Sunday, August 30, 2009

Shoulder Health

Having battled through shoulder issues over the last couple of years, I've received assistance from some of the top medical professionals in my area, including strength coaches, physical therapists, and chiropractors. As always, I continue to keep the rotator cuff as strong as possible to help minimize pain and maximize stability. One piece of literature that has helped was Hudson-based Eric Cressey's recent newsletter ( Coach Cressey took some time to sit down with me a few months back and run through some of the exercises, along with referring me to a local orthopaedic doctor for initial care. Eric is known for being a "shoulder expert," and his publications/products reflect that. Check out Eric's work here (

Youth Resistance Training Update

Youth Resistance Training is a topic that has always intrigued me. My very first mentor in this field, Dr. Avery Faigenbum (, taught me from Day 1 that there is not a specific age a child can begin strength training. As long as the individual is ready to accept direction and there is a controlled environment, there is minimal risk of injury for the participant. Dr. Fagenbaum and his colleagues recently published the updated position statement paper from the National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA). The abstract can be found here:

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Suggested Reading

The nice thing about being sick and the weather being rainy is you get to get caught up on some "inside work," I've been doing a TON of reading these last few days and wanted to suggest an article to check out when you have a chance. It's called "What Your Doc Doesn't Know About Weightlifting." While I agree medical professionals know how important exercise is, I still find to many of them are not stressing it to their patients, at least that's what I've gather from my informal polls with clients, friends, colleagues, etc... over the years.

Let me know what you think of the article:


If you watched my recent TV interview (, you know i am proponent of the "K.I.S.S." principle (Keep It Simple Stupid). I try and take a very systematic, simple approach with clients. This has worked effectively as it's very non-overwhelming and leads you to believe you CAN accomplish what you've set out to achieve.

Precision Nutrition, a nutrition affiliate of mine, recently ran an article that spoke to this ideology I follow. Check it out here:

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Making The Most Out of Your Internship

I read this article and it made me reflect back to my Internship @ Boston University in the spring of 2007:

PC Conditioning TV Interview

I was recently invited to be a guest on Watertown Sports Talk, a local cable access television show. Let me know what you think of the interview:

Monday, August 24, 2009

Great Quote

"All coaches have different ways to do things. Different ways they deal with problems, the way they run their team and the way they handle themselves towards others.

The one thing a coach has control of is their ability to keep improving, doing their very best and doing what’s best for their athletes."

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Back to School Circuit Training Workout

Before you pick up those books and start walking to class, make sure you've got your workout schedule in place for the upcoming semester. Here's a piece I just finished up a local athletic club.
It’s that time of year again when teachers, parents, and students start preparing to head “back to school.” While those three words always used to haunt me every summer, some actually embrace this time of year. Clients I work with who teach at or attend local schools are always looking for an efficient workout. Here’s one I’ve used with clients that engages all major muscle groups, requires no equipment, and takes a maximum of 10 measly minutes:
Jumping Jacks (15 sec)
Push-ups (15 sec)
Mountain Climbers (15 sec)
Bodyweight Squats (15 sec)

Perform the above 5x at a good pace, resting 30-60 seconds between circuits)

*Email me ( with your training and nutrition questions*

Paul Connolly, NSCA-CPT, maintains an online blog located at the following URL:

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Superfood: Beans

Looking for a plant-based source of protein to add to your diet? Consider the super food beans. My affiliate nutrition company, Precision Nutrition, recently ran an article about the benefits of ingesting beans as part of a nutritious diet. Here's what they had to say:

Friday, August 21, 2009

Trans Fat ban comments

I was reading an article last night by one of my favorite nutritionists Johnny Bowden. The article was one in a series of his called "Dirty Nutrition." It was an excellent article and I wanted to share with you a section of it I found fascinating. Bowden was asked what his thoughts were concerning the trans fat ban that's been going on throughout the country. His response was what I wanted to share. Let me know what you think:

"So why am I not overjoyed about a trans-fat ban?

Because it's a slippery slope. And understanding the pitfalls of such a ban — and the possible repercussions — can help us to think more deeply about the role of government in our diet.

Trans-fats are an easy target for government intervention. There's basically no disagreement about what they do and how bad they are for you. They make the arteries more rigid, cause major clogging of arteries, cause insulin resistance, cause or contribute to type 2 diabetes, and cause or contribute to other serious health problems. Top nutritionists at Harvard have concluded that trans-fat could be responsible for an many as 30,000 premature coronary deaths per year.

But here's the thing: Once the government starts deciding what you should and shouldn't eat, you open up a really ugly can of worms. What about all the "experts" who think saturated fat should be kept as low as humanely possible? There's very far from perfect agreement on that one, and if the "experts" get to dictate policy, the next thing you know I'll be forced to order that idiotic egg white omelet, or pay a "sin tax" on full-fat yogurt.

And that's where things get dicey.

Who's going to decide what's okay to eat and what's not? The American Dietetic Assocation? The American Heart Association? The Corn Refiners Association? Are we going to ban high-glycemic foods (which leaves fructose untouched since it has a low-glycemic index)? And what's next, vitamins?

And — not to get all political on you— but those who say all this regulation intrudes on the individual's right to eat any crap he wants to, unfortunately, have a point. I may think your eating (or smoking, or drinking) habits are pretty stupid and destructive, but as long as it doesn't hurt anyone else, do I really have the right to tell you not to do it?

It's a thorny issue, and the answer may reside in a fascinating book written not by nutritionists, but by a professor of economics and a professor of law.

The book is called Nudge and it's all about how organizations and government can help "nudge" people in a positive direction without taking away any of their freedoms — including the freedom to smoke or eat crappy trans-fats.

Consider, for example, these interesting factoids, all supported by copious research:

• People tend to choose the foods they see first on line at a cafeteria.

• People tend to go with the "default" options on forms and licenses.

• People tend not to contribute to 401Ks when they have to "opt-in" but will contribute to them when they have to "opt-out."

So what authors Cass Sunstein and Richard Thaler propose is a system of "nudges." Put the fruits and vegetables first on the cafeteria line. Leave the crap there, but take advantage of the tendency to choose the first thing you see.

Make people opt-out of the organ-donor box on their drivers license, rather than having to opt-in. Make contribution to 401Ks automatic unless the employee chooses to check the "do not contribute" box.

You stack the deck for better decisions, but leave everyone's freedom intact.

Here's my solution to the trans-fat ban problem and the other much more thorny issues of food regulation and "sin taxes" on fast food that are sure to follow: Make every single restaurant post the nutritional data on everything they serve. And not buried behind the counter in some place that no one can find, but prominently on the menu.

Post the sugar content, the trans-fat content, even the stupid cholesterol content (which matters not a whit). Put it all out there for everyone to see.

Then educate people like crazy. Let them know what that 1,548 calorie super-burger is doing to their waistline; let them know what 3 grams of trans-fat per serving is doing to their heart; let them know what 27 grams of sugar per serving is doing to their chances of living past 60.

Then let them know that the cholesterol they "eat" doesn't hurt them a bit. Let them know that the trans-fats they eat will kill them.

If we do our job as educators, more people will think twice about eating crap, but their freedom to do so will remain intact.

That just might be the best compromise we can hope for."

To check out the book "Nudge," click the following:

Training Programs quote

One of the strength & conditioning coaches I follow is Alwyn Cosgrove ( He is easily one of the most interesting people I've ever heard speak. A two-time cancer survivor, Coach Cosgrove's articles continue to be the ones I'm forever quoting, highlighting, etc... A recent Q&A on his blog revealed the following that I thought was very powerful:
"I design training programs on physiological basis. Part of the word 'physiological' is the word 'logical' and I argue that there is very little to bodypart splits. Bosypart splits are geography, not physiology."

John Wooden speech

To be successful in any given field, one must look to those before them who have achieved great levels of success. Coach John Wooden, the first person to be inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame both as a player and coach, is someone whose lessons I have followed over the years. He is extremely interesting to listen to, and he keeps things the way they should be- simple and to the point. He constantly preaches discipline and I applaud that. Here is a fantastic speech I found online a couple months ago and wanted to share with you. I'm hoping he inspires you the way he has me over the years.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Skinny Jeans Danger

Ever heard of "meralgia paresthetica?" Me neither. Consumer Reports recently ran an article about this condition that can be caused from trying to constantly squeeze into those "skinny jeans." I found it pretty interesting. Check it out here:

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Beat the Heat

With Boston temperatures oppressively warm this week (I'll be jealous when I look back at this entry in January when we have a foot of snow), please be certain to ensure you drink plenty of fluids. If you're exercising for over 60 minutes at a vigorous level or if you perspire a lot, it's safe to ingest beverages such as Gatorade that will help replace electrolytes (i.e. sodium, calcium and potassium). In essence, listen to your body. Temperatures exceeding 90 degrees with strong humidity don't warrant a hard run. I've seen many people out jogging and cycling this week, and I'm just hoping they're drinking enough water. Signs of dehydration include headaches, chills, nausea, and muscle cramping, the latter of which I've had when I didn't adequately hydrate before playing a basketball double header last summer. Long story short: take it easy this week and take the time to hydrate.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Sleep deprivation linked to negative emotions

I'm forever on my clients about getting enough sleep as a means of recovery from their workouts, but there's an emotional link to the story as well. Radiologist Seung-Schik Yoo of Brigham & Women's Hospital conducted a study where MRI testing proved that people who slack on sleep experience stronger negative emotions the following day after poor/inadequate sleep.

Moral of the story: if you want to feel refreshed, positive, and experience positive results from your workouts, make sure you get enough sleep every night. Additionally, try going to sleep and waking up around the same time every night- even on the weekends.

Sugar Drinks have become the target in the obesity battle

Stephen Smith of The Boston Globe recently wrote a piece about how sugary drinks have become the key target in the battle against obesity. Some of the key points in his article were the following:

  • The cost of treating obesity has doubled in the past decade

  • Research conducted by Dr. Walter Willett of the Harvard School of Public Health showed that women who drank more than 2 sodas/day had an almost 40% higher risk of heart disease than those who rarely drank soda.

  • According to Willett, a 20-ounce soft drink contains the equivalent of 17 teaspoons of sugar.

  • "Calories in liquid form appear to be inherently less filling than calories in solid form."

To read the full article, click here:

Friday, August 14, 2009

Did You Know...?

...that the total spent on gym memberships in the U.S. is $19 billion? We must be the fittest country in the world, right? Guess again.

...that the total # of calories in a 20 oz. bottle of Gatorade is 130?

Article Published

Hi Everyone- I just wanted to share some good news. An article I recently wrote appeared in today’s Watertown Tab. To check out the article, click the following link and let me know what you think:

I’ll be in touch on SEP. 1 when my next newsletter comes out. Until then, have a wonderful weekend.

To your health,
Founder: PC Conditioning Pers. Training Services

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Healthy Meal Idea

I'm fortunate to have friends with vegetable gardens who share, along with co-workers who share good recipes. Yesterday, I made a delicious salad with all ingredients from a friend who grows lettuce, tomatoes, peppers, etc... in his garden. I topped the salad with various beans I purchased @ Trader Joe's. On the side, I had two turkey meatballs a co-worker made for me. Nothing like a delicious, nutritious, and FREE (minus the beans) lunch.

As for nutrient density, the beans represent good quality fiber and plant-based protein. The turkey meatballs provide complete protein. Good stuff!
For more on the nutrient values of beans, click here:

Monday, August 10, 2009

PC Conditioning Boot Camp: An Inside Look

We had a great session tonight @ Boot Camp. We're halfway done and the group is doing excellent. I am seeing a lot of improvement in everyone. The "campers" know by now what a lot of my clients already do- that my goal is to make our time together a learning experience, not merely a training experience. Sure I could yell and scream for an hour and make 'em sweat 'til they puke, but if they're not learning how to eat better, why sleep is crucial to recovery, and how to implement total body workouts, I'd be wasting their money and my time.

Tonight I brought along a delicious snack for everyone to try. It was an "Omeaga Trek Mix" from Trader Joe's that consisted of individually pre-portioned dried cranberries, almonds, walnuts, and pecans. It's got plenty of good ("unsaturated") fat and curbs hunger until the next meal comes. I often use it as an afternoon snack. Here's the link for a complete caloric breakdown ( Everyone seemed to like it. I just wanted to provide a healthy "go-to snack" when hunger hits (often in the mid/late afternoon for most people when they're at their desk at work).

We've been getting in some good quality circuit training at Boot Camp. I posted a few pics above of some of the campers going through one of the circuits they did tonight. I had them perform incline sprints, push-ups, and prone planks- tough stuff, particularly in this humidity. Great job everyone!

For homework, I am having everyone read the cover story from this week's Time Magazine entitled "Why Exercise Won't Make You Thin." I'll be sure to highlight some of the positive and negative aspects of the article and we'll chat about it as a group to further their knowledge of quality ways to burn calories and maintain a healthy weight. If you're interested in checking out the article, click here:,8599,1914857,00.html I welcome your feedback.

SEP. Newsletter

I worked for a while today on the nutrition section of September's newsletter. I'll be quoting pieces of a fantastic article I came across recently and providing further insight to help you with your fat loss goals. Here's a sneak peak:

“What you eat and how you eat it can really make or break the effectiveness of your program, regardless of how good it is.”- Sadly, I’ve had clients over the years eat like sh--, yet train their butts off and saw little, if any results. Pairing excellent nutrition with excellent training yields excellent results.
“If you drop your calories too low, you will drastically slow down your metabolism and your body will start to feed off of muscle tissue. Not good!”- I’ve had clients both past and present drop their calories to a point they weren’t losing weight or getting stronger and this was the reason why. Adequate caloric ingestion can become a trial and error process, but be patient.

Sunday, August 09, 2009

Muscle Dysmorphia

Body dysmorphic disorder (BDD) has received a fair amount of press over the years, but muscle dysmorphia (MD) has been more prevalent in recent times. A former workout partner of mine showed definite signs, but never seeked professional help. Interestingly enough, the National Strength & Conditioning Association (NSCA) published a paper covering MD I found very interesting and wanted to share with my readers. Check it out here:

Saturday, August 08, 2009

Save money on gas, ingest lots of sugar!

Talk about one stop shopping- a local grocery store (rhymes with "Pop and Stop") is offering 10 cents off/gallon of gas if you purchase "participating items" in their weekly circular. Here are some of your choices:

  • Frosted Flakes

  • Pop Tarts

  • Cheese & crackers

  • 100-calorie cookie packs

  • Rice Krispie Treats

  • Eggo Waffles

Talk about empty calories and sugar. But hey, you get to save 10 cents/gallon gas, right? Wow...

Thursday, August 06, 2009

Tanning Beds Boost Risk of Skin Cancer

The International Agency for Research on Cancer recently published a study that said using sunbeds before age 30 increases your risk of melanoma by 75 percent. I assumed the number was high, but not that high. It's a sad reminder of how unsafe these stupid tanning beds are. Sadly, I've had 2 friends battle melanoma over the last few months. One of them will be okay, having had successful surgery. Unfortunately, the second person passed away just over a month ago. I see many peers, clients, friends, etc... bask in the sun or in tanning beds. It's awful. Sure I'd like to have a more tan appearance so many are after, but not for the sake of contracting skin cancer. I'll take my 15 minutes/day outside to get my Vitamin D and be good. Sorry for the rant, but that stat just scared me when I read it this week.

For further info, here's a quick read on how to stay safe in the sun:

Tuesday, August 04, 2009

Your First Instinct Is Significantly More Challenge

I just got done reading my 8th book of 2009 (yes I track the books I read, and yes I know I'm a nerd) titled "The Instinct Diet." Anyway, I'll be doing a full review in a future newsletter, but for now I wanted to highlight one point I liked. Author Susan Roberts, PhD., discussed how when people want to lose weight, the majority of them believe increasing their physical activity should be their first step. It spoke to me because I encounter this all the time.

Improving nutrition habits should occur FIRST. Of course exercising helps, but you'll be wasting your time if all you do is exercise more. No workout plan is going to EVER outperform a poor nutrition plan. Start slow (i.e. increase veggie intake by 1-2 servings daily and cut out all fried and high-saturated food for 3 weeks, THEN focus on a 2nd goal). Several small steps ad up over the long haul. Email me if you need any specific advice.

Sunday, August 02, 2009

Fundamentals of Nutrition & Fat Loss

I'm always one for a good article on nutrition fundamentals, particularly if it's conveyed sensibly and can be applied in my clients' lives. That being said, Nick Tumminello wrote a solid piece I recently came across entitled "The Fundamentals of Nutrition & Fat Loss" for Strength, an organization I am a proud member of. My September newsletter will contain a full breakdown of the highlights I extracted from the article, but here are a few to get your August nutrition practices on track:

  • "What you eat and how you eat it can really make or break the effectiveness of your program, regardless of how good it is."

  • If you drop your calories too low, you will drastically slow down your metabolism and your body will start to feed off muscle tissue.

  • A negative calorie food is one that requires more energy to digest than it provides (i.e. celery, spinach, and lettuce).

If you enjoyed the above and would like to see more, continue to check out my constantly-updated blog and monthly newsletters. In addition, I'd strongly consider registering for Strength, the best source for the leading information on strength & conditioning. Some of the benefits of this site include the following:

  • Unlimited access to over 1,370 Pages of Sports Training Programs and Articles

  • Access to Video Clips and Exercise Images

  • Access to over 50 Hours of Audio Interviews with Professional Strength Coaches!

  • Unlimited access to our private members-only forums

  • 10% Discount on all Training Equipment orders from Perform Better

  • Access to brand new articles and programs added every week!
    And much more!

Click on the following link to get started: