I am a fitness professional who is certified as an Adventure Boot Camp instructor, personal fitness trainer, sports nutritionist, and health coach. I have a B.S. in Health Promotion with a Minor in Business from Auburn University. Currently I am the owner and operator of Joe Martin Fitness LLC, a fitness company that specializes in fitness boot camps, youth fitness, and on-line personal training. I was voted Huntsville's Healthiest Male, Huntsville's Healthiest Trainer, and Huntsville Adventure Boot Camp was voted Huntsville's Healthiest Place to Workout. As a writer, I have written the best selling book The Wellness Code, The 21 Day Tight and Toned Transformation, the Army MWR Sports and Fitness Newsletter, and I am a frequent contributor to the Huntsville Times as a fitness writer. I had been a lifelong athlete, until one day I woke up and realized I was 50 pounds overweight, depressed, and injured. It was a turning point in my life when I got fed up and realized there had to be a better way. From that day on I have dedicated my life to studying health and fitness and using it to help others achieve their goals. I have used this passion to train all populations but my specialty is fat loss for women.

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The best and worst of me in picture form



I took this picture while I was out walking the other day. My wife still makes fun of me every time we drive by this if you need a little foreshadowing.


I had driven by this particular spot hundreds of times in my life. One morning I woke up and said to myself, "Self, we are going to run up that mountain today. Right up those convenient trails made by the telephone lines."


So I drove my happy, little self to that church you see in the picture, parked my truck, and prepared for glory.


I was so excited! Had the little adrenaline surge you get before something awesome happens.


Then everything proceeded to not be so awesome.


What looks like a clear path to greatness from the street is in fact a bramble/thorn filled hell patch of sharp things, rocks, holes, overgrown brush, and other things that people in shorts should avoid.


I was still bound and determined to make something happen though. After an hour of struggling, I decided to tuck my tail and go home. Bad times.


There is a lesson here:


Set lofty goals, but have a smart plan to achieve them.


I nailed the lofty goal part, but had zero planning to go with it. Does that sound like how your New Year's Resolutions have gone in the past? Goals of exercising daily, eating Paleo meally (just go with it), and losing 50 pounds monthly.


If you are ready to reach your goals, our team at Adventure Boot Camp can help you achieve them. We have 2 slots left for the Black Friday Special I sent out on Wednesday.


The deal is if you commit to the Inner Circle for 1 year, you can get a month of unlimited sessions in January 2016 for $1. The deal is good for any location and time. Save money, reach your goals, and have fun along the way.


Be our next success story!

Toasty Pants and Other 5 Minute Health Fixes



It's a busy world we live in. When you get really busy, you become overwhelmed and a lot of things start eroding.Your health is usually the first thing to go, but is more important than anything else.


So I came up with 5 things you can do that take 5 minutes, but can improve your life. It can even add years onto your life!


1. Foam rolling

By spending just 5 minutes rolling around on a foam tube you will feel so much better. It is often called the "poor man's sports massage". Works out sore muscles and improve tissue quality.


2. Toasty pants

These aren't all scientific, this is just what I do. When it's cold outside like it is now, this can really help. Throw your pants, socks, and the shirt you are going to wear in the dryer for 5 minutes. By the time they are done, you pull out the clothes, get dressed and you get a warm jump start on raising your overall body temperature.


Great for having an excuse for walking around the house in your underwear too. If you're into that sort of thing...


3. Get up

This one is pretty simple. Every hour, get up and walk around and stretch for 5 minutes. If you are the type that gets tied up in their work and doesn't know what time it is, set an alarm to remind you to get up. Your back, hips, neck, eyes, and energy levels will thank you.


4. Floss


Seriously! This doesn't even take 5 minutes, unless you have teeth like Gary Busey. Studies have shown that you can add 6 years onto your life by flossing. 6 years! Imagine the shuffle board domination you have to look forward to with all that extra time on the end of your life.


5. Quiet


When was the last time you had 5 solid minutes of complete silence? You probably can't even remember. Between TV's, radios, iPods, cell phones, and everything else silence is very rare.


Take 5 minutes every day in complete silence. You will be amazed at what it can do for your stress levels. Turn everything off, tune everything out, put the kids in their sound proof room, and just chill.


You can plan out how you are going to attack a problem at work, pray, meditate, clear your mind of all the junk, or whatever you choose to do. Works wonders for improving thought clarity as well.

It probably only took you about 5 minutes to read this, so now you have plenty of time to start putting these into your daily routine.

Frog Workout?



In the 1920’s scientists wanted to know what effect inactivity had on muscles. They bound the legs of a group of frogs for extended period of time and then studied the results. You know some poor grad assistant got that job.

Shockingly, at the end of the experiment the frogs who had their legs tied had bigger and stronger legs than the untied frogs of the control group.


The restrained frogs struggled to get loose the whole time they were tied. The constant constricting and tensing greatly improved their leg strength and size.

This type of tension without movement is called an isometric contraction. You do not have to participate in a strange experiment to benefit from isometrics.

The two basic isometric techniques that are commonly performed are: pushing or pulling against an immovable object and holding a weight at a point and not letting it move. For instance, you can load up a bench press with a weight you can’t budge and push as hard as you can for 20-60 seconds. Don't have a bench press? Push against a wall.

An example of the other technique is the Isometric Paloff press. To perform an Isometric Paloff press, stand perpendicular to a cable crossover, grab a D-handle with both hands, press it straight out at chest level, and hold that position with arms extended. The weight will be constantly pulling you to the side so it is a great core workout.

Don't have a cable crossover? Do you have a friend? Or at the very least someone willing to inflict punishment on you. Clasp your hands together and push them straight out in front of you. Have your "friend" push on the side of your hand trying to move you. Don't let them! They are not the boss of you! Sounds simple, but is actually pretty challenging.

Isometrics are not something you want to do exclusively, they are just another tool to add to your exercise tool box. Constantly challenging your body is the key to changing your body.

How to create your own effective workouts



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. We use these movements as a template to create our workouts in boot camp.


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.


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, home, or on the road.


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 muscles in your body from head to toe, burned calories, and built strength.

Use this template, get creative, and you can workout any time, anywhere. Or just come to our classes and we will do all the workout design for you.

3 + 1 For Better Pushups

These pushups are pretty awesome too

These pushups are pretty awesome too

Let's all just agree. Pushups are awesome. They work muscles from your head to your toes.


Whether you are doing pushups on your toes, your knees, on an incline, or a wall these tips can help you get more out of your pushups.


1. Don't let your elbows flare out

It all starts with proper hand placement. Your hands should be directly underneath your shoulders (or slightly wider) at the top of the pushup. As you lower yourself down, think about keeping your elbows lined up with the middle finger on your hand. When the elbows flare out, you place more stress on the shoulders.


2. Push through your pits

Focus on pushing with your armpits. This sounds weird, but will help you better recruit the muscles in your chest and triceps, gets the lats (the muscles on the side of your back) involved, and helps to protect your shoulders.


3. Never let your butt go over your head

This is just good life advice in general, so there's that. It will also help you avoid a common problem of "piking" your hips up. Keep your butt muscles tight, your chin off your chest, and lower yourself down chest first. This will give you a better range of motion and a more effective pushup.


Bonus Tip- Hand Release Pushups

If you find you are having trouble going all the way down, try hand release pushups. Lower yourself all the way down to the floor, when you are all the way flat reach your arms out to the side like you are an airplane, bring your hands back to just outside your chest, and then push up.

This will help you not only get lower in your pushups, but also helps you keep your elbows from flaring out. Plus any time you can go airplane it's a good thing.

Your homework



I read about a crazy study that involved the researchers gaving people the flu. I remember being pretty broke a few times in my life, but not so broke I would take a few dollars to get the flu.


I hate getting sick. Give me poor and healthy any day.

The researchers studied a group of people over a 6 month period to determine if they were positive thinkers or negative thinkers. If they had more activity in the right prefrontal cortex of their brain (home to anger, fear, sadness), they were considered to be negative thinkers.


If there was more activity in their left prefrontal cortex (home to enthusiasm, feeling upbeat, joy) they were considered to be positive thinkers.


Then after the 6 months of studying these subjects, the researchers gave them the flu. The end result was that the negative thinkers had lower antibodies, so they were more likely to get sick and would stay sicker longer.


Makes sense to me. That's why Zig Ziglar calls it Stinkin' Thinkin'.


Seems like the negative thinkers I know are sick a lot more often than the positive thinkers I know. How about in your life? Have you experienced the same thing?


Research has shown that positive thinking can:


-Increase pain tolerance -Lower blood pressure -Lower stress levels -Lead to better relationships -Increase sleep quality -Improve memory -decrease depression -Make people more likely to eat healthy, exercise, and rest more


That is just to name a few things positive thinking can do for you. You know what the coolest part is?


You alone get to determine your attitude.


I think that is awesome! There are so many things in our lives we have no control over. It is the things that we don’t control that stress us out the most. Weather, our looks, other people, etc…


If you have no control over them, there is no use worrying about them.


Start making a conscious effort to become a more positive thinker. It is like anything else, if you put the focus and energy into changing your thoughts they will change.


Barbara Fredrickson, an expert in positive psychology, recommends a 3 positive thoughts to 1 negative thought ratio. That is your homework this weekend.


Make a conscious effort to have your positive thoughts outweigh your negative thoughts.

Four Corner At Home Workout



Happy Veteran's Day! Thank you to all who have given their service to our country.


Holiday season is starting to get into full swing. Stores are filled with reminders, shopping has already started, red cups are causing an uproar, etc... You might not have as much time as you like to exercise.

Don't worry our red kettlebells still say Merry Christmas!

Don't worry our red kettlebells still say Merry Christmas!

Over the next few weeks I will occasionally send you out some workouts that you can do at home in your garage.


If you don't have a garage, I hope you at least have a warehouse or a barn loft or whatever Kevin Bacon was using in Footloose. Similar to As Seen On TV workouts!


Side note- I once bought my mom a gift that was labeled "Similar To As Seen On TV". Didn't quite have the cash for the As Seen On TV gifts.

Set up cones or some type of markers in a square. Each corner of the square will have its own exercise and then the middle will be an exercise as well. So here is how to set it up.


Corner 1-Jumping jacks Corner 2-Cross country ski Corner 3-Punches Corner 4-High knees Middle-Jump ropes (or the invisible jump rope)


You do 60 seconds in corner 1, go to 30 seconds in the middle, 60 seconds in corner 2, 30 seconds in the middle, 60 seconds in corner 3, 30 seconds in the middle, 60 seconds corner 4, 30 seconds in the middle.

Go as hard as you can on every exercise, the whole circuit will take you 6 minutes. Then have an active rest break (walk around, stretch, just keep moving) for 2 minutes.


This is a cardio based workout, but you can choose any 5 exercises you like. If yo need more rest, you can skip the middle exercise and get an additional 30 seconds rest in between each exercise. Make it your own like you are on American Idol.


Repeat the circuit 2 more times for a total of 3 times all the way through. The whole workout will take 24 minutes and it can be as hard (or easy) as you make it.

8 Weeks, Bagger Vance, and Quitting



Are there really only 8 weeks left in 2015? This year has been crazy.


We are all great starters. The first 2 weeks of 2015, gyms are all crammed full of people. New workout shoes and clothes as far as the eye can see.


But then the newness wears off. The routine gets, well too routine.


It's just like this job I had one time. They wanted me to be there almost every day! For 8 hours at a time, it was terrible.


Eating healthy was going great until your personal chef never showed up to cook and prepare all those healthy meals.


I know many of you have been there before, myself included. My wife can tell you about my failed attempts to learn the guitar and play golf. Bagger Vance made it look so easy.


These things take tons of practice and determination? Why can't I just be a natural at it? I'm out!


I want to encourage all of you become strong finishers, especially when it comes to exercise. Not only does that mean sticking to your workout plan, it also in the actual workout itself.


Think about the last time you stopped in the middle of a set of exercises or in the middle of a run. Why did you stop? Was it because your muscles gave out or because your mind gave out? You have to train your mind to be stronger than your body.


Quitting is a habit. Each time you quit, it sends a message to your body that it has found your stopping point every time you challenge your body. This means it becomes easier to quit and harder to overcome that urge each time.


On the flip side, not giving up can be a habit too. Teach your body to redefine the limits each time you exercise. That is how runners build up to running marathons. They go a little further each time, until that longer distance is their new reality.


Don't give up! Your body will tell you to stop. Don't listen. Even if it means going one extra step on a run, do it. If it means one more repetition on an exercise, get that little extra.


Finish strong this year. You can get a lot accomplished in 8 weeks. You don't have to be a recluse during the holidays either. Commit to exercising at least 3 days per week for the rest of the year.


Doesn't have to be 2 hours a day either. A 10 minute workout done with intensity and focus trumps 60 minutes of wandering around randomly doing things with half effort.


Make finishing strong a habit and your results will increase exponentially in everything you do.

Not Yet (powerful)



I love TED talks. Even before I had the amazing opportunity to do one myself, I was fascinated by them.  

If I'm not careful I can spend an hour getting stuck in a YouTube loop of never ending TED talks. Am I the only one?


Some of my favorites are the ones that talk about psychology. Especially this one by Carol Dweck: The Power of Believing That You Can Improve  

I would encourage you to watch it, but here is the most awesome part of her talk. There are two types of mindsets in the world.


1. People who fail and think it is because they aren't good at something, they are a failure, etc..

2. People who say "I'm not there yet"


Take a guess which one leads to success? Which route do you tend to take?


Are you trying to become a runner, but you think "I'm just not good at running." or "I'm just not built to be a runner."


I would encourage you to go watch a marathon some time. There are bodies of all shapes and sizes out there, but they do have one thing in common. They didn't let their body shape or size stop them from trying and sticking to it.


Can you not lose weight because of genetics, your crazy schedule, or they just built a Dairy Queen right next to the McDonald's that was right next to Dunkin Donuts? If you believe those are the things that will keep you from ever achieving your goals, then you will make it so.


Instead say to yourself, "There are people that have it much easier than me. It may be harder, it might take longer, but I will get there."


Why does this work? Because the most important thing you need in life is hope.


Change your mindset, give yourself hope, and don't be discouraged when it does not happen over night.


Low Fat Is Wack



If you have been following my writing for awhile, this will probably not come as a surprise. But here it is- low fat diets do not work.


That is not just my opinion, this study shows that low fat diets have "been a complete failure tackling obesity". So what do they recommend instead?


Here are some guidelines from the study:


-Focus on portion sizes

-Rather than avoiding carbs and fats, avoid processed foods

-Don't fear all fats, there are healthy fats you should eat


I really like their advice. Any time you get back to eating foods in their natural state you are on the right path.


This week take a look at how you eat every day. Which of the 3 recommendations from above can you start applying this week?

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