Archive for October, 2012

How to not get fat on Halloween

I know it. You know it. Your kids really know it. You are going to slowly eat all of your children's best Halloween candy when they aren't looking.   This will go on until one day your kid will wake up to a bag of those orange and black candies, a Chick-O-Stick, and some UNICEF change. Happens every year.   So what's a health conscious, candy stealing parent to do? First let's pick out the top five Halloween candies and then make up some health benefits for the candy to make us feel better about eating them.   1. Snickers-Nougat improves backgammon performance by 74% 2. 3 Musketeers-3 times the health benefits of a single musketeer 3. Reese's peanut butter cup-Peanut butter is better for you in chocolate cup form 4. Nerds-Pure sugar, but it is hard to get them stuck in your windpipe 5. Baby Ruth-Clears everybody out of the pool for you to swim laps   Next you need to make a list of exercises to match up with the candy. For instance: 1. Snickers-50 pushups 2. 3 Musketeers-30 burpees 3. Reese's-50 squats 4. Nerds-100 jumping jacks 5. Baby Ruth-Run a half of a mile   Every time you eat one of the candies, you have to do what's on the list for that candy. The benefits will be two-fold when you do this. Not only will you be getting in shape, but it will also make you think twice about stealing so much candy. Feel free to change the exercises and candies to fit your sweet tooth preference and fitness level.   You can get your kids involved as well. They get a certain amount of candy, then they have to earn additional candy with exercise or even chores. So glad my parents never thought of this stuff.   The most effective way to help your kids to be healthy, is to be healthy yourself. Not by talking about it, but by showing them with your actions every day that exercise and proper nutrition are a priority.

4 Steps For Increasing Self Discipline

You know a key to life that is missing from a lot of our lives? Discipline. It is not a very common trait these days. It takes discipline to not go buy whatever you want whenever you want it (massive credit card debt), it takes discipline to raise kids right (troubled kids), it especially takes discipline to be healthy (obesity epidemic).    It is not easy to stay healthy these days. With people working more and more hours, fast food everywhere, 500 channels of TV to watch, etc... it takes time and effort to break through all that. I know a lot of people that are super disciplined in everything in their life, except their health.    I practice discipline every day in my workouts. I do 90% of my workouts in my garage by myself. The weights start getting really cold this time of year, tons of distractions, 100 other things I could be doing, but I get out there and get it done. My wife can tell you, I am undisciplined in a lot of other things. My car is a WRECK, my home office is a WRECK, my face is HANDSOME, wait what? You have to take care of you first. If you let your health decline and get really sick, does a dirty house really matter that much?   Are you like that? Extremely disciplined in one area and terribly undisciplined in another? Well here are a few tips to help increase self discipline.
1. Keep the goal in mind
I can’t remember the last time I took a week off from working out when I wasn’t sick. I am absolutely driven (possibly addicted) to exercise. If I ever need a little inspiration I pick up a 50 pound dumbbell and remember I used to carry that weight on my body all day long when I was overweight. Never going back to being overweight is a huge motivator for me. 2. Realize you need it
Sounds simple, but it’s the truth. Look at your life and see where you need discipline. It’s in there somewhere. Maybe it’s a weakness for sweets you can’t break the habit of eating, but you know there is an area you need. Knowing is half the battle.
3. Do something every day you don’t want to do
Not things you HAVE to do like go to work, pay bills, waking up early, etc... For me it’s wearing pants. Technically I don’t have to, but it is in everybody’s best interest so I do. 
It could be as simple as walking the dog out in the cold, but overcoming that initial aversion to doing something will make it easier in the future to break through the next time and get things done. That will also being to bleed over into your workouts. When you feel like quitting, you know you can push a little further.
4. Remember this quote
 "The price of discipline is always less than the pain of regret."

What do you do when your family does not support your healthy eating?


My awesome boot camper Katie's family is not too pleased with her new healthy habits

Does this remind you of your family and/or support system? One the biggest stumbling blocks moms run into when they are trying to eat healthier is trying to be the only one in the house eating right. Your kids expect to have candy, cookies, soft drinks, chips, etc... in the house. You know why? Because that stuff is delicious! I love all that stuff too, but I can't keep it in the house or I will eat all of it. An important lesson to learn in life is this: Will power does not work, systems do I don't care how strong you think you are, if you keep your weakness in the house readily available you will consume it at some point. So what about those other people in your house demanding pizza and brownies every night? It will take some work, but they can be convinced to come to the healthy side. What's holding them back from wanting to eat healthy? Usually it's two main things. 1. They think healthy food tastes nasty 2. Junk food is much quicker and easier You have to eliminate the myth that healthy food is nasty. If they are used to processed foods stuffed with preservatives, salt, sugar, etc... it will be a much longer process for sure. Their taste buds have been overstimulated and expect massive amounts of these tastes each time. You don't have to serve plain, boiled chicken breasts to eat healthier. I would recommend experimenting with new spices that will still stimulate the taste buds, but not expand the waist line. Try some of these: Garlic-One of the sticking points for fat loss is the body holding onto toxins. Let the garlic clear out your some toxins to get you ready to lose the fat. You may lose some friends along with the fat if you don't bring a toothbrush with you. Ginger-A certain ginger haired man can help you lose weight, but so can the spice. Ginger gives food an Asian taste plus gives you a fat loss boost. Tumeric-Sounds like a terrible chemical, but is actually really good for you. The main way this helps is by lowering your blood sugar and cutting down on cravings. Cayenne pepper-A study found that some of the participants increased their metabolism by 25% by putting cayenne pepper on their food. The study did not say if it was due to the subjects sprinting to get something to drink or not. Cinnamon-Another good way to get rid of toxins and improve digestion. Null and void if you are getting your cinnamon through Cinnamon Toast Crunch. Black pepper-Another great metabolism booster, plus the positive sneezing side effect clears out your sinuses. Chili powder-Has a similar effect as cayenne pepper. Great for fat loss and a good way to cook thinly sliced carrots. Junk food is a tough adversary, but it can be defeated. The sweet tooth is my weakness. As an alternative to candy, ice cream, and cookies I use things like: -Greek yogurt mixed with blueberries and almond butter -Apples or bananas with natural peanut butter -Smoothies -Protein shakes -Or when things get desperate I go with some dark chocolate Then there are the salt cravings. Here are some options I use for that: -Hummus with vegetables -Nuts -Olives -Sunflower seeds If you are looking for some new recipes, and you want an inexpensive cook book try this one ----> 197 Healthy and Delicious Fat Burning Meals It's just $4.95 and you can download it immediately. I can even make the recipes in there too, so I'm sure you can too. You never want to take something away that you are trying to get rid of without replacing it with something else. Start replacing the unhealthy items with things that can feed and nourish your family's bodies. You don't have to totally eliminate junk foods and unhealthy foods you love, just use them as a special treat rather than things you eat all the time.

How To Avoid The Bacteria That Cause Belly Fat

My partners over at Prograde Nutriton have an amazing new special report out called: "The Micro Obesity Epidemic: How To Avoid The Bacteria That Cause Belly Fat." It's loaded with information, a lot of it I had never seen before. You can learn about how bugs in your gut could be the reason you haven't been able to reach your goal. There are apparently good bugs and bad bugs that can increase or decrease your thyroid function. If you are familiar with what the thyroid does, you know it can increase your metabolism (which incases your results) when it is functioning properly. When the thyroid is not functioning properly, fat loss gets much more difficult. That's just one of the lessons I learned. If you want to read the full report, then check the link below. The Micro Obesity Epidemic: How To Avoid The Bacteria That Cause Belly Fat  < == click to get your free copy

What to do if you only have 10 minutes to workout

I was faced with a dilemma yesterday. Eat the whole delicious Whitman sampler my wife brought home from work or half of it? Wait, you aren't supposed to know about that part.   My real dilemma was what I should do for a workout in the 10 spare minutes I had yesterday. My solution was Tabatas.   Have you ever heard of them? They sound delicious don't they? They are not so tasty, they are actually very challenging.   Tabatas are an exercise protocol discovered by a Japanese speed skating coach. He found a way to get his athletes in better shape in a very short period of time.   To do Tabatas you do an exercise as hard as you can for 20 seconds, rest 10 seconds, and repeat this for 8 total round. Doesn't sound like much on paper, but this rest periods seem like they get shorter and shorter.   I would recommend you purchase a GymBoss or download the GymBoss app. The GymBoss will beep when it is time to rest and then again when it is time to go. This way you can maximize your efforts and not have to constantly look at your watch. The GymBoss app, has a built in Tabata timer as well.   In case you are curious, I chose bodyweight squats for the first round and then pushups for the next round. Another little tip for you, I don't recommend trying to sign any important paperwork right after you complete a round of Tabata pushups. Just take my word for it, bad times.

No regrets, a life well lived

Research shows that 75% of people name their biggest regrets in life as the things they didn't do in life...not the things they did. This quote really speaks to that:   "Go to the effort. Invest the time. Write the letter. Make the apology. Take the trip. Purchase the gift. Do it. The seized opportunity renders joy. The neglected brings regret." -Max Lucado   Take a look around at a lot of our older population. There are too many people that are bed ridden and pill riddled. Don't let that be you!   Next time you don't feel like working out, think of the person in the wheelchair who would give anything to complain about running or lifting weights. Think about not just living longer, but better, healthier, stronger. Who wants to live stuck in a bed or chair? That is not living, that's just surviving.   Stop eating the junk food. Use proper portion control when you eat, especially if you eat out a lot. Cut down on alcohol intake. Do your cardiovascular training to keep your heart and lungs strong. Strength train so you'll be able to take care of yourself in your later years. Cut out cigarettes completely. Stretch, foam roll, or do yoga to keep your body limber so you'll be that spry, old person people are amazed by. Do something your future self will thank you for.   It's never too early or too late to start getting healthy, but the earlier you start the easier it is. Along the way you might just start looking better, but don't let that be your only motivation.   Exercise is as close to a miracle drug as you can get. Start taking it daily!   What is it you really want to do? Why aren't you doing it? Live without regret!

You get paid for DONE

There is a fitness business coach named Pat Rigsby who is a mentor of mine. One thing he constantly drives home is "You get paid for done."   What he means is, you don't get paid for ideas. You don't make any money off of half finished books or thinking about starting up a new class. You get paid when the work is done.   His advice is to do something every day to get you closer to that goal. For me it would be write an article, put out a press release, finish that book (I've got a few in various stages), etc... Just take action, continue to take action, and get closer to your goal rather than spinning your wheels and being overwhelmed with the big goal.   So how can you apply this to fat loss and getting in shape? You don't get in shape by having great intentions. You don't lose fat by exercising for a week and then quitting for a month.   My advice to you would be very similar. Do something today that gets you closer to your goal.   -Start with one day of eating healthy foods that nourish your body -Go for a walk -Sign up for that class you have been waiting to take -Plan your meals for the week   Pick out the one thing you will do to get closer to your goal and do it TODAY. You get results with done.   If you have been on the fence about doing boot camp, now is the perfect time of year to join. The weather is absolutely awesome right now and with the stress of the holidays coming up exercise is key.   We have a brand new Muffin Top Meltdown class starting on Monday October 22nd.  Hope to see you there!

5 things in health and fitness you should know

1. Avoiding genetically modified produce: Look at the first digit on the food label. If it starts with the number 8, you don't want it. That 8 means it has been genetically modified and you do not want that in your body.   2. The healthiest meal ever created: Scientists in the UK created what they claim is thehealthiest meal ever made. What exactly would that meal consist of? Appetizer Smoked salmon terrine and a mixed leaf salad with an olive oil dressing Entree Chicken casserole with lentils and vegetables Dessert Yogurt-based blancmange with walnuts and a sugar-free caramel sauce. It all sounds pretty good to me, despite not knowing what a blancmange is. Sounds a little skin diseasey to me.   3. We eat out about half the time: A study from 2010 found that Americans eat out 47.9% of the time. The USDA says that eating out will add an average of 134 extra calories into your diet. So eating out just once a week would add 2 pounds a week to your body in a year's time. Doesn't sound like much, but how many times a week are you eating out?   4. Stop calling yourself fat: Researchers at the University of Arizona, Tucson found that repeatedly calling yourself fat has real life consequences. Lead researcher Analisa Arroya said, "We found that fat talk predicts changes in depression, body satisfaction, and perceived pressure to be thin across time." Stop the negative self talk, it is just making things worse!   5. Lift your mood without meds: A study done in 1999 found that exercising 3 times a week for 45 minutes per session at a high to moderate intensity for 4 months was just as effective at treating depression as Zoloft. The exercise group did even better than the group that exercised AND took Zoloft.

How to get better at pushups


He may have a pretty legitimate excuse for not liking pushups

For many of the women I train, pushups are their worst enemy. They are not shy about letting you know their dislike of them either. Just trust me on that one. The main reason people don't like pushups is the same reason I don't like fixing things. I'm not very good at it.

But they are one of the best exercises you can do for your entire body. Therefor, we do a lot of pushups in my boot camps. I often get asked about how to be able to do more pushups or move from doing pushups on the knees to pushups on toes.

I present to you the Grease the Groove technique. Terrible title, effective method. We will use it for pushups, but you can apply it to any exercise you want to get better at. Pullups, presses, burpees, etc... it will help you get better at all of them.

I learned the Grease the Groove (or what the cool kids call GTG)  technique from a former Soviet Special Forces trainer named Pavel Tsatsouline. He had the revolutionary idea that if you want to get better at something, you should probably practice it. Weird huh? Here is the equation he came up with:

Specificity + frequent practice = success

So here is how to be able to do more pushups. First you need to know what the maximum number of pushups you can do is. For this example we will use 10 pushups. Several times a day you would drop down and knock out 4 pushups there, 5 pushups here. All throughout the day, but the key is to never get to the point where it is a struggle to do the pushups. You want to train as often as possible throughout the day, while still being as fresh as possible.

How about changing from knees to toes? You can still use the GTG method, but with a twist for the knee pushups. Because knee pushups do not properly mimic the toe pushups, you need to try something different. Switch from knee pushups to doing pushups at an angle. You could use a bench, a wall, etc... to practice your pushups. You can start at a 45 degree angle and start working your way down from there. Apply the same GTG technique with the angled pushups.

The basic premise is that you are strengthening the neural pathways through something called synaptic facilitation. Remember that, it might be on Final Jeopardy one day.

Big words aside, this is a straight forward and effective way to get better at something. Pick out an exercise you are weak in, apply the GTG for 6 weeks, and I bet you will get great results. After you set a new personal record, drop me a line and let me know!

This causes you to drop fat AND makes you faster


Have you ever seen an overweight cheetah? I bet that Cheeto cheetah isn't looking so good these days.

We recently talked about the benefits of sprinting, now we will talk about how to actually go about adding sprints into your routine.   Variety of sprints   When people think about sprints, they picture people running. Running sprints is an awesome exercise, but not the only way. You can sprint using any cardiovascular exercise you can think of.   Here are few to choose from: -biking (or stationary bike) -swimming -battle ropes -Prowler push -arm crank ergometer -jumping rope -elliptical machine -rowing machine -Hills   So even if you have bad knees, you can get the benefits of sprinting with one of these forms of cardiovascular exercise. If you find a steep enough hill, a fast walk may be your all out effort.   Precautions   There are few things you have to be careful about when you begin a sprint training program.   1. Always warm-up thoroughly Sprints place a large demand on your body and if you aren't properly warmed up, you could easily get injured. Make sure you go through a full body warm p and that you break a light sweat before beginning.   2. Avoid doing too much, too soon I recently went out and ran a bunch of sprints after not doing them for awhile. Feel free to do exactly that if you enjoy pain. And falling into chairs, instead of sitting in them. Slowly integrate sprints into your current program.   3. Listen to your body If you feel sharp pains (not just the pain from sprinting) you need to stop and find out what is going on. Could be poor footwear, an injury, muscle imbalance, etc... You know when something is off with your body, you need to get it taken care of before continuing.   4. Give it a rest You don't want to sprint on back to back days. It's like going to back to back Justin Bieber concerts. Yeah it is awesome, but human ears are not meant to handle the high pitched screams on back to back days. Sprinting is awesome too, but your body needs recuperation before sprinting again.   5. Doctor's clearance If you have any heart issues or other health problems that would be negatively effected by intense exercise, go to your doctor first. Boring advice, but can be life saving.   Adding sprints to your training    Choose your sprint exercise from the list above or whatever form of cardiovascular exercise you are doing now. You will be using something knows as Rate of Perceived Exertion (RPE). RPE is basically a scale from 1-10, with 1 being the absolute least taxing thing you could do and 10 being "I will die if I do this much longer".   This is assuming you are a beginner at sprints. If you have more experience, you can increase the volume of the training. Where it says "resting", that does not mean stop. If you are on a bike for instance, it just means you keep pedaling slowly.   Sprints for fat loss Do 2 sprints at a 6-7 on the PRE scale for 30 seconds, resting 1 minute in between. Next do 2 sprints at a 8-9 on the PRE scale for 30 seconds. Rest 2 minutes in between each sprint. Finally do 1 all out sprint for as long as you can. If you make it to 30 seconds, you will be doing really well. This should be approaching that 10 on the PRE scale.  Awful. Just in case you thought it might not be.   If you were performing sprints to get faster, you would increase the rest periods until you were fully recovered before starting the next sprint.   Tabata sprints If you wan to get a day's worth of work done in 4 minutes, this is your workout. All out effort (PRE of 10) for 20 seconds, rest 10 seconds, repeat for 8 total rounds. If you do this one correctly, you will be wiped out in 4 minutes. This will challenge you mentally as well as physically.   Track sprints Somebody has to do something about this Usain Bolt guy, he's dominating. Maybe it's you? No, it's not you sorry. But you can channel your inner Usain and get your bolt on. See what just happened there? If you are the running type, the track is a great place to do a sprint workout. You don't have to look at a watch, just run for distance.   400 meter sprints Try this one for a tough, but efficient workout. -Sprint 1 lap (on most tracks that is 400 meters), walk 1 lap. Repeat this pattern until you have sprinted 4 laps and walked 4 laps.  Each lap you sprint should be the absolute fastest you can do it. Great fat burning and cardiovascular system challenge there.   100 meter sprints If you are looking to improve your speed, try this workout. If the track is not marked,  I would recommend you put up a cone to mark your distance. 100 meters is 1/4 of a lap. -Sprint all out for 100 meters, finish walking the lap, sprint again when you get back around.   Dirty 30's This is a good way to gradually build up to your top sprinting speed. You will do 30 slow reps (steps, pedals, strokes, etc...), then 30 medium reps, and then 30 all out reps. Upside, you will feel like a race car, going through it's gears. Downside, you do have to have the ability to count to 30.   There are hundreds of different sprint workouts you can do, these are a tiny sample. Don't get caught up in the details if they are overwhelming you. Just get out and do something as fast as you can! Whether it is running, spinning, cranking, swimming, or whatever it is you choose to do, it is exhilarating and exhausting in a good way. Your body fat will go down and your level of performance will go up. Go forth and sprint.  
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