Saturday, December 24, 2011

One Foot May Be Better Than Two!

If your goal is to improve overall physical fitness, athletic performance, or to simply improve the way you perform normal activities outside of the gym, focus on your functional strength. 

Functional strength is determined by the level at which your nerves, muscles, and skeletal system are able to work together to perform dynamic movement and total body stabilization.  A training program that allows you to move in all planes of motion while performing movements utilizing multiple muscle groups on stable and unstable surfaces will improve your functional strength.  A functional strength training program, unlike a traditional more linear strength training program, is more useful because it focuses on natural body movements and limits the isolation of muscles. 

Most traditional strength training programs do a lot to increase strength in the targeted muscle.  For example, strengthening your chest by performing a flat bench barbell press.  The traditional style of lifting limits the use of core muscles which can minimize your level of performance in an activity and lead to injury.  It would be wrong to advise you not to perform an isolated lift ever again but to focus more on an integrated training program that challenges all levels of force production by your neuromuscular system.  Only focusing on traditional strength training exercises can cause weakness in unused core muscles and stabilizer muscles.  This could lead to injury during dynamic movements required in activities.  Increase resistance due to the demands of traditional strength training can cause joint discomfort and injury.  Functional strength training does not require heavy weights and minimizes the amount of resistance caused to your joints.  Traditional strength training is great for the appearance of a bodybuilder and certain isolated power lifting exercises.

Functional strength training targets all muscles and allows them to adapt while moving naturally.  In order to increase the level of intensity of functional strength training you must create a more unstable surface while using more muscles to perform a movement with added resistance.  An unstable surface forces your nervous system and muscle system to engage in response to the instability.  Your body will get used to the challenges you cause it through instability and greater neuromuscular engagements.  This adaptation will result in you gaining more functional strength and overall physical fitness.    An unstable surface can be created by simply standing on one foot rather than two.  If available you can use core boards, bosu balls, resistance balls, and medicine balls for creating instability. 

Here are the advantages of a functional strength training programs:
  • Increased total body strength
  • Injury preventative
  • More athletically inclined
  • Better balance and stability
  • Improved proportion and posture
  • Higher calories burned
  • Injury rehabilitation
  • Longer life of resistance training
  • Improves motor skills and overall ability to do normal activities.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Where Is The Fountain Of Youth?

We get older and older every day and with aging comes a commitment to maintaining youth.  Many Americans look to doctors for answers, willing to pay thousands of dollars for anti-aging treatments or therapy that will keep them looking 10 – 20 years younger.  Doctors make billions worldwide prescribing hormones like HGH (Human Growth Hormones), Estrogen, Progestin, and other concoctions that are not even proven remedies to the aging process.  Before you fall into this trend, which contributes a billion dollar income for doctors worldwide, understand the facts.  No matter what, we will age naturally due to genetics, heredity, and how well we take care of our mind and bodies.  Hormone therapy is not safe and has only been proven to increase your risks of heart disease and cancer.  If there were a safe anti-aging treatment that actually worked, it would be well known.  Since this is not the case, doctors all over the world have been testing different methods and using people as lab rats to see what works and what doesn’t.  Even more, they charge you thousands of dollars to try out their methods.  HGH therapy is banned and should only be used to cure rare cases of people with adult growth hormone deficiencies.  All other hormone treatments have other purposes.  Supplements created for anti-aging have not been approved by the FDA (Federal Drug Administration) meaning you never know what you are taking and the side effects can have a lasting, negative impact. 

There is no magic potion that will keep you looking young as you grow old.  The fountain of youth in a bottle is only a dream.  The most effective way to decrease the aging process is to exercise regularly, eat healthy, maintain a normal body fat percentage, and avoid the intake of all other substances that are foreign to your body, such as smoking.  Healthy living is the only solution that has been proven to show results.  Once you are consistently living a healthy and fit lifestyle, you will be guaranteed to age slower.  You will feel better and be at a lower risk of health issues.  You will also spend less money on medical treatments and procedures as you age.  If you are looking for the fountain of youth, stop wasting your time and plan for more exercise and healthy eating regularly.  Take care of your body regularly and you will discover that the fountain of youth is merely a habit.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011


After a workout your body is like a sponge.  The receptors on your muscles become sensitive and absorb glucose at a higher rate.  With the help of insulin and it's response to the food you eat your body will absorb whatever you give it.  Whether it is energy lost through resistance training or aerobic exercise, you must replace energy with mostly natural sources of energy your body needs.  This is based on your fitness goals.

Your post weight lifting workout meal should include at least 30 grams of a whey protein supplement followed by a healthy low sat fat portion of meat with a serving of preferably green vegetable.  Remember that your workouts must be intense and every workout, you have to make progress.  BREAK YOUR MUSCLES DOWN!

Your post cardio workout meal does not have to consist of a whey protein supplement, but you must supply your body with a balanced meal like a low fat portion of meat and a slower digesting carbohydrate like sweet potato, pasta, brown rice, or green vegetables.  Aerobic exercise must be intense also and should last 20 - 30 minutes at a heart rate of 80% of your maximum heart rate.

To keep your body from storing fat and allowing it to respond better to your diet, watch the amount of saturated fat you are eating each meal.  Avoid processed foods, dairy products like milk and cheese, and fatty meats.  Combining saturated fat with carbohydrates will decrease your bodies insulin sensitivity.  Insulin is made to respond to glucose and fuel your lean mass.  Combining saturated fat with carbohydrates forces your body to store most of this energy as body fat.  Remember, your goal is to fuel your lean mass.  Saturated fat in your diet makes it hard for your muscles to absorb energy needed.  Post workout you have to eat healthy so that your body will respond better and your muscles get the right kind and amount of energy to reach your goals.


1.  Avoid eating cheese or mayonnaise on sandwiches (usually the meat has sat fat in it)
2.  Avoid fatty meats like pork, lamb, chicken thighs and legs, fatty steaks
3.  Have Low Fat or Skim milk in your cereal
4.  Use Olive oil or canola oil when cooking
5.  Whole foods are healthy but eliminate the sat fat in whole foods like milk, eggs, cheese, pasta, breads!

Friday, November 4, 2011

How To Avoid A Weight Loss Plateau

 No matter how hard you try to get to where you want to be, you always end up plateauing. A plateau is a point reached in your fitness regiment where there is a lack of results. This causes you to become less motivated and committed to your routine. For the first month you lose a lot of weight and eventually around the third month you hit a plateau. A plateau can turn the possibility of you reaching your fitness goals into a dream. If everyone continued to get results from their routine, fitness would not be a trend and more people would commit to following a plan consistently. This would also reduce the risk of a lot of health problems that result from obesity. A commitment with satisfactory progression is what everyone wants but is not easily attained. A plateau does not have to be inevitable and you can continue to get results.

Here are some tips that will help you avoid a plateau:

· Variation! Change up your routine constantly so that your body will never adapt to normal activity. A change in frequency, intensity, and duration all contribute to keeping your body guessing. Your body can adapt very fast to something you do all the time at the same pace. You doing the same activities can effect your joints negatively also, which can lead to you taking time off due to discomfort or injury.

· Rest and recovery! Very important but widely ignored. Do just enough but never overextend yourself. Doing too much can cause fatigue and a lack of time to recovery fully before the next workout. Short and intense is always better than long and exhausting. Sleep is important! Doing different exercises can aid in recovery.

· Eat Right! Following a nutritional plan that compliments your daily activity level is important. Too much or too little food can lead to a lack of results. It is important to give your body energy when it needs energy. Your body functions better on all natural sources of energy.

· Lift weights! Resistance training helps you to maintain your lean mass which is in control of your metabolism. More lean mass results in a higher metabolism. The biggest mistake is to depend only on aerobic exercise. As we age our metabolism slows down gradually as well as the deterioration of our lean mass. There is a direct correlation between the two. Your lean mass controls your metabolism.

· Professional Guidance! A personal trainer can introduce new exercises to your routine and also give you that extra motivation to increase your intensity. What works for everyone else might not work for you. From one-on-one professional guidance you can get a personalized aerobic/ anaerobic plan as well as nutritional guidance.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Compound Exercises

Compound exercises are helpful if your fitness goals are to gain strength, lose weight, and become more athletic or to simply get in shape within a short range of time.  Anyone can perform these exercises and they can be personalized for your level of fitness and enhanced to ensure progression towards your fitness goals.

Compound exercises are exercises with or without resistance that combine multiple muscle groups to complete a movement within a natural range of motion.  Utilizing multiple muscles throughout your body at once allows you to maximize the amount of energy exerted in a shorter amount of time.  This can shorten up your fitness routine as well as increase the amount of calories burned.  Compound exercises make your fitness plan feasible due to your daily schedule.  Completing exercises that combine muscle groups take more energy to execute so you are likely to increase your heart rate faster than performing isolated of single muscle group exercises.  Compound exercises not only target large muscle groups but also activate smaller muscles.  This changes an isolated resistance training routine into a total body workout.
Compound exercises can be executed in the gym, at home, at work, or outside.  You can count the repetitions and sets of these exercises like a normal isolated resistance training exercise.  You may need to take longer rest periods in between sets for recovery.  The duration of a workout with compound exercises should be no more than an hour.  You can exhaust all the energy you have in a short amount of time.  In progressing through a plan take less rest between sets, increase the resistance, and/ or increase your range of motion.  This will increase intensity as well as your strength, cardiovascular endurance, and metabolism.  Compound exercises are similar to real life activities and will be beneficial while you are not working out.  Performing compound exercises will keep you looking and feeling good forever while also improving your all around strength, balance and coordination.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

The Power of Digestive Enzymes!

In formulating a nutritional plan that is going to help you reach whatever fitness goals you have, you must be aware of the enzymes that your body produces to breakdown food.  Digestive enzymes are produced for and used to breakdown foods that we eat so that, during the process of digestion, nutrients can be extracted.  There are several glands along our digestive tract that produce enzymes to breakdown foods.  Glands that produce enzymes to breakdown the chemical bonds of foods are in your mouth, stomach, pancreas, and the small intestines.  These enzymes are essential in the digestion process and enable all cells in our bodies to receive energy needed to sustain life and function properly.  If your body is not able to manufacture and secrete these enzymes efficiently then you will build an intolerance to whatever nutrient that enzymes is used to breakdown.  For instance, people who are lactose intolerant do not produce the digestive enzyme called "lactase" efficiently enough to convert milk sugar or lactose into glucose.  These people receive no nutritional value from milk or dairy because of this and have to avoid drinking whole milk.

Here are 4 Important digestive enzymes manufactured and secreted in your body.

  1. Protease helps to digest protein.
  2. Amylase helps your body breakdown carbohydrates.
  3. Lactase digests milk and other dairy products.
  4. Lipase helps to digest fats and oils.
The Big Question:  How do you maintain constant and steady levels of enzymes being manufactured and secreted throughout your entire life?

First you must know that as we age our bodies produce these digestive enzymes at a slower rate.  A lot of people become lactose intolerant at an early age because your body naturally produces lactase more abundantly when you are an infant to digest milk.  Eventually, once you begin to consume more complex carbohydrates, lactase production in your body begins to subside. 

Have you ever have had problems with digesting certain foods? 
Are you not receiving adequate amounts of energy or any other wanted value from the foods you eat?

Here are some tips on how to promote and maintain enzyme production to make sure you are getting what you need out of what you are eating.

  1. Avoid overeating so that your body is not forced to constantly over produce chemicals to process energy.  This could lead to digestive enzyme depletion sooner than later.
  2. Eat more raw fruits and vegetables.  Raw fruits and vegetables have their own digestive enzymes and limit the amount of enzymes your body has to produce to breakdown and process nutrients. 
  3. Avoid cooking fruits and vegetables.  Enzymes can easily be destroyed in foods once there are cooked.  Cooking a vegetable can take alot of value away from your meal.  Eat Fresh!
  4. Make sure you chew your food well.  Amaylase and Lipase, which are enzymes produced to breakdown carbohydrates and fat, are secreted through salivary glands in your mouth to help breakdown foods.  A big part of the process of digestion should be done in your mouth.
  5. Digestive enzyme supplementation.  For whatever diegestive enzyme you are lacking, supplementation can be done by consuming more natural food enzymes.  Consulting with a physician about any other necessary oral supplements if needed.
  6. Eat healthy.  Eating healthy can guarantee that you are receiving the proper nutrients your body need to process energy more smoothly.  Eating unhealthy does play a toll as you age.  The value of a healthy balanced meal plan is worth while and acts as a catalyst for our bodies.  Being consistent with a healthy diet is in direct relation with changing your fluids on time over time on your car.  If you keep it up it will lasts longer!

Here's a link to a site that recommends pineapples as a great source of digestive enzymes.  Enjoy!

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Insulin For Life Long Health and Wellness

Insulin is a hormone produced in our body to regulate and control blood sugar levels.  Insulin is secreted by the pancreas to supply cells with glucose.  Food that we eat is converted to glucose, which is the main source of energy for our bodies.  Everytime you eat the pancreas must work to secrete enough insulin to keep blood sugar levels from reaching too high and give your cells the energy they need.  High blood sugar levels can damage organs as well as lead to diabetes.  Diabetes occurs when, either your body stops producing insulin or your body builds an intolerance to insulin.  The lack of insulin in the body to supply energy to cells can lead to unconsciousness and even death.  A lack of insulin or an intolerance to insulin in your body is a result of an unhealthy diet and very little exercise.

Here are some tips to help your body produce insulin normally throughout your entire life:
  • Never miss breakfast. (spark your insulin in the morning!)
  • Eat more frequently smaller meals. (5-6 normal sized portions!)
  • Avoid refined sugars and complex carbohydrates. (no processed foods and minimal starches!)
  • Exercise your muscles and do cardio regularly.  (Helps to maintain lower blood sugar levels!)
  • Drink adequate amounts of water. (6-8glasses a day!)
  • Eat according to your activity level.  (A starch is good before exercise but not before bed!) 
  • Eat more natural foods like leafy green veggies and low fat meats.  (Your body absorbs it easier!)
Insulin secretion plays a vital role in maintaining normal blood sugar levels.  Your goal, in maintaining lifelong health and wellness, is to maintain normal insulin levels so that your body will never be deprived of this essential hormone.  With strong commitment to a balanced nutritional diet plan, the less likely you are to becoming a diabetic.  Forcing your body to work extra hard to maintain normal blood sugar levels overworks your pancreas.  Your pancreas will stop producing insulin efficiently due to an unhealthy, over-demanding diet.  Insulin is like a key that glucose needs to get inside of a cell.  Without this key your body cannot function properly. 

Sunday, August 28, 2011

What Did You Eat Today?

This is a questions that every trainer should ask their client. It is important to incorporate a pre-workout and post-workout meal into your nutritional plan on days that you are training. Never workout on an empty stomach! It is important to eat enough energy that is required for whatever activity you perform. When you do not eat before you workout you are jeopardizing your lean mass and limiting the amount of energy that you will have for your workout. When you force your body to work hard on no energy it finds ways to store energy on it’s own. A fitness plan should be for the purpose of maintain your active tissue which is your muscle, skin, and bones. A car cannot start without gas or oil and it must have the right kind of fuel to run efficiently. As a vehicle is a mechanism, so is your body. It is recommended that you consume a pre-workout meal 30 minutes to 1 hour before you workout and a post-workout meal 30 minutes to 1 hour after to training. A post workout meal is for the purpose of replacing calories lost and restoring energy to restore muscle tissue. It is also important never to miss breakfast.
Not eating proper meals can lead to:
· A plateau
· Unwanted results
· Muscle loss
· Increased body fat
· Weakness & fatigue
· Injuries

The three most important meals of your day should be breakfast, pre-workout, and post-workout meals. With this outlook you will get better result and your nutritional plan and workout routine will compliment each other. You will have more energy, better recovery, and your body will store less fat due to you feeding into your lean mass. Remember, if you do not properly energize your body then your body will energize itself. That is why camels have humps!

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Healthy Sleeping!

Are you getting enough sleep at night?  To maintain a healthy lifestyle it is recommended that you get at least 6-8 hours of sleep every night.  Sleeping adequately and consistently leads to a longer life, increased productivity throughout the day, and aids in the overall healing and recovery process.  Your body need to be rejuvenated, especially if you have a very busy schedule.  Getting enough sleep will also ensure that you recover and get results from your fitness routine.  If you are not getting enough sleep at night then you are unable to function at your optimum level.  A lack of sleep, less than 6 hours at night,  can have long term damaging effects on the mind and body.  
Not getting enough sleep at night can cause:
·    Increased risk of heart attack and strokes
·    Weight Gain
·    Increased appetite during the day
·    Stress
·    Problems with focusing and paying attention
·    Muscle loss
·    Depression

Vitamin C to Recover and Heal The Body

It is important to eat products with Vitamin C daily to maintain a healthy body.  Your body needs Vitamin C to build and repair tissue, bones, cartilage and fight off diseases.  Vitamin C is an antioxidant that fights off free radicals or byproducts which are produced when your body converts food to energy.  Free radicals can cause damage to healthy cells while antioxidant block them and make cells stronger.  Vitamin C is water soluble and necessary in your diet daily.  It cannot be stored by the body for later use, so when you deprive yourself you are at greater risk of disease, illness, and injury.  Vitamin C consumption contributes to maintaining and healing every part of the body.  From strengthening your immune system to aiding in muscle recovery after a strenuous workout, this vitamin is proven to be essential in your nutritional plan.  The recommended daily amount of Vitamin C is 60mg or 1 orange.  Avoid exceeding over 2000mg a day because it can cause adverse effects.
Sources of Vitamin C can be found in:
·     Citrus Fruits and juices
·     Kiwi
·     Strawberries
·     Green peppers
·     Kale
·     Spinach
·     Cabbage
·     Broccoli
·     Tomato

TRX Suspension Training

TRX Suspension Training is a style of training that maximizes your efficiency and level of exertion by using your own body weight.  In a little amount of time you are able to complete more exercises and heighten your intensity while combining multiple muscle groups.  These Suspension bands, which would usually hang from an attachment to a ceiling or a wall, can target every muscle group in the body.  Most exercises conducted in TRX training incorporate your core as well as a targeted muscle group.  TRX Training allows you to perform movements along multiple planes.  This training is good to improve balance, total strength and prevent injury.  This training can be used to improve athletic performance in top conditioned athletes or aid in the rehabilitation for a normal person.  

TRX Suspension Training may seem complicated and impossible to execute when you first try it out.  Once you get a hang of one exercise and feel the effects, you will be ready to do more.   There are over a hundred exercises that can be performed in TRX Suspension Training.  To prevent you from getting discouraged, a lack of results, or injury, seek proper instructions from a fitness professional.  TRX Suspension Training will make your fitness goals more attainable while also adding a lot of fun and excitement to your routine.

Sunday, July 31, 2011

Functional Training

Functional training is a style of training that targets all areas of your body.  Functional training incorporates and combines all your different muscle groups to perform an exercise or activity that maximizes your energy exertion.  Traditional resistance training with weights or machines only target a specific muscle or muscle group and isolate a lot of muscles during exercise.  Functional training exercises target multiple muscle groups through a more natural range of motion.  Instead of a controlled unnatural movement, functional training exercises improve your natural ability and core strength.  The role of this style of training is to become more advanced in your resistance training routine for better results.

To perform functional training exercises you can use body weight, resistance bands, weights, basically anything that creates a resistance.  This training benefits a lot when rehabbing injuries, sports conditioning, strengthening weak areas, and also avoiding plateaus.  Functional training is good for improving balance and strengthening stabilizer muscles which control your balance.  This type of training can not only improve your overall physical conditioning, but can also prevent injuries when performing normal activities at work or at home.
Functional training is recommended to everybody who wants to follow a fitness plan that will give them the best results for the rest of their life.  It is important that you seek instruction from a fitness professional to perform these exercises.  Their are a broad range of exercises that can be categorized as functional.  As your fitness plan progresses it is important to be more creative with your routine for better results.  Functional training will open up a world of creativity that will also add excitement to your workout!

Are You A Hard Gainer?

A Hard gainer is a man and woman who is a natural ectomorph (a thin person who does not gain weight easily).  If your parents are thin and you are thin, it is probably hard for you to gain weight.  With this natural occurrence due to genetics and heredity you have to work extra hard on committing to a plan that is going to help you grow the right way.  You are not doomed, you do not have to be thin the rest of your life.  You can have a muscular or more toned look! You must follow a balanced total body resistance training routine and a nutrition plan that feeds your muscles.

Here are 6 nutritional tips for Hard Gainers who want to add 10-20 pounds of muscle.
1. Eat 6-7 meals a day depending on activity levels.
2. Eat breakfast around or before 8am and every 3 hours after.
3. Eat more natural sources of protein.(chicken, fish, steak, eggs, dairy products)
4. A whey protein supplement is necessary.
5. Eat more healthy carbohydrates and fats.
6. Make sure your calorie intake is higher than your calorie burn each day.


Cholesterol is substance which is found in the cellular membranes of all animals. You do not have to consumed this substance since the human body creates it’s own supply.  Cholesterol is only found in animals and cannot be consumed from eating fruits, vegetables, or nuts.

Cholesterol is broken into two categories which are bad cholesterol (LDL) and good cholesterol (HDL).  Following a diet plan that is high in cholesterol can lead to an increased risk of heart attack or stroke.  When monitoring your cholesterol levels you want to make sure that your bad cholesterol levels are low and your good cholesterol levels are normal.  When you have higher than normal bad cholesterol it causes plaque to build up in your arteries which can lead to heart diseases.  When you have a higher good cholesterol count you are at less risk of heart disease.

To avoid having a high bad cholesterol count it is important to limit the amount of dietary cholesterol you consume each day.  Around a maximum of 300 mg of cholesterol is recommended in your diet daily.
Here is a list of foods that are high in cholesterol you should limit or avoid:

·     Beef
·     Egg yolks
·     Lamb
·     Pork
·     Chicken and turkey liver
·     Whole milk
·     Ice cream
·     Butter
·     Duck
·     Shrimp

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Drink Water Responsibly!

Drinking water is an essential part of your nutritional diet plan.  Depending on how much body fat you have, you can live on water and no food for at least a month.  We can only live without water for 14 days maximum.  It is important to drink enough water a day to maintain body fluids at their normal levels.  Maintaining normal fluid levels in our bodies will determine how well our bodies work and how much energy we have.  It is recommended that we drink 2 or more quarts of water a day depending on our activity levels and how much water we excrete each day.  Water retention is determined by how fast we drink it.  Absorbing water in moderation is retained better than drinking a whole lot a once.  Drinking a large amount of water in a short period of time will cause your body to excrete it.  Some say it is better to drink bottled water than tap water, but they are basically the same.  Both tap and bottled water have been exposed to chemicals as well as harmful bacteria.  Obtaining a water filter for your sink at home will save you money and be a little more environmentally sound.

Drinking water prevents:
·    Dehydration
·    Bladder problems including constipation
·    Kidney Stones
·    Skin Disease
·    Cancers
·    Osteoporosis
·    Water Retention
·    Brain Diseases

Heart Healthy Fat Sources

Not all fat sources are bad, some are essential in our diet to maintain balance and prevent cardiovascular diseases.  Fats or triglycerides come from plants and animals in a solid or oil form.  Fats can be categorized into three categories which and saturated, unsaturated, and trans fatty acids.         Trans fats are artificial fats that are made to preserve food longer and extend the shelf life of the food.  It is important to avoid any product that consists of trans fat.  Saturated fats should not exceed 10% of your diet.  Saturated fats sources are found in all dairy products and meats.  There is a direct correlation between products with saturated fats and high cholesterol levels.  A diet consisting of saturated fat can put you at a greater risk of heart disease.  The majority of fats in your diet should come from unsaturated fat sources.  Unsaturated fat sources in your diet lead to a healthier heart and lower cholesterol levels in your blood.  Unsaturated fats consist of Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids which are essential fat sources because we have to have them in our diet.
Here are some examples of healthy fat sources:
·     Fish (salmon, tuna, mackerel, herring, trout, sardines)
·     Seeds (sunflower, sesame, pumpkin, and flax)
·     Nuts (almonds, peanuts, macadamia nuts, hazelnuts, pecans, cashews)
·     Oils (Canola, Olive, Sunflower, Corn)
·     Avocados