Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Healthy tips for the new year

Boston.com ran a good piece on healthy tips for the New Year today. I liked it a lot. Let me know what you think of it. Shoot me an email at paulconnolly123@gmail.com.

Here's the link:

Monday, December 29, 2008

Recognizing your strengths and weaknesses

While these next couple weeks represents the time of year when people begin their annual resolutions, I prefer to look back on the year that is about to end (2008) and list what went good and what didn't go so well. In other words, extracting your weak links in the chain that was 2008 is a great way to set yourself up for success in '09. Specifically, if you didn't get in the 5 workouts a week you had hoped to, start with a conservative number (2, for example) and go from there. If you consistently hit 2 workouts/week for 3 weeks, make it a point to shoot for 3 workouts/week. Everything in progression. Don't overshoot your goals. Of course you should make them challenging, yet realistic at the same time. Good luck and keep in touch.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

They're Grrrrrreat- NOT!

While Reduced Sugar Frosted Flakes have 30% less sugar than regular Frosted Flakes, they actually contain 10 more calories per serving. Sure, 10 calories is nothing, but consider this a simple reminder to read labels as opposed to just glancing at the front of the box. I have read where manufacturers are being persuaded to put labels on the front of packages which I would love to see since we're apparently too lazy to turn the box 90 degrees.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Did You Know?

Maximal oxygen consumption peaks at age 35 and begins to decrease between the ages of 50 and 60. The greatest decrements occur after age 60. Regular cardiovascular exercise can help combat this problem. In my February newsletter, I will be dedicating the Exercise tip of the Month section to "interval Training," which is finally becoming more common in training programs for laypersons. Initially, it was an activity only "athletes" practiced, but many others are finally hopping on board and reaping the benefits of this efficient, yet challenging, type of conditioning.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Antagonist Stretching for Strength Gains

A tactic that's been used for a long time and works for many to induce strength gains is antagonist stretching. To catch everyone up to speed, antagonists are the muscles that oppose those primarily doing the work. For example, muscles in your chest ("pecs") amongst others fire during a bench press. The muscles in your upper back ("posterior delts" for example) oppose the pecs. Therefore, the idea is to pre-stretch the upper back (horizontal pulling) muscles prior to a horizontal pushing exercise like push-ups, or in this case the bench press.

Give it a shot and see if it helps with strength gains. Also, apply the principle with other groups (pre-stretch the triceps before doing bicep curls). Let me know how you do. I haven't done it in a while to be completely honest and need to implement it more.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Cold weather snacking

One of my favorite snacks in the cold weather is Trader Joe's turkey chili. With 21 grams of protein and 7 grams of fiber per serving (1 cup), it's a great choice between meals or even as a small side with a salad. Lean turkey meat acts as your complete protein source, while the beans provide good quality fiber and stabilize glucose levels. If you haven't had it yet, give it a try and let me know what you think!

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Snowed In

Nothing better to do when a foot of snow falls in Boston than to get caught up on office work. I put the finishing touches on the January '09 newsletter and it looks to be one of my best yet. I've got a great interview with a local mentor, as well as some great fitness and nutrition tips for you.

Be safe shoveling and enjoy the snow!


Friday, December 12, 2008

Work on your Weaknesses

AL MVP- man that's got a nice ring to it-Dustin Pedroia recently did an interview with Core Performance (http://www.coreperformance.com/play_better/baseball/Dustin_Pedroias_Most_Valuable_Advice.html). Possessing a smaller frame, people are often curious/envious how he performs with such every-day toughness. The best piece of advice I felt he gave was to work on your weaknesses.

I often tell my clients they must put the majority of their focus on training their weaknesses. For many, this is nutrition. For others, it may be getting enough consistent sleep. Long story short: stop spending so much time doing what you are already good at and put more focus into turning your weaknesses into your strengths. If you only have 30 minutes and increasing your strength is a priority, why are you on the treadmill?

Listen to Pedroia- he knows what he's talking about.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

3 Approaches to Optimum Health (part III)

Grocery shopping should entail you spending the majority of your time in the perimeter of the store, where the least processed foods are located. Choosing fish, lean meats, fruits, and vegetables over processed foods will ensure you receive the appropriate macronutrients in your diet.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Recommended Product

Robert Kiyosaki's book, "Rich Dad Poor Dad," advocates financial independence through investing, real estate, owning businesses, and the use of finance protection tactics. I highly recommend it for anyone interested in finance, real estate, etc... It is VERY easy to follow.

My favorite excerpt is as follows:

One of the reasons the rich get richer, the poor get poorer, and the middle class struggles in debt is because the subject of money is taught at home, not in school. Most of us learn about money from our parents. So what can a poor parent tell their child about money? They simply say, "Stay in school and study hard." The child may graduate with excellent grades but with a poor person's financial programming and mind-set. It was learned while the child was young.

"Rich Dad Poor Dad" is available @ Amazon.com through the following link:

Sunday, December 07, 2008

3 Approaches to Optimum Health (part II)

Adequate rest has been proven to regulate weight and decrease cortisol (stress hormone) levels. Health professionals currently recommend 7-9 hours of sleep every night for proper cognitive function. Additionally, adequate rest improves performance during your workouts, allowing you to push yourself during your conditioning and strength training.

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

3 Approaches to Optimum Health (part I)

I just finished up a mini-article for Waverley Oaks Athletic Club (http://www.waverleyoaks.com/) about ways to reach optimum health. It was 3 brief sections. Below is part I of III:

Strength training performed in an excessively slow manner fails to recruit fast-twitch muscle fibers. These are the muscles that produce power in athletes and more importantly, prevent falls as you age. Don’t be afraid to increase the speed of the initial phase of an exercise (the push during a bench press or the ascend during a squat) to induce bone mineral density improvements.

Sizing up your Equipment

Certain pieces of exercise equipment need to be customized for certain frames. We all come in different shapes and sizes and need to select the appropriate equipment accordingly. For example, Swiss Balls are a great tool for certain exercises, yet often don't fit the individual using them.

A good rule of thumb is when sitting on an inflated Swiss ball, your knees have an approximate 90-degree bend at your knee joint. If an individual who is too short or too tall for a specific Swiss Ball circumference, they won't get the most out of the selected exercise. The chart below breaks down he correlation between the size of the Swiss Ball and the associated recommended height:

Ball diameter Individual’s Height
45 cm 4’6”-5’0”
55 cm 5’1”-5’7”
65 cm 5’8”-6’1”
75 cm 6’2”- 6’7”
85 cm 6’7” and up

So next time you're using a Swiss Ball, make sure you're using the correct size to get the most out of your workout.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Ditching the gut

Way too many people (mostly guys) complain about their bellies. These are often the same guys who don't limit their alcohol intake, don't get enough sleep, and basically eat like crap. Some of them actually perform a few decent exercises, but that isn't even half the battle. The make-or-break for these people is the nutrition side of the equation. If you eat like sh_ _, your progress will be next to none. I appreciate people who work out hard, but not when they eat junk. Shoot me an email (paulconnolly123@gmail.com) if you need some nutritional guidance to optimize your physical appearance. Don't wait another month to start the New Year off right. The best time to start is now and I'm here to help.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Turkey Trots

"Turkey Trots" (post-Thanksgiving runs that are often 5K in nature) are something you see more and more of every year. There are a few in the surrounding towns near me and I like the idea. They're a great way for people to get together to work off the big meal they've most likely had for Thanksgiving. So many people talk about eating too much turkey when it's often some of the side dishes and desserts that people go overboard on (stuffing, various pies, etc...)

If you're doing a "Turkey Trot" this year, try and avoid the competitive nature of it all and focus more on having fun. Make the other races you do throughout the year competitive but this time focus more on simply having fun and making it more of a social experience. Get to know others in your town who are also running the race. Who knows- you may meet a future workout partner or simply a new friend.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Counting Calories

It's becoming increasingly evident to me the more I gather feedback from people looking to lose weight, the more I hear WAY too much about calories. To this day, I dont know if I've ever had people count calories. Of course, we've looked at sources of nutritously dense food, but it's never come to a point where I made people write out every single food they ate and track calories for everything. I've certainly made it a point to track specific nutrients like protein and fiber, but not calories for every item they ingest. Saying it's a waste of time sounds harsh, but a part of me thinks this is true.

Whether your goal is weight gain, loss, or maintenance, the focus should be on ingesting quality whole foods. Think lean protein (chicken and beans), unsaturated fats (fish and nuts, and complex carbohydrates (vegetables and whole grains). The detailed addition or subtraction of these macronutrients will yield optimum results, not counting calories.

One Thing At A Time

A recent sit-down with a client left me focusing on one idea- the simplistic approach to sticking to one thing at a time. We live in such an "instant satisfaction" type of society where people are in such a rush to accomplish too many agenda items in limited time spans. Focusing on one thing at a time allows us to cherish each single event, allowing them to appear more individually sacred.

This particular client was mentioning how she'd LOVE to fit into a specific bathing suit next summer. While I admired her selection of a long-term goal, I made sure to remind her that several events need to happen along the way. These events being the "one thing at a time" type of events (i.e. eating breakfast every day, not skipping meals, getting adequate rest every night, etc...) She realized that to fit into this new bathing suit would take a daily commitment of the aforementioned events. Focusing on one thing at a time is the best approach toward achieving your goals, whether short or long-term.

What are some of your short and long-term goals and what individual steps are you taking to make sure you meet these goals? Shoot me an email at the following: paulconnolly123@gmail.com

I'd love to hear from you!

Monday, November 17, 2008

Misleading Nutritional Claims

We try to do the right thing, but we're often mislead by ambiguous marketing. The above is a typical example of a company touting "healthy" ingredients when in reality a donut is still a donut. Sure, if you break it down calorically, a glazed donut may be a better choice than others but it's still garbage.

Another case in point is "low carb" beer. Interestingly enough, beer was never super high in carbs to begin with. (Maleducated) people still think carbs make you fat. Simply not true. Enter beer company with misleading advertisement touting low carb beer with a guy doing sit-ups. Wow.

Moral of the story: excess calories, insufficient exercise, lack of sleep, and elevated stress levels lead to undesirable body fat levels- not carbs. Put down the "whole wheat donut" and pick up a pair of dumbbells.

Excellent Nutrition Book

I just finished up an awesome book this weekend called Anti-Inflammatory Foods for Health. Authored by dietitian Barbara Rowe, this book not only explains ways to incorporate more omega 3's in your diet, but provides complete recipes for making the suggested items. The illustrations are incredible and the book is easy to follow. It does a good job of explaining how to positively manipulate the ratio of omega 6: omega 3 fatty acids we ingest.

Amazon.com has the book for only $10. After borrowing it from the library, I made sure to order my copy to have as a constant reference tool. To order yours, click the following link:

Friday, November 14, 2008

Yes We Can!

I'm giving away who I voted for in the recent presidential election by doing this post, but that's OK. One reason I admire Barack Obama is his adherence to his exercise regimen. I had heard of him being a fitness nut and he was a fellow baller, but then I read about how the morning of the election he got in a solid basketball workout. While he had me sold there, it turns out later in the day he got in some weight training. Awesome! Now that is something I admire in our next president. Like me, Obama works out to relieve stress.

Check out the pic above. Not only does he lift hard and play hoops, he plays with some good competition (notice NBA player Chris Duhon).

Here's a funny clip from a recent article about Obama:

"Although he is now the most famous member of the Washington Sports Club chain of gyms in the US capital, his celebrity status has not always guaranteed admission. In June, a front-desk employee demanded that he show an ID card when she failed to recognize him."

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Family Guy Deal

Here's one of my random posts. As I've mentioned in the past, sometimes it's a good thing to talk about non-fitness and nutrition related stuff sometimes. That being said, Amazon's running an incredible today. Entire Family Guy series on DVD available for only $59.99 here:

Cliff Builder Bars

One bar I do like between meals or sometimes after a workout are Cliff Builder Bars. 270 calories and 20 grams of protein and you're good to go. Sure there is saturated fat in it, but all things considered I am OK with since the protein, calories, and most importantly- taste, are all good. As you may know or have experienced, so many of these bars taste like cardboard so it's nice to find one you enjoy.

Sunday, November 09, 2008

What Would I Do Without TJ's?

Trader Joe's, AKA "my home away from home," has so many incredible offerings I can't recommend them highly enough. Most people I talk to have heard of TJ's, but still so many have never been. There's a common misnomer that it's a "health food store" or that it's overpriced. Neither description could be further from the truth. Sure, they carry the basics like milk, bread and butter, but there is so much beyond that.

Here are 10 of my favorites in no particular order that I purchase on a regular basis:

  • Buffalo steak (bison) burgers

  • Part-skim string cheese

  • Almond butter

  • Ground turkey meat

  • Roasted red pepper hummus

  • Wild salmon (TJ's carries frozen fish only)

  • Banana-flavored waffles

  • Morningstar sausage (soy-based) breakfast patties

  • Greek-style fat-free yogurt

  • Omega-3 eggs

Sunday, November 02, 2008

Belly busting warning

We've just entered the time of the year I consider the MOST IMPORTANT for the general public (non-collegiate/pro athletes). October thru March are the 6 months of the year where people in the Northeast "hibernate" the most. That is, they tend to stay indoors more and seem to move less. Surely, this is mostly due to the colder temperatures, but I blame a portion of it on there being less daylight. Depression rates increase this time of year, as does average body weight levels.

I've been talking with quite a few clients recently about this lately. My message is simple: from now through March are going to be the 6 most important training months of your life. The LAST thing you want to happen is for April and May to roll around and having to look back saying "man, I really should have pushed myself harder for its beach time now and I am not happy with my physical appearance."

I'll admit I'm guilty of it. Last year I didn't push myself and this past summer I wasn't happy and regretted not pushing myself harder. It goes without saying that this isn't just a "gym thing." Rather, you need to push yourself when it comes to the nutrition side of things. Lean protein, complex carbs, fiber, etc... are your keys to success. I've made the pledge to train my butt off these next 6 months and you should too. Let's look back at this blog entry (rant) and be proud of ourselves together. I'm trying to being as healthy as I can be- just like you.

Good luck!

Friday, October 31, 2008

Another advocation of bison meat

And I thought I was the only one who loved this stuff. While I do try to limit my red meat consumption, I do love a nice bison burger once in a while. Bison is a fantastic alternative to ground beef, containing comparable protein levels and FAR less saturated fat. Give bison meat a try and let me know what you think. I'll admit, I was skeptical at first but now I'm hooked :-)

A recent article in New England Sports Magazine talked about bison: http://www.newenglandsportsmag.com/nutrition/a-healthier-meat.html

Happy Halloween

So of course we think about pumpkins when it comes to Halloween, but did you know that they are actually good for you? The meat of the pumpkin is high in "carotenoids," the substance that gives pumpkins their orange color. Pumpkins are also high in lutein, which has shown some signs of preventing macular degeneration- a serious eye problem which can lead to blindness.

Trader Joe's sells organic canned pumpkin which admittedly is an acquired taste. There are many recipes available online for which you can add pumpkin as a means of increasing fiber intake.

You can also take it a step further and hit up Cambridge Brewing Company for their Pumpkin Ale Festival: http://www.boston.com/ae/events/articles/2008/10/31/smashing_pumpkins/ I had some Pumpkin Ale recently at Sunset Grille & Tap that was pretty good: http://www.allstonsfinest.com/allstonsfinest/sunsetgrillandtap/sunsetgrill&tap.swf

Lastly, I always think of this song on Halloween. It brings me back to the Ghostbuster days. Happy Halloween everyone!

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Trying a new whole grain

I had the opportunity to try a new whole grain today at a workshop I consulted at. Bulgur, admittedly a tad bland, can be used in pilafs, soups, or as stuffing. It is best known as a main ingredient in tabbouleh. Its higher nutritional value makes it a good substitute for rice or couscous.

1 cup cooked has ~8 grams of fiber, although only ~2 grams of it being soluble (cholesterol-lowering) fiber. Remember, LDL is your "bad" cholesterol so shoot for foods high in fiber and omega 3 fats. Pair that with quality exercise and you're well on your way to better health!

1 down, 81 more in the regular season to go

Nothing wrong with showing a little emotion once in a while:

Monday, October 27, 2008

Arm Candy?!?!

I was reading The Boston Globe Magazine this past Sunday and came across this ridiculous ad for a pair of hand weights. A whole kilogram (2.2 pounds) for the bargain price of...$180!!! What will they think of next. I'd rather work out with 2 bricks that dont cost me a dime than these stupid things. Even in this economy, people really do have money to burn.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Food labels moving to the front of packages

Recently unveiled at the American Dietetic Association's Food and Nutrition Conference and Expo, a program has now been put in place to put labels on the front of packages. While I didn't know turning something over to review the nutritional facts was so difficult, I like the idea. Theoretically, it will make people more conscience of the choices they are making when food shopping. Only time will tell.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Winning is one thing- defending is another

How gorgeous are the C's rings?!?!?!?!?!

Thursday, October 23, 2008

The Best Things (Music) in Life ARE Free!

If you know me personally, you know how passionate I am about music and that it's my favorite thing in life. It constantly surrounds me- at work, in the car, in my office, etc... Anyway, for those who aren't aware, iTunes (free to download @ http://itunes.com/) has free satellite radio with hundreds of channels from a wide variety of genres. As a means of tightening up my budget recently, I cancelled Sirius satellite radio ($155.40 for the year) and now listen to the free iTunes radio every day. Check it out and let me know what you think.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Food allergies on the rise

Interesting piece from The Boston Globe today on the increased prevalence of food allergies in kids. Check out the story here: http://www.boston.com/news/health/articles/2008/10/22/food_allergies_increasing_in_us_kids_study_says/

Book Recommendation

Had to recommend one more. It's a rainy day so I'm catching up on my reading of course :-)

Book Recommendation

If you've checked out the above, let me know what you think. I have it on order, along with a couple others.

"Cardio Only" Does Not Work!

One goal most exercise enthusiasts have is optimal body composition. That is, we want to keep our % of body fat low and our % of lean muscle/fat-free mass high. While I encounter it more with females, there are still way too many people who want to lose weight only doing "cardio." They'll hop on the elliptical for hours and leave the gym a sweaty mess thinking they have done a good thing.

The best way to burn fat and increase lean muscle is a comprehensive program of strength training, interval conditioning, and a nutrition plan that contains plenty of good fat, lean protein, and complex, fibrous carbohydrates.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

What's In Your Food?

Curious about what those mysterious ingredients listed on the nutrition label of the food you're eating are? Sure, some of the names sound familiar but do you know what the others mean? We know what sugar is but do we really know what Monosodium glutamate (MSG) is where it's found? That's only the tip of the iceberg in terms of the preservatives added to so much of what we eat.
If you're as curious as I was, check out the following link from the International Food Information Council Foundation: http://www.ific.org/publications/brochures/foodingredandcolorsbroch.cfm

Thursday, October 16, 2008

America Wants YOU to Exercise

Care to challenge your friends, clients, colleagues, etc...? If so, check out the return of The President's Fitness Test. Established by The President's Council on Physical Fitness & Sport, the test examines all major components of fitness including muscular strength, endurance, and body composition. Go to the following web site to download a form and track your results: http://www.adultfitnesstest.org/). I'm currently in the process of engaging all my clients in it now and we'll be comparing numbers with those across the country.

Additionally, it's a good idea to track your progress so test yourself now, and then reassess in the spring to ensure you are on the right path towards optimum fitness. Remember, it's important to have healthy and realistic goals, but don't forget to keep them specific when possible. For example, get away from saying statements like "I just want to be healthy." Rather, engage in something specific such as trying to maintain an optimum BMI score.

Let me know how you do not only now, but in the spring. E-mail me if you need some assistance in meeting your goals or simply need a tip or two with your fitness and nutrition habits. I'll be glad to help!

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Getting Away from Everything

When you work 7 days most weeks, you forget what a day off feels like. After having worked 1 month straight without a day off, I was overdue for some "me time." I took off and headed North and basically had the beach to myself, minus a few people walking their dogs. I relished the noise of the water as I got caught up on some reading and a few podcasts on the iPod. Good stuff.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Micro Tetrasocks

Saw these came out a while back and still haven't had a chance to try 'em out yet. Let me know if you have. Essentially, it's a glove for your foot- an expensive one at that. I'm curious how they feel, react to the washing machine, cool your feet, etc... Email me if you've tried them.

Monday, October 06, 2008

Recommended Product

Just finished up my 12th book of the year (nerd alert). Check it out here:

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Catching Z's

I STILL continue to tell clients, friends, etc... that sleep is the most overlooked variable when it comes to optimum health. People will exercise, eat right, yet fail to get consistent quality sleep. It's been proven people who get consistent quality sleep have more optimum body weight and report feeling less stressed.

The Boston Globe had a great story that echoed these thoughts:

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Relative Strength

Great article from Core Performance recently about Red Sox star/MVP candidate Dustin Pedroia. In the article, Dustin gives 5 pieces of advice that we all can apply to optimize our training. Number two I can appreciate the most. Pedroia makes a constant attempt to surround himself with people who work hard and I try and do the same. Avoid negative people and surround yourself with those who push themselves and have a passion for what they do in life and good things will happen.

Here's the link for the article. And oh yeah...GO RED SOX!!!

OCT Newsletter Released

My OCT newsletter even makes my cute newphew smile. Check it out here and let me know what you think:
And no, I didn't make him wear that special shirt!

Monday, September 29, 2008

Product Recommendation

Just finished an excellent book for those looking to buy a home. I found a good used one for $1.67!!! Check it out here:

It's a Short Off-Season When You're Champions

Training camp for your World Champion Boston Celtics begins today. I'm PSYCHED!!!!

Thursday, September 25, 2008

It Takes More Than Just Exercise

Weight loss remains the #1 reason people exercise. Sure there are secondary goals that exist including "toning," improving bone density, and increased flexibility, but weight loss will always stand out. In this time of such sedentary lifestyles, it's imperative that nutrition be priority #1. Long story short: to lose weight, you can't JUST exercise. I have potential clients, friends, family members, etc... who consistently say things like "I walk a couple times/week, but just cant find the time to eat right. Translation: "I'm lazy and don't take the time to prepare things when I have free time and would rather watch 4 hours of football on Sundays."

How long does it take to:

  • open a container of Greek yogurt and throw in a handful of blueberries

  • grille a bison burger

Of course exercise plays a role in weight loss (calorie expenditure), but it takes a combination of both exercise AND nutrition to decrease body fat and increase lean muscle. Don't forget consistent quantity and quality sleep.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Energy Fluff

A client asked me the other day which energy drinks I like/advocate. Answer: NONE

Best ways to improve energy are as follows:

  • Adequate (quality AND quantity: 7-9 hours) sleep every night

  • Proper nutrition

  • Regular exercise

So simple yet so true. Stop fooling around with all the artificial stimulants (caffeine-laden drinks) and focus on quality rest and nutrition. Personally, I've found "energy" drinks cause my heart to race and for me to get the shakes. It's an awful feeling. Again, stick with getting enough sleep and eating right to fuel your workouts.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Prepping Healthy Snacks

I read a fantastic article this weekend on designing healthy snacks. Amanda Carlson of Core performance (http://www.coreperformance.com/) suggested taking an item from 3 separate categories and combining them to make the perfect snack. It made so much sense. The 3 categories are as follows:

  1. Complex carbohydrate (organic fruit/veggies, whole wheat bread)

  2. Lean protein (fish, chicken, beans)

  3. Unsaturated fat (nuts, hummus)

Some healthy snacks I often make when I'm between appointments during the day include the following:

  • Carrots with hummus and a scoop of tuna

  • Apple w/natural peanut butter

  • Greek yogurt with shaved almonds

Try making up your own snacks based on picking from the aforementioned categories and let me know what you come up with. Good luck!

Saturday, September 20, 2008

A Financial & Fitness Analogy

This week has been the most volatile in the stock market for quite some time. In listening to people on the radio and on TV panicking how they are losing huge chunks of money, I came to realize that too many people are not diversified. That is, they "put all their eggs in one basket." This is analogous in the fitness community to someone who solely performs one specific activity.

A good portion of my work revolves around consulting with individuals in an effort to critique/optimize their training regimen. I often see too much of the same activity throughout their training cycles. For example, the "cardio" portion of a recent individual I worked with consisted of 6 days/week of jogging. This was all he did for the last 8 months! Even if he was training for the Boston Marathon, I would not have him ONLY running. To truly meet your respective training goals, you must create variety in your program. Instead of running every day, this guy could be swimming and cycling 2 days, while jogging and running the other days. It'd help recruit a variety of muscle groups and minimize his risk of injury.

In finance they call it diversification. In fitness we call it periodization. At the end of the day, the same message applies: don't put all your eggs in one basket.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Pierce Preps for Banner 18

Great video of some off-season workouts with Paul Pierce and a couple of the Celtics rookies in Waltham. It's nice seeing NBA champions performing the exact same exercises I do. Check out the link here:

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Tennis anyone?

Thanks to the suggestion of one of my top personal training clients, I'm back playing tennis again after a long hiatus (9 years to be exact). I actually used to play (and teach) tennis from as young as I can remember up through high school. For one reason or another, I stopped playing when I moved away to college and never got back into it. Now that I have access to clay courts, it's fun experiencing the game on a different surface thank I grew up on.

From a strength and conditioning standpoint, some of the greatest attributes of tennis is that it offers multi-directional movements, improvements in agility, and enhances your cardiovascular health. Thanks Matt for getting me back into enjoying the game I love. I'll end this post with admitting that I did lose my first "match" back, 6-4.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

The Reservation Ride

Boston.com recently profiled 25 activities to do that each cost less than $25. One that intrigued me was The Reservation Ride. Most intriguing: it's FREE! Click on the following for more information: http://www321.pair.com/oaries/localattitude/reservationsride.htm

Talking Roths

I work in an industry where many of my colleagues, and clients for that matter, are self-employed. While it's nice to not have to answer to a boss or wear a suit and tie every day, many of us are not eligible for an employer-sponsored plan such as a 401(k) or a 403(b). While SEP-IRAs are an option for some of us, the Roth IRA is the investment vehicle I often suggest to people.

Some people are "fortunate" enough to make "too much money" ($114,000 if you file as single, head of household or married filing separately and did not live with your spouse during the year) where they are excluded from participation in a Roth IRA plan. Those people should pay serious serious attention to the year 2010. During that year, and that year alone, there will be NO income restrictions. An article I obtained from Business tax Recovery breaks it all down:
Roth IRA Income Limits
An odd quirk in the recent legislation to extend the Bush Tax Cuts is giving IRA holders a huge break. For one year, and one year only, the Roth IRA income limits will not apply.

Roth IRA Income Limits
2010 may seem like a long way off, but something magical is going to happen then if you prepare for it. The recent legislation extending the Bush tax cuts contains a unique clause regarding the Roth IRA income limits. Specifically, it contains language that makes the Roth IRA available to anyone regardless of their income, but only for one year.

A Roth IRA is a retirement account that offers a lot of advantages. The primary advantage is found in the distributions from the account. Simply put, they are tax free if a couple of requirements are met. First, the distributions must be made after you pass the age of 59 years and six months. Second, you must have owned the Roth IRA for at least five years. If you meet this test, the money is yours free and clear including all the gains you have made from your investments over the years.

The only criticism of Roth IRAs has to do with income caps. Simply put, a person with a modified gross adjusted income of $100,000 or more cannot convert an existing IRA to a Roth. While many people fall below this Roth IRA income limits, those that were just over it certainly have had a beef.

In an effort to extend his tax cuts, the President agreed to a number of oddities in the new tax legislation. One of the strange clauses is a single year cap exemption. In 2010, the income cap of $100,000 will not apply to the Roth IRA. Put in simple terms, you can convert to a Roth in 2010 regardless of how much you make. You can only do it in 2010, not 2009 or 2011.

There appears to be no reason why the politicians would create a one year exemption to the Roth IRA income limits. It certainly seems a bit fishy, but you might as well take advantage of it. While 2010 seems far off in the future, it gives you time to plan any conversion. Remember, if you convert a traditional IRA to a Roth, you must pay taxes on the moved money. If at all possible, you will want to do this with cash you save between now and then. The more money you can cram into a Roth, the better off you will be in the end.
Now you know :-)