Thank You for coming to my Blog page!

I hope that you will be able to use the information provided to make educated decisions about your health and fitness goals. All questions are welcome, so please ask! Also feel free to go to my website and learn more about my company.

Saturday, October 4, 2014

Heart Rate Zones: Fitness & Health Benefits

There is a lot of talk about Heart Rate and Target Heart Rate. Is it really important? It's important to know based on your specific goals. It is very important is to understand that any exercise including aerobic exercise should be both challenging and above your comfort zone. There is so much nonsense talk about fat burning zones that the focus on burning excess energy consumption is lost. You will almost always see some kind of colorful graph on cardiovascular equipment showing that certain heart rate levels will have you in a fat burning mode and so forth. Without truly understanding all the facts these charts are really of no use. These charts should be used as a general guide to predict the right intensity along with health history and exercise history considerations. I have provided a chart I found on Pinterest to help you determine these intensities but it should be used as a general guide rather than a specific guide.
In general, performing exercises in the 'fat burning zone' may be more idea for bodybuilders who want to reap the benefits of exercise and burn fat without expending too much energy which could be better utilized in high intensity feats of weightlifting. An individual with poor fitness levels and little to no exercise history should stay closer to the 60 - 70% target heart rate zones and gradually build up to the higher 80 - 90% zones as fitness levels improve. The biggest mistakes in any fitness program is to do too much to soon or too little to long. You can't exercise in your comfort zone and expect to improve much if at all. It's best to follow some form of periodization model which is adjusted regularly based on your improvements as well as any unfortunate circumstances which may temporarily hinder your regular exercise activity. 

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Stress: Your Family, Health, Weight & Romantic Life

Everyday we are faced with stressful situations which can have serious consequences in all aspects of our life. There are various forms of stress but they all have two unique properties. There is stress which we have immediate control of and their are those for which we have no control of because there are external forces which directly influence certain outcomes. It is also true that we all have the ability chose how we will cope with it. We can let stress consume us or we could consume it by dealing with it. According to Ragan's Health Care Communication News, an infographic published in July 2013, 'Stress-related Health care and missed work cost employers $300 Billion each year. In a similar article published by Forbes in the same period, they reported $84 Billion in loss of productivity due to absenteeism attributed to chronic health conditions. Increased stress is a well know cause of a poor or weakened immune system. Stress causes many other problems such as withdrawal from socializing, poor appetite (in other cases increased appetite), reduced energy, poor sex drive, other health related problems, depression, skin problems, various other emotional problems and more. 
The foods we eat may exacerbate symptoms associated with stressful problems. Staying active can help reduce the affects of stress if we find the right type of activities. Taking on to much can make it worse. Below is an interesting infographic of foods you can eat to help your body cope with stress:
Although coffee was listed you should be careful about taking this tip. One of the hormones which is affected by stress is adrenaline which is released by your Adrenal Glands located just above your Kidneys. It may seem like a plus to feel more excited but keep in mind to much Adrenaline can affect your mindset and heart as well. Both Western and Chinese Medicine contribute increased stress on the Kidneys to increased stress on the heart. Since caffeine is a stimulate and diuretic the positive side of it is increase alertness and mood. At the same time for some, caffeine causes them to be fidgety and agitated which are both associated with stress. Increase urination can cause more stress, especially if you are forced to hold it. If you are the kind of person who becomes easily irritable it is probably best not to consume caffeine. This may hold true also if you already have heart problems. If you suffer from Anxiety, caffeine and coffee may also not be a good choice. If you are allergic to nuts, it's just common sense not to eat them. 
Amongst the top 10 jobs associated with the highest levels of stress were those in public safety, CEO's, public transportation and journalists.  We constantly see publications either from the media or individuals of how intolerant people are of police officers, top company executives and political leaders. These same folks take little time to consider the amounts of stress and pressure these type of people feel from not just their type of job, but the media, family and the public. A certain percentage of people in low-income brackets are more likely to complain about the job performance of these types of workers and at the same time deal with the stress themselves in much less reasonable ways like looting, rioting and public shaming as well as violence against non-responsible parties for the cause of their personal stress. 
We need to become more familiar with the way we deal with stress. Find out the root source and address the situation with a reasonable action such as improving daily choices of food, exercise, stress management through exercise, yoga or meditation; seeking counseling when necessary; seeking better inner personal communication with our family, loved ones and those around us on a daily basis and more time spent socializing with positive people. If anything do something everyday that will make someone around you feel great about themselves.
Check out this infographic below for more information:
Sources of information:
Infographic: Stress and your health

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Lower Body Resistance Training & the Elderly

It's been almost 17 years since I got into the health and fitness industry. It has been quite an interesting career considering the diversity of my clientele since May of 1998 when I got started. My youngest client was 12 years old and my oldest client has been 91 years old. I've worked with high school level athletes, college level and semi-pro athletes. My original intentions were to get into veterinary medicine. Like back then I have always been approached because of my considerable strength in comparison to my size. It may appear to other that I should have 21 inch arms because of my strength. My style of training and that fact that I don't use steroids separates me from these incredible hulk freaks of nature that work out about my parameters. I've always been invested in preventing weak muscles, poor health and disease. My favorite part of my career when it comes to the elderly has been the same reason. I've worked with elderly folks who's strength would embarrass a minor and middle aged populations. When ever I work with the elderly my main focus is flexibility, balance and then strength as well as endurance. The reason I put them in that order is because flexibility will always play an important role in both stability and strength. I could go into details about this but that would require me to write a book on the subject. Instead I will focus on the importance of strength training and the lower extremities of the elderly. 
We have all seen that 'I've fallen down and I can't get up commercial'. It's a harsh reality regarding aging. Many of the injuries associated with falling can be reduced but training must emphasize some of the causes. A loss of flexibility, balance, reaction time as well as strength and endurance are all a part of life as we get older. These factors play critical roles on the consequences of losing balance. Functional movements which require the lower body and are a part of (ADL's) activities of daily living in the elderly will include but are not limited to walking, sitting, standing and climbing stairs. 
Two of the most common things I've heard clients complain about is either back problems or weak knees even though they claim to have no history of injury. I usually tell them these issues may be due to daily patterns putting unnecessary stress on the lower back. I also explain to them that most knee problems are the result of weak hips. After some assessments and some hip strengthening they usually complain about less knee problems. When it comes to the lower back I inquire about their lifting patterns and the type of activities required by there jobs. These questions always lead to finding the underlying issues and addressing it with appropriate measures to reduce the complaints. 
Here are some tips for elderly people engaging in physical activity. If considering starting a fitness program make sure to see the doctor in order to make sure there aren't any underlying risks. Once cleared if you haven't done anything for quite some time, take it easy and start slow. Make sure you are following proper progressions. 
Always warm up before you start any type of physical activity. This can include a walk, jog or cycling according to your fitness levels and abilities. Elderly people should consider a slight incline on the treadmill, an elliptical trainer or a stepper which would make the hip muscles work harder during the warm up and thus would be more appropriate and targeted toward the muscles you intend to work out. 
Exercises which can help activate the muscles of the Glutes in preparation to higher intensity activity include Quadruped Hip Extensions, Dirty Dogs (a.k.a. Fire Hydrants) and Prone Bent-Leg Hip Extensions. 
Avoid trying to do what you 'used to do'. Consider starting off with 8 - 10 exercises which target all the major muscle groups. Perform 1 set for a total of 10 to 15 repetitions. The higher the reps the lower the resistance should be. The lower the reps the higher the resistance should be as well. Target the Gluteus Maximus and the Hamstrings before working out the Quads and Calves. In general target muscles from larger to smaller. 
My favorite exercise for increasing Gluteus and Hamstring strength include Romanian Deadlifts, Single-Legged Deadlifts and Valslide or Stability Ball Leg Curls. Split Squats are also very useful because they engage your Quadraceps and Gluteus Maximus muscles. If your balance improves to impressive levels you can add an Airex Balance Pad or Dyna-Disc for added balance and resistance training. As long as blood pressure is not an existing health problem you can add Isometric training to all these exercises. If you have good flexibility and have no physical conditions which would contraindicate your ability to perform Kettlebell training then you might even include some Swings into your regimen. Kettlebell Swings are part of the fundamentals of including Kettlebells into your fitness program. They are great when done properly because of the major emphasis on the hips, hamstrings and endurance. I hope these suggestions and guidelines will help. As always, when in doubt; hire a fitness professional. 

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Muscle Imbalance: Shortened vs Tense

You may have heard someone say that their muscles are tight, or that they have poor posture and in some cases you may have heard the term atrophy. Visually all these conditions look about the same. One muscle might look shorter than the other, one muscle may look bulkier than the other and in the case of posture; the person doesn't appear upright either down below the waist or above the waist. In worst case scenarios it is even evident in the midsection. Muscle tightness, poor posture and atrophy can be attributed to many reasons but each has a root cause which leads to its manifestation. I will give you an example in which they all appear to be the same but the root cause is different. Muscle tightness could be associated to daily behaviors, lack of stretching or over straining and in some cases all of the above. Poor posture could also be attributed to the previous mentioned situations with the possibility of paralysis or injury or paralysis due to injury. Atrophy just like poor posture could be the result of little to no use of certain muscles as well as previously mentioned an injury. Posture and atrophy can be do to the over use and under use of the antagonist muscle. A perfect example of this is working out on your biceps leading to bigger anterior arms. Then neglecting the antagonist muscle in this case the triceps with little to no exercise in comparison. The scenario I just described often results in a posture which resembles a person walking like a guerrilla. The individual appears to be trying to show off by walking with his arms bent as if trying to demonstrate that they have enormous arms. The reality here is that they probably don't stretch the biceps and they are overpowering the triceps by putting to much emphasis on biceps training thus leading to a constant flexed posture of the arms. These same folks often walk with their palms facing behind them rather than to their side pockets. Don't let this happen to you!

Unless there are physiological reasons for poor posture such as paralysis or muscle injury which led to a permanent unbalanced appearance there are many things you can do to prevent the problem from getting worse. Here are a  few solutions I can suggest to help resolve issues related to poor posture and muscle tightness.  Stretch the muscles which have been shortened as a result of adopted lifestyle behaviors such as long hours of sitting behind a desk, extensive hours of driving and ergonomically incorrect positions of your car seat or desk arrangements. Educate yourself or hire a fitness professional to learn how to balance out your exercise routine so that you aren't placing to much emphasis on certain muscle groups while neglecting others. Get back to the basics and learn proper movement based on the situations you are faced with on a regular basis to prevent injury. Create and find opportunities to get your body to go through the various ranges of motions possible by all the joints in your body. Adopt a daily regimen of exercises which counter the effects of your daily behaviors (ex. Cobra Stretch to extend your arms, strengthen your glutes and stretch the frontal midsection as well as hips.)
The benefits of adopting good patterns is equivalent to the benefit of a good diet, getting enough rest and getting your daily exercise. You reduce the possibility unnecessary discomfort and a positive self-image. You will appear more confident and you will feel healthier. Like Nike says, 'Just Do It'!
Below are some useful charts. Take advantage of gaining knowledge and using it to your advantage. If you have further questions or need serious help, you can e-mail me at: 

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Maximizing Your Shoulder Training Program

I've shared with you many things throughout the year. A lot of it focuses on doing things right and watching out for things that can cause more damage rather than benefits. I've talked about eliciting exercises that work the body as a unit rather than trying to isolate a single muscle. 
The shoulders are a muscle that can make you look like you work out or make you look like you aren't doing anything to address them. Broad shoulders look very attractive with a suit. When wearing a tank top they can make you look flimsy and silly if they have no bulk and definition. Throughout my nearly 17 years in the industry I have been to several seminars put on by organizations well recognized and respected in the fitness industry. I always enjoyed taking the courses which would focus on what's right and what's wrong about an exercise. There was a lot of emphasis on exercises that didn't make any sense either because they didn't actually work the muscles all those bodybuilding magazines claim or they the risk to benefit ratio was just way to high.
There are many exercises that are commonly done at the gym and those include dumbbell (or cable) lateral, anterior and posterior raises. Then you have the dumbbell shoulder press, reverse flyes and the upright rows. Let me not forget to mention that you also have an assortment of selectorized equipment utilizing plates, cables, air pressure and so on. The machines I am going to tell you right now are the most completely useless piece of equipment you could spent time working on. Better yet let me use the words waste your time. Machines are great for rehabilitation if anything at all but from a functional perspective they have absolutely no functional but rather dysfunctional benefits. Resistance bands may be useful since they are similar in function to dumbbells but if you are looking into investing on a piece of equipment based on life of use then these are necessarily a good choice because they often snap without warning. 
There is still another question to consider. Is it okay to perform it sitting? There may be some undue stress on the spine by doing a seated dumbbell or barbell shoulder presses. That is another story of itself. I would highly recommend you do them standing since the odds are that if this type of movement is ever required of you it will almost undoubtedly require you to do it standing in a real life situation unless you are confined to a wheelchair. 
So what are my recommendations. Based on the most recent research conducted by the American Council on Exercise, I will still argue that the best exercises to target the shoulders would be the Standing Dumbbell (or Barbell or Kettlebell) Shoulder Press, the Standing Dumbbell (or Barbell or Kettlebell) Bent-Over Row and the Standing Bent-Over Dumbbell Raises. You may find it boring to do these exercises over and over again but what good would it do for you to do exercises which are going to give you little to no benefit. You may want to do a few exercises that work the shoulders as a form of recovery and to change it up but don't do them very often if your goal is to have a nice set of well defined broad shoulders. 

I thought I should mention that the common upright row you see in fitness and bodybuilding magazines and most fitness books are a complete waste of time. Regardless of the type of equipment you use, this exercise has been repeatedly proven to be a waste of time according to years of research rather than someone's personal feelings. Yes, you see them in Arnold Schwarzenegger's books and so forth but that doesn't make it right. The world used to believe that you would fall off the earth if you sailed to far out into the ocean because they thought the planet was flat or that the sun revolved around the earth because it appeared that way. Well guess what? We found out that wasn't true and it cost some people there life when they were right. Just because the majority of the people ignorantly believed those falsehoods to be true doesn't make it a fact. 

Friday, August 8, 2014

How to Identify Heat Stroke

The heat has been unforgiving this summer. Many of you may have heard in the media or through a casual conversation of the potential for a severe water drought. You may have received a notice advising you of potential fee hikes during peak hours of the day. You may have even been told there may be a hike in your utility bill if you don't reduce personal use of energy during certain times of the day. Then you watch the news and hear about floods going on in other parts of the country.
The heat for some has become an opportunity to spend more time outdoors. Although we hear of terms like heat illness, heat exhaustion, dehydration and so forth you may not understand the difference. Heat Stroke is more likely to effect those involved in intense outdoor activities and those age 50 or older. Do you know what to look for when someone is suffering a heat stroke? I want to give you some insight on this matter.

WebMD identifies Heat Stroke as:

The hallmark symptom of heat stroke is a core body temperature above 105 degrees Fahrenheit. But fainting may be the first sign.

Other symptoms may include:
Throbbing headache
Dizziness and light-headedness
Lack of sweating despite the heat
Red, hot, and dry skin
Muscle weakness or cramps
Nausea and vomiting
Rapid heartbeat, which may be either strong or weak
Rapid, shallow breathing
Behavioral changes such as confusion, disorientation, or staggering

What you should do if you or someone you know is suffering from a heat stroke: 
  • Call 911 first if possible (if not, by following these steps you may save a life. Call 911 as you proceed)
  • Have the person lie down on their back
  • Move the person to shaded area if outdoors or to an air conditioned room if indoors. Use a fan as an alternative or if someone else is present have them use a piece of card board or similar item to use as a manual fan to promote cooling air.
  • Remove unnecessary clothing if needed
  • Use a cool wet towel, sponge or water to help reduce the body temperature 
  • Use wet towels or similar items like ice packs to reduce body temperature by placing them at the back of the neck, arm pits, back and groin area.
  • You can also immerse the person in a tub filled with cool water but make sure the level of water is not so high you drown the victim. 
  • Let emergency staff take over once they arrive. 
Always be aware of your environment, current weather conditions and those around you. You could be saving someone's life as well as they can be saving your life if you suddenly start to feel any of the symptoms. Do be afraid to ask for help. 

Saturday, August 2, 2014

Hot Body Workout to Fit Hot Weather

If you're like me you probably don't care about being around a crowd of people while working out. As a matter a fact you may find it quite annoying trying to get a decent workout when the gym is full of people because you can't get to anything. You want to have a normal rhythm but it's quite impossible when everything you need is being used by someone else. Even worse, there is a group a folks working their mouths out more than their bodies as they surround the piece of equipment you need. Then there is the noisy guerrilla who feels it is their moral obligation to drop the weights so you could see he just repped a pair of 100 lb dumbbells. 
Well if you're not to over self-conscious about your environment, you could take advantage of working out at a local park. There are some parks that have small trails which can be utilized to give an extra zap to your cardio workout. Along my routes are several parks that fit this description. If anything there may be some street slopes which are similar to trails and can be taken advantage of to add intensity to your regimen. If you have a creative mind you can come up with an awesome workout at any level of intensity to add different types of challenges. I've talked about the TRX Suspension Trainer in the past. I mentioned to you that it's light weight and can be used just about anywhere. I would highly recommend you get yourself one as well as a few resistance bands. You can carry this with you as you get around the park, head up the hill or run up a set of stairs. You don't necessarily have to run if you aren't fit enough. You could start out by alternating some fast walking with a combo of strength exercises every 20 or 30 seconds. 
Here is an example of what you can do with just yourself and a TRX. Fast walk (jog or run) for about 20 seconds, stop and do a set of push-ups to failure, repeat you fast walk and do another exercise like 12 - 20 body weight squats, and continue. Remember to add some core exercises. You could jog, do some Pull-Ups with your TRX and then a set of isometric Planks for the next 20 seconds and so forth. The only limit is your imagination and your will to continue. Do you have it in you?

To Purchase a TRX Suspension Trainer which comes with a Guide Click Here: TRX Suspension Trainer

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Did They Lie to You When They Told You to Blame Your Diet as the Cause for being Overweight?

Is it possible that all this talk about being over weight is attributed to your diet and it's just a bunch of hype? You hear this thing all the time about counting calories and getting on these crazy diets that will help you lose 30 lbs in 5 days. If you even Google the phrase I just wrote you will find websites with recommendations on how to do so. Is it true? Is it safe? Maybe, mabye not? If your goal is to lose a certain amount of weight permanently the right strategy is to clean up your diet. Take all the garbage out. Is over eating really the problem? It all depends on your situation. Have you ever considered that you are possibly under-eating? Have you ever considered how much physical activity you get on a regular basis? Have you even considered that your sleeping patterns may be a part of the problem? Maybe it's your stress levels. So what are the hard cold facts? The variables may be numerous. 

We know these facts. Eating an excess of calories in comparison to your body weight will definitely make you put on more weight than you desire. If you eat to much of the wrong foods and not enough of the right foods you may be putting in more calories than you know. A perfect example of this is consuming may liquid calories. You don't feel the load because these types of calories go through your body much faster than solid foods. Why is that? The answer. Your body has to do less work to break down the calories you've just consumed because in liquid form they are almost at the most basic form of breakdown. The other problem associated with this is there may not be enough quality nutrients in a source of nutrition that is primarily liquid. A great example is seen in soft drinks. A typical soft drink will have roughly 20 oz of fluids, 250 calories but if you get the X-large drinks you may be looking at about 500 plus calories, 0 fat, 155mg of Sodium, 69 grams or carbs (which is 69 grams of sugar) and 0 Protein. You will also get a nice cocktail of chemicals and (HFCS) High Fructose Corn Syrup. Yes, this HFCS is probably coming from GMO (Genetically Modified Organism) Corn. Sure you may get some Potassium and Phosphorus but that is hardly abundant in comparison to the junk you are getting which will lead to poor health. 
Although your diet may play a critical role in whether or not you become over weight or obese their is still that question of whether or not you are getting enough physical activity. In a previous article I discussed how getting 10,000 steps a day could help maintain your cardiovascular health as well as help with weight control. What if you aren't getting those daily steps? You need to make sure you are getting some form of exercise. In a recent article published in the ACE -ProSource Blog, they recommended a call to action of getting 150 hours of weekly physical activity. In other words, get at least 2 1/2 hours of exercise weekly or an average of 30 minutes 5 days a week. It may sound like a little but its far more than most Americans are getting. In this same article they reported a staggering increase in physical inactivity. We are talking about reports of going from 19.4% in 1994 to 51.7% in 2010 in women while in men those numbers went from 11.4% to 43.5%. What this research then suggests is that men remain to be more physically active then women. This is a major concern for women who are more susceptible to conditions like osteoporosis then men. If that is not alarming enough, 71.1% of black women between the ages of 40 and 64 report to be physically inactive in 2004. Mexican-American women were the second highest at a tight margin of 70.3%. Probably what I found to be more troubling is that diet remained quite stable according to this same study. In other words, people have not really increased their caloric intake but they have definitely decrease their physical activity. A thought I found even more disturbing is that this study didn't really address income levels and jobs requiring physical activity. This study seems to suggest that even though it's common knowledge that Mexican-Americans and Blacks (Non-hispanic) seem to have jobs which require more physical work.  White women or white men who are more likely to have office jobs which are less labor intensive are still getting more physical activity. This still brings another question. Is it possible and safe to say that the increased intake a processed foods may be another contributing factor? I am going to guess that the answer is yes. This is something that needs to be looked into more directly. While we may not have all the answers, what we do know is that regardless of your race, the one main condition which stood out is women need to become more physically active in comparison to men. 
If you think these statistics aren't true. Take a look around you today. If you work in an office, start counting people and create your own charts. When you go shopping create your own research. When you are at a local venue, take down your own statistics. I would love to see what your numbers look like and you can share them here. Report your city, location which you were at during the time of your data collection and a summary of your findings. Try this in three different locations so you can come up with an average. Are you curious about your neighborhood? Use this as an excuse to go meet your neighbors and tell them you are conducting a research paper and thus collecting statistical data about your neighborhood health. Mention that you require to know the ages, number of people in the household, sex gender and how many people they would consider to be overweight in their home. It's a great way to bond with your neighbors and possibly start your own healthy neighborhood project. Go break the ice with your neighbors. One benefit other than getting to know your neighbors is getting some physical activity out of the way as you walk from door to door. :D
*If you wish to read more about this report go to: ACE ProSource August 2014

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Body Weight Training with the TRX Suspension Trainer: Part V - Upper Body Training

The TRX Suspension Trainer is quite a toy that can be used to train any part of your body as you may have seen in the previous four segments of this series. We focused in body parts in stages of what I feel is most important to important and now the final piece of the puzzle. We worked on the core because it's what separates your lower body from your upper body. Then we worked on your lower body because it's what has to carry you all day. Now we will address the upper body because it's what completes what is left of your body.Your upper body handles pretty much ever other task that doesn't fully require your legs. You grasp with your hands, pull and push with your arms and then of course your arms are led in many different directions by your shoulders to complete the tasks required by the arms. Your back muscles aid many of the requirements when pulling. Make sure that when you train your body you focus on balanced training principles. Some people love working out on their chest so they focus a lot of work on that. Some people love flexing their arms because they want to show off their guns. That's all great but if your muscles aren't worked out in a balanced manner you will end up having weakness in the area you workout the least. Imagine having big arms but no chest or a big chest and no arms. We all know those folks with the big upper body and the skinny legs. You probably remember Popeye the Sailor cartoons. Popeye had these enormous forearms which were very un-proportional in comparison to the rest of his body. Then you have Brutus who's belly was over enlarged compared to the rest of his limbs. Those are cartoon characters but people too actually have some of these unbalanced traits in real life either because of under-training, over-training or lack of exercise. Wimpy love hamburgers so his belly reflected it. When you exercise please remember to balance some cardiovascular activities with endurance work, strength training and core work. It great way to make sure you do balanced training is to consider the exercise you are performing. Are you flexing at your arms as much as you are extending? Do you do equal amounts of Chest Presses with Rowing exercises? Are you pressing upward as much as you are pulling downward? Are you flexing at the hips as much as you are extending? Here is a good suggestion on cycling your exercise regimen best known as Periodization. Start a week with 1 - 3 sets of 15 to 20 reps, the next week go train at 12 - 15 reps, then go for 8 -12 reps. Don't push to much to fast. Work up slowly but surely. Over time you will get the results you want. If you push to hard to soon you will get hurt just as fast or fail to make continuous progress because of poor progressions. Journal your workout to see how your progress is coming along. The same holds true with your diet.
I found this great chart of upper body exercises using the TRX Suspension Trainer. Work on uni-lateral exercises before trying bi-lateral exercises when it comes to this style of training. When you work with free weights, you are better off doing the opposite to see if there is an in-balance in strength or endurance. For example, if you do arm curls try and see if you can crank out the same amount of reps with both sides. If you can't then don't do barbell curls until you have equal strength on both sides. If you find these in-balances it may not be a good idea to use the TRX until you balance both sides. Download the workout chart here!
To Purchase a TRX Suspension Trainer which comes with a Guide Click Here: TRX Suspension Trainer

Friday, July 4, 2014

Body Weight Training with the TRX Suspension Trainer: Part IV - Leg Training

In our previous three segments regarding TRX Suspension training you learned some basics about the core and how it is the connection between the body and the extremities which are the legs, arms and neck which holds your head in place and the rest of your limbs and joints. I provided a link to a TRX Suspension Trainer Core Workout. My next favorite thing but actually my all-time favorite body part to train are the legs. Why the legs? Our legs have to carry us every single day and are our direct source of transportation from here to there. Without our legs we become dependent on others to help us get around unless you retrain yourself to get around using your arms which is much more difficult but eventually possible. 
One of my special strengths has been in having the ability to perform what is called a Pistol Squat. I first learned the Pistol Squat from my Mentor, Instructor and Comrade Pavel Tsatsouline who was a former Soviet Special Forces physical trainer. Later when I got certified by the International Kettlebell & Fitness Federation Founder Steve Cotter who also became my mentor and comrade I picked up the Pistol Squat with pleasure because unlike most folks, I could perform it.
So here is the Single Leg Squat that you may have to learn in order to actually be able to perform a true Pistol Squat without the assistance of a device. As you get stronger you can add weight to increase resistance. Make sure your knees are healthy before attempting to do this exercise.
Reasons you should be performing the Single Leg Squat: It is key to having balanced strength on both legs independently of each other so that when you perform traditional Squats which require the use of both legs you aren't faced with leg dominance of one side. It strengthens your ankles which is necessary for single leg balance. This exercise can help you in sports performance in which leg, glute and hip strength is a key factor. 
Key things to remember. Hold on to TRX Suspension Trainer as lightly as possible. Keep your knees pointing the same direction as your feet. If your feet are facing forward than your knees should be pointing forward. Don't allow you knees to collapse in or collapse out. Keep the natural arch of your spine. Make sure your feet remain in full contact with the ground. Drop as deep as safely possible. Keep your chest tall. 
Exercise which can help you gain strength to perform this exercise are Lunges, Split Squats, Deadlifts and Squats which like the Single Leg Pistol Squat are all body weight type exercises in which you can add resistance increase resistance. Remember to train your legs for endurance, strength and power. I hope you are enjoying this series and will come back to learn some more. :D

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Body Weight Training with the TRX Suspension Trainer: Part III - Core Training

We've discussed many concerned regarding core-training in the past two segments. You were probably frustrated and wondering when will we get to the actual core workout. Well the good news is we are not going to start that. Before we did I wanted to give you some tools to educate and provide you with precautions to prevent an unnecessary injury. You can click on the link below to follow the TRX Power Core Workout. Remember that everything is about progression. If you have bad knees or a bad back I would recommend you get cleared before attempting any of the jump training exercises included in the program.
Click Here for the workout: TRX Power Core Workout
Click Here to Purchase a TRX

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Body Weight Training with the TRX Suspension Trainer: Part II - Core Training

Getting those 6 pack abs is a goal that many aspire to accomplish but very few have the discipline to do so. I was listening to this great CD by Nick Serba of LegalShield titled 'Success 3...2..1.' in which he shares a very interesting perspective on the word 'discipline'. He talks about how he encounters people who say they don't have discipline. His counter argument was very interesting. He say that we all have and experience 'discipline'. You either have the discipline to stick to your goals and accomplish them or you are disciplined by others to do the things they wish you for you to accomplish. In other words, You either discipline yourself to do something to your benefit or or you allow somebody else will discipline you to do something to their benefit.

The same is true about your diet, your fitness regimen and just about anything you do to either get a six pack or a keg pack. The choice is yours but will you allow others to influence your decision to sway away from you health & fitness goals? When you allow someone to slip past your goals and violate all or some of the rules necessary to follow in order to get a six pack you literally allow someone else to discipline your efforts. Every single second which passes through our lives your either discipline yourself toward your success or your discipline yourself toward disappointment. Even when you encounter difficulty in achieving your goals, as Jim Rohn says it, "You have to learn to discipline your disappointment.
Things you must know that will affect you chances of getting that dream 6- pack. Your nutrition regimen will dictate the majority of your results. Manage stress because to much stress has a way of adding some belly fat in the midsection. Get adequate amounts of stress because poor sleeping habits has also been shown to contribute to difficulty in weight loss. Avoid alcohol, we've all heard of the notorious beer belly. Get your cardio in. If you are not a fan of walking or running you can still use other non-traditional forms of cardio like kettlebell training, heavy ropes or light weight interval training using your own body weight. These are just a few examples. You can also take aerobic classes or take up some dance lessons. The possibilities are endless when you exercise your imagination.  Before doing any form of suspension training with the TRX to work your core make sure you've mastered the basics. 
The core is compromised of your torso and hip region. Basically everything except for your arms and thighs is in one way or another a part of your core. When thinking of the core most people think it only involves the abdominal muscles but the truth is your core is also compromised of you Erector Spinae and Multifidus muscles. When thinking of training the core make sure you add a balanced program of flexing, extending, rotation but most importantly stabilization of the midsection. 
I wanted to make sure you first understood many factors that may either negatively or positively impact your results before we delve into exercises you can perform with the TRX to train your core and get those 6 pack abs you've been talking about. Keep following to read the next segment. 

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Body Weight Training with the TRX Suspension Trainer

Anyone who has ever trained with me has worked with the TRX Suspension Trainer at least once. They probably even recognize some of the images below as part of the routine we've incorporated into their exercise program. So why TRX you may wonder?
The TRX is one of the lightest most versatile pieces of equipment you can carry with you no matter where you go. It's the greatest thing for travelers. Besides using your body as a machine, the TRX is the next greatest thing to stepping it up a not for full body weight training popularly call calisthenics. There are so many fancy pieces of that clutter up gym floors. Most of the machines you see in the gym have either one use or a few variations unless you get creative and use them in ways which they were not designed for.
Just about any exercise you can think of that you would do as part of a body weight training method can be performed on the TRX with the added difficulty of instability. This is a great thing because the TRX Suspension Trainer can help add balance and stability that you might not be aware you are lacking. Some of the benefits according to the makes are, "Suspension Training bodyweight exercise develops strength, balance, flexibility and core stability simultaneously. It requires the use of the TRX Suspension Trainer, a highly portable performance training tool that leverages gravity and the user’s body weight to complete 100s of exercises". That is a whole lot for a piece of equipment and it even comes with it's own travel bag so you keep all the accessories that come with it and those which are sold separately. People who can largely benefit from using the TRX are those training for MMA, obstacle racing, sports performance, speed & agility, those serving in the military and people who tend to travel a lot for business.
In the next few weeks we will be going over several ways you can use the TRX Suspension Trainer from basic to more advanced. I will be covering some of the fundamental bodyweight training exercises and include a few advanced ones but if you really want to learn more cool exercises you can always e-mail me at or call me at (323)972-4487 so we can get together and try some tricks. 
To Purchase a TRX Suspension Trainer which comes with a Guide Click Here: TRX Suspension Trainer

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Foam Rollers: Do's & Don'ts 101: Part III

In the previous two parts of this series on Foam Rollers we discussed some of the benefits and dangers of using them. I didn't go over how to properly use a foam in the beginning because my goal was to educate you on the purpose and benefits but most importantly on the dangers of incorrectly using such a valuable piece of equipment. As I mentioned before, there are many people using them incorrectly in the gym so don't do something just because the person seems to look like they know what they are doing.
In Part I we discussed the benefits of Self-Myofascial Release for which Foam Rollers are a great tool. This simple device is great when you don't have the budget to invest on hiring someone to give you a professional sports massage, is low cost, readily available and very light which makes them easily transportable. In Part II you learned a little bit about anatomy so you can understand like in Part I, where and where not to use Foam Rollers and the reasons for that.

Here are best practices on using a Foam Roller for Self-Myofascial Release:
  • Great to use as part of your pre-stretching regimen prior to starting any static or dynamic stretching and before starting any exercise or physical activity.
  • Using slow movement of your body weight over the foam roller to look for tender spots
  • When you find tender spots, hold your body over the area for at least 30 to 90 seconds. Although this may be quite uncomfortable, hold your position over the tender spot until the pain diminishes from 50 - 75%
  • Look for more tender spots near the original point. Repeat the previous instructions on all tender areas. You may find that some tender spots close by are even more tender which is usually the original cause of more tight and tender spots. You can do one last long roll across the entire region once you have finished addressing the painful areas to help relax the entire muscle. Glide across slowly and from smaller to larger lengths. 
  • Always glide across parallel to the path of the muscle which you are working on.
  • Foam Rollers are a great tool to massage the muscle after an intense workout, therefore a great tool to use during your cool down. 
  • Follow this link to download a copy of Perform Betters' Foam Rolling Techniques PDF and get started on your own Foam Rolling regimen. 

I hope you found this 3 Part Series on Foam Rolling useful. If you have any questions I can always be reached at (323)972-4487 or 
To Purchase your own Foam Rollers Click Here: Foam Rollers

Sunday, June 1, 2014

Foam Rollers: Do's & Don'ts 101: Part II

I hope you enjoyed the first part of this series. The first half of this article focused on some of the benefits as well as some of the potential dangers of Foam Rollers. In this segment we will discuss some of the best situations in which to use a Foam Roller, proper use on certain muscles and more situations in which Foam Rolling is ill advisable.
So here is some more food for thought. It is ill advisable to Foam Roll on a tendon. You need to understand anatomy to realize that rolling on tendons is a bad idea. I will try and describe this in layman terms so you understand. Think of a muscle like a piece of rubber band or bungee band. If you stretch it, it regains it's form and with age just like our bodies, it begins to lose it's elasticity and can tear from over use. Tendons on the other hand are more like a piece of beef jerky. If you stretch it, it doesn't regain its shape so easily. In fact if you over stretch it, it loses it's original form which is what happens to tendons and ligaments when you injure them. The reason tendons recover so slowly is due to limited blood flow. If you use a large round marble to press and roll it over a rubber band, again like a muscle it regains its shape. If you do the same thing to a slice of beef jerky, well that just doesn't happen so easily. Using a Foam Roller on a tendon which exacerbate the overstretched tendon. A tight tendon, again if you understand anatomy, is actually due to a tight muscle. If a muscle is tight from injury or inadequate warm up, your tight muscle will pull at the tendons which connect it to the bone. So the tendon if you understand this, becomes the victim of a tight or knotted muscle until that tension is release. Once the tension on the muscle is release, the tension and strain on the tendon is like to release and relax unless the tendon was somehow directly overstretched such as in a sudden jerking and bending of the ankle due to excessive force.
As we discussed in Part I, make sure you are using your Foam Roller in areas where there is bone to protect the organs of your body. Also, don't do any rolling over your joints since there isn't much muscle in those area with the exception of the shoulder joint. You can roll over your Deltoids but it's actually quite difficult and awkward to do so. Instead have someone massage your shoulder with their hands or the famous runner's tool know as 'The Stick'.

Great areas of your body to use Foam Rollers are your Calves, Abductors, Adductors, Tensor Fascia Latae (NOT your IT Band - Ilio-Tibial Band), Piriformis, Latissimus Dorsi and Thoracic Spine (avoid the Lumbar Spine as mentioned before due to risk of putting excess pressure on your Kidneys). All ways roll parallel in the direction of the muscle length rather than the width. If you don't understand anatomy enough to know what I am saying or find the muscles I just mentioned, you are probably better off not doing any foam rolling techniques. Your more likely to cause a problem rather than fix or prevent a problem. 

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Foam Rollers: Do's & Don'ts 101: Part I

You may have heard of them, seen them lying around in the gym and you may have even seen people using them. Do always do what you see others doing because more than half the time people are doing the wrong thing in the gym. It's like a monkey see, monkey do kinda thing. I've seen people using foam rollers in the gym and sometimes I want to tear my hair off and beg them to stop. In my industry you learn that not everyone wants your advice no matter how right you are. The National Academy of Sports Medicine recently wrote and article on whether or not it's good to Foam Roll on your lower back. 
So what is the purpose of Foam Rolling? The answer: The purpose of Foam Rolling is to relieve muscle tension popularly called knots in the muscle and to relieve muscle pain. Benefits of Foam Rolling include increased flexibility, function and performance of the muscles but can also help reduce injury by directly releasing muscle tension.
Be careful when searching through Google to find guides on how to use foam rollers and even when searching on YouTube. You will find explanations but not everyone showing you how to use them is actually telling you the right thing. 
Below is a list of the benefits of using a Foam Roller for Self-Myofascial Release:

Benefits of Self-Myofascial Release

• Corrects muscle imbalances
• Improves joint range of motion
• Relieves muscle soreness and joint stress
• Decreases neuromuscular hypertonicity
• Increases extensibility of musculotendinous junction
• Improves neuromuscular efficiency
• Maintains normal functional muscular length

So before we talk more about how to use a Foam Roller properly let's first discuss whether or not Foam Rolling is good for use on your back. Most importantly take my advice and don't use a Foam Roller unless you absolutely understand how, what, why and when's about Foam Rolling. Make sure you first understand the cause of your back pain. Avoid self-diagnoses if it is not your profession. Don't take the advice of someone who is not a professional in the field of health and fitness or sports performance. Okay, now that we cleared that up let's talk about Foam Rolling and your lower back. While Foam Rolling may help reduce some pain if the underlying cause of lower back pain is not addressed, you aren't really doing anything to solve the problem. It's like placing a bandage on a cut, it covers the problem but it doesn't solve it. I found one key paragraph which really pointed out why it is ill advised to use a Foam Roller on your lower back. This is what Kyle Stull had to say in the NASM article, "If an individual does as is taught (about proper use of Foam Rollers) and does try to relax then they essentially just lay across the roll and force even more of an arch in their low back along with applying excessive pressure on the lumbar spine and the discs that separate them. Therefore, this ultimately aggravates the mechanical position that caused the low back pain in the first place". Here is another important point Stull mentioned that I haven't mentioned yet, "Areas the foam roll is used should have bony protection for organs. For example, when rolling the chest, there is no danger to the heart because the rib cage provides adequate protection. In the low back, there are the kidneys and the liver, which have little to no bony protection (Newton, 1998). While they may be protected by large muscles, it is still considered an endangerment site, especially when using body weight compression across such a large object.
So the moral of the story is first find out what the problem is by speaking to a professional. Address the root of your lower back problem and use the advice of a professional to help you solve the underlying cause before doing anything. 

To read more on the original article go to the NASM website: Should Your Foam Roll the Lower Back
If you wish to purchase a Foam Roller you can click on the picture above or follow this link: Foam Roller

Saturday, April 26, 2014

Sleep Apnea and Your Health

Sleep Apnea is more common than people realize it. Did you know that if you are male you are 3 times more likely to suffer from Sleep Apnea? Do you know the health risks? Do you know what you can do about it? Here is an interesting infographic which provided some statistics and information on the dangers of Sleep Apnea and more. Click on the image to enlarge

Original Source: Sleep Apnea

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Runner's Common Injuries

Running injuries can become a nightmare for an avid runner but those who experience it the most are those who have little to no exercise history and suddenly try to go all out on a vigorous exercise regimen. This is true about starting up on any type of exercise program. Rule of thumb --> Think of gradual, organized and planned progressions in the form of Periodization!

Saturday, March 29, 2014

How Important is Your Calcium Intake?

You probably heard that calcium is important for healthy bones. What else do you know about calcium? Some people know that it is important to regulate your heart rhythm and others have also heard that it helps with weight loss. 
You may have also heard that a diet poor in calcium can lead to frail weak brittle bones. We know that osteoporosis is a preventable dis-ease that we don't ever have to experience if we get enough calcium. It is important to realize that calcium plays critical roles for everyone but is extra important for women because of losses of calcium during the menstrual cycle. 
We are taught that in order to get enough calcium we need to drink milk and other dairy products on a daily basis. This is partially true, but not absolutely true. Did you know that 255g of Spinach will give you 345mg of Calcium. That is more calcium than the equivalent of 300mg of Calcium provided by 240g of Milk. There is a big question about how much sense this makes. Most people would argue that you need to get the absorbable Calcium from Milk. Have you ever seen a grown Gorilla drink milk? Have you ever seen any other species other than a human drink milk during their adult life? This may be shocking to think about but if all the science is true then why is it that all the other species whom do not drink milk at adulthood demonstrate the ability to maintain strong bones without having dairy in their diets? Real life situations seem to show a lack of evidence as shown in human studies. 

Some dangers in consuming milk and other dairy products include the consumption of high levels of saturated fats and bad cholesterol. Also, you risk the chance of suffering uncomfortable symptoms like flatulence and loose bowel movements attributed to lactose intolerance. You probably also hear that cows are pumped with hormones and are given loads of antibiotics in their feed in order to prevent disease and encourage rapid milk production and growth. These same cows are fed corn which isn't a normal staple in their diet. The reason for feeding them corn is to get the cows to gain weight fast thus increasing the companies profits.
Calcium is important for several reasons. It plays a critical role in proper nerve impulses. Calcium is important in the creation of blood clots to prevent excessive bleeding. In order to have healthy bones and teeth it is important that you get adequate amounts of calcium since they compromise 99% of all calcium in the body. Heart health requires calcium as does the regulation of blood pressure. Their are times when physicians will prescribe calcium channel blockers in order to maintain normal blood pressure rhythm. Proper muscle contraction and regulation of enzyme activity also require calcium. A diet high in acid foods, use of pharmaceutical medications and other physical stressors may lead excessive loss of calcium in the bones since calcium plays an important role in maintaining a proper pH balance. 
To learn more about how much Calcium you should consume on a daily basis for your age and other useful information go to: Calcium needs. I hope you enjoyed this article. Feel free to add your comments and thoughts :D. 

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Nutrition: It's Not That Complicated!

This weekend during our football game out in Bakersfield a group of Sports Medicine doctors and myself were discussing the challenges we find when discussing diet, nutrition and weight loss with our clients. I was not surprised to hear that we shared the same concern. We hear the same things from our clients so it's quite obvious that it not an isolated situation. 
Most people when thinking about weight loss, the first thing they think about is all the hype out there claiming that you need to take some miracle supplements or that latest fat burning pill and worst yet about the latest surgery to help them lose weight. The same media hype that was used to introduce toxic activities like smoking and drinking soda has been used to market a billion dollar industry out of nutritional supplements that contain more unknown ingredients than whole foods. Seriously, you can't grow or raise more than half the stuff they put in those supplements. Someone has to arrive to work and get started in the laboratory to extract and produce millions of ingredients to create a product rather than go to a garden and grow a food. 
It's equally challenging for a personal trainer or strength coach who wants to truly offer sound advise to their clients because every corner we turn these days their is someone trying to get us to help them sell their product rather than getting us to try and help them sell some whole foods. I have yet to meet an individual who accomplished a successful weight loss program that they couldn't have done by sticking to a strict whole foods diet, regular exercise program, great sleeping patterns and stress management. Don't give in to the hype. I've been a victim of it many times myself but I have decided to stick to my ground and not promote a single supplement out there. This great planet in which we live in provides us with all the nutrients we need to maintain a healthy lifestyle. You just have to be willing to consume whole foods rather than products. I challenge you to go 30 days straight without consuming a single product but rather consuming whole foods. If you take this challenge, please post your challenges and your thoughts on this blog so others can see how you over came the need to consume products. Thank You and I wish you great success.

Sunday, February 23, 2014

First We Make Choices, Then They Make Us!

I have been reading this book I recently purchased on and placed on my Kindle books library titled
'The Compound Effect' Although this book is focused on business success it talks about many things that lead to success or failure in any aspect of life. This book was written by Darren Hardy who is the publisher of Success Magazine. Here is a powerful excerpt about how the choices you make on a daily basis regarding your nutrition intake can have a significantly powerful positive impact on your life and health or a tragic outcome to your life and health.

"the Compound Effect can.. work in a negative way and can create a ripple effect that impacts your entire life. (Here is the story): Bard makes some muffins from a recipe he learned from the Food Channel. He's proud and his family loves it, and it seems to add value all around. He loves his own cooking and eats more than his share- but not so much that anyone notices. However, the extra food makes Brad sluggish at night. He wakes up a little groggy, which makes him cranky. The crankiness and sleep-deprivation begin to impact his work performance. He’s less productive, and as a result, gets discouraging feedback from his boss. By the end of the day, he feel dissatisfied with his job and his energy level is way down. The commute home seems longer and more stressful than ever. All of this makes him reach for more comfort food—stress has a way of doing that. The overall lack of energy makes Brad less likely to take walks with his wife, like he used to. He just doesn’t feel like it. She misses their time together and takes his withdrawal personally. With fewer shared activities with his wife and an absence of fresh air and exercise, Brad’s not getting the endorphin release that had helped make him feel upbeat and enthusiastic. Because he’s not as happy, he starts finding fault with himself and others, and stops complimenting his wife. As his own body starts to feel flabby, he feels less self-confident, less attractive and becomes less romantic. Brad doesn’t realize how his lack of energy and affection toward his wife affects her. He just knows that he feels funky. He starts losing himself in late-night TV because it’s easy and distracting. Feeling his distance, Brad’s wife starts to complain, then becomes needy. When that doesn’t work, she emotionally withdraws to protect herself. She’s lonely. She pours her energy into her work and spends more time with her girlfriends to fulfill her need for companionship. Men start flirting with her, which makes her feel desirable again. She would never cheat on Brad, but he has a feeling something’s wrong. Instead of seeing that his poor choices and behaviors are at the root of their problems, he finds fault with his wife. Believing that the other person is wrong rather than looking inside and doing the work necessary to clean up your mess is basic Psychology 101 stuff. In Brad’s case, he doesn’t know to look inside—they don’t offer self-improvement or relationship advice on Top Chef or his favorite crime shows. However, the thought may have occurred to him that, if he had read the personal-development books his buddy Scott read, he might have learned about ways to change negative habits. Unfortunately for Brad, the small choices he made on a daily basis created a ripple that wreaked havoc on every area of his life.

So the moral of the story is obvious. Brad made some choices on a daily basis. He made the choices but those choices eventually made him. He became a person he was no longer proud of. It cost him his health, self-confidence, his work ethic, his feelings toward people and his whole life  in general. He fails to realize that the problem is not them but rather him. The key thing he also fails to do is take personal responsibility for his actions. It's so much easier to blame people and circumstance for the outcome of our life because it takes no effort and it's easier to blame others. It's harder to face our inner demons and confront our faults and flaws. When you make it a choice to take 100% responsibility for what happens in life, you prepare yourself to make choices which will improve all aspects of your life. Taking self-responsibility for your choices is not enough though. Once you realize this you have to initiate action and continue working on healthy choices to make a drastically positive impact on your overall life. Every small progressive step you take toward making things right and better has a compound effect that you won't regret. You will be able to look back and see all that you have accomplished and it will seem less of a chore to continue to take more actions over a period of time to create a compound outcome. You will use your time more wisely. Remember this. You can make more after you lose it, you can rebuild a home after it's come to the ground but you can never make more time or build more time. You can't borrow time. Time wasted is time lost forever. 

Source: Hardy, Darren (2011-11-01). The Compound Effect (pp. 14-15). Vanguard Press. Kindle Edition. 

Saturday, February 15, 2014

19 Daily Rules to Looking Your Best & Feeling Your Best in 2014

Here is a summary of things you can do to look your best and feel your best by summer of 2014.
#1 Walk 10,000 Steps Daily.
#2 Eat whole foods and avoid animal based foods.
#3 Drink water and whole foods juices as your source of liquids to re-hydrate.
#4 Perform strength training at least 3 times per week.
#5 Stretch daily
#6 Focus on good posture when you find yourself sitting.
#7 Practice some form of stress management.
#8 Stay away from industrialized foods and products.
#9 Don't smoke & drink no more than one serving of alcohol if you drink.
#10 Develop a regular sleeping pattern and sleep between 7 - 8 hours daily.
#11 Always tell somebody you love them.
#12 Hug somebody everyday.
#13 Stop worrying and start doing something about your problems.
#14 Spend time with people who encourage you rather than discourage you.
#15 Let the things you see, think and speak reflect on gratitude and happiness.
#16 Smile everyday as often as you can, even when you wake up, as you fall asleep and when ever you meet people.
#17 Read books on personal development and growth.
#18 Spend time around people that inspire you so you too can inspire others.
#19 Spend intimate time with the love of your life.
If you follow these 19 rules you will discover how amazing life can be. Enjoy!