

Need a home scale to help you stay on track that will give you reliable info and won't break the bank?

Best Bathroom Scales (be sure to click on the link that says "best bathroom scales")



There's your Truth, Tips, and some serious reality -- Now Get on Track and Stay on Track!
Whether you're trying to transform your body, get out of pain, or just want to get a bit more healthy, at times it can be difficult to know what to believe is the right way to do things, to get the results you want and deserve. 

The marketing machine is well oiled, will jump on any information, and will bend that information to create a certain opinion.

What the heck am I talking about, you ask? 

How many of you have heard that egg yolks are bad for you?  It appears marketing has done an excellent job in convincing many of us that the yolk of the egg is "bad" and you shouldn't eat it.  Well here's a little broader perspective on just what's in that yolk you throw away.

Truth About Eggs

Then there's the hidden things we can't blame on marketing but in fact keep from ourselves.  The truth about why we do the things we do.  Or better yet, why we eat the things we eat.  The secret ways we sabotage ourselves sometimes consciously and sometimes unconsciously. 

Food Can't Hug You Back

And when all is said and done it really boils down to your mindset.  Commercials and most infomercials serve a specific purpose -- and usually it's not to help you actually achieve your specific goal(s).  No, the marketing machine is interested in the success of their business.  And if we're going to be honest, no matter what the marketing machine throws at you, we all at some level realize their goal is to sell more of product 'X'.  They have little to no real vested interest in you achieving your goals. 

Monday is Never Coming

So there you go.  A few extra bits of reliable info, that you can wrap your brain around, and get a perspective that will help you achieve the results you want and deserve.  All without selling you anything.

Get On Track and Stay On Track!
I've posted a great deal of what I consider excellent info over the past year.  But I have to tell you this is probably one of the most important posts to date.

Building on last weeks article "Is Your Ab Workout Hurting Your Back", here are 6 more no-no's for training at the gym.

You can train to look and function better without putting yourself in danger.
_________________________________________________________________

Walking into the gym and expecting a great workout is like walking into the supermarket and expecting a gourmet meal. The basic ingredients are there, but like they say in the infomercials, results may vary. With working out, as with cooking, a little bit of smarts, dedication, creativity and knowledge will make all the difference between perfect pasta and a gelatinous ball of mush.

For this list of no-no exercises, we consulted Stuart McGill, PhD, professor of spine biomechanics at the University of Waterloo, in Ontario; Nicholas DiNubile, MD, author of FrameWork: Your 7-Step Program for Healthy Muscles, Bones, and Joints; and trainer Vern Gambetta, author of Athletic Development: The Art & Science of Functional Sports Conditioning.

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1. Seated Leg Extension
What it's supposed to do: Train the quadriceps. What it actually does: It strengthens a motion your legs aren't actually designed to do, and can put undue strain on the ligaments and tendons surrounding the kneecaps.

A better exercise: One-legged body-weight squats. Lift one leg up and bend the opposite knee, dipping as far as you can, with control, while flexing at the hip, knee, and ankle. Use a rail for support until you develop requisite leg strength and balance. Aim for five to 10 reps on each leg. (If you are susceptible to knee pain, do the Bulgarian split squat instead, resting the top of one foot on a bench positioned two to three feet behind you. Descend until your thigh is parallel to the ground and then stand back up. Do five to 10 reps per leg.)

http://a323.yahoofs.com/phugc/ct0kTg46uj9z/photos/7162ece89baaf654e5e739df32da2a15/mr_13a07301cfe596.jpg?ug_____DKADfJkp9

2. Seated Lat Pull-Down (Behind the Neck)
What it's supposed to do: Train lats, upper back, and biceps. What it actually does: Unless you have very flexible shoulders, it's difficult to do correctly, so it can cause pinching in the shoulder joint and damage the rotator cuff.

A better exercise: Incline pull-ups. Place a bar in the squat rack at waist height, grab the bar with both hands, and hang from the bar with your feet stretched out in front of you. Keep your torso stiff, and pull your chest to the bar 10 to 15 times. To make it harder, lower the bar; to make it easier, raise the bar.

http://a323.yahoofs.com/phugc/ZkXcTPecoh8i/photos/3b87a464cfac6d2bb635e65510fb0e5a/ori_62bced6b5a4242.jpg?ug_____Dgw81nDJP

 

3. Seated Hip Abductor Machine
What it's supposed to do: Train outer thighs. What it actually does: Because you are seated, it trains a movement that has no functional use. If done with excessive weight and jerky technique, it can put undue pressure on the spine.

A better exercise: Place a heavy, short, looped resistance band around your legs (at your ankles); sidestep out 20 paces and back with control. This is much harder than it sounds.

 

http://a323.yahoofs.com/phugc/cIH3A7j3jXec/photos/b9bc24401b039426a3d5d881bcc8c1e2/ori_bba20ccf4a15fd.jpg?ug_____D4QoXFaim

 

4. Seated Leg Press
What it's supposed to do: Train quadriceps, glutes, and hamstrings. What it actually does: It often forces the spine to flex without engaging any of the necessary stabilization muscles of the hips, glutes, shoulders, and lower back.

A better exercise: Body-weight squats. Focus on descending with control as far as you can without rounding your lower back. Aim for 15 to 20 for a set and increase sets as you develop strength.

http://a323.yahoofs.com/phugc/mo9oEvqSq0mn/photos/5289806919787ef592430c0709e79cd9/mr_305b855eeef492.jpg?ug_____DSEWx2UVs

5. Squats Using Smith Machine
What it's supposed to do: Train chest, biceps, and legs. What it actually does: The alignment of the machine—the bar is attached to a vertical sliding track—makes for linear, not natural, arched movements. This puts stress on the knees, shoulders, and lower back.

A better exercise: Body-weight or weighted squats. See "Seated Leg Press" above.

http://a323.yahoofs.com/phugc/0Q1meMmJNjvW/photos/e6c545383b88e1c89f321bf56fda767f/ori_5724e87d90ede2.jpg?ug_____DUZxsoQrx

 

6. Roman Chair Back Extension
What it's supposed to do: Train spinal erectors. What it actually does: Repeatedly flexing the back while it's supporting weight places pressure on the spine and increases the risk of damaging your disks.

A better exercise: The bird-dog. Crouch on all fours, extend your right arm forward, and extend left leg backward. Do 10 seven-second reps, and then switch to the opposite side.

___________________________________________________________________________

So the next time you decide to do a certain exercise or machine just because someone else does it and happens to have a nice body -- think again.  Chances are their genetics have more to do with how they look and not the dangerous exercise they've chosen.  If you have a question, send me an email.  I'd be happy to help.
How many times have we all been told growing up as children, that breakfast was the most important meal of the day?  And yet as adults, how many people do you know that continually skip breakfast for all sorts of reasons?  No matter what type of research you give them they seem to refuse to take that extra 5-10 minutes to start their day off right and kick their metabolism on to burn fat.

It seems no matter how often you tell someone the importance of something, their habits will win out, even in the face of evidence.

Fortunately I tend to be a bit stubborn.  I honestly believe that if you can show someone the benefits of doing something a certain way they will make a change.  In most cases, the people that continually skip breakfast still haven't been told information that is important enough to them to make them change their behavior.

Funny thing is the same excuses these people give for not making time for breakfast, are usually the same type of excuses they make for not making exercise part of their weekly routine.  Well, let's see if this motivates you towards a slight change in your habits.

7 Lies We All Tell Ourselves

And then of course I still get the regular emails and face to face questions regarding how hard it is to take 5-10 extra minutes in the morning for breakfast.  As well as the usual, "I'm not a breakfast person because I don't like breakfast foods".  Well here's a little reminder on the importance of breakfast, as well as some very helpful recipes to make sure you get your metabolism awake and burning fat before you even hit the office.

Breakfast and Weight Loss

I apologize, I couldn't resist.  I was cleaning out my office, which seems to be a never ending task, and I came across this article on abdominal training and back injuries.  Couldn't resist the opportunity to share it with you -- especially considering the many times I've advocated for more core training done the "right way".

Is Your Ab Workout Hurting Your Back?

So now you have even more choices and reasons to get the most important meal of day -- breakfast.  Not to mention some great insight as to why I've been making such a fuss about training your abs properly -- to avoid potential injury. 

Heck, if the leading spine bio-mechanics expert in the country suggests the same movements I've been asking you to do, and demonstrating on my You Tube Channel, then maybe it's time you stop beating up your spine and instead trained your abs-- properly.

I think it's time to --

Get On Track and Stay On Track
Mar
28
2011
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I don't know exactly where I heard it, but there is a quote that goes something like this:

" A truly wise person doesn't have all the answers.  But the truly wise person does know where to look for the answers."

I will readily admit I don't know everything.  But the funny thing about me is that I am willing to look long enough to find the information I need.

Over the past few weeks I provided you with meal options, diagrams on why it's important to eat on a regular basis, information regarding portion control, and a host of other items, sure to give you the info you need to create the changes you want to see in your body.

Well this Monday is no different.  I want to share with you an amazing article on the lessons other people have experienced when trying to lose weight and get lean. 

Why?

Because all too often I think when we get frustrated in trying to achieve a goal, we think we are all alone in our experience.  Sometimes it helps to know that someone else has gone through the same thing -- and how they overcame that stumbling block.

Below is a link to a great article on how to get lean and the stumbling blocks that can sometimes occur.  As well as some good old to the point suggestions on how to get over those stumbling blocks.

http://www.precisionnutrition.com/9-leanness-lessons

I believe John Wooden said, "Don't let what you can't do, stop you from doing what you can do".

Get On Track and Stay On Track!
Without a doubt, physical pain questions are by far the one's I get most often.  It doesn't matter if you sit at a desk all day long, run every morning, or workout at the gym 3x/week.  If you're not doing some sort of well thought out stretching program in addition to self-massage, it's just a matter of when you'll have pain, not if.

So for all the parts that tend to hurt, here's a little cheat sheet to get you out of pain fast and keep you that way.

Cheat Sheet


Of course, I'm sure you've already guessed that the second most popular questions I receive are those concerning nutrition.  With all of the misinformation out there in the media, it can truly be a chore to figure out what works and what doesn't.  It's really not that difficult believe it or not.

It boils down to a very basic principle when it comes to nutrition -- portion control.  Meaning having a template of what each and every meal should look like on your plate.  That's the easiest way by far to keep you on track with your nutrition.  Realistically I understand most people are not going to measure out their food.  It's much more accurate, but it's not realistic for the majority of the population.  Here's a simple trick/template to help you stay on track with your nutrition so you can see results by the time warm weather arrives.

Cheat Sheet 2

So there you have it. 

Whether it's some sort of pain you're in that you're ready to be rid of, or if you need a little help getting started with an easy to use nutrition guide, the above two references should get you on track quickly and effectively. 

There's no need to be in pain, life is too short. 

And there's no reason to be confused about what works when it comes to nutrition.  Don't be mislead by slick media.

Get On Track and Stay On Track!
Mar
07
2011
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I don't know if you are realize why I make such a big deal of eating regularly.  And by regularly, I mean eating a balanced meal every 2.5 to 3.5 hours.  Yes, I realize it's a pain in the behind.  Yes, I realize sometimes your meeting schedule for that day doesn't cooperate, I understand.  But you'll need to find a way to get some nourishment in every 2.3-3.5 hours each day.

Why?

Because that is approximately the amount of time it takes before your body has burned through the previous meal.  And as long as we're being honest about it, it's about the time your blood sugar is beginning to drop off.  And we all know what happens when your blood sugar begins to drop.  Outside of being loopy and distracted, you'll notice it's harder to keep focused, and think clearly.  Basically it just takes so much more energy to get the job in front of you done.

Now, add to that, if you make a habit of skipping meals it actually sends the message to your body to store calories.  That's right, store calories (think increased body fat). 

Why?

Because as corny as it sounds, your body is a survival machine. We out survived the dinosaurs for a reason -- our ability to adapt.  One of the reasons we've been so good at survival in tough times is because our bodies respond to our eating habits.  When food was scarce, whether from drought or cold (depending on where your ancestors lived), your metabolism slows down.  In that way it ensures that you will not starve to death (conserving energy).  That's kind of an important thing don't you think.

Well, flash forward, if you consistently skip (go over 3.5 hours without eating something substantial) meals you are in fact sending your body the same type of message -- caloric deprivation or "food is scarce".  Being the great survival machine that it is, your body will slow down your metabolism to make sure you don't starve (think conserving gasoline). 

So any ideas you had about losing weight or getting lean -- scratch 'em.  Your body is focused on survival because you've been missing meals.

Now, on the other hand, when you feed your body every 2.5-3.5 hours, your sending your body the message that it does not need to store calories -- because you are feeding it consistently (think decreased body fat).

Obviously if there's no need to store calories (evidenced by the regular meal schedule) then your body will (with a good exercise program) proceed to get lean by speeding up the metabolism and burning fuel (food) efficiently.

And to make sure you have your meal options, I've included some snack options to help you stay on track.  Last week was breakfast choices.  This week let's cover the morning and afternoon snacks.  Next week I'll make sure you stay on track with some lunch options.

Snack Options (mini meals):

Romaine Tuna Wraps (Romaine_Tuna_Wraps.doc)

Mint Chocolate Shake (Mint_Chocolate_Shake.doc)

Raspberry Mocha Shake (Raspberry_Mocha_Shake.doc)

And remember there is always the trusty Pita Pocket (cut in half) with 4-6 oz. of your favorite meat, lettuce, tomato and a low fat topping.

That's the Big Deal!
 
So get your meals in.  It just takes a little creativity.  Don't find problems, Find Solutions!
Feb
28
2011
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I realize it may be hard to believe, but we are just about to begin March.  Which means the first quarter is almost over. 

Stay with me here. 

Which means the first 3 months of the year are almost over.  How's your body transformation -- project, resolution, promise, or whatever you're calling it going?

You know you could just start off by having a good breakfast to start getting back on track.

I don't know how it happens, but for some reason breakfast seems to be the most difficult meal to get most people to eat consistently.  I've heard all the excuses from "I don't have time", to "I don't eat eggs", to "I'm really not that hungry in the morning". Trust me if you've been sleeping for 6-8 hours or more, your body is hungry -- even if you don't feel like eating. 
However, if you keep that pattern up, of not eating breakfast, you encourage your body to store calories as body fat.

Why?

Because if you continue to tell your body it will be underfed the amount of calories it needs (which is what you do when you skip breakfast), it will do what it was made to do -- survive.  Thus it will store calories and slow your metabolism down, so that it can conserve energy (think a slow metabolism makes it extremely difficult to lose weight).

So whether you're working to get lean and ripped for summer, or just wanted to get rid of a few pounds, breakfast is the most efficient way to do that no matter how you slice it.

Being committed to your success, I'm going to make this super easy for those of you who consistently skip breakfast for any reason.  Below you'll find some easy recipes to get the right food in your stomach, and still get you to work on time.

Remember, when you eat a proper breakfast consistently you start your metabolism off right.  Meaning, you send the message to your body not to store calories because you will be feeding it the nutrients it needs consistently.

I'm sure you can find at least one option below that will suit your tastes and time schedule.

Don't find an excuse.  Find the solution.







Check back with me next week and I will share with you some lunch options to help keep you on track and reaching your goals.