Thursday, January 26, 2012

Sources of information

In the latest IDEA Fitness Journal publication, 5 food websites and apps were listed to provide guidance with your nutrition.  I wanted to share these with you to help keep you on track with your nutritional goals.  These are all easy to use websites, and all of the apps are FREE.  Most of the sites require some time to enter the foods that you eat on a regular basis, however, once you have them entered it's just a matter of clicking on that food and entering the portion size for each meal.
Add these to your smartphone or "favorites" on your computer so that you can easily access them when needed.

1. - This s an interesting site.  You can actually make money by losing weight.  You pay $100 for an opportunity to double you money (win $200) for losing just 10% of your starting weight within 6 months.

2. - You take photos of the meals you eat and submit them on this website.  A professional will review the meals and make recommendations. This puts the emphasis on visual rather than written.

3.  Honest Label App - This one is great!  This app allows you to scan the bar codes of food products and receive clear, concise nutritional info based on customized settings.  It will list daily food values based on your personal needs; which is ideal for those with specific dietary needs.

4.  Lost It! App - This app allows you to enter your own custom foods, as well as having preloaded foods that you can quickly retrieve.  You can create a diet and exercise log that coincide with  your goals.  The site also rewards its users when certain milestones are reached.

5. App - This was vote the best iPhone weight loss app among 204 evaluated.

Try one or two of these and see how it works for you.  I tried the Honest Label app and love it.  Nothing like holding food manufacturers accountable.  If you are a gambler, then is right up your alley.  However, you are still gambling, so be realistic.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Principles of functional training

I am going to discuss one of the many principles of functional training.  First of all, what is "functional training".  Think of "functional" as the things we do in our everyday normal life; reaching, bending, leaning, turning, twisting, stooping, and constantly changing directions.  When we do these types of movements we are moving in three different planes (sagital, frontal, and transverse), and this is described as three-dimensional.  Functional training is performing exercises that utilize the majority of these movements.

However, when I look around the gym I am amazed by how many people train in a one-dimensional direction (mainly sagital - forward and bicep curl, chest press, forward lunge).  I believe most people think that in order to make significant muscle gains you have to be stationary and lifting heavy weights. Of course if you are trying to become a bodybuilder, then this method would probably be most suitable.  However, for the majority of us who just want to stay healthy, tone muscle for everyday use or athletic performance, this method serves little purpose.  We need to integrate movement patterns by training in all three planes.  This means we need to add side-to side movements (side lunges, side shuffles, bounding side-to-side, etc) along with rotational (medicine ball rotation slams, partner medicine ball exercises where you rotate to hand the ball off, TRX crossing balance lunge, TRX oblique crunches, etc) movements. 

There are two training cycles as described by Joseph F. Signorile, PhD:
   1.  Physiological Training Cycle
   2.  Translational Training Cycle

According to Signorile, the physiological training cycle focuses on improving primary components of fitness, such as strength, flexibility, and aerobic capacity - through traditional methods.  In comparison, the translational training cycle focuses more on increasing functional capacity through multidimensional motor-control tasks of increasing complexity.  In order to increase task complexity, you need to include multiple joints during the exercise/s, alter the base of support of the exercise (narrow feet vs. wide feet stance), using multi directions (think soccer movements), and multitasking (combining several exercises together).

Here is an example of the difference between training cycles using a forward lunge exercise.

During the physiological training cycle, a person will lunge forward (may use dumbbells for added resistance) and return to starting position, and repeat.  During the translational training cycle, the exercise becomes multidirectional by trying to improve motor control and coordination.  In this example, the person will lunge forward and then bend over to pick up an object (cones, medicine ball, etc).  This will require exceptional balance and multiple joints will be used.  The person would also be moving in two planes (sagital and transverse - rotating).

So next time you hit the gym for a workout, think about performing exercises that require coordination.  Excellent pieces of equipment to help you accomplish this are the TRX, superbands, free weights (aka: dumbbells, kettlebells).  Avoid using the machines for every exercise you perform.  Remember, most of our daily movements are not completed while resting on a bench. 

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Weekly Wednesday Quotavation

This week's quote defies exactly why I am posting these motivational quotes.  Some people are born with natural talent, while others are not.  To those who do not have the natural born talents, this quote is for you.

"Motivation will almost always beat mere talent". - Norman R. Augustine

I am a firm believer that hard work pays off.  The work (investment) you put towards something will almost always give you a return (reward).

Friday, January 13, 2012

Health/Nutrition test answers from yesterday

Here are the results form yesterday's test, I was hoping more of you would have left your answers in the comment section.  I will post another quiz near the end of the month or early February.


Thursday, January 12, 2012

All about education

As a trainer, not only do I want to help my clients achieve their goals; weight loss, muscle gain, improve athletic performance, etc. but I want to educate them as well.  My philosophy on personal training is to not have my clients become dependent on me, but rather learn from me so that they can be independent.  Don't get me wrong, I enjoy working one-on-one with my clients and will do whatever I have to to help them.  After all they are coming to me for help.

What I want to accomplish, however, is to better educate clients on why they are doing a certain exercise, or why they should understand the foods they are putting in their bodies, or why they also need to include some sort of cardio exercise along with weight training.

I have listed below 10 questions that I would like all of you to take to see how knowledgeable you are on health, fitness and nutrition.  These are pretty basic questions, but may challenge some of you.  I want you to answer the questions by leaving a comment in the "comment" section below.  Just include the question/s number and the letter you think is the correct answer.  I will reveal the answers either Friday or Saturday. 

1.        Which of the following fats is considering a “good” fat?
a.       Polyunsaturated Fat
b.      Monounsaturated Fat
c.       Saturated Fat
d.      Trans Fat

2.       How many calories are in 1 gram of Fat?
a.       2
b.      5
c.       7
d.      9

3.       How many calories are in 1 gram of Protein?
a.       1
b.      3
c.       4
d.      6

4.       How many calories would you consume eating chicken that contained 42 grams of Protein?
a.       42
b.      126
c.       168
d.      252

5.       What is the ideal intensity for maximizing hypertrophy (muscle growth)?
a.       50-65%
b.      60-70%
c.       80-95%
d.      90-100%

6.       Which activity, if exercising for the same amount of time, burns more calories?
a.       Stationary bike : vigorous
b.      Elliptical trainer : general
c.       Stationary rowing : vigorous
d.      Weight lifting : vigorous

7.       Which of the following foods is considered a “complete” protein (one that contains all 9 essential amino acids)?
a.       Peanut Butter
b.      Kidney Beans
c.       Chicken Breast
d.      Avocado

8.       Which type of stretch is preferred after exercising?
a.       Static
b.      Ballistic
c.       Dynamic
d.      Active

9.       In order to lose at least 1 lb of body fat per week, what would your caloric deficit have to be each week?
a.       500 calories
b.      1500 calories
c.       2500 calories
d.      3500 calories

10.   What is the current estimated obesity rate in the United States?
a.       25%
b.      35%
c.       55%
d.      65%

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Weekly Wednesday Quotavation

Now that we are in the beginning of a new year, I felt that this quote would be fitting for the first weekly quotavation of 2012.  I am trying to emphasize the importance of kind gestures.  Doing to others as you would expect goes a long way.

"No act of kindness, however small, is ever wasted". - Aesop

Friday, January 6, 2012

Are you sticking to your resolution/s?

Now that we are almost one week into the new year, it's time to ask yourself, "am I sticking to my new year's resolution"?  You know the one/s you set on December 31st right before you left your house to party with friend or family and kiss 2011 goodbye; losing weight, beginning to eat healthier, exercising more frequently, or even competing in a marathon or riding a century.  When you set goals, they need to be realistic.  If your resolution was to lose weight, you cannot expect to lose 10 pounds in 1 week.  Yes they do on the Biggest Loser, but they are in a controlled environment (no work, no kids, in bed at a certain time, their meals are prepared by a professional chef, etc).  It's not realistic nor is it recommended.  Goals need to be S.M.A.R.T...


It's not too late to reflect on why you set these goals/resolutions in the first place.  As I mentioned in one of my earlier posts, it's easier to say you are going to do something that the actual act of doing that something.  If you resolution was to lose weight, what have you done this week do accomplish that goal?  Doing the same thing you did back in 2011 will not cut it.  Losing weight, or accomplishing any goal for that matter, is not easy.  It takes work and sometimes very hard work.


Do you think Michael Jordan became the best basketball player ever by just showing up for practice, doing the drills, and then going home?  No, after practice he would be the last person to leave the gym, and the next day would be the first person to arrive at the gym.  He put in more hours training/practicing than anyone else.  And you know what, it paid off; I think you get the point.  In order to be good at something or to be better than than before it takes work.

So if you are on your path to accomplishing your goal/s, then I applaud you.  Keep it up!  However, if you have been slacking this week and haven't made any progress towards your goal/s, then now is the time to start.  Do not put it off any longer (refer to this post), start TODAY.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012


We've all heard others talk about getting started on a new diet, or a new weight loss plan, or starting a new project, etc.  What most of these have in common is that the person will say that they will start this "new" thing tomorrow, or on Monday (start the week off fresh), or better yet on January 1st...the start of the New Year.

Although these intentions are great, there is one serious problem with this.  There is a high percentage of people that say they will begin "tomorrow" or on "Monday" who never even begin.  We are all guilty of procrastinating.  However, when it comes to our health, it's easy to talk about doing something rather than actually doing it.

One of the best ways to hold yourself true to your words is to start TODAY.  Do not put off going to the gym, walking around the block, starting to eat less per meal, or eating more vegetables.  Once you begin you will realize you are on the path to your goal.  Do not put it off any longer.  There is no better time to begin than NOW.

For some extra ,motivation and inspiration to help you along your journey, tell others that you have begun what it is you are planning to accomplish.  Hire a personal trainer; we will hold you accountable, we will educate you, and we will motivate you.  When others know that you are trying to lose weight, they will encourage you and ultimately make it easier for you to lose those extra pounds.  You owe it to yourself to stop procrastinating and start TODAY.

Best of can do it!!!

Weekly Wednesday Quatavation

This next Quotavation will lead into my next post.  

"The secret of getting ahead is getting started" - Mark Twain