Tuesday, July 23, 2013

End of Summer Sale at Perform Better

Hi Everyone!
Perform Better, the equipment company that we get a lot of the equipment that we use in the personal training studio is having a great End of Summer sale.

Many of the items that we use daily is on sale for up to 50% off.  If there are pieces of equipment that you would like for your home now might be a good time to buy it.

Click the link below:

Monday, May 13, 2013

Core Stability Series: Paloff Press- Cable Resistance

Hi Friends,
This is another great "Core" exercise.  The focus of this exercise is anti- rotation of the torso.  This exercise can be modified in the tall kneeling or half kneeling stance.  The Paloff press is much harder than it appears in this video.


Saturday, May 4, 2013

Core Stability Series: Tall Kneeling Stability Ball Roll Out

Hey Friends,
This is one of my favorite "Core" exercises.  The focus here is stability of the entire upper torso.  Only roll out as far as you can so that you can maintain stability all the way back to the start position.


Tuesday, April 16, 2013

“Rest Breeds Rust"

Hi Friends,

I have a confession to make.  As I sit here writing this on Friday morning, I just completed my first training session of the week.  Even worse, this is only my second training session over the last two weeks! I know , I know… I suck!  I am wasting away one day at a time as my muscles atrophy.  With the exception of my flexor digitorum and flexor pollicis longus muscles, I am a sinking ship. (how many people just googled those muscles? J)

The cool thing is, I actually feel stronger than I have in a long time.  As a matter of fact I recently took some measurements and I gained 5 pounds. “What!”  “You sloth!”  My body fat percentage however, has not changed at all.  That means one thing people.  I have added lean body mass (muscle) and have gotten stronger… all with a 2 week break.

 How does that happen?  Won’t I lose my level of fitness if I take time off?  The much overlooked art of recovery is the key to our training success.  We now know more than ever before that the most important part of your training is actually that time spent in between training sessions.  Rest, recovery, sleep, nutrition.

“You mean you are telling me not to exercise!”  Don’t get too excited, that statement is far from the truth.  What I am saying is that we need proper recovery.  What I am NOT saying is that it is ok to sit around on your hands and watch the grass grow because, “I am in my recovery phase”.

 Recovery phase or what we sometimes call “de-loading” is built right into your program.  When we design training programs for our clients we periodize our programs.  What that means is, we train through different phases such as strength phases, power phases, and hypertrophy phases.  Periodization is an organized approach to training that involves progressive cycling of various aspects of a training program during a specific period.”  It is a way of alternating training cycles based on a desired outcome (result). The aim of periodization is to introduce new movements as one progresses through each cycle to help maximize results at specific times while minimizing plateaus and overtraining.

Often times we organically create our own recovery phases by “life” getting in the way.  Traveling for business, taking vacations.  In addition to the predetermined de-loading phases that your personal trainer has already built in, the above events often times fills that recovery period.  The last thing you want to do during your “de-loading” phase is sit around and do nothing.  This is your opportunity to get that massage that you have been talking about for months.  We will often mix in different aspects of fitness that you might not get on a regular basis.  Like throwing in some basketball or cycling.  Include more mobility, and flexibility work into your program.  Active recovery is a huge key to success.

 So, sorry to get you excited about taking time off from training just to find out that we sneak those recovery phases into your program.  There are still a lot of things that you need to do to maximize recovery and regeneration.  You need to continue to eat clean, drink plenty of water, utilize soft tissue work such as massage therapy and get more than adequate amounts of sleep.

 Great job with everything you all have accomplished to this point in 2013.  Let’s keep cranking it up and continue to move the dial!

"Rest breeds rust" -Proverb
"Leisure is the time for doing something useful.  This leisure the dilligent person will obtain the lazy one never"- Benjamin Franklin

Living Life with No Excuses… No Regrets!


Monday, March 18, 2013

Time to "Go All In"


Do we have any pokers players out there?  Going “All In” is a phrase used when you bet all of your chips on a specific hand.  The goal, of course is to win the hand and become the most successful poker player in this game.

Recently, the Personal Training Team Leaders and I have been reading a book title “The 10X Rule”, by Grant Cardone.  In short, this is a book about taking massive action and being successful to the 10th degree.  We discuss the book every week during our team leader meeting and I personally have taken many great tips and strategies from this book, but there was one specific thing that stood out to me today while reading and it made me think about fitness and getting results. 

This specific section was listed as number 14 on the list of 32 ways we should act in order to be successful.

“Go All the Way”
“As they say in AA, “Half measures achieved us nothing.”  For members this meant that you can’t get sober if you are drinking- even a little bit.  In the world of success and achievement, half measures achieve nothing in terms of results- except for tiring out the person engaging in half measures.”

How many times have you heard someone tell you they didn’t get results when the exercised last.  They then go further onto say that they were consistent for about 3-4 weeks before they stopped because they didn’t see results.  Or even worse, “I was going to start exercising and eating well again, but I didn’t know what to do.  I have tried in the past but didn’t see results… so why bother.”  For those people, refer them to my last article on “Farming, Fitness, and Getting results”.  All too often people actually talk themselves into NOT taking action.  They can give me a list of 10 reasons why they can’t do something… I don’t know what to do? I don’t have time? I don’t have the money?  When all they need is to believe in the ONE reason they should take action.  That ONE reason might be different for everybody.  But take massive action on it.

For those others, it is time to go all in! Jump in with both feet!  If we want massive results, we have to take massive action.  Sometimes the only way to break that planning paralysis is to live by the motto, “ready, FIRE, aim”.  What that means is sometimes we just have to take action.  You’ll figure the rest out as you go.  And even better, you don’t have to figure anything out.  Your trainer will do that for you.  FIRE! Grant mentions at one point in his book an analogy of sky diving.  When you go sky diving, you don’t step out of the plane and then decide not to go through with it… you are in the free-fall already, you better enjoy the ride (that free-fall while skydiving is incredible by the wayJ).  But all too often in other endeavors of our life we do step into something with one foot only to step backwards with the other.  I can promise you one thing.  I you don’t FIRE, you will never hit your target. Period!
Yup! That's me.

If you are reading this you have already at least stepped into the fitness world with one foot.  It’s time to go all in!  Let’s take it to the next level.  We have some new tools that can supplement your current exercise program to optimize results.  If you have any questions about stepping up your game please don’t hesitate to ask your trainer or myself.

In stealing another line from Cardone, success is “your duty, your responsibility, and your obligation”.  At Gainesville Health and Fitness we will provide all the tools and environment to be successful, so let’s take massive action.  Ready… FIRE… aim!

Monday, March 4, 2013

Fitness Farming and Results!


Hi Friends,

Today I want to speak to you about patience and farming.  Patience and farming?  What the heck does that have to with fitness?

Patience and farming have everything to do with fitness! Obtaining results in the fitness world is not something that gives us instant dividends.  We all want results instantly, actually we all want results yesterday.  But fact of the matter is, whether we want to hear it or not, reaching optimal fitness levels takes enormous amounts of patients coupled with extremely hard work. Period!

I started thinking about this process of patience and farming recently because it is about this time of year when people begin to get frustrated with the exercise process in terms of seeing results.  It reminded me of an article that I read years ago by a very successful strength and conditioning coach, Mike Boyle.  I went to the wonderful land of Google and have included this article below for you to read.

In the article Boyle uses the farming analogy in regards to fitness, but I also like to think of farming in regards to our attitude and our thoughts.  Our brains are like a farm.   I often tell my clients that every day they have to wake up and “chose your attitude”.  We all have bad days, don’t get me wrong, but we still have a choice to how we respond to those bad days.  If you chose to “plant” negative seeds in your head every day, negativity will eventually sprout.  And that will not only affect your outlook on success but it will also affect the people around you.  We need to make a practice of planting positive seeds into our brains on a daily basis.  Positive seeds of thought grow positive actions.  Alwyn Cosgrove summed it up best by saying, “Psychology trumps physiology every time”.

“Plant the seeds. Feed and water properly.  Wait for results; they will happen, not in days, but in weeks and months.”

Living Life with No Excuses… No Regrets!

"Training is Like Farming"

I think I remember Stephen Covey in his book Seven Habits of Highly Effective People making reference to what I believe he called “the law of the farm.” The reference was meant to show that most of the truly good things in life take time and can’t be forced or rushed. Covey described the process of farming and alluded to how it requires patience and diligence to grow crops properly. In addition, farming requires belief in the system. The farmer must believe that all the hard work and preparation will eventually yield a long-term result.

As a strength and conditioning coach, business owner and personal trainer, the concept has always stuck with me. The process of exercising is much like farming or like planting a lawn. There are no immediate results from exercise and there are no immediate results from farming.

First, the seeds must be planted. Then fertilizer (nutrition) and water must be applied consistently. Much like fertilizer in farming, too much food can be a detriment to the exerciser. Only the correct amounts cause proper growth. Overfeeding can cause problems, as can underfeeding. As I sit and wait for my lawn to sprout or crops to grow, I feel many of the same frustrations of the new exerciser. When will I see results? How come nothing is happening? All this work and — nothing.
The key is to not quit. Have faith in the process. Continue to add water and wait. Farming and exercising are eerily similar. Continue to exercise and eat well and suddenly a friend or co-worker will say, “Have you lost weight”? Your reaction might be, “It’s about time someone noticed.” Much like the first blades of grass poking through the ground, you begin to see success. You begin to experience positive feedback. Clothes begin to fit differently.

When my friends or clients talk to me about their frustration with their initial lack of progress in an exercise program, I always bring up the farm analogy. We live in a world obsessed with quick fixes and instant results. This is why the farm analogy can be both informative and comforting.
An exercise program must be approached over a period of weeks and months, not days. The reality is that there is no quick fix, no easy way, no magic weight loss plan, no secret cellulite formula. There is only the law of the farm. You will reap what you sow. In reality, you will reap what you sow and care for. If you are consistent and diligent with both diet and exercise, you will eventually see results. 

However, remember, much like fertilizer and water, diet and exercise go together.
Try to grow crops or a lawn without water. No amount of effort will overcome the lack of vital nutrients.
The law of the farm.
Plant the seeds.
Feed and water properly.
Wait for results; they will happen, not in days, but in weeks and months.

Learn More about Mike Boyle:


Sunday, February 24, 2013

The Top 10 Qualities of World Class Certified Personal Trainers

Many people ask; What makes a good personal trainer? What should I look for when hiring a personal trainer?

This is something I have spent a lot of time looking into. As a matter of fact, we base a large percentage of our hiring process on the qualities we have identified based on our best, most successful trainers.

 The Top 10 Qualities of World Class Certified Personal Trainers

  1. Knowledge- Knowledge begins with the personal trainer learning the theoretical "why" to how to write programs and train clients based on both their wants and needs.  This will always come in the form a personal training certification, as usually a 4 year Degree in some type of exercise related field.  
  2. Experience- Experience might actually be the most important traits because only through "time under the bar" can the personal trainer take that formal education and put it to practical application.  There are certain things that you just can't learn from books or lectures.  The only way to learn those things is to get out, get your hands dirty and train yourself and others.
  3. Confidence- Probably one of the biggest destroyers of otherwise good personal trainers.  A trainer might have all the knowledge in the world but if they can't comfortably coach clients with the conviction that they know exactly how to help you achieve success, then they themselves will never be successful as a certified personal trainer.  Confidence is king!
  4. Attention- to detail and to your client.  Not much else I need to say here.  It's the little things that make the biggest impacts.  If your CPT is more concerned with his/her surroundings, rather than focusing on you and your program then find someone who cares.
  5. Communication- Will make or break any relationship, professional or personal.  Your trainer must be able to communicate their plans and path for you.  Sometimes, you as the client cannot see the big picture or feel the results.  If this happens it is because the CPT has not communicated the vision and plans
  6. Passion- You'll know it when you see it.  Passion will standout, emotions will spill, enthusiasm will be contagious.
  7. Vision- A trainer with vision knows why they are in this industry and they know where they want to take it.
  8. Adaptability- A world class personal trainer has to be able to think on their feet and create modifications to a program on the fly.  The only constant thing in our world is Change, and a CPT has to be willing and able to change based on situations thrown their way.
  9. Consistency- Results are obtained through consistent actions.  A trainer must be consistent with their scheduling and availability, consistent with their programming and consistent with their accountability.
  10. Commitment to their "craft/ trade"- This is a never ending,  always changing process that required countless hours of continuing education.  I call this "sharpening your saw".  Trainers need to be committed to the concept of "Kaizen" or continuous improvement.
When I interview for personal trainers I look at these qualities as a baseline for requirements.  Positive attitude, adaptability, consistency, knowledge/experience, caring, passionate, educated, detail orientated, confidence, and the eagerness to take on responsibility are the common themes for a World Class Certified Personal Trainer.

Living Life with no Excuses... No Regrets!


Sunday, January 20, 2013

Sleep's Role in Recovery and Fat Loss

Exercise and clean and healthy eating have been known to positively affect our health and well being for several years.  But what most people don’t understand is that real results happen outside of the gym.  That might be a kind of odd statement from a person that makes a living teaching people about the benefits of exercise and nutrition in a gym setting.  But it is true.
It is pretty common for me to witness members in the gym exercising 1 or even 2 times per day.  Then repeat the same process for 6 or 7 days each week.  The sad part is many of them look (and probably feel) the same as they did when they started this process.  So why do so many exercisers spend so much time training like people “say they should,” and unfortunately more times than not, don’t get the results that they are looking for?  There can actually be several reasons for this lack of results… not exercising at the right intensity…eating too much food, especially the wrong foods…believe it or not, eating too little food…doing the wrong types of exercise…not exercising enough… exercising too much.  Or maybe, most people are not allowing their bodies to actually recover between bouts of exercise. 
Think about it this way.  When we break a bone, the part of the bone that we break actually heals back stronger than it was before.  What actually helps us in this process is a little thing called PAIN.  When we break a bone is hurts like hell!  The nociceptors in that injured area tells our brain to stay off this injured area.  This allows that bone to heal, and it heals stronger than ever.  But what if we didn’t have those nociceptors that transported pain signals to our brain and tell us to stay off of this injured limb.  What if after we broke that leg we just woke up the next day and said, “I need to stay healthy. I need to get better… lets go for a run”.  If you could not feel pain and were in a cast, you might be able to go out on that run.  You might repeat this pattern day in and day out.  But then you go back to the doctor and they take the cast off and get another x-ray.  What do you think the results would show? 
Now, lets go back to exercising in the gym.  Every time we lift weights or go for a run we create small micro-tears in our muscles.  When these small tears heal our muscles now become bigger, stronger, or leaner and more toned depending on how you are training and what you are training for.  Our muscles also have these nociceptors.  Usually the pain we experience in strength training is not nearly to the same level as a broken bone.  So what do we do?  We ignore it!  We have all experience what we call DOMS (delayed onset muscle soreness).  DOMS is completely normal.  Unfortunately, there is a very popular but very inaccurate phrase thrown all over the commercial fitness industry.  “No Pain, No Gain!”.  So off to the gym we go to “work through” that pain.  And for a while we do continue to get a little stronger or a little faster.  But then a weird thing happens.  Our bodies begin to break down even faster, and then the next thing you know we are getting slower and weaker.  Some of the most likely causes of this breakdown is lack of rest, lack of sleep, and poor nutritional habbits.
So, lets talk about sleep and it’s role in recovery and fat loss.  As I mentioned in the newsletter intro, this article is just the highlights of a great presentation Matt Mallard, Master Level Trainer will do in the near future for all of our clients.
Lets start by defining sleep: a natural periodic state of rest for the mind and body, in which the eyes are usually close and consciousness is completely or partially lost, so that there is a decrease in bodily movement and responsiveness to external stimuli. During sleep the brain in humans and other mammals undergoes a characteristic cycle of brain-wave activity that includes intervals of dreaming.
Sleep is typically broken down into 5 stages.  The first 4 being “Non-REM” sleep and the 5th being, “REM” sleep.

Non-REM Sleep
·       Stage 1: light sleep and drifting in and out of consciousness
·       Stage 2:  relaxed muscles and a slowing of brain waves.  Makes up about 50% of sleep time.
·       Stage 3/4:  deep sleep and large, slow brain waves. These are the restorative stages where hormones are released and body chemistry is balanced.
REM Sleep
·       Stage 5:  You brain is active and you dream.  Your eyes move under your eyelids, rapid eye movement (REM)
Theories as to why REM is important
·       Monoamine suppression
o   Allows the monoamine receptors in the brain to regain full sensitivity, effectively “resetting” the receptors
o   Important to us because norepinephrine is a catecholamine that gets released in response to stress (exercise)- presentation explains this in more detail
o   Directly increases heart rate, triggering the release of glucose from energy stores, and increasing blood flow to skeletal muscle
·       Consolidation of memory
o   Numerous studies have suggested that REM sleep is important for consolidation of procedural memory and spatial memory
o   “Important to us because procedural memories are automatically retrieved and utilized for the execution of the integrated procedures involved in both cognitive and motor skills; from tying shoes to flying an airplane to reading”-cited from a study explained in the presentation
o   In other words it help to build the muscle brain connection
Why is non-REM (NREM) sleep important???
·       Blood pressure drops as well as Heart Rate
·       Your brain is resting, allowing an increase in blood availability to your muscles. This delivers extra amounts of oxygen and nutrients that facilitate muscle healing and growth.
·       Your pituitary gland releases a shot of growth hormone that stimulates tissue growth and muscle repair (as it enters this stage of sleep).
·       During NREM sleep we see the most amount of physical recovery
·       Missing out on this type of sleep can drastically affect
o   The ability of the body to synthesize glycogen
o   Increase cortisol levels
o   Decrease Human Growth Hormone levels
So how much sleep should each one of us get? 
·       7.5 to 9 hours of sleep is what is recommended
o   This allows the body to go through the 5 sleep cycles, which you cycle through approximately every 90 minutes.
o   Less than this is considered a lack of sleep
Have you actually monitored how much you sleep?  I have.  I “got an app for that!”  Over the last 182 nights that I have monitored my sleep using an app on my iPhone called “Sleep Cycle”.  I have averaged 6:28 minutes in bed per night.  Now keep in mind, that is my actual time in bed.  It takes me approximately 15 minutes to fall asleep each night, so I am probably only averaging a little over 6 hours of sleep per night.
So, what if I am not getting that minimum of 7.5 hours per night that is recommended?  You might have sleep deprivation.  Sleep deprivation occurs if you are getting 4 hours or less of sleep per night.  And if that is the case you might be experiencing some of the following:
Affects of Sleep Deprivation:
·       Reduces glucose tolerance
·       Reduces endocrine function
·       Hastens the onset of, but could also increase the severity of age-related ailments such as diabetes, hypertension, obesity and memory loss
The US Air force has done extensive studies on the effects of sleep deprivation.  Here are some of their results.
·       They found profound alterations of glucose metabolism, in some situations resembling patients with type-2 diabetes
·       When tested during the height of their sleep debt, subjects took 40% longer than normal to regulate their blood sugar levels following a high-carbohydrate meal
·       Their ability to secrete insulin and to respond to insulin both decreased by about 30%.
A similar decrease in acute insulin response is an early marker of diabetes.
·       Sleep deprivation also altered the production and action of other hormones, dampening the secretion of thyroid stimulating hormone and increasing blood levels of cortisol, especially during the afternoon and evening.
·       Elevated evening cortisol levels are typical of much older subjects and are thought to be related to age-related health problems such as insulin resistance and memory impairment.
The Air Force concluded: "While the primary function of sleep may very well be cerebral restoration our findings indicate that sleep loss also has consequences for peripheral function that, if maintained chronically, could have long term adverse health effects."
So, How Lack of Sleep Affects Fat Loss?
Remember that when we try so hard to get correct nutrient timing, the goal is to manipulate 4 different hormones
·       Insulin:   This is an anabolic hormone that signals the body to store.  It signals glucose to be stored as glycogen in muscle cells and the liver.
o   Insulin sensitivity goes out the window.  We lose the ability to properly convert glucose to glycogen. 
o   As seen in the study before, this mimics the effects of Type II Diabetes
·       Cortisol: Is a stress hormone that is catabolic.  That means it facilitates breakdown.
·       Its primary functions are to:
o   Increase blood sugar through gluconeogenesis
o   Suppress the immune system
o   Aid in macronutrient metabolism
·       Prolonged, elevated levels of cortisol can lead to muscle wasting and decreased bone formation
·       Testosterone: THEE anabolic hormone responsible for:
o   Increase in protein synthesis
o   Stimulates bone marrow, increasing
o   RBC count
o   Stimulates the growth of muscle
o   Increase in lypolysis
**Lack of sleep not only limits the amounts of testosterone we produce, but it also decreases the T/C ratio
·       Human Growth Hormone:
o   Decrease in body fat
o   Increase in muscle mass
o   Increase in bone density
o   Increased energy levels
o   Increase in protein synthesis
o   Increase in lypolysis
o   Stimulates the immune system
·       HGH continued…
o   Remember that as adults we only produce about 400 international units per day, where adolescents produce close to twice that amount.
o   Decreases can lead to:
§  Tiredness/Lethargy
§  Believed to lead to elevated cholesterol levels
§  Weight gain, especially around the waist
§  Decreased muscle mass
§  Feelings of anxiety, depression, or sadness causing a change in social behavior
In Conclusion:  All this alludes to getting good sleep.  We typically sleep in 90- 110 minutes cycles.  Waking at the end of these cycles is important to feeling rested.  Waking up in the middle of stage 3 can result in taking up to 30 minutes to become alert and actually “awake”.  It is recommended that we sleep between 7.5 to 9 hours.  Notice the 90-minute difference between the 7.5 to 9 hours to allow us to go through the appropriate sleep cycles.  It is also recommended that we sleep in cool conditions with a uniform body temperature.

"Life Is Motion"

"Life Is Motion"
Turkish Get Up