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Wednesday, October 26, 2011

“Other 23 Hours”

I don’t think that there is anyone in this world that likes to actually talk about training more than me. I also don't believe that there is anyone is this world that likes helping people get the results that they are looking for more than me. That should ultimately be the mentality for any trainer.

Let's do ourselves a favor, and put training to the side for now and concentrate on something I like to call the “Other 23 Hours”. 

I am going to be completely honest with you right now, you can have the GREATEST Strength Coach, the GREATEST Personal Trainer, or the GREATEST Training Partner, but what you eat can make or break the effectiveness of your program. Can we all come to agree that the number of hours of sleep has the ability to make or break your effectiveness in the gym? Can we come to agree that if your body is not given the proper amount of nutrients, it can effect how you feel throughout the day? I would hope so!

Now that I am done ranting about what is probably not being focused on, let’s talk about what needs attention, and what is the best way to get it done.

GOAL PLANNING:
Goal planning is always Step #1. I always like to tell my clients that if they are not planning to succeed, they are actually planning for failure. 

During the first session with a client, I always like to sit down (OK, I never sit down with them, I am always having them do something) and discuss what they were looking for from me in terms of their fitness goals. I have heard goals such as to lose 80lbs of flab and put on 50lbs of lean muscle over one summer. I have also heard of goals such as increasing their throw to 88mph from their current 72mph. These goals are not realistic and are also creating an environment for failure. Neither is acceptable.

My position at goal planning is to establish a plan where the client and I can come to terms with something that is realistic and achievable. We also want to set expectations and goals that can help the drive of the athlete, to bring out a greater opportunity for improvement that everyone can be happy with. So when it comes to the talk about weight loss, we always break it into 10-15lb increments (depending on the individual client). When the goal is to increase lean muscle, we look to gain 2-3lbs of muscle per month. This goal is often the most difficult to explain because the results on paper are not super impressive. Again, it is my job to let the client know that we are looking to increase muscle, not weight. If he gains too much weight, too fast, then we may have another problem on hand, which can be too much body fat. As for my athletes that are looking to throw harder, all I do is explain that the stronger and more in shape they are, the more their body will be able to produce. I usually leave it there, and if they comply with the program, I know that they will be happy with the results that they worked hard for. This method has never steered me wrong.

DIETS:
Diets DON’T work. Diets have NEVER worked. Diets will NEVER work. I could leave this section just like it is, but I'd like to get into some more detail. In order to become successful and reach your goal, a diet that cuts out calories, carbs, or fat is not the right route to take. You want to head in the direction that will enhance your fitness goals in the fastest and safest way possible. It is all about a “Lifestyle Change”. It’s not about what you are going to cut out, but rather what you are currently eating, with a better option. This is what I call my “Lifestyle Meal”.

A “Lifestyle Meal” consists of Lean Protein (eggs, chicken, fish, beef, low fat diary, etc.), Fibrous Carbohydrates (fruits and vegetables), and Starchy Carbohydrates (sweet potatoes, brown rice, oatmeal, etc.)

Some other things that I suggest are to avoid processed foods, simple sugars, saturated fats, and hydrogenated oils. 

Another important thing that everyone should know or at least be familiar with is the number of meals consumed. If you think that you should only be eating 3 meals a day, then YOU ARE DEAD WRONG. Ideally, 5-6 meals per day, which includes breakfast, lunch, dinner, and 2-3 snacks.

SLEEP:
There is an old saying regarding sleep and performance. Simply put, “Well Rested = Well Tested.” This one true maxim. A recent study done on Stanford University Athletes showed that those who received 10 hours of sleep a night, performed faster and stronger than less rested athletes. The study also showed that a full nights sleep comes better moods and higher levels of alertness. Now, if you don’t think this can help your performance either in the gym or on the playing field, I am not what else tell you. This is not just something to help athletic performance, but an important factor that can help benefit you in every day life.

SUPPLEMENTS:
This is one topic that the biggest rave, and the worst chatter. Let's first understand what a supplement is exactly. A supplement is something additional to take in to your body that you may not be receiving in your regular nutrition program to help enhance either athletic performance, recovery, or health.

Some frequently asked questions that I never hear the end of are: What is the best multivitamin?  What is the best creatine?  What is the best protein powder?  My answer is always consistent, how is your nutrition? How is your workout program? The usual response is either a "it's okay, or not so good. Please don’t worry about what supplements you need, if you are not taking care of yourself nutritionally or exercising regularly. If and when those two things are up to par, then we can talk about some supplements such as protein powder, multivitamins, BCAA, Fish Oils, Glutamine, etc.

I wish I was able to say that what I do in the gym with clients is the most important thing in regards to fitness goals. But the bottom line is that when you have the capability in the 23 hours on your own to fall off track, that one hour that you have with me, you better be focused and think about why you are here. Find that inner strength that drives you to become the best.

Take care of the “Other 23 Hours”.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

"No Prowler...No Problem"

I feel so lucky to be fortunate enough to be able to co-own a facility that allows me the opportunity to train my clients in a way that would make it very difficult to do in a big box gym. The concrete walls allows for great power training with medicine balls, the open floor design allows for everything from Metabolic Training to sprints, and conditioning with the Prowler or Sled Dog.

If you are not familiar with the benefits of the Prowler or Sled Dog, come see me! It is one of the best tools for conditioning. It gives the ability to build lower and upper body strength and endurance, and can also be used for either pushing or pulling activities. Now, I highly suggest that if you have never gotten your hands on one before to find a gym or trainer that has one, and use it ASAP. Once you have experienced the Prowler or Sled Dog, you will not want to waste any time in purchasing one for your training, and oh yeah! For your clients too!

Now, some of us train or work in a big box concrete gym, or are in a situation where there is no access to these training tools, but still want to get the benefits that it offers. We have a solution! Here are some substitutes for the Prowler/Sled Dog:

1:Hill Sprints
Hill sprints are by far the BEST option. Outside of Leverage Training Center, we have a steep driveway that is about 100 yards. As long as the weather permits, our clients spend some time getting very familiar with this driveway at the end of each session. We use it to improve conditioning and power. This is not only a great option for our athletes, but also for our general population.

2.Stairs
Take advantage of being outside! Another great option would be to go to a local high school or building and hit the stairs. This is definitely something that your legs will hate you for the next day, but secretly love. When I was in college, I visited Wake Forest University to visit a friend. He brought me into their football stadium for a sick lower body workout. No joke, our workout was to hit every, YES I SAID EVERY, step in the stadium. Not only does this work on leg strength and conditioning, but also balance. Make sure you drink your coffee before this workout, because you will want to be at your best. Make sure you pay attention and take caution, because before you know it, you may trip and fall flat on your face. Doesn't look good when you are trying to compete with someone or yourself.

3.300 Yard Shuttles or Suicides
    As a Strength and Conditioning Coach, I have noticed that most college teams ask their athletes to perform some form of the 300 yard shuttle during their mandatory fitness test. The 300-yard shuttle can be done in many different increments (30 yard, 50 yard, and 100 yard) and is always timed. What I usually like to do is to either decrease the finish time that the shuttle has to be completed in or decrease the rest period in between sets. This is a great option for any athlete that is looking to improve his 40 or 60 times or a person that is looking for weight loss.

    “Suicides”
 This is another option, and an option that everyone has probably done at some point in their life, whether it be in gym class or for any competitive team. Again, looking at the variables for distance, time of completion, and time of rest that can be altered according to the client. Please remember that the entire variable is dependent on the level of your client.

Now, lets get things straight. I love the Prowler/Sled Dog, but as great as it is, it can also be overused. Your client has hired you to not only help them reach all of their fitness goals, but to also keep training fresh and exciting.

Now, we have talked about how great the Prowler/Sled Dog is and have given you options as to what you can do if you don’t own one, but now it is time to do work. Don’t prescribe something to your clients until you have done it a minimum of 50 times.
THAT’S RIGHT! 
50 times. 
Own it before your prescribe it.

With that said…
TIME TO GET TO WORK!!! 
LET’S GO!!!

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Final Quarter of 2011...Its Not Too Late


Today’s date is Monday, October 3rd.
Do you know what that means?

It means that my birthday is only 27 days away, so start shopping now because this is the most important day of the year. Not only that, but it also is the beginning of the final quarter of the 2011 year. This quarter includes Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas/Hanukah, which are all also known as WEIGHT GAIN SEASON. A season that everyone has experienced and probably wishes leaves faster than it comes.

Food will be everywhere, whether it be candy leftovers from Halloween, extra stuffing, pie, cranberry sauce and turkey from Thanksgiving, or the 13 Holiday Parties that you have been invited to. This is a long quarter, full of tempting food that is designed for you to gain weight.

We can not forget to take into account the emotions of the holidays, lack of sleep, and an almost impossible schedule to keep. You are now creating an environment where weight loss is not even an option. At some point, we have to take responsibility for our actions and stop this trend. Doesn’t today sounds like a good time to start?

In order to get through the “Weight Gain Season”, We MUST have a plan. This plan consists of how we are going to handle each and every situation. Now you are probably saying to yourself that you have a plan every year and it just does not work.  Planning on not eating at a party is not a plan, it is a recipe for disaster and I will put my next paycheck on the line that I will find you on the buffet line, not once, not twice, but three times.

Here are a couple of tips that will help you get through the “Weight Gain Season”:

Tip #1
SET REALISTIC GOALS:  Please do not insult me and tell me that you have a holiday party every day in the month of December or that you can eat Thanksgiving Day leftovers for an entire month. Every Sunday, map out what your schedule looks like for the week. Treat each and every appointment just as if it was just as important as a doctor’s appointment. Would you ever miss a doctor’s appointment? Didn’t think so. So don’t miss a day of training or that run that you had planned. Try to stay away from eating out as much. Stay in and cook your own healthy meal. I guarantee you will enjoy it and appreciate it more, and save yourself at least a few hundred calories.

Tip #2
WRITE IT DOWN:  Do not keep your schedule that you made up on Sunday in your head. WRITE IT DOWN and keep a nutrition log of what you consume every day. This includes beverages and food. Research has shown that people that write down what they ate are more successful in losing weight, but more importantly keeping it off compared to people that don’t.
Another great idea is to keep track of your weight. I like my clients to weigh in on Sunday morning, right before they right down their goals for the week. If the client has a great week and loses weight, then guess what? They want to continue the trend, and I guarantee that their schedule will reflect it. If they did not have as successful week as we would have wished…Guess what?  Their schedule will also reflect it. They will push themselves harder to get the results that are wanted.

Tip #3
PARTNER UP:  Trying to loss weight during the Holiday Season is not an easy task and probably not something that should be taken on by yourself. To achieve this goal you are going to need commitment, dedication, and awareness.  Research has shown that people that participate in groups are more successful in their weight loss journey.  Whether it is a nutrition program, semi-private personal training, or just getting a group of friends together that have similar goals, put your group together TODAY.  This will offer a support system during tough times, and can also be the stern voice that is sometimes needed when you start to stray off the path and into a different direction.

Tip #4
WORKOUT, WORKOUT, and WORKOUT:  Now remember, a workout does not compensate for over-eating. (Remember gluttony is one of the seven sins!) If that was the case, we would all workout every day, ate what we had wanted, and looked the way we want. Well, guess what?  That is not happening. Exercise does provide an increase in caloric expenditure, which in turn, allows us to take in more food.  I love to, along with my clients, start the day with one hour of exercise.  This is not only a psychological boost, but exercise is always the first thing thrown out the window when we have a busy schedule. Get it out of the way!!! Treat your workout (like I said before) like a doctor’s appointment. There is no way your are missing a doctor’s appointment.
Lastly, if you don’t know what you are doing, don’t just try and wing it. Ask for help.  I don’t try and attempt to fix my car, I go to a mechanic. I don’t try to do my taxes, I go to an accountant. I don’t try to pick out a suit, I go to my guy at Nordstrom’s (If you don’t have a guy, I highly suggest one) Therefore, if you don’t know what you are doing in regards to exercise, hire a trainer, join a semi-private group training session. Another option is joining a gym and hop into some Group Exercise Classes.

Bottom line is, GET HELP.

These are 4 tips that will not only help you get through the “Weight Gain Season” but will help you through your Weight Loss Journey. This is a journey that most of us travel on but very few are successful. It is now time to change this trend.

GET TO WORK!!!

Thursday, September 15, 2011

"Why Am I NOT Succeeding"

    My mom once said to me, "I should try to positively influence someone else’s life on a daily basis." This can be simply done by making another person smile, crack a joke to make them laugh, or even just ask them how their day was. Never underestimate the positive effect that reaching out, showing that you care, can have on other people.

    A couple of month’s ago, a close friend of mine, Chris Flo of Flo Fitness, positively influenced my life by giving me a book called:
 “212 Degree’s, The Extra Degree” 
by Sam Parker and Mac Anderson

    To make a short book even shorter, it basically talks about how 1% can take something and completely change it into something that can only be imagined. Water is extremely hot at 211 degrees, but at 212 degrees this same water boils, turning it into steam, and is powerful enough to move a locomotive.

    Now, you are probably wondering what this has to do with fitness or health, wondering if I am losing my mind, or turning into Dr. Phil. The answer is yes, yes and yes.
Everyone knows of someone that has tried to make a commitment but just gave up. This can range from joining a gym, starting a nutrition program, or even just starting to walk every day for 20 minutes. 
What is stopping them? 
Is it: 
Purchasing the membership?
Buying the nutrition program?
Going out and buying a $3000 treadmill?

    You know what stops them? It is that 1% of extra effort that takes hot water and turns it into steam.
In "212 Degree’s", it talks about Actions. Just because you want something, it does not mean you are ready to get it done. Stop making excuses as to why these things are not being done, and just GET IT DONE. Find it in your heart and soul to grasp that 1% that you know is in you and complete the task. This will not only affect the area that you are concentrating on, but most importantly help you with aspects of your life that you never thought can be affected.

    Another aspect of life that "212 Degree’s" talks about is Persistence. We have a tendency to give up on things when it does not come easy, or even if we had already grasped the task but is too difficult to complete. My father once told me that his favorite soccer player, averaged per year, 8 shots on goal per game in a 35 game season. Do you know how many goals he had scored? 12! YES! 12! That means that in the 35 games he had 280 shots on goal and only had 12 goals. 

Do you know what that is? 
Persistence. 

    He could have given up at any time, but pushed through it and made a career best season. 

    In order to become successful in your weight loss journey, or for that matter, anything in life, you have to first take action. If you do not take action, don't expect to get anything accomplished. Second, you must be persistent.  Any problems in life are just speed bumps in your journey.
I could be the greatest Strength and Conditioning Coach, Personal Trainer, or whatever you want to call me, but if you do not take action and are persistent, then not even I can help you.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

“Stop Wasting Your Time”

It is the night before Hurricane Irene, the tragedy that will soon be hitting New Jersey, and all that I could think about is:

”How am I going to get my workout in?”
A friend of mine gave me a call and asked if I had wanted to join in on a workout with him at his local gym. I replied, "HELL YEAH!", knowing that a workout in a "big box, concrete gym" will kill two birds with one stone.
The two birds happening to be:
#1 Giving me an opportunity to workout.
#2 Being able to collect ideas for my next blog post.
Of course, I was not disappointed.

As soon as I walked through the door, I looked up and saw a huge cardio deck. The cardio deck held equipment such as treadmills, ellipticals, bikes, etc. Every piece of cardio equipment was luxuriously lavished with a plasma TV, and you know what that means:
NO INTENSITY.  

After checking out the Cardio Deck, I noticed a man on a treadmill. He must have been traveling at a speed of about 1mph, and at the same time, reading a magazine. I didn't think anything of it and walked right passed him to get to the stretching area to prepare for my workout. About 45 minutes later, making a trip back up to the Cardio Deck to finish my Metabolic Workout, (a set of 10 sprints on the treadmill) I noticed that same guy on the same treadmill! I walked by him, grabbed a treadmill to complete my 10 sprints. After completing my 10 sprints, he was still on that same treadmill, traveling at the same speed! I decided to walk behind him and peek over his shoulder and happened to notice he had spent 75 minutes on the treadmill, burning an amazing 371 calories. Sense the sarcasm?

After this experience, I was inspired to write an article regarding:
Pros Vs.Cons of Steady State Cardio and Interval Training.
Steady State Cardio is defined as: Any form of aerobic/cardiovascular training where some reasonably steady intensity is maintained for an extended period of time. The time can be anywhere from 20-60 minutes and maintaining a steady heart rate.

Interval Training is defined as: Any activity where intensity alternates between high intensity (anywhere from 20-60 seconds) with periods of lower intensity activity. When we talk about high intensity, we mean all out, leaving nothing in the tank, and everything on the floor. When we talk about lower intensity activity, we really mean relax and recover. As you are doing so, thank your body for giving you the energy, being able to put forth the effort. Recovery is not just about stretching out the muscles and slowing down the heart rate. Recovery also entails the mental aspect of your workout. Without being mentally prepared and strong, you will not be able to give it your all. If you ever have to question why you need to incorporate post workout recovery, you are not training hard enough. 

Steady State Cardio
Pros:
- Great for beginners
- Depending on your intensity and duration, this tends to burn more calories than interval training.
- Can be done more frequently (depending on client, duration, and intensity)
Cons:
- It's boring and has to be done for a long period of time (this is a big reason why gyms now have TV’s or play music)
- Excessive amounts of the same type of cardio can increase the chances of injuries. This includes runners who are more prone to having knee problems, and swimmers who are more prone to rotator cuff injuries.
- It is very difficult to burn a significant amount of calories unless it is done for an extended amount of time.

Interval Training
Pros:
- Greater fat loss in a shorter period of time. This is because Interval Training allows for a larger EPOC (Excess Post-Exercise Oxygen Consumption). In other words, this means you are burning calories even after your workout is done.
- Allows the muscle to use fat for fuel more than Steady State Cardio
- More time efficient. Who has the time to perform an hour of cardio? I don’t know about you, but I have better things to do with my time than to dedicate numerous amounts of hours of doing the same thing. In a proper Interval Training session, the session may only take anywhere from 10-20 minutes.
Cons:
- Intensity is inappropriate for beginners.
 - Program Design is crucial. If you think that training legs then heading over for some Cardio Interval Training is beneficial, you are mistaken. That is the perfect recipe for overtraining.
- Higher Risk For Injury. Activities such as sprinting, carries a higher injury risk than intervals performed on a bike.
The burning in your legs (from high acid levels in the muscle) along with extreme discomfort is not only common, but also expected. Some report nausea initially. This can be worse if the client ate too close to training.

Stay tuned for Part 2 of “Stop Wasting Your Time”!
 We will cover the different Interval Training Workouts that can help spark some interest and spice up your workout.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

4 Things That Must Change In Your Workout, IMMEDIATELY"

I had recently attended a seminar with Joe Dowdell and Robert Dos
Remedios, and there was one particular saying that really stuck with
me and is the main reason for writing this post:

“If you are training your clients the way you trained them 5 years
ago, you are an a$$hole.”
Robert Dos Remedios

Not sure if I could have been as blunt with such a statement if it
was me saying it, but you know what, he is exactly right. Why are
their still trainers in the industry that are making their clients
walk 5 minutes before their workout to warm-up? What about making
their client sit in a machine for the entire session when they know
that this person just spent the last 10 hours of their day in a chair?
This last one drives me crazy! Why are trainers still having their
clients do crunches?

    When I first started in the industry 12 years ago, I will admit, I
had my clients walk on the treadmill before our session, I had them
sit on machines for an hour, and most embarrassingly, I had them
perform crunches. I am guilty, but I also must say that I wanted to
better my knowledge, and educated myself to a point where I understand
that I am doing my client an injustice to have them do these things.
My job is to provide a training environment where my clients can
achieve their goals in the quickest, safest  and most efficient way
possible.

If you are a trainer and not reading every day (I am not talking
about books on push-ups. This is in regards to reading a book on
understanding yourself and others.) or attending seminars (I dedicate
10% of what I make to education, never settling with being where I am,
always striving to be the best) then you are wasting not only your
clients' money, but also their time.

So if you train yourself, have a trainer that may be doing these 4
things, or happen to be a trainer and looking to take yourself out of
the stone age, Take these 4 things out of your programming.

#1  5 Minutes Of Warming Up On The Treadmill:
Do you really think having your client walk on the treadmill for 5
minutes before a workout is preparing them to do work? The answer is
simple, No. Every time your client comes to see you, the first thing
that they should be performing is a Dynamic Warm-Up. This will not
only get them ready for their workout, but will also increase
flexibility, mobility, and elevate their heart rate. A dynamic warm-up
will also increase the intensity of the workout and decrease chances
of injury.

#2  Get Off The Machines:
Chest Press, Lat Pulldown, Shoulder Press, Leg Press, etc.,
really? Are you still wearing wigwams or tights with the underwear on
the outside? If so, then keep training with those machines. If not,
then step up your training as you did with your wardrobe. Start
integrating your training and throw in equipment like the TRX
Suspension Trainer, Ultimate Sandbag, or Valslides into your program.
You will get better results and make the training more interesting.

#3  Crunches:
Are people still doing crunches? If so, and you happen to be one
of them, please let me do you a favor by taking a sledgehammer and
repeatedly hit you in the spine with it. Crunches put the spine into
flexion. Trust me when I tell you that your spine does not want that
type of load. If you are looking to strengthen your core, look into
doing stability exercises such as planks, side planks or chops. These
types of exercises will not only work your core, but also your lower
back. You cannot get those desirable abs without having a strong back.

#4  LONG, SLOW DISTANCE CARDIO
I don’t know about you, but I have better things to do with my
time than to walk on a treadmill for 30-60 minutes. The most efficient
way I have found is called interval training. I establish a certain
amount of time for work, a certain amount of time for rest, and a
certain amount of rounds that need to be done. Of course all of this
depends on the level of your client. If 8-10 rounds are performed,
without a doubt, it will put your 30-60 minutes of walking to shame.

The bottom line is that change is not a bad thing. As long as there is
education involved and reason behind it.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

A Quick Look At A Concrete, Big Box Gym

For those who truly know me, I am known as the “people watcher”. I perform my "people watching" skills in malls, restaurants, and most particularly in gyms. I happened to take another trip to a big, concrete, box sized gym (thank you Thomas Plummer for that reference) and I must say that every time I head into these types of gyms, the ideas start flowing for another topic to write about for my blog.

After putting my bag into the locker in the locker room, I headed to the stretching area to foam roll, and happened to walk passed the Group Exercise Room.  I glanced in and noticed 15 people in the room getting ready for a 45 minute “Ab Blast” class. Now again, as a “people watcher”, I could not miss out on this one. First of all, does anyone REALLY need to specifically train one body part for 45 minutes? Absolutely not! I am always looking to learn from others, and thought maybe this can turn into a learning experience for me. Boy was I wrong. I could only bare to watch this train wreck for about 10 minutes, but during the 10 minutes I watched them do about 500 crunches. REALLY? Are people still doing crunches?  Ok, whatever.

So I finally made my way to the stretching area where I had the opportunity to watch a trainer take a potential client through an assessment. The trainer introduced himself and pulled out a tape measure from his pocket. I am a firm believer in taking measurements and establishing a starting point, but does it have to be the first minute of the first time you meet someone? First of all, most people are terrified to step foot into a gym, never mind working with a trainer that looks like he was born lifting weights. This trainer did not even take the time to take the first steps in building a relationship with a client. Granted it may take 2 sessions or more, depending on how personable the trainer or client is, to build a relationship, but trust needs to be established first. How would you feel if someone just started to poke and touch you in places without even really knowing what is going on? I saw her demeanor go right down the drain, and knew that there was no way she was signing up for training with this trainer. He possibly just lost a potential client for the gym.

I could not bare to watch this anymore, so I decided to make my way to the free weight area where I knew that I could just put the volume up on my iPod and just focus on my own workout. Yet of course, I was wrong. Just when I thought it was my time, 3 people immediately caught my attention. The first was a gentlemen, probably in his mid-40’s, bench pressing 225lbs, took the bar off the rack, and maybe raised the bar about 3 inches. Yes, I said it, 3 inches. He was "that guy" that you see from time to time at the gym that thinks he is doing something so spectacular and stand out-ish and deserves praise. The second, a woman performing decline sit-ups with a 45 lb plate, with her meathead trainer. What's the reasoning and purpose? I am willing to bet that this woman would not be able to perform a 30 second plank. Was this the correct exercise selection for her?  Last situation, but certainly not the least, a guy talking to a young woman. Not sure if he was flirting with her or really trying to help her, but he was showing her how to do a shoulder press on a bosu ball, then proceeded to tell her that this is what he calls "functional training". Maybe I was wrong about my definition of functional training, so I decided to look it up on Wikipedia, and here is what I had found:

Functional training: A classification of exercise, which involves training the body for activities performed in daily life.
 
I understand that this is a very vague definition, but it very accurate and precise. What was so functional about what she was doing?  Does her daily life consist of putting groceries on the top shelf, while in an earthquake?
 
Ok, I am done for now. I really pulled two things out of my "concrete, big box gym" experience.
 
#1       The fitness industry as a whole has made great strides, but there are still fitness professionals that are lagging behind. When I say behind, I mean, REALLY behind. Just because you look good in a fitted shirt, does not mean you are a good trainer. The knowledge does not stop. Read a book! Go to a seminar! Take on a mentorship!
Strive to become better at what you do.
#2       Open up a Leverage Training Center right next to every concrete, big box gym.  If this is how these other gyms are running things, GREAT. They can continue to do what you are doing, because when the time is right, I will be right there to help their clients when they become fed up with getting hurt. Most importantly, I am sick of seeing these clients waste their money on people that cannot get their clients to their fitness goals.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Make The Most Of Your Time On The Treadmill

If you are a follower of my blog, you may notice that some of my posts are strictly rants. So as long as I am on a role, this will add to the list.
 
Let's just get this out of the way, if you use a treadmill, an elliptical or bike, and are looking to lose weight, please stop wasting your time walking at a 4.0 incline for 30-40 minutes. This is a very slow paced way to get results, if any. In other words, you might as well jog in place while eating a bowl of ice cream, and may have a better chance of seeing a change in your body. (Please don't literally do this.)
Most of us know that any type of permanent weight loss is not from a direct cause of any piece of equipment or crazy diet, but from a lifestyle change. Lifestyle changes is not limited to what you do but as most importantly, how you go about doing it.  Somebody please explain to me how you can mindlessly pump away at a piece of equipment and think that you are on the right path to reaching your fitness goals! Unfortunately, it is not going to happen that easily. I advice for you to put down the magazine or cell phone, and limit talking to your friend that is right next to you and GET TO WORK.
If your choice of equipment, which happens to be a treadmill, that you think is going to help you reach all of your fitness goals, I am here to help change your mindset on how you use this piece of equipments and lead you into the right direction.

Here are 4 tips that will help you get to your fitness goals while using the treadmill:
Tip #1:  Set Goals
Take a look at all the people that are successful in the business world and you will find one thing in common, Goal Sheets. If you do not know where you want to go, then it will be almost impossible for you to find the right path to help you get there. When you are putting goals together, make sure that you are being realistic. If the goals are too easy, then you are just wasting your time and slowing yourself down. If the goals are unrealistic and out of reach, then you are setting yourself up for failure.
When it comes to goal setting, I recommend starting off with time, whether it be straight running or interval training. After setting the foundation, look to set a certain number of calories burned in a particular time. Look to increase the amount of calories burned by 5, and keep the length of time the same. This guarantees that the client is challenging themselves, working harder every time in that same allotted time.

Tip #2:  Warm-Up
A major pet peeve of mine is seeing clients hopping on the treadmill and going into their sprints or long distance running without preparing their bodies for work. The second I see this, I kick my clients off the treadmill. (Not literally kicking, but I push them.) I always ask them, "Do you believe that Usain Bolt warms up before a race? What about before practice?"  The answer is always the same, "Yes". I come back with the same answer, "If you know that Usain Bolt needs to warm up before any kind of physical activity, what makes you think that you are excused from doing any type of warm up?" After a few laughs, I reiterate the importance of warming up. The fact is that if you are not warming up, then you are drastically increasing chances of injury, which in turn decreases the amount of time it takes to get to your fitness goals.

Tip #3:  Push Yourself
The main reason why most individuals don’t start or struggle to continue with an exercise program is time. Complaining that there is not enough time in the day, but being able to watch 3 hours of TV a night, does not balance out. Make the effort to go to bed a little earlier, and wake up an extra hour early to get your workout in. If time does not seem to be a problem with a client we start to train, there should not be a reason why they should not see results, if following the program suggested. If the client does not, what will make them want to come back and continue? Push yourself to your limit, every day, every time! Maybe not to the point where you want to puke, but to the point where you have left everything you have on the gym floor. Using calories or miles, can help you push your limits. If I ran for 20 minutes today and burned 150 calories, when it is time for me to come to the gym next time, I want to be able to run that same 20 minutes, but looking to burn 155 calories. 

PUSH YOURSELF EVERY TIME YOU TRAIN.

Tip #4 Cool Down
Just as important as it is to Warm-Up, it is just as important to Cool Down. More often than not, I see clients have a great session, then head right into the locker room. The purpose of the Cool Down is to start the recovery process, making sure that the next time that you are back in the gym, your body can come back 100%, ready to push yourself as hard as you can go.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

8 Easy Nutrition Tips for Parents of Young Athletes

The basis inspiration of most of my blog posts come from the people in my life. To be more specific, the parents of the athletes. Don’t get me wrong, I can honestly say that I have a great relationship with them all, but find it funny that when it is time for me to confront them about certain things in their child’s life, they want to push the blame on someone else.

As parents, it is your job to prepare your children for the real world. One day they will have to face all of life's tasks on their own. They learn to grow and prosper from people and things that are surrounded by them. An important factor that is overlooked and not taken so seriously, especially for athletes, is proper diet and nutrition. 

We need to set a good example and do our best not to stray off that path and keep them focused. Most will probably consider these 8 tips common sense, but if you ask any of your athletes about these topics, you might become a little concerned when you hear some of their responses.

1. BREAKFAST
  Before we start talking about breakfast, A good breakfast is not bacon, egg, cheese, and home fries on a bagel aka a “BOBO”.  It is also not cereal, donuts, or muffins. THIS IS ALL CRAP. A good breakfast includes choices such as: eggs, lean meat, oatmeal, milk, etc.

2. WATER  
Drink more water! Stay off the sugary drinks like Gatorade and soda.

3. NO DRIVE THRU’S:  
If the place has a drive thru, it is not for you. ENOUGH SAID.

4. FRUITS AND VEGETABLES
We all know that most young athletes are especially picky when it comes to eating fruits and vegetables. The more green on their plate, the better. The biggest part of your plate should be your vegetables. Try introducing new fruits and vegetables into the diet for the variety. You may be surprised to see what you like and will notice a change in your body and training when you clean up your diet.

5. LIMIT TAKE OUT
Limit the number of times that you get take-out. Even if you order something healthy, such as grilled chicken, you cannot control how things are prepared and cooked. Make your meals at home and control the amount of calories that you take in.

6. PORTION CONTROL
If your child is eating until he is completely full, you are creating bad habits of overeating. Gluttony has become a problem in today's society. This is something that they will take on for the rest of their lives and will most likely pass this habit onto their children. The stomach is a muscle. The more you overfill it, the more it will stretch and the bigger it becomes. Learn to listen to your body when it tells you it has had enough. Grab a glass of water before your meal and after. Wait 15 minutes, and if you are still hungry, then add a little extra food to your plate.

7. MULTIVITAMIN
I don’t know one person in this world that eats 100% perfect all the time and most likely neither do you.  If you are not eating 100% perfect, than you are in a nutrient deficit and need a multivitamin.

8. POST-WORKOUT RECOVERY
After you are done training, it is vital to replace all of the nutrients that you lost during the workout and consume protein to help rebuild and repair muscle. This will improve the quality and rate of recovery, and help build a stronger, leaner athlete.

As important as these 8 tips are, try to implement them into your daily diet and regime. Start off slow to make the necessary adjustments and take it from there. Our athletes need a good stepping stone and a strong support system to help guide and teach them the importance of proper nutrition. 

Not only will your athletes thank you and learn to appreciate the importance of proper training and nutrition, but the future generations will be able to benefit from it as well.

Improving the athlete inside and out,
 One athlete at a time.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Leverage Training Center "Workout of the Week" 08/06/2011

This is our Leverage Training Center's "Workout of the Week".  We focused on using Timed Sets for our Warm-Up.  This is a great tool to use when working with groups.  I would love to get your opinion on the video...Thank you very much and have a great day.

http://youtu.be/hejGH_YaGG8

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

So, What Is The Best & Most Effective Diet?

 THERE ISN’T ANY! I DON’T BELIEVE IN ANY OF THEM!

    There is nothing wrong with wanting to lose some weight or dropping some body fat, but most people go about it the wrong way.  Most people think starting on some crazy diet or to completely stop eating every thing that they love is the right answer. Seeing and feeling results are all about a lifestyle change and making the necessary adjustments.

    First of all, you can not lose weight in some crazy short amount of time.  Refrain from watching shows like the “Biggest Loser”, and thinking that this is the way to go about training and dietary choices.  TV fails to show us that these people eat like hamsters and workout longer than all of my Division 1 athletes.  Do yourself a favor, and do some research on the contestants. Most of the contestants either put the weight back on or they are unable to maintain that type of lifestyle when they are done with the show.

    What I want to bring to your attention is something I call permanent weight loss. Getting interested? Permanent weight loss is brought on by  losing 1-3 pounds per week, by keeping your body fueled with the right foods, and never in a starvation state. This also comes along with the right type of training.

    The first thing you need to learn is to change how you look at food. Food is used to give us energy to go about our lives, being able to perform daily activities, work out, play our favorite sport, etc. Initially, it was put on this earth to give us energy. Many look at food and abuse it and themselves. This happens with mood changes and hormones, where gluttony becomes a factor. Foods that are processed, full of chemicals and preservatives, GMO, and unnatural are being consumed more and more each day taking away that ability to lose weight and see results.

Here are 3 tips that I use to help people change the way they  think about food:

#1 Stop Eating With Your Eyes.
    A perfect example would be a baby. A baby knows when he/she is hungry. The baby also knows when to stop eating. At some point in growing up, we stop listening to those sensory receptors that tell us we are full. We then become faced with the decision  to either say yes or no to the choices that are in front of us.  Boredom plays a major factor in unnecessary food grabbing. Ever sit on the couch and just crave something out of no where? Grab a glass of water! Most times your body is telling you that you are thirsty, but your mind is receiving the message differently. All in all, eat when you are hungry, not when you are bored.

    #2 Stop Making Excuses And Start Seeing The Results By Being Realistic!
     Stop with the excuses! Constantly, I hear blames being put on genetic, or "I get salads all day and I still don’t get results". The most common excuse is "I have no time".
STOP!
Stop lying to everyone around you, and most importantly, stop lying to yourself.  Set realistic goals that you can follow, and are maintainable.  Set realistic calorie counts and weight loss goals. If you were consuming around 4000 calories a day, make a small adjustment and cut down your caloric intake by 1000 calories.

    Here is a tip, 3500 calories equals 1 pound. To lose 1 pound a week, you have to cut your calorie intake by 500 kcals per day or you can burn an extra 500 calories per day. As long as the calorie deficit equals 3500 calories by the end of the week, you will become that much closer to your goal. This does not mean if you fall off track, try to burn off 3500 calories in one day. Respect your body, and do it the right way. Be patient, and the results will come. Space out your training so your body has time to recover and fuel your body after training. Eat every 3-4 hours to keep that metabolism burning.

    If you happen to fall short of reaching your goal, do not fall off track. Track what you have been doing and see where you can make a change. Continue on the right path and make necessary adjustments. Remember, stay stress free, focused, and rest!

#3 Mistakes Happen
    Mistakes even come to play in my life. Yes, I make mistakes! For example, I start my day off with oatmeal and a protein shake. When it comes time for lunch, I have a double cheeseburger and fries. Guess what, YOUR LIFE IS NOT OVER!!!  Do not think that your day is ruined and you can just throw the rest of the day down the drain. Understand what you did, think about why you did it, and realize that the buck stops here.  You can not make up for what you did in the past, but you can make changes and fix what you do in the future.

Weight loss does not start in the gym.
Weight loss starts in your mind.
“Make your mind right and your body will follow”

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Attention All Ladies...This Just In...It's Okay to LIFT HEAVY WEIGHTS!

Attention All Ladies!
This Just In.. Its Okay To LIFT HEAVY WEIGHTS!

Female Client:            I am not satisfied with the way that I look and want to lose some weight, as soon as possible.  What should I do?
Rich Mejias:                LIFT WEIGHTS
Female Client:            But I don’t want to get big. Shouldn’t I be doing a lot of cardio?
Rich Mejias:                NO, LIFT WEIGHTS
    The typical mindset of the general population, not just women, think that the solution for losing weight is cardio. Some think by spending countless hours on the treadmill, the pounds will simply melt away. Change your way of thinking, because it is WRONG.
    Reason #1: Women do not include weight training in their program for a fear of becoming “bulky”.  Ladies, this is IMPOSSIBLE.  You will never lift enough weight to become the “Incredible Hulk” or have arms like Hulk Hogan.   Choose a lifting program that is based on “Timed Sets” and you will see that you will not only decrease your body fat, by decreasing your body composition, but also completely change the way you look.
    Reason #2: This happens to be my biggest pet peeve when training female clients. "I just don’t want to lift heavy weights."  
WHAT?! 
This line dumb founds me every time!
    Some Fitness Professionals in the industry have mentioned that women should lift light weights, and complete up to 15 repetitions. My belief is in the opposite direction. I believe in having women lift 8-10 reps or until they reach a level of fatigue, while maintaining correct form.  This will not only increase the amount of lean muscle, but also help boost metabolism.
    So ladies, take it from me and get in the weight room. Take charge of your “Weight Loss Quest”. Include a solid full body routine into your workout and you will not only see the unwanted pounds drop, but it will also get you that much closer to your goal that you have pictured of yourself in your mind of how you want to look. 
    Most males have a primary focus for increasing lean muscle. It can take anywhere from 12-15 months to put on 10 pounds of muscle. In order for this goal to become reality, you must participate in a program that requires lifting a lot of weight with a low number of reps. So, if it takes a male about a year to gain 10 pounds by lifting heavy weights with a low number of reps, why are woman so concerned with their type of workout and associating it with “getting too big”?

Friday, July 22, 2011

ATTENTION ALL TRAINERS...WAKE UP!

“You’re either getting better or your getting worse…there is no staying the same.  If your doing the same shit you have been doing for the past 5 years…YOU SUCK”
Robert Dos Remedios

    Wow…I really could not have said it better myself.  One of the things that I like to do as a Strength and Conditioning Coach/Facility Owner is to head out to different facilities all over the country and check out what other physical therapists, trainers, and gym owners, etc are doing.  If there is one thing, good or bad, I can take away from the facility, I am happy.  I am not afraid to come back to Leverage Training Center and say…I think we need to tweak this or completely change that. 

    For example, I went to a local gym in New Jersey last week and as I was foam rolling in the corner (P.S.  I had to take my foam roller from the car and bring it in to use because they didn’t have any…REALLY???), I saw a client walk through the front door. The trainer greeted the client with a great welcome and smile. The trainer then lead the client to the treadmill where they spent 10 minutes reading a magazine, while doing a pace slower than my 90 year old grandmother with a replaced hip.  Come on! Can this trainer possibly say they help contribute to the fitness industry? This is the reason why we get the bad rep as we do. Your clients are paying you for your expertise, and you have the dignity to plop them on a treadmill for 10 minutes? Get off the computer and Facebook, and give your client the service that you promised them when you first met them, meaning… HELP THEM REACH THEIR GOAL! Don’t forget about the important things such as Foam Rolling, Activation, Exercises, Dynamic Warm-up, etc. 

    So finally, back to the sorry story, the clients’ personal trainer finally decided to come out and get her… Yes, the trainer walked away. I knew that after I saw the beginning, I had to keep an eye out for what wonderful things were to come. Exercises performed and directed are as follows: Seated Chest Press, Seated Row, Seated Shoulder Press, Leg Press, and Hip AB/AD.  Now I don’t know the specifics or background of the client, but I can bet you that she spends most of her day sitting in a car or at a desk, or being completely inactive.  Now we can go on forever about exercise selection for your clients, which is not where I am going to go in this post,  but I really felt like yelling… “GET HER UP AND MOVING”, but unfortunately it was not my place to say anything.

    Lastly, and the best part, “Core and Recovery”. The trainer had his client perform incline sit-ups with a 20lb medicine ball. REALLY? This woman could not even plank for 15 seconds, never mind do any type of weight bearing exercises.  As for recovery, he walked her over to the computer to schedule for their next appointment.

    I would like to apologize to every trainer that this does not apply to, but when you question whether you should invest in that seminar, book, or DVD, that you feel will make you a better trainer…DO IT! These are the people that you are competing against for future clients. If you are one of those trainers that are training their clients like this, I say this with the utmost respect, but read a book, buy a DVD, go to a seminar, Make Yourself Better! If you don’t, your time in this industry will not last too long.

    I have now been in the fitness industry for 12 years, and every day in every way, I  look to become 1% better than I was the day before. Just in the month of August, I will be visiting Cressey Performance and Mike Boyle’s Strength and Conditioning, attending a seminar by Robert Dos Remedios/Joe Dowdell, a Kettblebell Seminar with Jason Brown, a goal of reading 1 hour a day, and watching 1 DVD on a fitness topic…all while training my clients and running a facility. 

You don't have time?..COME ON!..Make it work!
Make time to make yourself better!