Monday, November 1, 2010

Daily Food Plan

Meal 1 (within in ½ hr. of waking)
            The morning is the best time to hydrate as well as nourish your body for the upcoming day. That is why, generally, a good breakfast will be slightly larger in portion size than any other meal. It is important to include all three macronutrients in this meal (Carbohydrates, proteins, and fats)
Example meals:
1.      Oatmeal with raisins and walnuts, glass of skim milk.
2.      Two eggs, two slices of whole grain toast (easy on butter or margarine), coffee.
3.      Protein shake (scoop of protein powder, milk, ice, fruit and/or peanut butter.)

Meal 2
            This can be referred to as “mid-morning snack.” If you workout in the morning than this can also be your post-workout meal. Since this is a snack, portion size will be smaller.
Example meals:
1.      Whole wheat crackers, natural peanut butter, skim milk.
2.      Chocolate milk, protein powder, and banana (note: use chocolate milk only if this is your post workout meal, otherwise stick to skim or low fat.)
3.      Yogurt with fresh fruit (avoid yogurt with “fruit on the bottom”)

Meal 3
            Lunch is usually the deal breakers for Americans, a good lunch will give you sustained energy while burning fat, a bad lunch will cause insulin levels to spike and energy levels to crash, tempting you to reach for a high caffeinated beverage just to make it through the day.
Example meals:
1.      Turkey sandwich on whole grain (no mayo, lots of veggie to top it off), with avocado.
2.      Salad with dark leafy greens (the darker green, the more vitamins and minerals), grilled chicken or tuna, with a low-fat dressing.
3.      Whole grain pasta, extra marinara (avoid white sauces since they tend to be high in fat), and light cheese.
Meal 4
            Meal 4 is very important to the individual that usually finds themself by dinner, if you find that the gap between lunch and dinner is too much, then you want to make sure you eat something small in between (if you work out after work this could be your pre-workout meal)
Example meals:
1.      Pear, 3 oz. cheddar cheese, ice tea.
2.      Protein bar or protein shake (see meal 1)
3.      Sugar free cranberry juice, peanut butter sandwich.

Meal 5
            Many Americans starve themselves all day, by the time they get off work or get a chance to eat they usually reach for the easiest (and fattiest) foods they can find. But by carefully planning all of your meals in advance you can avoid this problem. It is still important to nourish your body after a long day though.
Example meals:
1.      Stir-fry (assorted veggies, 3 oz of lean meat, brown rice, and a little olive oil)
2.      Bowl of cereal (yes even for dinner!) with skim milk
3.      Salad (see meal two)

Meal 6 (within ½ hr. before bed)
            This is the last chance for your muscles to get nutrients before an eight hour fast that is why this meal should be high in protein and low in carbs and fats.
Example meals:
1.      Casein Protein with skim milk
2.      Low or non-fat cottage cheese
3.      Chicken breast (3 oz.)

Note: this meal plan is not a prescription, merely a suggestion and in no way intended to treat or cure and disease or illness.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

A good start to the week.

Workout (Total Body)

Warm Up – 20 mins shoot around (basketball court)
Heart Rate Intensity:
            Zone 1 – 17:10
            Zone 2 – 7:29
            Zone 3 – 0:00
            Average Heart Rate – 130
            Max. – 158
Weight Training – 45 mins
Hear Rate Intensity:
            Zone 1 – 17:23
            Zone 2 – 18:26
            Zone 3 – 10:25
            Average Heart Rate – 145
            Max. – 174

205 lbs.
Pull ups
To Fail
Dead Lift to press (See notes)
120 lbs.
100 lbs.
5 lbs.
Medicine Ball toss (side throws)
15 lbs. medicine ball

Notes on exercises
            I performed the dead lift to press using a ground rotational trainer (check out but you can simply anchor your barbell in a free corner of your gym. Also when you go from the lift to the press do it with one hand, this allows for more balance and stability. Do six reps on one side then switch to the other. This is a very advanced move, so start off light if you are unsure.
            I did really light weight on the Bent over raises (and threw in some variations every 10 reps) because I am currently rehabbing from a shoulder injury, if your shoulders are healthy, try using a little more weight and fewer reps.

This workout is intended for well-conditioned individuals, never begin a workout program without your doctor’s clearance. 

Friday, October 22, 2010

You are not a body builder so don't exercise like one.

     One of the things that irritates me the most are the countless men and women I see in the gym each day doing isolation exercises. No matter what their goal is, for some reason they feel it is necessary to break the body up onto several different categories and work each one like its own separate system. They typically break workouts up into ridiculous categories like biceps/triceps/quads, back/abs/calves, chest/hams/traps/shoulders. They do single plane motion exercises, with many of the movement being awkward, dangerous, and completely artificial. At the end of each workout they usually over train their big muscles, and neglect the smaller stabilizing muscles (the average gym member's balance is terrible.)

     Now for many years I was guilty of this too, when I was fourteen I picked up Arnold Schwarzenegger's bodybuilding bible and went to town. I dedicated each exercise to a different body part, thinking that was the only way I would get a good workout. Well five years and a personal trainers certification later I no longer workout like a bodybuilder. Why? Because I am not one! And chances are neither are you. Chances are you are a student, a parent, a construction worker, or something that requires natural movements.
    Tell me, when was the last time your life required you to horizontally abduct (move away from your body) your front deltoid muscle in the sagital plane to parallel with your shoulder for 10-12 repetitions? My guess is never, but that is exactly what you do when you perform a front dumbbell raise. You see how pointless isolation exercise is? (unless of course you are a BODYBUILDER!) Now when was the last time you had lift something overhead? (i.e groceries, tool box, textbooks, you name it.) With a exercise program that dealt specifically with movements, these everyday activities will be much easier, allowing you to save your energy things you really enjoy. Say weekend bike ride, an afternoon of flag football, and yes even window shopping.

   One of the leaders in functional exercise would have to be PTA global, they are a personal trainer certification but also have much information open to the public you can check out their facebook page here. In the upcoming weeks I will have more posts that are dedicated specifically to functional exercises.

    I one day hope to open my own gym, and in that gym I hope to have members who are serious about health and fitness like I am. I hope to have members who are excited and passionate about the amazing system that is the human body, and I hope to have members that workout like real people, doing everyday movements. I hope that as this industry grows, more and more people will make the switch from working out like a bodybuilder and start working out like the individual they are.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Brock Lesnar

Still don't believe me about Hear Rate Monitors? Well just consider Brock Lesnar, considered the most dangerous fighter in the UFC, and his choice of workout gear. (go to 1:08)

Monday, October 18, 2010

Heart rate Monitors

So it's time for me to resurrect this blog, I am about a month into my new job as a personal trainer at Xsport Fitness and my schedule is a little less crazy (still seven days a week though.) Anyway, I have been learning a lot at this job (both what to do and what not to do) partially from the week of training they give to new PTs and partially from keeping my eyes and ears opened when I am at my gym. In this post there is one thing that I want to share, it has completely changed the way I view exercise, whether it is my own personal workouts or the workouts I put my clients on. I am talking about heart rate monitors.
    Would you feel safe, or even the least bit confident if you drove a car with no dashboard? With no speedometer to tell you how fast you were going, no fuel gage to tell you how much fuel you have left, and no warning lights to tell you if something was wrong. Chances are you wouldn't feel safe going above 25mph and even then you would be uncomfortable. With no feedback from your engine, driving is a very dangerous activity. Well guess what, your heart is the engine of your body, and without getting feedback working out can be just as dangerous (not to mention ineffective.) Don't think of a heart rate monitor as a fancy toy, like I used to, but as a necessary tool that gets you to your goals quickly and effectively.
    The fact is, many people opt out of using HRM because they simply cannot see any visible effects from a healthy heart! This is trivial fitness at its best, and it is sad to see how many people buy into it. The truth is, having a healthy and efficient heart will power you through intense workouts. So even if you goal is to get bigger, leaner, faster, or stronger having a strong heart will get you there AND KEEP YOU THERE where as a weak heart may get you half way there then give up on you, and the results you did get will quickly fade away.
    When choosing a hear rate monitor make sure it has the following features: (1) Calories Burned – this is crucial, cause whether you are trying to gain or lose calories play a huge part in that. Many cardio machines that give you an estimate are, in fact, so far off that it's not even funny. And I have yet to find a weight machine that can tell you how many calories you burned in three sets of ten. (2) Heart rate zones – hear rate zones are different for every person, that is why you need a device that is personalized to you. If you do not know about the heart rate zones here is a quick summary: Zone 1 is your fat and sugar burning zone, usually referred to as the warm up/cool down zone. Zone 2 is your fat burning zone; people who need to large amounts of weight zone should spend most of their workout in this zone. Zone 3 is your cardio zone, and your primary source of energy will come from carbohydrates (that's why carbs are important.) Being in this zone will give your heart a true cardio workout, just make sure you recover back to zone 1 after about 5-10 mins depending on your fitness level. (3) Weekly goals – A HRM that not only tell you what you are doing but what you should be doing is a must. Many HRM have a feature that, depending on your goals, will actually build a program that tells you how long you need to work out each week, how many calories you need to burn, and how long you need to be in each zone. (4) VO2 Max test – simply put your VO2 max is the amount of oxygen your lungs can intake when you inhale, this is another critical feature that your HRM must have.
    There are many hear rate monitors out there, and as long as they meet the criteria above you really cannot go wrong. I happen to use a polar heart rate monitor, the FT60 to be exact; I really love this model because it gives everything you need in HRM without being overly expensive.
    So before you begin any sort of program, make sure you have the right tools to get you where you need to be.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Explosive Strength Workshop

Wow, Ive been so busy being a trainer I have had no time to blog about training! Anyway here is a quick look at what me and Sean are going to be going through at our workshop today. In case it is a little confusing, the unstable land mine is a bosu ball (just make sure it is stable!) If you have never tried these I really encourage you to, they are crazy hard!

Foot/Ankle complex
Single leg plyo box jumps
Turkish Get-ups
Double Hop – unstable landmine
Lateral Lunges w/ overhead DBs
Single Leg Romanian Dead lift
Deadlift to Clean Press

Since this is a class we are doing, we will be throwing some things in between each workout so nobody is ever just standing around, try adding something like that to your workout, so your recovery time is an active recovery.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Fitness: NFL Style.

Week 1 in of the NFL season is underway! And while my Bears bring me no optimism this season, there are many hopeful fans out there that believe their team has what it takes to get to the big show. What exactly does it take to get to the superbowl though? Does it take raw talent, a genius for a coach, a rocket arm at QB, or a tenacious defense? I would venture to say that the single most important element of a winning football team is their training regimen. Think about it, you can have all the talent in the world but if your sucking air by the end of the first quarter your talent will not show when it really counts. That is why every NFL, college, and high school team places so much emphasis on preseason training.

Football, maybe more than any other sport, has benefited from the modern age of strength and conditioning training. Football players are now bigger, stronger, faster, and smarter than they have been in years. However, you do not train athletes like that on accident, it takes a lot of research and well planned workouts from some of the worlds best strength and conditioning coaches.

If your curious like me as to what a NFL training regimen looks like then check out this article:

There are some great principles in this article that you would be ill advised to ignore, there are many speed drills done by the professional that can help you reach your goal as you are pursuing a healthy lifestyle.

So if even if your favorite team doesn't do anything special this year, maybe you will be all the motivation you need to bring out your inner football player, and get healthy.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Stability Ball Workouts

                Ready for a more advanced workout? For workouts that not only build strength and increase heart rate, but also require mental concentration and balance? If your answer is yes, and you already have a base of adequate strength then maybe it is time for you to incorporate stability balls into your workout. Stability balls are a relatively new edition to the health and fitness industry, first being utilized by the physical rehab industry; they have now crossed over because of their versatility, low cost, and ease of use.

Stability balls are a great (and I emphasize great) way to help you reach your fitness goals. Most of the exercise that are done on stability balls not only put increased stress on your muscles, but they add the extra dimension of balance and concentration. Let’s take use the dumbbell bench press for an example: normally, this exercise is done on a bench lying on your back, but if we swap out the bench for a ball it requires two extra things from you. (1) With your feet now act as stabilizers, in order to keep you from falling off the ball, this means you will trigger some small muscles in your legs to keep you stable that you otherwise would just not use. (2) In an attempt to keep your torso stable you now have to contract your abs throughout the exercise; this added stress will increase your core strength.

But they are not just good for variations of existing exercises, they have an endless potential for original workouts that range from beginner to advance. Any work out done on a stability ball can be done in a relatively small space, and you don’t need a multiple balls, to do multiple exercises, just one is all you need. This article is a good example of the diversity that stabilities balls give; notice that if you did all ten exercises in this article you would have gotten a total body workout.

So next time you’re in the gym give them a try, if it’s your first experience expect to feel awkward and a little shaky, chances are your stabilizing muscle have not had to work as hard as they do now.

Here are some links for more great workouts and ideas:


Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Health and Fitness: a Survival Technique.

                “Friendship is unnecessary, like philosophy, like art... It has no survival value; rather it is one of those things that give value to survival.” – C.S. Lewis

                I start with this quote today, not only because I admire C.S. Lewis and his works, but because I think it can be applied to fitness in a unique way. On the surface this quote looks like it belongs in a philosophy blog or something to that effect, but not a health and fitness blog. But take a look at the last phrase “it [friendship] is one of those things that give value to survival.” The key word here is survival, and I believe as the time and culture has changed, our method for surviving has dramatically altered as well.

                When the word survival pops into your head what do you think of? If you are like me then you conjure up a “castaway” image; complete with long beards, spear fishing, and the volleyball companion.  Obviously this type of survival is no longer necessary in our culture, so would we conclude survival is dead? Certainly not, for in this sedentary society we have a much more subtle problem: excess. It is excess that is cutting our lives short, it is excess that limits our potential, and it is excess that requires us to expend our energy in such an artificial way.

We are in this fight against excess and its companions, (heat disease, diabetes, obesity, premature death, and many others) some are fighting vigorously; others seem to have given up. But is survival not worth fighting for?  As C.S. Lewis states, friendship gives value to all this, and not only that but family, art, philosophy, education, love, and freedom.

It’s an abstract idea, but health and fitness is a survival technique, probably one of the most overlooked in today’s age. So if you are having trouble motivating yourself, just know that health and fitness is more than just the pursuit of six pack abs and overall sex appeal. It is a survival technique that not only gives us a better quality of life, but gives us more days to enjoy what is really worth living for.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Labor Day Workout

Selected exercise
Reps per set
Chin Ups
Cable Press Down
Wrist Curl
Preacher Curl

Selected Exercise
Reps per set
Pull Down
Straight Arm Pull Down
Bent Over Row

Selected Exercise
Reps per set
Crunch w/Plate
Hanging Leg Raise
Russian Twist

20 mins. stationary bike

I love getting a great workout in on these semi-holidays, the gym is usually pretty quiet and on a day when most Americans are overeating its, good to know your one of the few doing some good for your body. Also, I'm splitting my workouts up a little differently these next few weeks. Instead of upper body, lower body, core I am doing arms/back/abs, shoulders/legs/traps, chest/abs/core. Its a little more specific, and allows me to put more emphasis on my core (a must in any athletic performance!)

On a different note: this summer I got into the habit of getting my workouts in the late afternoon/early evening instead of the morning like I used to. And let me just say I had forgotten how great it felt to have that extra boost of energy for the rest of the day. When I got off of work I actually had the energy to get stuff done! If your not getting at least a quick workout in in the morning I strongly recommend it!