Monday, June 22, 2009

Webinar Key Points

Monday night I attended a strength & conditioning "webinar." For those unfamiliar with the term, a webinar is essentially an online seminar where attendees simply log on to a live presentation. In this case, presenter Frank Dolan discussed evaluation and program design for teams and large groups. Coach Dolan is the President of Sports and Fitness Performance, a company dedicated to helping people achieve their sports and fitness goals through cutting edge training methods.

A few points I drew from the presentation were the following:

  • "Entrepreneurs are always pursuing the impossible-" This is something Dolan was told as he started his career and he chose to continue to work hard and has become quite successful in the strength & conditioning industry.

  • "Fix the movement, not the muscle-" As a trainer, strength coach, etc..., it is important we not address muscles in an isolative fashion. Rather, we need to continue to look at functional movements and work hard to "fix" those.

  • "Be willing to be influential"- Go against the grain, even it means doing the opposite of what everyone else in the gym is doing. The machines are sexy marketing, but free weights and body weight exercises continue to be the best approach towards optimum function.

At the conclusion of the presentation, you can ask the presenter questions and I asked him about presentation style and how to improve the logistics of presenting. He referred me to a specific computer program he uses and additionally suggested the book "Presentation Zen," found here: I've added that to my ever-growing "To Read" list for 2009. If you read it, let me know what you think.

Core Training Revisited

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Positive Feedback Received

I received an unexpected email this week from an individual who participated in an 8-week group exercise program I conducted in Danvers, MA last fall. Each week, I saw improvements in her workouts, but little did I realize I'd be helping her make such great changes in her long-term exercise patterns. Here is what she wrote to me...


"Hi Paul,

I just wanted you to know that because of you and your class I have been going to the gym 2-3x/wk for exercise and Zumba - I have lost a few pounds, but several inches, my clothes are all falling off (oops?), and the best is that I feel soooooooo much better. I have more strength, stamina and I don't feel fatigued during the day anymore. I just wanted you to know that you're a miracle worker. I hope you're well and having fun. Keep in touch."

Carol F.
Danvers, MA


This is the kind of stuff that continues to make me love what I do. It's truly rewarding. Keep up the great work Carol!

Taking the Path (Stairwell) Less Traveled

In my June newsletter ( I wrote a piece on how effective Step Mill machines were. I'm a huge fan of stair training, assuming your joints can tolerate it. Ironically, the New York Times recently ran a really good article on how stairs need to be encouraged more in the architecture of new building construction. I couldn't agree more. I was in a situation recently where I went to visit a relative at a local area hospital and when I asked where the stairs were, the woman I asked looked at me like it was strange for me not to take the elevator. Ironically, we went to the same floor and I beat her up :-)

Then, on my way out, I was only allowed to take the stairs to the 3rd floor. To go to the ground floor via the stairs, I'd have to know the keypad code to exit the building or the alarm would go off. Thankfully, a nurse was on her way out (soon-to-be lit cigarette in hand, mind you) and let me out too. Wow.

The full article from the New York Times can be read by clicking the following link:

Precision Nutrition

Last post I announced my upcoming affiliation with a nutrition company and today it's official. I have linked up with Precision Nutrition as I have found their resources incomparable. I'm excited to be able to share the countless resources they offer, including recipes, online forums, and positive motivation. To get started, you'll need to click the following link:

I continue to realize as time goes on that nutrition is where my clients, friends, family, etc.. need the most assistance, so I have chosen this area as an increased focal point to get people on track towards meeting their goals.

Again, check out the link to get started. We're halfway through '09 and if you're not on track towards meeting your goals, there's no better time than NOW to get going!

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Nutriton Resource Announcement

Hi everyone-

I'm pleased to announce that after a long time of researching various companies, products, etc..., I've found a nutrition company whose services, products, etc... I'll be sharing with you in the immediate future and over time. In upcoming newsletters, I'll post various links with specific pieces of info. that have been proven to not only help your training and conditioning, but improve your body composition and achieve your best results.

Using this summer to follow the forthcoming nutritional guidelines and resources I include in emails and upcoming blog postings should be a priority if you're finding your nutrition isn't already on point. More to come in the near future so stay tuned...


Choose a Rainbow on your plate

When peeking through the produce at the grocery store, remember that color matters. Each color of a specific fruit or vegetable contain specific "phytonutrients" that help promote optimum health. Next time you sit down to eat, look at your plate and make sure there are as many different colors represented as possible. As the saying goes, you want a "Rainbow on your plate."

50 pounds of weight loss

Glenn Yoder of The Boston Globe wrote a piece in today's newspaper how he made simple changes in his life and now he's down 50 pounds. It's continued evidence that small changes implemented systematically over time can go a long way. Click the link below to read the full story:

Monday, June 15, 2009

Sneak Preview of an Upcoming Article

I've got an article that will soon appear in the newspaper on goal re-assessments. I'll post the link when it's published, but for now here's a super brief sneak preview:
..."without a specific plan, resolutions are too vague to maintain over time..."

Naturally Flavor That Water

Celebrity trainer Valerie Waters recently had a couple successful clients of hers disclose some of the items they added to their water to get them to drink more (I always use the first one). The suggestions were as follows:

lemon slices
cucumber slices
fresh squeezed lemon
sliced strawberries
watermelon chunks
frozen grapes

Water, milk, sports drinks- what's the best choice?

The American College of Sports Medicine had a roundtable on Hydration and Physical and Activity I wanted to share:

Let me know what you think. My approach is simple: if you're working out hard for over 60 minutes, consider the implementation of a sports drink. Milk has also proven effective post-workout.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Nutrition Tips

I have a few good ones for you today:

-Buy in season (i.e. berries in the summer)
-Consume beans (good source of plant-based protein)
-Choose store brands (a GREAT way to save money)
-Shop the perimeter (I'm sure you've heard this one before. The perimeter is where the most nutritious foods like fish, poultry, produce, etc... reside)

Tuesday, June 09, 2009

Great job Lunenberg Fire Dept.

Monday's schedule took me out to Lunenberg, Massachusetts where I conducted a 90-minute strength & conditioning seminar for their Fire Department. The folks who came did a great job. We went over a lot of the FAQ's on exercise and reviewed form and technique on about 15 different exercises. I made it a point to stress that a lot of their exercises can be done by using their own body weight (i.e push ups and split squats). In addition, many of the folks hadn't been using the fire dept. fitness center, but I think many of them now will.

I'll most likely head back in the fall for a follow-up program. Between then and now, I'll have them check in with me individually over the summer like I do with a lot of other clients I've worked with in the past. It's a great way to stay motivated and ensure proper exercise progressions are intact.

Great job Lunenberg. Can't wait to see you in the near future!

Thursday, June 04, 2009

Shining Star

I had a very proud moment this week as one of my top clients finished up her high school athletic career. I always feel like a proud parent when an athlete I train prepares to head off to college after training with me. Today I tip my hat off to Lexington High School's Sabrina Gordon.

Sabrina started training with me a few months back to engage in some pre-season lacrosse strength & conditioning, but more specifically, to engage in injury prevention methods as she suffered through several ankle injuries. While her lacrosse skills were in check, my role as her strength & conditioning coach has been to prepare her body for the rigors of a season. As you may or may not be aware, the primary goal of a sound strength & conditioning program is injury prevention. Of course Sabrina's agility, strength, and stamina all improved throughout our training, but I am thrilled to say since she began training with me, she hasn't suffered a single injury.
Injuries come about in many young athletes from overuse patterns. This is why the training program I engaged Sabrina in entailed multi-directional movements, varying intensities of conditioning, and varying loads with strength work. In other words, I had Sabrina do different things on different days so as not to overwork certain muscles. We began each workout with a dynamic warm-up and engaged in agility work 2-3 days/week in addition to the total body strength training 3 days/week. Interval conditioning also played a major role in our training.

I can say with all honesty that few, if any, athletes I've trained work as hard as Sabrina. She truly defines the term student athlete. I think that term gets thrown around a lot, but Sabrina truly captures it. It's a thrill working with great athletes and great students, but not too often do I encounter students who enroll in more AP classes in one semester then I took my entire high school career.

Sabrina's lacrosse career came to an end in the MIAA tournament this week with a tough loss to Reading. Recently, however, Lexington triumphed over Middlesex-league rival Winchester High School (, a team it had not beat in 10 years! I was so happy for Sabrina as that was a high point in her lacrosse career. She played well, scoring three times with one assist.

This Sunday, Sabrina will graduate from Lexington High and head to Tufts University at the end of the summer. This summer, we'll be preparing her for her next big step as her collegiate career will begin before she knows it. Having worked with Division 1 women's lacrosse players at Boston University in the past, I'll be able to apply what I've learned to prepare Sabrina for the rigors of NCAA lacrosse.

I often tell Sabrina to say to herself during each training session, "I will not be outworked." It's one of my favorite mantras that I instill in the athletes I train. They know there are others out there in weight rooms across the country training hard who may possess more talent, but they will certainly not outwork the athletes I train.

Please join me in wishing Sabrina the best for a successful academic and athletic career at Tufts University. Keep up the great work Sabrina!

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

Importance of Sleep

I preach to my clients about it all the time because it's true. Sleep is critical in more ways than one. In fact, here are six reasons not scrimp on sleep, courtesy of the Harvard Women's Health Watch:

  1. Learning and memory: Sleep helps the brain commit new information to memory through a process called memory consolidation. In studies, people who’d slept after learning a task did better on tests later.

  2. Metabolism and weight: Chronic sleep deprivation may cause weight gain by affecting the way our bodies process and store carbohydrates, and by altering levels of hormones that affect our appetite.

  3. Safety: Sleep debt contributes to a greater tendency to fall asleep during the daytime. These lapses may cause falls and mistakes such as medical errors, air traffic mishaps, and road accidents.

  4. Mood: Sleep loss may result in irritability, impatience, inability to concentrate, and moodiness. Too little sleep can also leave you too tired to do the things you like to do.

  5. Cardiovascular Health: Serious sleep disorders have been linked to hypertension, increased stress hormone levels, and irregular heartbeat.

  6. Disease: Sleep deprivation alters immune function, including the activity of the body’s killer cells. Keeping up with sleep may also help fight cancer.

Monday, June 01, 2009

Boot Camp Underway

We just finished up session #1 of the 2009 PC Conditioning Boot Camp tonight. I'm psyched to have another great roster this summer. I worked them pretty hard, even though it was only our first session. I'm so blessed to have such a good following of people who know they need to work hard to achieve results. These ladies and gentlemen are the reason I love what I do and hope to do it for a long time. Keep up the great work everyone! Only 9 more classes to go :-)