Monday, August 1, 2011

By now you’ve doubtless heard many of the fitness clich├ęs, motivations and catchphrases that are throw out by the industry to help you get your butt in gear.
But guess what – I also have a few of my own you may be not be familiar with!
So today’s Top 10 comprises of my favorite Fitness Mantras. a collection of statements I live by to help keep my fitness and health in check. Some are originals by yours truly, while others are phrases I’ve heard throughout the years and ‘borrowed’. Hope they inspire you as much as they have me…
Here we go:

1. ‘The Best Program Is The One You’re Not On’ – This one’s in reference to the masses of people that NEVER change up their workout routine and do the same thing for years! To truly maximize your efforts in the gym, you should be constantly including different modes and types of exercises and stick with the same program for no longer than 6 weeks. Are you stuck in a fitness rut?

2. ‘Everyone Has 24 Hours Per Day’ – This is for those of you that use the “I don’t have time” excuse. Sure you do, everybody does! The issue is whether a fitness program is a priority and important enough for you to schedule it in your day. You can get a great workout right in your house with minimal equipment, so don’t say you don’t have time.

3. ‘If Man Made It, Don’t Eat It’ – You can thank the great Jack LaLanne for these wise words. Processed, high fat, refined, genetically modified food is without a doubt responsible our nations obesity pandemic. Jack’s words are all about eating whole, naturally occurring foods that weren’t born in a lab. If Mother Nature provided it, chances are it’s a great choice.

4. ‘Lift The Weights, Not Your Ego’ – How many people, mostly men, have you seen attempting to lift incredible weights, with sloppy form, all in an effort to feed their ego? I see it everyday in my gym. These are usually the same knuckleheads that won’t rack the weights and scream for attention. Focus on using a weight that challenges your muscles and one that allows great form. Trust me, no one of consequence cares how much you lift.

5. ‘Use Your Body, Change Your Life’ – This is all mine! And what I mean is once you start exercising to be fit, not just look it, your quality of life will change for the better. Sitting on machines and bodybuilding doesn’t translate into vitality and functional fitness. Once you start including balance, plyometrics, kettlebells, calisthenics, and other true fitness movements, your life will change!
6. ‘No Pain, No Gain’– I had to include this one as it’s probably the most well known fitness phrase of all. But I think it needs a bit of clarification. Pain from muscle burn and fatigue is a necessary evil in an efficient workout regimen, and speaks to your level of intensity. But when you have pain from an injury, or a chronic soreness in a specific area of your body, it’s not time to play Superman. Be smart when it comes to your body and listen to the signals it sends. If in doubt – read about my own experiences on the injury front!

7. ‘The Exercises You Like Least Are The Best One’s For You’ – Human nature leads us to gravitate towards exercises we can do well and ones that make us feel accomplished. But the exercises we dread or hate are great for exposing weaknesses, overcoming obstacles, and usually represent the greatest challenge. Try putting a routine together that is 50% comprised of movements that you find extremely difficult. After a month or so, you’ll be able to cross them off the list! 

8. ‘If You Start To Get Sick Of The Gym, You’ll Get Sick!’ –Most people are under the assumption that the benefits from exercise will continue to grow the more time you put in at the gym. But while this is true to a certain extent, overtraining, and not getting sufficient rest and recuperation can potentially make you more susceptible to illness and injury and possibly even make you fatter! Excess is never good, especially in fitness.
9. ‘Success Is A Decision You Make’ – This is another line from the Angry Trainer playbook and one that I post regularly on Facebook and Twitter. While I use it to empower people to succeed in their fitness endeavors, the truth is it applies to everything in life. As Richard, my site producer told me, “You have to learn to get out of your own way”, and what he meant was that we are our own worst enemies. Tenacity and persistence will always win in the long run.

10. ‘Obstacles Are Just Hurdles To Overcome’ – Dwayne Johnson aka The Rock is known for his powerful inspirational words. He tweeted something similar a few weeks back and I thought, “great line”. Too many people use obstacles as reasons for not being able to succeed and in the case of fitness we’ve heard all the excuses. But obstacles can be learned from, and are just training variables. Whether it’s working around an injury, having limited time, or no equipment, anything put in your way can be overcome.
This is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any health problem – nor is it intended to replace the advice of a physician.  No action should be taken solely on the contents of this website.  Always consult your physician or qualified health professional on any matters regarding your health or on any opinions expressed within this website. Please see your physician before changing your diet, starting an exercise program, or taking any supplements of any kind.

Monday, July 4, 2011

Summer Salads!

Summer is here and so many fruits and vegetables we missed all winter are back in season.  Here are two delicious and easy recipes for putting some spring into your salad and wowing your family and guests.  Note: Grilled Chicken or Shrimp on either can turn this salad into a meal.
  Summer Greens Fruit Salad (Crowd Size)
  • 1/2 cup champagne vinegar or white wine vinegar
  • 1/4 cup olive or vegetable oil
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh or 1/2 teaspoon dried marjoram leaves
  • Dash of salt
  • 6 cups mixed baby greens
  • 2 cups sliced strawberries
  • 2 peaches, pitted and thinly sliced
  • 1 cup diced Gouda cheese (4 ounces)
  • 1/2 cup hazelnuts, toasted and coarsely chopped
  1. Mix vinegar, oil, honey, marjoram and salt.
  2. In large serving bowl, mix baby greens, strawberries, peaches and cheese. Add vinegar mixture; toss to coat. Sprinkle with hazelnuts.


Raspberry Salad
  • 1/4 cup chopped walnuts
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 bag (5 oz) torn mixed salad greens
  • 2 containers (6 oz each) fresh raspberries (2 cups)
  • 1/2 small red onion, thinly sliced (1/2 cup)
  • 1/2 cup chopped dates
  • 1/3 cup balsamic vinaigrette dressing
  • 2 oz goat cheese, crumbled
  1. In 8-inch nonstick skillet cook walnuts and sugar over low heat about 10 minutes, stirring constantly, until sugar is melted and walnuts are coated; cool and break apart.
  2. In large bowl, combine salad greens, raspberries, onion and dates. Just before serving, pour dressing over salad; toss gently to coat. Top with cheese and walnuts. 
Time to make some yummy salads!

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Sports Nutrition - Protein Needs for Athletes

How much protein do athletes need for strength and endurance sports

Each category of food is important for health and we should all consume foods from each category. The ratios in which we need to consume these foods, however, is often the topic of a debate.
Sports Nutrition - Protein
Proteins are often called the building blocks of the body. Protein consists of combinations of structures called amino acids that combine in various ways to make muscles, bone, tendons, skin, hair, and other tissues. They serve other functions as well including nutrient transportation and enzyme production. In fact, over 10,000 different proteins are in the body.
Adequate, regular protein intake is essential because it isn’t easily stored by the body. Various foods supply protein in varying amounts with complete proteins (those containing 8 essential amino acids) coming mostly from animal products such as meat, fish, and eggs and incomplete protein (lacking one or more essential amino acid) coming from sources like vegetables, fruit and nuts. Vegetarian athletes may have trouble getting adequate protein if they aren’t aware of how to combine foods.

Protein Needs for Athletes
Athletes need protein primarily to repair and rebuild muscle that is broken down during exercise and to help optimizes carbohydrate storage in the form of glycogen. Protein isn’t an ideal source of fuel for exercise, but can be used when the diet lacks adequate carbohydrate. This is detrimental, though, because if used for fuel, there isn’t enough available to repair and rebuild body tissues, including muscle. 

Recommended Daly Protein Intake
  • The average adult needs 0.8 grams per kilogram (2.2lbs) of body weight per day.
  • Strength training athletes need about 1.4 to 1.8 grams per kilogram (2.2lbs) of body weight per day
  • Endurance athletes need about 1.2 to 1.4 grams per kilogram (2.2lbs) of body weight per day
How Much Protein is That?
Not much, as it turns out. Here is a list of some high protein foods.
Food, Amount, Protein
Fish, 3 oz, 21 grams
Chicken, 3 oz, 21 grams
Turkey, 3 oz, 21 grams
Beef, 3 oz, 21 grams
Milk, 8 oz, 8 grams
Tofu, 3 oz, 15 grams
Yogurt, 8 oz, 8 grams
Cheese, 3 oz, 21 grams
Peanut butter, 2 tbsp, 8 grams
Eggs, 2 large, 13 grams
Strength athletes believe more protein is important to build muscle. It turns out that strength athletes actually require high carbohydrate intake and adequate glycogen stores to fuel their workouts. It is the strength training workout that leads to increased muscle mass and strength. This is because all high intensity, powerful muscle contractions (such as weight lifting) are fueled with carbohydrate. Neither fat nor protein can be oxidized rapidly enough to meet the demands of high-intensity exercise. Adequate dietary carbohydrate must be consumed daily to restore glycogen levels. 

By , Guide

The Position Statement from the Dietitians of Canada, the American Dietetic Association, and the American College of Sports Medicine, Canadian Journal of Dietetic Practice and Research in the Winter of 2000, 61(4):176-192.

High Protein Foods!

An ounce of meat or fish has approximately 7 grams of protein.


  • Hamburger patty, 4 oz – 28 grams protein
  • Steak, 6 oz – 42 grams
  • Most cuts of beef – 7 grams of protein per ounce


  • Chicken breast, 3.5 oz - 30 grams protein
  • Chicken thigh – 10 grams (for average size)
  • Drumstick – 11 grams
  • Wing – 6 grams
  • Chicken meat, cooked, 4 oz – 35 grams


  • Most fish fillets or steaks are about 22 grams of protein for 3 ½ oz (100 grams) of cooked fish, or 6 grams per ounce
  • Tuna, 6 oz can - 40 grams of protein


  • Pork chop, average - 22 grams protein
  • Pork loin or tenderloin, 4 oz – 29 grams
  • Ham, 3 oz serving – 19 grams
  • Ground pork, 1 oz raw – 5 grams; 3 oz cooked – 22 grams
  • Bacon, 1 slice – 3 grams
  • Canadian-style bacon (back bacon), slice – 5 – 6 grams

Eggs and Dairy

  • Egg, large - 6 grams protein
  • Milk, 1 cup - 8 grams
  • Cottage cheese, ½ cup - 15 grams
  • Yogurt, 1 cup – usually 8-12 grams, check label
  • Soft cheeses (Mozzarella, Brie, Camembert) – 6 grams per oz
  • Medium cheeses (Cheddar, Swiss) – 7 or 8 grams per oz
  • Hard cheeses (Parmesan) – 10 grams per oz

Beans (including soy)

  • Tofu, ½ cup 20 grams protein
  • Tofu, 1 oz, 2.3 grams
  • Soy milk, 1 cup - 6 -10 grams
  • Most beans (black, pinto, lentils, etc) about 7-10 grams protein per half cup of cooked beans
  • Soy beans, ½ cup cooked – 14 grams protein
  • Split peas, ½ cup cooked – 8 grams

Nuts and Seeds

  • Peanut butter, 2 Tablespoons - 8 grams protein
  • Almonds, ¼ cup – 8 grams
  • Peanuts, ¼ cup – 9 grams
  • Cashews, ¼ cup – 5 grams
  • Pecans, ¼ cup – 2.5 grams
  • Sunflower seeds, ¼ cup – 6 grams
  • Pumpkin seeds, ¼ cup – 8 grams
  • Flax seeds – ¼ cup – 8 grams

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Burning Fat!

A popular myth is that there is a specific range of heart rates in which you must exercise to burn fat. Even many cardio machines display a “fat-burning zone” on their panels, encouraging people to exercise in a specific heart rate range. Have you ever wondered if you really have to exercise in a specific heart rate zone to lose fat? And what happens if you venture out of that zone? Jason R. Karp, PhD, a nationally recognized speaker, writer and exercise physiologist who coaches recreational runners to Olympic hopefuls through his company,, sheds light on this issue.
Fuel Use During Exercise
You use both fat and carbohydrates for energy during exercise, with these two fuels providing that energy on a sliding scale. During exercise at a very low intensity (e.g., walking), fat accounts for most of the energy expenditure. As exercise intensity increases up to the lactate threshold (the exercise intensity that marks the transition between exercise that is almost purely aerobic and exercise that includes a significant anaerobic contribution; also considered the highest sustainable aerobic intensity), the contribution from fat decreases while the contribution from carbohydrates increases. When exercising just below the lactate threshold, you are using mostly carbohydrates. Once the intensity of exercise has risen above the lactate threshold, carbohydrates become the only fuel source.
If you exercise long enough (1.5–2 hours), your muscle carbohydrate (glycogen) content and blood glucose concentration become low. This metabolic state presents a threat to the muscles’ survival, since carbohydrates are muscles’ preferred fuel. When carbohydrates are not available, the muscles are forced to rely on fat as fuel.
Since more fat is used at low exercise intensities, people often assume that low-intensity exercise is best for burning fat, an idea that has given birth to the “fat-burning zone.” However, while only a small amount of fat is used when exercising just below the lactate threshold, the rate of caloric expenditure and the total number of calories expended are much greater than they are when exercising at a lower intensity, so the total amount of fat used is also greater.
The Bottom Line
For fat and weight loss, what matters most is the difference between the number of calories you expend and the number of calories you consume. Fat and weight loss is about burning lots of calories and cutting back on the number of calories consumed. For the purpose of losing weight, it matters little whether the calories burned during exercise come from fat or carbohydrates.
SIDEBAR: Workouts for Fat Loss
To maximize your fat loss, try these workouts. .
Go Hard
A great way to perform high-intensity exercise and decrease your body fat percentage is through interval training, which breaks up the work with periods of rest. Not only does interval training allow you to improve your fitness quickly; it is also more effective than continuous exercise for burning lots of calories during exercise and increasing your postworkout metabolic rate. Try one or two of these workouts each week:    
  • 5–6 x 3 minutes at 95%–100% maximum (max) heart rate (HR) with 2-minute active recovery periods
  • 4 x 4 minutes at 95%–100% max HR with 3-minute active recovery periods
  • 8–12 x 30 seconds fast with 1-minute active recovery periods
Each of these interval workouts should include a warm-up and a cool-down.
Go Very Long
Long runs or bike rides (≥ 1.5–2 hours at 65%–70% max HR) that stimulate mitochondrial synthesis and promote the depletion of glycogen threaten the muscles’ survival, since carbohydrates are muscles’ preferred fuel. In response to this threat, muscles “learn” how to use fat more effectively and over time become better fat-burning machines.

Monday, June 27, 2011

If I had a dime for every person that says they want to lose weight but are just not motivated – I’d be worth millions. Over half the conversations I have with people are on the subject of motivation, but motivation shouldn’t determine success.
Interestingly enough, we all have things that should give us plenty of motivation to lose weight and get in shape. Our health and appearance mean a lot to us, but what people are really talking about is a feeling. People naturally would prefer to “feel” like working out. Some people only exercise on the days they “feel” like exercising. Well gosh, I would hardly ever work out if I did that!
You cannot rely on feeling motivated to help you reach your goals. It is a plan and total commitment that gets you to your goal – period. Relying solely on motivation puts your success on something that is variable. This applies to other areas of our life like putting money away or paying off debt. You only get success when you commit and follow through – whether you feel like it or not. Similar to going to work or church those days you really don’t feel like it, it has to become a priority. Like work, the discipline pays off.

“At some point we have to take control over our emotions and our discomforts. Our pain and emotions should never dictate our actions. Emotion is important to be aware of, but not to be slave to. We need to act out of purpose in a positive manner regardless of the circumstances we find ourselves in.”
So in essence, we need to quit letting how we feel affect what we do. The good news is we can cling to the fact that weight loss is pure science and it works. What you put in is what you get out. Even if you are down, depressed or feeling ehh. If you follow through, you’ll still get the same great results whether you were motivated or not.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

The Power of Positive Thinking!

I recently heard someone say, “Focus on the donut, not the hole.” Don’t get excited — I’m not promoting eating donuts! This analogy reminds me of how easy it is to notice what you don’t have, rather than what you’ve got.
Many people fall into this negative mind-set on the road to making a healthy lifestyle change. They focus on their limitations and how far they have to go, instead of celebrating how far they’ve come. Unfortunately, that unconstructive outlook can lead you to make poor choices and eventually give up.
You must realize that you don’t have to wait to reach your ultimate fitness goal in order to feel great. Every time you make a positive, healthy decision, you achieve greatness. Changing your outlook will influence your future — you have that power.

Practice this mental drill:

  1. Visualize your goal — see yourself 15 pounds thinner, or running a personal record in your next 5K race.
  2. Think of the steps you’ve taken today or this week to reach that goal (i.e. eating a healthy breakfast, completing a workout, getting the proper rest), rather than the things you could have done better or still need to do.
  3. Write down those accomplishments as positive affirmations on index cards (i.e. I ran 4 miles on Wednesday; I slept seven hours last night; I ate low-fat yogurt on Saturday), and place them on your bathroom mirror, the refrigerator, your laptop and your kitchen cabinets. That way, you’re constantly reminded of your progress.
Next time a negative thought creeps into your mind, read one of those index cards and chuck that doubt into the trash. You’re on your way to a healthier you — and you have the proof in writing!