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 :-)

Thursday, September 11, 2008

The Power of Hello

VP of Nike talks about "The Power of Hello"
I work at a company where there are about a gazillion employees. I can't say that I know them all by name, but I know my fair share of them. I think that almost all of them know me. I'd say that's the reason I've been able to go wherever it is I've made it to in this world. It's all based on one simple principle: I believe every single person deserves to be acknowledged, however small or simple the greeting.

When I was about 10 years old, I was walking down the street with my mother. She stopped to speak to Mr. Lee. I was busy trying to bulls-eye the "O" in the stop sign with a rock. I knew I could see Mr. Lee any old time around the neighborhood, so I didn't pay any attention to him.

After we passed Mr. Lee, my mother stopped me and said something that has stuck with me from that day until now. She said, "You let that be the last time you ever walk by somebody and not open up your mouth to speak, because even a dog can wag its tail when it passes you on the street."

That phrase sounds simple, but it's been a guidepost for me and the foundation of who I am.

When you write an essay like this, you look in the mirror and see who you are and what makes up your character. I realized mine was cemented that day when I was 10 years old. Even then, I started to see that when I spoke to someone, they spoke back. And that felt good.

It's not just something I believe in; it's become a way of life. I believe that every person deserves to feel someone acknowledge their presence, no matter how humble they may be or even how important.

At work, I always used to say hello to the founder of the company and ask him how our business was doing. But I was also speaking to the people in the cafe and the people that cleaned the buildings, and asked how their children were doing. I remembered after a few years of passing by the founder, I had the courage to ask him for a meeting. We had a great talk. At a certain point, I asked him how far he thought I could in go in his company. He said, "If you want to, you can get all the way to this seat."

I've become vice president, but that hasn't changed the way I approach people. I still follow my mother's advice. I speak to everyone I see, no matter where I am. I've learned that speaking to people creates a pathway into their world, and it lets them come into mine, too.

The day you speak to someone who has their head held down and when they lift it up and smile, you realize how powerful it is just to open your mouth and say, "Hello."

Good fitness humor

One of my favorite stand-up comedians, Brian Regan...

Sunday, September 07, 2008

Monday, September 01, 2008

Produce Serving Sizes

People are confused about serving sizes when it comes to produce. Here's a nice breakdown to clarify things:
-1 piece of fresh fruit

-1/4 cup dried fruit

-3/4 cup of 100% fruit juice

-1/2 cup cooked or canned fruit

-1 melon wedge

-1/2 cup berries

-1/2 cup of raw or cooked vegetables

-1 cup of raw leafy vegetables
Also, the Center for Disease Control (CDC) has a great web site dedicated to fruits & veggies and has a section where it gives you feedback (including recipes!) as to the # of servings you need each day based on your age and activity level. Check it out here:

My niece could teach you a thing or two about healthy eating

She won't be 3 until November, but my adorable niece Hannah could teach some of my clients, colleagues, and friends a thing or two about healthy eating. Here she is proud of her whole wheat pasta, peas (one of her favorites), and good old H2O. Don't worry, she gets sufficient protein- just not at this meal. Keep up the great work Hannah :-)

Back to School Nutrition

Be on the lookout for a piece I am working on for my local paper on Back to School Nutrition. I'll post the link when it is published.