Wednesday, June 27, 2012
Dr. Berardi remains one of my go-to sources for the best nutrition information available. Here is a segment of an interview he gave for a local morning show in Toronto. Great stuff! You can click on the sidebar on You Tube for other pieces of this- and other- interviews.
Imagine you are sixteen years old and your parents
give you your first car. They also give you simple
instructions. There is one small hitch, you only get
one car, you can never get another. Never. No
trade-ins, no trade-ups. Nothing.
Ask your self how would you maintain that car?
My guess is you would be meticulous. Frequent oil
changes, proper fuel, etc. Now imagine if your
parents also told you that none of the replacement
parts for this car would ever work as well as the
ori ginal parts. Not only that, the replacement
parts would be expensive to install and cause you
to have decreased use of your car for the rest of
the cars useful life? In other words, the car would
continue to run but, not at the same speed and
with the efficiency you were used to.
Wow, now would we ever put a lot of time and effort
into maintenance if that were the case.
After reading the above example ask yourself another
question. Why is the human body different? Why do we
act as if we don’t care about the one body we were
given. Same deal. You only get one body. No returns
or trade-ins. Sure, we can replace parts but boy
it’s a lot of work and it hurts. Besides, the stuff
they put in never works as well as the original
“factory” parts. The replacement knee or hip doesn’t
give you the same feel and performance as the original
Think about it. One body. You determine the mileage?
You set the maintenance plan?
No refunds, no warranties, no do-overs?
How about this perspective? One of my clients is a
very successful businessman. He often is asked to
speak to various groups. One thing he tells every
group is that you are going to spend time and money
on your health. The truth is the process can be a
proactive one or a reactive one. Money spent on your
health can take the form of a personal trainer,
massage therapist and a gym membership or, it can be
money spent on cardiologists, anesthesiologists, and
plastic surgeons. Either way, you will spend money.
Same goes for time. You can go to the gym or, to the
doctors office. It’s up to you. Either way, you will
spend time. Some people say things like “I hate to
work out”. Try sitting in the emergency room for a
few hours and then get back to me. Working out may
not seem so bad. Much like a car, a little preventative
maintenance can go a long way. However, in so many ways
the body is better than a car. With some good hard work
you can turn back the odometer on the body. I wrote
an article a while back (Strength Training- The Fountain
of Youth) that discussed a study done by McMaster
University which showed that muscle tissue of older
subjects actually changed at the cellular level and
looked more like the younger control subjects after
Do me a favor, spend some time on preventative
maintenance, it beats the heck out of the alternative.
Just remember, you will spend both time and money.
Outstanding piece from Jason Gay that he wrote earlier this year. Always worth re-reading. Enjoy...
This is the time of year when even people who hate the gym think about going to the gym. Many of us are still digesting whole floors of gingerbread houses, and jeans that fit comfortably in October are now a denim humiliation.
Sweating is a good way to begin 2012. Exercise, like dark chocolate and office meetings that suddenly get canceled, is a proven pathway to nirvana. But if you're going to join a gym—or returning to the gym after a long hibernation—consider the following:
1. A gym is not designed to make you feel instantly better about yourself. If a gym wanted to make you feel instantly better about yourself, it would be a bar.
2. Give yourself a goal. Maybe you want to lose 10 pounds. Maybe you want to quarterback the New York Jets into the playoffs. But be warned: Losing 10 pounds is hard.
3. Develop a gym routine. Try to go at least three times a week. Do a mix of strength training and cardiovascular conditioning. After the third week, stop carrying around that satchel of fresh-baked chocolate chip cookies.
4. No one in the history of gyms has ever lost a pound while reading "The New Yorker" and slowly pedaling a recumbent bicycle. No one.
5. Bring your iPod. Don't borrow the disgusting gym headphones, or use the sad plastic radio attachment on the treadmill, which always sounds like it's playing Kenny Loggins from a sewer.
6. Don't fall for gimmicks. The only tried-and-true method to lose 10 pounds in 48 hours is food poisoning.
7. Yes, every gym has an overenthusiastic spinning instructor who hasn't bought a record since "Walking on Sunshine."
8. There's also the Strange Guy Who is Always at the Gym. Just when you think he isn't here today...there he is, lurking by the barbells.
9. "Great job!" is trainer-speak for "It's not polite for me to laugh at you."
10. Beware a hip gym with a Wilco step class.
11. Gyms have two types of members: Members who wipe down the machines after using them, and the worst people in the universe.
12. Nope, that's not a "recovery energy bar with antioxidant dark chocolate." That's a chocolate bar.
13. Avoid Unsolicited Advice Guy, who, for the small fee of boring you to death, will explain the proper method for any exercise in 45 minutes or longer.
14. You can take 10 Minute Abs, 20 Minute Abs, and 30 Minute Abs. There is also Stop Eating Pizza and Eating Sheet Cake Abs—but that's super tough!
15. If you're motivated to buy an expensive home exercise machine, consider a "wooden coat rack." It costs $40, uses no electricity and does the exact same thing.
16. There's the yoga instructor everyone loves, and the yoga instructor everyone hates. Memorize who they are.
17. If you see an indoor rock climbing wall, you're either in a really cool gym or a romantic comedy starring Kate Hudson.
18. Be cautious about any class with the words "sunrise," "hell," or "Moby."
19. If a gym class is going to be effective, it's hard. If you're relaxed and enjoying yourself, you're at brunch.
20. If you need to bring your children, just let them loose in the silent meditation class. Nobody minds, and kids love candles.
21. Don't buy $150 sneakers, $100 yoga pants, and $4 water. Muscle shirts are for people with muscles, and rhythm guitarists.
22. Fancy gyms can be seductive, but once you get past the modern couches and fresh flowers and the water with lemon slices, you're basically paying for a boutique hotel with B.O.
23. Everyone sees you secretly racing the old people in the pool.
24. If you're at the point where you've bought biking shoes for the spinning class, you may as well go ahead and buy an actual bike. It's way more fun and it doesn't make you listen to C+C Music Factory.
25. Fact: Thinking about going to the gym burns between 0 and 0 calories.
26. A successful gym membership is like a marriage: If it's good, you show up committed and ready for hard work. If it's not good, you show up in sweatpants and watch a lot of bad TV.
27. There is no secret. Exercise and lay off the fries. The end.
Where's my infomercial and best seller?
Monday, June 25, 2012
Sunday, June 24, 2012
One of the many fallacies about strength training is that it will decrease one's flexibility. I was happy to see the Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research [25(12)/3391-3398] refute this ideology at the University of North Dakota. Researchers measured static stretching at various points (hamstrings, shoulders, etc...) and compared it to a group that solely performed strength training. The results of this preliminary study suggested that full-range resistance training regimens can improve flexibility as well as the static stretching programs. Take-home point: do not fear that strength training will reduce your flexibility. Exercises like the above (2-arm/1-leg Kettlebell Stiff-Legged Deadlifts) are an outstanding way to improve glute (minimus and maximus) and hip strength. Additionally, it's a great way to improve balance and work on grip endurance.
Friday, June 22, 2012
Wednesday, June 20, 2012
Megan Graham, 3rd place winner of the recent Miss Bikini Universe is trained by a colleague of mine, Ben Bruno. She is living proof that girls need to lift challenging weight vs "Pink Dumbbells" and hours of non-stop steady-state cardio to look their best. Ben wrote an OUTSTANDING article with VIDEOS of Megan's workouts. Check it out here: http://www.benbruno.com/2012/06/look-like-barbie-lift-like-ken/
Saturday, June 16, 2012
I had the opportunity to head out to Littleton, MA last week to meet with members of their Police Department. Like many other communities throughout Massachusetts, they constructed a new building a couple years ago- complete with a state of the art exercise room for their staff. While it's a wonderful amenity to have, some of the officers aren't proficient with using some of the equipment...that's where I come in.
I took the group through a few exercises and stretches based on their available equipment and space. They had fun and learned a lot. The plan is to head back in the fall and lead them through a routine they can all progress with on their own.
Monday, June 11, 2012
I had the privilege of attending Perform Better's 3-Day Functional Training Summit earlier this month. I'll be writing a full review in my Summer Newsletter (published July 1, 2012).
Tuesday, June 05, 2012
I had a chance to see Rachel speak last weekend for the 2nd year in a row at a conference in Rhode Island. As always, she was phenomenal in describing fat loss strategies for training female clients. No surprises in that there was NOTHING I'd do differently when it comes to exercise-specific selections. I may take different verbal and psychological approaches with respect to body composition changes, however. The above video shows Rachel running through a fantastic total body workout that burns calories and improves lean muscle. These are all exercises I have both my male & female clients performing regularly.
Monday, June 04, 2012
Alternating DB Reverse Lunges are a dynamic single-leg exercise I often use with my clients after they are comfortable with split squats and Rear-Foot Elevated Split Squats. Huge points of focus are keeping the chest tall and driving off the grounded heel when ascending from each repetition. I like to have clients squeeze their scapulae as that often maximizes perfect posture in their torso. Look for a good shin angle (~90-degrees) and power production as they come out of the bottom of each lunge.
Key thing to remember as this type of lunge should be performed BEFORE any forward type of lunging as this variation creates minimal knee stress and requires less deceleration. I'll start people with bodyweight and progress to external loads (i.e. weighted vest, dumbbells, kettle bells, etc...)
Dr. Chris Mohr, R.D., posted an article this week on how to lose fat. VERY applicable to 95% of my clientele and the majority of folks I come across:
- Have a clear goal that anyone in the world can measure and understand.
- Drink tea. Research suggests that those who drink tea (black, green, or white, as long as it’s from real tea vs. herbal tea) have lower BMI’s and have less body fat.
- Eat cayenne pepper. A study published in the British Journal of Nutrition showed that when compared to placebo, capsaicin (the active ingredient in cayenne) increased fat burning.
- Decrease/eliminate simple carbs. They do nothing for you outside of creating a favorable environment for gaining fat.
- Eat more veggies. They fill you up, without providing many calories. Just avoid the high fat/high calorie dressings.
- Eat more fruits: No one ever gained weight from eating more fruit even the so called "high sugar" fruits, like bananas, melons and others.
- Lift weights. Heavy weights. Build more muscle, burn more calories.
- Cut down rest time between sets. This will keep your heart rate elevated causing an increase in calories burned.
- Do intervals. No more strolls through the park. Study after study after study continues to show intervals are more effective (and in less time). And physically just look at the body of a sprinter vs. the body of a marathoner.
- Eat more protein. Replacing refined carbohydrates with lean protein will not only help satiate you, but will also increase your metabolism, through something called the thermic effect of food.
- Eat protein more frequently. Piggy backing on #10, it’s important to also time your intake so you’re eating protein regularly throughout the day … not just in one lump sum, like most do at dinner. Every meal and snack should include some protein.
- Supplement with fish oil. A study published in Lipids fed mice diets enhanced EPA and DHA (fish oil). The researchers learned that the mice fed diets higher in omega-3 fats had significantly less accumulation of body fat. Other studies have shown similar results.
- Do full body exercises, such as squats, deadlifts, pullups,chinups, pushups, etc. You’ll get more bang for your buck out of each workout.
- Cycle carbs depending on workout routine. Sure, carbs are important, but you surely don’t need as many if you’re not working out or if you workout just 30 minutes per day and then are sitting most of the other 23.5 hours.
- Start meals with a salad. Salad will provide some bulk to help fill you up, so you eat less calories overall.
- Include low-fat water based soups as snacks. include this with a salad and the two of them will fill you up before getting to the calorie laden meal.
- Don’t forget the fiber. Think of fiber like a sponge; it absorbs water and makes you feel full. Focus on fiber, not carbs.
- Drink water. Professor Dr. Brenda Davy and her Team from VA Tech found that giving people 2 cups of water before each meal resulted in greater weight loss after 12 weeks. The reason? It helps fill you up.
- Add beans to your salads. It’s a nice way to add some additional fiber, protein, and healthy carbs.
- Replace one meal/day with a large salad and lean protein.
- Self monitor. Keep a journal. There’s no better way to track what you’re putting in your mouth.
- Watch your portions. Avoid the buffet line and never super size a thing; instead make sure you’re following what the nutrition label recommends for a serving.
- Weigh and measure foods. You won’t know how much you’re eating unless you pull out the food scale, measuring cups and spoons.
- Switch to calorie free drinks. All calories count, whether they’re liquid or solid, so unless it’s low fat milk, opt for tea or water. Or something I was introduced to in the Netherlands – large bunches of mint, lemon and hot water.
- Weigh yourself. Studies show daily weights help enhance weight loss efforts. Don’t live and die by the number. And of course a scale doesn’t decipher between fat and lean body mass, but it can still be of benefit to keep things "in check."
- Eat whole eggs. Daily. A study published a couple years ago showed that those who ate whole eggs vs. a bagel for breakfast ate less at the next meal. A similar study showed eating whole eggs increases HDL (good) cholesterol.
- Eat breakfast (which is convenient with #26 above). A review published in theAmerican Journal of Clinical Nutrition showed that those who ate breakfast are more successful with long-term weight maintenance. Other research has shown the same for weight loss. Grab hardboiled eggs, scrambled eggs, Greek yogurt, a piece of fruit and handful of nuts, or make a smoothie. It doesn’t have to be fancy.
- Eat the bulk of you meals in the AM and eat progressively less throughout the day. A study published in the Journal of Nutrition showed that eating the bulk of your calories earlier in the day positive influences weight changes.
- Stay upright-you burn more calories. This means not sitting in front of a computer, TV, phone, etc all day. Stand and you’ll burn more and be more productive.
- Ask your waiter to doggy bag ½ your meal before serving it to you. If you wait and tell yourself you’ll just eat half. You won’t. So don’t even have it put in front of you.
- Use the stairs, skip the escalator and elevator. These won’t make or break success, but every little bit helps, so get in all the movement you can.
- Eat low energy dense foods. These are foods that are high in water and lower in calories, such as fruit, veggies, soups, salads, etc. Studies at Penn State University have showed that the inclusion of these foods helps individuals eat less total calories overall.
- Don’t grocery shop hungry. Rather than stick to your list, you’ll buy everything in the aisle; foods that are sure to sabotage your goals of getting lean.
- Replace side dishes with steamed veggies. Restaurants will often allow you to switch the fries or chips with steamed veggies; all you have to do is ask.
- Bake, don’t fry
- Switch to smaller silverware; it forces you to take smaller bites.
- Use a grill
- Order dressing on the side, dip the fork in dressing, and then in the salad. This saves a ton more dressing than if one was to order it on the side, then poor the entire cup on the salad anyhow. Less calories equals less weight.
- In the airport? Carry your luggage, don’t roll it. Again, not a deal breaker in terms of success…just another way to increase energy expenditure.
- Skip the “Venti lattes” and opt for plain coffee or, better yet, tea. Those extra large “designer” coffees can pack a wholloping 500 or more calories per serving!
- Got oats? Plain rolled oats will help fill you up more than the high sugar breakfast counterparts. Moreover, 1 serving provides a lot less calories than the sugar coated alternatives.
- Fidget. A study published in the journal Science showed that those who fidgeted more often, changed posture frequently, etc weighed less than those who did not. This extra movement was termed NEAT (non-exercise activity thermogenesis).
- Laugh often. A study presented at the European Congress on Obesity found those who laughed hard for approximately 10-15 minutes each day burned an additional 10-40 calories/day. Multiply that by 365 and those calories can add up!
- Don’t use email within your office—get up and walk to a co-workers desk.
- Switch to water first thing in the morning vs. juice; you’ll save 100+ calories.
- Steam your veggies—don’t sautée oil
- Leave something on your plate at the end of the meal-every little bit counts.
- When out to eat, split a meal. The portions are usually big enough to feed a family.
- Skip dessert
- Don’t socialize around the food tables at parties; you’re more likely to pick, even though you may not be hungry.
- Don’t eat your kids leftovers; every little bit of food adds up, including these "BLTs" (bites, licks and tastes)
- Keep chips, dips, and other high fat snack foods out of the house—it’s not about willpower, it’s about being realistic.
- If you have a dog, take it for a walk—don’t just let it out in the back.
- If you don’t have a pet, offer to walk a neighbors dog.
- Use smaller plates and bowls, there will be less room for you to fill up and it makes less food seems like more.
- Skip buffets. You will feel you like you have to get your moneys worth and overeat.
- Slow down. It takes approximately 15-20 minutes for the stomach to sense it’s full. If you woof down your food like a starving dog, you’ll likely out eat your hunger.
- Decrease your food intake by 100 calories per day; theoretically this translates to nearly 1 pound per month (1 lb = 3500 calories).
- Buy a pedometer and accumulate at least 10,000 steps each day.
- When possible, walk or bike to do your errands.
- Don’t buy in bulk, unless you’re buying toiletries or feeding an army. The more that is there, the more that you’ll eat.
- Stay away from the alcohol—I don’t care if it’s low-carb anything, alcohol provides 7 calories/gram, which means a lot of empty calories and just 1 drink lowers your inhibition so you overeat other calories too
- Plan ahead. If you fail to plan, you plan to fail
- Pack your meals for the week on Sunday; you never want to be without options.
- Keep some healthy snacks — like nuts — in your glove compartment so you’re prepared at all times.
- Take before pictures and write down your goals.
- Get new friends. If your friends prefer pizza, wings, nachos and beer on a regular basis, find one’s who are like minded and want to be healthy. Research has suggested that friends enhance (or can hurt) success.
- Put yourself first. Many people (women in particular) put everyone else ahead of themselves and let their health fall by the side.
- Be honest with yourself—you’re not fooling anyone by “sneaking” different foods.
- It’s not all or nothing; if you fall off the bandwagon, jump right back. Don’t let yourself continue to fall until all progress has been lost.
- Wake up early to exercise; you’re more likely to get it done if you don’t wait until after work.