Friday, January 29, 2010

You Can’t Run to Get Fit, You Need to Be Fit to Run

One of the best articles one of my mentors Mike Boyle has ever written was a piece on how people often start a running program without being fit. Their bodies simply aren't prepared to handle the demands running places on their joints. I see this with a lot of people around this time of year who are looking to lose weight quickly. They see running as the panacea for weight loss, when in fact it often ends up injuring them. A great alternative to running the treadmill to burn calories I engage clients in is circuit training, either with their own body weight or external loading (i.e. dumbbells).

That being said, click the following link to check out Coach Boyle's article:

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Further Advocation of Barefoot Running

I was never really much of a "runner," but I came across yet ANOTHER article today that advocated the barefoot approach. Check it out here:

2009 Reading List

Nerd alert: I'm always updating my "to read" list every year with various selections. I like books on my field (strength & conditioning, nutrition, etc...), but also throw in some self-help and finance items along the way. I track what I read every year and share it with colleagues as we often recommend things to each other. That being said, here's what I read in 2009. If you've read any of them, let me know your thoughts.

1. Bowden, Jonny. “The Most Effective Natural Cures on Earth: The Surprising Unbiased Truth about What Treatments Work and Why”
2. Fowles, Debby. “The 250 Personal Finance Questions You Should Ask in Your 20s and 30s”
3. Gladwell, M. “The Tipping Point: How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference”
4. May, Peter. “Top of the World: The Inside Story of the Boston Celtics' Amazing One-Year Turnaround to Become NBA Champions”
5. Nowinski, Christopher. “Head Games: Football's Concussion Crisis from the NFL to Youth Leagues”
6. Pitino, Rick and Forde, Pat. “Rebound Rules: The Art of Success 2.0”
7. Reinhold, Arnold. “Switching to a Mac for Dummies.”
8. Roberts, Susan. “The Instinct Diet.”
9. Snow, Sara. “Sara Snow's Fresh Living: The Essential Room-by-Room Guide to a Greener, Healthier Family and Home”
10. Wright, Jeremy. “Blog Marketing: The Revolutionary New Way to Increase Sales, Build Your Brand, and Get Exceptional Results”

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Excellent Val Slide Video from Coach Dos

Coach Robert dos Remedios recently posted a fantastic video on his blog (see above) where he reviewed various exercises using Val Slides. I own a pair of Val Slides and love them. They can be purchased through Perform Better by simply clicking on the picture below:

Monday, January 25, 2010

Health Food Mecca

If you are a follower of this blog and live in the Greater Boston area, you're going to love the options this article the Boston Globe recently ran as far as helathy restaurants goes. Check it out here: I know I'm going to be heading over to Peace O'Pie and Red Lentil soon, the latter of which is less than 5 minutes from my front door :-)

If you've been to any of them, shoot me an email or post a comment for other readers to hear about.

Michael Pollan interview

Fantastic interview with Michael Pollan.

Arnold Uses Machines?

Just another reason I don't like machines- "The Govenator" uses them!

You Motivate Me Too

Sure, my job is to motivate clients, but believe it or not many of them motivate me. Case in point: I was emailing a client earlier about an upcoming PT session and how difficult it was going to be. His response: "Bring It." That really fired me up. Great stuff. Let's hope he "brings it" to the next session :-)

Time for Some Off-Topic Humor

Tom Wilson, the man who played "Biff" from the Back to the Future movies, has a decent channel on You Tube. Check out his "questions" song. I thought it was pretty funny.

Nutrient Preservation

I was reviewing some information nutritionist Marion Nestle had written recently on whether or not cooking destroys vitamin/nutrients in foods. I recall learning in Nutrition 101 that lycopene has a higher absorption rate when cooked in the presence of oil. Ms. Nestle reported that cooking destroys some nutrients (vitamin C is a good example) but makes others more available (beta-carotene). This is yet another reason why it's important to encourage variety in your diet.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

2 Underrated Exercises

“2 Underrated Exercises”

1. Push-Ups: Many people-particularly women-lack upper body strength and endurance. With myriad variations available, push-ups are a great way to improve both strength and aesthetics of the upper body musculature (i.e. chest, shoulders, and triceps). Give the seated chest machine the boot, and try push-up variations for a change.
2. Split Squats: Appropriate for all levels, split squats help improve both balance and strength in your lower limbs. Actions we perform every day (i.e. walking) are often done one leg at a time. Therefore, incorporating unilateral exercises into your training regimen is an action worth considering.

Monday, January 18, 2010


Have a question you'd like to ask? What issues would you like to hear me blog about or write info. on? What topics would you like to see covered in my upcoming newsletters this year? Shoot me an email ( I'd love to hear from you.

You Have to Start SOMEWHERE I guess

Massachusetts Health Regulators Mandating Student Weigh-ins

It's hard enough on kids to deal with academic stressors, but now state health regulators have mandated that public school students be weighed and measured to calculate their BMI. I do like the idea of disseminating more health information to students and their families, and hope it helps to decrease the percentage of overweight and obese children.

Check out the full article here:

Sunday, January 17, 2010

NFL Talking Fitness

The Boston Globe had an interesting piece in today's paper about the NFL's new fitness initiative. I guess the high BMI values its players received in a notorious study a few years ago may have prompted this. Regardless, it's still worth checking out:

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Fantastic piece on one of my clients in this week's newspaper

I’m thrilled to share with you an article that appears in this week’s Watertown Tab. It features one of my clients who, last Thursday, officiated the BCS Championship college football game in Pasadena, California. He’s been a mentor in terms of getting me into basketball officiating, a top-notch client, and most importantly- a great friend. I hope you like the article. Click the following to check it out:

We're all very proud of you Bryan!

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Death to Long, Slow Distance (LSD) Training article

One of my favorite articles of all time is on that I have yet to post on this blog- until now. Check it out here:

Quit Worrying About Your Health

Dr. Susan M. Love's new book “Live a Little! Breaking the Rules Won’t Break Your Health” was the focus of a recent New York Times wellness blog article. Dr. Love is a clinical professor of surgery at the David Geffen School of Medicine at the University of California, Los Angeles. I haven't checked out the book yet, but I found the article quite interesting. Check it out here:

Overweight and Still Healthy?

Can you be overweight AND healthy at the same time? Many people would say no. Technically, I say yes. My answer may surprise you, but if your body composition is in check and you don't ONLY look at BMI, I'm fine with a little extra weight as long as your stats (i.e. lipid panel, blood pressure, etc...) are in all fine.

Check out this New York Times article for more info:

Monday, January 11, 2010

Posterior Chain Development

One of the same questions I tend to get asked over and over from women is how to improve their glutes. As they say, "Paul, how can I make my butt look better?" There's actually quite a few exercises to improve your "posterior chain." These include lunge variations and deadlift variations to name a couple.

That being said, the exercise I often use when I do bilateral (2-legged) lower body work is "Stiff-Legged Deadlifts." You'll see from the video above to keep a flat back, while pushing through your heels and squeezing your butt at the top without arching your back.

It goes without saying your backside won't look like Jessica Biel's overnight from a few sets of this exercise, but it'll sure put you on your way :-)
E-mail me ( if you have any questions.

Frozen Food Labels Not Always Accurate

As much as I love that many fast food chains make their nutritional information readily available, it's not always correct. ran an article recently that discusses this topic. Check it out here:

Hoops Fitness (Strength Training will NOT harm your shot)

I was going through my shooting and conditioning drills after I played pickup the other day and was approached by a local high school player who was on the opposite hoop working on his post play. Knowing I had trained basketball players, he asked "Will lifting weights mess up my shot?" I had him rattle off the names of some of basketball's great shooters (i.e. Ray Allen) and explained ALL of them have gone through rigorous strength and conditioning programs. Long story short: lifting weights will not alter your shot. Basketball players lift for strength, power, AND endurance. I told him a blend of the three will yield the best results for both injury prevention and improving his game.

Friday, January 08, 2010

Boston Celtics value the power of adequate rest

My clients are probably sick of me preaching to them about the importance of consistent high quality sleep. No surprise to me, the 17-time NBA Champion Boston Celtics must have heard me, as they have pushed back practice time this year to ensure the players get enough sleep. Check out the full article here:

Wednesday, January 06, 2010

Great Exercise

There are a bunch of great exercises/movements you rarely see people do at conventional gyms/fitness centers. One is the Overhead Squat. I like how it not only builds strength in your legs but forces proper posture throughout your torso. Your center of gravity also elevates as a result of the overhead reach aspect, thus making this exercise more challening than conventional bilateral squatting where your arms are closer to your torso.

Some general tips:

  • Start with a broomstick at first; external load (weight) means nothing initially
  • Keep chest up and look straight ahead
  • Drive back your hips and glutes to initiate the descend portion

Core Performance recently ran an article on this exercise. Check it out here:

Monday, January 04, 2010

Healthy Tips for 2010

I recently contributed a small write-up for a local health club on healthy tips for the New Year. Check it out here:

January, 2010 Fitness Corner
-Paul Connolly, NSCA-CPT

“Tips for the New Year”

Neighbors, friends, and co-workers can often make great workout partners.
Emphasize nutritional modifications if weight loss is a goal.
Work on your weaknesses (i.e. low back pain, gluteal dysfunction, hip immobility).

Your goals should be separated into both short and long-term.
Exercise at times when energy levels are highest- if possible.
Allow adequate recovery time between workouts.
Routine changes to your training program should include periods of low and high intensity.

Happy New Year!