Monthly Archives: January 2011

Patrick Willis

This guys is a beast on the football field. He is also a smart guy in the gym. Watch this video to see he works his butt off. He starts by warming up his body. This enables you to get your blood flowing to the muscles you are about to work. It will lesson the chance of an injury. The other thing he does is work his core during breaks in weight training. In between sets he does crunches with weight and core work. His quote was “strength starts from the middle in.” Mr. Willis couldn’t be more right. Just check out his body and you will see that his athleticism is a direct result of his powerful core.

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Here’s “The Situation”

The number one thing that most of my clients don’t understand is what is called spot reduction.  You cannot spot reduce fat from a certain area of your body by working that area.  If you want to lose fat around a certain area then you just have to lose fat as a whole.  However, client after client tells me that they want to do a lot of abs to get rid of their midsection fat.  The latest was a woman  doing a Russian twist and she told me  that we should do this more often because she needed work in that area.

Muscle and fat are two completely different things.  For whatever reason people can’t seem to grasp this concept.  Let’s say for example that you had fat around the back of your arms.  A lot of older women have this problem.  By doing tricep. exercises  such as dips and tricep. extensions you build the muscle underneath the layer of fatty tissue.  The muscle tissue will grow stronger and become tighter but this really has no effect on the fat above the muscle.  I don’t want to make it seem like there is no hope.  In fact if you have trouble spots then diet would be the number one way to remedy.  If you are able to cut calories and combine that with your workout and increased metabolism from lifting weights then you will see improvement in your problem area.

Back to the situation.  For those of you who watch the “Jersey Shore” Mike the situation is one of the characters who is known for having great abs.  The average person will never have abs with definition like that.  However, the number of crunches and leg lifts and bicycles really has nothing to do with seeing abdominal definition.  In fact, anyone who works out on a regular basis has pretty strong abs.  However, in order to see the definition you would have to have a pretty low body fat percentage.  Maybe 8% or less.  For the person who has a real job and a family this is just not a reality.  If you happen to be a reality TV star who doesn’t have much to do it might be easier.

Strong abdominals are important.  They can help strengthen you from the inside out.  It is important for posture and can help prevent back pain. You may have heard some people talk about the core.  My definition of the core is any muscle that acts on the spine.  If any of these muscles are out of balance it can throw the spine out of whack.  While you may never be able to be the situation you should still look into a personal trainer who can show you how to work your core effectively for life and not just for show.

Fage Fage Fage

Not sure what this is?  Well first of all it’s pronounced Fa -Yay.  It’s an incredible Greek yogurt that you can most likely find in your grocery store.  It has turned into my go to snack.  It has a rich and creamy texture to it.  Although it comes it many flavors I  choose the plain 0%. You will save about 40 calories per serving compared to the 2%.  They also have flavors but why not add in fresh natural toppings of your own.  I have mixed in honey, sugar free jelly, and fresh fruit such as blueberries and raspberries.  Really whatever you feel like is a good idea.  You can get a large container but I recommend the individual ones. They are 6 ounces.   It is a predetermined amount for your snack.  This eliminates mindless snacking.  This way you know exactly how much you are going to eat.  That is a good tip for snacking in general.  For example, don’t eat out of a large container.  Instead take out your pre-planned amount and put it into a smaller serving bowl.  You will be less likely to go back when the bag has already been put away.  The individual size Fage  0% plain has 90 calories.  It also packs a full 15 grams of protein to only 7 grams of sugar.  The protein will help you feel fuller longer.  Add in a tablespoon of organic honey and about 10 blueberries and you are looking at 150 calories.  Not bad for a night time snack.

How to keep a Food Diary (most of the time)

One of the best ways I have kept my weight off is to keep a food diary. There are a ton of websites that help you keep track of your diet. The one that I use is called FatSecret. It can be found online at http://www.FatSecret.com. It also has an app for blackberry which I use whenever I eat out. When I first lost weight.  I didn’t count calories. I used to listen to others who would meticulously discuss calories and weight watchers points. I would wonder why would you go through the trouble. It seemed like such a hassle. I basically just focused on portion control and trying to limit sugars and carbohydrates. If you ask anyone who has ever lost weight they will say the hardest thing is keeping it off. The world is filled with people who have continuously lost and gained weight many times over.  The yo-yo dieters as the media calls them.

One of my biggest secrets was FatSecret. I like the site because it has chain restaurants such as Dunkin Donuts where I often stop for my coffee and an egg sandwich. It also has popular supermarket brands that are easily search able. Of course, if you cook at home you can add individual ingredients. The site lets you create a profile and then based on your activity level it spits out a recommended caloric intake. You can choose whether you want to maintain, gain, or lose weight. As if anyone over the age of 25 wants to gain weight, it still has this feature if you want it. Then as you enter your food it can break them into proteins, carbs, fats, or whatever else that you want to track.

When you are working out your body needs carbs for fuel. When dieting I try to eat as few carbs as possible, especially unrefined carbs such as bread and pasta. There are good carbs however. Obviously fruits and vegetables are a good source of vitamins and minerals that are essential to good health. In order to build muscle you should try to eat one gram of protein per two pounds of body weight. For a 200 pound man like myself I try to consume 100 grams of protein daily. I still try to limit sugar filled foods by saving desserts for special occasions only.

No matter which website you use, keeping track of your diet on a site such as FatSecret can and will help you make informed decisions about your diet.

About me

I grew up playing sports my whole life.  I played football, basketball, and baseball in High School.  I was so busy playing that I never learned how to work out and eat properly.  I played baseball in college but without the year-round fitness that came from the other sports I started gaining weight.  When my college baseball career was over I weighed 285 lbs.  I decided to make a change.  I lost 85 pounds in two years and kept it off for three years now.   I can show you how.   I am a certified personal trainer and I helped countless people find their success stories.  My style of training comes from an athletic background added to my own personal experience of weight loss and fitness.  I am a certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist by the NSCA.  My approach to training is through my background in athletics but I feel that I can help anyone reach their goals.  Contact me to see how we can work towards a better you.

Everything works…

but nothing works forever.  For those of us who are regular gym goers how often do we see someone do the same thing day after day, year after year.  These people will plateau mentally and physically.  In order to keep your body guessing you have to change-up your workout routines.  I recommend at least once a month to change your workout in some way.  This could mean that you go from high reps to low reps and heavier weight.  It could mean you leave the gym and take your workouts outside.  We all need rest and recovery.  When you lift weights your muscle fibers tear and this leads to growth.  Every now and then a new routine can help give those muscles time to fully recover.  Think of the options this gives you.

One of my favorite things to do on a recovery week is yoga.  When I say yoga a lot of people assume some sort of easy-going hippie workout with no real benefit.   While yoga does offer a mental clarity that lifting weights cannot, it is a serious workout.  Your muscles will burn and strengthen while they are being stretched.  Your body is designed to move in certain ways but our every day lives cause them to become tight.

Another way I like to get out of the gym and change-up my workout is by running.  I enjoy hitting the roads and going on a nice long run.  When I was heavier I did lift weights.  In fact, I could lift a lot more than I can now.  I used to be able to bench press 345 pounds.  Now I can’t even come near that but I am much more well-rounded and fit than I was before.  There is an expression “jack of all trades.  master of none”.  When it comes to working out this is completely not true.   You have to be a jack of all trades in order to continue your fitness growth.  If you try new things I promise you will always feel mentally challenged and physically challenged.   Work smarter not harder and your body will thank you for it.

Hello world!

This is my new health and fitness blog. I hope you enjoy it and can learn something from it.  I want to share my experiences with you.  Let me be the test dummy and you can reap the benefits.