Friday, February 27, 2009

World's Greatest Stretch

Here's a strech my clients get a lot out of. It's great for hip mobility and loosening up hamstring tension, amongst other things. Many in the strength & conditioning community often refer to it as "The World's Greatest Stretch."

Goal Reassessment

With 15% of 2009 in the rear view mirror, it’s time we take a look back at those goals you set. Sure, you had the right frame of mind in terms of accomplish something positive, but there’s a real art to goal setting. This month, let’s examine how precisely to go about goal setting:

Is your goal SPECIFIC enough? One thing I review with my clients is to make sure they set out exactly what it is they are seeking to accomplish. Instead of “I just want to be healthy,” consider something like “My goal is to increase the number of push-ups I can execute by 10% in 3 weeks.”
Is your goal MEASURABLE? If you’ve set a plan to lose weight, are you tracking it in a timely fashion (weekly/bi-weekly)? Avoid daily weigh-ins as the body’s hydration levels tend to fluctuate.
Is your goal REALISTIC? I had a consultation recently with a woman who returned to formal exercise after a 6 year hiatus and she wanted to complete a triathlon in March. She failed to realize the unrealistic nature of this goal, and thus selected a more appropriate, time-oriented goal.
Is your goal CHALLENGING? While your goal should be attainable, you should also make sure that you need to push yourself to achieve your goal.

Remember…we’re already 15% deep into 2009, so if you haven’t made gains towards meeting your goal, there’s no better time to start than now.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Vitamin Ingestion

Little evidence supports the theory that vitamins make us healthier. The Boston Globe featured an article ( on Monday discussing this topic. Personally, I suggest clients who I know don't eat a balanced diet take them. A simple daily multivitamin is a safe way to ensure against micronutrient deficiency. Don't waste your time with all the hocus pocus places like GNC will want to push selling you. A generic brand (i.e. Target, Walmart, CVS, etc...) is fine.

Monday, February 23, 2009

The quote says it all and applies to whatever goals you are determined to conquer.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Excellent Interview with Dr. John Berardi

Nutritionist Dr. John Berardi is one of the world's greatest nutritionists. Check out a recent interview of him here...

Friday, February 20, 2009

Source of Inspiration

Regardless of who you are or what you do, times arise when inspiration is in need. That being said, I recently reached a moment where I admittedly needed some inspiration to get through a few life challenges. A person I've been greatly inspired by is the late Dr. Randy Pausch, a former Carnegie-Mellon University professor who passed away on 7/25/08 of pancreatic cancer. I've posted Dr. Pausch's speech (the abbreviated version) on my blog twice in the past and thought it was time to share it once again. I hope Dr. Pausch inspires you as much as he has me. Enjoy...

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Nutrition Recommendation

As I've mentioned in the past, a combo of lean protein, good fats, and complex carbs is the key to optimum body composition. That is, when exercise is paired with a nutrition eating plan, good things will happen. Today for lunch I had the best turkey tips I've ever had (shout out to Sadie's Saloon in Waltham, MA: with a garden salad. The macronutrient ratios were perfect: ample lean protein from the turkey tips, complex carbs and fiber from the salad, and "good"/unsaturated fats from the extra virgin olive oil.

Remember when planning your meals (this includes dining out) to try and have a little bit of each macronutrient. This will ensure you're intake of vitamins, minerals, etc.. is where it should be to reach your goals. E-mail me if you have any questions and continue to plan your meals (review menus of restaurants online, chop and wash veggies in bulk, etc...) for success!

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Federal Physical Activity Guidelines Released

The US Dept. of Health & Human Services recently released its guidelines for physical activity. The guidelines, supported by both the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) and the American heart Association (AHA), suggest achieving a minimum of 150 minutes of moderate activity every week. 2.5 hours/week is not that difficult to achieve, particularly since it's been proven that exercise benefits can be equally reaped through intermittent OR continuous exercise. That is, you can break up the routine into segments if you don't have 30-60 continuous minutes.
For more information, log on to the following:

Monday, February 16, 2009

Do As I Say, Not As They Do

Many of you will have to re-read the title of today's post. What I specifically meant when I wrote that title was that I wish more would follow what I advise as opposed to copying others in the gym. I'm still baffled when I see some of what I do each week.

Working in a commercial gym provides catalysts for much of what I blog about. I saw someone the other day hyperextending their lumbar spine so much to the point I had to walk over and explain how awful the damage they're potentially causing was. A service to their core musculature could have been exercises like Palloff Presses ( or Cable Chops (

Instead of mirroring the exercises others waste their time on in the gym (crunches and leg extensions, for example), choose exercises that work multiple joints and multiple muscle groups. Our muscles work in groups, not in isolation and should be trained accordingly. Do as I say in terms of the exercises you find on my site rather than copying others who are probably making mistakes in the gym anyway. It becomes a "blind leading the blind" approach where injuries are the ultimate result.

As always, I welcome your comments and suggestions.

Excessive Weigh-Ins

One of my MANY pet peeves in this industry is hearing about people who weight themselves daily. I think it's simply ridiculous as your body goes through so many physiological changes relative to hydration levels and metabolism that can affect this number. Once/week, while still not a long time, is where I'd compromise with a client who wants to weigh her/himself daily.

Furthermore, the number on the scale isn't the most important number. It's one of many that correlate to overall health. Other numbers such as body composition (body fat %), total cholesterol, "bad" (LDL), "good" (HDL) cholesterol, triglycerides, and blood pressure should all play a role when it comes to attaining your health statistics.

Norms for the above referenced numbers can be found at Web MD ( or the National Institute of Health (

Friday, February 13, 2009

Benefits of Meditation

With the economy the way it is, stress levels nationwide are undoubtedly high. People use various methods to manage and reduce stress. Yoga is high on the list for many, but I have found success with meditation. According to various holistic online resources, the physical benefits of meditation include the following:

-Lowered levels of cortisol and lactate-two chemicals associated with stress.
-Reduction of free radicals- unstable oxygen molecules that can cause tissue damage. They are now thought to be a major factor in aging and in many diseases.
-Decreased high blood pressure.
-Drop in cholesterol levels. High cholesterol is associated with cardiovascular disease.
-Improved flow of air to the lungs resulting in easier breathing. This has been very helpful to asthma patients.

Monday, February 09, 2009

Something for Everyone

Someone in a recent class I was teaching asked me the infamous, "What's the BEST exercise for improving my balance?" Over the years, I've been asked "The BEST" question as I call it hundreds of times. People essentially are looking for the quickest means toward optimum results. Often times, there isn't always a straight answer I can give. Honestly, there are a lot of gray areas in my industry. It isn't all black and white. While I wish there was a blanket statement answer I could give every time they ask me a question, it'd make my job a heck of a lot easier- yet boring at the same time.

The fact we're all different in our own ways allows me to handle my clients individually. No one routine is identical to the next. Everything is relative. You need to do what works best for your body. While a push up may work for one person, an isometric hold may be better for the next. With respect to balance, yoga may be good for one person and tai chi good for the next. Don't be afraid to expose your body to different modes of exercise in an effort to avoid boredom and stimulate various muscle groups. Remember, life isn't black and white. There are plenty shades of gray.

Thursday, February 05, 2009

Expeditious Male Aging

Oprah's favorite doc, Dr. Mehmet Oz, discussed the five things that age people most on a recent episode of Good Morning America. He spoke with a group of male staff members one day and female staff members the next. In my experience, males seem to worry less about their overall health so I've decided to post what Dr. Oz mentioned as the 5 things that age males the most:

  1. Hypertension (high blood pressure)

  2. Central adiposity (belly fat)

  3. Stress

  4. Smoking

  5. Poor nutrition

What kills me figuratively and kills others literally is that ALL of the above are modifiable behaviors. Here's a link to the video and article from ABC:

Post-Workout Nutrution

Much has been made over the years when it comes to what type of macro-nutrient ratio works best when it comes to post-workout nutrition. Many from the endurance community (i.e. marathoners, triathletes, etc...) have chanted "carbs only," while more than a few "muscle heads" have reached for more protein than they need with minimal carbohydrate ingestion. So what works best after all this debating?

Toronto-based nutritionist John Berardi, who I follow regularly and whose work I love, concluded yet again in his latest research project that a combination of carbohydrates and protein post-workout is the "magic formula." His quote sums it up best: "So, for both long-distance and multi-event athletes, a carb+protein supplement immediately following exercise bouts is a good idea."

Thanks Dr. Berardi and keep up the great work!

Wednesday, February 04, 2009

A Decent Choice on a Chilly Day

Soup has been a staple in our culture for quite some time, but the downfall has been the high sodium content. That being said, Campbell's has a line of soups out called "Select Harvest Light" that aren't that bad of an option on a chilly day. In the Italian-Style Vegetable, there are just 50 calories a serving, no fat, 13 g carbs, 4 g fiber and 3 g of protein. But there are 480 mg sodium, or 20% of your daily recommended intake. I'd still give this product a thumbs up if you're looking for a low-calorie soup option that isn't super high in sodium like too many soups are.

Monday, February 02, 2009


As you may or not be aware, I am in my 2nd year of basketball officiating. I enrolled in a course with the International Association of Approved Basketball Officials (I.A.A.B.O.) @ Tufts University a couple years ago, and was fortunate enough to score a 90 on the exam. While many consider officiating a "thankless" job, I thoroughly enjoy it. There is so much to learn and it really makes you appreciate the game.

Anyway, this morning my officials' board had a meeting @ Tufts University and I was happy to learn that I was one of 9 recipients who earned a scholarship to attend the annual IAABO officials camp in June. Luckily, the venue has been moved to Boston University this summer. Having worked there in the past, I'll have no problem navigating my way around.
The camp will feature high level veteran college officials who will analyze my officiating. I will receive counseling from the officials as well as have games I referee that weekend taped and analyzed, all in an effort to improve the quality of my officiating. I plan on using this camp to move up the ladder, and one day officiate at the collegiate level.