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.

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!

What body part do women obsess about most?

For those teams when you need to smell like the 90s

For those teams when you need to smell like the 90s

I have a confession to make to you.

I use AOL for all of my e-mail.

I've tried to quit many times, but I can't stop even though I'm aware that it makes me look like someone who still listens to 8 tracks.

It's an excellent distraction when I am actually trying to work. It posted these headlines after you send an e-mail to get you interested in their stories.

They had one last week about the body parts people obsess about the most.

Being a fitness professional, I had to investigate so I could be up on the latest research.

Do you have any guesses on what body parts women obsess about the most?

Their stomach is the area that 69% of women obsess about. Followed by thighs 36% and butt 29%.

You can check out the rest of the stats for men and women here

The problem with obsessing about something, is that all you tend to do. The issue seems so insurmountable that it can make you feel hopeless and you will do nothing but worry.

This is the time a molehill starts to become a mountain.


The best cure for that is AAA.



Do something about it! We have created a specially designed camp to help these specific problem areas.

This will be 4 weeks of class with a special focus on the stomach, butt, and thighs. This class will start on March 17th and we have also added a 2 days per week option for people who have requested it.

Registration is open today! Go to HuntsvilleBootCamp.com:

 -Select the class location from the Calendar and Registration menu (Huntsville or Madison)

 -Find the class that time that suits you best (530am, 830am, or 530pm)

-Choose however many days per week (2-5 days) that you would like to attend

When you are actively working on your problems you will feel so much better, than when you are sitting back passively worrying about them.

Sign up today and we can obsess about important things, like having the Billy Ray Cyrus of e-mail systems.

Parents, let him be a lesson to us all. Lose your mullet, lose control of your daughter.

Parents, let him be a lesson to us all. Lose your mullet, lose control of your daughter.

Take up video game to quit smoking, drinking booze, and eating unhealthy food



Have you ever played that game Tetris? The game with the different shapes that you have to make fit.

It seems silly, but it is strangely addicting. Much like Prancercise. Or so I hear…


If you've heard of it, you probably haven't thought about it in years. There must not be much going on at Plymouth University, because researchers there apparently love them some Tetris.

They did a study that measured cravings while playing Tetris for 3 minutes.

The study participants showed a 24% decrease in cravings just from simply playing the game.

What does that mean for you? You can play Tetris next time you get a craving, obviously.  But what else can you do?

Distract yourself in some other way! You need to break the power of the craving by doing something.

Work would be a nice option, but who wants to do that? BORING. Plus, a lot of us can do work and barely have to focus on the task at hand. That leads to minds wandering to cravings.

You need something that makes you really lock into it. It could be a great book, a movie, some pushups, etc…

I don't recommend getting on Facebook, Pinterest, or Instagram because of all the good selfies on there. "Check out my BLT yo!"

PS- you are probably wanting to play Tetris now. Here you go, a web site where you can play for free --> FreeTetris

This man stopped my whining in its tracks

Complaining word with a line   Stinking allergies. Anybody else feeling the wrath of the incoming allergy season?   All the feelings of being sick without the light at the end of the tunnel that you will feel better in a week or so.   I HATE not feeling 100% as I'm sure you do, so it was starting to effect my mood.   I can't breath very good. I'm light headed. Working out is much rougher.   Woe is me, my life is so rough.   Do you see where this is going? Sometimes we need a little kick in the pants to get right.   I got kicked swiftly and efficiently on Saturday.   Saturday afternoon I went to meet with a guy from my church who needs some help exercising. He is 81 and has severe Parkinson's.   He is still sharp as a tack, but he has speech problems along with a wide array of physical problems. Walking the 10 feet to his kitchen with his walker takes so much out of him he is drained from it. He has someone come every morning to feed and bathe him.   Every little thing that I take for granted is a battle for him. Makes my little allergy thing, look like the tiny issue it is.   Are you taking your health for granted? If you have the physical ability to exercise and you are not, I strongly urge you start today.   You were made to move, exercise, and be active. You may not be able to do as much as you could when you were younger, but you can do more than you are doing now.   Start small, stay consistent, keep challenging yourself, and you can make a huge amount of progress in a few short months.

Shorty got low, low, low, low. 4 Ways to squat lower.


Flo Chart?

Is that song stuck in your head now? Or maybe you have no idea what I'm talking about. That wacky Flo Rida.

Let's talk about low squats. It was once thought to be bad for your knees, but research has shown that deep squats are not bad for you and have several benefits. A deeper squat will make you stronger, burn more calories, and make your booty look better. It's science.

The problems come when people drop it like it's hot while lowering themselves into the squat, bounce at the bottom, and then stand up. That bounce puts a lot of strain on your knees. If you are squatting fast, make sure you are under control.

If you are having trouble getting into a lower squat, here are a 4 ways to help you out.

1. Hang out like a Nicaraguan


I've been on a couple of mission trips to Nicaragua and I noticed some of the locals taking rest breaks in what looked an awful way to rest. They dropped all the way into a squat where their butt was about an inch off the ground. A few years ago I read an article that described it as The Third World Squat.


They are basically holding the bottom part of a perfect squat. Your mission is to get to where you can hold that position comfortably for one minute. Start working squatting down as low as you can and holding it without your heels popping up off the ground (more on that below) and without falling over. Feel free to hold onto something when you first start out.

2. Arms forward


Extend your arms out in front of you before you start your squat. Studies have proven that you can squat lower by adding this simple twist to your normal squat.


3. Loosen up your ankles


Do your heels come up off the ground when you try to squat low? You need to loosen those ankles up. In our boot camp classes we do ankle circles as part of our warm-up to get the ankles loose.

Put your toe on the ground, heel up in the air. Start circling your foot around, like you are mashing out a cigarette. Do 10 circles for each direction on both feet.

4. Defeat the desk job


Many of us sit way too much during our day. At work, in the car, watching TV or on the computer at home.

Sitting too much causes your hip flexors to tighten up. If you have trouble getting into a deep squat, the culprit can be tight hips. Try the 90/90 hip flexor stretch.

Go into a kneeling position, with your right knee up and your left knee on the ground. Keeping your back straight, push your hips forward, and think about sinking your hips into the ground. Hold that for 15-20 seconds and then do the same on the other side.

Start putting these to work and you will be looking good in your apple bottom jeans and your boots with the fur.


Just in case I didn't get you the first time

Valentine’s Day Partner Workout

A true Valentine

A true Valentine

Working out alone can be tough. I've done many a workout in my cold garage all alone. When you wear American flag pants, it can be difficult to get people to hang out with you.

The airbrushed wolf Burpee shirt is not helping my cause

The airbrushed wolf Burpee shirt is not helping my cause

But enough about my sad life, let's talk about working out with a partner. When you workout with a partner you will work harder, have more fun, and you will get better results.

Step one, find a partner. It can be a significant other, a friend, a child,  or just someone who is not wearing flag pants.

Step two, do this short, but fun workout:

1. High knees

One partner holds their hands up level with their partner's waist. The other partner will march or run their knees up to those hands. Go as hard as you can for 30 seconds, rest 30 seconds, and then let the other partner go. Each partner will go 4 times.

In case you don't know the rules

In case you don't know the rules

2. Paper, Rock, Scissors Squats

 Each partner will hold a squat, at the bottom of the squat you will do the traditional "Paper, Rock, Scissors, Go!" format. If you win, you get to stand up for a few seconds and rest. If you lose, you continue holding your squat. Do this for 60 seconds, rest 30 seconds, and do 4 rounds total.

3. High five pushups

You will live up head to head with your partner. Lower down into the pushup at the same time, come up together, and at the top give them a high five or a fist bump. During cold and flu season I recommend a fist bump. Do this for 30 seconds, rest 30 seconds for 4 rounds.

4. Annoying planks

One partner will hold a plank. The other partner will wrap a towel or band around their partner's hips. While the partner is holding the plank, the other partner will begin lifting up, pulling sideways, and generally making a nuisance out of themselves to make the plank harder. Each partner will do 4 rounds, 30 seconds each round.

5. Finisher-Shoulder press and squat hold

Using dumbbells or bands, one partner will do 15 shoulder presses while the other will hold a squat. As soon as the partner finishes their presses, the partners will change exercises. Go back and forth, getting as many rounds as possible in 2 minutes

These are the types of workouts that we do at boot camp. Each partner can work at their own pace and on their level.

Give it a try, then you can eat your Valentine's Day meal with a revved up metabolism.

3 Core Exercises to Tighten and Tone Your Abs



If you have a Pinterest account, then I'm sure you know "Abs Are Made In The Kitchen". To be able to see your ab muscles, you have to get rid of the fat that covers them.

There it is again!

There it is again!

Proper nutrition is the best way to say hello to the stomach muscles. We still want to strengthen and tone those babies though, so here are 3 core exercises to tighten and tone your abs.

1. Bicycle

ACE (American Council of Exercise) did a study of which abdominal exercises was the most effective. They found that the bicycle was the most effective, with nearly two and a half times the muscle activation as the plain old crunch.

This exercise targets the rectus abdominus (aka the 6 pack muscle you think of) as well as the external obliques (love handles).

To get in position to perform the bicycle, lie on your back, place both hands behind your head, feet off the ground with legs bent at 90 degrees. Next, bring your left knee towards your chin as you rotate your right elbow towards your left knee (DO NOT push on your head), and repeat side to side for the desired amount of repetitions.


This move targets the transverse abdominus which is sometimes called the corset muscle because it keeps the abdominals held in tight. I just call it your Spanx muscle. Those muscles also act as back support and to help control breathing when lifting.

Exhale all of the air out of your lungs, expand your chest, then suck your stomach in as far as possible. Think about trying to pull your belly button into your spine. When you are just starting out, try to hold this contraction for 20 seconds. Rest 60 seconds and then do it one more time.

This move can trim inches off your waist once you get good at it. It is a secret though! Keep it on the down low.

3. Side plank

A great move for overall body strength and toning the obliques (love handles). Lay on your right side first, place your right palm on the ground, lift your hips up off the ground, and hold your body in a straight line. It is a little easier if you do this same move on your forearm instead.

If either of those are too hard, try the modified version. Lay on your right side, right palm on the ground. Instead of your legs being straight, pull your feet behind your knees, and push your hips up in the air with the side of your knee staying on the ground.

4. This

Ab Enhancer

An Out-of-Gym Experience. The magic of Huntsville Adventure Boot Camp


Comfort zone

I was really honored to have an article about our boot camp published recently. The article really captures why we do what we do and how we go about doing it.

An Out-Of-Gym Experience

The article also talks about what I consider the 5 most important things you need to focus on in an exercise program. If you are taking care of these five things, you will reach your goals.

Do you use a FitBit?



My wife earned a free FitBit at work a few months ago. Her company is pretty awesome, they earn prizes and gifts with health enhancing activities.   She was obsessed with this thing when she first got it! The FitBit Flex that she has does a lot of cool things, but the main thing she uses it for are: step counting and sleep quality tracking.   When she first started counting her steps, she had no idea how inactive she was most days. Makes sense for someone who has a desk job right?   She now obsessively (don't worry, she won't read this) gets 10,000 steps a day in. Pacing during phone calls, parking further out when she goes to the hospital, marching while brushing teeth, or whatever it takes to get there.   Our house is not normal.   Why am I telling you all this? I want you to think about how active you are. Outside of your workouts especially. How much do you move?   Do you even know? Most people are like my wife and don't even think about it.  


  You have something you want to improve? Measure where you are now and then have a way to track improvements. This will also tell you when you are slipping backwards too.   It can be weight, inches, steps, number of pushups, how much weigh you lift. There are so many different things you can choose to improve, just make sure can measure how you get to where you want to be.   If step counting is one of your goals, you will get plenty at our Adventure Hiking Class that starts next Saturday, Jan 25th. We are almost out of slots if you still want to join.   Don't worry about tracking your steps for that class. Katie, who leads the class, is a FitBit fan too. She can tell you how many you get in 🙂
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