Archive for March, 2014

The 7 moves you need for a workout (plus a tutu of course)

I wouldn't recommend telling these ladies that tutus aren't cool.

I wouldn't recommend telling these ladies that tutus aren't cool.

Exercise is really pretty simple when you break it down. There are really only 7 movements that you can do.

There are hundreds of variations on these 7 movements, but they all get back to this basic format.

So many of the magazines and articles you see on fitness make it so complicated! To create a well balanced workout (where all the muscles get worked) you just need 7 movements.

No fancy equipment needed, other than maybe a tutu.

I fully support a woman's right to do whatever she wants in a tutu. Just in case you were wondering where I stood on the tutu controversy.

These 7 movements are:


2. Pull

3. Squat

4. Lunge

5. Bend

6. Twist

7. Step (walk, run, jump)

You can easily build an efficient workout for the gym or home. Here is an example:

Do each exercise for 30 seconds, rest 30 seconds, then move on to the next exercise. Go through the list 3 times total.

1. Pushups

2. Rows

3. Squats

4. Walking lunges

5. Deadlifts

6. Torso twists

7. High knees run in place

In 21 minutes you have worked your body from head to toe, burned calories, and built strength.

Use this template, get creative, and you can workout any time, anywhere.

Let me know if you ever need help building a workout.

Health lessons from animals



My family and I just got back from a tropical vacation in Missouri. Some people go to the beach for Spring Break, some go the other way.

My wife's uncle lives on a farm in Missouri. On this farm, he has some cows. Insert your own music.

He mentioned that they had penned up 2 cows to fatten them up. Normally the cows are out wandering around this huge pasture.

To fatten them up, they put them in a smaller enclosed area.

To make them gain weight, they cut down on their activity level. Hmm, sound like any jobs in today's world?

A few weeks ago I heard a guy on NPR talking about how elephants in zoos have tracking devices put on them to keep track of how much they walk in a day.

They make sure the elephants walk a certain amount every day because it keeps them healthier and they live longer.

There are multiple studies that have shown that even if you exercise every day you are still at risk for health problems if you are inactive the rest of the day.

The point is to mooooove. Sorry, you probably knew that was coming but I couldn't stop it.

Don't sit for more than an hour at a time, walk more, find a physically active hobby you enjoy, etc… You will find the more active you are overall, the more energy you will have.

You will also burn more calories, lose more weight, and start sleeping better at night.

The main thing is to not rely solely on your workouts to get the results you want.

Move more and eat better.

Simple concept, but very powerful when you put it into action.

How well you dry your hands could determine your results



I have 3 steps that I follow when drying my hands with one of those hand dryer things in the rest room.

1. Push button

2. Rub hands together vigorously

3. Wipe hands dry on my pants

I hate those things.

How well do you dry your hands? Do you even think about it?

Not sure if you know this, but I'm kind of a big deal. It's true, just ask me.

My fear is to walk out of the rest room, see someone I know, shake their hand, and have them give me the "Why are your hands still wet, you sicko?" look.

Nobody needs that. So I am very intentional with my hand drying. I dry my hands like someone is waiting to shake my hand just outside the door.

Yes I am weird, it's my cross to bear.

My whole point in sharing my weirdness is to get you to think about exercising intentionally. Think about what you do as you go through your workouts.

Are you paying attention to your form, owning every single rep. Or are you going through the motions?

Start thinking of every rep of every exercise you do as the one that is going to get you the results you want so bad. Be intense with every rep, focus on giving it your best, don't just go through the motions.

When you start tuning out during your workouts, you subconsciously start losing form and focus. You won't squat as lower, you will give out earlier, you will not push as hard.

Make sure those hands stay dry, you never know who is waiting just outside.

How to win a free month of boot camp



I want to thank you for reading these posts. It may not seem like it most of the time, but I do put a lot of effort into these things.

It's not easy writing about meat sweats and prefrontal cortexes in one week.

So it means a lot when you let me know that you liked something I wrote. And even when you let me know you disagree with something.

At least you read it.

Been feeling especially blessed with how well our boot camps have been doing as well. You have helped with that as well, so I would like to return the favor.

Just in case you didn't see the announcement on our Facebook page, I wanted to make sure you saw this.

We are going to start giving away a boot camp scholarship every month to someone who could not otherwise afford our classes. These are can be used in Huntsville as well as the Madison location.

To be eligible, you can just e-mail and let me know why you would like to come to our class. You can also nominate someone who you think should win the scholarship.

We will do a drawing next week and announce the winner on Wednesday March 26th, so make sure you get your entry in before then.

Meat Sweats and Nutrition Guidelines


Meat Sweats

In case you don't keep up with all of the important, Brazil related items in the news I wanted to help you with that.

First off, Huntsville is getting a Brazilian steak house. Also called "The Home of the Meat Sweats". Unofficial title.

Next, and more importantly, Brazil came out with some really interesting dietary guidelines. They are trying to take all of the confusion out of how to eat properly as a nation.

Here are their 10 guidelines:

1. Prepare meals using fresh and staple foods.

2. Use oils, fats, sugar and salt in moderation.

3. Limit consumption of ready-to-eat food and drink products.

4. Eat at regular mealtimes and pay attention to your food instead of multitasking. Find a comfortable place to eat. Avoid all-you-can-eat buffets and noisy, stressful environments.

5. Eat with others whenever possible.

6. Buy food in shops and markets that offer a variety of fresh foods. Avoid those that sell mainly ready-to-eat products.

7. Develop, practice, share and enjoy your skills in food preparation and cooking.

8. Decide as a family to share cooking responsibilities and dedicate enough time for healthy meals.

9. When you eat out, choose restaurants that serve freshly made dishes. Avoid fast-food chains.

10. Be critical of food-industry advertising.

I think they are pretty awesome guidelines and would be much more effective than what we currently use in America.

What do you think?

Easier to follow?

Wouldn't make a difference to you?

Keep the main thing, the main thing (Warning, some science stuff inside)


The brain is an amazing, and in my case, a scary place. You know what I like to talk about on Mondays though?

The pre-frontal cortex.

I am a big fan of author, leadership coach, and clinical psychologist Dr. Henry Cloud. In fact he was the one who inspired the workout monkey buddy concept that we use in boot camp.

Dr. Cloud was talking about the importance of the pre-frontal cortex in leadership. The pre-frontal cortex is responsible for executive functions, with on of the main executive functions being working towards a goal.

For the pre-frontal cortex to work properly three things have to happen:

1. Your brain must attend to what is relevant.

2. Inhibit everything else.

3. Create a working memory

He was talking about how a lot of people in charge will tell you, "A is the most important thing we need to change in this company." on Monday. Then on Tuesday you get an e-mail telling you that, "B, C, D, and E are also very important so we need to focus on them too."

Have you ever had that happen at work?

That leads to confusion and low productivity, because your brain can't focus on what is relevant (Task A) and you can't inhibit everything else because you're supposed to be handling everything else!

We do this to ourselves with our fitness programs too. That is why so many New Year's Resolutions fail.

"I'm going to exercise 5 times a week, start eating healthy every day, drink 40 glasses of water, and stretch 30 minutes a day. And I'm going to do this starting at 530am every day."

This will last 3 days. It's too much for the brain to handle.

Keep the main thing, the main thing.

Start with one habit at a time. Focus your efforts and intentions on that one habit.

Once you have established that as a habit, add in another one. Avoid the trap of trying to undo 20 years of inactivity in 1 month.

I will admit this is a slower process. But with this plan you will be much better off in the long run.

What do you need to begin putting your focus on? What do you need to let stop focusing on?

Getting healthy, strong, toned, etc… is not a short term thing. Plan on making a lifestyle change, rather than just something you're going to do until you fit into your skinny jeans.

5 Ways The Irish Avoid Gaining Weight


Proud To Be irish

In honor of our group marching in the Huntsville Saint Patrick's Day Parade on Saturday, I wanted to share a little about my experience in Ireland.

When I was 21 years old, I moved to Ireland for the summer. Didn't really have a plan and I didn't know anyone there. It was just something that I had always dreamed about doing.

It was a great experience and I learned a lot of things. One being that there should be more of a heads up when a hostel has co-ed showers.

Something else I learned is that you do not see very many overweight Irish people. My scientific research turned up 5 ways that they manage to keep excess weight off.

1. Lots of walking

Everybody walks! I'm guessing it is because the people that drive are on the wrong side of the road. Crazy people. Think about how many calories you would burn if you walked 1-2 hours a day. Not to mention avoiding a lot of the trouble brought on by excess sitting.

2. Slow eating and drinking

I went to a job interview for the highly sought after short order cook position. During the job interview process, they gathered all the candidates together and gave everybody a Guinness.

Everything was going along great until the owner looked at me and said, "That's the problem with you Americans you do everything so fast!" I looked around at everyone who had taken tiny sips of their beers and I was almost done. I'm task oriented, what can I say?

I didn't get the job if you wondering.

This was something I observed a lot. Irish meals would be drawn out over music, laughter, conversation. They would eat smaller amounts of food, but would feel full because they gave their brains the time to tell their stomachs that they and eaten enough.

The focal point of their meals was the company they were with, not the food itself. This was pre-smart phones, so it may be different now.

3. A lot of the food is terrible

Seriously. Hard to eat to much when you don’t enjoy the food. I made the mistake of wandering into McCary’s (thinking it was a McDonald’s). Had the golden arches and everything, but I'm pretty sure the burger was made of ground leprechaun. Bad times.

The thing I started doing is just using food as fuel, not a way to make myself happy. It was a mind set shift for me. Food should be enjoyed, but it's not a way to alter my mood.

4. Avoiding fast food

Whenever I went into a fast food place (I was desperate! Have you ever seen blood pudding?) it would be 99% tourists. The locals would not eat there.

A co-worker put it simply "We don't eat it it's because the food is addictive and it will make you fat."

Weird how "outsiders" can see that so easily, but we Americans keep right on keeping on with fast food.

5. Access to affordable, fresh produce

I was making the equivalent to about 4 dollars an hour. Not much in a big city like Dublin, but I could still afford to get fresh fruits and vegetables from the Farmer’s Markets they would have scattered throughout the city.

I'm not asking you to eat terrible food, but: adding more walking and vegetables; eating and drinking slower; and avoiding fast food are all habits you can start adding that will be a tremendous help.

These exercises are Sir-Mix-A-Lot approved

Class is now in session.

Class is now in session.

The glutes are a common term for the group of muscles in your buttocks: the gluteus maximus, gluteus medius, and gluteus minims. The buttocks is a scientific name for your rump shaker.

With so many jobs requiring extended periods of sitting, the muscles of the buttocks are going to waste.

Weak glutes can cause low back pain, knee injuries, hamstring pulls, make climbing stairs harder, and many other negative effects.

Besides making you look better working these muscles can also: help prevent or fix a lot of the problems listed above, increase athletic performance, and improve overall strength.

Here are a few of other glute exercises that you might not have tried.

Crossover step ups

Put your right foot next to a step, bench, or even a curb. The height you use and whether or not you use weights will be based on how experienced you are.

Step your left foot across your body up onto the platform. Keeping your hips facing to the front, push hard using your left glute muscles, and step your right foot up onto the platform. Step back down with your right foot and start all over.

Kneeling stand up

Kneel down with your left knee on the ground, your right knee up. Push hard through your right heel and concentrate on using your right side butt muscles to stand all the way up. Stand up fast, then slowly (taking 3-5 seconds) lower yourself back down.

If that version is too hard, get your right side close to a wall and use your right hand to assist you. If you have joint issues that prevent you from doing this exercise, start at the top part of this exercise and slowly lower yourself to the point you can go then stand up.

Rear foot elevated squat with one weight

Like the crossover set ups, you have options depending on your fitness level. You can use a bench, a step, or a curb and you can also choose to use weights or not.

Start with your right foot up on a bench, shoelaces flat on the bench (or some people prefer to put their toe on the bench), and left foot 2-3 foot away from the bench. Keep your chest up (don't round your lower back), lean your torso forward slightly, bend your left knee to lower your right knee toward the ground. Don't let your right knee touch the ground and drive back up to the starting position.

Then one more important exercise.

The Stand Up

To perform this one, simply stop sitting down, and you got it. This might be the most important one. The more you sit, the more those butt muscles are going to feel unwanted, and will deteriorate. Stand up at least once per hour.

This is how we do things in our boot camps. You will have an exercise, then we will provide a way to make it harder as well as a way to make it easier/work around joint issues.

We start our brand new Better Booty and Belly Boot Camp on Monday. Whatever shape you are in now, we can figure out a way to get you looking and feeling your best. Can't wait to get started, come join us!

The parable of the jacked up neck and my promise to you



I've spent a lot of years doing things that are not so great for my neck. Running into large people with your head playing football and getting thrown onto your head doing martial arts is not the best thing for your head holder.

Combine that with some less than ideal posture when I'm on the computer and my neck has been bothering me for years.

But here's the thing, I didn't do anything about it.

It was a constant ache and pain every day that resulted in headaches a lot of the time. But still, not so much where I was willing to seek treatment.

Until one day I woke up and could barely move my head. My neck was in such bad shape, I had to do that weird "I'm moving my whole body as a unit to talk to you" thing if someone talked to me from the side.

I finally went and got a massage on it that day. Then followed that up with treatment from a  chiropractor in the next few months.

Life did not have to be miserable! Your neck is not supposed to hurt all day. You don't have to accept how things are.

Do you do that too? Numb yourself to pains in your life? Tell yourself you will do something about it when it gets really serious?

Why are you waiting? Life is not supposed to be endured, it is meant to be enjoyed.

Are you putting up with being overweight? Are you dealing with being out of shape every day? Telling yourself that you will do something about it "some day"?

Don't be like me and wait until something bad happens to do something about it. Do something about it today. Take action.

i will foundation

That action can be a 10 minute walk today. That one action can be one healthy choice at lunch today.

You deserve to be happy and you do not deserve to have something always hanging over your head making you feel bad about yourself.

Choose to be happy, choose to take action, and choose to do that today.

If I can help you with any of that, that is what I'm here for.

I am not the type of person that says, "Call me if you need anything" and then prays you never take them up on it.

I've been overweight, I've been out of shape, and I made a promise to myself that I would spend the rest of my life helping others who are in those situations.

I know how hard it is and I will help you. That is my promise to you. E-mail me at and let's figure it out together.

The Danger Of Comparing Yourself To Others



I’ve been listening to Malcolm Gladwell’s new book David and Goliath: Underdogs, Misfits, and the Art of Battling Giants.

gladwell_david and goliath

Really interesting book and it makes me feel like I should be wearing cool glasses and possibly wearing tweed with elbow patches.

One of the stories was about the smartest of the smart kids and what happens to them at the top Ivy League type schools like Brown University.

Kids that have scored higher on the math and science portion of the SATs drop out of Science and Math majors at a higher rate at the top schools, than kids that go to other lesser known schools even though these kids scored lower on the math and science portion of the SATs.

What went wrong? These kids clearly have the smarts to get through these classes. It has to be something else right? It is something else.

They compared themselves to others.

These were kids who were at the top of their classes in high school and were really smart. Then they get to the high level schools and they aren’t surrounded by smart any more, they are surrounded by brilliant.

It makes them feel dumb by comparison and they drop out. Even though they are really smart kids!

This happens in fitness all the time. It is one of the main reasons I started a fitness class for women only.

I worked in gyms for a long time and I would see women walk in all the time. I knew they would never come back when I saw “The Look”.

The look of “I don’t belong here”

The look of “I can never look like her” or “I am not as pretty/fit/strong/skinny as her”.

We provide a place where women can come be their best at any shape, size, or ability.

No matter what shape, size, or ability you are exercise is for you. You do belong.

The only person you need to compare yourself to is you. No one else matters.

Are you doing your best? Do you keep showing up? Are you doing what you can to maximize your results?

Worry about you because that’s the person who can make you better.



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