Monday, December 29, 2008

#1 Fitness Tool...

If You're Going to Train.... You've Got to Track!

Did You Know?
People who successfully manage their weight (fat-loss or muscle-gain) keep records of their activities and progress.

Did You Know?
The world's top athletes also keep records of their progress.

Did You Know?
Keeping simple records of your progress daily can become a huge source of inspiration.

  • By keeping an accurate journal there is no fooling yourself.
  • A journal will allow you to develop positive lifestyle habits
  • You will become acutely aware of your physical and mental progress.
  • A journal provides a way for you to monitor your achievements as you become a healthier, happier and yes, better... YOU!

Remember, the most successful people in weight management keep accurate records.

Get Yours Today! at Mind & Muscle Fitness

Be Well.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

No Dynamite Necessary...

By Ron McDonald Jr, CPT

Stop attacking your weight loss with dynamite like it's a scene from "Rambo". That's right I said dynamite. You simply cannot just blow up the fat with drastic attempts at a home run. Stop swinging for the fences. Its not an all or nothing situation. Losing weight requires a series of healthy lifestyle choices and changes repeated over and over and over. Weight loss just doesn't take place in one big "BOOM". Its really about the small changes that add up to big changes over time. Its about reshaping your habits.

You must focus on both exercise and nutrition. You simply cannot just focus on the exercise in order to achieve you goals. That is like baking a cake and leaving out the eggs. Think about it what gives you energy during exercise? To live and be healthy you have to live and be like a healthy person. Healthy people make better food choices. Healthy people don't over eat. Healthy people are more active. Healthy people consume more fruits and veggies. Healthy people say "no" to foods that don't match their goals. Healthy people are truly committed to living a healthy lifestyle. Reevaluate your commitment to your goals. Ask yourself these questions and answer them.

Answer them by taking your commitment to another level. Refocus your efforts on making what you put in your mouth a choice that you can control. You cannot out train poor nutrition, it just doesn't work. Become more active in your daily life. And oh yeah the holidays are no excuse when it comes to your commitment to your goals.

"Exercise is king. Nutrition is queen. Put them together and you've got a kingdom." ~ Jack LaLanne

Be Well.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Exercise of the Week: MB Chop

Image Source: Fitness Generator
  • Hold medicine ball with your arms extended
  • Continue for the prescribed number of chops

  • In one single motion bring the ball down in front of simulating chopping wood.
  • Squatting down (hips down and back, with knees bent)

  • Begin with medicine ball appropriate for you fitness level.
  • Focus on keeping the core musculature drawn in or braced.
  • Maintain controlled breathing throughout the movement
  • Start will slow movements then progress speed as your abilities increase.


  • This is a total body exercise which can improve your conditioning, in addition burns a lot of calories.
  • You will feel it in the muscles of your core, shoulders, upper back, and legs.
  • This is a great portable exercise that you can pretty much do anywhere you have enough space.


  • Beginners - Light MB / 15-20 Reps / Slow Tempo / 1-2 Sets
  • Intermediate - Medium MB / 12-15 Reps / Medium Tempo / 2-3 Sets
  • Advanced - Heavy MB / 8-10 Reps / Fast Tempo / 3-5 Sets

Be Well.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Myth Busters: Burning fat in specific areas...

By Ron McDonald Jr., CPT

Here we go again, another myth bites the dust. Yeah I know how you feel about that little bit of fat on your inner thigh, under your arms, and of course around your waist line. Unfortunately you can't simply melt it away by doing exercises that specifically work the muscles in those areas.

The concept of "spot reduction" or specifically burning fat from a specific area of our bodies just because we don't like the way it looks is really a false concept. The idea of spot training is all over the TV in prime time commercials and late-night infomercials with fitness equipment that targets specific areas, vibrating ab belts, and magic pills that burn fat in specific areas. Unfortunately none of it is true as the bottom line is, that we cannot reduce fat in any one particular area of the body through exercise. This is apparent in the idea of doing more ab work to decrease abdominal fat has eluded gym-goers for years, yet no matter how many crunches you do, that stubborn fat remains. The exercise may firm up the area but will not make fat disappear in that specific area. There is no such thing as "spot reduction", because muscles do not fuel the exercises by using the fat that surrounds them. Instead, during exercise the body tends to use the fat from areas throughout the body, so the fat used as fuel during sit-ups may come from your feet, legs, back, face, or chin.

So how do I the burn fat?

Simply put you need to burn calories - lots of them. The human body follows the Law of Thermodynamics which simply means its all about calories in and calories out. You may have heard this a million times, but now it time to listen. One pound of fat is about 3500 calories. This means in order to burn one pound of fat, one must be in a caloric deficit of 3500 calories per week - approximately a 500 calorie deficit per day. According to ACSM research and guidelines, the body can safely burn 1-2 pounds of fat per week.

So the goal of your nutrition program is to control your caloric intake, but not limit. The goal of your exercise program is to burn as many calories as possible daily incorporating aerobic exercise and weight training focused on building muscle and using as many muscles as possible during the exercise. More muscles mean more calories burned all day everyday. Think about it - your abdominal muscles are relatively small, and the number of calories used during a set of sit-ups is very little. A brisk walk or jog will expend more calories than hundreds of sit-ups. So focus on burning calories.

Be Well.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Don't Drink Your Calories...

By Ron McDonald Jr., CPT

When it comes to weight loss it appears that the market is flooded with quick fix diets, low-carb diets, high protein diets, low fat, to name just a few. I think that diets really over complicate the issue. The bottom line is that to lose weight, you must take in fewer calories than your body uses. What I have noticed is that most people seem to reduce their calorie intake by only focusing on food, but another way to limit your caloric intake may be to think about what you drink.

What most may not realize is that they may be consuming large amounts of calories from what they drink. Just visit a near by grocery store, convenient store, or 7 Eleven in your area and see the large variety of high calorie drinks available. From Gatorade, VitaminWater, Fruit Punches, Arizona Ice Tea, sodas, and of course alcoholic beverages. Calories from drinks can really add up quick if your not careful. The calories from alcohol are just as high as fat (9 kcal/gram) at 7 kcal/gram. Here some examples of the total calories of regular servings of popular beverages:

  1. Gatorade (32 fl oz) = 200 Calories
  2. Vitamin Water (20 fl oz) = 125 Calories
  3. Ginger Ale (12 fl oz) = 124 Calories
  4. Orange Juice (12 fl oz) = 168 Calories
  5. Fruit Punch (12 fl oz) = 192 Calories
  6. Whole Milk (8 fl oz = 150 Calories
  7. Fat Free Milk (8 fl oz = 90 Calories)
  8. Coffee Frappuccino® Blend (16 fl oz) = 240 Calories
  9. Lemonade (12 fl oz) = 168 Calories

Drum roll... please...

#10. Water (12 fl oz) = 0 Calories. Yeah yeah I know you already know.

As you can see some of the popular drinks are really high in calories. Just think about the number of free-refills of that raspberry lemonade you drank the other day at your favorite restaurant. My recommendation is 80/20. 80% of the time make water you drink of choice. 20% of the time enjoy yourself. For those that are on the 20/80 plan try reversing this to achieve optimal weight management results.

And oh yeah people not every fruit smoothie is healthy. Yeah it may have fresh fruit, non-fat yogurt, and some whey protein, but 32 ounces is 32 ounces. So even a healthy smoothie based on ingredients can be high in calories if you consume a large size. Try a smaller size to keep the total calories down. As with any weight managment practice is all about small changes that lead to big results.

What do you think?

Be Well.


Tuesday, October 28, 2008

'Rope-a-dope' to Help You Cope...

By Ron McDonald Jr., CPT

I guess it is safe to say that we all have experienced - one of those days. Yeah, you know the days where nothing is going your way and you are just totally PO'd and ready to __(fill-in-the-blank)__. Hopefully you don't subscribe to the methods used at the Post Office. If so then maybe some exercise in form of boxing might be the better prescription for you.

What most people are not aware of is that exercise is a great way to manage stress. It helps take your mind off of the many things in our lives that can bring us down. Exercise improves mental health, emotion, and mood. The National Institute of Mental Health recognizes exercise as a valid treatment for anxiety and depression. Exercise conditions us to better cope with stressors.

The fun exercise activity I recommend for managing stress is boxing. Boxing is a great exercise activity to help relieve stress. Boxing is one of the best sports for countering and managing stress, in my opinion. The combination of strength training and aerobic work provides the best of both worlds in terms of getting the muscles pumped and stimulating the cardiovascular system which improve your mental well-being. Boxing (crazy as it seems) enhances your ability to relax, which can help you to stay calm and poised under daily pressure. In addition the added benefit of getting in great shape, building confidence, self-empowerment, and practical self defense. Boxing is one of the best stress management tools. A recent article in the Washington Post stated that, " ...some studies suggest exercise works as well as medication to reduce symptoms of depression and anxiety, and the effects last longer." Using boxing as your coping method can give new meaning to the old saying "take 2... take 1-2... and call me in the morning".

What exercise or activities do use to manage stress?

If your in the Washington area come join us for Boxing Boot Camp every Tuesday and Thursday night (7:30pm) at World Gym Laurel in Laurel, Maryland.

Even if you don't feel you can "float like a butterfly and sting like a bee".

Be Well.


Monday, October 13, 2008

Between the Ears...

By Ron McDonald Jr., CPT

"The greatest discovery of my generation is that man can alter his life simply by altering his attitude of mind" ~ William James

They say when it comes to accomplishing most things in your life, it becomes attainable and possible the day you set your mind to it. Simply put the biggest change we all need to make comes from between the ears - that is your mind. Most of us forget about the muscle between our ears. Well technically its not a muscle, but it can be exercised.

I personally think what really seems to hold many people back in their efforts to reach their fitness goals - is their mindset. If you have already made your mind up that you will fail or that is just too hard, guess what will happen? The real change comes from within. To reach your fitness or overall health goals, the change has to come from within first. You have to really begin to do what you have to do today, so that you can do what you want to do tomorrow. Not to over simplify it - I understand how hard "change" really is - I believe its one of the hardest things we will all face in our lives. However I am also can testify that it can be done. I am a witness.

According the theory of the Betari Box Model (the below image). Your attitude affects your behavior, which affects your attitude in continuing cycle.

So by implementing the appropriate attitude, you are taking full responsibility for your destiny, which in turn affects your behavior. Being healthy is about taking responsibility for your life. Creating new attitudes and habits toward healthy living require a daily practice - let me say that again - a daily practice of impressing your vision and goals into your mind. So if you want to be healthy then "Be Healthy". If you want to be fit then "Be Fit". The real exercise starts in your mind.

"Make Up Your Mind; To Make Up Your Body"®

Join the Mind & Muscle Fitness Community. This is your place to share videos, photos, experiences, and new ideas about how you maintain your fitness and health.

Join the movement now and get your own profile page with unlimited media uploads. In addition to participate in or create a discussion where you can share and learn something new things in your quest for a healthy lifestyle. It’s free and easy.

Be Well.

Friday, October 3, 2008

MMF Fitness Quiz #1

By Ron McDonald Jr., CPT

Pop Quiz! Oh oh... did you study the night before? In the world of fitness and nutrition there are a lot misunderstandings and misconceptions. Here is a little quiz to see how much you understand or thought you understood. Don't be scared its all about learning. My goal is to educate becuase "Knowledge is power". Answer the questions below to see where you measure up. Submit answers here.

1.) The body’s first choice for fuel is:

  • Stored fat
  • Stored glucose
  • Stored protein
  • None of the above

2.) The most healthy way to decrease body-fat is:

  • Liposuction
  • Creating negative energy balance
  • Drop daily calories intake below 800 calories a day
  • Getting in the sauna

3.) The primary fuel during weight training is:

  • Fat and Water
  • Vitamins and minerals
  • Glucose
  • Protein

4.) Vitamins supply energy:

  • True
  • False

5.) Carbohydrates have more calories per gram than Fat:

  • True
  • False

So how do you think you did? To find out more and discuss more on the topic of fitness and nutrition join the Mind & Muscle Fitness Community. This is your place to share videos, photos, experiences, and new ideas about how you maintain your fitness and health.

Join the movement now and get your own profile page with unlimited media uploads. In addition to participate in or create a discussion where you can share and learn something new things in your quest for a healthy lifestyle.

It’s free and easy.

Quiz answers and explanations will be in the Mind & Muscle Fitness Community Message Board. Keep a look out.

Be well.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Summer isn't over yet...

Thats right summer isn't over yet. The sun is still shining. And guess what? You can still make a change in your life to be more healthy and active daily.

September is America On the Move’s national month long celebration highlighting the benefits of active living and healthy eating. While obesity rates are on the rise making these two small simple changes can help prevent the annual one to two pounds of yearly weight gain in adults:

  1. Move More – take 2,000 additional steps each day
  2. Eat Healthfully – Reduce your daily calorie intake by just 100 calories each day.
By entering the six-week STEPtember challenge (start date between August 17 - September 30), you will receive daily tips on nutrition and physical activity, have the ability to track your progress, and be eligible to win the grand prize. To find out more visit

For ideas on how incorporate more daily activity and make better food choices check out some of the exercises of the week, sample workouts, and nutrition posts to help you be active and eat healthier.

Get started now. Be Active to Be Well.

Exercise of the Week: Jump Rope


  • Start with the jump rope in each hand.
  • Continue jumping up and down as you bring the jump rope under your feet.
  • Continue for the prescribed number of jumps or time.
  • Jump off the ground and start swinging the jump rope under your feet.
  • Focus on jumping quickly and landing softly on the balls of you feet.
  • Turn jump rope by circling wrist and not turn entire arm.
  • Maintain controlled breathing throughout the movement
  • Start will slow movements then progress speed as your abilities increase.
This total body exercise will develop your aerobic and anaerobic conditioning. You will feel it in the muscles of your shoulders, upper back, and upper or lower legs. This is a great portable exercise that you can pretty much do anywhere you have enough space.

Be Well.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Myth Buster: No Muscle Sorness Means Bad Workout

By Ron McDonald Jr. - CPT

I was recently asked by a client "Why my muscles aren't getting as sore after recent workouts. Does that mean I didn't have a good workout?" This seems to be a common misconception as people tend to equate muscle soreness with workout effectiveness. I guess all that heavy breathing, sweat, crying, and funny walking during and afterwards isn't enough anymore. Huh?

The truth is that muscle sorness isn't a good indicator of a good workout. Muscle soreness generally occurs when you make your muscles do something that they just aren't used to doing or haven't done in a while. When you first start working out you will experience the most soreness. Forget about the next day... you were probably sore for the entire next week! But then as your body gradually gets more accustomed to what you're doing, your body gradually experiences less and less muscle soreness until it reaches the point where you are barely sore or even not sore at all. In addition it also has a lot to do with the specific activity such as resistance training where you will generally get more soreness do to the demand and stress on the muscle fibers, specific in the lengthening phase of the muscle. However remember the goal in the workout is to burn calories, elevate metabolism, and make progress, not to get sore. I mean if you want to get sore - just find a brick wall and run into it a couple of times. Now is that a good workout. I don't think so.

So, muscle soreness is not a indicator of a good or bad workout. It just indicates that you did something different in some way. Use other way to gauge your progress such as body fat analysis, a mirror, those jeans you are trying fit into, pictures, circumference measurements and/or workout log to judge whether or not what you're doing is actually working.

Good try though at getting out of your the next workout, but I will see you at the gym. Oh you want soreness do you...

Be Well.


Thursday, August 21, 2008

Are You Feeding the Fire?

By Ron McDonald Jr - CPT

Are you going through the day on limited fuel? Are you constantly putting new logs on the fire in a timely fashion throughout the day? If not then it may be time to strike another match to get that fire going. When I refer to "fire" I am speaking about your metabolism. I like to use the analogy that your metabolism is like a fireplace.

Your metabolism is very similar to a fireplace, in that if you don't put logs in the fire consistently over the course of a day, then it will mostly likely lower to a small simmer or much worst totally blow out.

What most people don't realize is that the human body is really a fat storage machine; And it is very good at it. This may come as a shock to many of you, but it is true. And the real kicker is guess where it likes to store all this fat - ladies and gentlemen. In the hips and thighs for most women and in the belly for most men. This further shows the importance of understanding how your body will respond to what you put in it.

This solidifies the importance of knowing how our body responds to what we put into it. You have to mentally decide to maintain a healthy body, because the body is NOT going to do it on its own. For example, if you are not active, and do not eat properly, what is going to happen? You are going to store more fat, right? So how do we solve this problem.

Here are some simple ways to rev up your own metabolism to achieve the results you desire in your fitness program:

  1. Don't even think about skipping breakfast
    When you wake up in the morning from that wonderful beauty sleep, rested or not, your metabolism is running at the lowest gear of the entire day. Your body is basically running on fumes! By eating something your body cranks into gear and metabolically starts working at a higher rate. That shower may wake up you up, but that breakfast wakes up your metabolism.

  2. Do not skip meals!
    You should be eating every 3 hours. When you eat your body has to digest food, by breaking it down into a usable form. This is called the Thermal Effect of Food or TEF for shorts. What does this mean to you? It means that eating burns calories. So the goal is for you to eat a combo of high-fiber carbs, lean protein, and healthy fats every three hours, in portions that are correct for your size and activity level. When it comes to the number of meals, less is not more. In fact, more meals, means more calories burned, so eat wisely, but eat up.

  3. Have a lean source of protein with every meal.
    What has the highest (TEF) of them all? Protein! When you eat protein, it is like throwing gasoline on a fire. By including a lean protein source with every meal you give a little extra spark to your metabolic power. When choosing your protein, remember the saying: "The less legs the better." Fish have no legs and are a lean and healthy source of protein. Turkey and chicken have two legs - take off the skin and don't fry it and you have a fabulous source of protein. With anything that is or comes from an animal with four legs, be selective. Lean cuts of red meat and low-fat or non-fat dairy are the best options.

Just some simple strategies to get your fire (metabolism) firing on all cylinders. However, I think that simple strategies are the secret to a healthy lifestyle. To me its all about keeping it simple. If you can incorporate these simple techniques into your weight management program, you will on your way to success and a metabolism thats on fire. Its super simple.

"Make Up Your Mind; To Make Your Body"

Be Well.


Monday, August 11, 2008

Exercise of the Week: Body Row

Image Courtesy of Fitness Generator

Adjust bar at waist height on power rack. Lie on back and position body under bar so that bar is directly over chest region.

  • Grasp bar with overhand grip (palms facing forward) and shoulder width apart.
  • Elbows should be facing forward
  • Backside of body off the floor
  • Only the heels are together in contact with ground


  • Pull chest up to the bar on a 2 second count focusing on pulling elbows behind you.
  • Lower yourself slowly on 4 second count to return to start position
  • Beginners: 8-10 reps / Moderate: 12-15 reps / Advance: 20-25 reps.


  • Do not let hips drop during movement - activate glutes and abdominals.
  • Modify this movement by bending knees and placing feet flat on the ground.


  • This is a total body exercise targeting the upper body. Specifically the muscles of the upper back around the shoulder blades.
  • In addition it will demand stability and control from the glutes and core musculature.

Be Well.

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Myth Buster: If I eat late I will gain weight...

Body fat doesn't have a watch, so how does it know what time it is? This idea that if you eat after 6 or 8 o'clock at night you will just inevitably start storing fat, because that is the perceived "fat storage cut off point". This couldn't be further from the truth. Unless your a "Gremlin" you shouldn't have to worry about eating after midnight.

The real issue, when it comes to late night eating, many people consume more calories because it has been too long since they have last eaten and they are very hungry. This does not mean eating before bed makes you gain weight. It confirms that eating too much makes you gain weight – an important difference. So if you haven't consumed the necessary daily calories for your bodies needs, by all means you should eat something. What you eat is just as important, as there are low quality foods and high quality foods, but the goal is to eat enough calories to support your bodies daily functions and activity. In addition no matter what time it is you should limit your consumption of high fat, high sugar, and high calorie foods.

What is most important to understand is that weight gain and weight loss occurs over a continuum (a period of time of weeks, months, years), and not hour by hour. Understand that the body doesn't stop working just because we your sleeping. Your heart is beating, blood is flowing, hormones are being released, and cells are dividing. So you are still burning calories overnight.

So please be advised that there isn't any special time on a clock where your body will store more fat. In addition the calories in the food do not all of a sudden get higher just because it is after 8pm. So what really matters is how many calories you eat and burn over the course of a day, week, and month. In the end the only thing that matters is calories in vs. calories out.

EDUCATION and SAFETY always leads to RESULTS.

Be Well.


Friday, July 25, 2008

Protein... In Many Places

By Ron McDonald Jr.

When it comes to getting eating protein, most people still seem to only think about eating meat. It is a common misunderstanding that you can only get the necessary protein intake from animal meat. It is a fact that lean cuts of beef, poultry, or pork are great sources of protein, however there are many other food sources that can provide protein to your daily nutrition plan.

Here are some great sources of protein:

Animal Protein

  • Poultry or Fish
  • Buffalo or Ostrich (very lean)
  • Yogurt
  • Eggs (Whites)
  • Whey Protein Powder

Plant Protein

  • Vegetables
  • Legumes
  • Grains (Oatmeal and Ezekiel Bread)
  • Nuts and Seeds
  • Cereals

Unfortunately not all proteins are created equal. Here are 2 things to be aware of when choosing sources of protein.

"Quality... Certified Quality..."

The ultimate value of a food protein or a protein supplement is in its amino acid composition. Amino acids are the building blocks of protein and muscle tissue. Basically there are two types of protein: complete and incomplete. Complete proteins contain all of the essential amino acids, while incomplete proteins are missing one or more. If incomplete proteins are consumed the body will not fully utilize them during protein synthesis (the process of building muscle tissue). It is possible to mix two incomplete proteins to make a complete protein. Some simple examples would be to mix, grains and legumes (rice and beans), grains and dairy (oatmeal and milk), nuts/seeds and legumes (hummus-chick peas and sesame seeds).

Fat content

Now when consuming animal protein you must be aware that it always come with some amount of saturated fat. This is just a given. So you stick to the lean cuts of animal proteins which promote a lean muscular body. The choice is yours! So when you make your choices you should always select.

  • Grilled over fried
  • Skinless over skin
  • White meat over dark meat
  • Low-fat dairy over full-fat dairy
  • Egg whites over the whole eggs
  • Remove any extra visible fat from meat

Research has found that consuming adequate amounts of protein, especially that of high quality, can promote weight-loss (fat loss). In addition another added benefit is that protein has a higher thermic effect of feeding (TEF) than carbohydrates or fats, which means it burns more calories just to move it through the digestive process. Please be aware that there are limits to how much you should consume daily, but we will get into more detail at later date. The general recommendation is 0.8 grams a day per pound of body weight.

Be Well.


Thursday, July 17, 2008

There is Still Only One Way...

By Ron McDonald Jr.

In recent news there is a study comparing the Atkins, Mediterranean diet and a low-fat diet published in the In New England Journal of Medicine. The study was done to determine and evaluate the most effective diets for weight loss.

When will they learn? Why are still promoting this nonsense.

After two years the study found, dieters lost an average of 7.3 pounds on the low-fat plan, 10 pounds on the Mediterranean diet, and 12 pounds on a mostly vegetarian version of the low-carbohydrate Atkins diet.

In the study it highlights how hard it is to lose weight and the fact that most diets do not work well. It all boils down to make a permanent lifestyle change.

Lets talk turkey...

There are only two approaches to weight management:

  1. Magic (non-behavioral change) - calorie starvation, pills, hypnosis, and pre-packaged foods
  2. Proper nutrition and productive exercise (behavioral change) - learn to be better you

Diets based on gimmicks don't work. Actually let me take that back diets do work, but only for a short period of time in all the wrong ways. So basically they don't work. Most dieters end up carrying more body fat after they stop the diet. This phenomenon is called "yo-yo" dieting.

At the simpliest level if you eat a diet higher in fruits, vegetables, whole (unrefined) grains, legumes, soy products, some fatty fish like salmon, low in fat, low in refined carbohydrates you're on the right path to look better, feel better, lose weight and gain health (sound the drums) - for a lifetime.

Lets keep it real simple folks a diet that is low in fat is also low in calories, because fat has 9 calories per gram versus only 4 calories per gram for protein and carbohydrates. So when you eat less fat, you consume fewer calories without really having to eat less food (total daily caloric intake), because the food is less dense in calories, as well as low in refined carbohydrates. Now couple that with a productive exercise program you will achieve a negative energy balance.

Bottom line - the best way to achieve weight loss is to begin a progressive exercise, making better and more healthy food choices. At basic level it as simple as calories burned for energy versus calories eaten for energy.

Be Well.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Myth Buster: Exercising on an empty stomach...

By Ron McDonald Jr. - CPT

In many different outlets there is a consistent misunderstanding when it comes to human physiology. Like most things, the awesome human body performs very well when properly fed. In fact, many athletes and gym goers have found out the hard way how a missed meal can impact their performance. There are many "metabolic engines" operating in the body at all times, to produce energy from the food we consume. Picture a well-running factory with many interdependent production lines. When food slows down or comes to a halt, so does overall production of energy. This basically effects your performance and overall program results. Just like a car without fuel... you want get very far - or even started.

Technically, while the body may burn more fat exercising on an empty stomach, it also burns more muscle, which no is the direct opposite of what we want. Ultimately, without available glucose (sugar), the body can’t jump start all of the engines and the result is a low effort that burns less, rather than more, fat and calories.

The following are some examples of pre-workout foods that will fuel your body for the coming workout.

  • Banana
  • Grapefruit
  • Oatmeal
  • Apple
  • Granola
  • Yogurt (sweetened)
  • Raisin and Almonds (trail mix)
  • Whey Protein (3:1 Carb to Protein mix)

I would recommend consuming these at least 30 mins to 1 hour before a workout.Remember your pre-workout carbohydrates should be low glycemic, as to not spike your blood sugar levels, but give you a consistent level of energy to last over a period of time.

So the take away message is you should make every attempt to not exercise on a empty stomach. The bottom line is it will affect your results and performance.

Be Well.


Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Training Tips #3 - Inverted Hamstring Stretch

Beginning Position
Standing on one leg


  • Bend over at waist and kick opposite heel to sky
  • Keep hips elevated while lifting right knee to chest
  • Hold stretch for 10 seconds, then repeat for 5 reps
  • Switch to opposite leg

Safety Points

  • Keep back flat
  • Keep abs drawn in or braced
  • Maintain straight line from ear through hip, knee and ankle

This movement focuses on the the hamstrings.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Hot Crossed Buns...

By Ron McDonald Jr. - CPT

Do you want a backside that turns heads [ladies]? Fellows strong glutes will help improve your sports performance as well. The glutes are the forgotten muscle, which happens to be the largest in the human body. Poor glute function can directly point to hamstring strains, anterior knee and hip pain as well. Here is a glute workout I designed to surely have your bottom on fire. Follow the instructions below and keep a fire exstinguisher close by to help put the fire out.

Kneeling Hip Flexor Stretch

  1. Start by getting on one knee.
  2. Slowly shift your hips forward until a comfortable stretch is felt on the front of your hip.
  3. Hold this position for the recommended time and then return to the starting position. Repeat for desired repetitions.
  4. Hold for 20 seconds and repeat on the opposite side.

Ball Bridge

  1. Start by lying on a ball with the ball underneath your shoulders.
  2. Feet should be shoulder width apart and knees bent at 90 degrees.
  3. Start by placing your hips close to the ground. Now extend them up towards the ceiling by contracting your hamstrings and glutes.
  4. Your hips should now be parallel with your knees and shoulders.
  5. Return to the starting position and repeat
  6. Do 3 sets of 12-20 repetitions

Mini Band Walks

  1. Start by placing a mini band around your ankles and standing
    with your feet parallel and about hip width apart.
  2. Keeping your hips level throughout the movement slide your left foot to the left about 6-12 inches or until the resistance is too great and then slide your right foot to a parallel stance again.
  3. Repeat this movement for the desired reps or distance.
  4. Repeat in opposite direction starting with the other leg.
  5. Make sure you keep your hips level and do not hike your hip to left the lead leg. This will defeat the purpose of the exercise. It does take some time to master the subtle lifting of the lead foot and abducting it out to the side.
  6. Start with a light band until you have mastered the technique. Your foot should only raise just enough to slide it to the side which is like 1/4in.
  7. Do 3 sets of 12-20 repetitions.

Single Leg RDL /w Dumbell

  1. Stand with feet hip width apart with knees slightly bent (at 20°)
  2. Start position: Lift left foot off ground by flexing at the knee (foot should be behind you)
  3. Bending at the hips, lower hands to approximately shin height. Keep knees bent at 20° throughout movement.
  4. Return to start position. Complete recommended repetitions and switch legs. Remember to keep back straight - movement should occur at the hip. To facilitate this, shift glutes back as if ready to sit down. Knees should not move forward beyond the toes or deviate laterally or medially. Keep abdominals tight throughout exercise by drawing stomach in toward spine.
  5. Do 3 sets of 12-20 repetitions.

Stair Climber

  1. Place your feet on the steps and adjust the resistance so that you are
    climbing at a fairly quick pace.
  2. Continue to climb but do not lean on the arms or support yourself with your arms.
  3. Focus on pushing through your heels and NOT through your toes - this will focus the movement on your glutes.
  4. Do 3 sets of 2 mins repetitions.

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Be Well,

Photo coutesy of Jupiter Images. Animated Images courtesy of Fitness Generator.


Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Boost Your Metabolism

By Ron McDonald Jr. - CPT

Do you feel like you have a "slow metabolism"? I always hear people (ladies mostly) saying they have a slow metabolism, as if they were born that way and cannot do anything about it. So I have compiled this list of things you can do to boost your metabolism. Read through this list and see if you should be doing 1 or 2 things or maybe even all 7.

  1. Build Muscle Mass
    Resistance training builds lean muscle tissue, which burns more calories at work or at rest, all day everyday, seven days a week. The more lean muscle you have, the faster your metabolism will be (ladies). How do you start strength training? Try some push-ups, or a few squats or lunges. Use 5 lb. free weights or bands to perform simple biceps curls or triceps pulls. Add these exercises to your daily routine, and you'll notice a big difference in your metabolism as well as in your physique.

  2. Avoid Skipping Meals
    If your body senses that food is in short supply, it will slow your metabolism to conserve energy. Over time, the result is that when you do eat (even if you consume the same foods as always) your body will be slower to use the calories as fuel, thus creating a backlog of unwanted pounds. A good strategy is to cut your caloric intake by no more than 500 calories per day and never less than 1500 calories total each day. Once you determine your goal for calorie consumption, divide those calories into 6 different small meals/snacks through out the day.

  3. Get Whey More Protein
    Research shows that protein helps to stabilize the release of insulin into your blood stream, a process that can affect metabolism. The average person would benefit from protein intake at least 70 grams or higher each day.

  4. Exercise 3-4 Days a Week
    The goal is to burn as many calories weekly as you can through exercise. The extra calories you burn over time could add up to an additional 1-2 pounds of weight loss per month. Remember to lose weight you have to burn more calories than you consume.

  5. Increase Movement in Daily Lifestyle
    The more you move, the more you burn! You can actually make a significant addition to the number of calories you burn each day by relatively minor changes in lifestyle. This can be as simple as taking the stairs instead of the elevator; park a distance from the mall or office; window-shop with your best friend rather than sit over coffee; walk the dog instead of just let him out; do a little gardening or clean house while you talk on the phone. Making these types of changes for just 20 minutes of your day will cause you to burn an additional 100 calories per day or an additional pound per month. Making more of these changes can help you burn as much as an additional 1,000 calories per day!

  6. Go For an Evening Walk
    Although exercising any time is good for you, evening activity may be particularly beneficial. Many people's metabolism slows down toward the end of the day. Thirty minutes of aerobic activity before dinner increases your metabolic rate and may keep it elevated for another two or three hours. What that means for you: those dinner calories have less of a chance to take up permanent residence on your hips!

  7. Get Adequate Sleep
    As funny as it sounds, sleep deprivation may make you fat and not just because you're susceptible to cases of the late-night munchies. According to researchers at the University of Chicago, women who got less than four hours of sleep per night had a slower metabolism than those who slept for a full eight hours.
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Be Well.


Wednesday, June 11, 2008

How To Lookout; When You Eat Out

By Ron McDonald Jr. - CPT

In living a healthy lifestyle there are many obstacles you have to face. One of the biggest obstacles for many people when focusing on proper nutrition is when their eating out. One of the hardest task they may face is what to order when eating out that will keep them in line with there weight management goals. We all enjoy eating out however, most restaurants don't make it very easy to decipher their menus in order to see what is a more healthier option. What I have put together is a list of keywords and things to avoid and look for when choosing food out there in the wild (restaurants).

Menu items to avoid (Bad):

  1. Fried, deep fried, french fried
  2. Batter Fried
  3. Crispy
  4. Breaded
  5. Sauteed
  6. Alfredo
  7. Buttered or buttery
  8. Anything that states it is "creamy or creamed"
  9. Scampi
  10. Rich
  11. Cheese sauce or Au Gratin

Menu items to look for (Good):

  1. Grilled
  2. Steamed
  3. Roasted
  4. Baked
  5. Marinara Sauce
  6. Tomata Sauce
  7. Garden Fresh
  8. Poached
  9. Boiled, Broiled, Charbroiled

Some general guidelines to eating out and making healthy choices:

  • Order what works best for you and your goals. Don't let family and friends eating habits and goals impact your healthy eating habits.
  • Buffets or "All-you-can-eat" joints" - Avoid buffets. Enough said.
  • The famous bread basket. If you can't only take one, then ask for the bread basket to be removed.
  • Ask for dressings and toppings to come on the side.
  • Watch serving sizes and portions. If it is too much, you don't have to finish it all. In addition you can order a lunch size or share.
  • Don't let a night out be a reason to overeat or drink. Social environments spark heavy eating and drink. Snack on veggies and drink water. Your waistline will thank you.

I hope this list will help you in living a healthy lifestyle. By no means is this the end all on how to survive in out there in the world of restaurants. This is just a starting point for you to use as a guide to survive. Let us know what works for you when eating out.

Be Well.


Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Myth Buster: "I only need to do cardio to lose weight"

By Ron McDonald Jr - CPT

Unfortunately this is a common misconception, when it comes time to lose weight for most people. Let me see if I can lead you down the right track.

Current research strongly indicates that, in general, combining a conventional aerobic exercise program with a restricted calorie diet does little (IF ANYTHING) to help you preserve lean body mass during your weight-reduction efforts. It is important to keep in mind that the lower your lean body mass is, the lower your resting metabolic rate (i.e., the calories expended by the body to maintain life and normal bodily functions such as respiration and circulation) will be. As a result, it is more likely that you will regain some or all of the weight you lost.

On the other hand, if you engage in an exercise program that is designed to improve your level of muscular fitness and weight loss, you enhance the likelihood that you will be able to maintain your level of lean body mass. Accordingly, for optimal results in weight management you should combine aerobic conditioning and strength training. Such a prescription will allow you to expend a relatively large number of calories, while simultaneously preserving or increasing your level of lean body mass. The bottom line in weight loss is to burn calories, burn calories, and burn calories - as many as possible on a daily basis, by increasing physically activity and planned exercise.

The biggest benefit to weight training is what is termed EPOC, which stands for Excess Postexercise Oxygen Consumption. What this is basically referring to is how your metabolic rate stays elevated for several hours after you exercise session has been completed. Weight training has a significant impact EPOC after a training session. The number of calories burned during recovery depends upon the intensity and the duration of the workout. So your burning more calories in your recovery time - this is what you want, by no means can you expect to burn all the calories you need to burn for the day in a 30 min or 60 min training session. The real magic of exercise is the calories you begin to burn when you not in the gym, as you overall metabolic rate increases over time. In general, approximately 15 extra calories are burned during recovery for every 100 calories you expended during your exercise bout.

While muscular fitness is certainly important, aerobic fitness is also essential. The bottom line is you need to make time for both components of fitness in order to achieve your goals.

Be Well.


Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Exercise of the Week: Burpees

Image Courtesy of Fitness Generator

Beginning Position
Begin in standing position, with feet hip width apart.

1. Jump up and land down on your feet with your hands on the ground.
2. Kick your feet back to push up position
3. Jump back up to previous position with knees to elbow and stand back up.
4. Repeat for prescribed number of reps.

Safety Points

  1. Keep spine in neutral during movement, specifically in pushup position.
  2. For beginners movement can be done slowly or modified by placing hands on bench during the floor portion of the exercise.
This is a great total body exercise, challenging the core musculature, lower body, and upper body. In addition it challenges your muscular endurance and cardiovascular system.

Take your workout program to the next level by adding this challenging exercise. Let us know how you did. Leave a comment.

Be Well.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Everyone Already Has a "Six-Pack"...

By Ron McDonald Jr. - ISSA-CPT, WITS-CPT

News flash! Every one already has a “six-pack”. No matter how many infomercials you see or 7 minute abs videos you watch that is where the rubber meets the road. Doing countless numbers of crunches or technically speaking truck flexion exercises do not create six-pack abs, because they already exist. No special equipment or magic pills will create what already exists.

I learned along time ago that in order to see the sidewalk you have to shovel the snow. This simple concept applies in the same fashion when it comes to uncovering your six-pack abs. I say uncover because what is really stopping you from seeing your six-pack or the person your trying to hypnotize with yours abs is that layer of fat sitting on top of the muscle. So, what are we going to do about it?

Well, the way to properly see your six-pack is to reduce your body fat. By reducing your body fat your are essentially making your body less fat and more muscle. The best way to reduce your body fat is with intense cardio exercise, proper strength training and a healthy, and low-calorie nutritiously dense diet. The goal is to burn more calories daily than you consume, which will result in a lower body fat. Incorporating intense cardio, resistance training, and proper nutrition are the recipe to melt that snow (fat) from the top of your abs.

Now don't get me wrong abdominal exercises do serve a purpose in building strong abdominal muscles which have the responsibility of supporting your spine and protecting your back. Keep in mind that your abdominal workout is just one small part of a exercise program when it comes to getting a six-pack. The truth is most exercises work your abs.

So don't waste your time crunching endlessly expecting to create a six-pack. Where you should focus your efforts is improving your eating habits by eating lean protein, veggies, fruits, and whole grains at every meal and burning more calories daily. Slowly but surely you will begin to see what lies beneath.

What changes will you make in order to "shovel the snow"?

Be Well.


Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Stop Wasting Time...


"Time is our most valuable asset, yet we tend to waste it, kill it, and spend it rather than invest it" ~ Jim Rohn

When it comes to working out most people in gym give off the impression that they have a endless amount of time. I see people sitting starring into the mirror endlessly, having long chit chats, or even worst talking on the cell phone while doing cardio - the elliptical machine at that. All I know is you can't be working out hard if you can hold a conversation, because hard work is usually followed by "heavy breathing".

When you come to the gym unless you absolutely have to keep it with you, leave the cell phone the car or in the locker room. Another problem I am a witness to is the guys working only on the "mirror muscles" using isolated movements. To be more efficient in your work outs don’t waste time working small muscles with isolated movements. The body is a system and that system is not meant to be isolated. Compound exercises (exercise that involve multiple muscle groups) require you to use your entire body and muscles all together. Isolated exercises simply won’t give you the biggest bang for your buck, because they don’t require or recruit that many muscle fibers. When you recruit more muscle fibers, the result is more calories burned, more muscle fibers stressed, and better results in less time. If you goal is to lose weight (fat) or improve your overall fitness level then working your entire body collectively will give you better results. In reality or the real world you use your entire body together lifting groceries, furniture, babies, doing yard work, and other activities of daily living. So why would you focus on one muscle at a time. The body has over 600 muscles, that makes for a pretty long workout.

When you are doing cardio you should increase your intensity to elevate your heart rate. So instead of for example running on the treadmill or elliptical at the same speed for 30 minutes to 1 hour, you will achieve better results by doing a interval program where the speed and intensity of the exercise is changing throughout the 15 - 30 minutes. By doing your cardio this way you will have possibly cut your workout time in half and increased the total amount of calories burned in a shorter period of time. I'm sorry but I assume we all have lives, families, and other things we'd like to be doing rather than hanging out in a sweaty gym. Please let me know if actually like hanging out at the gym all day - you may qualify to be a crazy Personal Trainer like me.

So use your time effectively and efficiently by doing total body exercises working multiple muscle groups together , cardio in a interval program, and limiting rest periods. The bottom line is that you can accomplish more with less time. You will be burning more calories in your workout session and achieve greater results. Sounds like a win - win to me. I thought that's what we all wanted, right? How do you save time in your workouts?

Be Well.


Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Exercise of the Week: Diagonal Ball Chop

Image courtesy of Fitness Generator
Beginning Position
Start with your arms extended holding the medicine ball up and to your right


  1. Bring medicine ball down in a wood chopping motion towards your left foot
  2. During this motion your feet stay stationary and you rotate at your trunk.
  3. Repeat this motion for the prescribed (15-20) repetitions and then repeat in the opposite direction.

Safety Points

  1. Keep spine in neutral during movement, do not hunch back in chopping phase.
  2. Draw in abdominals and keep drawn in throughout entire movement.
  3. For beginners movement can be done slowly, then progress to faster movement as abilities increase.

This is a great total body exercise, challenging the core, lower body, and upper body. In addition challenges the muscular endurance and cardiovascular system .

Add this exercise to your workout program this week. Let us know how you did.

Be Well.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

7 Pitfalls in Weight Loss


Most people I talk to all desire that same thing to lose weight and fast. Unfortunately, things don't work that way everyone's body is different and the body can be somewhat stubborn sometimes. In addition to the fact that losing something "fast" isn't in your best interest. Speeds kills. This is especially true for someone who has been sedentary for whole life or quite some time. Just like any thing worth having its takes careful planning, structure, and dedication to finish the task despite the guaranteed pitfalls and rewards along the way. Unfortunately the mainstream media promotes rapid results and once people realize the flaws in a fad diet or quick fix, they become frustrated and back right where they started or often times much worst. Below are 7 commons pitfalls that are at the root of the problem:

1. Unrealistic expectations
—Don't get consumed with instant gratification. Set realistic goals for 1-2 pounds per week. Expect that every week will not be that same. Be patient and work hard. The body changes from the inside out.

2. Scale obsession
—How many of you get on the scale everyday? Your weight will fluctuate by 1-3 pounds at times based on water retention, dehydration, and overeating. Truthfully the scale isn't really telling you much. What matters is your body composition. Your body fat% is what really matters and determines if you at risk for preventable diseases.

3. Skipping breakfast
—I know you've all heard it but now it's time to listen. "Breakfast is the most important meal of the day". It jump-starts your metabolism, provides fuel for activity, and also reduces the urge to eat unhealthy snacks before lunch.

4. Not packing a lunch
—I truly believe that packing a healthy lunch regularly will help avoid weight gain. You will less likely to grab fast food or other unhealthy choices. If you don't have your own plan, chances are you will fall into someone else's. Guess what they have planed for you!

5. Not eating frequently—eating every 2-3 hours will prevent significant hunger pangs and eating binges. Most importantly, it speeds metabolism and caloric burning throughout the day. Going long periods without food will force your body to slow down your metabolism over time.

6. Poor grocery shopping—Never go grocery shopping when hungry. Also stay away from the processed foods. The rule is to try to eat as close to nature as possible. Ask yourself "Did this food come out of the ground or off the tree/plant this way" If the answer is yes, then its' natural and grade A food. All the fresh food is on the perimeter - most of the processed food is in the aisles.

7. Not drinking enough water—Drinking water helps our muscle maintain cellular volume and flushes out the waste in our system.
Read the "Truth About Water" blog.

Overcoming or being aware of these common pitfalls will prepare you and send you on your way to several positive lifestyle changes that you can stick with to help manage your weight for the long haul.

Be Well.


Thursday, April 24, 2008

Can You See Clearly?

"Vision without action is merely a dream. Action without vision just passes the time. Vision with action can change the world"

Is your vision blurry? Are you not able to see the possibilities of your actions? Maybe you just need to re-focus. May you just need some Windex to clean the window your looking through. In the wacky world of fitness I often encounter a lot of individuals who desire to be more healthy or fit, but lack a clear vision on how to get there. Part of my job other than making you sweat and breathe hard is to help you see a clearer path to your destination, in addition to helping you focus and enjoy the journey and accomplishments along the way.

When your overly determined to reach your goals focusing only on the destination and the end result, it can kind of blur your vision of fruits along the way. Yeah, of course you want to lose weight (excess body fat) and have a flat tummy. I know you got plans to hit the beach in hopes of turning heads. But if you concentrate only on the end result or worry about how fast you'll achieve it, you will be missing the opportunity to make the changes you need to make now. In addition enjoying and reveling in all your achievements you make up to this point. 3 months ago you couldn't do 20 squats. 6 months ago you couldn't do 1 push up now your doing 15. A year ago you weren't exercising daily or eating healthier foods. See weight loss or specifically living a healthy lifestyle isn't all about the actual weight loss. I find that is more about what you did you get there, what you learned about yourself and moreover what you will do to stay there. Its about having a clear vision, being empowered, and taking back control.

Keep your vision clear by focusing on what you can do now. Dealing with "now" will have more impact in helping you achieve all that you desire. Revel in all the successes that you have had up to this point and keep your vision clear so you see the many accomplishments on there way.


On a another note in reference to vision and sight on a large scale. I am working with the Unite for Sight® a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization and Valerie Moore in their effort to provide vision care to those in need in America and developing countries in Africa and Asia. They will be traveling to Accra, Ghana to provide vision services to improve eye health and prevent blindness. The facts are devastating.

  • Those who are blind in Africa have a four times higher mortality rates.
  • 60-80% of children who become blind die within 1-2 year.
  • 1 child becomes blind every minute from diseases such as measles, congenital rubella, meningitis, premature birth, and vitamin A deficiency
If you agree with me that gift of sight is a very important piece to living a healthy, productive, and active life, then show your support by making a comfortable donation to Unite for Sight. For more information you can visit the Unite for Sight website or contact Valerie Moore directly.

What side of history do you want to be on? I want be on be the side that helped. What say you?

Be Well.


Sunday, April 20, 2008

Exercise of the Week: Body Bridge

Beginning Position
Begin in prone (face down) position on floor or mat with palms in facing each other while on forearms.


  1. Raise hips and torso off the ground with toes and forms.
  2. Hold position drawing in abdominal muscles.

Image courtesy of Fitness Generator

Safety Points

  • Keep spine in neutral position maintaining straight line from ears to ankles.
  • Do not hold breathe, continue controlled breathing throughout exercise.
  • Progress by holding for 15, 30, 45, or 60 seconds.

This is a great exercise, challenging the all the core musculature.

Add this exercise to your workout program this week.

Let us know how you did.

Be Well


Thursday, April 17, 2008

Nutrition Tip #2 - Eat a Rainbow


One of the keys to optimal nutrition and health is to "eat a rainbow" that is where the pot of gold is. Yeah, yeah I know you can't eat a real rainbow. What I am referring to is by eating fruits and vegetables of a variety of different colors, one can get the best all-around health benefits.

The colors in fruits and vegetable cells are called "phytonutrients", which are basically plant nutrients. Fruits and veggies are a very important component to overall health as they are whole foods that were created by nature. By consuming fruit and vegetables you are guaranteed to get a diverse amount of essential vitamins and minerals.

Here is a short list of fruits and veggies categorized by color that you should include in your daily diet. Kudos and good for you if you are already.

Apples, Cherries, Cranberries, Pink Grapefruit, Rasberries, Red Bell Peppers, Beets, Tomatos, and Pomergrante.

Orange / Yellow
Apricots, cantaloupe, carrots, lemon, oranges, nectarines, sweet potatos, corn, mangoes, and squash.

Broccoli, celery, artichokes, asparagus, cucumbers, green apples, honeydew, avacodos, brussel sprouts, and zucchini.

Blue / Purple
Eggplant, plums, grapes, blueberries, prunes, and raisins.

Bananas, cauliflower, dates, garlic, ginger, mushrooms, onions, potatos, and white corn.

Eat minimum of 2-3 God-made colored food at each meal, snack included. Eat a rainbow often. Every meal should include fruits and vegetables because of their fiber and nutrient densities. So make every meal a rainbow. If your meal is colorless, add some color with fruits and veggies.

Be Well.


Wednesday, April 9, 2008

I Don't Have Enough Time...


Here we go again. One of the biggest roadblocks I hear from people is "I don't have enough time to exercise". When I hear that I usually follow up with the question - "well how much time do you have?" If you know how much you don't have, you definitely know how much you have. I find it rather humorous as these statements make the assumption that some people do have enough time. Last time I checked there wasn't anyone with a monopoly on time. Time escapes us all, and there are no refunds, rebates, or lay-aways on "time". The truth is nobody has enough time. We are all busy in our own lives and responsibilities. Health should be one of those responsibilities. There will always be something demanding our time, but the bottom line is we choose what dominates our time. Its all comes down to a choice.

The way I see it you only have two choices:

  1. Waste time
  2. Make time
Which do you choose? When it comes to you health, I believe you should make time for it. Funny thing is by being in better health you will be slowing down the process of time. Barring any accidents or unforeseen circumstances the way to live longer is to stay healthy. The common misconception about getting daily exercise is that most think that the recommended 1 hour a day, means all at one time. That 1 hour can be split up into numerous times throughout the day based on your schedule.

So for those who find that time is the reason they can't commit to daily exercise I provide for you:

The "I Don't Have Time to Workout" Workout

Perform the above exercises in order for prescribed number of repetitions or time depending on your fitness level. Each exercised is followed by 15 seconds of rest before continuing to the next exercise. Repeat for 3-4 cycles. Total exercise time = 9 minutes.

If you don't have 9 minutes to dedicate to your health please let me know.

Be Well.


Thursday, April 3, 2008

"Take Me Out" at a Ball game?


I was reading a article on the Washington Post website, in reference to the opening of the Washington Nationals new stadium and the many choices of food available at the concessions. What really blew my mind was the extremely unhealthy food that is available to the many patrons of baseball games and many other sporting events. This gives new meaning to the words in the popular baseball song - "take me out to a ballgame...". From what I am seeing it looks like their trying to "take you OUT" at the ballgame.

It just simply blows my mind that with the growing rate of obesity and morbid obesity from children to adults within our society due to our eating habits and daily lifestyles, that we keep going down this same road. You would think that as a society we would be moving far far away from the common staple of huge burgers, hot dogs, cheese fries, and breaded chicken fingers as quality food. I don't know but sounds like a conspiracy to me - as if the pharmaceutical companies and the vendors of this cardiovascular heart disease(CVD) causing food are working together. I really don't want to believe that, but its hard not too. The fact is that eating foods of this caliber over and over daily throughout your life will positively have an adverse effect on your overall health.

Some the food choices available at this new stadium and many other stadiums are chicken wings, a curly pretzel in the shape of a"W" [should stand for "watchout"], a potato knish, and chilli mac just to name a few. For some examples of what I am refering to, check out some of the famous Seventh Inning Munchies. Don't be suprised if you can't find the nutritional facts. For my all-time favorite example of the problem checkout the donut burger available at a minor league baseball games in Illinois.

In order to live a healthy lifestyle and achieve your fitness goals, foods like the many available at most stadiums around the country should be avoided like the plague. Don't get me wrong you can have a treat every once in a while in moderation, but some foods should never be eaten, or even sold to be frank.

Next time you plan on going to a game to see the Washington Nationals or any other team, you may want to pack a healthy snack. The chances of you finding something not laden with calories, sugar, sodium, saturated fat, and trans fat will be - how should I put this - a "fat chance".

Whats your opinion? Express yourself and leave a comment.

Be Well.


Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Is the World Really Flat?


According to early philosphers such as Aristole, it was initially believed that the world was flat. Sometime after that it was discovered that the world wasn't flat it was round. Now we are in the 21st century it seems as though the world is getting flatter do to the many inactive gluteus maximus muscles. I guess if you sit on something long enough day after day, it becomes flatter and more inactive. If you were your buttocks would you stick around, if you were sat on for long hours all day - day after day. Maybe this explains why all the teenagers pants are falling down off of their butts - there is nothing back there to hold them up. May they need a kick in the rear for more than one reason.

The problem

The bottom line (no pun intended) is we sit too much, we take too many elevators, and we never take the stairs. Throughout most peoples work day you can find them sitting on their "bottoms" for long hours, which has resulted in the loss of glute function and the absence of our body's most important muscle. Then the kicker; when we do go to the gym we only work on our upper body. Research suggest that lower back pain is directly related to poor glute activation. Poor glute function can cause hamstring strains, anterior knee and hip pain as well. No wonder, that lower back pain is the number one reason for lost work time. With the glutes not doing their due share of moving the human body around, this puts more of the responsibility on the lower back mucscles and hamstrings to pick up the slack. Overtime, a cylce of injury begins to take place, which may manifest itself as lower back pain.

The solution

Well, to solve this problem I would prescribe lots of squats, lunges, single-leg squats, split squats, quadruped leg lifts, and single-leg bench step ups. In addtion to hip bridges to activate those glutes. Furthermore during the day skip those elevators and take the stairs. This is guaranteed to put the "maximus" back in your gluteus maximus, waking up those muscles up from that long slumber and hibernation.

Are you still sitting on yours? Time to get up an activate those glutes. Get off your butt!!!

Be Well.


Thursday, March 13, 2008

More of the same equals...


More of the same = more of the same. If nothing ever changes, then nothing will change. This is a fact of life. This is also applies to living a healthy lifestyle. As time passes and we are blessed enough to be around during this passing of time, then we must adapt, react, and even be proactive about change.

Change is evitable. One of the hardest things about life is the concept of change. Through our lives we have developed habits and have experiences that keep us in our comfort zone. If you never change your not so positive habits then you will continue to get the same results. This applies to so many areas in life, but specifically I am referring to fitness. My passion and life's mission is to help people who want to be helped, lose weight, get stronger, perpare for physical fitness or sporting events, or just to be more functional (that is walk up the stairs or get out of bed without pain). However the biggest struggle is the "change" part. I see people in the gym all the time doing the same workout at the same low intensity and never challenging themselves - meanwhile their bodies are not changing.

In the fitness world the fancy name for this concept of change is called "periodization". This basically means that within your workout routine you need to cycle through periods of high, moderate, and low intensity exercise. What this mean is that you are doing your body no good to workout at the same intensity all the time. This can lead to serious problems or even poor results. The human body is very smart and adaptable. Throughout the process any stress you place on your body will force your body to adapt to that stress, however there is a point of diminishing returns. In order to get the best results you need to cycle the stress and allow the body to recover appropriately.

So the bottom line is stop doing the same things over and over expecting different results. If you have trouble with nutrition, then you going to have find a way to make a change to improve this area. Nutrition is very important part of a fitnes program. Some people work hard in the gym but ruin it with poor eating habits. Some people just do the same "mirror muscles" workout that they did with we were in high school - meanwhile there bodies aren't changing - maybe changing the wrong way.

They say that the more things change the more they stay the same, however when it comes to improving your fitness level and achieving your goals - its actually the opposite you have to change something.

Be well.


Saturday, March 1, 2008

Nutrition Tip #1 - Break-the-Fast


That is what the term “breakfast” means. With 6-8 hours of sleep, this is a lot oftime without food. Start every morning with breakfast— period. As with any long period of not consuming any calories your body will be susceptible to the “starvation effect”, and will begin to store more fat and tap into lean muscle(protein) for energy.

The starvation effect is where body interprets you lake of calorie consumption as threat to survival. Given this condition your body will slow down the metabolic processes to conserve energy - i.e. keeping stored energy (fat). Breakfast is great for increasing your metabolism, fuels the brain, and provides more quality energy. Substituting caffeine for breakfast just gives an artificial energy and metabolic boost.

Start your morning off right with some fresh fruits, lean protein, and 100% whole grains.

Be Well


Monday, February 25, 2008

I Don't Want to Look Like a Man...


Weight training is not a surgical procedure, but so many women seem to think so.

Many females in their quest for weight-loss are afraid of weight training, as they feel it will make them look manly. I would be scared too if the reverse were true and weight training made men look more girly. I hear statements such as "I don't want to bulk up" or "I don't want to get big". Part of the problem with these statements is that it is just assumed that getting big is such an easy task. Kind of makes me laugh. As you know most of the men in the gym are trying to get big one way or another, without success (topic for another article). So why do women think they will get so big by lifting weights?

Bulking up...

Women are not equipped to build big muscles like a man. One of reasons of this is the low levels of the hormone "testosterone". Women have like 1/10 the amount that men do, and this hormone is a significant factor for muscle growth. So when a women strength trains it will not create the same result as it does a man. One of the problems that we face as we age is that we begin to lose are muscle mass, which is part of the reason we gain weight over time. However strength training tells the body that muscle is important - and slows down the process of aging. Women loss muscle mass at a higher rate than men, due to the low levels of testosterone. The bottom line is losing muscle means a lower metabolic rate, which impacts overall calories burned daily. So lets get lifting ladies.

The benefits...

Now with all that said weight training has significant benefits for women looking to lose weight. What most women exercisers don't understand is that muscle is what drives your metabolism. The more muscle you have on your body the more calories are required to maintain that muscle. Muscle is active tissue. Having more muscle on your body will raise your metabolic rate, allowing for you to burn more calories at rest (when your not in the gym). So if the goal is to lose weight, and losing weight is achieved by burning more calories then you consume - then weight training must be part of your weight loss program. So by incorporating 2-3 strength training sessions and cardio into your weekly workout routine will give you the best results.

If you are not currently strength training and are not sure where to begin see a qualified personal trainer for some guidance.

Be well.


Friday, February 22, 2008

Myth Buster: “I exercise, so I can eat anything...”

Stop the madness. Out of all the very interesting statements I have heard in the gym this one takes the cake ~ literally. If I could come up with an analogy, I would say this is the equivalent of going in circles.

Exercise cannot make up for poor nutrition.

Poor fuel = Poor performance
Poor performance = Poor results.

and. You are sabotaging your results. While eating poorly and not exercising regularly is much worse for your health. However to get the most out your workouts you must consume high-quality foods that will help you perform and revcovery. A well balanced exercise program is coupled with proper nutrition. Proper nutrition for any type of exercise program whether focused on weight-loss, muscle growth, and sports performance is vital to the results of such programs. The only true way to achieve the most from your fitness program is to have a good balance of proper nutrition. If you need to have your nutrition analyzed and discuss healthy eating ask a personal trainer for assistance.

Be Well.


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